Monday, December 31, 2012

December Recap


Total run mileage: 113.13     highest monthly mileage ever!
Highest weekly run mileage: 
  35.47   highest weekly mileage ever! 
# Runs: 17
# Rest days: 13
# Cross-training workouts:5
# Races: 3 
Favorite run: The Walton County Half. I felt so strong the whole race, put my 4-1 interval training to good use, and while it wasn't a smashing PR (just 49 seconds off), it was a PR nonetheless. I think the best part was pushing a lady to a nearly 5-minute PR when she didn't think she could pull it off. So much fun, not to mention a beautiful morning in Georgia countryside. And you know... the first-place age group win didn't hurt too much either!

Most hardcore run: The 17 miler, obviously! That was the first huge mental test of marathon training - the 20 miler this weekend was hard but good, but doing 17 miles by yourself on a Saturday morning really pushes your limits. It was then that I knew that I was making progress, making the work count and that if I put my mind to it, it would happen and I could do it. Cliched, I know... but so true.

Current reads: Guh, nothing this month. Failing at the book reading goal still. Oh well?

Current obsession: Getting in as much home time as I can. It's been a great trip, it's been great being home and I'm just trying to soak up every minute of it while I can. 

Current drink: Water. It's hard at home, while we're out and about, to make sure I'm drinking the same amount of water as I do when I sit at a desk all day chugging bottle after bottle. Only home for a next few days, but man! I need to get on this and make sure I stay in the habit and don't fall off the tracks.

Current song: No songs - looking forward to finding new music for the running playlist over the next few weeks. I've got some steady songs that will never leave the list, but there are quite a few that I'm getting bored with. Suggestions, friends?

Current need:This cold to go away! And for my suitcase to pack itself, preferably.

Current triumph: My first 100-mile month ever! I'm so excited - I knew that given that last run was 20-miles (and even only doing 15 of it), I only had to run 3 miles to break 100. So excited, so proud, can't believe I made it! 

And with that, through the longest month of marathon training. Two more weeks of hardcore work to get done, three weeks to taper, and then it's race weekend. WHERE have the last 18 weeks gone, but seriously?
On the run that broke 100!

Current bane of my existence:This head cold that I will not let ruin my new year! Or that pesky red-eye flight home tomorrow...

Current goal: Still identifying all my goals for 2013. I've got a few (though not as many as 2012), but need to fine-tune some plans and details. Stay tuned later this week!

What are your biggest accomplishments from this month?

Surf City | Week 13

To be noted: winter training is hard. Holiday training is hard. Add traveling to the opposite coast for a week and holiday shenanigans and a half-mary mid-week and it's reallllly hard. 

Monday: 45 Minute Tempo
Yeah. We got back from Vegas about 11:15 on Sunday night and there was no way I was getting it together to get out the door - not to mention there was some running around. I went and met up with a friend from grad school and her boyfriend who were in from New York for Christmas - I haven't seen her in almost two years, so it was so great to see her and catch up. Doug and I ran a few last minute Christmas errands (because who doesn't?) and rest up before we headed to my aunt's for our Christmas Eve celebrations. Glad I took this day to "rest."

Tuesday: Rest
2.95 miles / 28:01 / 9:29 pace
Merry Christmas! Given that Monday was an off day, and I really needed to get my legs going prior to the half on Wednesday, I went for a few early miles on Christmas morning. I wish I had pushed through to get to the full 3 at least, but it was a great run, cool out, but not Georgia brisk. Beautiful Christmas day in California!

Wednesday: Operation Jack Half Marathon
13.07 miles / 2:14:06 / 10:15 pace
Well, considering the last six days were filled with dancing and drinks in Vegas, no running, and just one three-mile stint the morning before, I'd say... not too shabby. Read all about it here!

