You Signed Up For WHAT?!

The Easter Bunny Runs Home

Our Easter bunny sucks.

If she’s going to fulfill on her Easter-bunny-duties of creating a nice holiday for the kids, she should at least plan ahead a little better than she did this year. What’s wrong with her, anyhow?

Well, in her defense, being the Easter Bunny is not her only gig. She has a few… um… side jobs in addition to hopping around filling up baskets and hiding plastic eggs. They’re called full-time career, triathlon training, mom of three – you know, little things like that.

Here’s how her (my) weekend went down, why she sucks, and how she eventually got in her long run on Easter Sunday, even though she almost puked while doing it.

Saturday

The day was the usual weekend routine: busy. Chores, kid-wrangling, taking the 4.5 year old for a haircut during which he squirmed and wiggled so much he got nicked in the ear by the clippers.

I squeezed in a run in the late afternoon – it was neat because I ran into my daughter playing in the neighborhood with her friend. They asked what mile I was on and I said “3″! They thought that was pretty cool so she took a picture of me with 3 fingers indicating 3 miles. That was a fun boost because in actuality my legs felt pretty sluggish on that 3-mile run.

April 19 3-mile run

So then the Easter Bunny (me) showered and went to work a Saturday evening concert, along with a post-concert CD signing. I left work before midnight, but in the back of my mind all day had been Easter bunny business. This bunny was organizing a big egg hunt for all the kids at our huge family gathering the next day. And what did I have to stuff the plastic eggs for kids ages 0-8?

Not much.

So the Easter Bunny sucks.

She had some stuff for Easter baskets, but could use a few more things, and not much for the plastic eggs. And it was after midnight leaving the office.

Thank goodness for 24-hour stores. But how much is in the Easter aisle at almost 1am the night before Easter itself?

NOT MUCH!

Easter bunny

Did I mention I needed allergy-free stuffers? My 2-year-old is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, sunflower, sesame, and lentil. Phew, just saying that is exhausting, imagine reading the labels on everything in every store every time you go shopping. I actually went into the store looking for a pack of stickers or other non-candy items, but the pickings were slim.

The Easter aisle at almost 1am was pretty jam-packed with other last-minute Easter Bunnies like me, though, so at least I didn’t feel so lame. Or maybe we should all feel lame and that our Bunnies suck because we’re standing there half-asleep looking at what’s left on the shelves.

I adore the Snack Safely allergy-safe lists, so I pulled up the Easter edition on my phone from the middle of the CVS holiday aisle and looked for some items on the shelves.

SCORE! Junior Mints are peanut/tree nut safe and were on the shelves! Who cares how much they cost in their non-bulk packaging – the Bunny is less sucky than she was before! So with Junior mints, stickers, tattoos, and more Easter basket items in hand, I checked out at after 1am and headed home.

But it doesn’t stop there – the Bunny had to create three magical Easter baskets for the three kids and stuff all those plastic eggs.

Done at 2am. And the baskets were pretty non-sucky, if this Bunny does say so herself – they inspired my 4.5-year-old to declare it “the best day of his life” when he got a peek at a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle puzzle in his basket the next morning.

That Bunny really knows her kids. That’s not lame.

Sunday

So since the Easter Bunny hopped to bed at 2:30am, there was no way a long run was happening at 6am before Easter church services. She/I slept until the kids woke up at 7ish, then made them breakfast and fell back to sleep by accident. Oops. Um… church. We made it to church but we didn’t all get seats, there was squabbling in the car, my son’s shirt was wrinkled, and he was wearing two different socks. But we were there.

We came back from church, I whipped up some side dishes to bring to my mom’s house, and we piled everyone in the car for a great day with family. The egg hunt was a success!

Easter kids

I refrained from drinking at the holiday dinner, but admittedly I ate a bit too much. And here was the thing: I still needed to get in that long run.

I had packed running clothes in the trunk of the car and had a plan for this – when all the guests were gone and I sat for a while to try and digest the big dinner, I hung up my metaphorical Bunny ears and turned from Easter Bunny to Half-Marathoner-in-Training.

I sent the kids off in cars with my husband and au pair and ran home from Easter Dinner.

I swear I looked 5 months pregnant (it was a food baby), I felt bloated, and I almost puked once, but after 3 miles I started to feel better.

It was 6.42 miles to my house, but I had 8 miles on the plan. I had done a poll on my Facebook page, and asked people to vote on how many miles I should run this weekend. It was a fun way to figure out the best plan of attack since I’m between half marathons and training-plan-less. 8 was the pervasive opinion and therefore I was determined to get in 8!

So after 6.42 miles to my doorstep, I used the restroom, checked in with my husband (who told me all kids were tucked nicely in their beds!), and went back out for another 1.58 miles.

Easter 8 mile run

If I did my math right: that’s 8. Done. It wasn’t fast and it didn’t feel that comfy, but my legs felt good.

