Philadelphia Half Marathon Race Recap

Oh where do I begin with this race?! Last year my brother suggested we run the Philadelphia Marathon races. As he and I are runners and from that area (1 hr North) we thought it was a great idea. A few cousins of ours were starting to run as well, so we invited them to join us. The plan: The boys (my brother and two cousins) were running the full, and the girls (my cousin and I) were running the half. Unfortunately, at the last minute my brother’s work schedule didn’t allow for him to come, and he was missed!! For the three cousins, it was the first full for the two guys and my other cousin, her first half. This made the race even more special. I won’t lie… I teared up watching her cross the finish line and when ALL of them finished. I am SO extremely proud of all 3 of them for accomplishing this goal.

I have always felt a great bond with the cousins that ran this. To see them emerge as runners even from afar, was so great! We all diverged on the city and the Race Expo.

The expo was well organized and not crowded. A great feeling as some are so packed in small rooms it feels claustrophobic. While at the expo I met fellow Half Fanatic Aimee, and it was great to chat and plan out race day. Then, we wandered into Chinatown for some Pho for dinner. Yum!

Race day came, and it was dark and cold on our way to the start line. Here we are huddled together to share body heat. Soon after, we all parted ways to our respective corrals.

Now, the race. Wow. The course was great (even the hills) and the non-stop crowd support was AMAZING! The entire time I felt there was ample support at aid stations, from the crowds and other runners. This event was well organized from start to finish.

I changed up my fueling after it not working so well the last race. I realized through training runs as well that gels don’t sit well in my stomach mid-race. So, things changed a bit. Pre-race I had animal crackers and almonds (being in a hotel, I didn’t plan this well and know that for next time) and a protein bar. About 20 min before race time I had a Clif Shots (mocha). Throughout the race I nibbled on Honey Stingers Energy Bits and at mile 9ish, had a Honey Stingers Waffle. For some reason I am always hungry at around that point. Overall, my energy was good. The big hill at mile 9 took more out of me than I wanted, but, that’s okay. I had contemplated running a 3/1 interval, than a run 2 miles walk 2 minutes interval. Finally, I decided to just run and see what happens. I still took a couple walk breaks, but they were short and less than I normally take. I stopped at Aimee’s stand quickly, and other than that, was running. I felt good, and finished strong, sprinting to the end.

My final time was 2:24:53. Although I have a trail half marathon PR of 2:21, this is a PR for busy road races. This made me feel good since I was using new fueling and was freezing the whole time (several people said 35-45 was perfect running weather, I respectfully disagree!).

Afterwards, we all finally met back up after we finished our races. Headed back to the hotel for the longest showers ever… and my cousin Elliot and I (the only one up for going out) headed to dinner and celebratory beers.

Overall, a great race. I know where I can improve for next year… and, the entire clan is hook on racing and wants to do it again!! YAY!!!

Anniversary Weekend

As a change of pace, I’ve decided to share a personal story for all of you that has nothing to do with exercise or being healthy.
As many of my followers know, November 5th marked my one year wedding anniversary. This is big in so many ways for my husband and I. We were both set against marriage, willing to spend our lives together, but not interested in marriage. Definitely not interested in a big to-do wedding. Yes,I am aware that as a female, I am in the minority here.  Despite that, on Nov 5, 2011, he and I said I Do in front of his parents and my best friend and her husband in a small, private ceremony at the Justice of the Peace and celebrated with friends after. We also held a reception in our home town area for all of our family and friends back there.
our wedding day
So, as our one year anniversary fast approached, of course my life was crazy. I honestly love that I have a husband who doesn’t commit to a million things like me, works from home and works on the house. He balances out my crazy. Believe me. Anyway, it was a great year, we bought a house, which has consumed what free time I have. Well, with school, work, work travel… I asked him if he would like to plan our anniversary celebration. He jumped right in. He proved to me on engagement night he has a romantic side…
So, first he planned for the whole weekend, since I had a 4 day weekend. Then, he realized I have a busy schedule: hair appointment Saturday, race on Sunday, so he graciously worked with my schedule. Have I mentioned I love him for this? 
Well, Friday night we picked up our new floor tile, grabbed some dinner, and relaxed. I went to spin class Saturday morning, then got my hair done, then we grabbed more tile. I know, the excitement! So… that night we had a candlelight dinner and tried squid ink pasta, then, had cupcakes! We got cupcakes from a local bakery, The Cupcakery as our wedding cake, so our anniversary tradition will be cupcakes from them. 

This is a BAD idea… free cupcakes the more I buy??
Sunday I ran the Veteran’s Day 11k, came home, finished packing, packed up the dogs, and away we went. We dropped the dogs at the vet’s for boarding and he surprised me with a stay-cation. He chose the M Resort and Casino because it was off strip and quiet… perfect for a getaway. Our room and mountain view was AMAZING! Oh… but first I cooked him breakfast:

 
We had some drinks, watched football, then went to dinner at Marinelli’s, where we ate our wedding day dinner. I forgot to take pics there, the food was delicious and I inhaled it! Even the ricotta cheesecake. Then, we didn’t win anything gambling, hung out and relaxed. Perfect. 

