Monday, October 31, 2016

Ultra Training: Week One

Last week I posted about my new adventure—training for my first 50K.  After talking to my coach, Jenn from Sole Health and Wellness, she came up with a plan to get me there.  I officially started training on Sunday.  Here’s how the first week of my ultra training went

The Saturday prior to my official training start, I was scheduled to run a 5K.  I ended running longer than I planned that day, so after consulting with Jenn, my scheduled mileage was shortened a bit.  After my run, I was extremely grateful for that—I hadn’t slept well the night before and every mile felt like a struggle.  

Monday was a short run, but after purchasing a pair of Altra trail shoes, I took to the trails to get my feet dirty.  I was still a bit tired and my leg is still a bit from my fall a couple weeks ago, but the run felt pretty good.  I did some stretching and foam rolling when I got home—that definitely helped.

Tuesday was shorter run than Monday and turned into #Runch with Smitha down by the harbor.  We explored a new route and had fun seeing different parts of San Diego.  

Wednesday’s schedule was similar to Monday’s, but for some reason I struggled.  Big time.  I ended up running a mile less than scheduled—I was disappointed but also knew I had to listen to my body.  I have a half in a few days and didn’t want to overdue it prior to the weekend.

Another easy mileage day and I was definitely feeling better today.  After my run, I incorporated some strength exercises into my workout.  I’ve decided that during this training process, I don’t just want to become a better runner, but also a stronger runner.

Friday runs are always fun because I start my day with the #Run619.  This week’s run was  Halloween themed and included prizes. (I won a gift card for Heartwork Coffee Bar!). I ran at an easy pace and it felt pretty good.

Saturday’s plan was 1-2 miles and I had time for just that.  I was leaving for Rock N Roll Los Angeles early that morning and with all the last minute packing, I found myself running close to home.  I got in an easy paced 1.5 miles and then I was on the road. 

Total Weekly Mileage: 17.71 

Overall the week went pretty well—I realize it’s the first week, but I’m feeling good about the entire process.  The biggest challenge for me is having a schedule of mileage.  I’ve always just gone out for a run and ran what felt good.  This is my lowest mileage week in a while, but I am trusting in the process.  The structure of having a training plan takes some getting used to, but I’m excited.  I know that once I incorporate more mileage and different type of of runs into the training, I will be so glad that I have a plan.  

To help keep track of my runs and how I felt during/after them, I’ve started using my Believe Training Journal.  It’s proving to be a great tool, helping me look at what could have made a run better and what mileage I’m getting in.  

How do you train for a big run—with a plan of do you just wing it?

Until next time, happy running.


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fit Foodie Run Recap

Last week I entered a contest hosted by local blogger Kate to win an entry to the Fit Foodie Run that was coming to San Diego-- this race had been on my race schedule radar, but due to other things going on that day, I was still on the fence.  Running the race would mean a very busy schedule for my Saturday so I decided to leave the decision up to the contest.  And guess what, I won!  Not only did I win an entry for myself, but also an entry for a friend.  (I had the option of either a 10K or a 5K and I went with the 5K)

#FlatJenn with a few of my favorite things
Once I registered, I found out that I knew several other people running this race.  We decided to meet prior to the race and run four miles to the start line area.  We made our way to the start line area and bib pickup.  Although there was race day pick up the day prior, I opted to get it that morning which seemed to be a popular decision.  After picking up our bibs, we had some picture taking fun and heading over to the start line.    

The start line was a little confusing and congested.  They were starting the race with the 4-7 minute mile runners, followed by the 10K runners which were followed by the rest of the 5K runners.  Once we got started and the crowd thinned out, it was a nice run.  The course is quite pretty and although there were a few spots it was congested, it was easy to navigate.  That being said, there is one thing that I did not like about this course-- they allowed pets!  I know that many people run with their dogs, but I am not sure how I feel about it in a race.  I feel as though it is a safety hazard for the runners as well as the dogs.  I actually kicked one dog as it suddenly stopped in front of me.    

I ran the race with Jenn and after we crossed the finish line, the real fun started,  We grabbed our medals and our swag bag then made our way over to the finishers village-- so many goodies.  From food samples, to cooking demos and other freebies it was awesome.  The highlight for me was seeing Bill Rogers and Meb Keflezighi--both we very generous in taking the time to chat with everyone who waiting to meet them and take pictures.   

