Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Brooklyn Half Training week

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: Rest (The Brooklyn Expo)

Thursday: NTC- part of the Hurricane workout

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 13.1M (The Brooklyn Half Marathon)

Sunday: Rest

I wasn't planning on taking it easy this week, but sometimes it happens. I had plans to go to one of the Nike events on Tuesday night, but it was cancelled. Instead, we went to the season 2 premiere of Orange is the New Black- same thing, right? :) 

Wednesday night, I went to the Brooklyn Half expo and I really want to count the 2 miles it took get to and from.  But that's a whole post of itself, as is the race. 

Of course this Thursday wasn't a "workout" day on my Nike Training App- so I improvised. Even though I couldn't do the workout with the app, I could use my Gymboss as a timer and do the workout on my own. Most workouts were 30 seconds to 2 minutes, so I set the timer to 30 seconds and did it on my own. Genius! I will admit, it was a little annoying (having to continue to keep my ipad open and see what was next), but it was better than nothing, right? I've also discovered that once you do a workout with the app, you can "replay" it whenever you want. So, I am literally in the middle of "working out" with the app to have it and then I'll replay it later in the week when I have time to do it. Make sense? 

Spoiler alert: I really really loved the Brooklyn Half! I'm so glad I got to experience it and no wonder it sells out in hours. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

(3 Things) Triscuit obsession, RNRLV Virtual Race shirt, and repurposing plastic bags

I have a confession.
I'm obsessed with Triscuits.

Thanks to the commercials on Hulu, I discovered there are new Brown Rice and Sweet Potato version. Then, I discovered they don't have any sugar- what?! That's amazing. Granted The cinnamon sugar has 3 grams, but other than that, these are perfect chip replacements especially with the variety. I've spent the past 2 weeks on a mission to find every flavor. If you've ever grocery shopped in New York City, you should know how hard this is. Luckily the grocery by my work is the mecca for all things Triscuit. The reining champ is The Brown Rice Tomato and Sweet Basil.
You're welcome.

My shirt from participating in the Rock-n-Roll virtual race to kickoff the Las Vegas Half Marathon finally came in. Does anyone else specifically remember them saying they would be sending TECH shirts? Yes, they were free, but I'm not a fan of false advertising. I don't know if I would've wasted their postage if I would've known. I need another cotton shirt like I need another hole in my head, but then again, who am I kidding? You know I love my swag.

Speaking of swag, I'm really loving the branded bag check bags for races lately. Anyone have a Pintrest board on how to re-use them? I just pinned something about fusing to make them fabric like. Yes, I know they're just plastic bags, but they're pretty. Bring on the arts and crafts project!

What are you obsessed with lately?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

BK Half: 1 week to go!

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 2M Easy

Wednesday: NTC- Shape + Sweat

Thursday: Cat Hill Repeats

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 10K

I took it easy last week because I was trying to recover from the half, but the goal is to get faster, so off to work I went this week. Tuesday, Pam and I took it easy since she is just getting back into running. It was pretty much a 2 mile stroll, but hey at least we were out there. We also took a detour to visit the Alice in Wonderland Statue, which I had never been to. 

I knew I couldn't skimp on the strength training, so I gave the Nike Training Club app another chance. This time, I took all the workouts, slow and deliberate trying to make sure I did them correctly. Who cares how many I can get done in a minute? As long as I'm being consistent. It's safe to safe, I did not experience insane DOMS . . . yet :) I will say, I'm a little frustrated with the workout programs. Once you "start" a program, you can't go back and do a workout from the previous week. I know that it's a specific 4 week program, but I'd rather do them on my own time. I believe you used to be able to pick your own workouts, but with the upgrade Nike changed it. I'm sure I can figure something else out, but I just need to play around in it. 

Thursday night, I continued on my workout streak and did hill repeats- but here's the kicker. I ran the whole time, including down the hill. I usually walk down them, but Pam told me I need to work the muscles. No matter how slow I go, as long as it looks like running that's ok. And I did it! Luckily, I didn't have my Garmin with me to freak me out about pace. It was crazy and I felt like a bad ass afterwards. 