Had to use your room key for power, that was cool!
view from the tub!
 

getting ready for dinner

isn’t he handsome?
The next morning we checked out and headed to Bouchon for brunch. Again, no food pics, but here is one of us after a delicious meal. I wanted the French toast, but they ran out, so instead I got the waffles and they were amazing!! Definitely eat here!!
Then, we headed back into reality, slowly… but, grabbed the pups to bring them home. Here is a pic of them super excited to be with us again (actually, Mia looks mad that we left her, but she forgave us quickly)!
So… that was my romantic 4 day weekend at home and stay-cation. Honestly, It was so nice to escape for a little while and relax with my husband. He did a great job with his planning. Here is to our lifetime together! 

Veteran’s Day 11k Race Recap


It seems like forever since I raced (July’s San Francisco Half Marathon) and even longer since I raced locally. I was looking forward to this race after getting my running mojo back and with the cooler fall temps, this was going to be a good day. This year they changed the location and time, last year it was at a park across town and at night, this year, early in the AM, ok, not early, but 7:11 am and closer to home.
I met up with a dear friend and run coach Charlene of FABRunning and off we went. Well… let me backtrack here. I saw the temps were going to be cold so I thought it will be a good time to try out my cold weather gear I have set for the Philadelphia Half Marathon. I was less than happy to see it was 34 degrees that morning. In Las Vegas. So, I put on my running gear, than bundled up, and headed out the door.
It was a calm morning before race start… and, overall, I felt confident. Yes, it was a different course, one I am not in love with due to after the turn around, it’s uphill for most of the second half… but, I was confident and knew what I needed to do for a PR. 
The race itself was good…. I had run this path before, so knew what to expect and when to conserve energy. The ending they threw an extra loop around a building in to get the race from its normal 10k route to the 11k… I had a few people around me that I was staying in pace with for most of the race. I knew coming around the last part, I was good to go on energy, mostly… sure my legs were tired, but I was ready for the push. The one lady next to me said “I forgot about the extra loop, burned up my energy, kick this race’s butt for us”, I smiled and off I went. 
Towards the finish I saw Charlene and was ready to toss her my handheld water bottle so I could go all out at the end. I wasn’t surprised when she ran alongside me yelling  cheering me on. I definitely pushed harder than I have since our speed workouts this summer… and finished in 1:11:35. Almost 4 min faster than last year where my time was 1:15:23. I WAS VERY HAPPY!!!! This was just what I needed.
So, we enjoyed some snacks, our medals, and struck a few poses… then, it was time to head home for breakfast and my anniversary weekend celebrations (this blog coming soon)… 

 Another great race and medal! Thanks Heavenly Racing!

90 Day Contract Update

I bet you thought I got lost and forgot about this… I didn’t, just got super busy. So wow, it’s already November? Where did the time go? As always, and I am sure you have seen from me, life is hectic, and even threw me a couple curveballs. Thanks for that… but honestly, nothing I wasn’t able to deal with, and compared to how some people’s lives are so changed from the storms on the East Coast, nothing I can complain about.

My one setback in the past 60 days was a sinus infection last week. Normally, I could take a day, sleep and fill up on supps and meds, and keep it maintained. It hit when I had a 50+ hour work week, and no time to rest. So go figure the dang sinus infection lingered all week. By the time Friday came, I left work and crawled into my PJs and slept most of the weekend. I SO needed that, and it felt great. I spent Monday with my hubby (after work) to celebrate our anniversary, and finally ran Tuesday, before leaving on a 2 day trip to Atlanta. Other than that, things are good.

Even with being sick and my body wanting to eat everything in sight, my weight stayed the same and my measurements are steadily improving. I know if I did strength training that would change at a faster rate. I swear, I am trying to love strength training… maybe I just need the right routine. I’m not giving up though.

I won’t lie. Initially, I was frustrated by my weight not budging. I got stuck on a number on the scale. I know better than this!! Yet, it happens. More often than I’d like to admit. I focus on the number, the pants size. So frustrating. I had to take a step back from everything, and step off the scale to find my perspective. Why do these numbers matter? I can claim it’s the ideal, but who’s ideal? How does that number define me? Well, it doesn’t. Here are the facts: my body is curvy, always has been. I have boobs and hips. They won’t ever completely go away, and honestly, I don’t want them to. I may never weight 150 lbs or be a size 8. Here is a truth I need to repeat daily: I can be healthy. What’s the difference?

