Monday, August 30, 2010

Back from Vacation

Back from vacation... 
which means no more waking up to this view of St Martin every morning!
Grand Case Bay
Petite Plage
We did some kayaking and snorkeling from this beach at our hotel.

Fort St. Louis
We hiked up to Fort St. Louis 
(well, it was a steep incline then a lot of stairs, anyway).

For this view of Marigot:
Marigot, Capital of St. Martin

We went snorkeling here:
Baie Longue
and went swimming here:
Mullet Bay

We hiked from this beach
Friar's Bay
to this one:
Happy Bay
and on our way back, encountered one of these:

With the help of a friendly island dog...
Pinel Island Dog
we had a nice little walk to find the snorkeling trail on Pinel Island
Snorkeling area to the Left
only to find out that the water wasn't clear enough to see much.

We tried to be somewhat active between walking into town for dinner at night, our little hikes to the Fort and between beaches, swimming in the ocean (hey, I treaded water for about 25-30 minutes at Mullet Bay - that counts for something, right?), kayaking, walking around a couple of the towns, and I did use the treadmill one morning at the hotel.  Unfortunately the lock was broken on the fitness room when I tried to use it early on in our trip, and it wasn't fixed until a few days after that.  

I was a little thrown off by the default mode of the treadmill (km vs. mi.) so when I first got on and cranked it up to 5.2 to start, it took me a second to realize why I was able to still walk at that speed :-p  I ended up kicking it up to 8.8-9.0km/hour for a nice comfortable 5k/3.2 mile run.

Anyway...back home, and time to get back on my real running schedule as my half marathon is only 20 days away.  I ran yesterday morning for about 4 miles in my new running shoes which I will need to break in before the half as well (I will post on that later). 

And back to healthier eating!  We always opted for grilled fish (over fried) at restaurants, but at the French restaurants there was plenty of cream sauce.  And lots of delicious French pastries and desserts and cheese.  We stocked up on fruits and veggies at the store on Saturday once we got home, so we could start eating better immediately!

"Continental breakfast" (Baguette, Pain au Chocolat, Croissants; OJ & Coffee)
Cheese plate... with breakfast!?
One of 5 cases at Sarafina's in Marigot

Grilled Red Snapper
We did go to a Super Market to get things for a salad for a lighter dinner in one night.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Very Disorganized Post

Just wanted to give a shout out to my 3 followers - thanks for reading!  
And for those lurking, but not officially "following," thanks reading too.
- - - - - - - - - -
I'm very proud of myself; I've been good about exercising and sticking to my training plan this week.

Monday night I did an hour-long spin class, followed by a half hour abs class.  I wore my Lululemon Zoom Crops for the first time since buying them off of Loot a couple weeks ago.  They are solid black with some ruching on the sides and mesh behind the knee.  Me likey!  They didn't slip down at all during spin and I feel like they disguised sweat a little better than my Team Spirit crops I wore to spinning a couple weeks ago.  Both are luxtreme, so I'm not sure why one hid sweat better.  Anyway, it's important because I stayed for abs class afterwards and no one wants to look like they peed their pants while you are doing difficult ab exercises on the floor in front of mirrors with a room full of people.

This picture is kind of out of focus and I didn't realize how much back light there was, but you can at least see the length of the Zoom Crops.  They hit just below the knee.  Surprisingly shorter on me than they are on the model on the product page, and I'm only 5'2". But I like where they hit.

Bonk Breakers
Tuesday afternoon I swung by a cycling shop on the way home from a friend's so I could pick up some Bonk Breakers.  Have you had these before?  They are fantastic!  And not very easy to find.  So far I have tried PB and J, Almond Butter and Honey, and Peanut Butter and Banana.  There is also a Peanut Butter chocolate chip flavor, I think, but I haven't tried it.  You can read more about Bonk Breakers [here]. I also picked up some Clif Shot Bloks in a new flavor: Cola.  My verdict is that they are better than Cran-Razz but not as good as Strawberry.  I still need to try the Lemon-Lime at the recommendation of someone who commented on an earlier post of mine, but I haven't found that flavor yet.