Thursday: Rest
My sister left Thursday - sad day. Oddly enough, the only pain I felt after the half was in my lower back. I know I run with pretty poor posture, and I'm certain that a flat race, when I'm used to such hills, didn't really help that anymore either. Lower back pain sucks - but I'm glad it's not my hammies or my knees and I can at least walk normally!

Friday: 5 miles
It felt like the longest week ever. 

Saturday: Cross
Snow-shoeing! / 1:40ish / 2 miles ish?
Headed up to Big Bear with my mom, aunt and uncle. It was forecasted to pour down at home, so we knew we'd get snow... but holy wow! Amazing. Our 10-hour adventure included just over an hour and a half of snow-shoeing and a treacherous two and a half hour drive back down the mountain in the dark. Fun times, so glad we got to go again!

Sunday: 20 miles
15.50 / 3:12:23 / 12:24 pace
My sorority sister Kasey was in So Cal for the weekend, so we had plans to go down to the beach and knock out so major miles. Started off with 3-1 intervals to conserve energy instead of my normal 4-1s, and felt GREAT. We double-backed to the starting point (10.25 mi) and after that Kasey fought with a blister and knee so we only went back out a little ways. Just about mile 12, her knee was hitting her with a sharp pain every time she bent it - problematic. So we turned around early and headed back to the car. I double-backed and did loops around so as to keep getting mileage in and am happy with the 15.5. Slower pace than normal but I felt awesome. Worried about KC's knee! :( I had every intention to finish the 4.5 this morning, but that pesky head cold hit me full-force. Ah well, a great way to end the 2012 running year!

Total Week Run Miles: 35.47
Total XT Miles: 2?
Total Week Miles: 37.47-ish


How did your training go this week? How was your Christmas?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Race Report: Operation Jack Half Marathon

Dockweiler State Beach | Los Angeles, CA
Decemberr 26, 2012

I had signed up for this race way back before Labor Day - which, frankly, feels like a century ago. I was excited to have one last race to end the year, and even more excited because the race is so freaking flat compared to any of my other halfs (all in Georgia, though Wine and Dine was pretty flat too). 

Pulling up to the beach in the morning.
Christmas Day always ends pretty late, but I needed to be a little more conscious of time this year, and was home and in bed by midnight with a 5:30 am alarm. Woke up at 5:05 (you know, race excitement!) to the sound of pouring rain. The forecast had changed overnight from afternoon rains to rains alllll morning - super. Just the kind of race that I'm sure my family wanted to stand in (their first time at any race for me!). What a way to convince them that this was where they needed to be at 7:30 am on the day after Christmas. Ha! 

It poured the entire way to the beach and, kid you not, stopped nearly as soon as we parked. It was still slightly cloudy when we took off at 7:30, but was sunny (and warm!) by the time it was over. You've got to love Southern California "winters"! So much so that this guy was out there too.  (His sign says It Never Rains in Southern California

My outward, mostly public goal for this race was a 2:05, given its flatness, but had mentioned to a few people that I thought this was a great opportunity for a sub-2. I was planning on continuing my 4-1 interval rotation and putting my semi-speed to the test during my 4-minute runs. The course went up about 3.5 miles, turned around back through the starting area, down about 3 miles and back up to the start/finish line; half marathoners looped once, and fullers did it twice. Not a bad course, and certainly running along the ocean or the creek wasn't too shabby either (and a positive change in scenery for me!). I was able to book it through the first loops, hitting back at the start line just about 7.25 miles in at 1:05 - if I had kept up that pace, I was on track for a pretty killer PR by the end! 

The course was beautiful, entirely on the bike path (or shortly off of it) and followed the Pacific Ocean or Balona Creek, so you were also in view of water and often the seagulls that come along with it. Given that my races prior have either been in downtown Atlanta, or in massive tree groves or gardens (or one set of amusement parks), this was a great race for me just in terms of the scenery. Absolutely loved it - doesn't hurt that when the rain subsided and the clouds rolled out, it was an absolutely stunning morning on the west coast. 

