Bachelorette Runners

You know you’re a runner when…

You kickoff a great friend’s bachelorette weekend by running a half marathon together!

This past weekend was Meghann’s bachelorette weekend, and I would expect nothing less than having it started with a some sort of exercise. The Orlando Half Marathon fell on the perfect weekend so that we could incorporate it into her bachelorette festivities. Meghann, Ashley and I were all up nice and early on Saturday to get the race in. Meghann’s sister Kelly was nice enough to put us all up for the night, so we had a short commute to the start line, squeezed in a potty break, and made our way to the start line.

Ashley and Meghann were going to run together, and I decided to go ahead and run my own race. I wanted to use the race as more of a workout (which I decided when I was at the starting line) than taking it nice and easy like the Women’s Half Marathon a couple of weeks ago. I kept a pretty solid sub 8 minute pace for the first half, and then hit 7:59′s for the last 3 miles. It was just hard enough so that I felt that I needed to work bit, without feeling like I was hurting or out of breath. I finished right around 1:43, which I was perfectly happy with. I went into the race shooting for a 1:48, but ended up pushing it just a bit harder for the 1:43.

The race course was changed this year, which I was a huge fan of. This was my 4th time running this half marathon (my most recent time being last year) and this was my favorite course of them all. It was in more of the neighborhoods around Orlando, rather than a couple industrial places of the past. I hope they keep this course for years to come – I know I’ll end up running it again. It is one of those races that isn’t usually on my race calendar, but tends to get squeezed in. The race organizers do an awesome job with it!

After I crossed the finish line, I grabbed a bottle of water, and then went to find Meghann and Ashley. I wasn’t waiting for too long when I saw the unmistakable image of a bride running down the street. Kelly made Meghann a super cute “Runaway Bride” tank to run in, and she also wore a veil and tiara to compliment the outfit as well! She looked so cute!

I hopped back on to the course to finish the race with the others girls. We all collected our medals, grabbed a container of chocolate milk to refuel, and then we were outta there! Breakfast and festivities were calling our names! The rest of the day was full of pedicures, food, and of course some bachelorette shenanigans with the girls. Oh, and a really fun part – we all had matching shirts for Meghann’s big weekend (from Etsy!) – just a little reminder for the bride for these last few weeks!

 Keep Calm and Say I Do!!

Side note – Congrats to my friend Eric that completed his very first half marathon this weekend at OUC as well!!! Way to push through a very physical and emotionally tough race! You are a half marathoner!!! :)

Have you ever participated in a race for a bachelorette weekend? Did the bride have a fun outfit like Meghann?!

Back To The Track

I feel like people either love the track, or they hate it – there seems to be no middle ground. I have spend a lot of time on the track over the years that I ran in high school and college, and luckily, I thrive off of track workouts! With my hamstring issues over the past few months, I have steered clear from speed. I really didn’t want to exacerbate my injury even more. After some time off after the Chicago Marathon, I am feeling a lot stronger and healthier, so I am incorporating speed work in my training once again. Goodbye boredom!

Wednesday I met up with my friend Chris to tackle a nice ladder workout. The rest of my triathlon team all had commitments that night, so it was just the two of us. We run at different paces, so I knew I was going to have to do this workout solo – no big deal, but I knew I needed to be mentally tough from the get go. Our ladder was pretty simple:

Ladders are great because your body never gets used to the same pace, and you really have to listen to your body. The key is to hit the first and last set at the same pace. AKA, don’t kill yourself on the first 2 400m & 800m repeats, so that the last 2 are super slow.

Since this was my first true workout back in quite sometime, I didn’t have high expectations. Good thing! Here were my splits:

400m 1:34

800m: 3:19

1200m: 5:01

800m: 3:20

400m: 1:33

My splits were pretty solid, but they were pretty darn slow. That is not a complaint – I didn’t expect to be speedy by any means. I know I have a long way to go when it comes to get my speed back. My concentration for this workout was to keep my splits as even as possible, which I did. Overall, I think it was a success. Now I have a good benchmark of what to compare myself to as I progress in the next few months.

Do you love or hate running on track? Are you a fan of ladders, or do you keep your repeats pretty similar?

Workout Wednesday – Start with Stability

It is no secret that I have not been a gym regular lately. It is always the activity that I cut from my exercise regimen first when my life gets crazy, even though I know it is one thing that helps me significantly. Having a stronger core and overall a stronger body helps with so many things – running, walking, even just sitting at work. Since I had my hamstring and hip issues for my last marathon, I am taking charge now by incorporating more strength workouts before embarking on a new training plan.

Since I am considering that I am starting from scratch, I am going to use myself as a guinea pig for my personal training style. I am going to use what I learned in my NASM training on myself – for those of you interested in personal training in the future, these Workout Wednesday posts can give you a glimpse of what it would be like to work with me! Yep – I’ll be dedicating Wednesdays to some sort of strength training from now on – whether it is a workout, specific technique, or just tips!

My first workout back at the gym was focused on stability, rather than the amount of weight I was lifting. I plan to continue with this until I feel more comfortable and my balance and strength returns to normal. I did 3 sets of 10 reps for each exercise. For weighted exercises, I used between 10-12 lbs, whichever felt more comfortable. Each starburst is a super set, so I went from one exercise to the other within the starburst, and then took a small break in between (technical terminology, I know) ;)

 

Really focus on keeping your core tight for all of the exercise. Do not curve your back, and take time to hold the exercise for at least 3 seconds.

