Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Marathon Training with Pro Compression Socks #KeepItTight


**** I was provided with a pair of black marathon socks from Pro Compression, as a Sweat Pink Ambassador,  in exchange for this review. As always, all opinions are my own!




Training for the Wineglass Marathon has been fraught with disaster from the start! I have injured my toe in a half marathon and tweaked my calf this weekend at a mud run! Yikes!
Pro Compression to the rescue! My calf had actually being bothering me all week, so when I did the Westfield 5K on Wednesday night, I planned ahead and wore my shiny new black socks to make sure that I didn't make matters worse! That race was my 5K test run for my injured toe, and I really didn't want to trade one injury for another!



Normally I wear my compression socks or sleeves for recovery, but I made the exception that night! I wore the outfit below for the Old Port Half Marathon, and the cute Shamrock Socks afterwards, on the drive home. They are such a soothing relief after a hilly race!



From their website:
From the moment you slip on a pair of PRO Compression socks you will benefit from the science and comfort behind the ‘graduated compression’ technology that is felt mainly around the ankle.
Whether at rest, playing a round of golf or running a marathon, your PRO Compression socks are working to circulate blood back to your heart and lungs. With more efficient circulation comes less fatigue and your tired muscles are replenished with fresh oxygen and nutrients to reduce soreness and give you the extra stamina needed to exert yourself at the fullest.

PRO Compression socks are super comfortable and padded in all the right places, reducing every-day stress your feet and legs go through during normal activity.

Some say our socks feel like a second skin offering the optimal amount of compression to keep muscles toned and supported. We’ve also heard from customers in colder climates that who say they wear our socks exclusively because they are the only sock that keeps their toes toasty and warm as a result of the circulation-inducing properties of the material.

After Saturday's mud run, I put on my Christmas Striped socks to help my sore calf, and they are so pretty! Double the help for my sore calf! Having that compression on my calf made walking around that night so much easier!


I also have several pairs of sleeves, and I wore one of them on Sunday morning while I did PiYo, since my calf was still achey. It's a good look, right? It definitely gave my calf the extra support it needed during the intense workout!


Can you tell that I love their product? I already have several pairs of socks as well as sleeves, in a wide variety of colors!
Are you in love yet? I knew you would be! What could possibly be better than these awesome socks? A coupon code! Use the code PINK and receive 40% off of your next pair of socks! Now, the only problem you have is which color to choose! There are so many wonderful colors and part terns, this will not be an easy choice!

Which color or pattern will you try? 

Monday, July 28, 2014

4H Mud Run and Obstacle Race Training, the book

Saturday I traveled south to Mullica Hills, NJ to run the 4h Mud Run for the second year. The boy was supposed to come with me, but he wasn't feeling up to it!


I wear this tank to most of my mud runs lately! It must be good luck!
The hubs came with me to take pictures, although he couldn't get on the course so there weren't many!
We got there with barely enough time to get my bib and pee. I hate starting that way, but it couldn't be helped!
I only had to wait about 5 minutes before we took our pledge (part if it was that we wouldn't cry!) and started out!
We started by walking across logs that spanned the final mud pit, and then we headed into the woods. Next was a military crawl through coffee grinds, and monkey bars over what looked like baba ganoush! No lie, it was squash, eggplant, and other veggies. It was gross. I know because I barely made it halfway across before I fell in.
Next was a short wall, and some pipes, some more running, a rope swing, and then this happened:


This pic came from the Facebook page! I made it halfway across before they made me jump off, I was taking too long. It was exhausting!
We ran though some lovely dyed water after that, crossed another log, and headed towards some more walls. It was tough! I made it through most if it, which made me so happy!
I met up with a group of guys that were helping me out a little over the next mile. There were some tubes filled with rotten veggies but the smell was horrible so I crossed on top of them instead. I scaled a log building and headed into the woods again. 
We came out of the woods, and I stepped down wrong and tweaked my calf. Ugh! In the clearing we found this:
Oh my heck! Climbing it was painful, and I had to stop three times to rest my calf. We had to go down the other side, and my new friends told me to slide down in my butt! They were so sweet, they waited for me to get down to the bottom before they moved on!
After some gravel hills, we went back into the woods. The boy at the opening told me to watch out, because it was rough in there. Uh oh, that's not good! There was a really long trail of mud to wade through and something akin to quicksand mud, and my new friends helped me one last time to get on the bank after my legs got stuck!
Yikes! Some more twisting trails and we came back out to that dirt mountain! We had to wade through a river to get there and luckily my calf was relaxing a bit and it was easier to go up and over. At this point, the boys had moved on, but I was with some girls and an older man, and we all commiserated together!
Back into the woods and out into the parking area for their version of the warped wall. I wasn't sure if I could handle it, with a sore calf, and was standing in the rain deciding, when a 71 year old woman got most of the way up! The men at the top pulled her the rest of the way.
Ok so now I have to go!
I waited my turn and ran up and grabbed the rope...

Can you see the rain in the pic? I got up to the first cheater bar with no problem, and managed to get to the second one with a little extra work before I let the volunteer help me over the top.


