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!?

Wordless Wednesday – Disney Style

P.S. – Some photos courtesy of Meghann!

The 2012 Women’s Half Marathon

There are some weekends that I feel that hopping on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram is a huge race tease. Luckily, this weekend I was a part of all of the racing fun! I ran the Women’s Half Marathon for a fun way to get back into racing after the Chicago Marathon. I picked up my race bib from the expo (check out my post from last year, as it didn’t change much), had a relaxing dinner, and was up bright and early for a very chilly race morning!

Meghann and I carpooled to the race, and decided we would run as much of the race as we could together. We have so many of the same race and always have a blast – yesterday was no different! We chatted for a bit, and then got in a nice easy rhythm. We spotted her fiance a couple of times on the course, and he snapped some fun pictures! We are suckers for a camera ;)

(Photo Credit to Meghann)

The cloud cover really kept the temps down. I never felt hot or uncomfortable – it was the perfect time for a half marathon. It was even nice enough for Callie, who is 38 weeks pregnant, to be out with her husband and the mini athlete, cheering us all on like crazy. She had signed up to run the race before baby #2 was on the way, but had to sit this one out. We spotted her at the 4.5 mile mark and were soooo excited to see her!

(Photo Credit to Meghann)

(Photo credit to Callie)

We gave her a big wave, and were off for the rest of the course. Once we got to the pier around mile 7.5, we had a pretty intense head wind, and that is where Meghann and I split up. I was feeling fine, and decided to just cruise for the rest of the race. The course is really awesome, but I really can’t say much for the last 3 miles. It took us around a lake and around Tropicana field, but the spectators were minimal and it was pretty boring. Otherwise, I really enjoyed the course! I picked it up for the last mile or so at brought it in strong.

(Photo Credit to Callie)

Running races for fun is so worth it. So many times when I toe the start line, I have a time goal in mind. I had no expectations for yesterday’s race, and had no interest in pushing myself. I wanted to have fun with friends and take it all in, and that is exactly what I did. I was laughing and smiling the whole time, and just enjoyed an easy Sunday morning run.

The only difference on yesterday’s run from regular weekend runs? I ended up with one of these!

What can I say… I do it for the bling ;)

A huge congratulations for all of the first time half marathoners that were out there yesterday! I knew so many amazing ladies finishing the distance for the first time, and loved seeing all of their updates. Congrats to Melissa, who really kicked butt! So proud of you!

Another big thing event that happened yesterday in our house – Winnie turned one!

Yes, she wore a birthday hat on her big day. What can I say, she likes to be festive ;) We have had so much fun with her the past year, and have loved watching her grow. It is hard to believe she was this big when we brought her home.

And now she is 75 pounds of crazy dog!

Happy birthday sweet girl!! You make our days a lot more fun and exciting!

Anyone else race this weekend? How did it go? Do you ever run races solely for fun, and have no time goal in mind – or are you a slave to your watch?