Monday, May 31, 2010

Elm Tree Wildcat Rumble 5K Race Recap

Saturday morning was the Elm Tree Elementary School's Wildcat Rumble 5K in Bentonville.  This was going to be a family event with both of my sister's and their children participating in the Fun Run and 5K too.  Lindsey and I were signed up for the 5K which had an 8 AM start time.  My goal for the race was to finish in under 30 minutes in order to run with Gavin during the 1 mile Fun Run that started at 8:30. 

 The Rush Running Team was out in full force with Mike and his store employees timing the race.  Last year this race was a little short so I was happy to note that the start/finish line had been moved to lengthen the race.  We kicked off the race and it was fairly uneventful for me.  The temps were low 70's but it felt hot with most of the course being in the sun.  The course was an out and back that included two loops through two different neighborhoods.  I got to see Lindsey as I exited the second loop just after mile 2.  I also ran into a co-worker who was heading through town to the Big Ride on his bike.  He rode next to me for a few seconds and we chatted. 

I was disappointed in the lack of course support at this race.  There were no directional arrows or signs anywhere on the course.  I knew the course only from doing it the previous year.  As I exited the first neighborhood loop, I ran into a walker who didn't know that she needed to go up one more street before turning.  My sister who was run/walking made a similar comment that she just didn't know where to go.  Also, there were a couple of street crossings that didn't have anyone there to manage cars for the runners.  As I was finishing there were some kids near me running by themselves and I was worried that they wouldn't look for cars before crossing the street to return to the school. 

Overall, the race went well and I think my time was around 29:06...good enough for 2nd in my age group!  I was happy with that time since I hadn't run much during the week and it was HOT!!!

A little race hardware!
After the run finished, I was trying to figure out where the fun run was starting.  As we were waiting, Lindsey finished and was just in time to do the fun run as a cooldown.  All morning Gavin had told us that he was just going to walk for the fun run and not race.  We should have known that wouldn't stick because as soon as the fun run started Gavin wanted to run.  Lindsey told him he should run with me and so off we went.  The fun run started by crossing a grass path and then running a lap around the school.  We had a little stumble near the end of the grass path where it transitioned to sidewalk.  I thought Gavin was going to be out of the race with the face he made and the limp he started to have but he shook it off and we got back onto our pace.  Gavin finished and was so proud of beating Whitney! He couldn't wait to tell the rest of our gang.  I sort of told him that he couldn't have any ice cream until he did the fun run and even then I had to make him wait a few minutes more until Lindsey and Kristen finished with Lily Cate. 
My nephew Gavin after our one mile fun run.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Change of Plans Tuesday

Tonight's workout plan for my friend Kyla and me was to do a brick workout by riding with the International Group and then doing a run afterwards.  As I was getting ready to leave the house, there was thunder rumbling and dark clouds forming.  It looked like the storms were to the North and we might be able to ride but these were the pop-up kind of storms.  In a span of 15 minutes, the radar went from just a few storms in the area to a line of storms to the West (the main direction of most of our rides.)  We debated for quite some time on what to do...wait out the storms or change plans.

In the end we decided to totally change our plans and go for a swim at the Fitness Center.  As we got to the gym, the rain started coming down really heavy so it was a good choice! We swam for about 45 minutes and the main focus of our workout was 100m repeats.  The interval was perfectly stressed me out just enough but I made it and kept my splits fairly even.  The rest time went by way too fast though and  I definitely need to work on my flip turns because I am losing time when I don't do them.  We concluded with a set of 50m's where we did IM strokes for the first 25 and then crawl for the second 25, so the order was Fly/Free, Back/Free, Breast/Free and repeat.  I'm still struggling with my butterfly so I've been doing it with one arm and trying to improve my rhythm. 

Swimming faster with the interval work tonight made the workout challenging but somehow swimming feels more relaxing than either biking or running.  It was still raining some as I left the gym and I saw a huge rainbow on my way home! 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday Brain Exchange

Jill over at Finishing is Winning posts a new question each week.  Here is the topic for this week:

Question: What are your summer race plans? Are you trying anything new this year? What race are you looking most forward to?

My summer race plans are going to focus on 5K's and Sprint Triathlons.  I've got a 5K this weekend...I like to do a race on Memorial Day Weekend and again on Labor Day Weekend to track my training progress during the summer.  The race this weekend will be supporting a local school.  Last year the race was just a little short so I hope they have that corrected for this year.  Next weekend, I have a Sprint Triathlon which will kickoff my multi-sport endeavors for the year.  For the rest of the summer, I'll try to mix in some local races and a couple within 1-2 hours of home. 

