Monday, October 29, 2012

Love trying new products? Try KLUTCHclub!

I hope everyone is safe from Hurricane Sandy!  So far, I'm just enjoying a little forced-vacation and am actually getting my laundry done but it's definitely starting to pick up out there. Be careful!

I was recently contacted by someone at KLUTCHclub and was offered a free box (except shipping costs) in return for a review on my blog.  I had never heard of KLUTCHclub before, but after looking at their website, I thought it was a great idea!  KLUTCHclub assembles a new box each month "of more than $50 worth of nutrition, beverage, supplement, skincare, and fitness products and cost only $16-18 each month and are for men and woman who like to try new products from brands with which they many not be familiar." 

What a great idea!  It gives people a way to test out new products without having to spend a lot of money on products they may or may not end up liking. Plus, I think it's so much more fun to receive a bunch of smaller products than the price equivalent of one full sized product. 

At the beginning of each month, they show what is in the box for the month, so you know what you'll be getting.  While it would be fun for it to be a surprise, it's also nice to know whether you want to spend the money that month or not!  Their prices seem totally reasonable too, since you definitely get more than $18 worth.

Here's what came in my box that arrived a few days ago!

Sorry, slightly blurry, but it tells you what the products are, why they chose them and how to 
use them.

(I should have looked at that chart before trying the Omega3 + D packets. Apparently I'm supposed to mix them with something and not eat it straight from the packet....)

Note: There were two more samples of the Good Greens bites, but one was Chocolate & Peanut Butter (didn't last more than a few seconds) and the other was Chocolate Raspberry. Those types of things never last more than a day with me around. The chocolate and peanut butter one was especially good (but really, have you had anything chocolate and peanut butter that wasn't good???) and I will be looking into buying some more of them!

I haven't tried most of these products yet, because I hadn't taken enough pictures of them for this review, but here are the ones I'm most excited to try!:

DeVita Natural Eyeliner
Pure Matters- protein drink
King Arthur Whole Flax Meal

The only thing that I probably will not try is the Hungershield appetite control drink mix.  I've never been one to use any type of diet supplement- no diet pills or other appetite suppressing products, and I'm not about to start.

That product aside, I think this is a really great idea and I'm excited to see what they're putting in the November box!

Interested in joining KLUTCHclub? Here's a link!

In other news, after running 22 (awesome) miles on Saturday and 7 (tiring) miles yesterday, I'm now officially tapering! And I couldn't be happier!!! My body is definitely ready to lower the mileage, sleep as much as possible (thanks Hurricane Sandy for allowing me to sleep until 11am today!) and eat healthy for the next (almost) 3 weeks until the Philadelphia Marathon!

Stay safe!!!

Have you ever gotten a KLUTCHclub box? Thoughts? Are you prepared for the storm? Are you loving or hating tapering, NYC marathoners? Are you excited, nervous or both?! If you're not running the marathon, are you excited to cheer/watch on TV? 

Disclaimer: I was not paid by KLUTCHclub but did receive the box at a discounted price. I did not have to give a favorable review.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

1 Month to Philadelphia Marathon!

One month from today, I will be running the Philadelphia Marathon.  This still seems far away, but I know it'll go by quickly.

So much is going to happen between now and then.
-My best friend is coming to visit this weekend.
-I have two more long runs to do.
-SO many people are going to kill it at the New York City Marathon on November 4. (Can't wait to cheer for you all!!!)
-We'll know who the President for the next four years will be on November 6. (I'll leave my political views out of this, but PLEASE go my way.)
-I GET TO TAPER! Can you tell I'm excited about this?

I've now been training for this marathon for three and a half months (with two weeks off in the middle due to foot injury). It almost feels like yesterday that I started training, so I know that November 18 (my dad's birthday!) will be upon us (me) so quickly.  It's time to watch my training (hopefully) come together, prepare mentally and TAPER. There's that word again.  It's my favorite.  I can't wait until I'm TAPERING and get to talk about TAPERING. And then get to complain about TAPERING. I've always struggled mentally during TAPERING :) (even when it has only been a week for half marathons) so it should be interesting this time around, with gradually decreasing my miles for three weeks before the marathon. But as of right now, I can't wait for it.  Oh, did I already tell you that I'm excited about it?! Sorry.