  • Mile 1: 9:57
  • Mile 2: 9:53
  • Mile 3: 9:59
  • Mile 4: 9:45
  • Mile 5: 10:08
  • Mile 6: 10:00
  • Mile 7: 10:01
  • Mile 8: 10:44

I was more in line with my former pace and not my 8:45-9:25 minute miles, but I’ll take it. It felt entirely uphill and the Garmin data shows that at mile 4 I embarked on a long, neverendeding uphill. Next holiday I should run to my parents’ house for a downhill course – and I wouldn’t be so full!

It was fun to get myself home on my own two feet, a route I drive often – starting in the daylight and ending in the pitch dark.

Next weekend I have a local 10K race and the weekend after is the Frederick Half Marathon. But at least I’m done playing Easter Bunny for a while.

Did you have a long run, big workout, or race this weekend? What’s on your agenda for next weekend?

Tri Talk Tuesday: The Bike

It’s Tuesday so it’s time for Tri Talk Tuesday with Courtney from The TriGirl Chronicles, and Miranda from The Cupcake Triathlete! Today is our second post in this new weekly linkup, and if you missed it last week, nine bloggers linked up with posts about The Swim.

Tri Talk Tuesday

Today we’re talking about the bike portion of the triathlon. As I mentioned in my Five Fitness Goals post on Friday, the bike is the discipline in the triathlon that I’m most nervous about, and I stated my bike goal for the season as “Endurance and Confidence”. I have Ironman 70.3 Augusta on the race schedule this year, and that means 56 miles of biking sandwiched between a 1.2-mile swim and running a half marathon.

No problem? [she says hopefully...]

My biggest bike endeavor to date was the MS150 from Pittsburgh to Lake Erie many years ago when I was overweight and out of shape, and I didn’t know what the heck I was doing! I didn’t train well – I actually didn’t know how to train for endurance activities then – and injured myself two ways. So these days I’m all about getting in some solid training on the bike and building up to it.

For my Tri Talk Tuesday bike chat, I’m not going to talk you through through how to ride a bike, and I’m not going to give you super-sensei tips on cycling.

Instead I’ll chat about a few ways that I fit in the cycling part of triathlon training into my busy days.

Cycling Class

I love cycling class (called Spinning in some gyms) – it’s a great calorie burn and the instructors really push you. It’s a great way to build up biking muscles and practice hill work, interval training, and endurance.

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From November, when I got my dad to a cycling class!

Bike Trainer

Ah, the dreaded or beloved bike trainer. Mine is beloved. I seriously love my bike trainer.

Why? Because I can ride my bike in the house without trekking to the gym, which is a great thing when you have three kids sleeping in the house and your husband is out.

And here’s the thing: I can ride my actual bike – I can get used to my actual cycling shoes, my actual clipless pedals, my actual bike’s gear shifting, my actual bike’s saddle, grabbing water from my actual bike’s cage – and watch TV shows and movies in the process!

Bike trainer

 

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen my 10pm bike-trainer-ride-selfies. When all else fails to get in a workout, I can hop on my bike after the kids are in bed and pedal away while watching House of Cards. I love it.

Here’s the secret of how I set up my little tablet so that I can watch while on the trainer: a music stand.

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(it must seem like that’s my only shirt but I really like to bike in tank tops and only have 2 in my new size!)

Bike Commuting

I always thought I couldn’t commute to work by bike because I live pretty far outside DC and there isn’t a good route from my house to downtown. Lucky for me, my dad is a hard-core cyclist and years ago he found a way – he drives to a place closer to the city, parks, and rides to/from work. I started joining him last year and plan to get my bike off the trainer and commute with him at least once a week this spring and summer as part of my training.

It is the most amazing thing to get in a cycling workout naturally in my regular weekday. Sure, I need a few more items in the drawer at work to make myself presentable for the day, but fortunately there are showers in the building.

Wanna guess what it’s like to leave a busy work day, hop on a bike, and pedal in the sunshine instead of sitting in traffic?

It’s amazing.

And nobody seems to mind a road bike sitting in my office when they come in for a meeting. Or do they?

bike in office

 

I’ve always loved biking, but to have a purpose and a goal for a certain amount of miles and a certain pace gets me a little stressed out about the bike. I can carve out a pretty good groove and ride at a pretty good pace, but I’m inconsistent.

This year is all about making the time for the training and building my endurance on the bike.

Be sure to check out all the great blogs linked below and leave a comment to let them know you’re visiting from the linkup!

Do you talk triathlon on your blog? Link up with You Signed Up For WHAT?!, The Cupcake Triathlete, and The TriGirl Chronicles on Tuesdays for Tri Talk! We’ll discover a new theme each week and talk about triathlon training, tips, and general chatter. Be sure to link to your specific post and not a general link to your blog so that your post can be found in the linkup archives. Links not triathlon-related will be deleted.

