Monday, February 28, 2011

Recap: Training Week 7

Week Seven:  February 21 - February 27

The Plan:
4.5 mi 
8 x 400  
@5k pace 
4 mi 
9 mi 

What I did:
(The speed work for week 6 & week 7 was switched).  The rest was run pretty close to the training schedule!  Except I continued to increase the distance of my long run, beyond the plan.

Monday: 1 hour Spinning + 150 total crunches/bicycles/other oblique crunches + 90 second plank (it's getting easier, as long as you don't watch the seconds sloooowly tick down to 0). 

Tuesday: 2.11 mile easy run w/husband 

Wednesday: 40 42 minute tempo run = 3.93 miles

Thursday: 1 hour Boot Camp

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 4 mile pace run = 6.46 mi 

Sunday: 10.49 mile long run

Total: 22.99 miles for the week.

Don't forget to check out my Sweaty Bands giveaway
You can enter up until this Thursday at 10pm EST.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

How much running gear is too much??

But first, it's Long Run Sunday!

These deer were watching me.  Not my house.

My horse friend.

Big field I run by after the horses.

1.5 miles before the end of my run.

52F and sunny when I started out at 4pm.  10.49 miles in 2 hours.  Avg Heart Rate: 172; Max HR 183.  Went well.  I had an "island nectars" gu at about 5.5 miles, after stopping to photograph my horse friend (reflected in my lap 6 pace).  Cool down was a jog for .3 miles; walk for .2 miles.

As I was preparing for my long run both last week and this week, I asked myself:

How much stuff is TOO much stuff to bring with me running?

I got my snazzy little ifitness pouch back in the fall after seeing that at my half marathon expo.  It is great for running with my small camera, not to mention holding my license, keys, and maybe some shot bloks or gu.

I just recently got the hand held water bottle which I em enjoying for my longer runs, as the weather is warming up and my long runs are getting longer.  It has a key hook and room for a gu in the zip pouch.

My Garmin accompanies me on all my runs.

And I run with music about once a week.  I don't want to become too dependent on music for keeping me motivated, but I'm starting to consider running with music for my upcoming half marathon (I did not run with music for my previous two halfs).  It's going to be a more low-key half marathon, through a park, without spectators lining the course.  I might require a little extra motivation to get me through the hills, too.  I don't play my music loud enough to drown out other noises, so I am not concerned with the music making me oblivious to my surroundings.

I don't always run with ALL this stuff...but last week I did run with the watch, my water bottle and the mp3 player.  Which meant I had something in each hand, which wasn't really an issue but I felt kind of ridiculous. 

Today I ran with the ifitness pouch, which carried my camera, license, and mp3 player (set on a play list so I wouldn't have to hit any buttons).  Also wore the watch, and carried my water bottle which held the gu & apartment keys.

1. What do you bring with you on your long runs?
2. Do you run with music??  What are your thoughts on music during races?

Great pace run!

Yesterday I was supposed to do a 4 mile pace run.  It was sunny and about 45 out-- beautiful!  I am so ready for spring.  I was happy to have a chance to wear shorts again!  Hubs felt like running today too, so we started off together for our warm up.

Our warm up started off up-hill and into the wind.  For mile 2, we decided to head into one of the nearby parks, only to find there were still LARGE patches of ice in the spots that don't get much sun, and mud and standing water in other spots due to the rain we got yesterday.  We walked across the ice and carefully ran through the mud until we finally got to the paved road in the park.  We parted ways at the end of mile 2 and he began to head back home, and I began the 'pace' portion of my run (goal pace-- 10:23-10:45).

Running through the sticky mud apparently made running on dry land seem easy.  I blew away my goal paces (see laps 3-6).  Here were my splits:

Going into the run and after our slower warm up miles, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to hit the right paces for four whole miles.  After the first pace mile in 10:17, I was shocked and amazed!  I kept it up for the next mile and actually had to slow myself down because I ran the first .4 miles of that lap at a 9:45 pace...woah.  I was able to slow it down to a 10:04.  I was happy to keep up the pace for the following two miles at 10:12 and 10:15 despite running up some hills.

I definitely didn't intend to run these miles faster than my goal pace, but I'm glad I was able to!  It was very easy for the first two, and only slightly more difficult for the second two.  I was able to maintain my heart rate in a good range for the duration.  My average heart rate for the run was 171.