It at that semi-mid-point (Mile 7ish) that I dropped my water bottle with my family, and therefore forget my Shot Bloks in the pocket. Oops. I was trucking along pretty good, started hurting around Mile 10 and by Mile 11, felt really... over it. I walked/ran as I felt I could for the last two miles, and pushed hard to jog the last half mile in, with a typical Megan .2 mile sprint to finish at a 2:14:06 time (at least per Garmin status). Admittedly disappointed at first, but in realizing just how out of whack I was with my typical race prep, not a shabby showing; I think I was more disappointed with how well the first 7 miles went and how hard I crashed in the last 5. After a little bit of wallowing, I realized that all things considered, the race is about an average of my fall races, which just goes to show that I've really done work the last few months overall and that I've been putting in some great effort. Also goes to show that maybe hills do push me harder, but also force me to pay more attention to my body and how I feel and my paces - I thought super flatness was going to work to my advantage, but I think that's what got me ahead of my mental game before the race even started.

But I did it!
So grateful my family was able to be there for me. 
First lesson of the day: make sure you have the food you always have before a race. I couldn't find peanut butter in my parents' cabinets (womp), so I had a banana (normal) and a slice of coffee cake (not so normal, but I figured the carbs and sugar would do me some good).  Second lesson: stick with your gut on your shoe choice. I brought both pairs (Pure Connects and Kinvaras). I haven't worn my Brooks longer than 8 miles since Wine and Dine (nearly 7 weeks), but as it was pouring, I didn't want to ruin the newer Kinvaras. I think that's part of what got me. Third lesson: even if you dump your water bottle, make sure you take your Gus or chomps or whatever. That definitely did not help my abilities. Fourth lesson: taking 5 days off of running, drinking in Vegas, and running one 3-mile run the day before the race is not enough to get you prepped! Ha.

Overall, a great race - I love the cause behind it, the purpose, and so many people come out and support Train for Autism and ultimately, Sam's purpose with hosting this race every year. I loved that there were everywhere from first-time half marathoners to women who had run Boston to barefoot runners doing the full - it was a true showing of all kinds of runners. Great t-shirts, great medals (they're dog tags, but actually of a medal thickness), and a great environment. If you're in LA, or even elsewhere (they have satellite runs every year too), and want a flat race to shake up your winter a bit, this is it. So glad I did, even thought it wasn't my best ever. See you next year, Operation Jack!

Race Pros
 - Awesome, personal cause that you don't see often in big races - that message can get lost. Loved that Sam comes out for the race, runs prior & sees it until the end
- Fabulous volunteers!
- Great medals - unique dog tag!
- Small race, not crowded
- Can't beat running on the beach

Race Cons
- Rain up until almost the start! But you can't help that. And it made the weather clear up amazing for a great view!
- Could have used an extra water/fuel station in the middle of each 'arm' of the route
- Paying for parking, though not expensive, but a bummer. Any way to work with them on that? :)

Operation Jack Half Marathon
Half Marathon #7 & Final Race of 2012

Lessons from a Marathon (The Training): Guest Post!

Guest post: What I learned from my first marathon Though I suppose a guest post merits an introduction first: hi! I’m Shannon!

That’s me on the right, with my fiancée on the left, following the Pittsburgh Half in May.
I keep most of my thoughts on a sorta-weekly basis here (or here if you prefer things in a more structured syntax), but Megan offered folks the opportunity for guest postings on her blog. I met Megan through the Ragnar Relay, both proud teammates of Four Score and Seven Miles Ago. She’s also friends with a bunch of my friends: awesome people knowing awesome people and such.

So! Today I am burdened with glorious purpose: I recently ran the Philadelphia Marathon (you can read my race report here, if you wish). I have five half-marathons under my belt already, having dropped my PR by almost 30 minutes; it’s become one of my favorite distances. But until this November I hadn’t run a full before.
If you’ve never run a full before, speculation doesn’t come close. Without further adieu, here are some things that I learned from the experience. This is geared towards folks who have never done a marathon before and would like to.

