Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Island Running

For Memorial Day weekend Matt and I went to Vinalhaven, Maine.  For those of you who don't know, its an island off the coast of Maine that we visit at least once a year.  I haven't been running very long distances since I've been coming out here so I had to get creative on this trip.

I found a great eight mile loop and started off early on Sunday.  It was harder than I thought.  There were more hills.  Also, my Garmin decided to just keep turning itself off (which I have still yet to figure out).  My new shirt designed to hold stuff bounced more than I thought so I tucked it into my shorts.
So all of that being said it took me a while to get into a groove.

Once I did, I started to enjoy my surroundings and really take in the island.  I passed the dump, the airfield (and someone was actually taking off via plane when I did), I got a view of the wind turbines, the Quarry where we swim all summer and finally the harbor.

I had taken my debit card and planned on getting a latte when all was said and done but because its a small island and places actually keep Sunday hours, they were closed.  However, Matt and Roxy were driving by and they picked me up and took me home to some water.

I wasn't sore and I wasn't really that worn out.  I was surprised.  Overall, I covered 7.5 miles.  I plan to do the same run again in a few weeks.

Here are some photos I took with my phone on the run.  Its one of the reasons I love having it with me.  I didn't see the light house on my run, but its one of my favorite places on the island.


Brown's Head Light


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Taking it with you

As I've been running longer on the weekends, I've found a need to take more things with me.  However, last weekend I found that I looked and felt silly I had so much stuff with me.  I really need to change up the way I am carrying things.

Here's a list of what I took with me last weekend:
Seamus (my GPS watch)
An id bracelet
A reflective bracelet
A waist pack with two bottles and a pouch.  My phone was in the pouch.
I wore a skirt and I put a debit card and a Gu in its pocket.
My iPod and headphones.

It was hotter out than I thought and the water was hot by the time I drank it.  The Gu was hard to get to and the belt rubbed on my iPod which in turn scratched my skin.

So overall I felt weighed down and awkward throughout the whole run and I'm looking to stream line the process.  I have invested in another (I had one) shirt that has pockets for things like Gu and my phone.  I am also looking for a small, comfortable handheld water bottle.

I've tried was too round and I couldn't grip it.  The second one had a special nozzle that you supposedly had to suck to get water out of.  Maybe it was just the way I run, but it kept shooting me in the face.  Its funny now, but not while you're going uphill at mile five!

So if anyone has suggestions on what to carry and how to carry it, please share!  I don't want to feel burdened by all of my stuff and look ridiculous while running!

Here's the water bottle I think I may try next:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Knuckle Light Review

As my life has been getting busier and busier I've been having to push off my runs to earlier in the morning or later in the evening.  This has caused some visibility issues and I've been looking for ways to "see the light".  I was recently sent a set of Knuckle Lights and I thought I'd give them a try.

They are led lights that you wrap around your hand.  I usually don't like carrying anything when I run, but I figured if anything would work, it might be these.  I was surprised as to how comfortable the lights were and how, after a few minutes, I didn't realize I was wearing them.  Honestly, I think I could have even used only one!

The are plastic on the outside and each light takes two small batteries.  They turn on and off with a switch that your thumb can control.  The band on your hand is stretchable and adjustable neoprene so it doesn't get gross after you've sweat on your run.

The lights are very bright!  They are 45 lumens each.  This is about an average headlamp.  The lights are durable and have successfully survived being at the bottom of my running bag for a few weeks.  They aren't waterproof but they are weather proof.  (So if you're running in the rain you're okay, but don't go swimming!)

I have since started grabbing these lights for all sorts of things; to walk the dog at night, for hiking and I plan to use them camping this summer to find my way to the bathroom at night.

The come in various colors and ship for free.  Take a peek at the whole selection here:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mother's Day Race Wrap Up

Well I had another PR.  Its not a fast time, but its mine and I've been working for it for a long time.

The race was in Brookfield and part of the four seasons challenge that I did last year and I'm going to do again this year.  (This was the second race out of the four.)

The course was an out and back and it was a slight downhill on the way out and therefore a slight uphill on the way back.  I started out way too fast.

I haven't been wearing my GPS watch (Seamus) during races in a while but I did this time.  I checked at the first mile mark and I was 8 minutes and change in.  So I had to slow down or I knew I'd burn out.  There is a hill past the half way point and its not much fun but once you're past it you feel like you're almost back at the finish.

