Thursday, July 24, 2014

Who Am I?!

I can't even believe it, but I am actually seriously pondering putting ANOTHER full marathon on my calendar... I know, I just ran my first in May and have my second one in January (as part of the Dopey Challenge)... And now I am considering putting the Phoenix Marathon (at the end of February) on the calendar - EEKS!

Source

I mean really... The girl who started running less than 2.5 years ago... The girl who said she would NEVER do a full marathon... WHO AM I?! And what would possess me to do something like this?! That is something I will probably never be able to fully answer... But if you are a runner, you are more likely to understand the insanity pull on my heart shoe strings.

My thought is I could shoot for my sub-4 marathon here and then hang up my marathon running shoes for a while (easier said than done, huh?!). And at that point, especially with my Dopey Challenge training, I will already be in marathon shape.

And have you seen the elevation chart for this race?

Source

If there is ANYWHERE I could run a marathon under 4 hours, this could be the spot! Not that I would ever qualify for the Boston Marathon, but this course has nearly a 1,000 feet net elevation drop and is super speedy (from everything I have read and heard) which results in an insanely high number of Boston Qualifiers. It is also drivable (hubby's not sure if he will have any work events at the end of February, so instead of dealing with refundable flights and the like, we can plan to drive it and worry about the logistics later).

Not to mention the AWESOME cast of AMAZING runners that will be there - RunEMZ, The Athletarian, Pavement Runner (80% sure he's coming), JoeBRaymond, and PLENTY of other running celebrities ;)

Of course, with all the races I have on my schedule (read about my upcoming races here), there is always a risk of burnout or injury. I am hoping by switching up my workouts and keeping my body guessing I will continue to LOVE and have a passion for running long after this training cycle (I actually just ordered the PiYo DVDs through Kat over at KatrinaElle last night). I am also chatting with Krissy over at Outrunning the Monorail about setting up a training calendar to help keep my body strong and (hopefully) injury-free! If I do (heaven forbid) get burnt out or injured, the Phoenix Marathon offers a deferral option, so I could push back running the race until 2016 and not lose my registration fee.

So I guess the next step is to just pull the trigger already... As JoeBRaymond said, I have to JUST DO IT!!

Source

Have you run a full marathon before? Do you think I am crazy for signing up for my third? 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Try - Colbie Caillat

Have you heard this song yet?




Take your make-up off
Let your hair down
Take a breath
Look into the mirror, at yourself
Don't you like you?
Cause I like you

It seems like we all are running this rat race to be liked, but do we really like ourselves? Are you the type of person you want to meet/ hang out with? 

BE YOU! Cause everyone else is taken!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Funday

Why do we hashtag #SundayFunday instead of making Monday a fun day?! Well, probably because Monday is a reality check... Back to the "real world"... Back to work, back to the grind, back to responsibility... But that doesn't mean we can't make Monday a MARVELOUS day too!

I have seen a "Positivity Challenge" going around on Facebook lately, so I thought I'd try adding a little extra appreciation to my Monday. Let's see how many things I can be thankful and positive about in my day thus far.

Source

This morning I woke up when my alarm went off at 5:15am so I could go run.

1. I "slept" until my alarm, unlike many other mornings where I wake up before it (worrying that I may oversleep).
2. I am blessed to be able to run (healthy, strong, and injury-free).

I made it down to the beach to get my 6 miles in before work.


3. I live close to the beach (within about a mile and a half), which allows for some amazing scenery during workouts (I mean check out the AWESOME sand castle I saw this morning).



4. Although the humidity was at 97% when I started running, it was a little cooler out this morning than it has been the past few weeks, which made the run feel a bit easier.

I was able to finish my 6-miles in 49:18 (I was shooting for under 51 minutes).


5. Because of my recent "rough runs" I was worried my speed was fleeting, but I was able to keep an average pace of 8:13 minute miles. 
6. During my run, I had the opportunity to take some time to pray and praise God for who He is and what He does in my life. 

After showering, I went to work.

