Wednesday, July 30, 2014

RACE REPORT: Yankee Homecoming 10 Miler

... aka 'The Race I Didn't Run- I Biked!' Race Report!

This is a bit different than my typical race report in that I didn't run the Newburyport Yankee Homecoming 10 Miler thanks to an untimely injury - instead I brought my bicycle and rode alongside mom while she ran it!

With over 3,000 runners were signed up for the event (between the 5k and the 10 Miler), the starting area (Newburyport High School) was packed. I parked just about a mile away - mostly because I had no idea where the start line was and I'm not familiar with the area so I just parked when I saw runners heading in hordes in one general direction. Mom parked about a quarter of a mile from the school but in the opposite direction, so it was pretty lucky how quickly we found each other in the masses!

The 5k started promptly at 6:00pm with the 10 miler starting at 6:13pm. I biked ahead and waited for mom at roughly the 1.4 mile mark, where the 10 miler turned off to head to the waterfront. Mom was aiming for a 10:00/mi avg pace, but I knew she'd be speedier than that, so I was ready with the camera. Within moments, the front-runners made their appearance - holy heck they're fast!

Shortly thereafter, I spotted mom in all her purple glory! She had a pep in her step and was just cruising along - looking good and strong through the first turn! The crowd hadn't really thinned at that point, so I knew I'd have to cut through a side street to reconnect with her rather than try to avoid a bunch of runners packed onto a small street.

I caught up with mom just after the two-mile mark and was able to ride alongside her for the remainder of the race (well, up til about mile 9 where I left to meet her at the finish). The course was really nice - a big loop that went through some really cute neighborhoods, streets lined with gorgeous old houses. There were tons of spectators along the route cheering, playing music and spraying their garden hoses to cool the passing runners - it was really neat. I think my favorite thing though was the people sitting on their front porches or at the end of their driveways, watching the race while enjoying big goblets of red wine. That's the way to do it!

Between miles 6-7, we made our way along a really scenic street, farmland on both sides. It was just before dusk and I said to mom that I was just waiting to see a deer in the field as we went by - and sure enough we did! It wasn't spooked by the music or the passing runners, just grazing - so pretty! Then it was on past the cows and into the final turn (still a couple of miles out from the finish). It was not a very hilly course, but there were a couple hills strategically placed within the course at intervals that would have made my legs angry - miles 7, 8 and then right before the finish line - just cruel! But mom eats hills for breakfast, so it didn't seem to phase her. Before I knew it, she was speeding into the finish for a PR, and well ahead of her goal pace!

While I'm disappointed that I didn't get to run this one, I will definitely keep it on my list for next year - you can't beat the $25 entry fee (with all race proceeds benefiting 'Eye Research' of Massachusetts through the Newburyport LIONS Club) for such a lengthy race, and the tech tee to the first 1200 runners were actually really nice!

Have you ever been sidelined by an injury and biked a course rather than running?

Monday, July 28, 2014

So much for that 10 Miler...

What a dreary Monday morning... it's one of those days that I just want to stay in bed, curl up next to the kitties and watch crappy TV in between naps. Unfortunately, that's not in the cards for me today - I've got a full schedule of meetings and a house that looks like a hurricane went through it after the weekend away for Jade's bachelorette festivities!

Heather and I arrived in Burlington around 10am on Saturday and met up with the rest of the girls for a few hours of boating on Lake Champlain to celebrate Jade & Chris's impending nuptials. We relaxed on the boat for the afternoon before dinner and drinks out, and then danced the night away on Church Street - it was so much fun! I'd never been to Burlington before, and what a cute little town!

Unfortunately for me though, I wound up injured before we even got on the boat... while running to the car to get my waterproof camera, I landed on a really sharp rock that pierced through my flip-flop, driving into the ball of my foot. It didn't break the skin, but it left one hell of a bruise... a bruise that now has made it's way from the ball of my foot into the arch, and is really painful to walk on. Fricken wonderful timing, since I am slated to run the Newburyport 10 Miler tomorrow with mom.

I figured I'd play it by ear, see how it felt after today, but if this morning's Barre class was any indication, I really shouldn't run. I mean, if I had to modify some of the moves that required going up on my toes for 10 seconds because of the pain, then pounding on pavement for 10 miles certainly isn't in the cards. The good news is that the race coordinator just emailed me back, and I can still keep mom company from the comfort of my bicycle!

