Monday, November 27, 2017

We Interrupt This Regularly Scheduled Fitness Routine for a Disney Break!

So I didn't post a Friday update for last week for a simple reason, I didn't do anything for a week!!
 

Why? I was in Disney World! 

In my defense, I had fully intended to run a day or two on my trip, but I managed to catch a cold also while I was there and between the massive amount of walking steps at the park daily, carrying around a 50 pound adventure pack, and the head cold, I thought that doing extra running might actually kill me. I did the math from my Apple Health App and I averaged 8.3 miles per day of walking steps, so I am thinking that has got to count for something. Plus the trip was hella fun! 

See we managed to actually surprise my 7 yr old daughter with the trip. We picked her up from school on Friday and drove straight to Kissimmee, FL for a quick off-site hotel stay to wake up Sat morning to go straight to the Magic Kingdom. I figured no way we'd pull it off, but the husband thought it would work, and low and behold, it did! It was tricky, but we managed to keep it a secret until Sat morning when she woke up and told her. We then spent the next 5 days in Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom and then back to Magic Kingdom for a final day. 

We drove home on Thursday, and since I was feeling better on Friday and a little guilty for not doing any real exercise for a week, I got up bright and early on Friday morning and met a friend (Barking Mad About Running) for a 12 mile run. She is training for a marathon (a Disney one at that) and does 2:1 intervals, so it was slow and steady around Freedom Park in Charlotte. So yeah, that's how I roll, no running for a full week and then try to cram it all in a single day. It felt good to get back out there again when it would have been really easy to simple stay in bed, so I am glad that I did it. 

It was a great week, but time to get back in the saddle and get back in to my routines. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Be Open with Trekz Air

Disclaimer: I received a pair of AfterShokz Trekz Air to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I am a runner that is all about her music. Seriously,  I will create a Playlist at the drop of a hat. I have several loaded up and ready to go on my iPhone at all times, linked into my RunKeeper. Everything from Hamilton (My Shot is one of the best running songs there is, I swear it), to every single Mariana's Trench (my fav band) song above 150 bpm, to simply shuffling my entire music library. My biggest problem, however, has been finding a pair earbuds or headphones that both stay out of my way and stay in my ears. 

Just look at that mess of wires around my neck
I swear, I have tried everything. Earbuds pop out and the cord gets in the way, sport ones that wrap around your ears still have the cord issue and wireless headphones squish down my ears after awhile, plus are too bulky  in the winter with hats and earmuffs. I simply gave up and on training runs, just played the music loud and then would suffer through cord issues during races so as not to be rude - seriously, I would spend half the race adjusting cords and buds - so annoying. 

I recently received a pair of bone conducting AfterShockz Trekz Air and let me tell you, these things are a game changer. How does Bone Conduction work? According to the AfterShokz website - "Bone conduction is a natural part of the hearing process—sound travels through our eardrums and bones simultaneously. Our patented bone conduction technology produces sound via mini vibrations that travel through your cheekbones to your inner ears, bypassing your eardrums completely." - For more information, check out their FAQ Page: https://aftershokz.com/pages/general-faqs

These things are crazy amazing! When wearing them, I can hear my music and sound cues perfectly plus, I can hear everything around me which is way safer than running plugged ears. I hadn't really thought of that much before until I started wearing these and realized just how many sounds were no longer being blocked, things like approaching cars, other runners, all kinds of stuff! They also do not press down over your ears which makes them super comfortable even when wearing things like headbands, hats and sunglasses. 

I run with several different groups and without fail, at least one person would ask me about my Trekz Air after they realize I am wearing them, because to be honest, sometimes they don't since I am able to converse like normal with others while wearing them, as opposed to my friends that wear earbuds and are always going "WHAT!, WHAT!?" to me when I try to talk to them. 

Big hair, don't care!
And not only are these bad boys great for running, they are perfect for me to wear at work. See I work in a very small company where you can hear EVERYTHING from each other's offices, so if you are playing music, the whole office hears it, and no one wants that, but if you are wearing headphones, you often can't hear when others are trying to talk to you (we are an office that yells down the hall). Trekz Air to the rescue! Esp with my big hair, my coworkers have no idea that I have them on during the day. Music and productivity FTW! 

A few other fun facts about my Trekz Air. They are super light which I cannot say about the previous wireless headphones that I was using. I barely notice that I am wearing them. They are water resistant which is good because I tend to sweat up a storm. There are also controls for volume right on the side of them so you don't have to fiddle around with your phone to adjust them. And how could I have forgotten to mention Audrey, the Siri-like voice that welcomes you when you turn them on. I feel a little Tony Stark when start them up. And, they last forever! I used them continuously for a 7-hour road trip in the car on a single charge recently. 