This morning, to kick off the last month of training, I ran mile repeats.  Ever since getting tendinitis in my foot back in August, I've been horrible about speedwork.  Meaning, I haven't done it.  I've done LOTS of races (6 in 5 weeks), some tempo runs, and some MGP (marathon goal pace, mom!) runs, but I skipped most speedwork. I dread it. For weeks. It hurts, it's not fun, I struggle and I much prefer to run anything else.  But today, I did speedwork!  I'm running (pun) out of time, and don't want to regret anything on race day, so I got my butt out of bed at 6:25am and out the door by 6:50am for some mile repeats.

On the schedule today was:
8 miles including warm up, 4x1600 in 6:56 with 800 recovery and cool down.

Actually that's not true.  What was on the schedule today was a tempo run, but I did speedwork instead! That's right. I went out of my way to do speedwork for once!  I attempted some 800s last week, but my legs felt like total crap and everything hurt so I only made it through one and called that run a disaster. So today, I made up for it.

Today, I busted out my Oiselle Arm Warmers, which I was told make you feel like a badass (it's true!), and warmed up for a mile.  I always do my speedwork on the east side of Central Park, from 102nd Street to the bottom of the reservoir. That's a mile usually, depending on how my Garmin is feeling on any given day, and it's also the flattest part of the park. However, as you (especially) notice when doing speedwork, it is not ALL flat. There are two inclines while running south, and one while running north. These inclines seem like mountains during speedwork!

So today, here's how my run panned out:

Warm up mile (slow, Garmin was off. Shocker)
1x1600: 6:54
800 recovery
1x1600: 6:48
800 recovery
1x1600: 6:52
800 recovery
1x1600: 6:42
run until Garmin hits 8 miles, slow pace

That's right, my last mile was a 6:42! BOOM!

See you next week mile repeats, and Oiselle Arm Warmers! (I think they're the key to successful and almost-fun mile repeats!)

I'm starting off this last month feeling good. Hopefully it'll continue through to November 18! After my
10k race last Saturday, I'm beginning to finally feel like my training is paying off. With a few more long runs (16-18 this weekend and 20-22 next weekend), some more speedwork, tempo runs, and TAPERING, I'll hopefully be well trained, well rested and ready to RACE on November 18!

How's your training going? Are you TAPERING? Do you love it or hate it? Tell me about it for the next 10 days until I get to start TAPERING!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Proud and Feeling More Confident!

Yesterday I ran the Rock 'n' Roll New York 10k- my fourth 10k race.  I ran this race last year, in it's inaugural year, and it was a bit of a disaster.  Baggage and pickup were horrible.  However, the shirts, medals and course were good, and they promised to make some necessary changes for this year, so I signed up again. Maybe I also have a special spot for this race in my heart because it was my first 10k.

Anthony (boyfriend) was also registered for this race, but as of Friday night, he wasn't planning on running it.  He felt bad about it, although I told him not to.  I woke up a little after 5:30am yesterday, and put my race outfit on (shorts, compression sleeves and a long sleeved shirt, and I put on gloves later), along with sweatpants and a sweatshirt to wear until I had to ditch them- it was only 39 degrees out!  When I came out of the bathroom, Anthony was getting ready too!  I wasn't planning on having him there, since he hadn't run in a week and I knew he was tired, but it was a nice surprise to not have to go to Brooklyn at 6am by myself!

We finally made it out to Brooklyn at 6:40, but had to get to packet pick up by 7am, so we started running.  Fortunately it was downhill and warmed us up because it was COLD!  We finally found the packet pick up/baggage area (note to Rock 'n' Roll- some signs in the future would be REALLY helpful) and got our stuff.  The porta-potty line was relatively short for a race- score! We put our stuff in baggage and were on our way to the start around 7:20am, for a 7:30 start.  We were in wave 1 so were up front and able to see/hear everything going on.  However, at this point I was only wearing my race outfit so it was really cold!  Fortunately Anthony and I hugged/huddled until the start to keep each other warm! Although we probably looked super cheesy! :)

I have the Garmin 110, which is basic, but I love it.  I've always had the auto lap set for a mile, which means that unless I'm constantly doing math in my head (which gets complicated when you're running lots of miles!), I never know my average pace until the end of a run/race.  However, I took my auto lap off, so for the race yesterday, my Garmin was saying my average pace, rather than pace for the current mile.  As a result, I don't have any splits (unfortunately), but liked it much better to have the whole overall race average, rather than the current mile pace.

