A few of my favorite things!

Happy weekend everybody!!! Lately I have been using a few things ALL the time and I wanted to share their awesome-ness with you!!

BUT FIRST. This popped up in my memories -It’s from 2011. My husband built my little a snow fort in the backyard. She was only 4 in this picture and a tenny little thing! I just love this memory and I’m SO THANKFUL that it hasn’t been a bad winter!!!


1.) I would normally NEVER post pictures of underwear BUT I had to tell my runderwear loving friends about these. They are Under Armour and I love them! They’re one size fits all and I love how cozy the material is!

2.) I am OBSESSSSSSED with my Nike Vapor Flash Vest and Nike reflective running tights. They are REALLY expensive, but, in my opinion-totally worth the money (I got them for Christmas!). I will have them for years to come and I try to take really good care of them. This is the only pair of pants that I wear at night/during the morning for outside runs. They are very flattering and I am HIGHLY visible. I’ve been described as looking like I’m wearing “flashlights” while I’m out running!

The vest is fitted but I have found that I can still put a base layer on, comfortably, underneath it and not feel squished or like I’m suffocating. 🙂

I’ve read a lot of reviews on the pants and I was a little skeptical about getting them-A lot of people said that the reflective parts come off in the wash. I wash them inside out on gentle cycle, and I haven’t had any problems!

  Lights on!

Lights off! This is what a car sees when they drive by me. SO MANY LEVELS OF AWESOME!

 

3.) Nathan Firecatcher Hydration Vest. I bought this as an alternative to my Camelbak. I LOVE my camelback but I often get chafed by it in the summertime so I wanted to find an alternative. This vest came with two front bottles and I bought the bladder for the back of it. I’ve used the bottles before but I prefer the bladder. I think if I was an ultra runner, I would use the bottles too since it would be a piece of cake to refill them at stops.

I still love my camelback a lot, but this vest has yet to chafe me so it’s been the first thing I grab for all of my long runs this winter. I do like the way the Camelbak sits on my back slightly better than the Nathan vest, though.

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The vest also has pockets on both sides of the front straps: a pocket and a zippered which is pretty cool!

 

4.) The Night Runner 270’s. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE these. This was another purchase that I was extremely skeptical about. I didn’t know if they were worth the $60, plus there was no store that I could go and check them out at. I don’t like to spend money on a product that I’m not absolutely sure about! I thought the concept of them was really cool and my headlight was uncomfortable & not that bright. I was looking for a better solution for running in the dark and a runner I follow on IG had posted about these.

Whenever I post a picture of them, I get a LOT of questions.  I think the company needs to market themselves a little more & put more info out about their product by way of more videos. (I’ve posted videos on my Instagram before but I don’t have a YouTube channel so I didn’t post it here) Their website is nice, but I think it needs a bit more info about their rockin product because it seems that people are just as skeptical as I am.

But I bought them anyway and hoped for the best. I use them ALL the time. ..morning, night: it doesn’t matter. They are rechargeable (love that) and you plug them into a USB to do so. I’ve gone up to 3 weeks without charging them and typically use them 2/3 times a week.

The range of visibility is incredible. You can read more about it on their website but here is how I like to describe it: They are really bright flashlights for my feet that make me feel safe & well seen. I also don’t bring my headlight along anymore-but if I’m out running in the dark, there are also street lights that are on. So this means that the roads are not TOTALLY dark to begin with.

I HIGHLY recommend them to all my night and morning runner friends. I’ve even taken them along with me to the dark track in the wee hours and I love being able to see my feet!

 

Happy Weekend, Friends! Have you tried any of these things, or tried any excellent running products lately??

Pro’s & Cons of racing a lot

Happy Monday my friends!

One thing that you might have noticed is that I really like to run races. During the fall, it feels like I’m running one every weekend. There are sooooo many good ones! I would race every Saturday and every Sunday if I could afford it, and, if I knew that it didn’t drive my family nuts!

Because I like to save the best for last, I”m going to give you my cons first. I like to give you the good stuff at the end…That’s just how I roll!

CONS:
1.) Racing a lot gets expensive. I sat down to do the math for 2015. I haven’t finished making the list yet but it is long so I’m a bit afraid… Between registration fees and potential traveling, you can spend a ton of dough!

2.) Racing “all out” on a consistent basis will indeed burn you out. I try to pick and choose when my racing efforts will be at my highest level of awesomeness. It doesn’t always go my way, but I do know there will always be a “next time.”

PROS:
1.) Races help you run your goal pace. Something about the race environment makes you ready to push yourself harder than you would on your normal Saturday/Sunday run. There is nowhere better than at a race for you to practice goal paces!

2.) Races are FUN. Whether it’s a themed race or a race in memory of someone: THEY ARE FUN!!! Last weekend was the “Stache Half” and it kicked off “Movember”. This silly theme cracked me up and the runners had fake stache’s in their goodie bags. Prizes were also awarded for Best Stache! Little touches like that go a long way!

3.) Racing is a great social activity! Most longer races that I run have shorter options, too. It’s very easy to get a friend to sign up for the shorter distance! And, a bonus to running the short races like 5k’s/10k’s-I can pretty much always convince someone to run it with me!

4.) You get to see new places and check out new areas that you normally wouldn’t go to if it weren’t for a race. I don’t do much traveling for races, BUT I think that is going to change for 2016. I have my eye on a few key races for next year and I’m really looking forward to it!

