Sunday, November 27, 2016

Weekly Wrap: Black Friday Aftermath

Since I've gotten my November Runfession out of the way and have attempted to alleviate myself of my shopping guilt, I thought I would share the treasures I've purchased with you over the last 48 hours.  But first, let's start with running.  I did not run an organized Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving, but I did my own "trot" in the morning and ate turkey in the afternoon.  I'm in week 3 of NYC Marathon recovery and think I'm doing pretty well, but I'm running a half with my mom in two weeks and so mentally wanted to feel prepared.  I did my long run a day early, but got in a nice 10 miles (on the difficult path), felt strong, felt like I could have definitely gone further, and ran negative splits!  Maybe I'm stronger than I thought?
So this picture exposes one of my Black Friday transgressions, so let's just go there.  First up, I retired my 8 year old Garmin and bought myself a nice, shiny, purple Garmin 230!  My local Fleet Feet was having a major sale (scored this $70 off), which also made me feel better that I was supporting my local running store.
They were also running a sock sale (buy 3 get 1 free) and my Garmin purchase resulted in a $25 credit.  So then I got a great deal on some new socks, which I definitely needed.  Plus these bright colors just made me happy.
Next up, I got really crazy.  Most of the time I run alone and music is just one of those things I have to have.  I try to stay aware of my surroundings, but you can never be too safe.  I've been hearing a lot lately about Aftershokz (open ear, bone conduction headphones).  There was a deal where if you bought a pair, you also go 6 free mystery gifts - I scooped up a pink pair and had a 10% off coupon.  Can't wait to try these babies out and see my extra gifts!
Then there was the purchase I never expected to make, but the chatter about the 40% off sale at 2XU was too much to take.  I also had an extra 10% off coupon, so I got a crazy good deal on some compression tights.  I have to say that these are the ones I'm most excited about getting.
I did get a few other things, but they would reveal Christmas presents for at least a couple people who support my blog, so I can't go there yet :)  So, I feel like even though I spent WAY more on myself than I usually do - especially all in one shot - I did get exceptionally good deals on all of these things and I will certainly use them all.  Expect reviews in the future!

I'm linking up with HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin for the Weekly Wrap.  Promise my next Weekly Wrap will be more running and less shopping!
Did you make any big splurges?
Do you have/have you used any of the items I purchased?
What's your next race?

Friday, November 25, 2016

Friday Five: November Runfessions

Is it the last weekend in November already?  Where is 2016 going?!  It's been a busy month for me - personally, professionally, runningly (yes, I realize I completely made that word up).  However, most of that activity was loaded into the first half of the month and so I've spent most of the back half recovering.  Which leads to my monthly runfessions!

1. I runfess that I've been bad this Black Friday.  I'm trying not to think about the money I've spent in the last 24 hours.  The good news is that I have nearly ALL of my Christmas shopping done.  On the flip side, I've bought more for me than I usually do, which makes me feel (probably unnecessarily) guilty.  Am I excited about all of these things? Yes.  Did I get a fantastic deal on all of these things?  Again, yes.  Do I work hard to make the money I spent on these things?  You better believe it.  I'll have to figure out how to let it go!
2.  I runfess that I've been trigger shy on a couple of races (which is definitely not like me).  I think the biggest reason is that I don't have anyone - yet - to run with me and races just aren't as much fun for me without the social element.

3.  I runfess that I have felt like a running slacker lately.  I'm still recovering from the New York City Marathon, but I'm starting to feel a little anxiety about being really prepared for the Disney Princess Half Marathon (I'm doing the 5k, 10k, and Half Marathon).  I usually don't do a hard-line training plan unless we're talking about a marathon, but I do believe that I need to get a little more on the band wagon or else I'll risk getting off of my routine.
4.  I runfess that I'm behind on the blog.  Hopefully I've been keeping up reading and commenting on your awesome entries, but I've not been writing enough of my own.  I'll get back on it - promise!

5. I runfess that I'm still not adjusted to these winter hours.  I love sleep and I'm really good at it (I'm talking 8-9 hours a night), but these short days are messing with me.  It feels like the older I get, the harder it is for me to adjust to changes in time - daylight savings, different time zones when traveling, etc.  Who knew my body and brain were so change averse?!

I'm linking up with Marcia's Healthy Slice for Runfessions as well as Fairy Tales and Fitness and Running on Happy for the Friday Five 2.0.  Check them out!