Course map

The first three 10k races I ran were hard, and I could never figure out how to pace myself.  It's too far to go all out, but not far enough to hold back like in a half marathon. How do you do it?!  Going into yesterday's race, my 10k PR was 47:04, which I set two days before I started marathon training.  For this race, I was hoping for a PR of around 46:30. Nothing crazy, but hoped/thought it was doable.

The race got started a few minutes late, but were finally off!  The first time I looked down at my Garmin, probably less than 0.5 miles in, it said 6:44.  I knew this was too fast, so slowed down a little bit.  I settled into a pace that felt really comfortable- 7:02-ish per mile. What?! This now felt comfortable?!  Since when are low 7's manageable?!  They feel so terrible when I do tempo runs or speedwork around that pace.... However, I wanted to stick with it as long as it was feeling uncomfortably comfortable.  I felt great, was cruising along and was even singing along (not out loud- that would have been painful for everyone) to my music! I hit the 5k mark right around 22 minutes (7:05 pace). Right after that, we made the turn back into the park, and I struggled mentally for the first time.  But I quickly got rid of the negative thoughts and kept thinking, "even if I bonk the last few miles, I'll still PR! But I'm not going to bonk, I can totally do this!" Mentally, I only had a few brief moments of doubt about my pace, or making it up the next Prospect Park hill during the race, and physically, I felt awesome!  I was passing guys left and right, even up the hill the 2nd time! [I've really come to love running races mostly only around guys- it gives me adrenaline every time I pass one, or when they look over their shoulder and see a girl coming up behind them! Sorry dudes...but thanks for the extra help! :)]

I hit the 6 mile mark, turned towards the finish, and picked up my pace as much as possible!  I finished in 44:14, 7:07 pace.  I'm not one to brag or gloat about my times, or even get super excited and proud of myself for PRs (that's dumb, I know I should be happy about ANY PR). But I am SO proud and happy about this. And honestly, I'm still in shock.  I always calculate paces before races (well, also before and after every run, and probably 20 other times throughout the day....runner nerd!) but for this race, I never calculated any paces faster than a 46:00 finish.  Even halfway through the race when I was still feeling good, I was only hoping for 45:xx.  I had no idea that I had this type of race in me. After this 10k, I'm feeling so much more confident about the Philly marathon and about running in general.  I would of course to love to qualify for the Boston Marathon at Philly (sub 3:35)- who wouldn't?!  There, I said it (scary).  After yesterday, I'm feeling much more confident that it might be possible.

When I ran this race last year, my time was 48:13- almost exactly 4 minutes slower than yesterday! And  when I ran the Queens 10k two days before starting marathon training, I ran almost 3 minutes slower than yesterday! Yes it was disgustingly hot and humid, but I definitely didn't have a much faster time in me that day. It's so nice to see some actual and big results come out of this marathon training!

Based on Running Times, McMillan's Running and Riegel Predictor and my new 10k time, my predicted marathon time is between 3:26-3:28! I don't need to be greedy. I'd be plenty happy with even just a few seconds sub-3:35! However, I do have to keep in mind that this is my first marathon and 26.2 miles is, well, FAR. I don't want to be disappointed if I don't BQ, or don't finish sub-4:00. But going into this marathon, the confidence I gained from yesterday was exactly what I needed for my last few weeks of training! I just need to remember to carry it with me through my last few long runs, and on race day.

Official results:

BTW, Anthony also PR'ed yesterday!  I don't know how he does it, since he usually doesn't run more than once or twice a week, but he beat his time by about a minute! Congrats!!!

So, I've now figured out the key to racing a 10k: train for a marathon. I'm a genius and you're welcome. :)

What Garmin do you use, that shows average overall pace, as well as current pace? What did you think of the new course and race yesterday? Are you tapering now?! If you are, I'm jealous of you.

Monday, October 1, 2012

My first trophy!

