teaser (bear with me…)

IT’S COMING, IT’S COMING!

My post(s) recapping and reflecting on the amazing experience that was Hood to Coast with Nuun is coming Saturday. New Jersey greeted me in a not-so-pleasant way Monday morning post-red-eye flight (stress stress stress stress). Needless to say, I have had no time to adequately process in words the journey that was last Wednesday through Sunday. In fact, I am looking forward to re-living it all again in my blog posts! Which is…sad, but it’s the nature of what has become known as the “HTC hangover” (#HTChangover).

For now, a short preview in photos….

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Seaside-20130825-02488I will be wishing I could get in a white van and roll through mountainous countryside with a bunch of awesome ladies for the next day or so while I’m at work (and running a XC 5k…more on that later as well)…and playing this song over and over again in my head just because it’s awesome. Until then, sit tight: real HTC posts coming very soon!

Here is also an awesome video vanmate Laura made!

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pre-HTC

Tomorrow is The Day! Or…today. I should really be sleeping. Instead I’m icing, because I feel like crap.

You know those blogs that only post the good things that happen? The great runs, the fun trips, god forbid the descriptions of high quality food or the mentioning of the significant other like this phenomenon is a normal constant in everyone’s lives. I have no desire for this [blog] to be one of them. After Sunday’s seemingly productive activities, I knew the past two days were going to be crazy given that I was working all day both days, but I didn’t expect them to be as stressful as they were. Think: budget crises plus work responsibility overload plus stress that life is just a huge catch-22 and there is no way to get to where I want to be without sacrificing things I’m not sure I even currently have. Phew.

Well, that all happened in 48 hours, apparently. Plus a self-cancelled workout when my¬†other ITB started feeling like a thick rope (also bruised now?) and AR/nausea appeared (like for the last ore-marathon workout…) tonight on my warm-up to the track. So that sucked – having to go home and lie down instead of hang out with my friends. Or run intervals, same thing.

Needless to say, I haven’t been feeling like myself this August (or July…), and it is my hope that starting tomorrow through Sunday, when I am off having the experience of a lifetime, I can forget about all the things that are making me beyond frustrated and helpless. I’ve never spent 24+ hours in a van with all females before in my life, and it just could be what I need right now. If not, then I’ll pretend it is for their sake. ūüėČ I need to let my crazy, shoe nerd self back out again and not overthink life. And people (oh, people…).

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In the meantime, I need more ice.

Fun fact of the day brought to you by the TSA: you can’t take energy gels in your carry-on bags!!!

Wish me luck as I take on an airport for the first time in almost 6 years.

Trail runs in Maine & New Jersey

Maine

I was in Maine all week visiting family…my training schedule ended up being as follows:

Sitting in the front yard?

Sunday: off, drove for 12 hours and got exceedingly stiff. No fun. ūüė¶ I didn’t feel too bad from the 5k Saturday though, at all.

Monday: I ran about 6.5 miles from the house we were staying in; some gravel road and some uneven paved road. I tried to take it easy and hardly looked at my watch. In fact, I turned off the tones so I wouldn’t be aware of each mile split, and I’ve been enjoying it. My splits (with rolling hills) ended up looking like this….

Oh, and the weather was nice!
Nice biking.

 

 

In the afternoon, I decided to take my Garmin on a kayaking adventure… apparently you average 22 minutes per mile when you try to kayak in whitecap waves…needless to say, it was a bit too windy to be out there, so we turned back.

Tuesday: I biked 26 miles in ~1:44. I went to Schoodic and took the road through Acadia, which was nice and smooth. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much of a view…just fog. I averaged 19-20 mph on the roads I think; I was extra careful with my tires on the dirt roads to and from the house.

Wednesday: I took off from running and biking and hiked a couple hours up some mountains in Acadia on Mt. Desert Island.

Thursday: This was the best day…I roped my uncle, aunt, and brother into a trip to Eagle Lake for a run. I ran ahead while my aunt ride her bike on the carriage trail, and my brother and uncle ran about a minute per mile slower behind me. I went into this run unsure of how I’d feel…and almost preparing for the worst. I was relieved to feel somewhat normal, just tired. See, I’ve been feeling something not right in my ITB since probably Monday, the same feeling of a knot in the surrounding quad muscles as I had before the triathlon. I think I’ve concluded that it is just bruising from breaking up scar tissue with my roller. Which leaves me with a dilemma, because now I’m not sure to roll or not to roll….Anyway, I ran 9 miles – farthest since the marathon (and injury, obviously)!

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Lobster for dinner:Image

Friday: Morning ITB PT, afternoon bike.

Saturday: Easy 3 miles on the dirt road before driving back to NJ.