Have you ever bruised the bottom of your foot really badly?
How long did it take before it didn't feel awful?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Barre Life | FINALLY - A Barre Studio in Manchester!

Good morning lovelies! How are you doing today?! I'm SO glad that it's Friday, this week has dragged on for what feels like a month. Work's been crazy and with four weddings left to go to this year, my weekends are filled with showers, bachelorette parties - never a dull moment! This weekend I'm off to Burlington VT for a girls' getaway for my friend Jade - sunshine, boating, adult beverages - glorious! Well, glorious except for the potential damage it'll do to my waistline!!!

To combat the beer bulge this weekend, I hit the pavement last night for a sweaty 5k and then was up early this morning to try out the new barre studio downtown. Barre Life, LLC just opened its doors about a month ago, and I was SO excited to find out that it had, because I've been waiting ages for a local studio! Prior to this, the nearest was about a 40 min drive with traffic!

I arrived at Barre Life, LLC for the 8am class and was immediately greeted by owner & instructor Britni Baron - we chatted for a few about what I hoped to get out of the class (I told her I just wanted to fit in my shorts again!) and then we got down to business.

The space was bright and inviting - my cell phone pics don't do it justice! The large picture window overlooking bustling Elm Street let in so much natural light and the open floor definitely made me excited about the workout. Combined with Britni's upbeat musical selections, I was ready to WORK!

And work I did. Holy hell guys, I know I've said it before, but barre workouts are NO JOKE. My legs were shaking about 3 minutes into the 45 minute Barre Burn workout! The moves are seemingly simple but they just destroy me. It's been an hour or so since I left and my legs still feel like jello!

Britni was encouraging and attentive through the class, focusing on proper form to not only prevent injury but attain the best burn possible - I really liked her style of instruction and am already looking forward to my next class! I highly recommend checking out a class yourself - you can check out the schedule and sign up at Drop-in classes are just $12 - buuuuttttttt if it's love at first class, you can sign up for a punch card or a monthly plan which drops the price per class considerably.

As for me, I signed up for the July Special of 1 month of unlimited classes for $70 (usually $90 - you can take advantage of the $20 savings through the end of July, so don't delay!) and am planning to belly up to the barre 3 times a week for the next month (alternating days with my running so that I'm ready for Reach the Beach in September) - I'm pretty sure that will help those shorts to fit again!

 Have you ever tried a barre class? What'd you think?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Why did I sign up for a 10-miler again?

Ugh. I'm quickly realizing that it may not have been so smart to sign up for a 10 mile race in July. Work has been insane, my training has been virtually non-existent (save for two-ish short to medium distance runs a week) and I am woefully underprepared for this race on Tuesday night.

It's not so much the distance I'm concerned about. I've been slogging my way through 6 miles regularly, so I'm sure I can shuffle through another four - but the heat! I haven't really trained in heat and humidity lately, opting to run in the morning before it gets hot and muggy! And this race is a Tuesday night in July after a full day of work. Woof. I guess we'll see how it goes. If you don't see a race recap by say, Thursday or Friday of next week, just assume I passed out on the course and have yet to be resuscitated.

Yesterday I hit the track for another 'party of one' Track Party Tuesday. It was muggy but only about 70* so I opted for 4x400 repeats... my LEAST favorite interval to be honest. I hate 4x400s. I hate 6x400s even more. I just hate 400s. But what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right? So I did it anyway...

Side note - I never feel hungry when I wake up and thus, I never really know what to eat before a morning workout. Yesterday, I took 6 or 7 spirulina tablets before the workout and it seemed to power me through the workout til my post-workout breakfast of mangoes and a cheese stick.

Anyway, back to the workout. I warmed up with a half mile jog before getting into the intervals - my 400 intervals were 1:56, 1:58, 1:54 and 1:57 - I was aiming for under two minutes and I'm nothing if not consistent I guess!

I've got kettlebells on tap for tomorrow and still deciding what to do today. I've got a haircut and color, and I hate messing up the blowdry that my hairdresser does with a workout, but if I don't want to die on Tuesday, I should probably do something...

What are you doing today? 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

That time I did half a kettlebell workout...

This morning I had kid-sitting duties at my local gym (I volunteer twice a month in exchange for a free membership), and as luck would have it, no kids arrived so I was able to get a workout in. Since I'm running 6 miles of hills tomorrow, I opted for a strength-training/cardio combo Kettlebell Workout instead of the treadmill. And guys, I made it through half of the workout... before I wanted to die. I forgot how taxing kettlebell workouts are!

