Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Superhero Oktoberfest 10k

This past weekend my husband and I raced in our first official 10k, the Oktoberfest 10k in Boonton, NJ.  Any race that offers beer at the end is automatically a fantastic race in my book, but we love Oktoberfest beers and food, plus it was his birthday weekend, so it was a great reason to run and celebrate another year!

I needed some new tunes for running this race. I was so bored of my other playlists and once I get bored of my music, my running suffers.  I found some new (to me) fun, motivating tunes that will also work for Spinning.  

My husband grew up a few miles from the race location and then we lived close by for another four years.  I drove on those roads quite often, and yet, I have no recollection of how hilly the course would be.  The course description said that it was a flat course, however, it was anything but...  Although the course had some steady elevation increases, it was a scenic and beautiful course.

The weather on Saturday morning was perfect.  A crisp, fall morning which warmed up by the start of the race.  The weather was quite possibly the best for any race I have run yet this year.  

It felt so wonderful to cross that finish line.  By the end of the race, my legs were on fire.  I hadn't run more than five miles in the past few months.  So I was proud of where I finished and look forward to hitting a new PR for a 10k in the next few months.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

GoodBye Summer

It seems like it was just last week, my girls and I were celebrating the first day of summer at the Y's pool party and I was jetting off for a girls' weekend to Puerto Rico.  And here we are, bookbags hung by the front door all ready to go in just under two weeks.

Yes, we still have the rest of this week and another full week of summer vacation.  So we are going to live it up as we have been doing for the last ten weeks!

Some of our favorite memories from this summer are:
  • Summer Play Days @ the Disney Store
  • Mr. Kurt singing at the library
  • Playdates with our friends from school
  • ARUBA!
  • The girls' birthdays & collaborative birthday party
  • Having our cousins visit for a few days
Every year I do a "best of summer" playlist.  It's a collaborative playlist from the regulars in my spin class where they suggest their favorite song of that summer.  I work in all of their suggestions whether it be as a warm-up, cool down or a killer climb.  They love hearing their suggestion come up.  This year, most of my regulars are on vacation this last week before Labor Day, so they begged me to do it next week.  How could I say no??  But last night, while catching up on facebook, another instructor posted a  fantastic End of Summer playlist.  I changed a few songs around, but the idea came from Chris.  I am really excited about the playlist tonight.

GoodBye Summer

I am looking forward to the fall.  My oldest daughter starts kindergarten and my youngest is going to preschool which means lots of time to run and swim. (Yes, I have something I am training for! More info on that later!)

We have a lot to look forward to this fall:

  • apple & pumpkin picking
  • running an Oktoberfest 10k
  • my husband's birthday
  • Halloween (can you believe that the girls know what they are going to be?)
  • my BFF's wedding & wedding related events

Monday, August 26, 2013

me, the runner, she's back!

Over the spring, I joined a local boot camp class.  It was a great workout three mornings a week.  It never felt like 6am and I really enjoyed not having to think about what I was actually going to do on those mornings, but just show up and give 150%.  But I didn't have the time to invest in running.

Working out twice on Mondays and Wednesdays (boot camp and teaching indoor cycling), boot camp on Fridays, plus going to spin on Tuesdays and Thursdays and getting my daughters to their activities, it was hard to fit it all in.

Over the last few months, I would run a few miles on the weekends, but with our family's get togethers and social calendar, I could never fit in more than 2-3 miles at a given time.  Although, for my husband's birthday, he wants to run a 10k. Given that I haven't run more than 4 miles since April, this is going to be a stretch.

I went out for a run on Saturday morning and started strong, but quickly fell back.  Feeling awful, I was determined to get back out on Sunday morning.  And that I did.  A 5 mile run on the D&R Canal Trail. It was a beautiful, scenic run along the Raritan River on the towpath.  My goal was to finish under an hour and I hit mile 5 at 54min.  I was really pleased with my run.  I really needed that confidence boost because many times I get in my own head and beat myself down.  This was a great way to end the weekend and start a new week!