Cola Shot Bloks
That evening I did a 2.04 mile Easy run in 89 degree weather.  I ran it at a pace about :40 faster than I was supposed to, and I thought I was taking it easy.  Apparently I'm finally getting used to this heat thing!  Or maybe I just wanted to get it over with faster, who knows.  I do remember thinking it felt cooler than 89 though.

Wednesday morning I did a 7.62 mile tempo run in low 70s temps - it was perfect!  The run should have actually been a little closer to 8 miles but I was running tight on time and as it was, had left myself only about 15 minutes to shower and get out the door, so I didn't want to cut it even closer by running the last .4 miles.

I wore my Lululemon "I Just Wanna Run" Tank in Wish Blue, that I love, and my White/Wish Blue Speed Shorts. 

I really like my longer runs because I get to run outside of the little neighborhood surrounding my apartment and through some really beautiful, less-developed areas.  That whole bigger loop at the top of the map goes between two neighboring parks and preserved open space.  These runs are so quiet and peaceful without the sounds of car traffic!  The only down side is, one of these roads is pretty narrow. I run on the opposite side of the road, but I also made sure to make eye contact with oncoming cars and give a wave when they gave me a little extra space.

Today should be an off day I guess, but I went for a little bike ride.  The weather was nice and I felt like I hadn't rode my bike in too long.  I waited for hubby to get home and we went on a 7.37 mi bike ride together.

Tomorrow I'll do another 2 mile easy run, and hopefully I will be trying out my new Fast Shorts for the first time.

Early Saturday at the crack of dawn, I'm off on vacation!  I will post about my trip when we get back.

- - - - -

But before I end this really scatter-brained post, today I tried the other item I picked up at the cycling shop back on Tuesday: 
It's called FRS Liquid Concentrate.  It's described as a "healthy energy drink."  The guy at the cycling shop gave me a glass of the regular orange flavor, which wasn't bad, but I picked up the Peach Mango flavor which happens to be a Low Calorie version.

It is supposed to give you a little energy boost when consumed before exercise, and it has antioxidants.  It's made from various fruit and vegetable purees and concentrates and extracts.  There's also 35mg of caffeine in a serving.  I thought it could be a nice alternative to downing some kind of sports drink before a run. 

Who knows if any of this stuff works though.  But I guess even if you just think it's working, then it's still worth it.

You're supposed to add 2 ounces to 6 ounces of water.  I know I added more water than that.  Here's what it looks like:

FRS in a glass with ice.
With ~8 ounces of water
Nutrition info on bottle

The other side of the bottle
I like the Peach Mango flavor.  It's got a nice, but light, tropical fruity flavor and it's not too sweet.  As per the bottle, I have to refrigerate after opening and as the ingredients are natural, it should be consumed within a month of opening.  At 2 ounces per serving, there are 16 servings in this, so I guess I need to drink it 15x in the next month!

Do you have any "energy drinks" or products that you like to use?
I see that my half marathon will be supplying Gu in a couple flavors, but I have never tried it. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lululemon Run Fast Short

Today I got the new Lululemon Run Fast shorts in the mail.  Woo hoo!  I ordered them last Thursday, they shipped the same day, and here they are 6 days later (I guess 5 Fed Ex days).  That's about how long it usually takes me to get my Lululemon orders.  Anyway...

Lululemon Fast Shorts, Black, Style # LW7600S

Back View
Here is the description from the Lululemon website:

  • Meet your new runnng partner…the ultimate weightless run short!
  • Swift is wicking, quick drying, light weight & breathable with 2-way stretch
  • Soft wicking coolmax® liner
  • Buttery soft luxtreme™ wicks away your sweat!
  • Anti-stink mesh for ventilation in high sweat areas
  • Secret key pocket on inner waistband
  • Extra leg room! built for maximum mobility & all body shapes
  • Flat seamed for chafe resistance & comfort
My first impressions: I'm happy that the text on the waist band is continuous!  There's a seam at the left side, but that's not going to be too visible while wearing.  

