Friday, March 29, 2013

Lunch Run With Mom

Okay, okay - so when I say "Lunch Run With Mom" as my title of this post, I mean, we left the house at the same time. 

With the Capitol 10K race coming up in Austin on April 7, my mom knows she needs to get her butt in gear! 

12:30 came along and it was time for my lunch run. Since she is a teacher and has today off for Good Friday, she's home and wanted to come with. I said sure and we set off. But not before I realized one of my ear cushions fell off of my headphones! SO mad! Those were some of my favorite headphones and now I can't wear them. I guess I'll go buy new ones tomorrow. 

My mom told me beforehand that I didn't have to run at her pace and could run off with out her. I obliged and took off. After 1.5 miles I took a small walking break to see if she would catch up. No such luck, so I kept going on without her. We crossed paths at mile 2 where she notified me that she was about to pee her pants (Oh, the joys of being old and bearing children). I yelled back "It's all JUST went!" and kept running on. 

Around mile 3 after I turned back to head home, I see her riding her bike towards me?? Yes, she stopped at the house after mile 2, went pee, and got the bike. When we crossed paths, I believe my exact words were "You're such a wuss...there is no bike riding in the Capitol 10K...get off and gimme that!" She put up a fight but I forced her off and I rode the bike instead...alongside her the rest of the way, yelling like a freaking drill sergeant! That's what she gets for thinking she could get away with bike riding...not in my house! When you say you want to run with me, you're going to run (or at least fast walk). 

Don't I sound like a joy to run with? I think I should get Best Coaching Daughter of the Year award. 

Hope everyone has a good weekend! 

3/29/2013: Miles run - 235.5 of 1000. Miles remaining - 764.5 of 1000

Thursday, March 28, 2013

3 Rest Days = Fastest Miles Ever

Apparently 3 days of not running and running outside for the first time in over a week leads to the fastest 2 back-to-back miles I've ever done. I'm not sure what got into me, but here's how my 4 mile run at lunch went:

Previously, my fastest mile ever was 7:40. So beating that AND having a record 2nd mile after that was shocking! Mile 3 was obviously a cool down :) 

I got back into Austin late last night around 11. I miss Pittsburgh and Jon already, but it was nice to be able to run outside in 60 degree weather again. 

Yesterday, I turned the big 2-5. I certainly don't feel a quarter of a century old. I spent most of it traveling anyways, so it didn't really even feel like my birthday. I plan to celebrate it some more this weekend. Tuesday night Jon took me to this really neat restaurant called Kaya close to downtown Pittsburgh. It was a Mediterranean/Caribbean style mix of food. To drink, I ordered the Guavatini - a mix of Bombay Sapphire Gin, St. Germaine, guava, mint, and lime. It was delicious! For dinner, I ordered plantain and corn puree soup and roasted mushroom spaghetti. Jon got the fish tacos. I'm really mad at myself for not taking any pictures, but thankfully Google comes in handy for that!

I would definitely go back there to eat again! I am ready for the weekend.

3/28/2013: Miles run - 231.5 of 1000. Miles remaining - 768.5 of 1000

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Everyone Needs a Pizza and Wine Night Every So Often

Yesterday, my stomach wasn't feeling normal and I knew I only had 2 more nights left with Jon before heading back to Austin. I had 5 miles on the agenda, but Jon and I decided to forego the gym and opted for wine and pizza on the couch instead. Am I motivating you yet? :) 

I'm leaving Pittsburgh tomorrow, after being here for two weeks, and my time with Jon is limited. Sometimes the gym or a run isn't always a good fix for everything (even though 95% of the time I believe it is). If we would have been able to run together outside and be in each other's company, we probably would have done so, but it snowed about 6 inches yesterday so that wasn't an option. I love going to the gym with Jon, but we don't do any of the same workouts so we aren't spending time together. 

I decided that spending some quality time together was more important than running 5 miles. I can always swap out rest days or distribute those miles out equally to other days (what's one more mile a day for a few days in exchange for time with a loved one?). Plus, I haven't had a rest day since last Wednesday. 