7. I have a job (especially in this less-than-stellar economy).
8. I work for a company that allows me to work from home.

Hubby left for work, so Walt The Wiener Dog grabbed Ryan's sandal to bring with him. (He never chews on it, just carries it to near where he is laying to have the smell close by him. I guess him being non-destructive is also something to be grateful for!)



9. We have a healthy and happy puppy (he wasn't so happy or healthy two weekends ago, but thankfully whatever he had worked its way out... even though it seemed to work its way out of him ALL OVER OUR CARPET).
10. Our puppy can make me smile just about any time - I mean, did you watch the video?! He is the cutest, right?!

And now, because I ran before work this morning, I have the afternoon to max and relax (and of course get things done around the house).

11. Even though chores aren't my favorite tasks to do, it means we are blessed enough to have a roof over our heads.
12. We have a computer (so I can blog), internet (so I can post my thoughts to the World Wide Web), and power (so I can charge my electronics that are just about dead from their constant use).

Sometimes we don't realize how many things we are thankful for until we actually sit back and think about it. Obviously there are SOOOOOOOO many more things I am thankful for, I just thought I'd take a quick minute to focus on a few of them.

Source

Will you join me in making it a #MondayFunday?

Foam Rolling

I've gotten quite a few questions on foam rolling, so I thought I would do a post dedicated to it.

Source

I try to do this every evening before going to bed, but foam rolling is great to do pre-run, post-run, or just as a way to unwind from your day. Figure out what works best for you and DO IT!

I originally was going to do more of a vlog (video blog), but got pretty nervous in front of the camera, so decided it would probably be best for me to do it WITHOUT talking. I will describe what I am doing and then post the video below the description so you can see what I mean.


**FYI - I AM NOT A TRAINED PROFESSIONAL. PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THIS AS MEDICAL ADVICE. I AM ONLY DESCRIBING WHAT HAS WORKED FOR ME IN THE PAST.**

IT Band

The reason I originally started rolling was because my IT Band was acting up (the fibrous band that runs from your hip area to your knee area). This tends to be a nagging area for a lot of runners, so definitely a great place to start.

Lie on your side. Begin by placing the foam roller slightly below your hip (you NEVER want to roll over the bone). Roll between the knee and hip area, taking extra time on any tender parts. If your legs are longer, you can break up this area in 2-3 sections (for example from the knee to the mid-quad and then from the mid-quad to the hip area). For a deeper muscle massage you can stack your legs on-top of one another. If stacking your legs is too painful, you can relieve some of the pressure by placing your top foot on the ground in front of your rolling leg. Do this for approximately 1-2 minutes and then switch sides.






Quads

Begin by facing downward in the floor with both thighs on the roller and forearms propping you off the ground (similar to a forearm plank). Roll between the knee and pelvis area, taking extra time on any tender parts. If your legs are longer, you can break up this area in 2-3 sections (for example from the knee to the mid-quad and then from the mid-quad to the pelvis area). I will do this with my toes pointed straight, then point my toes outward, and then point my toes inward (that way I am able to get all of the portions of the quads). Do this for approximately 1-2 minutes.



Calves

Sit with your legs out in front of you, with the roller under your calves. You will need to push yourself off of the ground with your arms (depending on your arm strength this may be one of the more difficult muscle groups to roll). Roll between the knee and ankle area, taking extra time on any tender parts. If your legs are longer, you can break up this area in 2-3 sections (for example from the knee to the mid-calf and then from the mid-calf to the ankle area). For a deeper muscle massage you can cross your legs on-top of one another. If stacking your legs is too painful, you can relieve some of the pressure by keeping both legs on the roller. Do this for approximately 1-2 minutes.





**I have found that sometimes (depending on how often I roll or how difficult my workouts are) I am unable to get a deep enough roll on my calves (it is like I cannot get enough weight over them to get a good massage), so I will often use The Stick to work out the muscles in my calves.