Last night, I was catching up on Pinterest and this came on my newsfeed.  And I thought it was perfect for this past weekend and how I felt on Saturday, but was able to overcome it on Sunday.

Water + Laptop = a giant headache

About ten days before we left for our family vacation, my mac book had a run in with about 32 oz of water.  Although it was a combined effort between my dog and I, I would love to solely blame him.  It was quite a scene and a lot of expletives were screamed.  I went to Apple and there I found that my computer would not be going home with me, but instead it would be taking a luxurious trip to get it's insides replaced - yeah, the damage was that bad.  The most depressing news of all was that all of my music on my laptop (going back from before the days of iTunes) was g-o-n-e.

As a Spinning instructor, music is the key to my classes.  I always receive compliments about my music choices - I like to have different genres, themes, and throwbacks that many people enjoy!  So losing all of my music was threw a huge wrench in being able to create new playlists quickly.  Yea, it's all replaceable, but the time I spent downloading and looking for inspiration on the inter webs was all for nothing.

Luckily, my technologically savvy husband was able save the day and pulled all of the playlists from the ipod I had used up until a few weeks before.  Whew!  Because the thought of starting over was not pleasant.

It's always something, isn't it??

The first playlist I created after our family vacation and the mac book debacle was a decades ride.  My class loves throwback playlists and so do I.  I love hearing a song that I haven't heard it years and being temporarily transported back in time. It's amazing how powerful music can be for our minds, especially when working out and needing an extra boost of adrenaline. "Reelin' In the Years" got rave reviews from my class!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Treat your feet right

There are so many gadgets for runners in the consumer world: apps, watches, hydration belts, etc.  But the most important of any of those are having the right pair of sneakers.  Outfitting feet is so important to keep a runner moving along and one of the easy ways to prevent injury.

Last weekend, I headed to Road Runner Sports for their free shoe dog analysis.  I just wanted to get a fitting on my new running sneakers, but I figured why not since I already drove down there.

They ask you a few questions about current shoe size, average mileage per week and average terrain. 

After that, they put you on this gel board which measures the pressure applied each foot and whether you have heavier pressure on the ball or heel of your foot. Then comes one of the hardest parts of the whole experience: running (or walking) on the treadmill barefoot. I definitely failed this part and looked like a huge doofus. It was so incredibly hard to do this barefoot.

The final part of the analysis is customizing your inserts. As you stand on these puffy blocks, your shoe fit expert has you rock back and forth and fits them to your feet. 

And here is my one gripe (and really it turned out to be a positive) was that they give you custom inserts, but never once mention the price. If the inserts were $25, that may be boat, but the inserts were $70-80 depending if you are a current VIP. With that said, I did need inserts because of my high arch and I could immediately feel a difference in the arch support.  The inserts are supposed to last through about 3 pairs of shoes, which makes the price a little easier to swallow.

After finding what type of shoes would work best for you as a runner, you are paired with another employee who brings out shoes based on your profile.

Generally I wear Asics.  I have three different pairs of sneakers.  I think Asics are a quality product for the price, not to mention they have some pretty shoes!  The guy brought me out two different Nikes and a pair of Brooks.  I had told him although I love Asics and they fit my feet well, I wanted to branch out and try other brands before any Asics.  You are allowed to run around the store in the shoes to test them out to get a better feeling of how they fit.

I ended up buying the Brooks Glycerin because they fit my foot the best.  They felt stable, comfortable, and not bulky.  So far, after running a half relay and a 5k, they have not disappointed me yet.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Super Hero Half Marathon

This morning I ran the Super Hero half marathon as part of a relay team.  I ran the first leg of the course, which was just two loops through Morris Township and Harding Township by way of Loantaka Park.  A beautiful, scenic and hilly course  The first loop was 6.7 miles and the second was 6.4.  Wow.  By far the hardest course I have ever run and I was so thankful that I was a part of a relay team.

The weather was less than cooperative, but you have to make the best of the cards you are dealt.  It stopped raining for the start of the half and that lasted about 20 minutes. Then it never stopped raining.

