Sunday, September 30, 2012

My Big Week

Last week was a big week for me because it was my Birthday Week!!! My birthday was on Thursday and as someone who loves birthdays I enjoyed celebrating it all week.  One of my first birthday memories is from my 5th birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese where I lost my brand new charm necklace in the ball crawl. 
Item image
Not my actual necklace but if you were a child of the 80's then you remember how awesome these necklaces were and I'm sure you can imagine how devastated I was to lose mine.  Side note...some of the charm necklaces like this one on eBay are selling for $50.  Crazy!

Over the years my birthdays have included several tiaras and lots of fun memories.  This year was just as special as the 33 before it!  First up was a beautiful double rainbow as I walked into work.  The morning began kind of rainy and as I arrived at the office the sun was just coming out and the sky was a beautiful shade of orange.  Originally, I only saw one rainbow but as I walked around the building I discovered that there were two!

I got upstairs and my desk was covered in Hershey's kisses spelling out Happy B-Day which was a cute surprise from one of my co-workers.  Another team mate, brought in some cookies to help celebrate.  Then just before 8:30, my Mom called to wish me a happy birthday.  She and I had celebrated over the weekend since she was heading out of town on my actual birthday.  During our lunch we talked about when I was actually born.  My oldest sister was a c-section since she was breach and that led to all three of us being born via c-section.  My mom knew we were all born in the morning but she couldn't recall the exact times.  Once she got home she found my birth certificate and called to let me know that I was born at 8:30 AM!  I don't know how I lived almost 34 years without knowing that but I'm so glad to know it now. 

It was a busy work day and I got out to a late lunch with the cross functional team that I work with.  We had a great time and returned to work just in time for the birthday celebration my boss had planned.  I'm pretty lucky to have a great boss who knows how important fitness is to me and who knows how much I struggle with a sweet tooth.  Instead of a cake he got granola bars for the team... but I still got to enjoy the cupcake I was craving since some other co-workers had picked up cupcakes for another treat.  Cookies, granola bars, and cupcakes...the sweet treats were plentiful this year!

After indulging in the cupcake and cookies I continued my birthday fun with friends at boot camp class.  It was just what I needed to top off the day.  A good hard sweat to an awesome soundtrack with friends is pretty hard to beat!  I was not happy that the workout included box jumps so I just gave myself permission to modify those since it was my big day after all! 

My day was full of Facebook messages, phone calls, and e-mails and one of my favorite messages was from my dad.  I have him signed up to get my blog posts by email and so he replied to my latest post with a cute happy birthday wish and a reminder to do my ab workout! Thankfully there was plenty of abs in the boot camp class so I had that covered.  Another fond birthday memory is a tape that I have stashed in my memorabilia boxes.  It is a tape of my dad and stepmom singing me happy 12th birthday.  I no longer own a tape player and might never get to hear the tape again but it is one of my treasured memories. 

I continued the celebration on Saturday with a birthday brunch with my sister, brother-in-law, and super cute niece.  We had a great breakfast and enjoyed the farmer's market afterwards.  There was a cute band playing called The Farmer and the Markets.  They were very entertaining and fun to listen to.  My final birthday celebration will take place next week as I head to Disney World with my other sister and her family.  I can't wait to go on vacation and have tons of fun with my nephew and niece.  My sister has put a lot of time and work into planning our vacation and I'm so thankful to get to be there with them.  I still believe in the magic of Disney and what better way to celebrate your birthday!!!

Are you a birthdays person? If so, share your birthday in the comments below and I'll be glad to wish you a happy day on your birthday!


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Trying out Tabata

Tonight I was hanging out watching the X Factor and got the notion to do some core work.  I don't know what moved me but when the motivation hits I'm not going to fight it. 

I decided to give the Tabata style workout a try and quickly Googled for a timer app.  I found the website which offers a free online timer.  It is automatically set up for 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest so that is what I went with.  There were eight cycles of this to equal one tabata. 

I started out with a plank series where I alternated between regular plank on elbows and then side plank on hands.  I ended up with two sets per side and four regular planks.  After that tabata was done I wanted to do some more ab work so I went to Blonde Ponytail's website and did one of her ab workouts.  It was fun and the exercises were different than traditional crunches which appealed to me.  Her workout was six exercises so I just redid my favorite two at the end.  I did two of Jess's circuits to end up with a good core workout for the night.  The nice thing about the tabata was that it was perfect length for the commercial breaks!