The Firecracker 5K includes fun craft projects for the kids...
as a Super Auntie I love to do crafts with my niece and nephew!

The races that I am looking forward to are the Firecracker 5K over 4th of July weekend and the Run for a Child 5K on Labor Day.  Both of these races are on challenging courses with lots of hills, heat, and humidity but they are a lot of fun.  I'm also looking forward to the Shark Sprint Triathlon because it was my first triathlon last year and I'm hoping to see some improvement now that I understand more about the sport. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Some good giveaways

Check out this great giveaway from Beth at Shut Up and Run.  It includes a mix pack of items including a $50 Walgreens gift card.

Kelly at Secrets of a Running Mom is giving away a wicking tank from One More Mile which have lots of fun sayings. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Whoo Hoo Wednesday

Today I got to visit one of my favorite stores...Trader Joe's! I stocked up on some of my favorite treats including the Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels...yummy! I also loaded up on lots of their soups which are low in calories and filling. 

Also, in some fun news today I bought some new road biking shoes.  I tend to suffer from sleepy toes in my current shoes which are soft-soled.  Hopefully, the new shoes will fix that problem.

Finally, the whoo hoo is for the fact that we are only a week and a half away from Memorial Day and Summer!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday Brain Exchange

Sorry for skipping the MBE last week. The Monday Brain Exchange is sponsored by Jill at  Each week she posts a topic for bloggers to discuss and this week's topic is quite timely with the temps rising and summer on it's way!

Question: The heat is on its way (and for some has already made its arrival) and the summer is getting close What are some of your tried and true summer running tips for staying safe and cool in the heat?
Well, the heat is a tough thing to tackle! I keep most of my runs in the evenings even during the heat of the summer.  I figure you can't pick the weather for a race so training during the heat is a necessity.  For me, one of the most important things to remember is to hydrate and that begins long before your run or workout even begins.  I try to drink lots of water throughout the day. 

Another thing that helps make workouts more bearable is packing a small Ziploc bag with water, ice, and a washcloth.  It is amazing how a quick wipe of the sweat off your face can improve your workout.  Also when I am doing track work or repeats where you have a set amount of recovery time, I try to stand in the shade for my recovery time...even 30 sec in the shade can make a difference.

Finally, apparel is very important.  I don't run in anything cotton! I make sure I pick fabrics that are good at wicking the sweat and also lighter in color for really hot days.  I sometimes wear a Bondi band or visor to keep the sweat out of my face and or protect my face from the sun. For bike rides, I usually switch to sleeveless jerseys and lots of sunscreen. 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

And the Winner of the $10 Shop Etc. Giftcard Is...

I used the Random Between Function of Excel to generate a random number for the entries into the contest.  The winner is Lyndi who is also known as NWA Foodie (her comment was #10 which matched the number generated in Excel.) If you live in the NWA area, you should check out Lyndi's blog for great restaurant reviews and tips for gourmet ingredients in our local area. 

Congratulations and Thanks to all for entering.  Stay tuned for my review and giveaway of the book Delivering Happiness - A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose in a few weeks.  

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thursday Threads!

Today I received a package from Banana Blossom Press which was a prize that I won from Erica last week.  The package contained one of their signature t-shirts which are super soft and light weight.  The shirt was beautifully packaged with one of their cards on the outside.  Sidenote: I can't wait to order their cards to share with my friends as they get ready for big races this season!

I tried on the shirt and love the mix of gray with a splash of lime green.  I can't wait to try it out on a run and see what reactions the slogan gets...
So, I'm not really lopsided...just goofy while posing!
 Also, this week one of my friends returned from a two-week trip to India with presents for me.  Her husband is a former cricket player who still is involved in the Indian Premier League which is a professional cricket league.  They are supporters of the Rajasthan Royals team and throughout the season, she and I would keep track of how the team was doing.  Her husband promised me a t-shirt and picked out this limited edition Puma shirt for me.  It is kind of neat to look at some of the matches on YouTube just to see how similar it is to a pro sporting event in the US...they even have mascots and cheerleaders (plus there are sometimes Bollywood performances at the games!) She also got me a beautiful silk wrap that is full of my favorite colors and was designed by one of her friends.
Can't wait to show my support for the Royals next year...
or Kochi but only if they are called the Kochi Koconuts!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It's Official - Triathlon season starts June 5th!