Well, when I was in high school, I weighed around 150, I was a size 8. I also smoked, ate junk, rarely ate vegetables and rarely if ever exercised. I at a younger age played softball, but in high school hanging out and getting in trouble seemed like a better idea. So yes, I was skinnier than I am now, a smaller size but I definitely wasn’t healthy. That was also 22 years ago. My body and metabolism are not the same they once were. My knowledge has grown and my behaviors have improved. I have stopped the self abuse. I can almost guarantee my cholesterol is better than it’s ever been too.

I can now run a 5k in under 29 minutes, I’ve run 4 half marathons, am running one next weekend, and one in December. I eat whole foods, fruits and veggies all day, and minimal processed foods. I exercise regularly. Sure, I was skinnier 20 years ago, but today, I am the healthiest I have ever been. I choose healthy over skinny.

As far as other goals: our house is slowly becoming our own. I have read 6 books. My hubby and I have regular date nights and he has planned a wonderful weekend of surprises for our 1 year anniversary. I have also just become a #GirlsGoneSporty Ambassador (separate blog on that). I’ve set my 2013 goals, I will release those in December, stay tuned!

Thanks for the continued support! How are you all doing on your goals?

Saucony Triumph 10 Review #FindYourStrong

I admit, I am a Saucony addict. I have tried several other brands of running shoes, but the moment I slipped on my first pair of Sauconys, I was in love, and have never looked back. That said, I was BEYOND excited when given the opportunity to try and review the new Triumph 10! I have been running in Kinvaras for over a year, and was excited to see what the Triumph was like.

I tested these out on various distances from 2 miles to 12 miles, and my overall impression: TWO thumbs UP! Yet again, Saucony created a solid running shoe. So… the details…. the heel drop in these is 8mm, which is great for most runners, but, for me, switching from the Kinvara with a 4mm drop, I noticed it. My issue is that when I get tired on a run, I heel strike. More shoe in this area makes it easier for me to heel strike because I don’t feel it the same way I do with less distance between my heel and the ground. This is not a negative of the shoe…. just my preference. The arch support on these shoes fit perfectly to the arch in my foot. I mean perfectly. I couldn’t even feel it there. That is a sign of a well fitted shoe. The cushioning was great, but not too much, your foot felt hugged and cared for, without the sneaker feeling clunky on your foot. Also, the toe box was perfectly roomy. More than enough room for my toes to spread out and be comfy without being too big. The upper is fitting and not constricting.

Overall, this is a great shoe. For runners that are at that heel drop, or neutral runners looking for a new shoe to try, I highly recommend these. They yet again manage to give the perfect amount of cushioning, support, and flexibility in this shoe. These will be my short distance shoes in my sneaker rotation.

PROS:
Roomy toe box
Good Cushioning
Flex Fit Upper (snug but not constricting)
Laces easily stay tied without triple tying them (hey, this is important!)
Arch support just right

CONS:
Looser than other shoes, but fixable with how they are laced and trying them on for the right size/fit
Heel a little loose

Well… after raving about these, I am ready to lace ’em up and hit the road for a run!! Thanks Saucony for such great running shoes!!!

*Although I received this product for this review, the opinions are mine and not influenced by Saucony.

Yurbuds #INSPIREFORWOMEN Review

I have seen Yurbuds at every large race expo and in magazines… I have always been intrigued on their concept, stay put headphones. Can it be true?!
I often run with my standard earbuds that came with my phone… not ideal for ear shape, but, they have always sufficed, and, dare I say it, I was getting accustomed to putting them back in throughout the run. I just accepted that as part of the process if you want music to run to.
Then… the opportunity was presented to try out the new Yurbuds Inspire for Women. These are different from the Yurbuds as they come with two changeable sizes vs. measuring your ear and picking out the best size. I was honored to be asked to review this product, and couldn’t wait!! So… they came, along with a few extra goodies!!


They come with an explanation on how to properly insert them, and, if you need a visual, a GREAT video on their website that walks you through the process. I put them in, plugged them in to the iPhone and hit the road.
WOW! The sound was amazing, clear, yet, I was able to hear what was going on around me. The fit was snug and they didn’t budge, not when I tugged on the cord, or turned my head, etc. I was out for a short run that day, but for a few miles, and the Yurbuds didn’t budge.


I have since tried them at various distances, and, thanks to Las Vegas winds, even in 20-30 mph wind gusts. Even then, the Yurbuds stayed put. This was great, especially since any other headphones I have tried never survived Las Vegas winds.
A few concerns for me were cord length. Although to some, a long cord is great, to me, I needed to find something to wind the excess cord on so it didn’t get tangled while running. Also, as an iPhone user, there is no control button on the cord, which can be used to answer calls, switch songs, etc. But… honestly I don’t answer the phone when running anyway so not having this (for me) isn’t a big issue.
The Inspire for Women Yurbuds come in a variety of great colors, making them an option to personalize your style. Overall, this is a great product. The sound quality is amazing and the stay put technology on the buds really does work.
Thank you Yurbuds for headphones that help me focus on my run and not continuously putting the headphones back in!!
*Although I received this product for this review, the opinions are mine and not influenced by YurBuds.