I need to incorporate more core work into my weekly workouts because it would help me through out all my other endeavors.  A strong core is necessary for good flip turns and dolphin kicks in swimming.  I bet a stronger core would help me improve my butterfly too!  A strong core helps support your lower back and hips during long runs...from past experience I know that the stronger your core the longer you can fight off fatigue in a run!  And lastly a strong core is necessary to keep you upright on your bike!

I liked doing the tabata style workout because it was full of variety and was quickly alternating between exercises.  I really liked the timer on the has whistles to alert you that the interval is ending and then it tells you verbally when the time is on to work or rest.  It meant I didn't have to stare at a clock and could focus on the exercise with proper form.  Could you all remind me to do this workout again in a few days?!?!

Monday, September 24, 2012

It's Ladder Monday!

Tonight was a great night for Rush Hour with temps finally lowering to a much more pleasant level than it has been since Spring.  I was surprised that there wasn't a huge crowd out at the track tonight but those that were there got in a great workout. 

I was running late getting out of work and felt very stressed as I headed out to the track.  I stopped off to change into workout clothes and was excited to get to wear a short sleeve shirt instead of a tank.  Yes, it was as if a cold front had come in...short sleeves! I got stuck in traffic for soccer practice and that increased my stress.  I like to get in a long warm up of 1 1/2 - 2 miles and I knew that I wouldn't have the time for that tonight. 

I got started on my warmup and said hi to all the regulars.  The mood on the track was light and you could tell that people were enjoying the cooler temps and overcast sky.  After a 5 lap warmup, Mike called the group in for the workout description.  Anytime the weather turns cooler, he rewards us with a tough workout.  Tonight was no exception!

Tonight we got to do a ladder and we went up then down the ladder. 
400 m at current 5K race pace
800 m at current 5K race pace
800 m at current 5K race pace
1000 m All Out pace
800 m at current 5K pace
800 m at current 5K pace
400 m at current 5K pace

The rest interval was 60 seconds following all of the intervals except for the rest after the 1000m...we got a whopping 3 minutes rest after that one.  And I enjoyed every second of the rest tonight.  The interval distances weren't all that tough but the combination of effort added up as the workout progressed.  After the 1000 m interval, my times picked up a little bit since my legs knew the faster pace that they had just done on the 1000 m.  That final 400 m included some bits with a super quick pace and left me feeling very proud of the workout.

I finished up the night with a couple cool down laps to end at 5 miles for the night.  I was super excited to see my average pace for the 5 miles was around 9:36 per mile including my warm up and cool down distances at a slower pace.  I'll take the cooler weather any day if it keeps helping my pace like it did tonight.  Don't get me wrong, I finished up the workout covered in sweat and worn out from a tough workout. 

I guess it was Ladder Monday since my lunch time swim also was a ladder.  Today we did a 500 m ladder as part of our main set.  This is a fast ladder that is a great workout.  It involves the following: 25 fly, 50 back, 75 fly/back/breast, 100 IM, 100 free, 75 fly/back/breast, 50 back, 25 fly.  I make some modifications since I'm still working on building strength and capability to swim strokes.  For example today I did: 25 fly, 50 free/back, 75 free/free/breast, 100 IM, 100 free, 75 free/free/breast, 50 free/back, 25 fly.  This lets me do 25 of each stroke before the 100 IM and then get some recovery after the IM.  This was just a part of our workout main set.  We followed it up with some 100's and I got in 1800 m total for my lunch swim. 

Overall, today was a good day for Monday ladders!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thursday with Therapon

A few weeks ago, I attended a kick off party for a new product by Therapon called Theraderm Anti-Aging Lip Complex.  This is a lip product that works to reduce lines while also plumping your lips.  Part of the party included a mini-makeover and photo shoot for new head shots.  The party was hopefully one of the first of many get togethers for local bloggers in Northwest Arkansas.  I loved getting to meet and connect with other bloggers and try out a product that can benefit my fitness and professional life especially since aging has been on my mind lately!

Next week is my 34th birthday and I have definitely noticed fine lines and wrinkles over the last few years.  I'm all for products that can help me combat the signs of aging and retain a youthful vibrant appearance especially as an athlete.  I have noticed some side effects from my active lifestyle and all the time I spend outdoors in the sun and wind.  These activities zap my face of moisture and cause other unpleasant side effects like sun/wind burn:(  I also swim 4-5 days per week and the chlorine dries my skin out sooooo bad.  Silly side note...At my recent dermatologist appointment she commented on how dry my skin embarrassing!  In the cold winter air, I especially notice dryness in my lips and plan to use this to help combat that.   
Learning more about the benefits of the Anti-Aging Lip Complex

I was excited to try out the Theraderm Lip Complex and the first thing I noticed was the scent.  It has a delicious smell that is just like orange creamsicle.  The product doesn't feel thick or heavy on your lips but gives a nice smooth texture to your lips once you've applied it.  The directions recommend that you use it in the morning and again at night for best results.  I didn't notice a huge change in plumpness since my lips seem full to begin with but overall I liked the smooth texture and shine on my lips. 