I've officially signed up for my first Triathlon of the season... the Sprint distance in the Athena division! Deciding on the division took a lot of thought for me because it just doesn't seem right to not do the regular age group option.  I definitely need to get in some brick workouts over the next few weeks and I would love to get at least one open water swim in just to remember not to panic in the water! When are you kicking off your triathlon season this year?

Joe Martin Stage Race

Don't forget to enter my Shop Etc. $10 gift card giveaway!

Northwest Arkansas rocks for many different of which is the Joe Martin Stage Race.  Here is a brief description of this event which takes place in and around Fayetteville every year during Mother's Day weekend:

The Joe Martin Stage Race is part of the National Race Calendar (NRC) which is the pro and elite amateur cycling tour of USA Cycling. USA Cycling is the national governing body of cycling operating under the United States Olympic Committee.  More than $50,000 in cash and over $10,000 in merchandise will be given away over the four-day, four event Pro/Elite category and 2-day, 3-stage amateur category races.  Over 700 athletes from 19 countries and more than 45 states attend the race.

This year I went down with friends to watch the Criterium on Sunday which is the last event of the stage race.  The pros race for 90 minutes on a loop course that is 1.4 miles of tight turns, fast downhills, and uphill climbs. It is really neat to watch the line of pros navigate the course... especially the turns where the smell of brake pads tends to fill the air and carnage is sure to be seen at least once or twice.  We were still finishing lunch when the pro race started but had a good view of one turn from our table at US Pizza.  As typical, the service was slow...but the food was good.  We had to beg for some crackers and ranch to tide us over while we waited for our orders!

Sorry, their yellow shoes were cracking me up!
Especially since most of this team was wearing red socks.
After finishing up with lunch, we headed down Dickson to a turn at the bottom of a fast downhill section of the loop.  By this point in the race there was a breakaway of 4 riders and Floyd Landis (probably the most well-known name competing this year) was working hard to catch the breakaway.  We stayed at this spot for a few loops.  We then moved down towards the next turn and I was able to get a picture of Floyd working hard between the main group and the breakaway.

Floyd Landis working to catch the breakaway.
We got to the next turn in time to see someone being loaded onto an ambulance and shortly thereafter another crash.  We learned from friends at this spot that they had seen at least 5 crashes during just the pro race alone.  We kept moving and eventually made our way to the finish.  There were a couple of bell laps where the lead rider could earn a small cash bonus.  I was happy to cheer on the Team Garmin Transitions rider who was in the breakaway group.  I think he managed to win a couple of the bell lap prizes.  I really started liking Team Garmin Transitions last year during the Tour de France.

With just a few laps to go, the breakaway group lost 2 riders to the pack and the pack significantly closed the gap.  The final sprint to the finish was really exciting to watch as the pack pretty much swallowed the lead racers.  I caught another picture of Floyd finishing up with the pack and thought it was funny that the announcer thanked him as he crossed the finish.  It was a great event and I wish more people would come out to support these racers.  We are so truly lucky to have such an amazing race in our backyard. 

Monday, May 10, 2010

Delivering Happiness via a Giveaway!

A few weeks ago I received my first product to review which will be coming up in June.  To get ready for that Review and Giveaway of Zappos.Com CEO Tony Hsieh's book Delivering Happiness A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose, I am hosting my first giveaway... $10 Shop Etc. gift card. A little cash always helps deliver some happiness, right!

The Shop Etc. Gift Card is valid at most retailers or restaurants that accept American Express located in the United States.  Funds never expire and can be used until the total value has been spent, giving the shopper maximum flexibility. This card has a $10 value and can be used for whatever brings you happiness!

You can enter this giveaway by doing any of the following...and please leave a comment for each.  If you are not a blogger, please leave your email in your comment so that I have someway to contact you in case you win. Entries will close on Friday, May 14th at Midnight CST.  

1) Leave a comment telling me what brings you happiness!
2) Become a follower or email subscriber of this blog.
3) Post this giveaway on your blog, Twitter, or Facebook

The winner will be chosen at random from the entries.  Good luck to all!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Gold Rush 5K Race Recap

Friday was First Friday on the Bentonville Square and the Bentonville School Foundation hosted a 5K run with the festivities. The First Friday is a fun celebration that happens once a month and brings out all kinds of food vendors, music and dancers, and vendor booths that relate to the theme for the month. May had a general spring theme and included martial arts demonstrations and a French vendor selling all kinds of crepes!