I was wondering if running faster than my half marathon goal pace was defeating the point of the pace run, but since my half is not on a flat course (see below) maybe it's good that I am pushing myself a little harder and running on not-perfectly flat ground (though not nearly as hilly as the race course...gulp).

Crazy half marathon elevation map.

If you haven't already, be sure to check out my Sweaty Band giveaway!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sweaty Bands Review and Giveaway!

My hair is a big curly frizzy mess.  Sometimes I spend ridiculous amounts of time trying to tame it; sometimes I give up.  I need to tame it before I go for a run.  Otherwise, the wind will have pieces of my hair falling in my face and I will look very smart to cars passing me as I appear to be slapping myself in the face/eye to remove my stray hair.

What do I use to tame my messy hair?  In cold weather, I love my lululemon earwarmer/head band.
 (I don't mean to look mad in this picture).

When it's too warm for an earwarmer, I go with a hat.  But sometimes a hat is too warm.  While the myth has apparently been debunked that the most heat leaves through your head, my head still feels warm with a hat on it.  I deeply regretted my decision to wear a hat for my September half marathon in the 70s.

Luckily the hat and sunglasses cover most of my face so you can't see that it is beet-red.

I have previously tried elastic headbands from Scunci that look like huge ponytail elastics, meant to go around your entire head.  They do not stay put for me. I turned to the internet to find a no-slip headband.  In my search, some of the brands I found were lululemon, Bondi bands, and Sweaty Bands.

I read mixed reviews of lululemon's headbands, and Bondi bands are a little too wide for my taste.  My interest was piqued by Sweaty Bands.  I contacted Sweaty Bands directly to ask if they might be interested in providing me with a Sweaty Band for review/giveaway on my blog.  They kindly agreed and sent me one for each!

Note: I was not compensated for this review in any way besides being provided the two Sweaty Bands for review and giveaway.  This review represents my honest opinion after using the sweaty band while running.

I decided to wear the thinner one (1 inch wide) for my review as I feel I have a tiny head (I had to buy a kid's ski helmet).  The outside is a pretty fabric, the inside is a velvet lining to grip your hair without any "slipping or causing breakage."  There is elastic in the very back of the band for an adjustable fit.

I have now worn my Sweaty Band on THREE Runs.  I apologize in advance for the greasy-haired, sweaty pictures of myself. 

An 8.87 mi long run (referenced here)

a 4.91 mile pace run:

and a 9.17 mile long run:


The sweaty band stayed put for all three runs!  I will also say I'm not used to wearing a headband, and a couple times I felt like it might have been shifting but when I reached up and touched my head, the Sweaty Band was right where I put it.  It even stayed put while wearing over-the-ear earbuds for my mp3 player on my most recent long run.  The sweaty band did a great job of keeping stray hairs from flying in my face, and it was comfortable to wear.

Other fun facts:
-Made in the USA!
-Hand wash, drip dry.
-They have a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
-Available in solids or designs, even reflective fabric! and in a variety of sizes (thick, thin, and for kids)

Now for the fun part!  Sweaty Bands has provided me with a sweaty band to give away!  My very first giveaway!!

This Sweaty Band is 1.5" thick and is a pretty springy/summery shade of blue with light pink polka dots.

The Details:
Prize: One Thick Sweaty Band.
Who is Eligible: Residents of US and Canada.

How to Enter:
One Entry for each item below-- (Leave a Separate Comment for Each!)
1. Follow my blog?  Leave a comment letting me know.  If you don't already follow, you can do so by clicking on "subscribe to posts" on the right hand side of the page underneath "Blog Archive."
2. Check out  Leave a comment sharing an item that catches your eye, and what activity you would use your Sweaty Band for.
3. Post about this giveaway on your blog and comment here with the link.
4. Post about this giveaway on twitter and comment here with your twitter name.
Giveaway closes: Thursday, March 3, 2011 at 10 pm EST.

Winner will be selected through and will be announced on this blog by the morning of Saturday, March 5th, and contacted by email.  So please be sure to leave your email address in your entry, or make sure it is easily accessible if I click through to your blog.

A big thanks to Sweaty Bands!  Check out Sweaty Bands on: their website, twitter, and facebook.

PS, Check out their Valentine's Day Special through Feb 28.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tempo Run + Tuesday Happenings

Today after work I did a 40 minute tempo run.

Because Hal says a 45 min tempo run should be 15 minutes of warm up, 20 minutes of 10k pace (ish), and 10 minutes of cool down-- my goal for a 40 minute tempo run was: 12ish minutes of warm up, 18ish minutes of 10k pace, and 10ish minutes of cool down.