Finish line selfie with Michelle-- it's our tradition!
After making our way through the booths Jenn and I found ourselves in the beer garden enjoying a Stella Cidre.  The rest of our group caught up with us and it was nice to spend some time with these awesome ladies. 

I had a great time at the Fit Foodie Run and will definitely be back next year.  They have a weekend of events and next year I want to participate in some of the activities.  It's well organized and a fun environment-- the energy can make or break a race and this was definitely a good time.  If they are coming to your city, I would definitely check it out.  

So many goodies!!

Have you participated in any of the Fit Foodie Run events?

Until next time, happy running.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Adventure Awaits--Jenn13.1 to 50K

I love to run.  If someone asks, "Do you want to go for a run,?" I don't hesitate to reply with a giant "Yes!"  I love what it has done for my health, I love the amazing people I've met through running and I love the way it challenges me.  Yet, even with all this love, I was beginning to miss the level of excitement I used to have with running.  I was increasing my pace and increasing my distance, but something was missing.  

Too early for holiday themed memes?!
When I started my Run Streak this summer, some of my runs included "new to me" places, many of which were trails.  I loved the trails and had a blast every time I ran them.  I was also watching the journeys of my friends who were training for ultra races and it intrigued me.  I did some research and thought about it-- I decided I wanted to run an Ultra.  I finally found something that got me excited about running. 

Running the trails of Mount Laguna.
After looking at Ultra races next year and talking to some people about various races, I have decide to run the Leona Divide 50K in April 2017.  One of my biggest downfalls when I ran my first marathon (and only) was that I did not properly train.  I am changing that for this new adventure and will be working with Jenn from Sole Health and Wellness.  I've worked with her in the past and she is great at what she does-- she's tough enough to get me to do the work but not so tough that I dread doing it.  That is exactly what I need.  She's also run ultras so she will not only have the knowledge of all her credentials but also from her experience.  She just ran her first 100K-- how awesome is that?!

With Jenn and Smitha before the LA Marathon. 
I don't expect this experience to be easy but I'm excited about it.  If I'm being completely honest, I have some "fears" about it, primarily seeing critters on the trails or falling. But I've decided that my dreams are bigger than my fears and I can't wait for April.  

My training officially starts on Sunday, October 23rd.  I'm looking forward to sharing my journey with you as I go from Jenn13.1 to 50K.

Have you ever run an ultra?  Any advice for a newbie?

Until next time, happy running.


Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Orange Mud HydraQuiver Vest Pack 2: Review

During the summer months, I noticed that my hydration intake was increasing especially on my runs.  In the past, any run shorter than six miles, I wouldn’t take hydration with me.  That changed this summer--some runs I would want water, some runs I would want electrolytes and some runs I would want both.  Anytime I would think that I wanted both, I would remember the Orange Mud hydration packs that several of my friends had—they hold two bottles so you can use one bottle for water and another for electrolytes.  I’ve looked at these for a while and went back and forth about it—I’m a frugal runner and didn’t need a new hydration back.  A few weeks ago my want for the Orange Mud won over the need for it and I ordered the HydraQuiver Vest Pack 2 in pink.

I have several friends who use Orange Mud products and love them.  I also know that a new running product can sometimes take some getting used to, so I first used the Orange Mud pack on a short run.  I was excited the day that it was delivered and knew I wanted to use it that day.  After inspecting it to make sure everything looked okay, I laced up my shoes and was ready to go. (I was impressed by how well made the pack is made!  They say you get what you pay for and it’s definitely true with this product)  Three miles was enough for me to get it adjusted and fitting in a way that was comfortable for me. The website states that   It was love at first run—once I found a good fit, I almost forgot I was wearing it. 

I’ve since used it on several more runs  and I love it.  The pack feels comfortable at the beginning of my run and at the end of my run.  It not only allows me to bring two different types of liquids, it has enough pockets for my keys, phone, “wallet,” and fuel. I like the easy access to these items when I’m on the go—I don’t have to take the pack off and dig around looking for something.  With the two shoulder pockets and the two front pockets, it’s the perfect amount of space. 