5.) Even a bad race teaches you something: No runner can have the perfect race every time. I feel like the stars need to align, my stomach has to be perfect, itunes playlist must be on point, and if I’m really lucky?? I ((ahem)) have used the bathroom before the race. I’ve had just as many bad races as I have good. From every race, I learn something new that I get to take with me and apply to my next race. From my last race, I learned that when there are hills at the end of the course and you aren’t a lover of hills: you may want to rethink registering for that particular race. Or just don’t set a time goal. Just saying, Nicole, just saying…

6.) Racing a lot teaches you where your strengths and your weaknesses lie. During every 5k, I’m challenging myself on so many levels. 5k’s are a weakness for me. The marathon distance shows me all kinds of crazy strengths: That I am highly motivated during distance runs, that I love the long course that is the marathon, that I’m really good at visualizing the finish line. It’s also taught me that I need to keep putting emphasis on fast finish long runs and pushing my speedwork. Do a few races and you will learn your own strengths and weaknesses, I will promise you that!

7.) I GET to race. I never, ever take that fact for granted. I get to run and that is a precious gift that I’ve been given. I’m fast, but not the fastest, but I am damn good at what I do. I GET to RACE. How lucky am I??

Do you like to race? Do you do it a lot?

Incorporating BBG into Marathon Training

I haven’t mentioned BBG in a while and lately I’ve gotten a few emails regarding beginning the BBG program while also being in marathon training. Even though I’ve written about the basic FAQ’s of BBG here and here, I thought it might be beneficial to a lot of runners out there who have questions about how I incorporated BBG into my running.

For those of you who have NO idea what BBG is, I will sum it up briefly: “BBG” stands for “Bikini Body Guides.” It’s a 12 week downloadable PDF guidebook program designed by Kayla Itsines and her partner, Tobias Pierce. You work out for 3 days a week for 28 minutes. There are 2 circuits per each workout and you repeat each 7 minute circuit twice -this makes up the 28 minutes. It’s an ass kicking workout. The moves are easy-lunges, burpees, tricep dips, push-ups,to name a few. It’s combinations are killer.


Serious truth..

When I first started BBG, it was the beginning of June. As some of you know-I’m a teacher and have the summers off. (don’t hate me!) Without an 8 hour work day, I had bunch of extra time in my schedule so it really was the perfect time to begin a strength program like BBG. I started BBG as a way to tone up more, get stronger, and to just be a better “me.” While I was still in school, I would run in the morning, and on BBG days-I would do that after work.

I didn’t expect to fall in love with BBG the way I did-But it happened. I saw changes in my body that I have never seen before and I found the workouts to be high intensity, challenging, and fun. I love that I can do the workouts in my house. I also love that there is no one barking orders at me. I’ve never been the biggest fan of workout classes because I don’t really like instructors telling me what to do, or correcting me if I’m doing it wrong. It’s not that I don’t want my form to be correct- I just REALLY hate attention being drawn to me and people starting at me. So….the fact that I can get a good sweat on in my living room with my own music blaring in the background is pretty awesome to me.

After the 12 weeks of BBG, I have found myself to be a stronger, fitter, leaner version of myself. Running is my true love, but it just doesn’t give me the same tone and definition that it did in my 20’s. I love the moves and challenges of BBG. I’m now on round 2 of weeks 1-12 (you can buy the 2nd edition for weeks 13-24, but at this time, I chose to just restart at week 1) During the 2nd round, I’ve found that I’m actually better at it than I was the first time around.


Feeling so strong!

For the first 10 weeks, I didn’t skip a single workout (That’s kind of a big deal!). It was a new & exciting challenge and I loved mastering moves like burpees (love them), commando’s (I can do them well but I still HATE them) and I lunged like a BOSS.

The setup for the majority of BBG weeks is:
Monday- Legs
Wednesday-Arms or Arms & Abs
Friday-Abs or Full body.

For me, the toughest workout is the legs day. It leaves me VERY sore for a couple days. This was the workout that I struggled with the most: No matter what, it seemed to get in the way of running. Doing it on a Monday meant I’m leaving myself pretty sore for a tempo or track workout on a Tuesday. During 2 out of 12 week, the “legs” day falls on a Friday. This was great for my speedwork, but bad for my long run. I tend to do my long run on Saturday mornings and I’m extremely stubborn about swapping it to Sundays. Doing BBG on a Friday, long run Saturday is just sooo much soreness, I can’t even EXPLAIN it to you except to say “try it and give me a call after and I’ll listen to you whine.” I ended up making the decision that if/when legs day fell on a Friday, I would swap it over to Mondays.

All of the arms/abs/full body workouts still leave me sore, but it’s not the same as the leg soreness (for me). Please note that everybody is different, and what makes ME the most sore might not make YOU the most sore. I already have a solid core and strong arms from doing pushup and planking daily, and I think that’s why those workouts are easier on my body. On runs the day after an arm or ab workout, I would feel the muscles that I worked-but it was more like a “good sore” vs. “hate my life” sore. Does this make sense? I hope so. So for example: if I had an arms/abs workout on a Friday, I would be okay for a long run on Saturday.

Sometimes, I would end up on the floor like this after BBG…
Weeks 11 and 12 were a little bit trickier for me to handle because I went on vacation, became full time mom and went back to work all within a two week span. I still completed Weeks 11 & 12, but they were more spaced out. I did 2 workouts a week instead of 3 and it took me about 3 weeks to do those last 6 workouts. I finally completed the full 12 weeks of BBG during the 3rd week of September.

By now you’ve probably started thinking to yourself how the heck did she actually do the workouts and run? Or that I’m crazy for doing all of this strength training while training for a marathon. Or maybe you’re thinking both things? The first 10 weeks, my workouts typically looked like this:

Monday-Running: Off, BBG Legs.
Tuesday-AM: Speedwork (Tempo or track workout), typically 7-9 miles
Wednesday-AM-Easy run (8-12 miles), PM*-BBG Arms
Thursday- Speedwork (Tempo or track workout), typically 7-9 miles
Friday-AM Easy run of 5 miles or OFF, PM-BBG Abs.
Saturday-Long run, 16-20 miles
Sunday- recovery run.