1. Give the marathon the respect it deserves. I can’t emphasize this point enough: stick to your training plan. There are reasons behind all the workouts and weekly mileages. Keep on-a-whim weekend races at an absolute minimum, unless they closely align with the mileage you need. The marathon is a beast, and it will mercilessly chew up anyone who casually turns his or her back to it. Once you have some experience with the beast, and you know how your body will handle the training, then you can take some liberties with the training. In the point below, I’ll go into some caveats with this point, but as a general heuristic: unless you have a good reason to deviate, stick to the plan.

2. The key is mileage. If you’re hitting your weekly mileages, that really is 75% of the battle. Kill those long runs. Push through those 20-milers. Those are the most important workouts of your marathon training. Speed and tempo runs are great; like any workout regimen, it’s good to shock the body so it doesn’t get stuck in a rut. But if you have to sacrifice workouts, make sure you’re keeping your long runs. My fiancée and I made a hard copy of our training schedule:
It doesn’t include the taper, as we ran out of room. Just in case anyone noticed.
You’ll notice there are some numbers that are circled. Those represent runs I skipped; only one of them is a long run (I twisted my ankle pretty badly a few days prior, and by that long run day I was only beginning to walk under my own power again). The rest were because of nagging muscle injuries or soreness, or generally wanting some extra downtime. Killing 1-2 easy runs here and there won’t set back your mileage. Still, be cautious here: scrap too many runs and you risk inviting the fury of #1. Further, I would put forward that maybe something is wrong and the timing isn’t right for a full marathon.

3. Log, log, log. Different strokes for different folks: Megan and I have blogs where we like to describe our running escapades, but Megan posts more frequently and in more detail than I do. (Megan's note: it holds me accountable! And I have a memory like no other, which makes it easy to tell you what exactly I ate at every other mile.) I have a Garmin GPS watch that I closely monitor through Garmin Connect, and I log all my runs on Fitocracy. My fiancée also has a running blog, but she mainly sticks to race reports with the occasional inter-race update, similar to my blogging strategy. She also has a Garmin GPS watch and uses Fitocracy, but she also keeps a daily written account of her running workouts, which I don’t. The point here is: find what works for you, but find some way of documenting your progress. When the going gets tough, it’s pretty freaking awesome to see just how much you’ve already accomplished.
It’s awfully inspiring to see your monthly progress.
 4. It’s ok to have bad weeks! Whereas point #1 is primarily geared towards folks who might try to do too much, this point addresses the other end of things: don’t worry if you have a bad week here and there! That’s part of running. If you have a stretch of really sucky weeks and are falling pretty far behind in your mileage, it may be a sign that you don’t quite have the mileage base for a full marathon. And that’s ok too! I waited two years after my first half marathon (and four more half marathons) to run a full. If you are having a bad week, take a deep breath and relax. Look at what you’ve already accomplished (#2), and focus on relaxing during your runs. If you need to pull back a bit, either on the mileage or the intensity in order to make it through the week, that’s ok. But know your limits; expecting to run an 18-mile long run after a week off may not be the best plan.

5. Have fun with it! 4 months of training is a long time. In one of my posts, I compared it to playing football. Again, this differs for everyone, but for me it was little things that really helped on a daily basis: a kickass track workout, or waking up an hour later on a day off, or adding a new song to my running playlist, or laughing at the number of calories I was burning on a weekly basis, or leveling up in Fitocracy, or getting excited about cutback weeks and what to do with the extra hour or more on the morning of the long run (in my particular case, I proposed, lolz).

What motivates you? What keeps you excited about running? Incorporate it! Feed off all those endorphins you’re generating from your workouts and channel it into making your next workout even more fun. And make sure you keep stretching, foam rolling, getting enough sleep, eating right…you know, that basic stuff.