The "lu" kinda blends in with "lululemon"
 These shorts are very lightweight.  I love circle mesh because it is so lightweight.  Circle mesh is at the sides and on the back right underneath the waist band. The item description mentions luxtreme, but I'm not really sure that I notice any luxtreme on these.  The parts that are not circle mesh are the lightweight soft swift material very much like my old black Speed Shorts from last summer (not the current Speed Shorts like my white/wish blue ones, which seem to be a stiffer material).  

I immediately looked for the "secret key pocket" on the inside of the waist band and found it at the left side seam.
Secret Key Pocket to the right of the hang tag plastic

The pocket is much smaller than I expected, but I usually only stick a single key in my shorts pocket anyway.

Here are a couple pictures of the shorts being worn. I ordered them in my usual Lululemon size, and found them to fit true to size.  The waist band does not dig in to your waist. They are low to mid rise. My shorts have about a 8.5" rise, they come up to a couple inches below my belly button.

If you do not like how Lululemon's Speed Shorts or Ultra Shorts are cut a little high on the outside of the thigh, then you might like these as they are cut straight around the leg opening.

These are only for those that like short shorts- the inseam is pretty short. 
I measured my size 6 shorts and found them to have a 2.5" inseam. 

 The rip out tag.  The only downside to these shorts is that they were made in China. Wah wah...

Can't wait to use these shorts; I will have to report back after I run in them!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New: Naked Juice Coconut Water

Today I had a fabulous package waiting for me outside my door when I got home, and inside it was:

A glorious case of coconut water.

I have been on a quest to find my favorite coconut water ever since Zico changed their product (for the worse, in my opinion).  I have tried the new Zico, after being bought by Coca Cola (thumbs down, I'll have to post about that another time), and I have tried O.N.E. and Vita Coco (both inferior to Old Zico; better than New Zico).

O.N.E., 11.2 oz, is $1.69 at my grocery store.  (15c/oz)
Vita Coco, 17 oz, 2.49, $1.99 with my Shopper's Club Card. (11.7c/oz)
Why didn't I buy more of the Vita Coco???

It's tough to compare the two nutritionally because O.N.E. has an 11.2 ounce serving size, and the Vita Coco is two 8.5 ounce servings.  Still, O.N.E. has more sodium (60mg) per serving than the Vita Coco's 30mg.  Even taking into account the different serving sizes, O.N.E. has more sodium per ounce (5.36mg v. 3.53mg).  O.N.E. has 670mg potassium; Vita has 515mg.  I am finding I like the taste of the Vita better than the O.N.E.

I was perusing Amazon the other day, possibly prompted by an email from them, to check out current prices of coconut water and to see if Vita Coco was available for a good price.  I found that Amazon now carries coconut water by Naked (they make good bottled fruit/veggie smoothies).

They did have it, and at the time it was $20 for a case of 12-11.2 ounce tetra packs.  What's really annoying about Amazon is that their prices in the grocery department seem to fluctuate often!  I thought $20 was a good deal, but as I write this entry, I see the same case is now available for $18.  Oh well.

I ordered a case on the 8/13 (Friday) through Amazon's subscription program (Get 15% off + Free shipping) and it was shipped the same day by UPS.  It arrived today, only 2 business days later.  Ordering through the Subscribe & Save Program saved me 15% ($3) plus $10.83 in shipping (I probably wouldn't have ordered something this heavy online otherwise).  Check it out:

The good thing about the program is that you can cancel at any time.  I set this up for 1 delivery every 2 months, that way it will give me some time to try it out and decide if I like it or not, and leave me plenty of time to cancel if it's not so great.

Anyway, here's what the Naked Coconut Water looks like:

Naked's serving size is the same as O.N.E. so you can compare directly.
Naked has 20mg sodium, 650mg potassium - so a lot less sodium, and a little less potassium.

I must close with saying that NONE of these can compare to the coconut drink I had at a Vietnamese restaurant in Philadelphia last week (Pho Cali). 