The rain made it just a little harder! 
We got to slide down into the final mud pit.


Race photo of the view down, it's sooo high! I love their shot of the obstacle being built! I tried to slow myself down but I hit the water pretty hard and had to climb out through the muck! Whew!
Overall it took about 90 minutes, but I had to wait at 2-3 obstacles so it was probably more like 75 minutes. Not super impressive, but there were worse times recorded at the site! I never turned in my time, so my name isn't on the list! The hubs told me what time I finished, though. 
It
Was
Exhausting!
If you have never done a mud run, this book that I got to read as a Fitfluential Ambassador is perfect for you!
*****I was provided this book in exchange for my review, and as always, all opinions are my own.*****

Written by Margaret Schlachter from Dirt in Your Skirt, it covers every facet of obstacle race training you could possibly imagine.
She starts with descriptions of all of the different races, provides plenty of training plans, and even includes the perfect diet to get you ready.
She moves on to cover mental preparation which is very important during an obstacle race because you don't want to be afraid going into the race!! You will definitely know exactly what to expect!
She then moves on to show you how to master the course, telling you how to handle every possible obstacle that will come your way and how to train for each one!
I will definitely be reading this book again in the next two weeks while I plan for Pretty Muddy in Chicago!
She even includes a list of what you should bring with you and what you should wear to maximize your experience.
If you're planning your first mud run, or even your second or third, this book is definitely for you.
I highly recommend you stalk Margaret on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
Margaret is so inspiring, and you definitely don't want to miss out on all of the information she provides!






Have you ever done a mud run? What is the hardest mud run you have ever done?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Lord of the Bling Virtual Race

Yesterday, the teenie and I ran The Lord of the Bling virtual 5k with Nerd Herd Running. This is the second in me trilogy! Last run was Star Wars and next will be Hunger Games!
We put on our bibs and tried to be creative with our poses...


Not very ring like.....


One ring to rule them all!

And of course we needed one with out ears up!
Yeah, we are dorks!
The teenie hasn't run since last race, so we did a run/walk. She wore out fast, we gotta get this kid in shape! We stopped at the bay, which was the one mile mark, for a few more shots...

Time to finish the last two miles! The teenie did well, and we finished in just over 40 minutes!

We will have to plan ahead for Hunger Games, our photo ops needed work!
We opted to get all three medals at once, to save on shipping and donate more to Stupid Cancer,  but I will be sure to post pics once they arrive!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Westfield 5k Pizza Run

Last night I finally got to run the Westfield 5k Pizza Run! I went with my friends Ronnie and Ryan, they were excited to show me how much fun this race is! 
It had quite an expo going on and we came home with quite a bit of swag! Mostly pens, but I also got an Athleta bracelet hair tie, a tech shirt, frisbee, cloth bags, and some biofreeze. Score!
Bib pickup was a breeze! I got my bib, tee, and hat and we went back to the car to stow our stuff and then back to the race. I figure we covered about two miles just walking back and forth to the car!

I stopped to take a pic of my awesome new Pro Compression socks....

And my cool new Aid Band.....

My sweet boy! I run 4 Bryce! More about both of these in future posts!
It was time to line up! I was nervous about my pace, with the heat and humidity, and because of my injury almost two weeks ago. I decided to park myself right between the 10 and 12 minute pace. 
The shades didn't last long and what is up with my hand? 
The race started almost on time and we began with a lovely hill. My friends warned me so at least I wasn't surprised! I started with a great 10:00 pace but at the half mile mark a young girl, probably in her 20s, fell flat over and had a seizure! I was so scared for her, I stopped, and so did about ten others, to make sure she was safe. As soon as two racers identified themselves as EMTs I moved on, but I lost my mojo and had a hard time getting back my groove! 

The rest of the race was pretty typical. Hills, water stops, great spectators! The course was beautiful, and I liked running a night race! But boy oh boy was I hot!
I was hoping for a 35 minute race. It was hot and hilly and I was worried about my toe, so I was really expecting more like 40. 
I came in at just over 37. With my stop early on I probably lost about 90 seconds or more, so I am thrilled with that time! Ryan was at the finish and gave me high fives, he finished in about 19 minutes! Wow!
Ronnie came in about five minutes later.She  wasn't feeling really well but she powered through and finished well! I was so proud of her! No group photos but I did get one last selfie...

I am amazed that I am not dripping with sweat because I was soaked through. We grabbed our pizza and then hightailed it back to the car because a storm was coming in.
Holy heck, look at that sky! We made it to the car just in time. Ronnie and I drove home in quite a lot of rain but we made it in one piece!
I will definitely be doing this race again next year.
Have you ever done a night race?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Not Quite Wordless Wednesday, injury update edition

Last night was my first run after my doctor'a visit! It was a mile, but it was a good mile. There has been very little pain, maybe a little tenderness, but nothing debilitating!
I have done a boot camp and PiYo with some modifications and today I did a 90 minute yoga class with no modifications!
Tonight is the Westfield 5k and Pizza Extravaganza, the next test!
 I'm ready!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Flat Mama Friday, GIANTS edition



This Sunday I will finally get to participate in the Run of Champions 5k which runs through GIANTS stadium! As a die hard fan, this is huge for me, and the first year I will actually be in NJ when it takes place! The last two years, I was on vacay! Hopefully my injured toe cooperates!