This was my first race in the new barefoot shoes and they were perfect.  Light weight and easy to wear.  I love the first race of the year where its finally warm enough to wear shorts and a tank.

The race was a lot of fun and as I say at the end of every race, I probably could have shaved a few seconds off.  But I'm going to be happy with my time, and just know that there is always room to improve.

My uncle also have a PR and my aunt ran as well and had a great time.  Its always fun to see a smiling, familiar face at the finish line.

I race again in a few weeks.  The next one is a five mile race, so I probably won't set any PRs, but I'm happy to be increasing my distance again this month.

Here I am at the start and finish and I think I look a little too happy at both :)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

One More Mile Review

Not all running tee shirts are equal.  And not all running tee shirts are cute.  Well, the tee shirt I recently received from One More Mile is above the rest.

First of all, the saying is adorable!  "Forget glass slippers, this princess wears running shoes." Its made of a technical fabric that wicks and is soft on your skin.  I received the long sleeve crew neck and I love that the sleeves have plenty of length to keep your arms warm on a cold day and they stay in place when you run (or just snuggle on the couch).

While I'm not super tall, I'm a little taller than the average gal and the length was good for me.  It wasn't as long as some of my other shirts, but the back of the shirt comes down nicely to stay in place and do a little bum covering.

Overall the shirt won't keep you super warm on a winter day, but its a super layering piece and perfect for spring and fall runs.  This is also a great piece to throw on after a workout when you stop for a coffee.

I've worn mine a few times and I've gotten lots of compliments and laughs about it already.  Honestly, I keep wearing it with a pair of jeans to go out!  One More Mile has hundreds of sayings and slogans and its hard to choose your favorite.  Then you get to pick the type of shirt and the color!  Its almost too much fun! Oh and they are VERY reasonably priced!

Take a look at the whole selection here:

Friday, May 18, 2012

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to Madison, my "little" cousin!  Today she turns 17.  Its so hard to believe she's all grown up!  I remember like it was yesterday when she crawled into my lap and demanded I read her a book.  Over the years we've become best friends and I hope that will never change.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Race Schedule

Okay I've updated my race schedule yet again....I have some that I'm still debating, but here is what the next few months look like.
May 13th-Mother's Day 5k-Done!
June 10th-Father's Day 5 Miler
June 16th-POSSIBLE Ruckus Run
June 23rd-5k
July 29-Color Run
September 16-10k in Portland, Maine
And then add in all of the holiday runs I love so much..Halloween, Thanksgiving etc.

I need to find a race at the start of August and one for Christmas (I say this every year.)  I am also determined to find time to run an obstacle run. There is a tough Mudder in the fall, or a Warrior Dash...I'm just waiting for something to speak to me :)

I'm also looking back on the races I've done this year:
New Year's Day 4 Miler
St. Patrick's Day 4 Miler
April Fool's 5k
Leatherman's Loop Obstacle 10k

Monday, May 14, 2012

Perfectly Simple

In a few weeks I'm going to be taking part in a press event for Zone Perfect's new Perfectly Simple bars and I wanted to take the chance to tell you about them.  They are made with just a few ingredients, have 10 grams of protein and come in three great flavors.  They are currently at Target but will be available in more places soon.  If you haven't already, take a peek at them here and see what they are all about:

I can't wait to participate in the event!  Its going to be a lot of fun!  They have some great things planned.  I will, of course, fill you in afterwards!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Gregory Maya 22 Backpack Review

I will admit I love bags.  I always have.  A good purse can change your whole outfit, and your whole mood for that matter.  Well the Maya backpack from Gregory can do just that.  I know its a backpack, but its got everything a busy, hiking gal needs.
First of all the pack comes in a few colors, but I was Pomegranate Pink.  Its bright and fun and happy, but not neon or over the top.  The pack has all the bells and whistles you need.

It has two main compartments.  They are big enough to hold shoes, a sweatshirt, lunch etc.  However, the pack is overbearing in size.  There is a small, felt compartment that is great for your iPod or anything else that needs a little extra TLC.  

Inside the main compartments are mesh dividers to organize all of your gadgets.  There is even a little key holder so you don't lose your keys at the bottom of the pack.
The front section is one of my favorite parts of the pack.  Its an expandable, mesh pocket that is perfect for a granola bar or windbreaker.  Having things close at hand without having to unzip everything is priceless, especially when you hit the top of the mountain and get chilled.  