The Starting Line of the Race
Back to the race! The race had a 6:30PM start time and I got down to the square around 5:30. There was hardly anyone around for the race even though nearly 700 people were registered. Various team members were hanging around and eventually everyone headed off in their own directions for warmup. I chose a warmup route that was flat and took me by my friend Kyla's house. She hadn't left yet for the race so she joined up with me for the return to the square. We got back and the people had all magically appeared! There were lines at the porta potties so we headed down to a top secret one at the construction site for the future Splash Pad/Ice Rink site just a block away. Nikki had pointed it out during the start of the warmup and I didn't think I would actually be heading back to it.

We headed back to the start line and I kept running into friends. The start line was filling up quickly and there were lots of kids moving to the front of the corral which looked like it could turn into a bit of a cluster! I got to the left side of the road where I thought it would be less chaotic. I took a last minute look at my shoes and decided to double knot them and try to prevent my shoes from coming untied like they did during Race for the Cure. The gun went off and we headed out 2nd Street.

The race was relatively simple with only two turns and the turn around point. It was an out and back along 2nd and J Streets that was relatively flat but had some slight inclines and an uphill finish. I heard my Garmin beep at each mile but I made an effort to not look at my watch. I had no clue how I was doing during the race...I was just trying to maintain a nice steady pace and not take any walk breaks! I cheered for all my Rush friends as they made their way back from the turn around point. I tried to pick up the pace some on the return trip down 2nd Street because I knew there would be a tough finish to tackle.

Looking from the finish...notice the hill near the trees!

The end of the race included a downhill rolling straight into the uphill finish. As I came out of the downhill, I looked towards the finish line and it was a sea of people! I heard Mike Rush on the bullhorn and I'm pretty sure he called for me to use Quick Legs. He definitely told me to run through to him which was good because I really couldn't tell where the actual finish was. I gave it my all and was shocked to see a 2 on the clock meaning I was going to finish under 30 minutes! My final time was 28:24 which is about 40 sec off my PR time. Not too bad and much better than I was anticipating.

Here's some of the girls! Me, Kyla, Nikki, and Robyn!
Robyn's husband Justin was jealous of the
girl's pic so he got one of his own!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tall Mom's Virtual 5K

Today was Tall Mom's 3 High Fives Virtual 5K.  I signed up for the race a week or so ago to help Mel raise money for Susan G. Komen.  With the Gold Rush 5K on Friday night, I didn't plan to really race the goal was to just get in some tempo work.  I started out at the trailhead and followed the trail out for right about 3 miles. It was nearly 80 out and sunny and it takes me a while to acclimate to the warm weather.  Plus I was really noticing my calves felt tight from my bike ride last night. 

I turned around at 3 miles on my Garmin and pressed start on my Timex (yep, I rocked two watches tonight!) I did pretty good for the first mile...but then I let the little voices in my head talk me into some walking time and from then on I really struggled to stay on my pace.  I didn't have trouble getting back into a quick pace...I just had trouble maintaining the confidence that I could keep up with the pace.  I had to go the extra 1/10 mile past the lot I parked in to end up with an actual 5K.  In the end, I had a 32:49 time for my 1st virtual 5K.  I will definitely give myself a rest day tomorrow so that my legs feel a little bit more fresh for my 5K on Friday night. Tonight I ended up with 6.25 miles which was great. 

Tall Mom asked us to design our own race here is my creative genius!
That's right, in honor of Cinco de Mayo I decided to have bib number 5 made out of 5 jars of Mayo! Don't worry I'm fully aware of the cheesiness of my bib!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Monday Brain Exchange - Motivation

It's a little late, but here is this week's Monday Brain Exchange from Jill at

Question: What/Who motivates you? What do you tell yourself when you are struggling? How do you keep going when it is too cold, too windy, too hot, too humid, too early, too late, etc…?

I think the best motivation for me is having races on my calendar. This helps me focus and define what training I have to get done to make my goals.

I don't have a solid track record for handling weather adversity in my running. I'm notorious for skipping workouts if there is precipitation falling! I just hate getting my shoes wet! I don't mind a light mist but anything more than that and you can find me at home. I deal with heat by carrying water with me...during the summer I become really dependent on water during runs. I'll also take short walk breaks if I feel like I'm getting too hot and need a breather.

Lastly for the mental motivation, I rely on my friends and running partners to motivate me when the workout gets tough. I've got such a good group of friends that also happen to be training partners and we all encourage and support each other. When I'm running by myself, I'll talk to myself and remind myself that I've run so many miles in my life that another won't hurt me and it's just 10 minutes!