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New Jersey

It was a rather productive first day back, despite feeling…well, not very well. The ITB bruising has gotten worse, and there is still a definite knot in my lateral quad. It doesn’t bother me when I’m actually running, which is¬†really good.¬†I just can’t decide if I should continue being a masochist for my own good or not. It’s confusing. Because the “knot,” to which the area will hereafter be referred, felt so weird in the morning, I decided to run later.

Side note: there are only 3 acceptable reasons not to do your long run in the morning on Sunday:

1.) You’re really hungover¬†You aren’t feeling well & know you’ll be able to do the whole run and run stronger later in the day

2.) You can have company on the run if you wait

3.) A body part (ITB, calves, etc.) needs to warm up

In this case, my situation was #3. I just needed time to address the bruised-ITB-quad situation before heading out for the run. Also, morning yoga was free. Afternoon yoga was not.

I just did 9 miles Thursday so I figured I would just do that again, and my Thursday + Sunday would somehow even out to “normal” mileage? Basically, I wanted to do about 9 miles. End nonsensical pre-HTC post-injury banter. I went to yoga in the morning, then cleaned and organized my entire room, then set off for Six Mile Run around 5:00 PM.

Six Mile Run is a park worth its own post. I first ran there during cross country preseason in August 2010, and have been back in December, and today of course. I only didn’t get disoriented there once. Guess which time? The first of course. Makes no sense. I think the fourth time will be a charm though – I figured out there is no hope at the end of the red trail! I found some new trails across a road today, though, which was fun. They didn’t give me much trouble. I got a little sucked in and wanted to go farther and farther, but made myself turn around at about 5 miles just in case the disaster that was December’s run happened again. That day, I intended on running 7 miles…and did about 14. For a cautious runner like me, that’s not cool.

Today’s route….

Let’s zoom in on that one part:

Garmin’s worst nightmare?

The coolest thing about the park is that you feel like you can just…roll. There are so many little ups and downs and boardwalks and other strange bridges. Parts of the trail are like rollercoasters. This is also the reason I almost got run over my mountain bikers, but hey, there was only one occurrence! Apparently mornings are the peak time, so I’m glad I avoided that.

Not my photo - phone camera was being weird. It also wasn't sunny today.
Not my photo – phone camera was being weird. It also wasn’t sunny today.
Park trail map. I don't think I'll forget that the red trail dead-ends anymore. Although ot also ends up back at Canal Rd. mysteriously, so...might have to get to the bottom of that someday.
Park trail map. I don’t think I’ll forget that the red trail dead-ends anymore. Although it also ends up back at Canal Rd. mysteriously, so…might have to get to the bottom of that someday.

I believe only one run stands between me and Seattle (OMG OMG OMG)! The plan is to cross train Monday and Tuesday and also do the Intervals workout Tuesday night. Wednesday will be a travel day and then I’ll be off on my Hood to Coast adventure! As for the bruising I’ve inflicted…well, I’ll just try to find a happy medium and throw some ice on that.

ALSO, I NEED GARMIN HELP!!!¬†Maybe somebody can help me, even though every blog and manual I’ve read so far has not. I have a Garmin Forerunner 210. I got it in April, but because I haven’t been able to do tons of workouts between now and then, I’m just getting around to seriously answering this question now. What I want to do is what I do with my simple Timex: have the time running, press a button to take a split, and see the current time¬†for that split.¬†I know how to take a split on the watch, but I only see the total time on the screen. I can go online later and view everything, but I’d like to view it at the time. So, it seems like I’m actually having a display setting issue – the watch will do what I want it to, just not show me what I want to see. I’ve tried playing around with everything and can’t figure it out. I can program in a workout, but how often (when I’m with a group) do we actually take exactly 2 minutes of rest, or the loop is exactly 0.6 mile, or something?¬†

Any help would be MUCH appreciated (if you read this far…fit a lot into this one post, oops!)

Perfect 10’s Perfect Pair Model Search

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I wrote in a previous post that I am running the inaugural CGI Racing Perfect 10 Miler at Mercer County Park on October 13th. It’s going to be an awesome event, and I recently found out that there will be a “Pampering Party and Expo” the day before, in the park’s indoor hockey rink. The goal is to make it not an ordinary expo, with stimulation overload and samples being thrown into your face. Rather, it sounds as if it will be a shopping experience for women, complete with yoga classes and…a fashion show! It will also be open to the public. The event’s Facebook page is currently hosting a “model search” for the show, in which a pair of women who are running the race can submit a photo and a description of why they represent the event’s core values (and thus be a part of the show).

As soon as I heard about it, I got excited and wanted Brennan and me to submit our entry as best running friends! So, I did…you can vote for it here! We’re kind of lagging behind…I’m not doing a very good job spreading the word since I’m not home in NJ, but keep in mind we want to do this for the message behind it, not the clothing! Vote for us! ūüôā

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…and if you haven’t registered yet, you can do that¬†here.