 Even though it’s officially Fall, I live somewhere where we are still having summer weather so I run in a tank top—I haven’t had any issues with chaffing or it feeling too hot on my back.  Unlike other packs I’ve worn, it sits higher on your back which I think helps me with the “feeling too hot” issues that I’ve had with other packs I’ve worn.  

The pack got a true test when I went for a trail run this morning—I was in a new running place and tripped over a rock.  I went flying, landed face first and slid for a few feet.  It was a hard fall and during the entire time, the bottles in the pack didn’t move at all!  (And despite a few bruises and scrapes, I think my ego was the thing most hurt.  It was my first fall and I knew it would happen eventually. I will definitely be okay and can't wait to get back out to the trails)    
Room for all the necessities! 
The HydraQuiver Vest Pack 2 retails for $149.95 and is definitely worth the investment! (Be sure to sign up for their e-mails to find out about promotions throughout the year). My only regret about the HQVP2 is not getting one sooner!  I already checking out some one the other products on their site to see what I want to get next.


How do you hydrate during a run?

Until next time, happy running!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Aloha Run Recap

When my running journey first began, the first run I ever signed up for was the Aloha Run.  Since then, I’ve run it every year—since it’s my anniversary race, it holds a special place in my heart.  
Photo credi:
To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to run it this year.  I had some things going on in my life and running a 5K wasn’t a priority.  But the Tuesday before, I decided I would regret not running it and signed up.  When you register you have the option for running untimed at a lower cost and I went with this option.  I was going to run for fun and would be wearing my Garmin so that was good enough for me.

The Aloha Run offers race day bib pick-up so I headed down to Mission Bay early on race morning.  The past years I’ve run this race, it has taken place in September and was extremely hot.  This year the race was moved to October and I was hoping this would mean cooler weather.  When I showed up for bib pick-up, it was actually a bit cold.  I was lucky to find parking close so I wore my jacket until it was almost race time.  

The race also featured a 10K this year that started at 7:30am with the 5K starting at 7:45am.    The start line area changed this year, a change that I was glad to see.  It moved from a grassy hill area to a paved pathway, which was also the finish line area.  The pre-race entertainment was fun and they did a good job of announcing the start of the 10K and making sure the right runners lined up.  After the 10K runners were off, it was time for the 5K.
This race is “self coral” but it seemed everyone was doing a pretty good job of placing themselves.  They announced that fast runners should move to the front and I knew that wasn’t me.  I also knew from past experiences with the race, it gets congested at the beginning and can be hard to move through, so I placed myself behind the “speedy” runners.  I didn’t have a race plan, but I did want to go out faster at first to get away from the runner congestion.

Race Swag!

My plan was to run this race for fun- I was running more for the memory than running for time. I went out fast like I had planned and kept going.  I could feel that I was pushing myself, but felt good enough to keep going.  The race follows the pathway along Mission Bay so it’s a pretty view.  They also great course entertainment, from Island themed dancing and music and others cheering you on.  It’s an out and back course and that’s my only “complaint.”  The path way is narrow and once you’re coming back, it’s sometimes hard to pass people because there are runners on both sides.  While most runners will move aside to let you pass, some groups still ran 2-3 people wide and there were a few times I had to either stop or move on to the grass near the pathway.  

The weather was beautiful (Yay!) and even though I knew I was pushing myself, I felt good for most of the race.  When I reached the turn around point, I looked at my Garmin and realized that I might get a PR.  (I’ve been chasing my 5K PR since March 2014 and was competing with a PR from a course that has a ¾ mile downhill finish, so it felt like I might not ever beat it). Because I thought I might be able to get a PR, I decided to push myself as hard as I could.  And it worked—I took almost two minutes off my time from March 2014.  (On the downside, since I was frugal and opted out of a timing chip, I’ll need to do this again to make it race official, but now I know I’m capable of it.)

The Aloha Run has a fun post race area with music and plenty of vendors giving away goodies.  This is a family friendly event and I love seeing all the families dressed up in their aloha gear.  I think next near I might run the 10K but I’ll definitely be back to the Aloha Run.

My PR had my jumping for joy!

What’s your anniversary race?