I’ll be honest: my first full marathon didn’t go well. I crushed our two 20-mile long runs, but come race day I was dying by mile 15. There are a lot of reasons for this (detailed in my race report), but it illustrates one final point I want to make: everyone has off-days, and while we’d all love for our race days to be our best, sometimes a bad day just happens to coincide with a race. Don’t berate yourself for it, don’t second-guess your training, and absolutely don’t doubt yourself. Shake it off; mark it down as a bad day and try again later. I’m proud to say that I nonetheless finished the marathon, and I am looking forward to running another one and improve on my time.

Think of it this way: if you have a bad race day, you set yourself up for a nice PR the next time you run it!

 I hope this was somewhat helpful to those who may be considering a marathon, or who have already begun training for one. In keeping with the tradition on my own blog: a lolcat for your troubles. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season, celebrated wherever and with whomever is most meaningful! :)
 - Shannon


Thanks Shannon!

Any other tips for the trials and tribulations of marathon training for first-timers? And look forward to my next guest post from Gina: Lessons from a Marathon (The Race). Exciting times ahead, people!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Surf City | Week 12 & Giveaway Winners!

OH MY GOODNESS. Great week throughout, finally. I'm almost bummed I cut it short (thank you, Vegas) but I feel like I deserved this weekend 'off' and hope that it'll give the motivation to a) kick ass at the half on Wednesday and b) power through the next few weeks. Here we go! SIX weeks to go! Eeeep!

Monday: Rest
After Sunday's torrential downpour of a 5K, I was more than happy staying in my (dry!) warm, bed. Rest day happily accepted.

Tuesday: 9 x 400 m 
9 x 400 m / 4.13 mi total / 38:28 / 9:19 pace
I was a little emotionally charged from the day, and was ready to get some frustrations and extraneous mind boggle out of my head. The only way to do that? The gym, obviously.

My 9 x 400s usually go as such - 800 m warm up, 400 m repeats with 200 m rest & 400 m cool down. The splits (this is where it gets good!): 1:56, 1:55, 1:55, 1:54, 1:54, 1:48, 1:50, 1:56, 1:51! Snap! Should do track workouts while emotionally-charged more often (I kid. Sort of.) Personal best 400m at 1:48, and on set 6 no less! WHEW!

Don't forget to link up for Track Tuesdays! Be sure you're joining me and Run DMT each Tuesday (or, you know, whichever day of the week you prefer)! Check out this week's post out here!

Wednesday: 8 miles
8.12 mi / 1:19:23 / 9:46 pace
After the awesome Tuesday session, I really wanted to make Wednesday rock. I realize that I say that every week, but now that I'm getting down to that 6-week wire, I know that now is my chance to make things count. It's go time, baby! Headed to the gym after work for 64 make that 65 laps on the track.

Solid, strong 8 miles. OF the 8 laps per mile, I walked the first one and would run the rest, would say my slowest mile was just about 10:05. But with an overall of 9:46, I'd say this was a super success. So happy with how this went! I never thought I'd be able to bust out 8 miles on a weekday evening, but so excited to say that a) I finally did it and b) it was fantastic!

Thursday: 4 miles
4.25 mi / 39:07 / 9:12 pace
Last run in Georgia until 2013! Quick 4 miles after work (yes, back at the gym, ugh!), but wanted to make one last good southern showing for 2012. I'm ready to get to California where I might not totally freeze on morning runs outside. Aaaaah. Anyway, planned for 4 and figured if I felt good (as good as I did on Wednesday, at least), then I'd push for a little bit more because well... why not? Pushed through for a strong last quarter mile and really happy with this run too. Week = success!

Friday: Rest
Vegas-bound! Friday was chaotic - it was the last day of work (I took a half day) and left at lunch. I said bye to the pup and dropped her off at boarding where she'll be until I'm back on the 2nd (I hate doing that to her). :( Ran a last errand, got my car home, and a friend took me back to campus to catch the shuttle to the airport. Whew!