Don’t worry, I’ll be writing posts with more substance again very shortly….

 

Saucony Guide 6 review!

Forgive me for the delayed post, things have been quite busy! And I haven’t even started packing for Hood to Coast…mostly because I’m not home, I’m in Maine. More on that later. For now, my much-awaited review of the Saucony Guide 6….

Last Thursday, we had Saucony at our weekly group run from the store. Saucony is one brand I sell a lot, but have never actually worn through a pair of shoes myself. I have a pair of Cortana’s that were fun to run in, but just a tad small, so I just wear them to work now. Brennan came to the run and we are the same size, so she snagged the single pair of 8.5 Guides. I didn’t want to run in the Ride, and I wanted to do a run of decent length…too risky for the Kinvara with a 5k in two days. The 8 was decidedly too small, and so I set off with the group in my Ravennas, planning on doing a mile or so after in Kinvaras. We ran toward the Institute Woods, at who knows what pace – I forgot my Garmin at home. Just before the entrance to the woods, Brennan had a great idea – we could switch shoes so I could get a chance to run in the Guide too! That’s when you know you’ve got a great running buddy. So, we took off our shoes while testing our balancing skills, and finished with the Guides on my feet and the Ravennas on hers. Success!

I got to wear them on both trails and roads, so it gave me a good idea of how they felt. The verdict:

8.0 mm heel-to-toe difference: I¬†did not notice a difference at all from any other shoe with a 10 or 12 mm drop. So perhaps it’s true that the only person it would hypothetically make a difference in is a runner with chronic Achilles tendinitis….

Cushion:¬†They are¬†softer than the Ravenna and the Rider. Much softer. Even though the Ravennas I switched out of were old, the Guide just has a softer feel – it’s all personal preference though. Some runs I think I would enjoy this, other runs (like workouts), maybe not.

Fit: When we first got in the Guide 6, I thought it was too narrow on the outsides of the forefoot. I have no idea what my feet were doing that day Рthey are not. They actually look like I tied them tighter than I do other shoes. 

I’m glad Brennan got to try them for a bit too – I ended up selling them to her immediately after! Word on the street¬†trails is she likes them.¬†

NUUN giveaway (and storytime)!

It is really obvious that I love Nuun. 

First, they chose me to be on their 2013 Hood to Coast Team. That should be enough of a reason, no?

But seriously, Nuun as a product is awesome. I have never taken a liking to any other sports/electrolyte drink out there, finding them too sugary, too heavy, too light, too…not better than water. So, I used to only hydrate with water. Clearly, that isn’t good enough on hot and humid summer days in New Jersey, and so that fact, plus stocking Nuun at work, led me to try it. And…the Boston expo in 2012, when our Running Company booth was two booths away from Nuun, and the water fountain was about 150 meters and 1,500 people away. I’ve managed to try nearly every flavor, and my favorites are…

Watermelon, Tropical, Banana, Grape (actually in the opposite order, oops).

I could say lots of good things about Nuun, but here’s what Nuun has to say themselves:

“Nuun Active Hydration is the #1 selling sports drink tab in the cycling, running and outdoor specialty marketplaces. As education about hydration and wellness grows, Nuun has become more accessible to a wider range of people. In response, Nuun has expanded its product line from sports performance hydration to include two all natural, vitamin-enhanced products for every day use, Nuun All Day Hydration and U Natural Hydration.¬†Be it a bike ride, a long day at the office, or a day at home juggling kids, Nuun has a tablet and flavor customized to help you stay healthy and hydrated.” – from Nuun.com

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Speaking of Nuun All Day, I’ve actually started to drink it in place of a multivitamin¬†(since I can’t swallow big pills and chewable ones taste gross…)! I recommend Blueberry Pomegranate.

 

 

So…I promised a giveaway of this good stuff. This is my first giveaway on my blog, and I’m not going to do it without providing a catch! As an introduction to the catch…you may recall my last blog post about the 5k I did on Saturday. There is a good reason I’m not linking to the post. See, I mentioned how I was 99% sure that in the age group photo that was taken of me and the winner with the National team (most of whom I personally know, so that makes this worse, I think), I looked at the second camera instead of the right one (she was wearing a USRowing staff shirt!). Well, I saw the thumbnail and it looked like I was right. I thought it wouldn’t ¬†be a big deal, because it was just on a Flickr sight nobody visits. But of course, it had to be chosen for the homepage of a website.¬†Greattt.¬†And I thought no one would ever see it. So, that was awful. No one should go searching for it, by the way. I have hardly looked at it and I refuse to.

My point: I would like you to share with me (in a comment on this post) a story of when something ( a photo or the like) came back to haunt you/embarrass you online! Running-related or not. The best story wins a 4-pack of Nuun! Also add which flavor you would like to try!