Here are my laps:

It's weird that those times add up to 42:16, but Garmin thinks it's 42:18?  
I don't care about the total time, just an observation...

What's super awesome is that my goal for the those 18ish minutes in the middle was a 9:49-10:07 pace (that's the 10k pace based on a half marathon goal time of 2:16-2:20, according to the McMillan running calculator).  I was shooting for a nice round 10:00 in my head.  And really excited to have hit the faster end of that range!

Time to treat myself to something calling my name in our freezer...

That's right, 3 pints of delicious ice cream from an awesome local dairy (for only $5!)

To be honest, I tried to pick up some delicious cupcakes from my favorite bakery on Monday after meeting my husband for lunch...but I forgot they are closed on Mondays!  So sad :(

Since I was unable to get cupcakes, I clearly needed to get ice cream Tuesday morning.

Tuesday was a pretty awesome and productive day:  I had off from work.
-I got an oil change
-Donated two large bags of clothing (finally!! That was part of my decluttering goal)

 (This is actually less than half of what I got rid of.  It was this plus a large kitchen sized garbage bag).

-Thought about getting a car wash to get the salt off my car, but realized there was still lots of junk on the roads to get sprayed onto the clean car.  Car Wash can wait.  Instead, I got the above-mentioned ice cream.
-Met a friend for lunch
-Used my Massage Envy gift certificate
-Went for a short 2ish mile easy run with the hubs when he got home.  Not as long as the 4ish easy miles in my training plan, but I wasn't going to turn down a running partner.

Recap: Training Week 6 - half way!

Plan for Week 6:

4 mi 
40 min 

As I wrote last week, I swapped the end of week 5 with the end of week 6 to allow for skiing.  I also swapped tempo run/speed work between weeks.  So really, this week looked nothing like the plan called for!

What I actually did:

2/14: Sat/Drove in car for 6 hours back from Vermont.
2/15: 3.79 mi easy run on sore calves (a.k.a. Old Man Shuffle)
2/16: 4x800@10k pace (faster!) = 4.68 miles
2/17: 1 hr Boot Camp - biceps, triceps, legs, and as always, lots of crunches and planks mixed in.
2/18: 3 mi pace run = 4.91 miles
2/19: Rest
2/20: Long Run: 9.17 miles

Total: 22.55 miles!

Can't believe I'm half way through training already, less than 6 weeks til the half!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Review: Camelbak QuickGrip Handheld Water Bottle

As mentioned before, I recently got a new water bottle.  I am looking forward to many long runs with my new friend:

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I understand this is kind of ridiculous because…we already have lots of water bottles.


But this one is nothing like the others we have.

Last summer and fall I used the blue Nalgene bottle, or later – the clear and orange bike bottle from a local bike shop – for my long runs.  Neither keeps the water cold…so I would just fill the bottle half way, stick in the freezer, then top off with water right before my run. Or fill with ice cubes.  On hot days, the ice might have lasted 30 minutes if I was lucky.

The other issue was holding it.  The bike bottle was easier to hold because it’s narrower near the top.  I would occupy myself on long runs by switching which hand I was carrying the bottle with at various intervals.
Enthralling, I know.

For the past 6ish months I have been contemplating a bottle with a pouch/holder.  Here are some of the other bottles I had considered: Nathan Quick Draw Elite, Ultimate Direction Fastdraw Plus (both 21 oz)

Also the Nathan Quick Draw Plus, (21 oz)

and then also the smaller 10 oz Fuel Belt Sprint bottle.

In the end I went with the Camelbak Quick Grip because of the insulated bottle.

I read a lot of mixed reviews on the mouthpieces for both the Nathan and the Ultimate Direction bottles. (who knows if people messed them up by throwing them in the dishwasher though? I am always a little skeptical of website reviews).  And...because I don't mind carrying a fuller bottle of water, I didn't know how helpful the 10 oz would be for my long runs...I stuck with the 21 oz.

Really, I would have found a pouch/holder on its own if I could, since I should have been able to use it on the bike bottle.  But apparently you can’t buy these things on their own?  I couldn’t find one, anyway.  So the Camelbak bottle adds something different that we don’t already have in our extensive water bottle collection.