Landed in Vegas at 9:30, and headed straight here, duh, as tradition requires:
And then played all weekend!

I was in Vegas. Wasn't that a given that I would be resting? ;)

[source, until I get mine uploaded!]
Sunday: Cross-Train
Walking the Strip ... totally counts.
I wasn't counting on making this happen, given that we weren't conscious Sunday morning until nearly noon. But we walked nearly the whole strip all afternoon, so it was a good mellow way to get something done, right? Right.

Total Week Run Miles: 16.5
Total XT Miles: maybe 2?
Total Week Miles: 18.5 or so. :)

And, the excitement you've been waiting for... our Premier Protein giveaway winners! So many thank yous to PP for hosting this and allowing me to have FIVE winners!
All the winners have been emailed. If you are a winner, you must email me back by Friday, December 28 at 5 pm EST with your address! If not, a new winner will be chosen!

Merry Christmas everyone!

How did your training go this week? 

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays. Enjoy your time with family, or friends, or wherever you might be and be grateful for another great year. Me? Looking forward to more family time today with my parents, sister, and grandparents. 

Thank you all for making my blog such an amazing part of my life this year and I'm looking forward to more in 2013!

A very, merry Christmas to you each!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Vegas Bound!

Doesn't the title say it all? On a plane, friends, to the Sin City, the Entertainment Capital of the World, Glitter Gulch, Lost Wages... Las Vegas! Stoked for a vacation to start the vacation - isn't that normal? I'll be in Vegas tonight through sometime Sunday afternoon, then driving back across the desert to southern California for the holidays.

And then it's family time, half marathon time, the bulk of training time, Kasey time, boyfriend time, and sunshine time. Aaaaah. So excited.

Have a lovely, lovely weekend friends!

When All You Want to do is Hibernate: Guest Post!

Today's guest post is from Larissa - another super fab #sweatpink sistah & admitted hibernation fan. Check our her blog here and feel free to follow her on Twitter while you're at it!


Winter is upon us, and I am one of the first to go into hibernation.

I hate cold weather. My favorite temperature is 95 degrees and I don’t mind humidity. I’m shivering at 50 degrees and an ice cube below that. My hands and feet are perpetually cold.

Needless to say, I really don’t like winter. Cold weather, gray skies, big sweaters and holidays do a little something negative to my motivation.

Staying fit during the winter months is flat out tough. Here are a few tips that help me stay motivated:

1.     Good cold–weather gear.
I’m a frugal newly–wed still hacking away at school loans, so we really don’t spend a lot of money. Good workout gear isn’t really high on our needs list, but I have collected a few staples.

·         Soft long–sleeve top. I have a half–zip fleece top with a high collar. This works great for cool weather and is thin enough to put a jacket over in the cold.
·         A similar full­–zip jacket. In cool weather, I may take off the jacket, so having it unzip fully makes this easier.
·         A warm but lightweight active coat. I have a Fila Performance jacket that I absolutely love. The torso the sleeve lengths are perfect and it stays in place when I move. Some zipper pockets make it perfect.
·         Long pants, of course. I really don’t like working out in pants, but I’ve collected some decent ones. I do need a good active pair of leggings (rather than yoga pants that have a flair) so the cold air doesn’t get up under the hem.
·         Some good thick gloves and a hat or headband that covers my ears.

I don’t like working out in sweatshirts or anything with a hood; too bulky. I look for pieces that are warm, but lightweight and slim. I know there is a ton of great gear out there; this is just an example of what works for me on a small budget.

Plus, regardless of the season, who doesn’t love some new clothes? I’m also motivated to work out if it means I can wear something new that I love.