Yesterday I ran a low key, but totally awesome, race.  It was a 5k in Prospect Park that an organization called Music That Heals puts on every year.  A few weeks ago, I was researching smaller, shorter races in the NYC area and came across this one.  As a former violinist, this is a cause that I think is so important and noble.  The overview of this organization is, "MUSIC THAT HEALS provides musical entertainment to seriously ill children and adults."  While growing up, I played in nursing homes and hospitals more times than I can count. The 20 or 30 minutes that you spend performing for these ill and aging people can have a life changing impact on them (and also on you as a performer), and completely turn someone's day, week or month around.  It gives the ill a chance to take their mind off of being sick, to have something to look forward to and to hopefully put a smile on their faces.  Couple this with running (and a 10am start time!), and I'm in!  

Actually, I almost wasn't in.  After running 4 races the three weekends prior, I was tired, wanted to sleep in, and stayed out too late Saturday night (with a few glasses of wine). When I woke up Sunday morning, I really just wanted to snooze my alarm and crawl back under my covers, but knew that I'd be disappointed in myself if I didn't go, so dragged myself out of bed.  I hadn't picked out an outfit, hadn't thought about what I needed to bring with me for a morning in Brooklyn, and wasn't totally sure where I was going- I still had to pick up my race stuff before finding the start.  

This past week, my running shoes have been bruising the outside ankle of my right foot.  Like, I had an actual bruise the other day from my shoe.  As soon as I put my shoes on and was walking out of my apartment, my ankle started hurting.  I think part of the design on the outside of my shoe isn't flexible enough and rubs my ankle the wrong way.  I took inserts out of my shoes this past week, because they were slightly too short for the shoe and were sometimes hurting my toes.  I think this started causing the problem, because now my foot is lower so it's rubbing in a weird way. I spent most of the subway ride trying to bend that part of my shoe so it wouldn't rub and hurt. Not totally successful. Note to self: put inserts back in/buy longer inserts. And for once, could I just have an awesome, I feel amazing and nothing hurts, week of training?!

Anywayyyy....I got off the train at Grand Army Plaza and began warming up by running the mile to the church where registration was held.  My foot felt decent, but not great.  It was super easy to find registration, and it turns out that it was just a few blocks from the start.  Everything was well organized and easy to figure out.  The staff (and volunteers?) were all very friendly and helpful. A few minutes before 10am, there was a performance of the National Anthem by some people associated with Music That Heals, then we were all walked down to the start of the race.  The course was (almost) one loop of Prospect Park, with the hill just before mile 2.  As I said, this was a low key race, so we just lined up along a piece of duct tape on the road, and were off when they blew the horn.  There were no chips timing this race, so it was up to my Garmin and the clock at the finish line.

The course started on a downhill and I could see that two women were in front of me.  I was feeling good, but then again, I was running downhill. That's usually pretty easy.  By the time that the road flattened out, another woman passed me, so now I was in fourth. My foot and legs were actually feeling fine, and my first mile came out around 6:33 pace, I think (forgot to upload my run!).  Another woman passed me, then I finally passed one woman, so was still in fourth place. I began to feel like I was working really hard, but my Garmin was hovering around 7:20s. What?!  Why is running fast so hard?!  Then the hill came. And took forever.  I've honestly never thought much about this hill in the past, after running in Central Park for years, but yesterday it seemed to last forever.  Just when I thought it was over, I rounded a corner and saw more of it up ahead still.  Finally, I reached the top, and mile two, and knew that it would be an easy run to the finish.  However, I couldn't get my Garmin (or me rather....) to drop below 7:00 pace again.  I should have uploaded my run for exact times...but they weren't that impressive.  Around mile 2.5, a younger girl (found out later she's 16) passed me, to put me in 5th place.  At this point, I felt like I was losing some steam, so didn't have it in me to try to catch her.  The time on my Garmin at the finish was 21:30.

I finished 5th overall female, and 1st in my age group!  Later, "official" results were posted on the church wall and I'm pretty sure it said 21:16 for me.....but that's definitely not possible, unfortunately.  The clock said 21:27 as I was about to finish, so I'll stick with my Garmin on this one, which gives me a 1 second 5k PR!  I was hoping to run faster, but after a late night, wine and not much planning, I'll take it.  They haven't posted the online results, but from what I saw I was 22 overall, out of about 400 people.

I even got a (my first) trophy and a $15 gift card for a RoadID at the awards ceremony! AWESOME!  

This was a great, fun race, for a cause I believe is really important, so it was a feel-good morning and a great way to end September!  I definitely hope to do this race again next year!