*During the summer months, I would run early in the morning and do BBG later in the afternoon. AGAIN, keep in mind that I wasn’t working so it was easy to fit into my day.

BBG is only 28 minutes but it’s 28 very intense minutes. It’s the easiest and hardest workout I’ve ever done. I say “easy” because after a few reps—even a rhythmically challenged dodo like myself can pick it up, and “hard” because it’s a solid 28 minutes of working your *** off. There is no denying it: I’m dripping with sweat & exhausted when I finish, and I love it. With the exception of jumping rope (I pretend to jump rope by still doing the motions as if I’m really jumping rope because I just CAN’T do it), I’ve never modified any of the moves. Unless I physically can’t do a move, I leave it as is because I don’t want to cheat myself out of a great workout.

Right now I’m on my second round of BBG and I’ve just finished week 1. Since I’ve got a marathon on Sunday, I decided to completely give in to the last week of taper and not do any BBG. My body will be much happier on race day if it’s well rested! As I mentioned above, I finished the 12 week program the 3rd week of September. I loved/love every minute of BBG and I decided that going forward, I wanted to keep up with it. I’ve been back to work for 1 ½ months and I’m facing new challenges in life: I’ve got a 9 year old and I’m learning all kinds of new mom things! Trying to keep up with everything is a lot of work.

Running is, and always will be, my true love, and it will always take precedence over BBG. What works for me (right now) is a 2 day week of BBG, and sometimes one of those days in on a Saturday or a Sunday. I’m not placing any pressure on myself to do it. If I did? I would be SUPER stressed trying to cram every little thing into my day and when I did get a change to do BBG, I would feel like I’m forcing it on myself. It’s so dark in the morning that I end up doing the majority of my runs at night. If I can get my booty out of bed at a decent hour in the morning, I will cram in a few miles on my treadmill and do BBG at night while my daughter is doing homework. I still see results even though I’m doing it 1-2 times a week. I try to look at it like this: Even 1 workout a week is better than NO workouts a week.

The last two weeks, my schedule has looked like this:
Sept 28-Oct 4:
Monday: BBG Legs Week 1
Tuesday: 6 miles (PM)
Wednesday: 6 miles (PM)
Thursday: 6 miles (tmill/PM)
Friday: 6 miles
Saturday: 2 tmill miles followed by BBG Arms & Abs Week 1
Sunday-16 miles

October 5th-October 11th:
Monday: 4 miles (PM)
Wednesday: 7.5 miles (Track workout in the early afternoon)
Thursday: 6.35 miles (AM), PM BBG-Week 1 Full Body
Friday: 5 miles (PM)
Saturday: 11 miles (AM)
Sunday-5 miles (AM)

So you can see: It took me 2 weeks to complete Round 2/Week 1 of BBG, and during the 2nd week, I only did one workout. I would have started week 2 of BBG however, Oct 5/11 was a crazy busy week and I just couldn’t fit it in anywhere.

My advice to runners looking to incorporate this program into their lives and don’t have much time because LIFE gets crazy is this: You’ve got to learn to adapt. Don’t put pressure on yourself. If you know you have a busy week ahead of you, try to fit it in when you can. There have also been weeks that I have done two days back to back with BBG. It is what it is. Just like with running: If you WANT to do it- you will.

I hope this super long post is helpful to those runners out there who have been inquiring about this. Please comment here if you have a question, or email me at thegirlwhoraneverywhere@gmail.com 🙂

Happy Running,  my friends!

Since we last spoke…

What a busy few weeks!!! I’m so sorry I haven’t been blogging! I have to say, it feels really weird not to be on a regular posting schedule. I wish there were more hours in the day and that I could have solid hour to put towards blogging. (((SIGH)))

But the good news is–> There is a lot of great life stuff happening lately. That is the most important thing!

Two weeks ago, my little buddy said she wanted to come for a run with me. So we laced up, and out into the world we went! She did really well and made it about half a mile before stopping/dying of thirst/complaining. I told her we HAD to do an entire mile though and we walked/ran the rest of the way. I have NO doubts in her athletic abilities…check out girlfriends stride- She’s a natural!

I also ran a race- Surf Town Half Marathon in Rhode Island. I should really get around to doing a recap for it, but time is not my friend. So I’ll sum it up in just a few bullet point sentences:

-I loved the course-It was really pretty, along the ocean, and very flat (until Mile 11)

-I ended up cancelling my hotel and driving down the morning of the race.. It was a 2 1/2 hour drive. Highways make me nervous and so do long solo drives-This definitely contributed to me not doing as well as I had hoped. Live and learn!

-It was PERFECT racing weather: overcast and slightly misty.

-Official time: 1:37, 16th/1004 females

-I was ok with my time.. I had originally set my sights on a PR for this race. BUT..I know long drives slow my legs down. Anything over an hour and I can really kiss any goals I have goodbye. It ended up being a great tempo run for me. When I was all done-I had a ton of gas left in the tank, and I felt that I could’ve done another 13.1 miles at that speed.

A reader sent me this pic…As you can see-I zoomed it in a little 🙂 So cool!

Had some big confidence boosting workouts including a solid ladder workout, all faster than the goals I had set. BOOM.

Registered for Boston….

Ran the longest, slowest long run EVER. This was an exercise in building my mental game for my marathon as well as getting time on my feet: I ran the two double loops of my upcoming marathon (Baystate Marathon). The first loop was fantastic. The 2nd looped dragged on and on and i HATED IT. But I did it & I know that on October 18th: I will be running my race and reflecting back on this particular run while dominating Baystate. 🙂

Oh, and back to Boston-I have been accepted…Yay!