2.     Move indoors.
I’m an outdoors person – running, biking, walking, swimming, sports, etc. – but I do appreciate a good HIIT or strength workout in my living room. Some of my favorites include a Greatist workout of the day, a ZWOW from Zuzka Light, a video from Bex Boruki… or put together a set of your favorite exercises.

I like to keep a calendar or notebook to track my reps and time so I can see my improvement. An added plus is these workouts tend to take less time than a run. This season has a habit of being busy. That, paired with less motivation overall, can be a dangerous combination for our health.

Write down three or four of your favorite interval circuits so you always have something on hand. I always like new ones, of course, but if I’m in a hurry or feeling lazy, it helps to have sets I can pull out anytime.

3.     Change expectations.
During warm weather, I run a lot. The focus is more on building distance, working to increase speed, and spending hours of my weekend on the trail.

In the winter, I shift my goals to strength training. Right now I’m doing lots of squats, pushups and planks. As a runner, these core and leg exercises can make a big difference out on the pavement.

With regard to weight goals, I don’t really try to lose this time of year. I step on the scale maybe once a week to make sure I’m staying on track. Because guess what? It’s cold, we worked really hard in the summer and fall and it’s holiday time! We all know how to take care of our bodies, we know to not go crazy.

And we know that we all need to little break sometimes. So enjoy yourself! Enjoy your pie, enjoy the traveling and gifts and late night and the time away from your normal workouts. January will come soon enough and spring is around the corner.
The main thing for me is that I’m not expecting significant running improvement or weight loss during the winter. I’m expecting to have a great holiday season and then I’m expecting to work hard in other ways to improve my overall strength when the cold keeps me in inside.

What are your holiday and winter tips? I’m sure there are many other great ideas and I’d love to hear them!

- Larissa


Thanks Larissa! 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hung 4 the Holidays: Ornament Exchange!

As a blogger, who doesn't love the opportunity to do swaps, giveaways, and other stuff that allows you to collect more stuff for around the house? I'm one, that's for sure! For the holidays, three of my favorite bloggers: Carlyn from Just Keep Sweating, Jenn from Fit Appetit, and Gina from Burning Babi Fat hosted an ornament exchange! I can never have enough ornaments, despite not having a tree this year, so I was excited to add a new one to the collection!

I was lucky enough to get Mindy, whose blog I follow anyway, so I knew a little bit about her, but got some awesome clues to find her the perfect ornament - and apparently I did well!

From Mindy's post!
Apparently this kitten looks just like one of her fur kids, Cullen, so she was super excited to see this guy come out of her package. Let me tell you, finding a (cute) cat ornament was not easy - who knew? Check out Mindy's post for her ornament love!

I was lucky enough to be adopted by my elf, Kristyn. I gave her what I thought were some pretty easy descriptors and would give her a lot to work with: Lets see. I love traveling! I'm from California, now living in Georgia by way of Texas (job), San Diego (grad school) and Arizona (undergrad). Love running, first full marathon in February! And congrats on your first 5K - hope it goes GREAT! Oh, and I love my dog, Molly. She's a German shepherd/blue heeler mix and the love of my life. :) I also love all things nail polish! I think that's a lot you can work with! Haha. Oh, one more: especially in regards to Christmas, but also all year, I love all things glittery. :)

I mean... that should be enough, right? Right. And she hit it right on the spot with this awesomely fabulous running ornament (applicable for my first major running year) from Etsy:
Just love it!
How great, right? Thanks so much Kristyn! And thanks to Carlyn, Jenn and Gina for hosting - hopefully there will be another swap to look forward to for next year!

Have you ever participated in an ornament swap (whether online or in person)? Would you participate in one? 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Review & Giveaway: Premier Protein!

A couple of weeks ago, I was given the super cool opportunity to try out some of Premier Protein's power bars and shakes! Being that I'm stingy and on a tight budget, I don't always like buying things, hoping I'll like them, because then I fear I won't and will be wasting my money. But to get a neat opportunity like this to able to try something, provide some feedback and then... best yet... give away a whole bunch of their goodness is even better! Right? Yes.