Beyond the product attributes, I was really impressed once I learned more about Therapon and that the products were developed by Dr. James Beckman who is a board-certified plastic surgeon and chemist.  He began his career working with burn victims and developed a restorative healing cream to help advance healing after surgery.  That product has led to a full line of skin care products that are grounded in bioscience to advance your skin's health. 

What do you think of the headshot that I received after my mini-makeover?  Obviously Therapon products are magic because I didn't even recognize myself! Make sure you check out their Facebook page for exciting specials including 25% off the Anti-Aging Lip Complex! It's a great product!

Disclosure...I received a free sample of Theraderm Anti-Aging Lip Complex to sample.  All opinions are entirely my own based on my experience with the product.

PSA Time - Skin Cancer Screening

It's Public Service Announcement time here at Running with Whit!

Summer has just come to a close and that means that most of us have probably finished up another season of outdoor activities.  If you are like me, then you probably weren't the most consistent about remembering to put on your sunscreen.  Yes, I admit it...I start out every summer putting on sunscreen before my lunch lap swims but by the end of summer I'm skipping the sunscreen.

Last week I headed to my dermatologist for a skin cancer screening.  I was shocked to learn that it had been 5 years since my last skin cancer screening.  The screening is a very quick and painless process and one that should be done more often than every 5 years!  You will take a few minutes to provide updated medical information and discuss any areas of concern.  I had a mole that had been bothering me...I was constantly picking at it on my arm.  I also had a red spot on my forehead near my hairline that I wasn't sure where it came from.

After meeting with the nurse, the physician's assistant came in to conduct the exam.  The exam process is simple...You will be reviewed all over by sight and feel so that the doctor can understand if any freckles, moles, or spots are raised.  Any spots of significant size or potential concern are marked in your medical chart so that they can be compared year to year to ensure they aren't growing. 

Any spots of immediate concern are addressed by a very simple method.  The area is first numbed and then the physician's assistant removes the spot with a small blade.  The sample is then submitted for biopsy.  It is very painless and quick and you hardly notice it.  The lab work takes a few days and hopefully you'll get the all clear!

Back to my exam, the red spot that had been worrying me ended up being a broken blood vessel.  We'll watch it for a few months to see if it clears up on its own.  The mole that bothered me wasn't concerning in shape, color, or size but she ended up removing it because it was something that I was picking on and bothering me. 

By Thursday, I had a phone call from the office giving me the okay that there weren't any cancerous cells in the biopsy.  Good news but still a reminder to be more diligent about applying sunscreen.  If you haven't been for a skin cancer screening in the last few years, please do so.  It doesn't take much and it is so worth it for the peace of mind that you will get. 

Here's a resource page on Livestrong with more information on skin cancer. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My Long Run

On Saturday, my friend Lori and I had the following text exchange about running on Sunday morning. 

Lori is very consistent with her weekly run schedule and has a pretty big group training for the Des Moines Marathon right now.  The group starts at insanely early times which doesn't always work with my love staying in my bed on a weekend morning!

This week she got to me and got me to agree to run at 5:30 AM.  The marathon group was heading out for 20 miles which was much more than what I needed to do.  I joined up with the group and quickly noticed that I am not a chipper morning runner like the rest of the group.  They are definitely more used to getting up that early with lots of banter as we waited to get started!

It was still dark out and luckily I remembered to bring my Knucklelights to use.  Side note: a few weeks ago I woke up one day and noticed light coming out of my guest room.  I went in there and discovered my headlamp was on which I had not turned on.  It wouldn't turn off though so I opened the casing and popped the batteries out.  A few days later it became obvious that the battery had exploded and my headlamp was officially busted.

Back to the run...we headed out in the dark and I just trucked along behind the marathon group for most of the first 2 miles before I decided to part ways.  Their group was heading on some areas of the local trail system that I didn't want to be on by myself in the dark.  I prefer being in areas that I'm more familiar with. 

I took my first water break at mile 2 after reaching the top of a hill, it was quite the reward!  My next water stop was at mile 4 and I decided to have a couple Honey Stinger gel chews.  As I was paused, I noticed a shiny rock on the ground in the light from my Knucklelight.  I shined the light on it and realized with horror that I had dropped a chew.  Oh, no HoneyStinger down!