What's your favorite running "splurge?"
What's the next race you're really excited about?

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Marathon Recovery

I don't know what it is about 26.2 miles, but it really takes it out of me, even after the soreness leaves my muscles.  I'm talking exhausted for days.  For example, last weekend (one week post marathon), I set out to run an easy six miles, but my body said no and I ended with 4.  I didn't sweat it, after all it was what Hal Higdon calls "week zero," but it is crazy to me how we can go from running double digit mileage to barely squeaking out 4.  Here is Hal's day by day recovery:
For me, this week was rather uneventful - low single digit miles, demanding week at work.  This weekend was more fun though because I started to feel more like my runner self.  Hal says that it takes at least 2-3 weeks to recover from a marathon (my hat is off to all of you out there who can run marathons every weekend), so I guess that means I'm tracking according to schedule.  Yesterday, I got in a nice easy 5 miler with a running buddy!
I know many people are solo runners (and most of the time it's my only option), but I get so much energy running with other people.  It just makes an already fun activity even more fun.  Know what makes it even better?  Post-run refueling!!!  And believe me, this is even more delicious than it looks.  Two words: smoked Gouda.
Today was chilly (I ran in the afternoon and it was still only 40 degrees), but I still got in a nice 7 miler at one of my favorite parks.  Maybe it's because I'm actually recovering from the marathon or maybe it's because of the Tailwind Wendy sent me (if you haven't checked out her blog you should - she is a great runner and hilarious writer).  More on Tailwind later, but I layered up and felt stronger/more energetic.  So hopefully that means I'm on the road to recovery!
I'm linking up this week for the Weekly Wrap with Ho Ho Runs and MissSippiPiddlin.
How long does it take you to recover from a marathon?
Do you prefer to run solo or with other people?

Friday, November 18, 2016

5 Steps When Your Training Goes Awry

It happens to the best of us.  We make the best training plans, the ones we know that will work to help us reach new goals.  And then ________ happens.  You fill in the blank, it could be anything.  Most recently for me, it hit during peak training weeks leading up to the New York City Marathon.  I got sick, really sick and work became almost intolerably demanding.  So what do you do when life gets in the way?
Well there goes the calendar!
Step 1 - Determine whether the race is still a good idea or whether you need to pick a new race.  If you're injured, that may sideline you entirely.  If you're healthy, you need to balance what you want and what your body can handle (the longer the distance, the more you need to consider what you can really ask of yourself).  One thing is for sure, it's not worth getting hurt.  There are hundreds of races out there!

Step 2 - Adjust your goals.  Depending on how much time you missed and when, you may need to come to terms with finishing and having fun being your only goal.  For me, I joked that "survival" became my marathon goal.  If you didn't miss that much, you may need a smaller adjustment or consider making an A, B, and C goal for race day.

Step 3 - Plan how to ramp back up.  You likely won't be able to jump back into your calendar as though you didn't have a break.  Ramping up too fast can lead to injuries (and I mean serious injuries, like bad ones).  I didn't get to do all of my long runs for New York - including my 20 miler - but with my adjusted goal, I put in a really solid 16 miler that built my confidence and a mini taper to feel prepared.
Warmer weather options on the left, cooler options on the right.
Step 4 - Manage your emotions.  Try not to get too down about missed training.  If you decided to run, you're going to get to do something amazing.  Find something that will get you pumped!  For me, that was buying a few new potential pieces of clothing to wear depending on the weather.  Aren't new clothes so inspiring?

Step 5 - Run your race, enjoy it, appreciate your body for carrying you through it, and plan for your next race!  If you take it really easy, you might even be able to do a "make up" race sooner than you think.  Reflect on how thing went and consider what adjustments you might want to make the next time around.  We are ALL constantly learning, making mistakes, and getting better.