The first thing that got me super excited about this package was its presentation - seriously. I'm a sucker for things packed all pretty. You can't totally tell in the photo, but it was covered and nested in red nesting paper and just looked... cozy. Stoked already!

They sent me six protein bars (2 each of three flavors: Double Chocolate Crunch, Chocolate Peanut Butter, and Yogurt Peanut Crunch) and 4 protein shakes (2 each of chocolate and vanilla). 

Truthfully, I've never liked protein bars. Honest to goodness, I have yet to find one that I could wolf down happily every chance I get. So I was healthily cautious chowing down on these guys - off the bat, they felt heavy. Due to the higher calorie count (DCC 280, CPB 290 and YPC 290), these bars are meant to be eaten as a meal replacement or maybe to eat a half has a snack, or I suppose the whole thing if you need some major protein and carb replacement after a long and tough workout.Each bar packs 30g of protein and contains 0 trans fat.  The Yogurt Peanut Crunch was my favorite; despite my love of chocolate, and based on the names, I'd assumed I'd like Double Chocolate Crunch most, but was pleasantly surprised with the yogurt ones!

I'd had the protein shakes after a workout for a few days, either with or without a bagel, or sometimes mid-morning when I get pre-lunch hungry! I typically love chocolate shakes and these were no different. Milky, smooth, yum! The shakes are also awesome because they offer the original size, single-serving size and snack size, so depending on what your intention is (meal replacement, snack, etc.), you can choose an appropriate size to fit your needs. Genius.

The first package I received (top) was just before Premier Protein released their new packaging for the shakes (left), with the awesomely easier way to drink them without looking like a 5-year-old who made a mess of herself drinking from a sippy cup (yes, that's me). PP was nice enough to send me a new package with some of the new packaging to try out (and therefore lose the 5-year-old status). So much easier! Hooray!

Now for FIVE super lucky Run Megan Run readers (sorry, US residents only), PP is going to send them equally awesome packages, chock full of:
  • 6 Premier Protein meal replacement bars: 2 bars in each flavor (Chocolate Peanut Butter, Double Chocolate Crunch and Yogurt Peanut Butter Crunch) 
  • 4 Premier Protein shakes: 2 shakes in each flavor (chocolate and vanilla) 
  • Premier Protein nylon bag 
To enter, you have a few options. Entries close December 22, 2012 at 11:59 pm EST.
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Track Tuesday 5

I'm pairing up with Denise at Run DMT to bring you a weekly thread where you can brag, show off, cry or celebrate your weekly  (or whenever it is) speed workout. Whether it's Monday, Tuesday, or never, you can link up (at the bottom) and tell us all about your session! 
Today's scheduled doozy was a 9 x 400 track workout at 5K pace - do-able. I've done it before, though it's been a few weeks since my last successful one (Week 6 | Week 8). With time looming until Surf City, I really want to make these count to the best of my abilities. Last week's great tempo run (albeit shortened) was a testament that I can, I just need to get in the right mindset!

What happened, you ask? OH-EM-GEE this was the best workout ever. I was a little emotionally charged from the day, and was ready to get some frustrations and extraneous mind boggle out of my head. The only way to do that? The gym, obviously.

My 9 x 400s usually go as such - 800 m warm up, 400 m repeats with 200 m rest & 400 m cool down. Tonight's splits (this is where it gets good!): 1:56, 1:55, 1:55, 1:54, 1:54, 1:48, 1:50, 1:56, 1:51! Snap! Should do track workouts while emotionally-charged more often (I kid. Sort of.) Personal best 400m at 1:48, and on set 6 no less! WHEW!

Do you do regular speedwork as part of a training plan? Did you this week? Link it up! If you post on Twitter, don't forget to use #TrackTuesday too!

And feel free to add the button to your site and entry, too!