My last few runs looked like this:
Thursday - 6 miles
Friday - 5 miles
Saturday - 7 miles
Sunday - 4 miles
Monday - Much needed rest! And wine. 

Here's what the rest of my schedule for this week looks like:
Tuesday (today) - 4 miles
Wednesday - Traveling, Rest
Thursday - 5 miles
Friday - 3 miles
Saturday - 7 miles
Sunday - Rest - It is Easter, after all

Next week when I'm home, I'm excited to get back to some classes at the gym! I know I need to incorporate more strength training into my schedule, but I'd rather have an instructor up there telling me what to do versus doing it on my own. 

Hopefully by the end of March, I'll be a quarter of the way done with my goal!

3/25/2013: Miles run - 227.5 of 1000. Miles remaining - 772.5 of 1000

Monday, March 25, 2013

Foam Rollin'

So I'm not super new to the running world, but I guess I would consider myself somewhat new to the "runner accessory" world. In college, all I thought I needed were some good shoes and shorts, a sports bra, and my iPod and I was good to go for a run. Now I'm learning about all of these new things to help with long distance running. Compression socks were a new one for me, but now I've recently learned about a handy tool they call the foam roller. 

Looks pretty simple huh? Looks like an ultra large rolling pin to me. Well, I started researching what this device was all about and came across some pretty great benefits! The foam roller can be used as a warm-up pre-run or a cool-down post-run. 

1. Improves circulation and blood flow - this is great for warming up before a run or helping with recovery afterwards
2. Preps the muscles for stretching by breaking down knots in your body that limit your range of motion
3. Releases muscle tightness that can prohibit proper running form
4. Boosts flexibility and relieves soreness
5. Kneads knotty and tender areas to promote long and smooth muscles, which are more injury resistant and are much more mobile than short, knotty muscles
6. Improves spine alignment

Who knew a log-shaped piece of foam could be so beneficial?! 

It can be a great lower AND upper body workout. Check out the videos Peanut Butter Runner posted a while back. They're really great tutorials on how to get the most out of your roller and how to really reach the muscles most affected by running. 

Lower Body

Upper Body

Prices can range from $10-$40 depending on brand, durability, and density levels. You can get them online, at a sporting goods store, or my favorite place in the world, Target. They're probably lying around your gym as well if you want to try one out first before making a purchase. 

I think I should start receiving some kind of frequent shopper discount or something from soon. 

Stay tuned for a review after I try one of these bad boys out! 

3/25/2013: Miles run - 227.5 of 1000. Miles remaining - 772.5 of 1000

Friday, March 22, 2013

Pittsburgh Half Marathon

Yippee for Friday! 

A few days ago, still in my post-half marathon high, I thought, "Heck, I loved it so much, why not do another one?" Recently, my boyfriend's sister (who ran a full marathon while 2 months pregnant!) had mentioned the upcoming Pittsburgh Marathon. I checked it out but it was already sold out! So sad. 

Being the resourceful person that I am, I checked out Craigslist. Turns out, there were people on there trying to transfer their registrations over for various reasons of why they couldn't participate in the race. I shot off a few inquiring emails and luckily heard back from a lady who was gracious enough to transfer her registration to me.

So needless to say, I'm now signed up for my 2nd half marathon in Pittsburgh on May 5th (less than 6 weeks away)! Jon warned me that it's probably going to be a little hilly, so I need to start training on more of an incline this time. I hope by then the weather will be a tad warmer as well, because it's currently 27 degrees here.

So many bridges here! (Source)

Since last Saturday, I had only ran 2 miles this week. That needed to change and it did last night. Jon and I went to the gym and I knocked out 6 miles on the treadmill (since it was still snowing outside and all). It was actually pretty difficult. I thought it might be easy since I've had a good amount of rest in the past 5 days, but it was a rough one. I honestly hate running more than 3 or 4 miles on a treadmill. I get so bored! 