In the end, New York went great - it was fun and memorable despite my training mishap (and I didn't get injured)!  I'm going to do some things differently next time ... and yes, I have a sneaky feeling there will be a next time :)

I'm linking up with the Friday Five 2.0! Thank you to Fairytales and Fitness and Running On Happy for being fabulous hosts!
What happens to throw a wrench in your training?
What do you do when your training goes awry?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

New Balance runDisney 2017 Shoe Reveal

Last week, New Balance unveiled their 2017 runDisney designs.  In case you're new to this whole thing, four years ago New Balance (the official shoe partner of runDisney) began doing special, limited-edition shoes available only at runDisney race expos.  And people (runner and non-runners alike) have gone absolutely nuts for them!  The past several years, they have created two neutral and two stability options based on beloved Disney characters.  Okay, now that we're all caught up, this coming year will see a significant difference.
Two left shoes are stability models, two right shoes are neutral models.
Next year features designs based on beloved Disney attractions.  Disney has put more emphasis on their rides lately - this year saw limited edition shirts based on rides for the Magic Kingdom's 45th anniversary.  I have to say, I'm a little surprised.  I may be missing something, but I'm not sure attractions will have the same pull as characters.  I've bought New Balance runDisney shoes the past three years - Cinderella (2014), Tinker Bell (2015), and Ariel (2016).
I bought Cinderella because they were pretty, Tinker Bell because they were cool (glow in the dark AND wings), and Ariel because it's the Little Mermaid (hello childhood obsession).  New Balance has also done a great job of putting in the little details that really add the "cool" factor to the shoes - including hidden designs, themed inserts, and special shoe boxes.
I'm sure New Balance will also add fun elements to these new shoes, but I just have to say they don't seem ... well pretty.  I feel like they are missing the boat by not pulling on our heartstrings with adored characters.  I don't know that the throngs of princess runners will line up for these new designs.  Maybe I'm wrong and I'll try to withhold judgement until I get to see them in person, but this runDisney addict is still shocked.

What do you think?  Do you like these designs?
Will you line up to purchase any of them in 2017?

Saturday, November 12, 2016

My 5 Favorite NYC Marathon Souvenirs

Happy Friday!  It's that time again - time for the Friday 5!  I'm still reveling in the TCS New York City Marathon, so this post is dedicated to my 5 favorite souvenirs (and despite my reputation, I promise that none of these are the medal ... but that IS pretty awesome).  I really like to have mementos of my adventures, travels, races, but I was seriously on the hunt for this epic race.

1. The Jacket.  For a marathon, I feel like this is pretty essential.  I can't help it.  They could slap just about any price on it and I would still buy it.  I do have to say I love this one - the materials, the fit, the color options (I chose the white/gray one).
2. Bar ware.  I've run a few races that have had pint glasses and I always have to buy them.  I use these as water glasses at home and every time I use them, I think about the race and the experience.  I also had to pick up a wine glass.  I thought this one was pretty unique and super cute (especially that apple-shaped word cloud).  I had to have this!
3. Autographed book.  As part of the Marathon Tours group, we got a signed copy of "Marathon Woman" when we went to the pre-race dinner (where Kathrine Switzer was a speaker).  Her story is pretty incredible and inspiring, so I'm pretty excited to have this.
4. Finisher shirt.  I LOVE cotton shirts.  I know this probably makes me the odd woman out, but I do.  I especially love a long sleeved shirt, so I snapped this one up.  I have to say they fit small though so I sized up.
This is the back.
5. The post-race poncho.  I have no idea what I'm ever going to do with this (a number of people had previous years' ponchos as throw-away layers), but I thought it was so cool!  Maybe not the most useful (no arm holes), but pretty warm and solidly made.  The inside has a soft/fuzzy layer.
Back of the poncho, front closes with velcro.
Thanks to the Friday Five 2.0 hosts - check them out!  Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy.
What are your favorite race souvenirs?
What is the most unique finisher's souvenir you have received?