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How do you fit in biking or other exercise in a busy week?

 

What Do You Run For? #RunFor

This post is sponsored by Dick Sporting Goods in cooperation with sheknows.com. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Today I’m asking all the runners out there a big question: “What do you run for?”

Why do you run?  What makes you get out there day after day, week after week, race after race?

For me, the answer seems simple on the surface, but if I really think about it and dig deep, the reasons are more complex.

What do you #RunFor

We all know I like to gush about running, so here is what I run for – I’d love to hear your reasons in the comments below!

For weight loss and fitness

Running is my go-to exercise for a good calorie/fat burn and for weight loss. I started running about 11 years ago when I decided to get off the couch and get in shape. I wanted to lose weight and make a change in my life – in my head I was this active adventure-seeker who could leap tall buildings in a single bound, but in reality the physical me couldn’t keep up with the activities that I wanted to try. I made a commitment to myself to make a change, and started increasing my regular activity and exercise. I soon found myself on the gym treadmill walking, surrounded by people running, and wondered “why are they all running? What’s the big attraction?!”

I gave it a try and was winded after a minute or two. I tried agian the next day, and the next day, and soon found myself one of those people, those running people - increasing my endurance minute-by-minute, mile-by-mile, and trained for my first 5K. Now, a total of fifty pounds lighter and many races (including two marathons) later, I am in the best shape of my life and owe it to that commitment to lacing up the running shoes.

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For my mental health

My life is busy. In fact, I don’t think “busy” even accurately describes it when all my various work, family, sports, and other schedules collide. Running is something that destresses me and allows the “hot spots” of my day to fade away as I enjoy the scenery and take in the fresh air. It’s my sanity-saver and even my kids know that mommy is in a better mood after a run.

Condor running quote

For pushing my limits

There is nothing I like more than to challenge myself and set goals to test the limits of what my body is capable of doing. Pushing through the hard moments on a run and seeing what I can accomplish has translated into other areas of my life. To dig deep and find my inner strength to get to the finish line is an exhilirating feeling.

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For exploring new places

I travel quite a bit for work and for fun, and always pack my running shoes. I scope out possible running routes for each new place on the internet, ask locals, and get advice from the hotel staff before venturing out, and I always find interesting places. Running takes me off the touristy paths and into the neighborhoods where people live and work. I love to explore the every day places off the beaten path and the running trails that each city has to offer.

I’ve written about various places that I’ve run, with last year’s highlights being up a mountain in Switzerland, Lugano, and Venice & Verona.

Running in Venice

For my kids

This may sound cheesy, but I love that seeing mom go out for a run is normal to my kids. They’re growing up with mom’s exercise as a part of her day – it’s just a fact of life that they will carry with them as they grow up. It’s also something I can do with my kids – my favorite kind of run is when I’m pushing a kid in the running stroller, and we can head out and enjoy the day together.

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For alone time

Sometimes a 30-minute run is the only 30 minutes I get to myself all day. Running is something I can do from right out my front door, when traveling, or when I have 45 minutes during my daughter’s soccer practice. I do my best thinking while out on a run, it sparks my creativity, and I can clear my head of all the noise and just be.

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Check out all the inspiring Tweets and Instagram pics on the Dick’s Sporting Goods #RunFor feed - there is some really inspiring stuff there, and share your own by tagging your posts #RunFor. Also, there’s a really cool video montage on the Dick’s Sporting Goods running feature page – check it out!

Share in the comments – what do YOU run for?

Friday Five: Fitness Goals

Happy Friday! I don’t know about you, but this week really flew by for me. Where did the time go?

So… it’s already Friday and I’m linking up with Mar on the Run and Eat Pray Run, DC for our Friday Five linkup. Today we’re talking about Five Fitness Goals.

Five Fitness Goals

We figured with race season starting, it’s a good time to assess our goals and lay it all out there. It’s great timing for me since I recently published my 2014 Race Calendar, and then laid out my goals for this past Sunday’s Seashore Classic Half Marathon.

[Race recap is coming if my dad will ever send me his pics, but here's a spoiler: I crushed my goals!]

We were contemplating a theme of Five Running Goals, but it’s all intertwined – my running goals are not independent of these other fitness goals. So here we go – my Five Fitness Goals:

1. Run Goal: Sub-2:00 Half Marathon

Here’s even more of a spoiler of my Seashore Classic recap – I ran a half marathon PR, 2:02:30! My previous PR was 2:05 in my very first half marathon 10 years ago, pre-kids.

I was trucking along at a nice clip for 7-8 miles and thought at the halfway mark I might break my sub-2:00 that I previously stated as a goal 2014. But um… I have to train for that!

Wait, you mean I can’t just magically shave almost a half hour off my most recent half marathon time without working for it?

Shocker. 