Back

Lying on your back with your knees bent and the roller under your lower back, cross your arms (sort of like you are giving yourself a big HUG for being so awesome). Tighten your core and raise your hips off the ground. Roll below your neck to your glutes, taking extra time on any tender parts. Do this for approximately 1-2 minutes.



**I have noticed that my M80 Roller is a little too hard on my back, so I use my Trigger Point GRID Foam Roller roller for these muscles.

Shins

Start on your hands and knees with the roller on your shins (just under your knees). Keep your planted hands still while rolling your knees towards your hands, bringing the roller almost to your ankles. Roll between the knee and ankle area, taking extra time on any tender parts. If your legs are longer, you can break up this area in 2-3 sections (for example from the knee to the mid-shin and then from the mid-shin to the ankle area). Do this for approximately 1-2 minutes.



Arches

Although this isn't with a foam roller, I normally do this at the same time so thought I'd throw it in this post as well. You can use a tennis ball, golf ball, water bottle, soup can, etc (I have found that a golf ball is my favorite... and if you put it in the freezer for a bit it is AMAZING). All you do is roll the item under the arch of your foot for approximately 1-2 minutes. This is a great massage for the bottom of your tired or sore feet (and an easy way to release tension and pain from your feet).



There are definitely more areas you can foam roll, these are just the main ones I tend to focus on. Due to my nervousness in front of the camera I totally forgot to film my glutes, so I guess those will have to wait for a future post.

A QUICK WORD OF WARNING: The more foam rolling hurts, the more you need to do it (that is often why you will hear runners say they have a love/hate relationship with their roller). I know, it can be painful, it might not be fun, but it can be great for you! It offers muscle tension relief, can correct muscle imbalance, increases your range of motion, assists in injury prevention, and is MUCH cheaper than a personal masseuse.

Tools of the Trade


M80 Roller (This is the firmest {and dare I say my favorite} of my rollers, which I have found gives me the deepest massage. It is also a great travel size, not to mention all the fun color combos it comes in! You can check out my review here.)
Trigger Point GRID Foam Roller (This was my first "good" roller. The different designed foam zones are made to replicate the feeling of an actual massage therapist's hands. The extra foam is extremely helpful if it has been a few days between rolling or if I have a very tender area.)
The Stick (This is great for my calves, as well as knots I find in my quads that I want to really dig into. I have the Sprinter Stick which is one of their firmest options. As you can tell, the firmer {for me} the better, but that can also be the more painful option.)
Golf Ball (This is just a golf ball I grabbed out of my hubby's golf bag... Nothing too special ;) )

PLEASE NOTE:  You do not need multiple rollers or options to get a good massage. I started with the Trigger Point GRID Foam Roller and then was offered an M80 Roller to review and quickly realized the differences. You can always try foam rollers out a running store (if yours has a roller section), a sporting goods shop, or a race expo to see what works best for you and what type your body most prefers.

PS Even if you aren't a runner, your body can definitely benefit from a foam roller!

Are there any major muscles that I left out? Any questions on any of the techniques I am using?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Workout Recap - Week 29

Sunday, July 13th – 6.5  mile run, 1 mile hike with the hubby and the puppy, Foam Rolled & Stretched  



Monday, July 14th –  6 mile run, Foam Rolled & Stretched


Tuesday, July 15th –  Strength Training (abs, back, arms and legs), Foam Rolled & Stretched

Wednesday, July 16th – 6 mile runFoam Rolled & Stretched



Thursday, July 17th – 18.45 bike mile ride, 4.2 mile run with the hubby, Foam Rolled & Stretched





Friday, July 18th – 10.5 mile runFoam Rolled & Stretched



Saturday, July 19th – Rest day, Foam Rolled & Stretched

This week was ROUGH! I had some tough runs that got me a little down in the dumps. I definitely think the humidity is playing a huge factor, but I just have to keep reminding myself something Megan from Running Toward The Prize once told me... "Fall PRs are made in the Summer."  Training in the heat/humidity/harder conditions will make the cooler/drier/nicer runs feel so much easier, right?! 