Friday, November 11, 2016

Race Review: TCS New York City Marathon

I'm back!  It's been a while (apologies), but I'm here and ready to talk New York!  It was a great weekend, but a complete whirlwind.  After getting off the plane Friday and checking into the hotel, my dad and I went straight to the expo.  We were told that it was a little crazy (meaning tons of runners) and figured we should probably knock this out as soon as possible.  So off we went to the Javits Center!
And boy was it massive!  New York is the largest marathon in the world and it was certainly the largest expo I have ever seen.  We got our bibs, picked up a few items I just couldn't live without (the requisite jacket, bar ware, etc.) and shopped around the booths (translation: scored as many free snacks/samples as possible).  The whole experience was really overwhelming and I really felt the magnitude of this race.
The branding of this race is just incredible as well.  Everything feels special and looks really good.  I've never done a small marathon, but this was certainly an experience.  This is also where I started to get a bit nervous and remember just how far 26.2 miles is (and how it feels - painful).  Thankfully we planned to take it pretty easy Saturday - just a little sightseeing and a dinner put on by Marathon Tours; the travel company we used for this trip (including race entry).
So let's fast forward to dinner Saturday night, which was at our hotel.  The dinner was fine, but do you recognize the person in this picture?  Yep, that's the legend, Kathrine Switzer and she is amazing!  Here's the short version for anyone who doesn't know her: she was the first woman to register and run the Boston Marathon (nearly 50 years ago).  It was at a time when the general public didn't believe women could/should run a marathon and the race director  tried to physically pull her off the course.  She has devoted her life to opening doors to women in sport, especially running.  And yes, she has won the New York City Marathon.
I totally had a fan girl moment when I met her (ran right up and hugged her - awkward), but she is so gracious and lovely.  And she brought her bib from her first Boston Marathon!  I got to touch it!  It's also the basis of her charity 261 Fearless.  I was so inspired leaving that dinner, which made me really want to run well the next day.  Back in the hotel room, we laid out all of our clothes, bibs, snacks, for the next day, and tried to get some sleep.
The next morning, we got up and got ready - including layering on all of our "throw away" clothes - and headed down to the bus.  Marathon Tours arranged for coach buses to take us to the start.  Normal entry gets you either bus or ferry transportation to the start.  I'm usually the girl who obsessively checks the weather, but did not check the weather marathon morning ... and it was way warmer than expected - 54 degrees to be exact!  So, we overdressed just a little for the long wait before the race.
We arrived on Staten Island with thousands of other runners and had some time to find our corral, use the port-a-potties (for the record, there were not enough), and fuel up.  I couldn't believe how early we had to be there given our 10:40 AM start, but it didn't feel like we were waiting an excessively long time.  It helped that the weather was nice; I don't think the wait would have felt so manageable if it had been cold and wet.  When it was our time, we lined up in our start corral, ditched our extra clothes, and waited to hear the melodious voice of Frank Sinatra kick us off with "New York, New York."
We started on the bottom level of the Verrazano Bridge - for the record, this bridge is incredibly long (about two miles, which means that it's about a mile incline followed by a mile decline).  It was an epic start to an epic race.  I didn't do a good job of taking pictures during the run - I was too busy trying to run!  It was a difficult race through all five Burroughs, which also means multiple bridges.  New Yorkers provided great support and hilarious signs.  The course was really well supported with great volunteers and plenty of aid stations and port-a-potties.
Even though it was really tough and we struggled toward the end, my dad and I finished together, hand in hand, with smiles on our faces.  It was an incredible feeling, but I was so glad to be done.  Because it was such a late start, it wasn't long before the sun was threatening to set and bring cooler weather.  When you register for the race, you can elect to either have a bag for gear check or receive a post-race poncho (nicer than it sounds).  After collecting our medals and bags of snacks, my dad headed off to collect his gear check bag and I took a different route for my poncho.
We were exhausted and sore, but had been part of something really special.  Despite the fact that both of us had struggles during our training and it wasn't a PR for either of us, we had fun and got an incredibly unique view of New York.  We took the subway back to the hotel; navigating the stairs was a little interesting, but we made it and feasted on post-race New York pizza in celebration.  This was a short trip - we were headed back home Monday afternoon - but I am so thankful to have been able to run this race and with my dad.
The Bottom Line:
Run This Race If: You love big marathons, especially if you're interested in the Abbott World Majors.  If you want to have an epic experience and don't mind a race that has some logistical challenges and is definitely not ripe for PRs (though not impossible).
Course: Challenging, point to point, hilly (bridges and Central Park finish), on the streets of New York.  Some turns, but the vast majority is straight.
What Makes It Unique: The setting - I mean it's New York!  I was also amazed at how many international runners there were.  It's also the largest marathon in the world with over 50,000 runners finishing every year.
Cost: Pricey.  2016 entry: New York Road Runners members $216, Non-Members $255, Non-US Residents $347, Processing Fee $11.  The larger issue is getting in.  This is a really competitive lottery and you could try for years to get in.  Of course there are ways - through NYRR, charity entries, and tour companies.  This one is commitment though.
Date and Time: First weekend in November, staggered start based on corral placement.
Would I do It Again? Maybe, but not because of the race.  I am so grateful that I had this opportunity to run it and would never take it back, but I'm not sure how many marathons I have in me (or in my dad for that matter).  I have a feeling the next will mean trying something new, but I would definitely recommend this one.