Which got me thinking about when was the last time I felt like a bad ass after a workout? It's been a minute. Last year this time I was training for the Dumbo Challenge.
 I trained my butt off for that challenge and I feel like I wasted my training season. H
onestly, I didn't need to train that hard to frolic around Disneyland for 2 days with friends. I say that because it was really too hot that weekend to do much more, which I don't regret in the least! After Dumbo, I started marathon training again and the main goal was to finish strong; I was too scared to race anything because I couldn't afford to get hurt. Lesson learned: Do not train specifically for a runDisney event. Make sure you have a race you can actually race, either right before or right after. Luckily, this training is specifically to get a 10k PR, even if the "training" includes lots of half marathons. 

I took my long run easy this morning. Funny how less crowded the sidewalk is at 8AM vs. 1PM- RIP midday long runs. It was a perfect temperature in the shade and the sun reminded me these cool mornings are going to be few and far between as well pretty soon. But I will take it. Fingers crossed it stays cool for next weekend. 

New street art is always makes me happy. 

I'm really excited about the Brooklyn Half. I've been wanting to run it for years and can't believe I actually get to do it this year! Thanks to the New Balance sponsorship, there are tons of fun events happening and I can't wait to be involved. Stay tuned! 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Nike Women's Half Marathon: DC 2014

Nike, the Greek Goddess of Victory

Staying at The Marriott Metro Center was a really great idea- we were literally 2 blocks from the start/finish. It made the wake up call very nice. This was the first time on a racecation with so many people and the meeting place and time was not as painful as I thought it might be having 3 rooms of people. We walked over and said our goodbyes as everyone went to their respective corrals. My nerves were bad for some reason, even with going to the bathroom in the lobby, I still had to use the portapotties. Surprisingly, the lines were non-existent 10 minutes before start. Everyone was ready in their corrals, which is not something I normally see. 

It was also warmer than I was used to running in. As much as I tried with the body glide and sunscreen, it was not good enough. Ouch! But there was an amazing breeze that kept it perfectly chilly and great race weather. 

Having the start line facing the capitol was pretty awesome. Getting to run around DC and see all the monuments was pretty awesome as well. I brought my actual camera because I thought it would be nice to take pictures, but honestly, I only took photos within the first mile and then put it away. 

I loved all the Luna signs!

The course had a couple of inclines I was not expecting. Normally, I'm not a fan of out-and-back courses, but I loved this one because everyone was so encouraging! There were tons of high fives and lots of "You look awesome!"s. It was just the distraction I needed from the course. 

It's a women's race, so the course was crowded. Like, I was in a faster corral than I should've been in and I'm having trouble running faster than a 15 minute mile crowded. It took until about mile 7 for the crowd to thin out and for me to get my head in the game. By that time, my knees were giving me trouble and I was just done. For a race I wasn't trying to race, I regret not enjoying myself more, but it was extremely frustrating. I wish they would've had a better corralling system, that would've fixed a lot of it.

Luckily, the entertainment was really awesome- TONS of DJs and lots of drumming bands. There were many times along the course I turned off my ipod to enjoy, and I don't usually want to do that in a race.

Not gonna lie, the chocolate stop at this race was better than the one at the 15k. There were chocolate stations for about a half of a mile- no kidding. After my last disaster with eating chocolate, I passed. I didn't want to risk getting sick again and I didn't have anywhere to save it for later with it not melting. But I do love that you have the option of the sugar rush to the finish. 

Bathroom lines were insane. Thank goodness I don't usually go during a race. The lines were Mickey and Minnie in front of the castle during the Princess half marathon long. Seriously. And speaking of lines-

As soon as you finished the race, there was a line to get water. A line to get a heat sheet. A line to get a bag to put your post-race nutrition in. A line to get the nutrition. A line to get your necklace. A line to get your picture with a man in a suit. A line to get your hair done. A line for merchandise. A line to get your photo taken with a sign. A line to get your photo taken with a different sign. 

So. Many. Lines.

I did not have the patience for all that. Not normally, and definitely not after 13.1 miles of an overcrowded course. I am a very big fan of keeping moving after a race. I'm also a slow runner, so most of this stuff is usually cleared out by the time I'm done. Luckily, I ordered my finisher stuff online (BEST part about this race IMO) and didn't need photos of all that. Although, I wish would've gotten a picture of my full outfit. I was representing NYCM :)

One of the only pictures of my official outfit from the day. 
Thanks, Nike!