I was going to write up a nice little treadmill workout to share with you guys but there was no method to my madness as I ended up changing the speed every 2 or 3 minutes to keep it somewhat entertaining. I ran the 1st mile at 6.5mph, the 2nd at 6.0mph, 3rd at 7mph, and then it just went crazy and inconsistent from there. I mixed in slow jogging with sprinting, some incline fast walking with easy was just a whole mess of a run that I would be crazy to try and keep track of and write down. 

Have a great weekend everyone!

3/22/2013: Miles run - 211.5 of 1000. Miles remaining - 788.5 of 1000

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Compression Socks

After being surrounded by over 20,000 runners on Saturday, I saw quite the assortment of running gear (and costumes) during the race. There was a lot of cute stuff! But I especially started to notice all of the different types of socks people were wearing. I recently purchased my first pair of running socks to wear for the half marathon (Thorlo Pad brand), but they were just your typical ankle-style socks with a little more padding on the bottom. 

On Saturday, I saw many knee-high style socks, otherwise known as compression socks in the running world (no, the 80s are not coming back). Many of them were even St. Paddy's day themed, naturally. I have heard of these socks before, but I didn't know much about them...until I decided to go on a Googling spree today to find out a bit more.  What are they? And even more importantly, do they work? Because if so, I gotta get me some!

I don't know who this girl is, but she looks pretty intense. 

Some benefits of wearing compression socks:
- Stimulates blood flow, which helps your legs recover faster from a hard run
- Provides reinforcement for tender tendons (say that 10 times fast)
- Warms your legs up faster
- Minimizes muscle fatigue since muscles are kept more compact and balanced
- Protects your legs from small scratches and abrasions if running outside on a trail 
- Limits swelling

Apparently they come in all different sizes, so it's important to measure your calves for proper fit.  Too tight and they're uncomfortable and impossible to put on.  Too loose and they don't provide enough compression and slide down your leg during your run.

There are many different styles and brands out there and I'm sure just like everything, you get what you pay for. Prices range anywhere from $20-$60. Talk about a good way to quickly break the bank! I'll stick with $20 ones for now. $60 for one pair of socks!? I could get about 4 cute outfits from Target for that price. 

According to Runner's World"Until recently, there wasn't much scientific evidence to justify wearing compression socks. But a 2009 German study clearly indicates that they enhance performance during hard runs. And research done in South Africa and New Zealand shows that knee-highs also improve recovery by boosting blood flow in the extremities. Yet they still aren't for everyone. Earlier this year a German study conducted on uber-fit athletes reported no performance payoffs from compression. According to the study, the socks work better when they're squeezing more performance out of non-elites."
So if this quote is accurate, and since I'm for sure part of the "non-elites," I guess a good pair of compression socks might do me some good! here I come.

3/21/2013: Miles run - 205.5 of 1000. Miles remaining - 794.5 of 1000

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Post-Half Marathon Workouts

After Saturday's race, I've been taking it easy with my workouts the past few days.

Saturday - I probably should have rested more on Saturday afternoon, but there were DC monuments to see and St. Paddy's activities to participate in. After napping, Jon and I walked about a mile or two to see the Lincoln Memorial. Then, we drove an hour to Baltimore and ended up walking another mile or two from his friends house to all of the bars...A couch would have been nice, but it was still fun!

Sunday - Woke up and could barely move my legs. We drove 4 hours back to Pittsburgh and stayed in the rest of the evening. 

Monday - I wanted to slowly get my legs moving again. We hit up the gym after work and I did 35 minutes on the elliptical and 10 minutes on the bike. I attempted walking on the treadmill, but my legs weren't having it. They were still too sore to do those motions. 

Tuesday - Jon was able to work from home, so in order to get out of the house and catch a work break, we went for an easy 2 mile run around the neighborhood. It was pretty chilly and windy out, and the hills in his neighborhood were killer. I made sure to take it slow and not push myself too much.

What a route, huh? It was tough getting 2 miles done in such a small neighborhood. We had to keep winding in and out of streets. 