The whole pack has compression so you can stuff it full, then cinch it tight.  There are side pockets, and my favorite compartment are the ones on the waist strap.  I always had an issue with finding my phone, tissues or a snack while I was hiking. I don't have to have someone hand me things from my pack anymore.

The back compartment holds a place for a bladder (up to 100 ounces) and a system to weave the tube out of the pack.   When I weighed the pack down with water it was comfortable.  The weight was in the waist strap like it should be, making the pack comfortable to wear, even when full.  The back is made of mesh and it allows for air to circulate, making it even more comfortable to wear. 

It is made for a women's body and i fits well and doesn't rub in any spots.  I'm 5'5" and it fit very well.  Everything is adjustable and the pack even has strap management systems so things don't dangle and catch on things.  

With all of the features the pack has and as much as it fit, I was surprised as to how lightweight the pack itself was.  The fact of the matter is I like this pack so much I keep grabbing it to go out and to take with me on my running trips, instead of my current gym back.  Its easy, cute and comfy, every thing I love!

You can take a look at the Maya 22 here:
Keep in mind they have TONS of packs to meet your needs; regardless of if you are looking for a cute bag or a functional hiking companion.  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Trying New Things

I've dedicated May to trying new things out in my running and workout routines.  I have tried a new pair of trail shoes...(sent to me by Brooks and I will review as soon as I get the okay from them.), I've tried a new pair of road running shoes (see review last month), I've been varying my routes, distance and nutrition too.

So I've been working desperately on having more protein.  I hate the stuff.  I am not a fan of it so I've been working to find ways to make it that I love and other sources that work too.  I love jerkys, nuts, seeds, etc.  I feel like I am foraging around for food, I eat so many nuts, berries and seeds.

I'm also working on staying hydrated.  I get up every morning and do a really great job of drinking water, then I fail around mid day.  At night I pick it back up.  However, it got so bad that on a trail run yesterday I felt like I could barely swallow.  I want to get back in the habit of good hydration before the summer months hit.  I just bought a hand hand water bottle so I can bring water with me and hopefully increase my endurance.

I used to use Gus, gels, etc and for some reason I just gave up on all of them.  However, now I'm starting to see what's out there again that works for me.  I love the Cliff gel cubes (just not a whole pack at one) and the Honey Stinger Waffles.  I just placed some orders for new peanut butter Gu and Cytosport energy drops.  I also am into gummy bears.  They are inexpensive, easy to find and they never upset my stomach.  They are, thus far one of the only things that doesn't upset my stomach.

I am trying to do some more road running.  First of all because the park where I trail run isn't close anymore and I don't have time to get there.  Secondly, all of my races are on roads.  So this past weekend I turned on my Garmin, and ran into town.  It was about three miles.  It was weird changing the way I got into town from a car to my own two feet.  I bought a water, had a little Gu and turned around the ran home.  Very cool and I hope to do it once a week.

So while none of these things could really change my running, its at least changing the way I think about things and challenging me.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Run Pretty Far Review 2

Okay I just got the chance to try out another one of Run Pretty Far's tees.  This one said Go Play across the front and its made of the most buttery soft material I've ever felt.  I put it on and right away felt a bit happier.  Its flattering and comfortable.  Its not tight fitting but it has a feminine shape.  The length is just right.  Enough to stay down during my run, but not too long.  It was really easy to thread my headphone through the shirt.

I usually don't run in short sleeves because they bother me but these sleeves were comfortable and I didn't notice them at all.  I did a sprints workout in this shirt so I really sweat in it.  However, I felt cool and dry the whole time, despite it being almost 80 and humid outside.

I loved that I could then grab pizza in the shirt and still looked cute.  The shirt was dry by the time I picked up my husband after my run.  I will be getting more of these shirts for sure!

I also tried out Run Pretty Far's new Rapunzel headbands.  I've tried a lot and I'm always skeptical about what's going to keep my heir out of my face.  Well again, this did the trick.  I trail ran and then sprinted in this one and it didn't budge.  I love the sunny yellow color I got.  It makes me happy and adds a pop of color to a normally boring running outfit.
Take a look at all of these items at Run Pretty Far's website:

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I Get Knocked Down, But I Get Up Again

I've been trail running for year.  For decades in fast if you could the time I spent running trails in high school.  And I've never fallen.  Stumbled yes, but never actually fallen down.  Last weekend was different.