Things that I did like about the finish line: The water bottle instead of paper cups to be more green. You should already know how happy this made me! The bag they gave you to put your stuff in was a great idea. As well as the Chocolate Milk and EmergenC (not mixed together!) being apart of the post-race nutrition. The Almond clusters were insanely delicious as well. 

Overall, I was impressed with the race. The things I did not like about the race, I should've known better and not let it bother me, but what are you going to do? Would I run it again? As long as they keep this AMAZING branding, I'm in! I'm hoping I can pull off San Fran in October. Hopefully, they will offer group registration for their lottery. 

Not a bad race to be the last in the teens. Half Marathon #19 in the books!


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Nike Women's Half Marathon Expo

A Nike Women's Half Marathon expo is not your typical expo. The only vendors that will be there are race sponsors and Nike. You will be able to get last minute nutrition, but for other things, unless it's Nike you're going to have to go to one of the running store in the area.

It was very confusing how to start your journey if you were coming from The Foggy Bottom metro stop. I get that they wanted to get everyone to Georgetown, but since it is so far from the Metro, it wasn't very convenient. Be prepared, it's a hike and a crowded one at that. The M Street sidewalks aren't really equip for 15,000+ runners and friends along with the Saturday shoppers leisurely strolling. Hence, why I'm sure the partnership with Uber was created, but I wasn't a fan of taking a cab in bumper to bumper traffic either.

Luckily, once we got there, bib pick up was pretty empty and they still had my shirt size (even if a Nike employee tried to steal it from me and give it to someone else. Luckily, that person was Pam and we ended up switching anyway. Not cool, Nike person) that's always a plus in my book. I know a lot of people weren't fans of getting their shirt beforehand and having to pay for a shirt that said finisher, but I was happy that was one less line I had to stand in at the finish.

Speaking of lines, in the official "expo", there was a line to pick up your gift for training with the Nike+ app. Sadly, I thought that meant the Nike DC app, but the guy let me have the hair ties anyway. At the Luna bar station, you could get a personalized sign printed which was pretty cool, but the line was really long. You could also get your hair done at the Paul Mitchell area; I'm sure you can guess- no line, but the wait was really long.

Great surprise getting to see Shalane and Joan!
With all that said, for getting to the expo late, I was pleased with how much merchandise was still available at Niketown. I made sure to check to see if they had my size in everything I ordered online, and they did! I even got a few things I was trying to hold out on. Oh well. You only live once right? I was sad to find that the full zip hoodie ran small and they were all out of the XXL by the time I figured it out. If you have any tips on how to stretch out 100% polyester (particularly in the arms), please let me know!
We ended up spending WAY more time at an expo with no vendors than I'm a fan of doing. It was a lot of time on my feet that I'm sure effected my race, thank goodness I wasn't planning on racing it. Lots of lessons were learned on this trip. I really need to work on shedding my New Yorker skin faster and understanding my race-related anxiety. The most important thing is for me to eat before the expo (which we did) then get my bib and tshirt. I'm usually better after that. Knowing how I am, I should've just left the group to do my own thing, but I wanted to be a team player. But it's all good. I will know better for next time. 

What are things that give you anxiety for race weekends?

Monday, May 5, 2014

Kiss Me Organics: Matcha Review and Giveaway

Have you heard of Matcha Tea? I'll admit, previous to the sweet folks at Kiss Me Organics, I didn't know much about it. When they contacted me to test it out, I was intrigued because I'm already a fan of green tea. 

After I decided it was delicious and amazing, I started doing my research (yes, I know it's a little backwards, but that's how I roll!) and apparently this is a wonder drug. All the benefits of green tea but since you're consuming the actual leaves finely ground up, you get the MAX of those benefits. It's jam packed with anti-oxidants and is awesome for an energy and metabolism boost. It's also good to drink this pre-workout for max calorie burning. What's not to like?! 

Along with my order, they sent over a PDF filled with recipes that you can use Matcha for. Being the non-cook that I am, I've only ventured in making my own version of the Matcha Latte and let me tell you- it's delicious! Not only that, but the energy kick I got from it was surprising. Coffee doesn't even effect me like this anymore! It was great and even better that it's all natural.

I will say it has a strong green tea flavor (Duh.), so you'll enjoy it if you enjoy Green Tea. My favorite is adding milk and a tad of sugar to the Matcha in hot water. I've also read that adding the Matcha to boiling water brings out the gritty taste, so the suggestion is to wait for the water to cool. It's also a tad more expensive than coffee, so as much as I'd love to make the switch, I think I'm going to keep my matcha as a treat or for when I really need a pick me up.