I also said goodbye to my beloved Garmin. RIP, 610. We had many good runs together! There were many tears & a 12 step program towards my acceptance of its passing. (moment of silence for Garmin 610)

Another confidence building workout: Mile repeats, old school and with a stopwatch! I felt so hardcore..

My husband is an angel and surprised me with a new Garmin. His reasoning for purchasing this model? “It is better so we are getting this one.” Love him.

 

Family Outing: My buddy did a 2 mile walk with SIL & my niece while I ran the 5k. It was a Superhero themed race to honor the late son of my friend Scott. It was an awesome day and we dressed as matching Wonder Women! I won 2nd place overall female. (Got outkicked in the 2nd mile-my legs were tired from the mile repeats 2 days before!) Official time 21:02, my Garmin read 20:50.

I got to run into an old friend there too and it made me so happy! She heard my name being called at the podium and ran over to find me. I love good surprises like that!

Aw. Love him.
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This run made me SO happy. I set a goal for myself a year ago to break 2:40 in a 20 mile run. This thought never left my brain. To me: 15-18 mile runs are a lot easier to run faster. There’s something about 19/20/22 mile runs that make me slow down. So this run made me very excited!

 

OH yeah–I don’t know that I’ve ever said this on the blog-but Dave McGillivray is my personal hero. He is the race director of the Boston Marathon but SO much more than that. He has run across the country twice, done many Ironmans, and there has even been some swimming across the English Channel. He is the pioneer of raising money for charities and his first trip across the country started with him raising money for the Jimmy Fund. He is a stand up dude. I met him once before and have a picture with him too. He has a book called “The Last Pick.” I highly reccommend it–> I reread his book every year in the taper weeks before Boston. I think Dave is the only other person on the planet who loves the Boston Marathon as much as I do. Anyway–MEGA RUNNING GEEK MOMENT—He was running the Superhero race. AND I MET HIM. I put away my shy, quiet girl, channeled some bravery, walked right up to him, shook his hand and told him he is my hero. I didn’t even ask him to take a pic with me because I was too nervous. THis one is from my friend Scott so I’m including it here for you to see! Dave is 2nd from the left  and my friend Scott is on the right:)

You might also recognize another well known man in this pic-Team Hoyt was there as well! They are equally as amazing!

Last long run before Baystate-first 8 @ 8:13 pace, 2nd half 7:35 pace. Feeling real good about those race goals. It was chilly-50 when I started. It felt sooo good to do a long run in this kind of weather! I love this watch and how the VO2Max predicts your race times 🙂 The watch knows me so well! 😉

TODAY is my buddy’s 9th birthday! We have big plans for her big day!

And this is where I leave you! Happy Hump Day! I hope you have a great long weekend and get Monday off too!

Recap 2. The Running!

Recap: August 10-16, 17-23.

Cliff notes version: I love running, running is my favorite.

 (((SIGH))) I have had two great weeks of running. I think I always say this though. It’s partly due to the fact that I LOVE TO RUN (DUH). Also, its partly due to the fact that I actually DID have two great weeks of running. So. There’s that.

August 10-16: Running: 57.4 miles, 7:55 avg pace. BBG: Week 9

This was my highest mileage week for the entire year (so far!).

Monday:
 400s at the track! 6 miles total

Tuesday:  2 miles@8:34, 5 miles @7:26.  I overslept and could only run 2 outside before my husband had to leave for work and I began the mad dash of getting me and a child ready for something we had to do. . . I didn’t want to run this fast, but I was limited for time and I had to hop on my treadmill. In case you are wondering if I was incredibly sore after my workout on Monday, and did I or did I not get incredibly sore after this run on Tuesday? Yes, yes I was (for both!!).

Wednesday: 11 mile easy run,8:08 avg pace

Thursday: 1 mile warmup, 3.15 miles at the Cigna Elliot 5k-21:18. I typically do a race recap on every race I run. This wasn’t a goal race for me at ALL–I was using it as a tempo run and I really felt like I needed a race environment to get it done. I’ll give you the rundown on this course real quick: This race is in Manchester NH and it’s one of the biggest races I have ever done: there are about 6000 runners…for a 5k. I’ve NEVER seen a 5k this big! How big is it? It’s so big that it’s televised!! Anyway, It’s 45 minutes away from me but I still had to leave at 4 for a 6:30 race so that I knew I could get a parking spot (I did). I went into this race wanting to hold my average tempo pace, but still dragggiiinnnnngggg from LIFE/running/BBG…Honestly, I was truly happy with my overall average pace being 6:45. For a sweepy girl with sweepy legs–> I WILL TAKE IT.  
Friday: 4 miles easy

Saturday: 20 miles! 11 with my friend S, 9 solo. I had a 20 mile easy run on the schedule. I was so happy to run with my girlfriend this Saturday. It also happened to be the day I was leaving for vaca…so we got it done VERY EARLY. I absolutely love running with her because I feel like we really bring out one another’s strengths. S came along for 11 miles, and I did the next 9 solo. Before heading out again, I went inside my house to refill my camelbak and use the bathroom 911 poop. I think I took too long to come back out-it was probably only 8/10 minutes…but for me-stopping for that long makes a world of difference. Legs get stiff/ things start to hurt/body parts don’t want anything to do with the nonsense you are making them do.  The next 9 were hard.
I did NOT want to do it.
I wanted to quit. 
I wanted to call Greg and have him pick me up STAT!

Somehow I did it, though. I’m so glad I powered through that run!! This was my first 20 miler for my current marathon cycle. Last year-my first 20 miler was at an 8:56 average pace…this cycle? My first 20 miler was an 8:13 pace. I feel very good about my October marathon goals 🙂

 

Flashback to last year’s first 20 mile run for Baystate…

Sunday: 6.13 mile recover run, 8:29 avg pace. This was my first run in St. Albans (where we stayed for our vacation) My first mile in any of my St. Albans runs was 100% uphill. You can just imagine how thrilled I was with this. (NOT) I took it in stride and tried to focus on the big picture: HILLS MAKE YOU STRONGER!!!!