Yes, my pace has greatly improved without any major speed work (just informal interval speed work I make up on my own), so my goal is to to start running smarter, and not just stronger and longer.

[PS: I just took a sneak peek at Mar and Courtney's Friday Five posts and they both have the same half marathon goal for sub-2!]

2. Bike Goal: Endurance and Confidence

I think it’s safe to say that I’m most nervous about the bike portion of the triathlon. I chatted about The Swim in my new series/linkup, Tri Talk Tuesday, and this coming Tuesday’s theme is The Bike so I’ll chat more about it then. But for now let’s just leave my bike goal as one of endurance (hello, 56 miles on the bike for the half Ironman), and confidence. I need to approach the bike without fear and anxiety.

3. Swim Goal: Bilateral breathing.

If you swim laps, do you always breathe on one side? I do. But it’s handy, especially in open water swimming, to be able to do what’s called bilateral breathing. And I suck at it. So… goal for swimming = not almost-drown when breathing on the left side. If I can get to where I’m not sucking in water every time I turn my head to the left, I’ll consider this goal a success.

4. General Fitness Goal: Stronger Core.

I worked hard in 2013 to get in shape and lose weight. And now 2014 is my year to tone up, eat healthy, and strengthen. I have been taking my weekly Pilates classes and sporadically going to Barre3, but I need to be consistent and do more on my own in addition to the occasional class work. The core work has helped my overall running, biking, and swimming, but I have a long way to go. This goal is kind of squishy, as in unmeasurable, so maybe we can say I’ve achieved it when I’m not squishy?

5. Race Goals: Half Fanatic and Ironman 70.3

I’m half crazy this year – it’s a barrel of half marathons on the race calendar, and I’ve gotten one poignant comment about my race calendar from an experienced tri coach to “not forget to bike and swim too!”. But if you look closely, you’ll see my running is in the springtime, and then I move into multisport season. Then one more half marathon in the fall (and maybe another just to round out the year!). I am going to do some shorter local races with the running club and a few 5 and 10Ks, but for endurance and training, it’s laid out pretty logically.

I’d love to ask a favor – I’ve been nominated as one of the Top 50 Health and Fitness Blogs for Voiceboks parenting website, so if you like my blog please hop over there and click the button for me! You don’t have to register or do anything but click – I’d love to make it into the Top 10. It’s alpha order so you’ll find me near the bottom – THANKS!

Voiceboks Health Fitness Nominated Blog

Check out all the other great posts below and link up yours! Remember to link a specific post from your blog and not the general blog address, and link back to one or all of the host blogs so that your readers know you are part of a linkup and can check out the other posts in the collection!

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What is one of your fitness goals?

Cocogo Review and Giveaway!

Remember when I said I had four celebration giveaways for you in honor of my first Blogiversary? Today is #2: Cocogo Real Fruit Hydration! But wait: first thing’s first. The Spartan Race giveaway ended at midnight, so I’m happy to announce the winner of the Spartan Race entry is….

Entry #38 - KM Loove for following You Signed Up For WHAT?! on Facebook!

The winner has been contacted by email. If you didn’t win, I happen to know that This Mama Runs For Cupcakes has a Spartan Race giveway for two entries that ends tonight, so hop on over there and enter! And remember the Spartan Race discount code linked in my giveaway post if you’re going to register!

So here we go to today’s order of business — Cocogo Real Fruit Hydration.

Cocogo real fruit hydration box

There are three flavors: Lemon-Lime, Raspberry Passion Fruit, and Grape. I was sent a box that contained an assortment of the three, and honestly I can’t pick a favorite. I really think they are all yummy.

Here’s a little about Cocogo so that you get the lowdown:

Cocogo is a new premium sports drink made with real fruit and coconut water in stick pack. It is the best tasting, best performance sports drink. It tastes better because it’s all-natural and isn’t overly sweet. Not only do people prefer the taste, they credit Cocogo for steady energy, no muscle cramps, being easy on the stomach, and preventing “the bonk.” And when you compare Cocogo to other sports drinks, you’ll see the proof (see attached): Cocogo offers the best balance of electrolytes, contains an ideal blend of sugars, and has seven essential vitamins.

It comes in little packets, which I like – I’ve been keeping a couple packets in my purse and gym bag for when I’m out or at work and want to spruce up water, or rehydrate on my drive home from the gym.

Cocogo packets

I really like the taste, it’s very flavorful without being super sweet. They say to add 2 packets minimum, but I have to be honest, one was fine for me. Two was borderline too sweet for me, but remember that I’ve cut sugar out of my life 80% of the time. This isn’t sugary tasting at all, I just mean that by cutting most sweeteners out, things taste sweet naturally and a little goes a long way for me.

