February 1, 2015

Weekly Roundup: February 1st

This week was very busy between some solid workouts, a business trip to DC on Thursday night, and seeing an old friend Wednesday night. And let me tell you, I was so happy when Friday night was finally here signaling weekend relaxation time. Last night, we attended my corporate "holiday party" which was fun although the atmosphere was a little odd since the party was January 31st..

As a lifelong fan of the Patriots, I'm looking forward to tonight's Super Bowl game. After watching the Super Bowl with enemies in year's past, I learned my lesson- when the Pats are playing, watch at home or with friendlies only!
Clockwise from top left: Snow on Tues AM was enough for a 2 hour
delay; Hotel TM workout; photo booth fun at the holiday party; making
cocktails Friday night
I haven't been in touch with Mom while she's cruising the Caribbean so I'm not sure of her workouts but I imagine they look something like this:
- Walked up to the lido deck to get some breakfast. I was too tired to walk back so I laid on a lounge chair and took a nap instead.
 - Walked on the beach for a few minutes but decided that was too much work for vacation. Vacated to a seat under a beach umbrella to read with a fruity drink with a fruit skewer and a umbrella in it.
- Snorkeled for a little bit to check out the fish. Man, fish have it rough. They are always moving!
- Debated running in ship gym, but elected to hit an afternoon buffet instead.
...all joking aside, I'm very jealous that they are spending time in the tropics while we've had snow and freezing rain! If I know my parents like I think I do, they're still active on vacation.

Sunday, January 25th
C: 8 miles (planned 10 but food poisoning had other ideas)

Monday, January 26th
C: 30 min stationary bike, push-ups, ab sequence, stretching and hip exercises

Tuesday, January 27th
C: 3.5 miles at 8:58 pace, stretching 

Wednesday, January 28th
C: Rest day

Thursday, January 29th
C: 4 mile progression 9:20, 835, 8:35, 7:35, stretching

Friday, January 30th
C: Rest day with ab sequence and push-ups

Saturday, January 31st
C: 10 mile long run at 9:18 pace

January 30, 2015

Five Favorite Indoor Workouts

It's time for the Friday five linkup with Mar, Courtney and Cynthia.  While generally I don't do alot of indoor workouts, there are a few fun things I like to do inside.

Yoga: It is no secret that yoga is a nice way to relax after a hectic day and it is also great for strength training.  This year I have made a goal to practice yoga at least once a week and so far so good.  If I can't get to a class this is my instructor and she is tough!

Bosu Ball:  I actually bought a Bosu ball several years ago even though they are available at the gym.  This ball works on your core stability, a big weakness for me.  It is located in a corner of our bedroom and because I see it everyday, there is a good chance I will use it everyday.  There are many different exercises to do with a Bosu, especially if you grab some free weights when using the ball. I found some exercises online here and here

Plank:  I love doing planks outside when the weather is nice.  However, they work anytime and practically anywhere.  Start with 15 seconds and work your way up to several reps of 1-2 minutes each time. And be careful with your pets...they will want to join in the fun!

Sit ups: I guess I am not really following the topic when I say sit ups are one of my favorite workouts. Race day will be so much better if my core is strong so sit ups are a necessary evil.  At least three times a week I can be found on my mat getting in a hundred sit ups!

Wall sits: My sister, the super speedy runner told me that wall sits were one of the things she did to make her legs stronger.  If they worked for her, they should work for me right?  I try to remember to do these several times per week and stay in the position for at least a minute each time.

What is your favorite indoor activity?  Do your pets help you exercise too? Be sure to check out the host links for more indoor activity ideas!

January 29, 2015

Lynx Sportswear Review

Dislaimer:  We received product from Lynx Sportswear, but no compensation was received for this post.  As always, the opinions stated here are our own.

A few weeks ago, we were contacted by Lynx Sportswear asking us to try out a few of their products. While we both recalled seeing this company's sports bras rated in Runner's World magazine, we had never seen them for sale in our local running stores. We checked out their website and learned some really fun facts about the company:
- It was started after the founder (a Boston qualifier!) couldn't find a sports bra that provided support and was comfortable. She ended up buying materials and a sewing machine and started making her own! And as they say, the rest is history...
- Sports bras and support tanks are manufactured in the USA!
- Lynx made their debut at the 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon expo! Lynx and WRD both got their start in WDW in 2011...crazy huh?!

After a flurry of emails with Danielle, part of the Lynx sales force, we selected a couple items to try. We both picked the Whoop and Holler skort in green (perhaps a skirt for Tink Half?!) and each selected a sports bra. I picked the cross back bra so I'll be talking about that one in this post.