As I neared mile 6, I started to realize that the light I was seeing was coming from the sky and not my light.  Yep, my brain was working really well that morning! I paused at the 6 mile point to hook the Knucklelight onto my Fuel Belt.  I think it would work for hands free running that way so I might have to try that out next time. 

I made my way back to the square and finished the run with just over 8 miles.  I noticed that one of the 21c Art Hotel pink snails was still on display by the construction office so I decided to take a quick picture with it. 

I hadn't paid much attention to my pace during the run but there were times when I felt like a snail so it was a fitting friend to take a picture with.  I have been training myself to avoid obsessing over pace during runs.  Instead I'm trying to run even paces and eliminate walk breaks. 

The temps that day were humid so I was covered in a lot of sweat and had to use my Arkansas Masters swimming towel to cover my car seats. 

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a $150 gift certificate to Country Outfitter

Sunday, September 16, 2012

New Shoes For Me and You Too!!! Giveaway!

It's officially back to school season and that means it's a good time to update your wardrobe.  The changing seasons are always a good sign that it's time to update with a couple of new pieces.  As athletes we have to remember to update both our fitness and non-fitness wardrobes! Stay tuned to the bottom of this post for an exciting giveaway!

I got started on updating my wardrobe with some new shoes purchases...
Womens Saucony ProGrid Omni 11 Running Shoe
First up, I took advantage of the tax free holiday in August to pick up another pair of Saucony Grid Omni 11 running shoes and SuperFeet DMP insoles. These insoles ensure that I have great stability and support for my feet.  I've noticed less blisters from this pair of insoles so that's a big bonus on top of the tax free savings!

Next, I moved into specialty apparel.  I had an evening wedding to go to and wanted a new dressy sandal.  The shoes were pretty comfortable until the dancing portion of the evening.  My foot kept sliding forward and the peep toe was hurting from that.  I love fancy shoes even though I don't wear them that often.
New flats on the left, old on the right.
In my everyday shoe crusade, I was looking for a new black flat to replace a pair that have no structure or cushioning to them and found a cute pair on sale.  Unfortunately, I need to break them in...thankfully I had some extra shoes at work because just a few hours into the day and I had cut both heels.  I think I'll check out the Pinterest rage for breaking in your shoes and see if that works!

And lastly, the shoes that I have been most excited about.  Cowboy boots! Last month I told you all about attending the Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged conference.  One of the sponsors was Country Outfitter and part of their sponsor program provided paid registrants with the opportunity to participate in an outreach campaign.  I was so excited since I've never had boots before and I was even more excited to go on a fitting adventure and find out that cowboy boots would fit my legs!
Women's Cowboy Boots
I spent hours pouring over the Country Outfitter website reviewing the different brands and styles.  In the end I decided on a pair by Tony Lama the Women's Dusty Cherokee boot.  One of the big things that I was looking at was toe shape...and their site helps you search by brand, boot type, or toe box!  We got our boots at the conference just in time for a fun party where we learned some jig dancing from a local fiddler.  The boots were super comfy and felt great!  I wore them with a denim skirt and can't wait to include them in my Friday casual wardrobe this fall at work. 
Rocking out my Tony Lama's during the conference!

Chances are you are just like me and spend a lot of your time in running or other athletic shoes.  It's time to refresh your casual wardrobe and Country Outfitter is here to help.  One of you will win a $150 gift certificate that you can use to update your wardrobe with some new boots.  I just know that you'll love them too.  This contest is open to both men and women since Country Outfitter stocks boots for all, even kids!

Did you get that...$150 gift certificate can be yours!!! All you have to do it enter!

To enter:
MANDATORY - follow this link to submit your email address so that you too can receive occasional updates on new products and exciting announcements.  Leave a comment telling me you have completed this step!

Bonus Entries - Leave a comment for each that you complete. Please make sure your comment identifies you or your email so that I can contact you if you win.

1) Like Running with Whit on Facebook here
2) Like Country Outfitter on Facebook here (They run some great contests so you'll enjoy their page!)
3) Share this Giveaway via Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest by linking back to this contest post. 

Important Notes:
Disclosure: Country Outfitter provided me with boots to review free of charge. 
Eligibility: Contest is open to US Residents and must be 18 years or older to enter.  No purchase necessary to win. 
Timing: Contest entries will be accepted until September 30th.  Winner will be announced on October 1st!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Run for a Child Race Recap

Nearly every year on Labor Day I participate in a local race called Run for a Child.  It benefits the Anderson Children's Foundation which supports children that have been physically, emotionally, or sexually abused.  This year was the 9th year of the race and I think I've run 6-7 of the years that it has been going on for!