 Here’s some deets on the nutrition:

Cocogo information

As always, since I have a child with severe food allergies, I contacted the company about the allergen risk, knowing that coconut is technically classified as a tree nut (but it’s not typically treated as a tree nut in processing). Here is what they said:

Cocogo does not have a cross contamination with peanuts. A coconut is NOT a fruit, nor is it a true nut. Coconut water contains the proteins glutelin and prolamin. Their allergenic potential has not been assessed. Although there is quite a distant relationship, there has been cross-reactive allergens between coconut and walnut and hazel nut. Some people do not tolerate coconut water. Because allergies are very individual specific, I would avoid exposure to your son until you have consulted with your physician. 

As with most food items that aren’t 100% verified, I am keeping my glass to myself and don’t give it to my little 2-year-old with allergies.

Cocogo glass

So, want to try it? Enter here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you can’t wait to see if you won the Cocogo, feel free to order from their site – they were kind enough to offer discount codes for my readers when you shop at their store: 40COCOGO will give you 40% off, or use FRSH4COCOGO for free shipping.

It’s also carried at Amazon.com if you’re like me and order your entire life from Amazon: Cocogo Real Fruit Hydration Stick Packs, Raspberry Passion Fruit, 12 Count

Stay tuned for giveaway #3 when this one wraps up next week!

Have you ever tried Cocogo? Are you a water or an electrolyte drink lover?

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FRIDAY FIVE THEME: 5 FITNESS GOALS. As always, feel free to write inspired by the theme or do your own thing, but it has to be a list of “5 things” that you link up.

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Disclaimer: I was provided a box of assorted Cocogo drink packets to try out and review, under no obligation to give a positive review.

Tri Talk Tuesday: The Swim

Today I’m excited to launch something new on the blog: Tri Talk Tuesdays! It’s a weekly linkup hosted by me, Courtney from The TriGirl Chronicles, and Miranda from The Cupcake Triathlete. Each week we’ll pick a different triathlon-related theme and talk about it. We’ll each have a linkup at the bottom where you can add your triathlon-related blog post on Tuesdays, then click and discover other triathlon blogs.

We’re three triathlon-obsessed ladies – we love checking out tri blogs and connecting with other triathletes, so we wanted to carve out an e-space where we can chat and connect. Courtney has had a series called Tri Tip Tuesdays, and we decided to morph it a bit and add a theme – your post can be anything related to the theme each week: your training in that area, your thoughts on the topic, or even tips, tricks, and resources that you want to share. Just talk tri and you’re good to go!

Tri Talk Tuesday

For our first Tri Talk Tuesday, we decided to talk about the first discipline in triathlon: The Swim.

In talking to people about triathlon and reading about triathlon, I’ve realized one thing: out of the three sports, most people feel most nervous about the swim. It’s a feared discipline by many, but in actuality, they say you don’t usually win a triathlon in the swim portion of the race. And let’s be honest: although my kids always ask me if I “won” my races, most of us aren’t out to “win” the triathlon we’re racing in!

I’ll admit I have more confidence in the swim than a lot of people since I practically lived at the pool in the summertime growing up and spent many an early morning at swim team practices and meets. I wasn’t the best swimmer on the team, but I loved it and worked hard.

swim team ribbons

Hmmm, I know I have more first-place ribbons in the house… but I think it’s cool my daughter hung these with princess stickers, and above her “Reading Is Cool” poster. And if you look really closely, the letter on the bottom right is an apology to her teacher for not doing her homework since it wasn’t in her basket!

But as I got older and moved to places without a convenient pool, it was harder to find a place and find the time for lap swimming. With the weather in the northeast, the neighborhood pool doesn’t allow for many months of use. So I had to start fresh when I returned to swimming not only as a form of exercise but also as a competitive sport in triathlon. And you may recall my recent return to swimming after several months off – it’s easy to slip out of swimming shape, and something that takes practice and patience.

In triathlon, the swim portion may be in a pool or it may be an “open water swim”, commonly abbreviated OWS. As a kid I swam in my share of lakes, oceans, and rivers, so I figured I felt comfortable with the open water. So last year when I was prepping for my first tri, I went for a practice OWS, figuring one shot at it was all I needed.

However, it was quite different to swim with a goal in mind than as a fearless kid goofing off in a lake! My heart raced and my breathing wasn’t the same as in the pool – likely caused by chilly lake water plus excitement. And then, as I wrote, we were called out of the water for weather reasons – so my “one shot” OWS wasn’t what I had hoped for (after driving 2 hours to get there!).

I decided another OWS practice was necessary and headed to a clinic/practice swim at National Harbor near Washington, DC. Swimming in the Potomac was kind of gross, but it was worth it for the practice swim. Building confidence seemed to be the key to the OWS.

I tossed in one more OWS practice to test out a wetsuit I was renting for the Iron Girl Rocky Gap, and that sealed the deal – I felt good about the swim.