Matcha Tea

Because I was such a fan, I asked Kiss Me Organics to let me give some to one of you to try. You can enter here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you ever tried Matcha? Are you a Green Tea fan?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

BK Half Training- 2 weeks to go!

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: NTC- Sweat + Shape

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Rest

I brought my gym clothes to work all week with every intention of going to the gym, but I could not make myself. Even getting excited about wearing my new Nike gear didn't even motivate me to go. Sometimes you just need a break and this week definitely was needed.

Remember, when I was super excited about the NTC app? My initial reaction was: interval training? AWESOME! I can do anything for a minute. 

No. No, I cannot do anything for a minute. 
That app is no joke, people. 

Talk about a serious case of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, for those not in the know). Let me just tell you, that's an understatement. I did the 30 minute workout on Thursday. I felt fine Friday, almost like I didn't even work out at all. Then Friday night hit. I was so sore, turning over in bed was painful. 

Moral of the story: Do not underestimate the Nike Training App.

I really wanted to do a short long run, so I could recover faster, but that wasn't in the cards for me this weekend. I had a lot of errands since I was out of town last weekend- so my "recovery" was a day of shopping throughout the city. If you've ever spent a day shopping around the city, you know that's no joke either. I'm pretty sure I did a 5k walking through Bloomingdales. It's no Macy's in Herald Square (which I avoid like the plague) but it was definitely an obstacle course for sure. 

I'm also scheduled for a massage today, which is very much needed. I'm hoping to flush out all the GSC/ NYC Half/ Nike Women's races so my muscles can start fresh for the Brooklyn Half in a couple of weeks. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

(3 Things) New Shoes, New Half Zips and New Strength Training

A couple of weeks ago, a shoe company tweeted a picture of a beautiful pair of tennis shoes, which got me thinking: I need a pair of comfortable non-running tennis shoe. Social Media Marketing- 1, Abby's wallet- 0. A little bit of back story: I am not a tennis shoe wearing gal. Before I started running, the closest I came was converse and those things are NOT comfortable. Nowadays, when I need kick around shoes with more support than flats, I usually just wear a pair of old running shoes, but they aren't that great either.

Enter my new New Balance 515

OMG. Where have I been?! Fashion tennis shoes. Who knew?! These are adorable and so comfortable. I never knew shoes could be like this! There is so much cushion, I feel like I'm walking on clouds. I don't want to take them off, ever. I was a tad concerned about wearing them to DC without breaking them in, but did it anyway. You can take the cute shoe wearing girl out of the shoes, but you can't take the cute shoes out of the girl. . . Anyway, they passed the test of walking around an expo for 4 hours with flying colors!

Sidenote: These were not the shoes that were tweeted. Those shoes, while SO cute, were not comfortable. I also bought some Saucony Jazz Pros that I can't wait to test out as well. Apparently, every shoe brand has some version of this "retro" look. So, pick your brand of choice and get a pair.

Speaking of the Nike Women's expo, I'm absolutely smitten with my Nike Half zips! I don't know what the material they're made out of, but I'm pretty sure it's silkworm and kitten's fur. SO soft and comfortable. A couple of the shirts were made out of the same material and I can't wait to test them for a run. I love my NYCM one and it was super comfortable to wear for the Hot Chocolate 15k, which is when I really notice how soft they are. They are my new favorite go-to long sleeve. Too bad I won't need to wear them until next season.

And some more news on Nike- Have you heard of the Nike Training Club app? A friend of mine mentioned it to me awhile ago (like before I thought strength training was a thing). I downloaded it onto my phone, but it's a pretty big app so when I needed more space, it was the first to go. BUT now I've rediscovered it- and put it on my ipad that has more space- and I think it's exactly what I've been looking for for strength training. There are TONS of different work outs on it, you can do in the comfort of your own home. They will even create workout plans for you depending on what you want to do. If you are having trouble figuring out how to work in strength training, I highly suggest checking this app out. I've created a workout plan that incorporates running, so we'll see how well it works!

Yes, I'm pretty sure I'm late to the part on all of these things, but that should be no surprise.
What's your most comfortable tennis shoes? Have any strength training tips?