Speed and Compression Sleeve Giveaway!

IMG_20150420_212009

With teaching, grad school starting up, wedding planning, and assistant coaching middle school track, things are starting to get pretty busy around here. I don’t know a lot about coaching, but I am really enjoying working with the kids.

Screenshot_2015-04-25-12-45-48

Things are also pretty crazy in my training right now. I feel like I am seeing some of the gains from my work this winter. I honestly never expected to do be doing tempo workouts at a 7:20 pace this spring!

IMG_20150423_064616

All of these speed workouts have had me feeling the burn. I have been rocking the compression sleeves under the dress pants to work. Once it gets warmer, I don’t know what I will do! I got some new compression sleeves to review from Compression Sleek. I like the sleek look (no pun intended) of the black style. I also like how they are long enough to cover my entire calf. The price is pretty reasonable at $21.99. The only downfall is that they come in one size. I am pretty small, so I would have liked them to be a little tighter. I do believe they still helped with my soreness.

Lucky for you, Compression Sleek is running a giveaway for a $1 pair of compression sleeves! Two winners will be announced. Just click the link below. The only downside is that you need Amazon Prime, or you have to pay shipping. The giveaway ends May 6th.

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ef8465e81/

What sort of speed workouts do you like to do? How do you recover after?

signature

Compression Sleek provided me with this pair of compression sleeves to review. All opinions of the product are my own and unbiased.

giveaway roundup

Advertisements

Love Run Philly Race Recap!

I am a little late in posting my half marathon recap from last week. Last Sunday I ran the Love Run half marathon in Philadelphia. It was a very chilly start – low 30s with wind. The course was also hillier than expected. I guess I didn’t pay attention when they said they changed last year’s course. They added a giant hill!

0329150549Despite all of that, I managed to snag a 17 minute PR! It has been a year since I ran a half marathon, and I was able to cut my time down to 1:44:51!

2015-04-03-08-22-02

I was hoping to go a little faster, but my mental game really was thrown off by that second hill. The last three miles felt like a struggle, even though it seems I kept a steady pace.

0329151812

Updating the PR board!

I ran the first 10.5 miles with someone, which I think really helped. They really forced me to keep pace when I wanted to slow down after the hills. Granted…they did fly off the last three miles. This is the first time I really raced with someone for that long.

race photo

My real finish time was 1:44:51!

After the race, we went to the bar to celebrate with a much earned beer! This is the hardest I have ever raced a half marathon. I can honestly say that I could not have gone any faster. This was also coming off racing a 5k as fast as possible the weekend before. I am still unbelievably happy with a 17 minute PR!

group pic

How do you celebrate after a race?

signature

Running Gait Analysis and Exercises

cold run

To say it has been cold on recent morning runs would be an understatement! Thank goodness for good friends to keep me going when I would much rather stay in my warm bed. Also we look less ridiculous in our reflective gear when we are together!

This past weekend at the running club, a group came by to analyze running gait and check muscles/flexibility. For the most part, my evaluation went pretty well. He said I had good flexibility and mostly balanced muscles. He said the I could work on some weakness in my hips. He gave me these exercises to work on.

hip exercises-1

hip exercises-2

I have started doing the exercises, but have been working up to the full amount of sets. I could definitely feel them working!

What are some of your favorite exercises?

signature

Not Everyone is a Great Running Partner

running partners1

I’m slowly easing back into higher mileage after the marathon. Long runs are a great time to catch up with friends. Until…you have the long run “crasher.”

Now, I am very open to having new people join the group. The more, the merrier! I try to be friendly most of the time. Some people can make that a little harder than others, though. While most people are great to run with, sometimes you get a ….what should I call them…a dud?

Many times you just stop running with someone because paces are off or your schedules don’t match up. Occasionally, though, you just meet someone that doesn’t mess with the group. Maybe there are a lovely person, but it just isn’t working out. They just aren’t for you.

running partners2

Here are a couple of pet peeves of mine when it comes to running partners:

  1. They don’t go the pace you agreed upon, not even close. In fact, they zoom off ridiculously fast. This group is not for you, buddy. Either go slower or find faster friends.
  2. They never stop talking. You seem to get in a rhythm with your running partners. Sometimes talking trails off as the run goes on longer. Other times, it just goes in little spurts. I suppose this one is negotiable. It really depends on how close you are to the running partner. Some people are great to talk to for hours. With strangers, though, it can be horribly awkward.
  3. Telling me your intimate life story before I know your last name. I do not know if I can handle the messy details of your divorce or last gynecologist appointment within the first five minutes of knowing you.