I had also taken a swimming clinic hosted by the Luna Chix earlier in the summer, which was an amazing experience with tons of useful info, along with practice in a pool sighting and simulating open water swim starts. That was a huge help and I carried the info with me to race day.

Then: the triathlon. Race day.

Iron Girl swim start

Excitement, nerves, other people – adding variables is a surefire way to screw up your confidence and training! I had that same breathing issue as the first OWS – shallow, rapid breathing and needing to stop and sight more often than truly necessary. It took time to get into a groove, but once I got my bearings I felt pretty good. And then the swim started flying by and it was out to transition.

I’m looking forward to a lot more swimming this year and more OWS practice experiences. And apparently the Ironman 70.3 Augusta has a downriver swim going with the current. Sounds fun!

What’s your comfort level with swimming? Are you a pool person or an open water person?

Link up your triathlon blog post below – and join us for next week’s theme: The Bike. As always, with linkups it’s best to mention in your Tuesday post that you are part of a linkup and link back to one or all of our blogs – otherwise the point of the linkup is lost! It’s about connecting triathletes (wanna-be triathletes included!) together.

Do you talk triathlon on your blog? Link up with You Signed Up For WHAT?!The Cupcake Triathlete, and The TriGirl Chronicles on Tuesdays for Tri Talk! We’ll discover a new theme each week and talk about triathlon training, tips, and general chatter. Be sure to link to your specific post and not a general link to your blog so that your post can be found in the linkup archives. Links not triathlon-related will be deleted.

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Reebok Spartan Race Giveaway and Discount!

Get ready, everyone, I’m entering a giveaway blast time! This is the first of four giveaways I have coming up to celebrate my first Blogiversary, so hold on to your hats!

Spartan Race Giveaway

Remember how I’ve talked about my siblings and that they’ve all started running and working out? I’m thrilled we’ve all been getting healthy and fit – it’s truly amazing to see the changes in the family. And remember how I recently talked about how they all signed up for a Spartan Race and I can’t do it?

Wahhhhh.

I’m so completely tempted to join them, but it’s right before my first Olympic Triathlon and I have to stay focused on that race and big goal race - Ironman 70.3 Augusta. I’m going to go and be their Spartan Race cheering squad & photographer, but you can count me jealous that I won’t be participating.

Wait, have you heard about the Spartan Race or have you been under a rock? Here’s a synopsis:

Spartan Race is on a mission to get you active, healthy, excited about change, and return to our ancient roots where running through woods, getting dirty, and facing adversity was part of everyday life. Our events are all about challenging today’s perception of normal.Our events challenge the familiar, today’s perception of normal living and getting you out of your comfort zone! At Spartan Race, we do this everyday and it shapes everything we do.

Having experienced many different racing events, we wanted to make adventure racing more accessible to everyone, but do not be fooled by the word ‘accessible’, as our events have a challenge for everyone’s needs.

Spartan Race now introduces a level for everyone beginning with the entry level Spartan Sprint, intermediate level Super Spartan, the advanced Spartan Beast, and the ‘99.9% need not apply’ extreme level Death Race. 

Whatever your level, Spartan Race will test your strength, stamina, and sense of humor.”

 

They have them all over the world and there are several different levels of races:

Print

I think I’d tackle a race called “Beast” – and then I could say “Yes, I signed up for that Beast of a race”.

They’re sponsored by Reebok, obviously, but the neat thing is there’s now a Reebok shoe tailored for the Spartan Race and other muddy, obstacle-y, events.

THE REEBOK ALL-TERRAIN SERIES. BUILT SPARTAN STRONG.
Born from the trenches of Spartan Races, the Reebok All-Terrain Series is strategically designed with drainage ports that drain water quickly and easily and 360 degrees of traction to shed mud…..The shoe that can handle any abuse a Spartan can give it so you are unstoppable on any course.”

Reebok All Terrain Shoes

Sounds better than wearing my old worn out running shoes for a race like this.

I’m in love with the Spartan Race concept, so I thought I’d do something fun for all of you and do a giveaway for an entry!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you can’t wait to see if you’re the winner and want to register right now, click here to get a code for 15% off registration!

And keep your eyes peeled for my other three giveaways coming up in the next couple of weeks – you won’t want to miss these!

Details: Contest ends 4/17/14 at the stroke of midnight (so enter on 4/16 or earlier!). The winner will receive a code that will work one time for any open heat (non-confirmed start time) in any 2014 Spartan Race in the continental US.

Friday Five: Racecation Packing Tips

Happy Friday! Today is the Friday Five linkup with Eat Pray Run, DC and Mar on the Run, and tons of other bloggers – so check out the awesome posts linked below!

We went “free” again this week – themeless. Something about the free theme day made my mind wander – lots of topics to choose from, but as I mentioned Wednesday when I stated my race goals, I’m headed out of town for the Seashore Classic Half Marathon, so I thought I’d stick to a topic that is consuming my day: Racecation packing.