The race offers registration on Sunday which is something that I love.  You can stop by at your convenience and pick up your packet and timing chip and save a ton of time on race morning! I love not having to get to a race super early on race morning.  This year I waited until the last minute as I was registering to decide which race to enter.  There is a 5K and a 10K option and I usually run the 5K race. 

The race offers a great swag bag and this year had some Adidas body spray, snacks, and a water bottle.  There was also a shirt to select from and the race organizers offered a female version however it was cut small and only went up to size large.  I was very disappointed that they didn't offer additional sizes in the women's cut since it was much cuter but the men's technical shirt will be fine too. 

I decided to give the 10K option a try this year since I had skipped doing a long run on Saturday/Sunday and needed to get in the distance.  I knew the 10K course had some good hills on it so that had me worried but I figured it was finally time for the 10K.  One thing that helped with my decision was the weather...for once it wasn't ridiculously hot.  It was hot but more manageable than it had been in previous years.  The earlier start time also appealed to me: 7:30 for the 10K versus 8:15 for the 5K. 
Beautiful morning to race!

Race morning was super smooth for me.  I already had my bib and chip and was able to get parked very easily at the race site.  The race starts/finishes at the Pinnacle Promenade mall and there are lots of parking options.  The race had 8-10 porta potty on site and that meant I didn't have to wait in much of a line either time I went to the bathroom.  As the 10K racers moved to the start line there was a little problem with the fell over! I don't know if it deflated or just blew over but either way they had to put it back up for the start. 

We headed out on the course and it was exciting to see how many people were running the 10K.  Around mile one we got to one of the first inclines.  I swear it lasted 1/2 was just a long, gradual incline.  I kept plugging along and decided during this section that my goal for the race would be to avoid walk breaks.  I had tried running through the first water stop at mile one and decided to allow walking through the water stop in order to make sure I got in enough water. 

Around mile three, I was running behind a couple.  I had my headphones in but I could see the wife say to the husband, "You got this."  As I passed them, I cheered on some encouraging words.  The wife would eventually leave her husband behind and keep on her pace.  He stayed near me through out much of the remaining course but would leap frog as he switched from running too fast for his fitness and then taking walk breaks.  I finally passed him for good in the last mile of the race. 

The 5th mile of the race included a big incline up Bellview Road.  It was mentally tough to keep running up the hill as so many others were walking it.  But I did it! I was so happy to reach the highway overpass which signified the top of the hill and also a slight breeze! From there, it was downhill past the final water stop and then back to the mall entrance for the return to finish.  I enjoyed the shade in front of the stores and found that extra bit of energy to pick up my pace for the finish. 
Celebrating after the race with Mike Rush

My overall time was 1:03:30 which was great given my run fitness right now.  I've been getting maybe 10-15 miles in of running each week which is pretty low for aiming for time goals.  I was very happy with myself for running through the race instead of taking run/walk breaks.  Overall, it was a great race for me since I accomplished my goal and had a time that I was very happy with. My pace average 10:23 per mile and was fairly consistent except for the big inclines. 

One of the best things about the race was afterwards...the post race party.  They offer a huge kids party area with inflatables.  They also offer a great food spread which included full breakfast this year.  I was surprised that I could eat a couple of the food options within the current diet choices I am trying to stick to.  There is a huge tent with tables and chairs so that you can sit in shade to eat your breakfast and plenty of cold water and Gatorade to cool you off!  But that doesn't even come close to topping the photo booth!!!
Rocking our matching outfits for goofy pictures!

By far the best part of the post race party was the photo had dress up options and you got to do 3 different poses.  We had a blast getting our pictures made and it makes me smile! I love that my friends are just as silly as me and that we can share in each other's fitness adventures and triumphs. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Krispy Kreme Challenge

On Saturday I participated in a really fun race to benefit a local family adopting a special needs child from China.  Dr. Bennington and his wife Rachel are expanding their family through adoption.  Dr. Bennington is one of our local chiropractors and resident ART expert. 

The race was The Krispy Kreme Challenge and they offered multiple options for people to participate.  The Ultimate Challenge was to complete the full run course plus eat a dozen donuts.  The run portion was a two-mile route to the local Krispy Kreme and then back.  At the donut shop, participants would be given one dozen donuts to eat before they could leave for the return trip to finish.  They also offered runner only and relay options to encourage more participation.