Wednesday (today) - Jon had to go to Oklahoma for the day for work, so I'm stuck inside (with no car) and really want to go for a run. But there's a few reasons why I'm hesitant. 
    - Reason 1 - Last week Jon sold Ol' Reliable on Craigslist, so I no longer have access to a treadmill in the basement. 
    - Reason 2 - It's currently 28 degrees outside. That's way below my temperature liking! First day of Spring my ass. 40's is pushing it...20's is a no go. And also, I'm in an unfamiliar neighborhood in's safe here, but probably not the best for me to go exploring...especially with Jon being out of town. If something were to happen, or I got hurt, I'd be stuck. Of course, his family lives here and they're around, but I just don't want to put myself in that situation. 

So - today will consist of no running. I am debating doing a BodyRock HIIT video workout in the living room or possibly YouTubing some Yoga. My back has really been hurting lately, so Yoga always seems to help in some way. 

Hopefully tomorrow we will be back in the gym and I can get in a good 4-5 miles. I'm getting behind on my mileage!

3/20/2013: Miles run - 205.5 of 1000. Miles remaining - 794.5 of 1000

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Liebster Awards

My new blogger buddy, Logan over at Mountains and Miles (who I wanted to meet up with at the DC Half but failed to coordinate a good meet up spot), nominated me for a Liebster Award!  

What is a Liebster Award, you ask?

Stolen from Deb @ Deb Runs:

The Liebster Award is for any up and coming blogs that you enjoy reading and a great way to promote them!
  • This award is given to new or up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.
  • The award is then passed along to other bloggers in the same category to help spread the word and support one another.
  • Each blogger should post 11 random facts about themselves.
  • Answer the questions the tagger has set for you.
  • Choose 11 new bloggers (with less than 200 followers) to pass the award to and link them in your post. 
Eleven Random Facts About Me:

1. My favorite movie is Dumb and Dumber
2. I have lived in the same house since I was 2 (well my parents have)
3. I really want to become a vegetarian but I'm not sure if I have the willpower to do so for a long period of time
4. I have driven a truck for the past 6 years
5. If I had to pick how I wanted to die, it'd be in a plane crash...morbid, I know. Can't explain it, but it just seems like it'd be like a fun roller-coaster during my last few minutes. 
6. I'm 1/4 Hispanic...blonde hair and all
7. I took piano lessons for 10+ years
8. I only chew half pieces of gum at a time. Full pieces are too much
9. I was in the Drumline in High School
10. I went to the same High School as my parents - who met there and were high school sweet hearts
11. I would eat Fro-Yo every day if I could. 

Logan's Questions to me:
  1. If you could have any job in the world, what would it be? I grew up always wanting to be a veterinarian. My passion for animals hasn't changed, but my lack of desire for 8+ years of school and countless vet school bills altered my decision. 
  2. Do you have a bucket list?  If so, what are some of the things on it?  I have a mental bucket list. I've never written one out. But some things I can think of off the top of my head: Run a full marathon, go to Greece, Australia, and Jamaica, sky dive, bungee jump, swim with dolphins...that's all I can think of at the moment, but anything that's exciting and new can be considered a part of my bucket list. 
  3. Favorite book (right now or ever)? – Currently, I love Fit For Life, The Self-Health Revolution, and The Happiness Project. My favorite of all time is probably The Diary of Anne Frank. 
  4. What is your favorite place you have ever traveled to? I haven't been too many places (yet), but Japan was a great experience! Hawaii and Cancun never fails. And San Diego was really cool. 
  5. What would your dream trip be? Greece! 
  6. What is your favorite distance to run? Let's go with 4 miles. It's long enough to get in a great workout, but not too long where you're dead the rest of the day. 
  7. What race (location, distance, theme) do you really want to do in the future? I would love to do a race in another country. I'm not sure if races are even in big in other countries, but if they are...sign me up! A race along the Australian coast sounds amazing...any distance, but the longer the better!
  8. What is your favorite season and why? My favorite season (in Texas) is Spring. The weather is perfect and it's my birthday! 
  9. What is your favorite snack? Hummus and veggies/crackers
  10. If you could live anywhere, where would it be? I seriously love Texas and Austin, but if I had to pick somewhere else to live, I'd love to go back to Denver. I've already lived there...does that count? Jon is trying to convince me on Florida, but I have yet to visit there other than Disney. 
  11. Sweet or salty? Salty all day
Who I nominate!