It was a really fun race, despite the weather.  This race was definitely good competition for Comic Con; so many super heroes.  And in my opinion, costume or not, all of the runners are heroes to someone!

Check out my new shoes!  This was their inaugural race and first long run.  And worth every penny they cost.

Just before a huge hill & mile marker 6.

A soaking wet Captain America, but d-o-n-e!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

RunAPalooza Half Marathon

Yesterday was the AP RunAPalooza Half Marathon in Asbury Park and it was such an awesome experience.  It was the perfect race for my first half, in fact, this was my first race longer than a 5k.  This race was to benefit the Special Olympics of NJ, as well as to benefit the Restore the Shore campaign from Superstorm Sandy's devastation. Although I am a Jersey girl, I honestly don't remember ever going to AP aside from passing through.  When I was younger, AP was not in it's prime and recently (since '02) has been going through a revitalization. With that said, I was amazed at how fantastic the shore and city looked.

In light of the terror occurred less than a week ago in Boston, we were asked to wear blue and yellow to show support our fellow running community who endured tragedy during the marathon.  It was awesome to see everyone with not only blue and yellow clothes, but messages of hope, support and love through shirts, ribbons and signs.  Not only was it inspiring to run for those who were affected by such a horrific event, but to see runners twice my age or in a wheelchair was touching too.  If they could do this, I could too.

All week the weather forecast was showing rain showers early in the morning on Saturday.  However, the sun was trying to peek out most of the morning, but didn't come out until after I crossed the finish line.  Although it was super windy, at least it did not rain.  Not only for us runners, but for the spectators watching and cheering us on!

The first five miles I felt great.  Strong and energetic.  Miles 8-10 were quite possibly the most difficult of the race.  And twelve through thirteen point one I just had to dig deep and run to the finish - there would be no turning back and no quitting.  On the final sprint on the boardwalk, my beautiful daughters & mother-in-law were cheering me on!!!  It was the perfect sight to give me that final burst of energy.  I cross the finish at 2:25:12 (chip time was 2:24:52) and the first person I saw was my husband.

Definitely still on a runner's high from finishing my first half and looking forward to my next one!  Not sure if I am ready to tackle a full marathon.  But never say never.

There are many wonderful articles and videos on this event:
RunAPalooza Runs the Jersey Shore
CBS News Running for Boston
RunAPalooza Start & Finish

My chica band! 

runAPalooza Swagg!

Monday, January 7, 2013

BL14 - Challenge America:: Episode 1

Last night was like the Super Bowl in our house.. it was the return of Biggest Loser & more importantly, Jillian.  And Bob Harper said it best, "She's baaack!"

The people on the biggest loser have always inspired, but it wasn't until season 11 that I really became a super fan.  That partly has to do with the fact that I, too, was beginning my weight loss journey.  The comraderie between the cast was like no other.  I would have been happy with any Jay, Jen, Irene Hannah or Olivia taking the title of Biggest Loser.  Even though they were in the competition for themselves towards the end, they were still there to love, motivate, and support each other.  I am hopeful that season 14 will at least not be like last season.  BL 13 was, without a doubt, my absolute least favorite cast and if you watched it, you know why.

This is the first season that they have kids involved.  And with the way childhood obesity is continuing to rise, I think it's awesome that BL tries to combat it head on.  I was so impressed with the maturity and choices of these kids.  At 13 and 16 years old, they have so much courage to be on national tv and being the forefront of the conversation of childhood obesity.  Proud doesn't even begin to describe my feelings for these three! I will be cheering them on the entire way!

Before BL aired last night, I tuned into Dateline for some background noise while folding quite a few loads of laundry.  Al Roker was sharing his story about losing weight with gastric bypass, regaining and then completely changing his diet to shed the weight he gained.  He spoke about his struggles over the last ten years and for him to share that information is not only courageous, but inspirational and motivating for the rest of us.

No one is perfect.  No one is going to have the same journey.  No matter how much someone inspires you, your journey is going to be your own.  Be proud of who you are and your story. No one's else can tell yours.  The most important thing is to remember why you are losing weight and what works for you.