As in: sorry my Friday Five post is late – this is one thing I’ve been up to, in addition to kid things!

Five Racecation Packing Tips

Today I’ll talk through five tips for packing for a racecation. Unlike doing a race at home, you have to think through every step ahead of time – the day before the race, the night before the race, the morning of the race, and after the race – and have it all in your suitcase.

1. Pre-Race Fuel

Pre-Race Fuel

Bring your own. Trust me. You don’t know what’s available at your hotel or wherever you’re staying and before your race, you will want to have something with you on race morning that you are used to eating at home. I try to pack things that don’t need refrigeration like bananas, bars, bread, applesauce squeeze packets, dates, raisins.

2.  Your race clothes – with options.

Half Marathon Race Day outfit

That’s what I’m wearing on Sunday for my half marathon. But since it’s a new outfit (go Team SOAS!), I’m packing a backup outfit – just in case. I plan to try it out the day before once I see what the weather is like at my destination, make sure nothing is rubbing or has the potential for chafing, and maybe do a test run around the block.

I also pack a long-sleeved shirt, jacket, a spare pair of socks, a spare sports bra, and sometimes even a spare pair of running shoes – just in case.

Having the spares is also handy because I like to do a short run of 2 miles or so the day before a half marathon. I’ll use my backups for this, assuming I don’t get too sweaty, and either rinse them out in the sink or do laundry if it’s available. If you’re going to your destination several days ahead of time, make sure you bring enough sets of running or other workout clothes – you don’t want to have used up all the clean socks before race day!

3. Accessories – with options if needed.

Race Accessories

Notice I have two belts in my packing pile? I may be accused of being an over-packer, but I find having two of these handy. I’ve had things go wrong with a buckle, or decided to take an extra gel packet with me that doesn’t fit in the smaller belt. I like to have a choice – on race day I’ll get all dressed and ready and then decide on the final belt or pocket system. If you’re used to only one thing for each accessory, go with it – but I tend to rotate things at home so I want to have the option of making a game-day decision on final accessories the day of.

Don’t forget your sunglasses, visor or hat, and running watch if you have one.

4. During and post-race fuel.

During and post-race fuel

Sure, some races will have a gel packet stop along the course, but I always try to be prepared and bring my own. I have kinds that my stomach can tolerate, and I want to use those things during the race. During the Army Ten Miler, there was supposedly something passed out at one of the aid stations, but I never saw it – maybe I was on the wrong side of the crowd as we passed through. I was doing the Whole30 at that time, so I was glad to have my own fuel anyhow.

I also like to bring post-race hydration in my gear check bag. I pop a tablet of Nuun or a packet of Ultima into the water bottle they hand out and I’m good to go. I don’t drink super sweet or sugary drinks, so this way I know I have something replenishing my system that I can handle.

5. Running & Post-Race Shoes.

Running and post-race shoes

Running a half marathon? Bring your shoes. No brainer, yes, but sometimes you forget the obvious. For the Disney Glass Slipper Challenge weekend I brought two pairs of running shoes in case I wanted to rotate between the Enchanted 10K and the Princess Half Marathon. I didn’t need the spare pair, but I was glad to have the security of knowing they were in my bag, especially since my main shoes were fairly new.

I also like to toss some flip flops or other comfy shoes into my gear check bag – my feet are tired after a race and I need to get out of the running shoes ASAP.

Hope these tips helped – now back to packing for my racecation!

Have a post about five things on a Friday? Link up with us below! Be sure to link back to one of our blogs and mention that you’re part of a link up so that your readers can discover the other blogs in the Friday Five linkup.

A tip – link to the specific post from today, not your general blog link – since the links stay on my page forever, that way people can see your post from today if they find my linkup at another time!

Have you taken a Racecation? 

Have you ever forgotten anything when packing for a trip?

Seashore Classic Half Marathon Goals

On Sunday, I was able to get outside for my last long run before the Seashore Classic Half Marathon.

Truth: I wanted to do 10 miles but had to be back in time for my husband to leave for his hockey game. You know that little thing called you-can’t-leave-kids-in-the-house-alone-or-you’ll-get-arrested? Yeah, there’s a thing about that. So it was 8 miles.

Fact: I feel pretty good after that solid 8-mile run, I was happy with my pace, and I felt like I could keep going at that pace for a LOT longer.

Reality: I’m not going to set any crazy goals for the race. I’m going ambitious but realistic. I want that sub-2-hour half marathon this year, but it isn’t going to happen this week. I’m not there yet.

My long run was amazing. It was a gorgeous day, and I felt fabulous. No jacket required - you gotta love springtime finally arriving.