BBG recap: This was BBG week 9 for me. I LOVED IT. Week 9 was my favorite week so far. I would love to tell which days I did what, but as I’m writing this recap, all I can think to tell you is that it was hard, i jumped around a lot, and it ROCKED. The end.

August 16-23rd: 48.2 miles, 7:55 avg pace. This was kind of a “cut back week” because I knew I was on vacation and I didn’t want to place a lot of pressure on myself.

Monday: easy 7.05 miles, 55:21. All hills. Running up there made me realize that a run can actually be uphill, BOTH WAYS. My husband asked for clarification when I told him that fun factoid- I told him that rolling hills were happening everywhere I ran. They are no laughing matter when you are doing out and backs (there was no way to avoid out and backs). It was also only safe for me to run in certain areas–I think the whole family breathed a collective sigh of relief daily when I walked back through the door–> I’m not going to lie…some parts of the area are creepy. Sometimes, the main road(s) stopped and turned weirdly tunred into a (scary) dirt road marked private property. Sometimes strange dogs chased me. And no one was around to stop them so I Freaking Booked It. And in totally non-running news..my husband saw a puma jump out of the woods…This was our last day there. I did my run as quickly as possible that day…

So yeah. The whole week was “hard” running for me. It wasn’t actually hard to get out the door-it was the mental part of the run that was hard. I was nervous because I knew my husband was nervous, I was always tired (our beds were slabs of concrete and I’m the worst sleeper on my bed at home that is made of tempurpedic rainbows and clouds). I enjoyed the hilly challenges (as much as one who doesn’t like hills can enjoy hills) and tried to see them in an “it will only make me stronger” kind way. It was not easy to do but I did it!

Wednesday: I had two speed workouts on my calendar last week but I only did one. OOPS. I think this is the first time all training that this has happened and I did not give a Shedaisy! I did Thursday’s workout on Wednesday and totally blew off my Tuesday workout. I managed to do 4 miles at a 7:06 avg pace & I was pretty darn happy with that considering that I was completing it while climbing hills (vs my smooth flat track at home)!

Thursday:
Photo Credit: My SIL! She was out walking and we were passing each other on the roads to Deliverance. (Just kidding. We lived off a 1 mile dirt road stretch.  I just really didn’t love this particular road.)

Friday: We came home! 3 easy miles

Saturday: 4 .20 easy miles & strides.

Sunday: The Seacoast Running Festival Half Marathon. I will be back with a full recap on this race (hopefully Wednesday!). The short story: 1:37 and I did not set a single goal for myself: I had fun and was in a post vaca haze! So yay!

BBG recap for vacation week: I didn’t do it!  I didn’t really WANT to take a week off-but i had to make the luggage cuts somewhere. I LOVE my journey down the BBG road- but I didn’t want to lug weights along with me for vacation. Sometimes….You’ve just got to draw the line with a permanent marker!

This upcoming week is BIG. It’s a 62-67 mile week..I’m pretty sure this will be my highest mileage week EVER! It’s also the last week of summer vacation AND I’m closing out my summer with the wildest party this side of the Merrimack River: Kenny Chesney this Friday night with NINE girls (and 100,000 other peeps at Gillette Stadium!!!)  Lord give me the strength to do my long run on Sunday (two days after!!!)

If you have made it this far down the recap..you are awesome and i heart you. That was a lot of info! 

Why do you run so much??

One thing that is said to me all the time is that I run a lot. I agree-I do run quite a bit. I’m not injury prone, so I’m pretty lucky. And while I’m not a streaker & do take days off: I know my mileage is higher than a lot of other runners. 

Honestly I like to run. No, I LOVE  to run. I don’t know that most runners love running in quite the same way as I do. But, maybe you do, I don’t know. 

 

 Running is “my thing.” It’s my zen, my jam, my happy place, my therapy. It’s the place that calms me down when I’m stressed. I find comfort in it when I’m sad. It’s how I can work out a problem quietly in my mind.

 Running can fuel me, motivate me, and inspire me. It brings me immense joy. It’s not an actual person, but I would consider running to be a friend. It’s always there for me. Running doesn’t care if I take a day off or a week-it’s just happy that I came. 

 

 Running is a high moving, high intensity activity and it calms me. I feel centered after a run. My head is on straight and on days where I run-I feel more focused and ready to tackle the challenges of today. 

 

 Running changes me. It made me competitive when I had never before seen that side of myself. It made me gutsy. It made me determined and goal-oriented. 

 

 

Running makes me strong. When you start to build your endurance-each new “farthest” distance you hit is a Big. Damn. Deal. Feeling the strength in the legs that just carried you x-amount of miles is dizzying. It’s like walking around with a super power knowledge because YOU my friend? YOU just ran “x” miles!

I also find my running-“strong” to come from speed workouts. Hitting the track isn’t for the meek. Whatever your fast is-a track workout tests it. Giving it your all until you feel like you could puke? I’ll tell you what-once you’re done? You’ll realize how much ass you just kicked-and the ass I’m referring to is your own. You are your own “strong.”

 Running also makes me strong in other ways. I’m often forced to dig emotionally deep for many different things that I would never talk about on this little blog. However, through running, I have found a powerful connection to my mind, body & soul as they work together at the same time. I have a better relationship with myself because of running. 

  

I love high mileage weeks-I always have. Miles teach me new things about me, new things about the world. Miles let me explore and conquer. Miles change me. 

So, I run a lot. And I like it. 😉

Let’s hear why you run!

Fun things Friday!

What an amazing week of running stuff!