I was at the end of a five mile run and feeling pretty good about the run and all I had to do was go up one last hill and I would be back at the car.  I looked up at the hill, looked at a big black dog I was coming up on and then, splat!  I fell onto my hands and knees.  The person walking their dog close by seemed horrified.  I didn't think it was any big deal.  I got back up, sprinted up the hill and ran to the car.

My first thought was my pants.  I was wearing my favorite yoga pants from Lulu...and they were ripped.  Since they are tight and the rip was small, I didn't really see the cut.  I got on the road and then felt a bit woozy.  I called my hubby to let him know what was going on but soon decided to stop at Target to get something to drink. By the time I was at Target, there was a lot of blood and I got a lot of odd looks at the store.  I bought some pretzels and some Gatorade and headed home.

When I got home I realized it all all much worst than I thought.  My knee was black and blue and quite swollen.  Overall, I'm well healed now and will probably have a cool scar on my knee.  My pants are ruined for yoga forever and I had to take just under a week off from running.  So over all, it wasn't as bad as it could have been and I've learned to NEVER take my eyes off the trail!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Run Pretty Far Review

I was recently given the opportunity to try out a tee from Run Pretty Far.  I was allowed to choose and I picked their trail run tee as that's my true love, running in the woods.  

I love the message the tee has on it.  Its cute and motivational and playful all at the same time.  I got a size small and it fits true to size.  Its an athletic cut so its snug but very flattering.  The material is wicking so I can wear this to workout in.  However, it looks pretty darn cute with jeans, etc.  I LOVE their whole selection!  This tee is made of a different material than the others and I'm anxious to try the softer material. 

I love what Run Pretty Far stands for too.  Super cute clothing to empower women!  Here is a little bit about the company:
Run Pretty Far is based on my incredible love of women’s running. Our run is a journey – both emotional and physical - that is unlike anything else. When we head out for a run – either with our best girlfriend, solo, or just with the bluebirds as our running partner – we tap into something simple and pure. A childlike joy, that hopefully stays with us throughout the day. Capturing the essence of this magical experience is one of the goals of Run Pretty Far.  I’m a definitely a ‘hardcore’ runner so fit and function are very key to me. Performance cannot be sacrificed, but what about fun?  Life may be serious, but I don’t believe your run needs to be.

Take a look at their whole selection here: 

What a great gift for your favorite running partner, mother, sister, friend, etc!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cosmetic Reviews

As many of you know I'm a Bzzz Agent and I try out new products and give feedback to the companies and spread the word if I like the product.  I was recently sent a few cosmetic type items.

The first was Garnier's new Sleek and Shine Shampoo and Conditioner.  I was skeptical of this since I love my current shampoo and I have curl issues in the summer.  Meaning I want me hair to be straight and it wants to be curly all summer long.  Consequently, after I shampoo and condition my hair it usually takes a few days to moisturize again and look decent in my opinion. I've been looking for a shampoo that looks great out of the shower.

I tried the shampoo and conditioner and I felt like i had just done a deep conditioning treatment on my hair.  It was really soft, even in the water.  I actually wondered if I had rinsed it enough.  I got out and brushed my hair and let it air dry as I always do.  Shockingly, my hair was actually smooth and silky and straight!  It wasn't flat, just straight and I was shocked!  So I guess I do have a new shampoo and conditioner and let's face it, this is much cheaper than what I was already buying!  I want to try some of their spray in balm too.  It claims it keeps your hair frizz free for three days and it has.  Even through hot yoga and runs!

And because I'm a geek I found out that their bottles are made with 30% post consumer material.

The second things I tried out was Neutrogen'a Revitalizing Lip Balm.  This is a tinted lip balm that has conditioning elements in it.  I always have chapped lips and I stink at putting on and carrying out lip balm.  I do like a little color but hate the feel of lip stick.  So this is a great compromise for me.  It looks cute so I want to put it on, its good for my lips AND it has SPF 20 in it.  That's great for the summer months.  Its just tinted so the colors aren't strong.  However, you can tell a difference in the shades.  Its nice to wear and not sticky or smelly.  I tried three colors and I thought they all looked good.  So I don't know that you can go too far wrong.  It will sell at drugstores for $8.99.  Oh and to anyone who sends me a message, I have some $2 coupons to give away!