Here’s an overview of the features I like:
  • Zip pocket with internal key hook
  • Reflectivity on pouch and strap
  • Adjustable strap for smaller hands!
  • Insulated bottle
  • Lockable, leak-proof bottle top
Here are the stats according to the tag:

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I’m not sure which dimensions they are giving there (maybe if the holder were off of the bottle?)
The overall bottle height is about 9.5”.  The diameter at the bottom of the bottle is about 2.5”, but it swells out to be wider than that where the pack is.

The pocket is just under 3.75” tall.  At the top, it is about 2.75” wide.  At the bottom of the zip pouch it is just under 2.5” wide.  The pocket is not big enough for my old Motorola Razr phone, or my current Blackberry.
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The zip pocket IS big enough for a Gu, chapstick, and two house keys. You do need to fold down the top of a Gu to get it to fit.

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And actually, there is a key hook inside the pouch which I should have used on my run yesterday.  Because I had a klutzy moment on my run yesterday where I took my gu out, and took a swig from my bottle…and oh yeah, that pocket was still open and my keys fell on the side of the road.  Real smart.  If I had utilized the hook, I wouldn’t have been scrambling in the shoulder to grab my keys.

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I know reviews of various handheld bottles complain about the weight.  Yes, a 21-ounce bottle filled with water is going to be heavy.  In this case, Camelbak says it will weight 1.42 lbs when filled.  Good news- it will get lighter as you drink!

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The Camelbak + pack weighs 5.0 oz; the bike bottle on the right is 3.1 oz.  So empty, there’s not a huge weight difference from adding the pack.

Check out the reflectivity!  This is also where you can cinch the strap tighter once it’s on your hand:

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Depending on what's comfortable for you, you could hold the bottle with your hand in a half circle (thumb in the same direction as the rest of your fingers)-

Or with your thumb wrapped around the bottle.

I'm sure it's more comfortable for people with larger hands.  My hands are on the small side and only wrap about half way around the bottle, but it worked.

I can’t speak to how well the water bottle works at insulating yet as it’s still cold outside, but I will report back once spring is here!

Lastly, the top of the bottle prevents unwanted spilling.  When you want water, you rotate the nozzle into the position pictured below, and squeeze the bottle.

If it’s in this position, and totally upside-down, but you don’t squeeze…water doesn’t leak out!!  Amazing.

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

New Food: Israeli Couscous + Long Run Sunday

Last night's dinner was Mahi Mahi!  Hubs seasoned the filets in a jerk seasoning then pan seared them.  On the side was some broccoli and an Israeli couscous blend.

I found the Golden Jewel blend at Wegmans yesterday:


It's a blend of Israeli coucous (which I've never had before!), tri-colored orzo, split baby garbanzo beans, and red quinoa.  You can see the full nutrition details through the link above.  But per serving, it's got 1g of fat, 2g of fiber, and 6g of protein.

Here's what it looks like in better detail:

I really liked it, it was a nice change from plain couscous or jasmine rice.  As you can see, the round white pieces are much bigger than regular couscous, and I would say they were moister than regular couscous.  I enjoyed the variety of textures in the mix.  And it took all of 22 minutes to make on the stove top.

Long Run

This afternoon it was around 40F and sunny and I got in my long run, which turned out to be 9.17 miles.  I ran til 9.0 then jogged/walked the remaining .17 home for my cool down.

It was my Camelbak Quick Grip's inaugural run.

Here's an awkward picture of me, sweaty, after my run posing with my new beloved bottle.

Will post more specifics on the bottle in the next couple days.  I'm not sure if I ever posted about this run top either; it's from lululemon, I lurve it.

My first 1-6 miles were at paces ranging from 11:19 to 12:50 due to waiting for traffic lights and having cars honk at me to ask for directions.  I then thought I'd pick up the pace to see if I was capable on tired legs-- Mile 7 was 11:02, Mile 8 was 10:43 and Mile 9 was 10:33.

Oh! And because I last ate about 3 hours before my run, I packed a little gu in my water bottle pocket.  I had it around mile 4.6 right after I stopped to give someone directions.  It was the first time I had mint chocolate and I REALLY liked it much better than I expected to.  It sat well for the rest of my run too (Mint chocolate gu courtesy of Nicole's giveaway on her blog Running Around the Rock).

My previous gu flavors have been Espresso Love and Vanilla.

I was proud of keeping my heart rate mostly below 170, except when I kicked it up a notch toward the end.  My average HR was 165 and max HR was 184.

I have a couple posts I want to write for early this week including a review of the Camelbak Quick Grip plus a giveaway!  Good thing I have off from work tomorrow to work on that.
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