Ready to try them out for yourself? You can order a pair at the AfterShokz website here - http://bibrave.aftershokz.com/ and for a limited time, receive a bonus trucker hat with your AfterShokz Trekz Air purchase with code “TRUCKER” when you check out. You get everything you see here to your right with your order, a cool little carrying case, charger cord, quick start guide (seriously easy set up, trust me on this, I am a tech disaster) and earplugs.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

39th Annual Great Pumpkin 5K Race Recap

I'm pretty late in posting this race review, but here's my review of the Great Pumpkin 5K Race I ran on October 28th.

This was my first time running this long-standing local race as there are just so many Fall races to choose from. The race is hosted by a local running club, The Rock Hill Striders, and all proceeds are given to a local food pantry,  Pilgrim's Inn. In addition to the 5K, there is a 1 mile fun run for the kids that is free.

There was not a lot of communication prior to the race, mainly because I believe mostly locals run this year after year so most runners already know the drill. I did ask a question of the RD prior to the race via email and got an answer almost immediately. I registered for the 5K and my little one did the 1 miler which I did it with her also as they were scheduled 45 min apart.

There was no pre-race packet pick up - all packets were to be picked up day of. The packet came with bib and cotton long sleeved shirt. The shirts ran large and the race had no problem switching my M for a S at pick up.

This race started on the campus of Winthrop University and therefore has pretty great parking access. It had a fairly late start time, 9 am, but with the Fall temps, the weather was pretty nice. The university is about 3 miles from my house, so it was a pretty quick trip to the site and easy parking. The race is fairly small, a couple of hundred participants, so I was able to find some of my local running buddies for some pictures pre-race. The start is near the former student center, which is now offices, and the building was open for races to use the bathrooms.

The course was a pretty nice one and one I run quite often, as I live very close by - starting just down from Dinkins Building, up Myrtle Drive, around the Winthrop Coliseum and back down Myrtle back to near where the start was. The course is officially certified with a couple hills, but not too many. Pretty easy terrain.

I had a pretty rough October, having to take a week off any kind of training due to having a wisdom tooth extraction a week and half prior, so it was not my best race ever. I was a full minute slower than my previous 5K, and tried to view it as a fun, easy local race for a good cause and not as a competitive one. As long as I get in under 30 min, I'm fairly happy and I did.

The kid's 1 mile started at 9:45 and ran straight down Charlotte Ave. for .5 mile and back. It was very informal, no registration or bibs, but the kids are really just interested in the running, so that works. There was a race volunteer at the turn around point cheer on the kids. The kids ran through the same finish area as the 5K and were each given a pumpkin shaped flashlight  which my daughter adores.

After the race, there was a lot of food options including bagels, fruit, chips, baked goods and even Halloween candy (how my daughter was able to eat candy corn immediately after running, I'll never know, but I passed on that). There were also several race sponsors and area groups with tables set up for a mini-finish-area festival giving out the standard stuff like pens, cozies and so on.

Awards were given out for Age Group winners which is fun to watch as the prizes consist of a variety of pumpkin shaped items that you can choose what you want as your award is called. I had a few friends that placed so I stuck around to cheer them on.

Overall, a great local, low key race that depending on what else is going on the same weekend next year, I will more than likely run again.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Weekly Rundown

I have always been really good about planning out my workouts (I'm a bit of an obsessive planner - seriously, you should see my Excel spreadsheets) but I am trying to get better at looking back on what I've done and how things worked out. So I've decided to start doing Friday Weekly Rundown where I look at what I did and how it went. So here goes.

November officially kicked of the 2017 Holiday Challenge on Facebook that I joined where you are supposed declare a certain number of points you plan to earn for the week based on activity (1 pt for each mile and 1 pt for each 10 min of working out). There is a neat little tracking chart provided. Here is my breakdown for this week (Week 2)

So far I am on track.

Monday I got up early for the 5:30 am Burn Boot Camp which was a partner day of Plyometric (ugh) and Leg Work. Remembering how terrible my knee felt after last time I did Plyo, I taped up first and was glad I did. Practically no pain this time! Yay!! Plus, the Rock Tape I got was just adorable and I got lots of compliments on it which of course is important, lol).

Tuesday I ran with Fleet Feet for their end of session party. After the run, the plan was to hang out at the Grapevine for a little social and eat Tacos. Rather than worry about a ride back, I parked at Grapevine and ran the .5 to the store which gave me an extra .5 on top of the 4 miles we did as a group. I ended up running a bit longer with Katie so to make up for it, I had her take a picture of my fancy new KnuckleLights in action which were super helpful on my first post-Daylight Savings evening run.

I was back up again for Burn on Wednesday morning, 5:30 am this time for Push/Pull mini-camp. This is where you form groups and rotate on a few different arm based exercises. Arm work is my worst area, so it was super discouraging for me, especially when I was unable to do a handstand. Yeah, 10 year old me would be super disappointing.