Thoughts on the Whoop and Holler Skirt

I felt sassy in my new skirt!
- When I first pulled it out of the mailing envelope, I was really excited! The ruffles are so fun and I like the striped waist band and shorts.
- The zipper pocket on the back of the skirt was perfect for carrying a key and would easily fit fuel and a small phone.
- The skirt was comfortable and fit well and it stood up to the test of a 4 mile run through my neighborhood!
Back of the skirt with zipper pocket and stripped undershorts detail
- The shorts stayed in place during my entire run and let's be honest here, I don't have stick-thin legs so that says something!
- Laundered well - I washed it and then hung it to dry.

Check out all those ruffles! 
Thoughts on the Cross Back Sports Bra

- When I first received this, I have to be honest that I was worried. The Lynx sports bras have a lot more coverage than the ones I'm used to but I withheld complete judgment until I could road test it. And that's when the magic happened! Without a lot of heavy fabrics and impossible to take on/off styles, these sports bras provide amazing support and comfort.
- They're not sized in traditional S/M/L or bra sizes. They ask that you provide two measurements for the best fit and my sizing was spot on!
- I love the cross back style - very fun and different than anything I have.
- Despite the fabric being lightweight, these provide amazing support. I forgot I was wearing it and it felt great throughout my run.
- I like that there's a clasp on the back to adjust the band for the best fit.
- With the coverage, this would be a sports bra that I would consider wearing in the heinous hot summer months if I ever decided to bare my belly on a run! Guess I better get back to some core work! *wink wink*

Have you ever tried Lynx? And have you ever actually measured yourself for a sports bra fit? Confession - I hadn't before this but I'm glad I did!

January 28, 2015

Boston Marathon Training: rest and recovery

This is my hardest training cycle by a long shot. My coach has mixed up the workouts to include some hills, and the pace work is faster than I have done in the past.  Obviously this is taxing on my body and keeping healthy is critical with just 12 weeks until race day.  The key things I am doing at this point would be great for anyone during marathon training.

* Foam Rolling:  Use a grid foam roller or any foam roller daily:  There are some great tips on how to foam roll here and here.  and a tip from me would be to keep your roller in plain sight in your home or apartment so you can't ignore it!

I always have company for stretching and rolling!

*  Daily stretching:  Regular post run stretching is highly recommended by most running coaches and mine is no exception.  Lots of Yoga poses give great stretches to your body such as pigeon and child's pose. Yoga is typically considered exercise but the gentle Yoga class I attend is giving me great benefits as a stretching/range of motion activity. I plan to attend this class once a week, and if I have to miss my goal is to practice Yoga on my own at home with help from my Jillian Michael's Yoga DVD! IF you haven't tried her DVD's, check them out.  Full confession here though, you may feel as though she is screaming at you through your TV screen!

*  Sleep:  Most of us don't give alot of thought to sleep, but running on not only tired legs but a tired body can lead to injury, not to mention an unpleasant and unsatisfying run.  Schedule your bedtime and be sure to get off your computer or electronic devices such as I pads and I phones a full hour before bed.   Statistics show that usage of those devices can make sleep more difficult.

A comfy bed is always inviting!
*  Food and nutrition: Gone are all the Christmas goodies and the healthy food has invaded my house!  Eating well during a hard training cycle is critical to recovery and a conscious effort is being made to avoid junk food.  I can't totally give up ice cream, but eliminating other treats has been easier.  And that last box of peppermint bark from Williams Sonoma has been hidden high in the pantry not to reappear until after April 20th!  Perhaps my biggest problem is fueling my body post hard training days.  My answer to this is a shake with protein powder.  I always have frozen strawberries on hand to add to the shake for flavor.  Every once in a while, after a 15 plus mile run, I treat myself to a shake make with Blue Bell vanilla ice cream and protein powder, It is pure heaven in a tumbler!

Any recommendations on any of these topics?  Do you have trouble sleeping after using the computer?

January 27, 2015

2015 Race Plans

I know January is already nearly over and it's about time that I worked on my 2015 race schedule. But to be honest, I'm enjoying my laid back approach to running (and racing) this year. While I'll be back for some repeat races, I'm really excited about some new races this year. So what bibs will I be donning on my tech shirts? Let's see...

Glass Slipper Challenge at Walt Disney World, Feb 2015 - Registered!
I've already mentioned why I'm looking forward to this race weekend. I have 4 more weeks of training and a few long runs ahead of me. I don't have any PR dreams for these races although I may try to run "fast" in the 10k.

Rock 'n' Roll DC Half Marathon in Washington DC, March 2015 - Registered!
I love running in DC for the sights and the patriotic camaraderie. I'm debating adding the 5k on Saturday so I can get the remix challenge medal, but I'm not 100% certain on that yet. I'm using this race as one of my 3 Tour Pass races.