I mentioned earlier in the week that I have a new friend that I run with, S. Not only is she an amazing runner and running partner-she is a mom too. A few years ago, she realized how into running her oldest child was and decided to plan an event so that her daughter could really experience the joys of running. There aren’t always a whole lot of running things for little kids, so she created a Summer Fun Run for kiddos from our town at our local track! So amazing! 

This is my first year with the program-I volunteered to help out and S made me the distance coach! Kids ages 3-13 run either .25 miles or .50 miles with me! What a blast it is! Kiddos also get to do sprints, long jump, obstacle course, & a relay! 

My niece has been dying to run and do running related events. So naturally, I signed her up for it. The girl is a natural born athlete and was crushing every event! 

  

  

So proud of my little buddy❤️

A few weeks ago, I was talking to SIL, and we were trying to nail down a day that we could go to the track together. I said to her “I’ve always wanted to start my own track club kind of thing-I know there’s a lot of people who want to work on their running and don’t know what to do on the track that will help them get faster.”  She agreed and told me to put it on Facebook. I really thought there wouldn’t be such a big response to it-maybe me and two or three friends…but there were about 50 people interested!!! So we planned a night-and the first night of “Track Club” was this Thursday. For the first week, we did 4x400s. Next week we’ll build on that. We had a great turnout and it’s something that I feel is going to continue to grow because there are so many benefits from group workouts! WRECKING CREW! 

And last: some pictures came back from my 5k last week…this is my favorite!  

 

Have a great weekend everybody!

Do you ever meet in a group for track work? 

Just a couple tips on getting a 5k PR

By no means do I think I’m an expert at the 5k. However, I’m pretty proud of myself for that 43 second PR that I had Friday night & I’ve had a few people ask HOW I did it, so I wanted to share a couple of things with you. 

Being that a 5k is only 3.1 miles-it doesn’t seem very fair that it can truly be the hardest PR to break. When you really sit down to think about it, it makes sense. It’s really easy to have the idea in your mind that you’re going to just “book it” the whole entire time until you get to the finish line. In reality-booking it for those 3.1 little miles isn’t all that easy. I truly would rather run a marathon than a 5k. It’s just so damn hard because you’re going so fast! Whether your “fast” is a sub 6 minute mile, or a sub 10 minute mile-the effort level is the same. It’s a challenge! Plus you have less time to make up for the seconds/minutes you lose from things like fiddling with your music, or going up a killer hill, or whatever else is slowing you down. 

These are some of the things that helped me to get a PR!

1. Be diligent with your speed work and do the hard work. I’m really good at keeping up with regular track work and tempo runs. I’m getting more comfortable at holding those uncomfortable paces. I know that improvements in my speedwork carryover into every aspect of my running. Do weekly speed work and you will see improvements, too.

2. Knowing the course. This helped tremendously. I ran this race last year and I remembered every single thing about that route, including the fact that the last mile is completely downhill. I knew exactly what I was getting myself into and set my sights on this race to break my 5k pr. 

3. Know your strengths & your weaknesses. I love this 5k course because the last mile is 100% downhill! I excel at coasting downhill! Some people take it easy going downhill, but I tend to go all out on them. I knew when I hit mile 3 that it was time to push it because I was almost there, dammit! It also helps to know your weaknesses:if you hate hills and running in direct sunlight, don’t pick a course chock full of hills that starts at 10:00 when it’s just beginning to be ridic hot outside. Everybody’s different& you’ve got to pick a race that feels right for you. 

4. Focus. I tried very hard to stay “in” the mile I was in. It’s not easy to do, especially if you’re doing a “booking it” pace. I swore, almost cried, and wanted to quit a billion times. I kept myself going though and tried to think ONLY about very small victories-like making it past the people who were handing out water. It was some really fast baby steps to get me the 3.1 miles, let me tell you! 

5. Mantra’s & Music: Two things that helped me tremendously! I kept repeating the word “PR” over and over in my brain. I still wanted to throw in the towel. But, before I could quit, I told myself that “I CAN DO HARD THINGS.” This kept me going! 

Music also saved me. I was so freaking tired by the time that mile 3 hit. I think I was halfway through it and about to cry when “Eye of the Tiger” came over my headphones! Talk about a stroke of luck! I couldn’t quit-I was running with Rocky for gosh sakes!

6. Not placing a whole lot of pressure on myself. I wanted to do well, & I wanted to PR. But if I didn’t-I knew that I was at least running a race with my friend, and that was a pretty great thing. I was 100% okay with not hitting a pr. It just so happens that I did get one, but I really removed the pressure from myself and just rolled with it. Above all-I wanted to have fun! I don’t know if this attitude helped me get it, but I would like to think that it did! 

I hope these little tips help you, and feel free to share some of your own tips that have helped you better your 5k time!

Sports Bras: My Favorites, non favorites, and some just so-so’s!

As promised: My sports bra favorites! I never realized that I had such a large sports bra collection until I sat down to write this post! Not pictured here are the duplicates I have of my favorites. I think that I have been on a quest to find the “Perfect Sports Bra” and never knew it until writing all this down!

I decided that I would score each bra in my sports bra collection. Scores are based on support, comfort, price, chafe-ability, and cuteness (I had to put that in there). To me, my perfect bra has adjustable straps & back closure, comes in bra cup sizes, doesn’t chafe me, is reasonable priced, and offers good support. OH, and it has to be a really fun/BRIGHT color! Most bra’s last about 6 months for me; sometimes they last longer. I try to extend their life with hand washing & line drying.

1.) For years, I only bought sports bras at places like TJ Maxx & Marshalls. I still peruse the aisles to see if I can find one that I like, but lately I haven’t been as lucky.  The first sports bra in my collection is one I have had for YEARS. I don’t even know how long I’ve had it for- I would say at least 3 years? You’re not supposed to keep/wear sports bra’s for that long, but this one has held up over the years. It’s a new balance sports bra and I probably spent $12.99 on it.