Until next time, happy running!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Friday Five With SweatPink and Aftershokz

Hello October! For this week's Friday favorites, I'm teaming up with SweatPink and Aftershokz to talk about my Friday Five-- five things that motivate and keep me feeling empowered.

SweatPink and Aftershokz have teamed for Breast Cancer awareness this month. Aftershokz will donate 25% of proceeds from their Trekz Titanium Pink headphones sold between now and October 31st  to Bright Pink – a non profit that focuses on breast and ovarian cancer awareness and education. (This week/month I'm all about the pink. But the reality is that breast cancer doesn't just happen in October.  Breast cancer also doesn't discriminate based on race, age, sex or gender identity.  Chances are at least one person you know has been impacted by breast cancer in one way or another.)  

Music That Makes Me Move

I have a few playlists that I use for my runs-- they're all a compilation of various genres.  The songs are all chosen based on my current moods and what I'm trying to get out of that run. Some are designed to make me run faster while some are designed to encourage me to go farther.  Regardless of each playlist's purpose, they all include the following three songs:
Wham's "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go". How can you not be happy when you hear this song?! (80s music rocks and will always get me dancing!)

Garth Brooks' "Ain't Going Down ('Til The Sun Comes Up)". I'm a country music girl at heart and this song is my jam.  No matter where I am or what I'm doing, if this song comes on, I move.
Jason Mraz's "Geek in The Pink". Not only is this song appropriate for October and Breast Cancer Awareness, it's also fun.  

Giving Back

As we focus on breast cancer awareness this month, it's easy to question, "what am I doing to make a difference?"  The easy answers are to make a donation or to participate in a local race/event supporting the cause.  Those events are fun and the donations make a difference, but there are other ways to help, sometimes in ways that will make a bigger difference. 

 Here are a few of my ideas:

Encourage every woman you know to get a mammogram.  (if you know someone who can't afford one, there are agencies in most cities that will provide them for free.)  Some will say the recommended age is 40-- if there is a family history, most doctors will do it earlier.

Learn how to do a self exam-- this may seem uncomfortable at first, but you truly know your body better than anyone. If something doesn't feel right, see a doctor.

If you know someone going through the breast cancer experience, offer a ride to chemo, make a meal or simply be there to listen.

Find a support center and volunteer.  

New Running Gear

I won't lie-- new running gear makes me happy.  And motivates me to get out there and run more. This week was a major score for new gear-- I got new Asics Kayano shoes and an Orange Mud Hydra Quiver Vest.  I've gone on a couple runs with both and I am in love! 

Aren't they pretty?!

Momentum Jewelry

Inspiration comes from everywhere and I get mine on a daily basis from my Momentum Jewelry Motivational wrap bracelets.  They are the simple reminder that I need to get through my runs or just through my day. I have several different sayings and will pick based on my mood.  And you all know I like to #RunMatchy so I have several different color wraps too!   

My Grandmother

For as long as I can remember, my grandmother was the strongest woman I've ever known.  I spent a lot of time with her growing up and the experiences I shared with her are cherished. She grew up in Chicago and I heard so many storied about the city growing up, I felt like I had been there. (In fact, that is a big reason why I went there in 2015)  We would listen to Cubs games on the radio for hours as we watched the clouds in her backyard.  She always made me my favorite meal of plain spaghetti with a milkshake. And without fail, there would always be a bag of bite-size Snickers in her freezer.  She helped me learn to read, taught me how to crochet and most importantly, loved me without a doubt.  She wasn't perfect but she taught me that not being perfect is okay.  I'm blessed that I had her for nineteen years and I miss her everyday.  On the days that I struggle, whether on a run or in general, I remember the conversations we had and quietly whisper to myself, "It's okay not to be perfect."  

My grandmother's Army picture-- it's my favorite picture of her!

What are some of the things that empower you?

Until next time, happy running!

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by AfterShokz in an effort to spread awareness about their new Pink Trekz headphones, in partnership with Bright Pink to support and spread awareness around breast cancer awareness. All opinions and words are my own. I truly appreciate all of the brands the support the Sweat Pink community. 

Ultra Runner Crate

A few weeks ago, I went on Instagram to see if anyone I knew has tried the Ultra Runner Crate subscription box.  I was intrigued at the idea...