This may or may not have happened to me this weekend. I really promise that I am not completely heartless. Long runs just become infinitely more unbearable with a bad running partner. An hour can seem like three.

Now the hard part comes. Do you sacrifice the pain of an excruciating long run just to be polite? I’d like to say I have the answer to this conundrum, but usually my buddies and I just show up 15 minutes early the next couple of weeks to avoid the situation all together.

Has this ever happened to you? What did you do?

signature

My Year in Running!

There is no doubt that 2014 was a big year for me. I got engaged and I ran my first marathon. I also changed a lot as a runner. I gained a lot of speed, but I also gained a lot of knowledge about running. I made some amazing friends along the way!

I am linking up with Miss Zippy to share my year in running!

miss zippy

Best race experience? Definitely my marathon. Everyone in my training group is talking about running another one, but I really don’t know if I can top this one. It really went according to plan. I fueled right, I dressed right, and I maintained the pace I wanted! I ran under 4 hours (3:54 to be exact.) which is exactly what I wanted. I had a lot of fun training and became very close to some amazing people.

IMG_169663681035611

Best run? This is a tough one. There were so many runs this year! I think it would have to be our first training run in Philadelphia. The weather was awesome, the company was fantastic, and the change of scenery was needed. We even got to try out the new boardwalk!

IMG_754632939633001

Best new piece of gear?  I would have to say my Garmin. It has been a love/hate relationship, but I have learned how to use the little guy appropriately. He is extremely helpful with pacing on my long runs, and I don’t think I could even do my speedwork without him. I credit him for helping me gain so much speed this year.

I can barely believe that I used to live in the 10:00 mile just last spring! Now, I am in the high 8:00s. What a difference a year can make!

Best piece of running advice you received? You need to do easy, recovery runs. Not every run needs to be fast. This was a game changer for me and helped make me faster overall. Rest and recovery are crucial to the process!

Most inspirational runner? I love Lisa from Running Out of Wine! I have learned so much from her! I also feel like I can relate to her, like she is a real person, not just someone out in cyberspace!

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be? I would say the theme was improvement!

How did 2014 go for you?!

signature

The Zen Runners

If you have ever seen The Spirit of the Marathon (and if you haven’t, go watch it NOW), you probably remember the clip about the “zen runners.” (sadly, no clip on Youtube – unforgivable!) These are the runners that run without a garmin. They just go out and enjoy the run.

zen-beauty

Well…Saturday I did the “zen running” thing on my long run. It was actually on accident, though. I forgot my garmin. Who does that? Who forgets their garmin?! Then, I though, “Oh, don’t worry, just use your phone.” Well, my phone has been acting crazy, and I just found out the GPS is broken! (No worries, still under warranty and getting a new one!) The universe wanted me to do some serious “zen running.”

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

Real scene from my run!

I had a route mapped out, (which included an awesome nature observatory park),so I knew I would get my twelve miles in. So, I just took off. I ran 12 miles with no clue what my pace was. I mean I know the approximate time it took me to complete the entire run, but I actually didn’t want to think about it or estimate my pace. 

1225131020

A picture from a day I actually remembered my Garmin.

I love my Garmin dearly, but sometimes I get a little obsessed with pace. It’s my type “A” personality. It feeds on that sort of thing. I think I am going to try and go without it more often, though. Sometimes it is good to just go by feel. I always say I am going to do that, and then I find myself staring at the Garmin. It’s time to let loose!

Do you ever run without a watch or your phone tracking?

signature

Trip to Vegas!

Happy July everyone! Can you believe how fast summer is flying by? It definitely feels like July outside, though!

0627141345aI just got back from my trip to Vegas. Las Vegas is a very interesting place. I had a good time, but I think one time should do me good. I have never seen anything quite like that city. It is so over the top. It is fun to see, but it really is pretty hilarious. I had my first casino experience. I have never gambled before. It was not quite as exciting as I thought. I don’t know what I was expecting, maybe I thought I was going to win big? Not this time!