It was soooo much sweeter than packaged coconut water and so delicious.  I wanted to get a second one to-go when we left, but I restrained myself.  I asked them if they added anything to make it sweeter and they told me all they do is crack open the coconut and drain the liquid, then add some of the coconut 'meat' to the glass.  It must have to do with ripeness or freshness of the coconut?  Anyway, I need to find some of that closer to where I live.  I can't drive into Philly for this all the time.

What are your thoughts on coconut water?  Do you like it? Do you have a favorite brand?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Budget running shorts

Unfortunately, these running shorts are no longer available, but as they make up a good portion of my running shorts, I'm going to mention them anyway.  A couple years ago, Old Navy offered fabulously cheap running shorts complete with a liner and a little key pocket inside the front waist band.

Back view of Old Navy womens running shorts, circa 2008-2009
I have a pair in Carbon and Cabot cove that I picked up for $7.50 each in January 2009 (I know the exact names for colors and the date because I ordered them online and it was still in my email).  That's the upper left pair and the lower left pair, respectively.

Prior to that (probably the previous fall or summer?) I got a pair of the same shorts in solid black, and green with white edging (right side).  I think the original retail price for these shorts was $15.  Not bad at full price either.

These were my first "real" running shorts... meaning they were short shorts and had that built in liner.  When I first started running I wore mesh shorts with a nice wide waist band (that I still have) probably from Target?
Here's the front view, complete with my notes on the blue pair.  I accidentally threw a little tub of Blistex DCT lip balm in with the laundry and it left fantastic spots on some pieces of clothing in that load, including these shorts.  I tried treating the stains multiple times and they never came out. I still wear the blue shorts anyway.

Old Navy stopped making running shorts for a while, which was disappointing, (and also probably around the time that I transitioned to the much more expensive Lululemon running shorts), though I see they currently have a different version available online:

Old Navy Women's Running Shorts (3") in Carbon
You can find them online here for a very reasonable $15.  Use your Old Navy/Gap/BR card on a Tuesday and get them for 10% off, or keep your eye out for the bazillion other promotional codes Old Navy sends out.  Get an extra 2% cash back off your Old Navy purchase when you launch the site through Ebates (I like finding ways not to pay full price online).

These shorts are definitely worth a shot if you are looking for some budget running clothing.  I have never experienced any 'chafing' with these shorts and they do wick sweat effectively.  They have never looked wet from sweat after a long run.  They are really lightweight and comfortable to wear, though they do have an elastic waistband  with drawstring (no wide waist band like lulu shorts).   Even so, I don't find that the waist band is unflattering on me.

I'm not a huge fan of Old Navy's sports bras (not supportive enough) or tanks (mostly cotton), but I do recommend their running shorts!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Weekend Wildlife Encounter

I've been a slacker when it comes to blogging for the past week or so.
Let's see... Thursday I had to go in to work in the morning, so I only ran an easy 2.5 miles that morning.

Friday I ran 7.48 miles; it was the 7 mile tempo run I should have done earlier in the week but we had a friend here at the time (and it was 96).

Saturday was an off day to rest for my distance run today, but we took our pup to run with her doggy friends in the morning.  After they ran, the humans stood around talking, and for some strange reason, our dog decided that this would be a good place to stand.  With her head right between her dog-boyfriend's legs. Nice, Molly.
That's my dog's head.

At night we went to a friend's house for dinner; I was good and only had one glass of red wine then had lots of water so I would be hydrated for this morning's run.

This morning's run was my long run for the week - 10 miles.  I got a nice 8+ hours of sleep last night.  When I got up, I had a piece of cinnamon raisin toast with almond butter and a glass of water, then got ready.  I had one of my Strawberry Shot Bloks right before leaving the house and brought the other 5 with me.  I had one basically at miles 2, 4, 6, and 8.  I brought along a 17 ounce water bottle and drank all of it.

The weather was great for a long run this morning - it was 71 with 76% humidity, and overcast so no direct sun.  Not much traffic on the roads leading me to the tow path where I sometimes run, and not a lot of other people on the towpath.  It was a very peaceful run... then around 3.5 mile a raccoon pops out of the weeds between the canal and the towpath about 15 feet in front of me and hisses at me. Really loudly.  Wow, was that scary.