I may have been a little overzealous, snagging a 20lb kettlebell to start out with... I quickly realized the error of my ways and added a 15lb bell to the mix for the second set of each move, if needed. About 17 seconds into the first set of the first move, sweat was dripping down my face. By the 8th move, I was ready to die. In a good way?

I didn't make it past the 8th move as I ran out of time (had to get home for a conference call) - but I plan to add this workout into the rotation with my running a couple of times a week (or maybe once a week to start).

Care to join me? Find the workout HERE.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Birthday Eats | WIAW Summertime Edition!

It's been awhile since I've participated in Jenn's "What I Ate Wednesday" link-up, but I've been eating some pretty delicious eats this month and wanted to share! I guess that's what happens when you celebrate your birthday for an entire month... lots of delicious food is involved!

In my opinion, nothing says summer like a lobster roll - but I'm way too cheap poor frugal to drop $17+ on a sandwich that lasts less than 17 seconds on my plate, so I've taken to making my own at a fraction of the price. I mean, there's not a whole lot to it - lobster, mayo, hot dog bun. Buttered, of course. And the local grocery store sells pre-steamed whole lobsters for like $5.99. Perfect.

Another summertime favorite - burgers on the grill! Or even better, burgers at a beach bar! Last week, Aaron and I celebrated my birthday with a little getaway at Hampton Beach. After a long walk on the beach, we decided to pop into Bernie's Beach Bar for a bite to eat. I opted for the Big Bern Burger (sans cheese), which was freakin' delicious - topped with red onion, avocado and a cilantro lime sauce, grilled corn on the cob (speaking of summer!!!) on the side. Fan-freakin-tastic.

The burger paired really well with a Blueberry Longboard Lemonade (vodka, blueberries & house-made lemonade), and in my opinion, the best part of summer is the blueberries. If you are what you eat, I'm seriously one blueberry away from turning into one (a la Veruca Salt). Which is probably why my parents got me two blueberry bushes for my birthday! And as luck would have it, they've started to ripen just in time for my month-long celebration!

Okay, so I picked blueberries in the rain. Big whoop.
Fresh berries, fruits, veggies - the perks of summer livin'! I find that in the summer, I actually crave these things rather than my typical cheese & crackers, bread, etc... not a terrible thing! This morning I whipped up a veggie-filled breakfast in an attempt to actually eat something before noon (working from home isn't all it's cracked up to be - the last two days, I didn't eat breakfast until nearly lunch time because I got bogged down at work). Asparagus & red peppers sauteed in extra virgin coconut oil and garlic, topped with black pepper & sea salt and paired with two eggs, over easy. Yum.

What kinds of foods do you crave in the summertime? It's funny, I generally go for the moderately healthy options in the summer when it comes to food, but my downfall is the umbrella drinks and cold beer on a hot day on the back deck... or in my birthday hammock that my inlaws got for me! Summertime relaxation at its  best.

I can't believe it's practically mid-July. Why can't the winter go by this quickly??

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

31... aka 'the mind is the first thing'

Good morning lovelies! How are you doing this fine Tuesday morning? I'm hanging in there after wine celebrating my birthday yesterday. That's right, I'm officially 31. That means I'm really *in* my 30s. An old bag, may as well hang it up, cuz it's all downhill from here, right? Oh god, I hope not.

I woke up this morning less than hydrated and remembered that I was supposed to meet the ladies from the Moms Run This Town group at the track for "Track Party Tuesday" - I immediately regretted agreeing to it given the wine celebration last night, but dragged my 31-year-old butt out of bed and to the track. Except when I got there, I was alone.

They say the mind is the first thing to go... yep, I was at the wrong track. As if intervals aren't bad enough, they're even worse by oneself. I'll admit I was tempted to hop back into the car and just head back home and curl up on the couch with my cats... instead, I jogged a mile to warm up, then did 4x200 intervals for another mile. I'd planned to do 4x400s but there was just no way my lungs were handling that with the humidity.

I have no idea how I actually sped up in my later intervals, because it sure didn't feel like it. I felt like I was sucking wind, except that wind was full of water... it was so muggy! I finished up by walking a lap to cool down and catch my breath - and now, I'm ready for a nap.

What's on tap for you this week? I've got three weeks to train for a 10 mile race, so I'll be running...