Anyone like to start with stability before moving into strength? Let me know if you have any questions about the workout!

Gear Review: ProCompression Socks

There are a few must have items that I know have to fit in my suitcase for all long runs and races of any distance.

1. Body Glide

2. iPod

3. Compression gear

The last one on that list is definitely the newest addition. I started using compression sleeves earlier this year when I started to train for the Country Music Marathon. I wore them on every speedworkout and long run. I had heard the benefits of them for faster recovery, and I was willing to try anything – I wasn’t getting back to workouts as quickly as I would have liked. I couldn’t find a pair of actual socks that I liked, so I stuck with the sleeves.

Well, early last week I was sent 2 pairs of actual compression socks (not just sleeves) to try out. I had the Turkey Trot on deck and knew that would be the perfect time to try them! I wore the white ones, really only because they matched my outfit best ;)

I was sent the Small/Medium size. I was hesitant at first when I opened them – I thought they would be too small. I have a pretty big foot (size 10) and my calves are pretty muscular as well, so the thought of squeezing them into a size small was a bit daunting.

Lucky for me, they fit perfectly! Compression gear is always tricky to actually get on your leg, but after that, they should fit pretty snug. That is how you actually  know they are working. Oh, and how do they work??? Straight from the ProCompression website:

“PRO Compression socks are designed specifically to deliver both maximum comfort and speedy recovery times. The science is complex, but benefits such as improved blood flow, stability and comfort are universally understood.  The moment you put these socks on your feet and incorporate them into your game, you will feel and understand the difference.

PRO Compression socks are noticeably tight and require more effort to put on than standard socks in your drawer. But it’s that extra effort and much-needed compression that make all the difference. Be patient and your feet will thank you.”

The actual foot part of the sock is not too tight, but is also not lose like a regular sock. Once the sock comes up on my ankle, I can definitely feel the compression start, and it runs all the way up to the tip top.

The only part of the socks that wasn’t a perfect fit is that they are pretty tall. I actually have to roll them down so that they do not hit the back of my knee. Rolling them down isn’t a big deal for me -  (Edited post publish: Instead of rolling the socks down at the top, use the space by your ankle to scrunch down a bit. Rolling the top inhibits the compression factor from working correctly. The company let me know that, so be sure NOT to roll them down.) If you have shorter legs, be prepared that they may come up the back of your knee.

The night of the race. my legs felt fine. I was only sore at my hips – not my calves at all, which was surprising since I had a much faster pace than I had in months for the race. I would say the socks did their job.

If you want to grab a pair for yourself, use the code FIT40 for 40% off your purchase, plus free shipping! The code is good through December 15th, so it is a perfect holiday gift. I think I am going to grab another pair for myself – the baby blue argyle is calling my name ;)

I received these socks through a partnership with Fitfluential LLC. All thoughts and opinions on the socks are my own. 

Do you wear compression socks? Do you like them? How long have you been wearing them?

Thanksgiving Turkey Trot and New Additions

I took almost a week off from blogging over Thanksgiving. I had grand plans to get caught up with everything since I had 9 consecutive days away from the office, but exactly the opposite happened. I was lazy and layed around a lot. I saw a couple of movies and really just enjoyed some time to myself. Now I am back and ready to conquer the holidays. The next few weeks are going to be crazy busy for me, so I am ready to get them started! Let’s start where I left off, shall we??!!

Thanksgiving for me has started off with the same thing for the past 9 consecutive years…

Our local Turkey Trot!! I have been running it ever since I was in high school, and I really don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Some may say it is even the World’s Best! This year, there were over 17,000 participants, 2 of which I am particularly proud of!

My sister, Emily, and her boyfriend, Steve, (both on the right) have recently taken up running, and I have been coaching them to run their first 10k. They crossed the start (and finish) line on Thursday and completed the race! It was the longest they have ever ran before, and never even walked once. This is saying a lot, considering they were not running at all in the spring of this year! I am so excited that my sister is getting into running – just another great thing we can do together! And of course, Marcus ran the race as well – only this year, he was sporting quite the ‘stache.

He had been participating in Movember, and decided that he wanted to goof up the race a bit, hence the added facial hair. Luckily, I can say it has now been removed :)

The race was great as always – the weather was perfect, and it was all just a lot of fun. I finished in 45:17, just 2 seconds faster than last year. Good enough for another race coffee mug for my 26th place finish for the women (the top 125 people in each gender get a mug)!

It was an awesome start to an even better day – we had so much food all day long – exactly how Thanksgiving should be! As great as the holiday was, the best part of the entire time I had off of work was meeting someone new. Our friends Callie and Nate welcomed their second child into the world on Thanksgiving, and Marcus and I had the pleasure of meeting Little Miss Athlete on Friday!

She is so crazy cute, and I loved every minute of it! I even let Marcus hold her for a bit, although I’m surprised she didn’t scream in terror at the facial hair – she must have been sleeping ;)

Congratulations on another beautiful addition to your family Callie. She is absolutely precious and I can not wait to watch her grow!

Oh, and my cousin Kristen had her 2nd child tonight!! Emmett Theodore came into the world weighing 8.5 lbs and is already more loved than he will ever know! I can’t wait to meet him sometime next year when I make my way up to Louisville for a visit. It was quite the week for new additions!

How was your Turkey Day? Did you enjoy some relaxing time with your family and friends? And seriously, how adorable is Little Miss Athlete!?