Something that I haven't shared in much detail on the blog is that I have been working to lose weight over the last month or so.  While I was really excited about this race I knew that taking part in the eating portion would be counter active to my weight loss goals.  I debated for quite some time on whether to participate because of this but in the end decided to go with the runner only race option. 

Saturday morning I woke up several times which is very strange for me.  I normally sleep well and wake up a little before my alarm.  Well, that morning I woke up several times and just didn't get a good night's sleep.  I ended up resetting my alarm to try and get a little more sleep.  Unfortunately, I turned that alarm off and then went back to sleep.  Luckily I woke up at 7AM and was able to hustle and get out of the house within 15 minutes to head to the race site. 

I arrived around 7:30 with plenty of time for packet pickup.  I was really surprised to see that the race was chip timed.  I have enjoyed seeing more and more of our local races utilize chip timing over the past two years.  It is a great benefit for race directors to provide and this race had a great race director, my friend and ultrarunner Jeff Genova.  Jeff helped me get back into longer distance running 4 years ago.  I was coming back from an injury hiatus and Jeff would run with me on my weekend long runs.  He also helped pace me to a great Route 66 Half Marathon in 2008.  He would entertain me with tales of ultrarunning during our runs and some of those tales included stories of him stopping for donuts mid-run at Krispy Kreme. 
Jeff - an awesome Race Director!

Back to the race...there was a slight delay because unfortunately the title sponsor Krispy Kreme had a smaller fryer problem on race morning and couldn't produce enough donuts for the event.  Thankfully another local shop Olde Tyme donuts came through and donated 40 dozen donuts for the event.  With the extra time for the delay, my friend Cathy and I were able to run to Dr. Bennington's office nearby for a potty stop.  That was one of my only criticisms for the race bathrooms onsite.  It worked out okay because that was a good little warmup. 

The race got started with a bang and runners took off along the trail system to race towards the donuts! The trail was beautiful and I enjoyed the run.  This is only the 2nd time that I have run on this trail system and I really like it except for a couple steep hills as the trail transitions to streets or across intersections.  I made it to Krispy Kreme with perfect splits...both mile 1 and 2 were 9:46.  I don't think that has ever happened for me before and I was really surprised to see that when I reviewed my Garmin data file. 
Here's Drew, manager of Rush Running, finishing up his donuts with Mike encouraging him along. 
Drew would go on to win the race!
Tony used a smashing method to consume multiple donuts at once. 
He started the race with 10 miles already under his belt for the day. 

I had fun checking on the eaters and taking some pictures.  I was talking to Ali Rush when she realized that I wasn't eating donuts.  I explained that I was just doing the run option and she told me to get my butt moving and run.  Apparently I was mistaken in thinking that it was okay to socialize while others were eating! All together I think I spent about 2 minutes watching the donut eating. 
Quick picture with AJ and then back to the run for me.

I headed back to the finish and kept myself focused by trying to chase down some of the people ahead of me.  I thought back to a tip my friend AJ had given me once before...there's no need to rush to overtake someone, just take your time and slowly reel them in.  I ended the course with just over 4 miles on my Garmin and a time of 39:56.  My official race time was 41:54 including my time stopped at the half way point.  I have my Garmin set to auto-pause when I'm stopped which explains the difference.  My running average was around 9:40 miles and that really made me happy.  I'm working on running more steadily and reducing walk breaks and the mental weakness that makes me want to resign to walking during races.  I'm proud that I didn't walk during the race except for when I was hanging out mid-way watching the donut eating!
Post race with Cathy, Maja, Me, and AJ
Maja and AJ were volunteers at the donut station and Maja ran back
a couple of our friends who did the donut challenge. 
She might have been a little too chipper for them!

I had a great time doing the race and am thankful that I didn't see anyone puke.  I hear that it might have happened but I didn't witness it! I was really surprised to see so many friends from the running team participating and cheering everyone on and it made me so thankful for this great running community.  It is amazing how much the running community has developed over the last few years and Rush Running has been a big part of why that has happened.  I hope to see this race continue next year because it was so much fun. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Cheering on Mandy

This week I got the chance to cheer on my friend Mandy as she takes on one of the biggest events in her life...Marriage!
Pauline, Mandy, and I on a bike training ride.

Mandy has been a great friend and training partner over the past few years.  We have had lots of great adventures and conversations along the way.  A few months ago, Mandy got engaged at a winery in Napa (I'm pretty sure she has on a winery jersey in the pic above too.)  Just a few weeks later she and her fiance were off on a big adventure moving half way around the world to Hong Kong for work.  It was tough to see her move but I knew that the adventure she was beginning would be an amazing one.