Thursday was originally supposed to be a run day (I changed it in the above mid-week) but it was really cold and rainy and I was a wuss about it. I decided to switch Friday and Thursday instead making Thursday Rest.

That takes me to today where I put in a 4 miler during my lunch break. It was an awesome run and I could have kept going, but alas, I had to go back to work. I did post some sweet negative splits though. The weather was perfect and I wish I had packed a lighter shirt and capris instead of long tights, but oh well, it was a great run anyway.

Normally my Saturday miles would be much larger, but tomorrow my Girl Scouts are doing a 1 mile race as a part of the Charlotte Marathon weekend and I am doing that with then. It is going to be super cold and hopefully the girls will still have a good time. Depending on how miserable my Jenna is, I hope to stick around and cheer on some of the other distances. I have a lot of friends in several of the races taking place.

Sunday I plan to hit the usual Riverwalk Trail and I have ambitiously planned a 7 miler (I did 6 last Sunday) but I may just do 6. I am ahead of the game according to my Tobacco Road Half training plan, but I haven't been putting in long runs since the tooth thing and feel like I should.

In other fitness areas, I am also doing a Planskgiving Challenge which I have kept up with (today is a Rest Day for that thankfully). I have also been sticking as strictly as possible with the IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) diet plan Kay from Burn put me on. I am still not hitting enough calories per day and I know this, but can't seem to eat any more and still either feel like it (thanks botched wisdom tooth - still no feeling in mouth) or hit my Macros (45% protein, 35% carb, 20% fat). I had a follow up Focus Meeting with Kay and I had lost 10 lbs in 3 weeks which she seemed excited about, but I still think is too much. I may self adjust those macros. While I wanted to lose weight for sure, I want to do it in a safe way, and not sure that is what is happening. Need to work on more calories. She has me down for 1300 and if I hit 1000, I consider it a good day (I've only had 1 good day this week).

Next week I kick off the Zooma Holiday Challenge also, so that adds in 3 more strength workouts per week.

And I also got my official re-invitation to join the Fleet Feet Sports Racing Team for 2018, so yay for that!

I think that is it. So what have you accomplished this week?

Monday, November 6, 2017

Fuel Up like Warrior

Disclaimer: I received Health Warrior Chia Bars and coloring book to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!


When you are a runner (or doing any kind of workout for that matter), it is very important to make sure that your body is receiving the proper fuel that it needs in order to perform your best. With so many options out there to choose from, how do you know what works best? Well for me, I've always found that natural ingredients are the key. 


I can't tell you how many different bars, gels and chews that I have tried over the years that have left me with an upset stomach mid or post run. I am sure there is something to be said for scientifically engineered blends, but for me, simple, natural ingredients are the key, and that is why Health Warrior Chia bars have found a permanent place in my fueling plan. 

First of all, the #1 ingredient in these bad boys is Chia. Chia has huge amounts of amazing health benefits despite their small size. They are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, rich in antioxidants, and provide fiber, iron, and calcium. Plus they are fun to eat because they swell up in your mouth/stomach which works to make you feel full. And all the other ingredients are things you can actually pronounce and occur naturally. Those are real chunks of dried apples that you see in there. 


So anyway, as a perk of being a BibRave Pro, Health Warrior sent me two boxes of Chia bars - Apple Cinnamon and Dark Chocolate to test out. So we've already established that they are good for you, but how do they taste? Pretty great! I've been enjoying having one of these 100 calorie pick-me-ups right before my afternoon and evening runs and they are really good! And don't just take my word for it, my daughter was really into the Dark Chocolate Chia Bars (healthy and chocolate, yes please). Then my brother came to visit for the weekend and he had his hand in my box of the Apple Cinnamon Bars (my favorite ones) whenever I had my back turned. Seriously, the night he arrived, he ate 3 of them in 2 hours. Then the next morning, I found out he ate 2 more while I was making him a pre-race smoothie for breakfast!! So yeah, they're pretty good. 

You can order a 15 pack of Health Warrior Chia Bars on their website (https://www.healthwarrior.com/) for $15.99 or try the 16 ct. Sampler Box for $19.99, shipping is free for orders over $25! Or, you can find them in a local store by putting in your zip code here: https://www.healthwarrior.com/store-locator/ 


In addition to the boxes of Chia Bars, Health Warrior also sent me a really fun Marathon Training Coloring Book. This thing is a riot. It covers the A - Z the trials and tribulations of training for a marathon. It's been really fun to color (see below for a few of my favorite pages). 
I mean seriously, how cute is that Poop??!!


Want your own coloring book? Get yours FREE with the purchase of any bars here: http://healthwarrior.link/colorbookbr


Join us at 9 pm Eastern Time on November 7th for #BibChat with Health Warrior and a chance to win these bars for yourself!