Here are some of my favorites bloggers to pass the award on to (Sorry - I'm not sure on their # of followers):

Think I like Running Blogs, much??

My Questions to my nominees:
  1. What's your favorite meal of the day? Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner?
  2. How many countries have you been to?
  3. Where were you born?
  4. Most embarrassing story about you?
  5. What is your favorite candy?
  6. Favorite workout other than running?
  7. Favorite clothing store?
  8. Have you ever met anyone famous?
  9. Favorite brand of workout gear and why?
  10. How long have you had your blog and what made you start it?
  11. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? 
If I nominated you, now it's your turn to pass it on!  

3/19/2013: Miles run - 205.5 of 1000. Miles remaining - 794.5 of 1000

Monday, March 18, 2013

All I Really Need to Know About My First Half Marathon I Learned in Washington DC

If you don't understand the title of this post, you definitely missed out on something GREAT in Kindergarten. You can learn more about my favorite poster here.

This weekend was my first half marathon in Washington DC. It was such a great experience and I loved every minute of it! 

Jon and I left Pittsburgh around 6pm on Friday after work. We got into DC and checked into The W Washington Hotel around 10. It was definitely "upscale" and we were very under-dressed. But I was too excited to be there to care! We dropped everything off in our room and went for a little walk around the area. Our hotel was about a block from the White House and the Washington Memorial, so we checked those out before going to bed around 11:30. I slept awful because I was so excited/nervous for the race, and whenever I know I have to get up early for something important, I can never sleep well. My alarm went off at 6am, I got dressed, did some stretching, and had a convenient breakfast that consisted of a banana, mini-wheat dry cereal, blueberry bread, and a protein bar. The hotel didn't have complimentary breakfast, so I had to make do with what we brought. It was just the right amount of food for me! Around 6:45, Jon walked with me to the tent to pick up my bib and time tracker. It was pretty cold out (mid-40s), but thankfully the rain held off! We found my corral and Jon waited with me until around 7:20 when they said the race was about to start. He went back to the hotel, and I took off!

 White House at night
 Washington Monument
 Pre-Race (Jon took my jacket because I didn't want to do gear check. I was cold at first, but after the 1st mile, my short sleeves and capris were perfect for the temperature)

Race Time:
I've done 5k and 10K races before, but this one was my first experience with it being super crowded! They had almost 20,000 people participate in the race. Once my corral crossed the start line, mile 1 and 2 consisted of me dodging and passing people. These were some of my slower miles, which frustrated me a bit because I wanted to start off strong. But I'll live and learn and next time I'll do better at estimating my finishing time so I can be in a corral closer up to the start line with people who are running at more my speed. 