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in Washington, DC, April 2015 - Debating!
I have a guaranteed race entry after volunteering at last year's race but I'm really on the fence. I've heard really mixed reviews on this race and more negative ones than positive ones.

BAA 5k in Boston, April 2015 - Planning to register!
While I won't be toeing the starting line in Hopkinton on the 20th, I'm hoping to get to experience a slice of the Boston Marathon racing experience during marathon weekend.

Pixie Dust Challenge in Anaheim, CA, May 2015 - Registered!
Mom and I are celebrating Mother's Day in the most perfect way - a new race challenge in Disneyland! I'm debating making one of these races a PR attempt. I figure I'll have enough time to get some endurance and some speed work under my belt.

Now...here's when the fun begins. After May, I have nothing, zippy, zilch, nada, on my race calendar! And as a Rock 'n' Blogger with the Rock 'n' Roll race series, I have two additional races to round out my Tour Pass. I'm considering:
- Chicago in July (so I can see my buddy Cyanne)
- Virginia Beach in September, but I've done this before and it's hot as hades!
- Vegas in November because....Vegas!
- San Antonio in December as a good excuse to go visit some dear friends who moved to the lone star state

And as for other races that are on my short list:
- Army 10 miler in October
- Navy-Air Force Half Marathon in September

What would you recommend? I have a two hour delay this morning so I look forward to your good ideas...and perhaps a few races that I can register for while I'm leisurely sipping my coffee and enjoying the flurries!

January 26, 2015

RaceDots or safety pins, you choose

Disclaimer: I was provided a set of RaceDots to review.  As always, the opinions stated here are my own.

Have you ever heard of RaceDots?  During the Marine Corps Marathon expo, I spotted their booth selling these funny little magnets that you could use in place of safety pins to keep your bib attached to your race outfit.  After passing by the booth quickly, and with my husband in toe, there was no chance to go back and really see what this product had to offer.

Like many of you, I have a safety pin collection from all my races.  There are some in my car, my purses, and of course this box inside my desk.  But being totally honest, I hate pinning bibs on my tech fabric shirts.  The obvious snag could easily happen and unfortunately, my pinning skills are lacking.  There are always at least several tries to get my bib on straight!  If I had to put my bib on my shirt on race morning, it would be a disaster, because having it straight is critical to my being.  Yep, I am that kinda crazy!

This runners safety pin collection!
If you are after an alternative to safety pins, look no further.  Race Dots are a magnetic dot, that you use to attach your bib to your shirt , skirt, shorts or running costume.  These clever little magnets are small, but with a very powerful magnet that will easily hold your bib in place.  One of the fun features is the color options they offer to match your bib or outfit.  It is always nice to look good for race photos.  

If you are wondering how they work and if they are easy to use the answer is a resounding yes.  Each package comes with 5 dots and and detailed instructions on how to easily attach your bib with them.  I pulled an old bib and shirt from my closet to try them out.  

The only warning for you is these magnets are strong.  Be sure to follow the instructions on the back of the package.  These will definitely hold my bibs in place for future races and would be a great accessory for any runner.  Don't forget Valentines' Day next month!

January 25, 2015

Weekly Roundup January 25th

Another week has flown by and while Mom is away on vacation I am enjoying a low key weekend. After having a string of busy weekends and house guests, I am happy to be enjoying some down time and catching up on chores, sleep, and running! It's hard to believe that we're only 4 weeks away from the Princess Half Marathon so my training is ramping up in a big way. I'm pretty proud of how I'm doing in terms of mileage. Assuming my long run goes according to plan today, my 3rd week of the training cycle will be 22 miles. Not bad considering I was averaging 0-4 a few weeks back!

A glimpse into my week (clockwise from top left): Rooting on the Pats with
Sam Adams, I had a buddy for my Tuesday run this week, a kitchen redecorating
project in the works, and a post-workout treat on Saturday morning 

Sunday, January 18th
Pam: Rest day
Christine: 9 mile run at 9:20 average pace

Monday, January 19th
Pam: 1 hour cardio/core class, 30 minutes stationary bike, hills
Christine: Long walk at the beach

Tuesday, January 20th
Pam: group run practice  3/4 mile warm up total mileage 4.5 miles, 2 minutes at 1:59 pace times 7
Christine: 3.5 miles at 8:58 pace, stretching

Wednesday, January 21st
Pam: 45 minutes stationary bike hills, sit ups, stretching
Christine: Rest day

Thursday, January 22nd
Pam: 4 miles easy
Christine: 3.8 miles at 8:38 pace

Friday, January 23rd
Pam: 12 miles on treadmill at 10:15 pace, stretching
Christine: Rest day

Saturday, January 24th
Pam: 3 mile walk
Christine: 4 mile run on treadmill at 9:20 pace, stretching

How was your weekend? Tell us something fun that you did!