Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Manchester City Half Marathon

On Sunday I ran the Manchester City Half Marathon. According to the local news, this year's race started with a record 2500 runners including some 600 displaced NYC Marathon runners! It was a beautiful day for a race with temperatures in the low 40s, bright sunny skies, and cool breezes.

After getting an extra hour of sleep, my favorite cheerleader (aka husband) drove me downtown to meet up with the girls. I found Daisy easily (thanks to her "prime parking spot" in a no parking area next to Veteran's Park, but Katherine was off getting a replacement bib for the one she left at home. We did manage to all meet up at the starting line.

You may remember from my previous blog posts or my comments on Daily Mile how this course had some serious hills. The first hill starts around mile 1 and continues until mile 2.5. There's a brief breather before the next climb at mile 3.5 which lasts through mile 5. Here runners are rewarded with a long downhill into Livingston Park before hitting the next group of climbs. At mile 6 the rolling begins (and seems to never end) and goes on and on through mile 10. Just when you think you might be able to cruise to the finish thanks to gravity and Hanover Street, runners hit a final tough climb between mile 11 and 12. For those runners with feeling left in their legs (not me) the final mile is a fast downhill that flattens out to the finish line.

13.1 - 2:08:24  
Clearly, I was dead tired. I didn't hear them announce me as Amy from Jamaica Plain and then correct it. I barely cracked a smile when Katherine and Ami cheered for me as I passed by. I didn't even have the energy to grab one of those awesome mylar heat sheets they were offering.

I did have enough spark to hang out with the girls and our families while savoring the moment. I took on a challenge running this half marathon with its monster hills that scare some runners away and I completed it. #7 done.

What I wore:

Let's Go Clown Around Sweaty Bands
Grey Nike Legend Training Tank
Red Nike Thermal Pullover
Black Nike Running Capris
Nike Dri-Fit No Show Compression Socks
Mizuno Wave Rider 8s
Red Aspaeris Compression Shorts (after)
Pink Zensah Compression Socks (after)

What's the toughest race you've ever done?

Have you entered my Sprigs Big Banjees giveaway yet? It ends Friday at 11:59 PM! Or start shopping now and use my discount code RunningEscapades20 for 10% off of orders up to $29.99 or 20% off orders over $30. It expires 11/30/12 at 11:59 PM EST.

Monday, November 5, 2012

TrainingTruths: Hurricane Week + Giveaway

Yesterday I ran the Manchester City Half Marathon (recap coming soon). Last week as Hurricane Sandy was blasting up the east coast, my training was winding down. School cancellations and power outages didn't prevent me from getting in my last couple of runs. 

#TrainingTruths: I'll never pass up the opportunity to go for a morning run.

With school cancelled on Monday, I took advantage of the opportunity to get in a run before the bad weather arrived. The winds were just starting to pick up in small bursts that tossed the leaves around making the road look more like a trail. Probably should have run more and taken fewer pictures, oh well.  

I wore the Nike Phenom Vapor Jacket on this run because there was a slight drizzle that eventually turned into a light rain. In the 50 degree weather with just a sports bra underneath, this jacket kept me warm and dry from the inclement weather.    

#TrainingTruths: Don't think about the hills when you're not running them.

My run after school started with a dead running watch (a casualty of #Sandy). After stressing a little over having to run naked, I started worrying about the hills in Sunday's half marathon. After trotting up a small incline, I reminded myself that focusing on my form and speed will get me to the top.

#TrainingTruth: I love going to race expos and getting free stuff!

Luckily, there was little damage from the hurricane in New Hampshire, unlike New York and New Jersey. Manchester City race officials announced on Wednesday that the event would go on. Saturday I headed downtown to the expo to meet up with running friends. It's fun to spend some time together picking up packets, sampling new products, and checking out new gear.

Katherine, me, & Daisy

Speaking of gear: maybe you read my review of Big Banjees Wrist Wallet on Friday. Check out Running Escapades on Facebook for your chance to win your very own!

#TrainingTruths is not just about me. We all like to see what everyone else is doing and use that information to assess ourselves. It's not judgement. It's a way to share and learn and make changes when necessary.

To participate all you have to do is share your #TrainingTruths:
  1. Tag a Twitter post with the hashtag #TrainingTruths
  2. Comment on the Running Escapades Facebook page 
  3. Leave a link to your own blog post in the comments
I look forward to reading your #TrainingTruths!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Running for New York

If you are a runner, then you know that today was supposed to be the New York City Marathon.

There have been a lot of mixed emotions surrounding the go-ahead followed by the last minute cancellation of the race. 

As a runner, I understand the need to finish what you started. To lace up your running shoes, head out the door, and leave your troubles behind for a little while. 

But I also understand the need to focus on recovering from such a terrible disaster. To allow the victims time to heal and rebuild. I understand the desire to want to lend a hand, make a donation, offer support.

I'm proud to be a part of the running community. Today while I'm running the Manchester City Half Marathon, I'll be thinking about the victims of Hurricane Sandy and of the thousands of runners who were affected by the cancellation of the NYC Marathon.

Looking for a way to help? Here's a great list of suggestions from Runner's World.

Feel free to leave words of encouragement in the comments.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Review: Sprigs Big Banjees Wrist Wallet

Big Banjees wrist wallet

I was very happy to be asked to review some gear from Sprigs. As a runner who hates to carry anything in my hands, I have had my eyes on their running wallets.

I was lucky enough to choose the Banjees style and color/print from a large selection. I wanted to look at something that would allow me to carry my iPhone on runs, so I chose the Big Banjees Wrist Wallet in purple paisleyblack. Unfortunately, it was not in stock so I was sent paisley/black. 

The first thing I did was put my iPhone into the fold over hooded pouch. In a matter of three steps, it was in. It fits securely and doesn't look like there is any way for it to fall out. 

wallet with iPhone only

The running wallet also offers storage for a variety of items in the zippered section. I put in my id, my bank card, and car keys. Even with my phone, the big banjees wrist wallet was comfortable on my arm. Here's a video that demonstrates how to use the running wallet.

wallet with iPhone, id, bank card, and keys

When I used the running wallet for the first time on a long run, I put my iPhone into the fold over hooded pouch and my Sport Beans into the zippered section. I carry my valet key when I run, so I just put it in my short's pocket as usual. 

In the past I have carried my iPhone with me for safety reasons, but mostly because I want to take pictures. Running with it in my hands is a nuisance and my hands get sweaty. Wearing my upper arm band is convenient, however it's awkward trying to get the phone in and out while running. 

The Sprigs Big Banjees Wrist Wallet solves the problem of how to carry my phone with me on runs. Just a mile into my first run, I pulled open the hood and took out my phone to snap my first picture. Getting the phone back into the hooded pouch with the running wallet on my arm was a little difficult at first, but after a couple of attempts I got the hang of it. 

Wearing the running wallet on my wrist was not uncomfortable. Most of the time, I forgot it was there. It didn't feel heavy or make me feel warmer than normal, although it was a chilly day. The zippered section was simple to use and I was able to access my Sport Beans easily. 

Be sure to check out the full line of Sprigs Banjees products. They have something for everyone! When you place your, order use my coupon code RunningEscapades20. It is good for 10% off of orders up to $29.99 or 20% off orders over $30. It expires 11/30/12 at 11:59 PM EST.

How would you use a running wallet?

I was not compensated for this post, however I did receive the Big Banjees Wrist Wallet at no cost. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Guest Post: Comfort Zones

To get better at anything, we have to challenge ourselves. 

Today on Running Kellometersfind out how I'm pushing myself to become a better runner.  

What new challenges are you taking on?