0625141138

The shops were pretty awesome, though. The Venetian and Caesar’s Palace are crazy. That is the ceiling, not the sky! They really commit to the Italian theme. Even the security guards are in costumes! There is also a fake river with gondola rides.

0625141203The food was also amazing. The restaurants were all delicious! I tried to eat healthy most of the time. I opted for salmon with vegetables instead of pasta, things like that. I did  indulge some though. I mean…it was VACATION!

0628141334

Speaking of indulgences, you can’t go out west without eating some In-N-Out. My boyfriend loves it. I have to admit, it is pretty good.

0627142026We also saw Cirque de Soleil La Reve. It was a combination of synchronized swimming and acrobatics. I have only seen one other Cirque de Soleil performance before, but this one blew that one out of the water. This show was amazing. I have never seen any show this good.

0627141301a

We also got some history and nature in. Did you know Las Vegas was originally settled by Mormons? I think the city might have lost its original intention there. Then, we went to Red Rock Canyon, which was very beautiful. Since it is on a fault line, there is a nice mixing of rock layers which makes for some nice views.

0628141422

I did do some running. The first day I tried running outside. Ha, that was a joke! I went out at 7 am and it was already 100 degrees. The air was so thick. I couldn’t breathe. After that, I stuck to the treadmill. The first hotel we stayed at had a free gym, so I used that. Then we stayed at the MGM Signature, closer to the strip. That gym cost money. We were only there 2 nights, so I just took a rest day. I just couldn’t do that heat!

0625140842a

The park was pretty, but I couldn’t focus because of the INSANE heat!

Anyone ever visited Vegas? What were your thoughts?

signature

 

The Time I Fell Down

Today had all the makings of a fabulous long run. For once, the weather was a beautiful 65 degrees with low humidity. I was feeling great and hitting amazing splits. I literally was just thinking how awesome the run was. Then…I tripped over a tree root. Yes. There was a tree root in the middle of the sidewalk. The sidewalks in south Jersey are treacherous. I usually run on the shoulder for this very reason.  However, there were cars parked all over the shoulder today. Since I try not to run in the middle of the road, I took to the sidewalk.

0621141024

Here is one of my lovely, scratched, bruised, swollen knees.

I had started out running with another girl, but she was not going as far and had taken a different turn. I usually have my phone with me, but I did not today. I was five miles out on a nine mile run. As soon as I hit the pavement, I started hysterically crying. Not so much because it hurt, but because I was ridiculously shaken up. No one was around, and I was bleeding all over the sidewalk. After a short pity party, I decided to continue with the run because I knew there was a park just ahead. Surely they had sinks to wash off in.

0621141024a

Nope. No sinks. At this point I had to run 4 miles to get back to the running store. I could’ve walked, but running would get me there faster. So…I ran back. As soon as I got back to the store, I ran to the bathroom to rinse out my wounds as best as I could. Luckily, someone had a first aid kit in their car. We cleaned the scrapes, put on neosporin, and bandaged them up the best we could.

0621141024b

Clearly we aren’t the best with gauze. The shoulder scrape is by far the worst.

Lesson learned today: Bring the phone. Even if your running belt gets sweaty on summer days.

Don’t worry, though. I am fine. I did not break anything. I just have some scrapes and bruises.

Have you ever taken a nasty spill while running?

signature

Give Me a Break!

Can you all believe that is is already June?! It was a busy Spring, full of lots of races and running. (Maybe too many races…) After all that hard work, I took a very needed rest. The woman in charge of the group I run with suggested I take 10 full days off from running. She said it is recommended that runners take one long rest a year. At first, I thought this was crazy, but I think she knows what she is talking about!

0508141638

During my ten day rest, I went on many walks and took some yoga classes. At first I felt really antsy, especially on days with good weather. I was also really nervous about how I would feel when I started back up. I was actually really surprised at how good I felt the first day back.

2014-05-16-11-38-56

I was also surprised at how fast I was able to go! (Granted I wasn’t going very far!) I have slowly been adding mileage over the past couple of weeks. I am still feeling really good, and my times seem much faster than before the break. I am expecting things to slow down the more miles I build back up to, but for now it is exciting!

2014-05-29-06-42-51Here is a great article I read about taking an annual “rest” from Runner’s World.

Do you build rest breaks into your yearly running calendar?

signature