Another bummer part of my week? I was supposed to run a 5K Foam Fest race with a friend on Saturday. We received an email from the company saying they were canceling the run... Not only that, but they were filing bankruptcy and were dissolving the company... Sure sounds like they took all of our money and RAN! LAME SAUCE! 

I'm pretty sure they knew they wouldn't be putting on a race BEFORE Thursday of the race week... SHADY to wait that long to let everyone know... 

How were your workouts this past week?  

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Favorites: RunnerBox

I have a deep affinity for RunnerBox. Not only were they the first company to ask me to be an ambassador, but they are a MICHIGAN based company (and if you know anything about me, you KNOW this is a BIG deal).


Of course when I was making my list of companies I wanted to feature on my Friday Favorites RunnerBox was towards the top of the list. The only issue was, they were running a few giveaways on other sites, so we delayed my post for a few weeks. Don't worry through, I promise, it was worth the wait.

Make sure to check out my original review here if you want to learn more but, here is the gist:

Source

They have all different delivery options. You can order one-time boxes, subscription features (6-months, 12-months, or bi-monthly perpetual subscription which ends whenever you cancel), and even special event boxes such as a RACE SURVIVAL BOX. (I would strongly suggest the subscription feature... it's like Christmas arriving at your doorstep every other month!). PS They even offer a Gluten Free box - how AWESOME is that?!

They recently added a CycleBox and a TriBox to expand their horizons past the running community (especially since it seems a lot of us runners often do a little dabbling in other sports for cross training as well). I LOVE it when great companies are noticed for their awesomeness and have the opportunity to grow!!

Source

Since the winner of this week's Friday Favorites Giveaway will receive the one-time June/July box, I thought I would share what I received in mine. (Also, I wanted to give you an idea of what type of goodies come in the boxes.)


PureFit Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Premium Protein Bar PureFit Premium Protein Bars are the #1 choice for endurance athletes. Not only were they developed by a runner, cyclist and duathlete, but PureFit's founder Robb Dorf has a degree in Exercise Science. Packed with 18 grams of protein, great-tasting PureFit bars don't melt like other "so called" nutrition bars. [I had this during a bike ride (I commute to the office once a week on my bike, and this day I added in an extra 10+ miles on top of the commute). I wasn't expecting much, but it was soooooo yummy! As you can tell from the picture, I could barely stop eating it long enough to take a photo. Didn't melt in my backpack, great flavor, kept me full and energized, no weird texture or strange consistency, definitely two thumbs up from me!]


Lock Laces. LOCK LACES performance lacing system offers stretch-fit comfort and locked-in safety. Never let untied shoelaces stop your run again. [I LOVE LOCK LACES! I mean check out my review of their product here if you don't believe me. I already have them on a few pairs of my shoes and am stoked to get another set!]





Generation UCAN Tropical Orange provides steady energy and puts your body in the ideal performance state without spikes and crashes or GI distress. UCAN is powered by SuperStarch, an all-natural complex carbohydrate that breaks down slowly over time and stabilizes blood sugar levels, preventing the highs and lows in energy and enhances fat burning by minimizing the fat-storage hormone.

Veggie-Go's Chewy Fruit and Veggies Snacks are delicious, organic fruit strips with a unique half serving of veggies. They are the perfect on the go snack. Low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals, Veggie-Go's are a nutritional powerhouse. [I got the Sweet Potato Pie flavor. Although sweet potatoes aren't my jam, this was tasty! And I MUCH appreciate that the only ingredients were Organic Sweet Potato Pie Puree (which included Organic Apples, Organic Sweet Potatoes, Organic Spices, and Citric Acid).]


Fuel 100 Salty Vanilla Electro-Bites are designed specifically to help extend training and improve race performance. Each 100 calorie pack contains bite sized snacks that are slightly salty in taste and dissolve easily in a dry mouth and absorb quickly into your system. Electro-Bites contain only the best all-natural ingredients including coconut oil and agave syrup. Salty Vanilla is reminiscent of a cookie, making it the perfect comfort fuel for your effort. [With the humidity crazy high as it has been, it will be nice to have these on my next long run so I can add a little salt back into my body after losing so much from sweating buckets.]