I give this bra a score of 75%. I now only wear it for shorter runs (7 or under). It hardly ever chafes me and it’s really comfortable. It doesn’t have lined cups or anything that makes it look supportive, but it is. When I first bought it, this was the bra that I always made sure was clean so it was ready for me when I wanted to use it. Because it’s really old-it’s not as supportive as it used to be and I no longer wear it on long runs. I find that it gives more of a uni-boob look rather than two separate boobs (that was such a weird sentence) and the score was lowered in the cuteness category. If it was a brand new bra- it would have scored higher!
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2.) Moving Comfort. Last June was the time that the above NB bra started to chafe me so I was on a MISSION to get some sports bra’s that did no such thing to my poor boobs. I bought 3 Moving Comfort sports bra’s (2 pictured here because I have 2 of the same ones). I really liked these at first, they are very supportive and I love the color. But they began to chafe me within a month.

The hotter the temps got, the more these bra’s began to leave marks. No matter how much glide or vaseline, it seemed that I was left with a mark. I know a lot of you have amazing luck with Moving Comfort, however, I do not. I would probably give them another shot, however it would only be if I found a MC bra on a very deeply discounted clearance price. I was really disappointed that these didn’t work for me because I spent about $50-$60 on each one. I hate to give these such a low score… but I have to do it-55% (don’t hate me, Moving Comfort fans!)
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3.) Under Armour. I found one similar to mine here. I love the bright blue color of this bra. I bought this one on the same day that I bought the Moving Comfort bra’s. it works great, but I can only wear it when it’s cooler outside: the little zipper leaves a little mark on me when I’m super sweaty! The support on the bra is decent. If the straps adjusted-It would score higher.

I give this bra an 73%…It’s score is lower because I can’t wear it all year round, it’s not 100% in the support category, and it was about $50, so that’s a lot to spend! (In my opinion!)
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4.) Target C9. I didn’t buy high impact bra’s when I made this particular trip to Target. I should have but I didn’t. These two pictured below are really cute and comfy. I have worn both running before, but I don’t anymore because the stripes one isn’t supportive enough, and the purple can randomly chafe me if I get too hot. Now I use these bra’s solely for BBG workouts, or any time I want/need to have a bra on but don’t want to feel like I’m actually wearing one. I would wear it for yoga or any low impact activity, just not running.

Since they are so reasonably priced (each bra was under $20) and very cute, I give them a 90%! Keep in mind, this isn’t a running sports bra for me though. For the purple, I found a similar one here, and you can go here for a similar one to the stripes!
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5.) This is the bra that inspired Friday’s post. It is SO CUTE! It’s PINK! BRIGHT PINK!! It comes in cup sizes vs s-m-l, and felt very supportive and comfortable. It also has an adjustable back closure, which I love.

This bra is really pretty & I’ll be honest with you: I bought it because it was pretty. I was SO EXCITED to wear it on a tempo run last week. It was really cool morning-only about 55- and completely dry. I finished the run and immediately felt how chafed I was. Band area, under my boobs, side of my boobs. I don’t get it. It’s not too small, and it’s not too big. It is the “baby bear” of sports bra’s but apparently I’m Goldilocks and I don’t belong in this bra? I don’t know. I want to give it another shot, but I also want to NOT be chafed like this ever again in my entire life. So we’ll see. I refuse to keep something so expensive that draws blood-so if I’m not going to keep it, I’m going to return it this week. The bra cost $49.50, but I had a coupon so I spent less. Still, I am not going to keep it if I’m not going to wear it!

I’ve felt before that VS is off in their sizes- I often buy a size and wish I had sized down to a smaller size. However, their bra’s have always been on point (for me). I think that if the straps of the bra were adjustable, I wouldn’t have gotten so beat up. Overall-it got a score of 66%. This seems really high to me! I only wore the bra for 52min and I was ridiculously chafed like I had run a marathon! The more I write about the bra makes me realize–> IT MUST GO BACK!
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6.) This is another VS bra. Again, I had a coupon and didn’t pay the full price of $58.50. I adore this color and the strappy back of the bra is my favorite part! This bra doesn’t have adjustable straps, but maybe the thickness of the straps makes it not need it? When I wear it, I don’t feel the need for them. I have to be honest with you in the fact that I’ve only worn it 4-5 times. But, i haven’t chafed and it has remained comfortable. I am giving this bra an 85%! It scored only 5 pts in the “price” category. If I hadn’t had a coupon-I wouldn’t have paid full price for it because that’s ALOT!
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7.) This is the last VS bra I’ll show you, I promise! I bought this one at the semi annual sale earlier this month. I try to stock up on stuff during that sale because you can get alot of extremely overpriced merchandise for a good deal.

I love the adjustable straps and the light coral color. It also has an adjustable closure back. BOOM. A trifecta of important things! Again, I’ve only had this bra for a few weeks, but it’s fairly comfortable, has good support, looks cute, and it comes in bra cup sizes. I got this bra on sale, but it’s regular price is $49.50. Even though it’s comfortable, I think it has the possibility to chafe me on a long run, so unless I’m stuck-I’m going to stick with wearing it for shorter runs. Overall, I scored it at 85%.
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8.) Nike.I LOVE this bra. I love the color, the fit, and how seamless it is. I bought it 10 months ago and wore it consistently for 6 months. For the first 6 months, it never once chafed me, stayed put, didn’t give me a uni-boob. I wore it for every long run. After those 6 months, it started to wear out and randomly chafe me along the straps and my back. I haven’t gotten a replacement (yet) but I truly adore this bra. Although it doesn’t have adjustable straps or closure, it stayed right where it was supposed to and it also comes in bra cup sizes. I now only wear it for shorter runs. I think that the support in it is wearing out and it holds up better for shorter runs.