It has been so fun to take part in Mandy's new Hong Kong life via pictures and stories on Facebook.  And even more fun to see her return to the States a few weeks ago for her wedding. 

First up was her bachelorette party and it wouldn't be fitting without a triathlon theme.  That's right it was the Bride-athalon Party! The events were a Chardonnay swim, Tricycle race, and Dessert party after our group dinner.  The swim required walking through the pool while holding a wine the turnaround you had to chug your drink before making your way back to the start.  Sarah was the big winner and her prize was getting to help Mandy get dressed for our night out.  The party hosts had an impressive collection of gaudy jewelry and accessories for Mandy. 
Just a few of her accessories were on at this point!

From there we headed to a restaurant for dinner and held tricycle races in the parking lot.  All I can say is that it's tough to get in and out of a kid's tricycle! Thankfully we were all dressed in race attire...
Maja and I rocking out our race shirts!

Our shirts read: The race for Co-Dependence celebrating the Uniting of Ed and Mandy.  They were lovingly made by Pauline (race director) from some leftover race shirts from the Race for Independence.  It was a very cute idea. 

We had a great dinner and enjoyed lots of conversation and catching up around the table.  From there it was back to the house for a quick bite of dessert and then because it was a school night heading home. 

The race crew!

Saturday was the wedding ceremony and it was in a beautiful chapel near where we ride bikes some times.  I never knew about this chapel and it was beautiful.  The lighting was amazing in the chapel and the bride looked stunning.  I loved the beautiful vows that Mandy and Ed shared.
The Kiss!

From there we headed to the reception and proved that triathletes can kick up some dance moves! We discussed a couple times whether dancing counts towards our workout goals and decided that since we danced for so long it had to count for something! We also got in a great ab workout laughing to the best man's speech.  Ed's brother-in-law served as best man and it was quite the Roast...ooops Toast! We were laughing for at least 10 minutes during his speech. 

Triathlon helps us look great even when we aren't in our spandex race outfits!
Kayle, Me, Maja, Fumbi, and Savanna
During the reception we utilized the Wed Pics app to upload and share our party pics.  It was so much fun to see all the candid photos that people took.  Definitely something to consider if you are planning a wedding!

One of the pics I shared on Wed Pics during the reception - Maja, Mandy, and Me
It was such a fun wedding and I was glad that I got to be there and cheer on Mandy and Ed.  We all need cheerleaders through out our life adventures not just in training and racing.  Mandy has been a great cheerleader for me as I made a big job change last year  and I was glad to be there this week for her during the wedding festivities.

Best wishes to Mandy and Ed as they begin their journey as husband and wife.  They are headed on honeymoon and then back to Hong Kong.  I'm sure that we'll find a race to meet up at in the next year though because even with the crazy humidity and weather of Hong Kong Mandy is still a training machine!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

It happened again...the awkward compliment I get a lot

This morning my day kicked off with an 8 AM team meeting.  Our team met in one of the conference rooms and had a good 30 minute update with our boss.  As we were filing out of the conference room, one of my co-workers said my name and stopped me as I was walking.  I thought that something was wrong with my outfit like my slip showing since I had decided at the last minute that the dress I was wearing would look better with a slip underneath.  I slowly turned back towards her to see what was up and she proceeded to tell me that my calves were rocking today. I guess she hadn't noticed my calves before since she was walking directly behind me today.  I wasn't even wearing crazy heels or anything today...just a modest low wedge type shoe. 

This is not the first time that this type of situation has happened and it is always so awkward for me.  There was the time a stranger in the bathroom started talking to me with the line of "I hope this doesn't seem awkward...but you have really great calves." It was awkward! Another example was a recent picture that I posted to Facebook from my weekend at Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged.  We had an event where we all received cowboy boots and I had to share how cute my boots were with everyone.  Notice one of the first comments is about my calves!

Other people see my calves and think what great legs.  I usually see weakness in my calves...they can be tight and prone to messing up my running stride.  And much to my dismay my calves keep me from rocking the heeled boot trend that everyone else looks so cute in.  I have tried to get a good picture of my calves but just can't seem to get one where you can really see the muscle definition in them.  These are the best pics that I have...
Post hilly run in the mud and rocking tri tattoos after the Route 66 Festivus this year

Don't get me wrong...I'm proud of my legs and proud of the strength that they contain.  My legs and calves support me as I explore various sports and go on adventures including this one through the treetops.  And yes I am very conscious of my legs when I select shoes.  I prefer some type of heel to flats simply because it makes me feel like my calves look more normal sized when they are engaged from a heel. 