Lenny & Larry's Peanut Butter Crunch FIT Protein Brownie Why choose a FIT Protein Brownie? Because it's time to Think Outside the Bar! All natural, gluten free, non-GMO, low sugar, 13g protein (no soy), 7g fiber, low glycemic and best tasting brownie! [Normally when I get chocolate bars they are way too chocolate-y tasting for me, but this one wasn't. I appreciated the "crunch", as it gave a good consistency. I ate this as a mid-morning snack while working and it definitely kept me full and going until lunch.]


EBOOST Who doesn't love lemonade? EBOOST Pink Lemonade Energy Powders is packed with a proprietary blend of green tea, green coffee, vitamins, electrolytes, and antioxidants to support energy, focus, mood and hydration. The best part? It has no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners and contains 0g of sugar and only 10 calories per serving! [Hubby and I tried this after an evening run. I was worried, since I am not a tea or coffee drinker that I wouldn't like it, but tasted like pink lemonade. Reminiscent of a flavored water (reminded me of Emergen-C the way it dissolved). Good tasting but muted (not overpowering). Great that you can make it as-needed and the no fake anything is an added bonus!]

Pure Clean Powder Boost your performance. Pure. Simple. Pure Clean Powder is an organic, full-strength beet juice with the convenience of a powder. Our organic beet juice powder has been tested, the nitrates are pure. Pure Clean Powder is the highest quality beet juice powder available today. Mixed with water, it has a wonderfully clean, fresh taste. [I am normally NOT a beet girl, so I decided to add it to a smoothie instead of drinking it straight up, and I was pleasantly surprised... I still liked the smoothie :) Maybe I can be a beet girl!]


Mud Energy Gel Score serious energy for serious play with the Mud Energy High Intensity Gels. Utilizing coconut water, 12g protein, amino acids, electrolytes and the finest chocolate, Mud Energy is a full-spectrum formula. Amp up your performance with this unbeatable gel that provides incredible endurance, electrolytes and a super quick recovery, all delivered in a delicious, easily digestible gel. [Although I am not one for gels (I have a "texture" thing), my hubby is ramping up his half marathon training and I know will LOVE to try this.]

Honey Stinger Waffles Honey Stinger Organic Waffles make a great tasting snack. For years, similar waffles have been sold on street corners throughout Europe and eaten by professional cyclists, so we decided to create our own by sandwiching honey between two thin waffle wafers. Honey Stinger Organic Waffles are the only product of their kind that's certified organic and available in a single-serving wrapper. [O.M.Geeeee. I tried these thanks to a previous RunnerBox and fell in love! They are delish! This time I got the Lemon flavor, which is good, but Vanilla is still my all time favorite. It's like a "healthy" cake batter - YUM! Check out my original review of them here.]


RunnerBox Towel As the temperatures start to heat up, make sure to have your RunnerBox towel handy. This microfiber towel will wipe away sweat without being tough on your skin. [This is so soft and does exactly what it says - soaks up the sweat while I am working my booty off. I've found this a great thing to have in your gym bag (just remember your antibacterial bag to throw it in after it is drenched)!]



Now some of the colors and flavors may differ in the box you win, but at least you get the idea of the products that are in the June/July RunnerBox.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Along with all the mentioned goodies, there are also coupon codes for these products and others! I mean, who doesn't love saving money?! First you get to try out the products, then you can buy them at a discounted price if you decide you like them.

And talking about discounts, if you would like to place an order through RunnerBox (including subscriptions) {and I mean, who wouldn't?!} you can now save 10% on your order by using code "RUNCARLEE".

BEST OF LUCK TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERS!! The giveaway runs through Thursday, July 24th (because obviously we need a winner before the next Friday Favorites is posted ;)). Enter early and enter often!!