Have you ever run in a stadium?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Staying Active on Vacation, Portland Maine Edition

The hubs and I went to Portland, Maine this past weekend for the Old Port Half Marathon. There was so much to see and do there, that I wanted to write a post about it!
We arrived on Friday afternoon, around 2:00 and stopped off at our hotel. Our room wasn't ready, since we were so early, so we decided to check out the waterfront. 


All of the views were like this! Oh my! We checked out the ferries, and grabbed a schedule for Saturday. We knew that we wanted to go to one of the islands, but we weren't sure which one. After we got the schedule, we started to walk up and down the waterfront, and scope out all of the shops.

You have to stop for ice cream, though, so we made a quick detour. Captain Sam's had really excellent ice cream, made fresh! I stopped to take the is pic for my buddy, Bryce, since alligators are his favorite!
We saw a piece of the Berlin Wall while we were trying to get a good shot of the waterfront.

 And we stopped at Alex and Ani and got me a bracelet to commemorate my 25th half marathon, and a cute owl one for the teenie because she likes owls.

We checked back at the hotel at around 4 because they said our room would be ready by then, but it wasn't! Yikes! We just wanted to get our bags out of the car! The hubs was carrying around my laptop because he didn't want to leave it in a parking lot.
We went back to the waterfront and found a great bar, called the Porthole. We ended up there on Saturday night as well.
In honor of the race, he got a Blueberry Ale and some clams, and we sat out on the deck and enjoyed the cooler Maine air. There was a rep there from Shipyard and we scored some free tech shirts. Afterwards, we finally got to check in (it was about 5:00!) and headed to Congress Street to have dinner. It was a lovely, hilly walk, a little over a mile, and we got to see some more of Portland as we walked there.
Boda is Thai Tapas, and we ordered all kinds of delectables.
Sticky rice ball (hubs loved it, me not as much), asparagus wrapped in bacon (asparagus should always be wrapped in bacon!), pork satay, beef skewers (I think it had some kind of coconut sauce on it) and lobster chips. The hubs didn't care for the chips, they were very spicy, and she took them off the bill! We were shocked, it wasn't their fault that he didn't like them, and they were inexpensive, but it was a nice gesture. Everything else was amazing, and I was so full when we left!
The next morning, we hopped on the ferry to go to Peaks Island. The hubs read that you could tour it by bicycle, which you can rent on the island, and it was only a four mile ride around the whole island!

 Views from the ferry ride!

this one is from the island, oops!


The bike rentals were only $20 for two bikes for two hours! Bonus! They were in pretty decent shape as well! We were given a map of the island and we headed right out! The views were insanely gorgeous everywhere!

We left the road to hike out to this crazy place! people were climbing to the top via some random path, but we decided we liked the ground just fine!

 This is the graffiti inside. The hubs said it is leftover from war days (not the graffiti, the structure)

 Part of the path was covered in boards to keep your feet dry. It was crazy rickety but so fun to walk on.


our bikes!

The only other time we stopped was when we passed this sculpture garden. Visitors stop at this part of the beach and make these crazy sculptures out of the rocks. I may or may not have taken a small rock with me when I left.
ever see the Blair Witch project? Kind of reminds of that one part...




this was in someone's yard

Gotta take a selfie!


We spent a little over an hour touring the island and then we visited some stores and had lunch. Poor planning had us missing the ferry, if we skipped lunch we could have caught the ferry and had lunch in Portland. Oh well, we walked around a bit after lunch, and had some ice cream at their gift shop to kill the extra time.
The ferry dropped us off right next to the expo which was convenient!

We changed at the hotel and then headed back to Congress Street for dinner. The place we had in mind ended up being more of a burger joint, so we had a drink and walked back to Fore Street where there was an Italian place. They were booked solid! Hmmmmmmm
We started to wander around and the hubs saw a BBQ place. As we walked towards the entrance we looked across the cobble stone street and saw a Creperie! The hubs had a dinner crepe and I had this mediterranean vegetable tart. It was divine! Eggplant, goat cheese, tart, fabulous! Afterwards, I had a Nutella and strawberry crepe to finish it off! After all those veggies, I deserved a crepe, right? Besides, there was fruit in there!

 
I ate every bite!

We strolled along the waterfront some more and found this great fence covered in Love Locks. We are totally bringing a lock with us the next time!





Whew! Exhausting! Both Friday and Saturday, I ended the day with over 16,000 steps. That is a lot of walking!
If you have never been to Maine, I definitely suggest Portland or Acadia. Both are great for an active vacation. Portland had ferries to so many different island and we only hit one of them, and one of the smaller ones, I think!
Side note for those who read my recap, the RD did apologize for his comments and is trying to do some damage control. It may be too late for many, but at least he is making an effort! I will not be going back, but I will look for other races in the area for next summer!


Have you ever been to Maine?