I’m going to pretend that this is a brand new bra instead of an older one (it’s my scoring chart and I can do what I want to!) because this bra REALLY did its job for it’s predicted life span. ANd although it IS expensive ($65), I firmly believe that it was worth every damn penny: 90%!
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9.) Skirt Sports! Save the best for last! I love this bra and I have 3 of them. It has adjustable velcro straps and you also have the ability to make it a cross back bra. There is also an adjustable closure in the back. I love the bright pink color, and it’s really comfy. It’s now my go to bra. I’ve been wearing this bra for about 8 months, and so far none of the 3 have worn out on me. SS also has “Bra bling” and you can swap out your bra straps for new ones! Pretty cool!! This is my go to long run bra, and really, I tend to pick this bra up first before any others. I’m an ambassador for Skirt sports, and I swear, they are not paying me to say this: I LOVE THIS BRA!!!! I am actually planning on buying a new one soon because I think one of my pink ones is going to be hitting the good will bin sometime soon. It’s pricey- $65, but just like the Nike bra, I think it’s worth every penny. Annd you can use my 20% discount code (SSGWR20) some good savings 🙂

I gave this bra a 95%! It got 15/20 in the “price” category because you can use my discount code and save. Other than that-it scored a perfect 20 in everything else!!
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I hope this helps you! And for anyone who wondered what scoring model looked like (Don’t judge me on the white out, please and thank you!)
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How long do your sports bra’s typically last for?

Mileage Recap, BBG Week 2, & some running things!

Monday-Off from running. BBG- Legs. This week there was so much jump roping. I am the worst jump roper EVER! The goal is to do as many reps of each circuit within the 7 minutes. I actually had to stop my timer when it was time to do the jump roping because to do 100 “skips” (that’s what the book calls them) it was taking me nearly 7 minutes. I told you–Worst jump roper EVER. I’m way too uncoordinated. Maybe this workout will help me improve???

Tuesday: Off. I had planned on doing the Good Times 5k race with my girlfriend. The weather prediction called for thunderstorms & a possible tornado RIGHT at the race’s start time. I still wanted to run it (because the weather is not always right), but, My husband convinced me to stay. It was unexpected 2 day break from running!

Wednesday: 8 miles, 8:24 avg pace, BBG day 2 (arms & abs).
After 2 days off from running, I would’ve expected my legs to feel fresh and well rested, but they didn’t! Every mile was exhausting, and it wasn’t even hot outside! It’s so weird how certain runs can feel so awesome, yet others- you have to work for a pace that you know is slow for you!

Thursday: 7 mile tempo run with my speedy friend, BBG Day 3, Full body.
We were a minute faster than our tempo run last week! 3 tempo miles averaged 7:10. My goal is to continue to add mileage and get my average tempo miles to be down from 6:55-7:00.IMG_6905
I had to move my 3rd BBG day to Thursday vs. Friday because my long run was moved from Saturday to Friday.

Friday: 16 miles,8:14 avg pace. I feel like I haven’t had a great long run in about a month. I know that this week & last, my pace was impacted because my legs are still adjusting to the strength workouts. I started thinking about some awesome long runs that I had last month, and getting down on myself about it. BUT THEN–> I remembered that at this time LAST year, I couldn’t get past a 2:16 for a 16 miler. I remember how HAPPY I was that I did it in 2:16!! Here I was, getting mad at myself for only running a 2:11! I thought about the other good things about this run: That I was a couple minutes faster in the 2nd half than the 1st, and that I was 2 minutes faster than last week. Moral of the story: Find the silver lining for every negative thing in your life!!
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Saturday: 7 miles, 7:59 avg pace.

Sunday: 4 miles in 30 min. It ended up being a progression run with my miles being 7:57, 7:22, 7:20, 7:17.

44.1 miles for the week, 8:00 avg pace.

BBG thoughts for Week 2: I am loving these guides. Besides jump roping, I learned some other new not- so- fun things that I’m not good at and dislike: Commando’s! I will gladly take burpees over commando’s any and all days of the week. I love how strong I’m feeling- my body is responding very well to all this new strength work and I love it! Overall, I feel very lean and very strong.

Now for some randomness…(You know you love it)

-Sunday was really wet and rainy here. I wore compression socks for my run-this was the first time I’ve worn them outside in a couple of months. It felt SO good to wear them! I haven’t been wearing them because I don’t want the awkward tan lines that go along with them!
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-I have a RACE this week-4th of July themed! To tell you the truth, I’ve been pretty excited and pretty nervous about this race for quite a while. It’s a 5k, which I hate, but its extra special because I set my current 5k PR at this race last year..and it was also my very 1st 5k! It annoys the CRAP out of me that I CANNOT BREAK MY 5K PR. I’m really good at controlled speed over long periods of time..aka marathons and half marathons. I don’t excel at the all out burst of speeds that are required to be amazing at the 5k. They are HARD for me. It drives me crazy that my PR was set at my VERY FIRST 5K back when I wasn’t even doing much speed training!

My husband says that I should just get better at pushing through the pain, and “just book it”. He is right– but this doesn’t mean that it’s easy for me to do it! I’m so hoping for a new PR!! Fingers crossed and please send me speedy thoughts this Friday night at 7pm!

-I really love the Facebook memories thing that pops up daily. It was really weird that I was thinking about my long runs at this time last year. FB must have read my mind because a picture I posted a year ago was my memory for Sunday-I was very proud of that 2:18 run! And another memory from June 28th was a status I had posted that eventually gave me the name for this little blog of mine.
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Sometimes I really like the walk down memory lane!!

Do you do a 4th of July themed race?
Any PR’s that feel “unbreakable” for you??