 

To distract you from searching for me online, here is a lovely Nuun photo that was floating around on my computer….

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And THIS, which I saw upon visiting the Nuun website!!!

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(That’s me!!!)

Go for the Gold 5k race report + support Team USA!

So…I ran a 5k today. Not my typical Saturday morning routine, unlike a lot of runners. I’m usually getting in some sort of training for a longer race ahead, and so when I still felt sub-par yesterday from River to Sea, I was almost about to bail and run nine miles on trails instead (something that sounds five times more fun and familiar to me…). However, I went and raced, and I’m glad I did!Image

I signed up for the race after feeling pretty left out when my ITB forced me to cheer on my friends from the sidelines for a 10k and a 5k in June and on the 4th of July. I especially felt frustrated when my Intervals group entered as a team in a couple races and I couldn’t be on it. So, when the Go for the Gold 5k was brought to the table and sparked interest among some group members, I jumped at the opportunity to finally join the crowd, and registered. Unfortunately, only one other group member actually ran it; other commitments prevented some who originally were thinking of running from showing up. I also wanted to do it because it was organized by USRowing, and proceeds went to the America Rows Program (hey, remember when I learned to row???).

Race tee…

So, I showed up at Mercer County Park…the only place I seem to race these days…a little before 9:00 AM to get in a good warmup. The race started so late; it was almost difficult to sleep later, so I ended up being 0% rushed. The start was on the grass by the picnic area that was actually the turn-around at the triathlon. It was very low-key and very cross country. I saw a girl who had been wearing a Rider XC t-shirt lining up next to me near the front, and I had a feeling she would be pretty fast. She was also wearing old Nike spikeless Milers. Side note: I anticipated this post being extremely entertaining: an intense recap of how I was determined to beat the girl who ran those two races I wanted to run and ended up placing, to my frustration since I wasn’t even able to race to even compete against her. She didn’t end up running this race, so there went that goal. I tried pretending any female in front of me was her, but it didn’t quite work.

The race course was pretty simple:

ImageWhen I found out my “rival” would most likely not be there, I needed another goal. After surprising myself by running 6:27 pace for the last leg at R2C, I thought it would be cool to try to do that again for 3.1 miles (versus the 2.35 that night). That would give me a 19:59, and breaking 20 minutes was something I’ve always wanted to do on the roads. My ITB started feeling knotty this week though, leaving me to decide I should not kill myself trying to do that, since Hood to Coast is soon.¬†And anyway, it is ridiculous to suggest I should shoot for a 5k PR coming off of an injury and having hardly done any workouts yet (just one)….In the end, my splits ended up being the following:

g4tg5ksplits

So, this was actually a road 5k PR (with a grass start and finish, but oh well)! I haven’t ran a 5k that fast since 2007, and my previous 5k road race PR was 20:59, from 2006 (again, I don’t do this often…). Not too bad for this strange post-injury time period! I didn’t get passed after the small grass field at the start, and I passed about three people during the second half. My official time and stats were:¬†20:29.8 (average pace of 6:36), 8th place overall, 3rd female overall, 2nd in F20-29 age group.¬†I was glad the woman I could see up ahead who ended up running 19:56 was 30 (she didn’t look it)! I saw plenty of recent Running Co. customers, including my uncle’s dentist (?), and a bunch of National Team rowers I knew, who ended up presenting me with my medal. Pictures aren’t up yet but I was definitely looking at the wrong camera and still sweating buckets in the middle of my three mile cooldown, so it will be splendid I’m sure.

Takeaway message: take chances. Training isn’t always perfect. That doesn’t mean you can’t surprise yourself and feel good about it. It’s about pushing yourself and having a good time while doing it, no matter who is running with you, who is watching, and how “ready” you are for that race distance.

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Coxed Pair pwning the other team by 48 seconds in the final....
Coxed Pair owning the other team by 48 seconds in the final….

This is a fitting post in which to insert a promotional plug of sorts. Not for a shoe, or a quadballer, or anything of the sort. For my friends, who qualified on Wednesday (I¬†watched…such a crewpie) for the Rowing World Championships in South Korea in the Men’s Coxed Pair. The coxed pair is not an event funded by USRowing; therefore, they must raise funds for their entry and all other expenses themselves. They have made a donation page and really appreciate your support! They leave on Friday, and the Championships are August 26-September 1. I’m very excited for them that they have made the team this year, and I have no doubt they will represent the US well and hopefully bring home some shiny hardware in a few weeks!

Here is a video of them practicing on the Schuylkill (no I have yet to spell that correctly on the first try) if you’re interested!

USRowing-logo-2-color-01Thanks for reading on after the race report! Check back soon for my Saucony Guide 6 review!