I can sometimes feel like a freak with my ginormous calves.  I don't know how we came about this contest but around 4th of July, my sisters and brother-in-laws and I all had a calf measuring contest.  I won! My calves measure about 16 1/4 to 16 1/2 inches around at their widest point. 

How does this compare? I discovered a website called Stack Me Up which offered a comparison tool.  Seems like my calves are quite a bit bigger than the average female specifically larger than 70% of the female population.  All of this without any calf raises! That's right I don't do any calf specific weight training...just running, biking, and other general fitness activities.  I have learned to graciously thank people for the compliment without showing my embarrassment.  It has been a hard process to learn how to respond because it really embarrassed me the first few times that it happened. 

What was funny about the compliment today was that this coworker didn't know which sports I participate in.  She thought I was just a swimmer so she was really amazed at how I could have these legs without being a runner.  She said something like you aren't a runner.  I quickly corrected her and said oh no, I run and I bike too.
In the middle of the yellow photo for the late 80's performance to Wild Wild West by Escape Club (but really listening to the song now it doesn't seem appropriate for a dance recital?!?!) and in blue for a tap number my junior or senior year of high school. 

Truth be told these legs are the work of an active a child I danced and danced.  I lived dance all through high school and was also a cheerleader.  Strong calves and legs were necessary to power through jumps and support me on those intricate ballet turns and fast tap moves.  And then as an adult I discovered running and eventually cycling and triathlon.  These strong calves have been helping me accomplish all my fitness endeavors my whole life and I wouldn't trade any of those accomplishments for the ability to wear heeled tall boots!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The last days of outdoor swimming

The last week has been a sad week as the outdoor pool winds down to close for the season.  Every year we have to beg and plead for the city to keep the pool open for lap swimming after school starts up in mid-August.  Many of the lifeguards are high school and college kids so once they return to school there aren't many guards available to work.  One thing that we can usually negotiate is swim time when the school PE classes are at the pool. 

It's pretty funny to share the pool with the gym classes.  One of the first days that we arrived we found out that the pool was having a chlorine problem and we could only swim in the diving well.  Luckily that day we swam in between classes otherwise it wouldn't have worked.   The diving well is a very odd length and contains no lap lanes or lines.  We had a group of 7 in the well and I managed to swim into people a couple times.  We did a lot of different types of intervals since we were working in such an odd pool.  Sadly, that day the guard had to help out 2 kids within one minute of each other in one of the gym classes.  I think it is so important that kids learn how to swim...these are jr high aged kids that don't know how to swim.  That just seems crazy to me.

I took a few days to swim indoors because the locker room with all the jr high kids is a little hectic.  As the week was winding down, I realized that Thursday was going to be one of the last chances to swim outdoor lunch laps.  I met up with the crew and we had a great final workout.  We did 300yd sets so 3 x 100 yds, 4 x 75 yds, 6 x 50 yds, and 12 x 25 yds.  Each set was different but totaled up to 300 yds.  It is a fun way to get some distance in and have the workout go by quickly. 

I got out of the pool just as a class was getting there.  Luckily most of the class had already exited the locker room so it wasn't too crazy.  I really won't miss the bare bones locker rooms at our outdoor pool! 
Obviously designed by a male since there are no outlets by the mirrors!

Stuff everywhere! Not a normal sight just what it looks like during gym class.

This last picture made me remember back when I was in high school and had to take swimming class.  I grew up in West Des Moines, Iowa which is right at the intersection of I-80 and I-35.  Our pool had a separate locker room that was located right next to an exterior door to one of the parking lots.  As you can see from the pic, the school is right off an interchange on the highway. 
Good ole Valley High you didn't know I'm a Valley Girl!
Our gym teacher would always tell us a story to encourage us to properly lock up our clothes and things in the locker room.  He would remind us that our school was just a quick detour off the highway and that the gangs of Chicago knew what a gold mine of stuff there was in our locker room.  So you had better lock up your stuff or else it would disappear to the Interstate travelling gangs of Chicago.  Don't forget that it was a several hours drive to Chicago! Either way I can't remember how many times I heard this story but it was told every quarter before any swim rotation in gym class and usually multiple times in a quarter.  I thought of this story as I got ready surrounded by the mess of the jr high girls' things. 

This year I got in a lot more outdoor swim workouts than ever before.  It was so easy to drive across the street with my new job location compared to last year and I took advantage of that and got lots of lunch time laps in with the Arkansas Masters Swimming crew.  It will be sad to see everyone return to their respective pools since some of the crew are people I only get to swim with during the summer.  Until next year!!!