The info I uploaded from my Garmin watch confirms how startled I was.  My HR jumped from the upper 170s to 196!  Anyway, I started to back up slowly, hoping the raccoon would forget about me and go on its merry way, but it started to run at me!  I then turned around and began to run away from it, but it was surprisingly persistent.  I ran away a little bit, peeking over my shoulder to see if it was still following me and once it stopped, I stopped running.  The raccoon was going back and forth between the growth on either side of the tow path (I don't even know where it was hiding, it didn't seem like there was that much room).  I was relieved to see another runner coming and I warned him that there was an angry raccoon ahead.  I think he was a little confused at first; he said from far away he assumed it was a little dog because of the way it was following me!  We watched the raccoon disappear into the weeds again and it looked like he was far enough away from the path, so we slowly approached (making noise, talking loudly so it would hopefully be afraid and stay there) then we ran quickly past that area.  This was probably a stupid idea, but for some reason I felt safer quickly passing through that area with another person.  Luckily I did not see the raccoon again!

Raccoon picture from this website

As this was an out-and-back run, luckily I had the option of running on a parallel road for that section.  It's kind of a narrow road, but I ran facing traffic and there weren't too many cars that drove past me for that half a mile before I could get back on the tow path.

Somewhere around mile 7, I encountered a teeny tiny baby painted turtle!  It was in the middle of the towpath, and so I tried to scoot it over to the edge.  (Or else it was going to end up smooshed and on its back, exactly like its brother that I had seen nearby but earlier in my run)  It looked a lot like this:

Baby Painted Turtle
Picture from this website

It looked almost exactly like the above picture, but darker.  I was surprised by the (what I consider to be) longer tail.  The size of the shell was about the length of the end section of my thumb (if that makes sense).  When I stopped running next to it, it pulled everything inside it's shell, so I just scooted it over to the edge.  Hopefully it's safe!

I've started carrying my phone with me on my runs more often, just in case.  Today, I decided not to though.  I told my husband where I was running, when I'd be back, and there was a strong chance of rain so I didn't want to get caught 5 miles from our apartment in a downpour with my cell phone.  It ended up not raining for my run, but I was bummed I didn't have my phone on me.  If I did, I could have taken a picture (from afar) of the crazy raccoon, and a picture of my little turtle friend.

I did call up Animal Control for my town when I got home (even though it had been over an hour) to report the raccoon.  Maybe it had babies nearby, but I'm thinking it was rabid since it hissed at me unprovoked and was out in daylight at 10am.

Hopefully my next run is not quite so eventful!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I've been MIA since last week because this past weekend my husband and I met up with a bunch of old friends at a friend's family cottage in the Finger Lakes.  Here was our view.  

Sadly I have not ran since Friday morning, but I can say that kicking and paddling yourself on an inflatable raft and hanging on to a tube for dear life while being pulled around the lake by a boat do use some muscle! 

Once we got home from the Finger Lakes, we had another friend come visit for a couple days.  It's been in the upper 90s again with overnight lows in the mid 70s.  Not at all desirable for running, or anything else for that matter.  However yesterday we gave our friend a tour of Philadelphia and we walked the whole thing.  We estimated it to be between 5 and 6 miles of walking.

Anyone know where this picture was taken from?

The day before yesterday, we went for a ~45 minute walk/easy hike through a nearby park in the afternoon.  I haven't been a total slug for the past 5 days.

Anyway...back to the training plan tomorrow morning.  The plan is a 7 mile run.  We are expecting some rain in this area and for temps to cool down into the 80s again.  That should make running outside a little easier.  

I have to stick with my plan as much as possible for the next week and a half because then we'll be going on vacation for almost a week.  I plan to switch around my training plan and make that week one of my rest weeks.  The hotel does have a treadmill, which I am planning on using at least twice while we are there, but I don't want to stress about it too much.  I'm looking forward to the vacation and relaxing for a little bit before the school year starts up again.

How do you handle exercising while on vacation or visiting family/friends?
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