What a Tuesday!

First, I obviously need to work on my timer/photo skills! I didn't realize that the straps of my bike rack were included in the picture! Here's me and Kyla before tonight's bike ride...yep, we were unintentional twins.

We had a great group of girls riding tonight and we were all wearing bright fun colors. Britt, Maja, Kyla, and I got a 15 mile ride in which included a few hills and some sprint intervals. The sprints got me scared for our first time trial on the bike. Last year we did 30 minute time trials and I'm not sure I could handle that today. We'll soon find out because we are planning a time trial soon. We basically do a warm-up of a couple miles to a country highway with 8 foot shoulders. We start at the entrance to a subdivision which is the point that the highway becomes relatively flat for 10 miles or so. We hammer out for 20 minutes, turn back and continue hammering for another 10 minutes. It is tough but fun to realize how fast you can truly go and maintain over time. I'll keep you posted once we have the workout scheduled...I'm really hoping to improve my bike speed this year.

Last night was our weekly speed workout called Rush Hour. The workout sounded okay at the onset but it was just rough. We did 800m at 10K pace, 30 sec. rest, 1000m at 1 mile pace, 30 sec. rest, 800m at 10K pace. We did two sets of this with just a 2 minute rest in between sets. That rest time just goes by way too fast. I ended up with 5.75 miles for the night and rushed out afterwards for dinner at Kurt and Kyla's house with AJ, Keegan, Kurt, and Kyla. It was an awesome dinner accompanied by really delish sangria and it was so much fun to just hang out.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Weekend Recap

I have had a very busy weekend workout wise! Here's my recap starting with Friday Night Hill repeats.

Friday - Hill Repeats with the Rush Running group.  We had some late afternoon storms on Friday and I made the mistake of only looking at the temperature online before the workout.  I went with some capri pants since the temp was just 61.  I should have also checked the humidity because it was ridiculously high and I could tell during the warm-up that I was going to be hot for the repeats.  I had a Shut Up and Run moment when I had to take a potty break during the must have been a girl thing because 3 of the 4 girls there that night all had to take pee breaks during the warmup.  Luckily we were running in a vacant subdivision and didn't have to worry about passing traffic.  Our warm-up was exactly 1 mile to the the hill and then the workout was 6-8 repeats of 1/4 mile long hill.  The hill is steep for the first half and then levels out for the second part.  It was tough to eek out the 6 repeats that I did but I know that hill repeats really help with my fitness.  I ended up with right around 5 miles for the night.

Saturday - Run from the Square. I met up with the group for the Saturday morning run and the humidity was horrible again.  Most of the group was doing 4-6 miles but I wanted to get my long run done by doing at least 8 miles.  I started off okay but soon realized I should have been carrying water.  Somehow around mile 3, I managed to turn off my Garmin for about 1/2 mile. In addition to that, I thought that I was on a route that would be 8 1/2 miles but realized around mile 5 that I had skipped a section of the run and would end up short.  There was a race going on that morning so I decided to run by the race site in order to grab a water.  I struggled on a few hills in the mile to the race location and was happily surprised to see Dr. Scott from Maximum Performance Chiropractic on site.  I got a quick ART treatment on my right calf and stood up in time to see the lead runner heading into the finish.  It was Atticus from the Rush Running Racing team and he won the race! I cheered him into the finish line and then got moving on to finish up my run.  I ended up at the square and still had a mile to go so I tacked on a short out and back to end up with 8 miles on my Garmin plus the 1/2 mile that I had missed!

Sunday - Brick workout with Britt and Mandy. A local triathlete sent out an email on Friday that he was hosting a brick workout from his house on Sunday. (Thanks Jon for hosting!) I knew at least one of the girls was going so I decided to give it a try. We ended up with 5 people going about 24 miles and 4 people going 45 miles. We rode into a headwind for quite a bit but the otherwise the weather was perfect. I might have even ended up with a little bit of a sunburn...those overcast skies always fool you! Britt, Mandy, and I took it easy since this was the longest the three of us had ridden this year, plus it is just so much for be social and catch up with each other. We took a water stop at our halfway point and even posed for some pictures! We did just a short run after...just enough to get the legs to turnover. Only a month of so until my first triathlon of the season in early June!

Mandy rocking the water stop!

Britt...she's like Mike Rush on wheels and always pushes me!