Here are the stats from Garmin:

Distance: 8.15 mi
Time: 1:15:30
Avg Pace: 9:16 min/mi
Elevation Gain: 224 ft
Calories: 941 C

My pace was pretty steady -

  • Mile 1 = 9:14
  • Mile 2 = 9:14
  • Mile 3 = 9:11
  • Mile 4 = 9:08
  • Mile 5 = 9:13
  • Mile 6 = 9:24
  • Mile 7 = 9:24
  • Mile 8 = 9:15

Mile 6-8 slowed down a bit as I exited the park and dealt with street crossings, plus a bit of fatigue. I picked it up again in Mile 8 and finished strong. Average pace for the whole run was 9:16/mile.

IMG_20140406_212906

I love running through the Soccerplex near my house – it was 2.5 miles to one entrance of the complex, I ran the big loop around, then 2.4 miles home from another entrance. It’s a hilly park, which will serve me well in later races this year.

I love all the details Garmin gives you when you upload your run – here are the elevation stats:

Elevation Gain: 224 ft
Elevation Loss: 217 ft
Min Elevation: 356 ft
Max Elevation: 517 ft

What does that mean? Don’t ask me, I’m still learning how to interpret elevation details and maps. But to compare, here’s the course and the elevation for the Seashore Classic:

Seashore Classic Half Marathon

First of all - can I get an “oh yeah” on a beachy half marathon in the springtime? Oh yeah.

Second of all - it’s described as “Flat & Fast course through historic Lewes & beautiful Cape Henlopen State Park”. Flat and fast? Oh yeah.

Third of all - another “oh yeah” on a racecation this weekend! Oh yeah!

In Febraury, I took a racecation with my daughter for the Disney Glass Slipper Challenge. This time, I’m headed to the beach area with my au pair, my two boys, and my parents. It’s going to be a great getaway weekend, and any weekend that combines a trip with a race is my kind of fun!

So… my race goals:

  1. Under 2:15 for the half marathon.
  2. Feel strong throughout.
  3. Hydrate and fuel well.

My best half marathon time is 2:05, in my very first half marathon in Clearwater, Florida. Since then I’ve ranged from 2:12-2:29, depending on my level of fitness, postpartum status, and other factors. I think this is the year for a sub-2:00 half marathon, because my pace has dropped considerably since last year. I wrote about three factors I felt helped my pace improve last year, and lately I’ve been running a sub-9 minute mile pace for shorter runs, something that I never imagined in the past.

As I mentioned in my 2014 Race Calendar post, I’m going for Half Fanatic status, where you run a certain amount of half marathons in a certain time frame. And after you get Half Fanatic status, what do you do? You try to go up a level with MORE half marathons. Crazy, no? Yes. We all know I’m crazy and will try to level up in the future, but first I have to get the first level.

So here is the confession (or stating the obvious, depending on how you see it): I signed up for this half marathon because I thought the race looked great - it looked like a gorgeous course and a nice atmosphere. But also because to achieve the first level of Half Fanatic, you have to run 3 half marathons in 90 days. And according to my calendar, from Princess Half Marathon to ZOOMA Annapolis is 92 days. I was registered for the Frederick Half Marathon and had the 3 races covered, but it wouldn’t qualify because of the time frame, so I started a quest for another. My parents have a house near Lewes, and I absolutely love the Delaware beach area. I had wanted to do a race in Delaware last fall but the dates didn’t work out – so now everything is falling into place and I can’t wait for this weekend!

Would you sign up for a race to get a certain “membership” or status? Have you?

THEME ALERT: Friday Five linkup theme is “FREE FRIDAY” – write about whatever five things you want!

Hello, Swimming Pool!

This weekend I did something that I’ve been wanting to do for weeks.

I swam.

Pool swim

It was my first time in the pool since before my hysterectomy in December – I had been mandated 8 weeks of no exercise and no immersion in a pool or other water. Then when I resumed exercise, I focused on running. Then i added in the bike trainer, yoga, Pilates, barre, and a few other activities as I could fit them into my hectic schedule.

But nary a swim was to be found in my exercise log.

I tried a week ago, but it was closing just as I arrived at the gym. So yeah, I signed up for a half Ironman knowing I hadn’t swam in months, but thinking (in my mind) that I’m a “strong swimmer”. And I repeatedly state that I love swimming.

So I dove in the pool, totally excited to get back in the water, started to swim, and —- ugh.

It was not good.

I felt like I was a mess – my stroke was a disaster, my breathing was hard, my form was bad.

I swam 36 lengths total. So that’s 900 meters or yards – I really need to check the distance of the new gym’s pool.

So here I was, a total disaster, getting kind of worried

But after 20 lengths I got into a better groove, and felt my old skills coming back. I even practiced bilateral breathing as I neared the end of my workout. And I ended strong. Felt as though I could have kept swimming for a little while longer  - so hooray for small victories!

My goal now is to get into the pool 3 times a week until I start my official training for Ironman 70.3 Augusta.

Do you enjoy swimming? When was the last time you were in a pool?

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