Here's some thoughts that went through my head on each mile:
Mile 1 - "Move it or lose it people!" "I'm pretty cold," "Lets pray I don't trip and fall"
Mile 2 - "Why are people already using the port-a-potty's? Did you not prepare and go before", "Oh crap, do I need to pee?" "Okay good, it's just my mind psyching me out"
Mile 3 - "Why are people already walking?" "Oh, hey look, there's a kid running in a tiger suit" "Oh, hey look, there's a man doing this on that legal?"
Mile 4 - "Time for a Honey Stinger energy chew...or three" "I'm feeling good! I've got this"
Mile 5 - "Don't laugh at the 'Run Like Phoebe' Sign" "Wow, these signs are great! I'm loving the crowds energy" "Whoa that guy almost hit me! Jerk"
Mile 6 - "Time for another energy chew and some water" "I'm still feeling good, I'm right at the pace I want to be" 
Mile 7 - "What the HECK!?! Would you look at that hill!" "OMG I'm dying on this hill" "I want to walk this so bad"
Mile 8 - "Wow, that was intense, I'm so glad it's mostly downhill from here" "Time for another chew and water" "5 more miles to go! I've got this" "Move outta my way people!"
Mile 9 - "Wow, there are guys running this in KISS costumes" "Awww a Great Dane Puppy!" "I wish I could join the people on the sidelines cheering us on for a green beer"
Mile 10 - "Do I need or want another chew? No, I'm good...I don't want to slow down" "Almost there!" "Woot! I just hit 200 miles this year!"
Mile 11 - "Owwwww my legs are hurting...give me more downhills!" "Okay, random lady on the side of the street passing out M&M's...I'd never take candy from a stranger"
Mile 12 - "Ahhhh I can't believe I'm STILL running and haven't walked any of it" "This is insane" "I can't wait to take a nap after this"
Mile 13 - "This is surreal...I'm about to finish my first half marathon under my goal time" "I want to do another one"
Mile 13.1 - "Don't cry!" 

So there's a brief synopsis of my mental state during my race. I'm serious when I say I can't wait to do another one! Even though I'd prefer to do another one that isn't quite as crowded, because I did spend a lot of time and extra mileage passing people. My GPS said I ran 13.65 miles vs. 13.1, which is due to me not running in a straight line, passing people on the outsides, and not always taking the sharpest turns. 

What my GPS said

My splits - You can see Mile 7 was the Hill of Doom!

Official Results

Post Race:
Once I crossed the finish line and held back the tears (don't ask me why I was getting emotional...), I grabbed as much free stuff as I could hold and went to look for Jon. He ran about 4 miles from the hotel to the finish line to meet me so that I wouldn't have to get back to the hotel by myself...such a good guy! He was a great supporter and I probably wouldn't have done this if I was alone. Once I found him, we took the subway back to our hotel. I quickly showered and laid down for a glorious 2 hour nap (Thank God for late check out)! After our nap, we grabbed some lunch and went to see a few more monuments before heading to Baltimore to visit his friend Steve and celebrate St. Patrick's Day. 
Post race - Give me that bagel and free Jamba Juice! I actually grabbed 2 Jamba Juice smoothies, because I was going to give Jon one, but it took me a while to find him so I ended up drinking both :) Sorry babe!

Post-Race bands that we didn't listen to. 

I was definitely a slow, Grandma walker the rest of the day. I'm still pretty sore from it all. We are going to the gym this evening and I plan on taking it very easy with a little walking and possible light jogging to the my joints moving again and release the lactic acid in my muscles. 

Here are few more photos from the rest of our DC visit after the race.

Yes, I'm wearing flip flops in 60 degree feet needed to be free!

3/18/2013: Miles run - 203.5 of 1000. Miles remaining - 796.5 of 1000

Friday, March 15, 2013

Carb Loading

What do I love most about preparing for races? Carb loading the day before! I have been craving carbs intensely this week, so I gave in and just ate them because I knew I'd need the energy for tomorrow's half marathon in DC. I'm filling my muscles to the brim with Glycogen! Let's see, I had pasta on Tuesday (haven't had pasta in months!), a big turkey sandwich on Wednesday, chicken mole enchiladas last night (I cannot pass up mole...even if it is at a Mexican restaurant in Pittsburgh), and sushi today for lunch (tons of rice). I'm definitely staying off the scale for a few days!

I did an easy 3 miles last night on the treadmill and taking today off to rest. I'm ready for tomorrow! Jon and I are off to DC in about 2 hours. Everything is packed and I'm crossing my fingers I didn't forget anything. The hotel doesn't start serving breakfast until 7am, so since I'm planning to be out there by 6:45ish, we're going to need to stop for groceries!  A good breakfast is essential.

On a side note:

Has anyone else notice the new fancy Mileage Tracker plug-in I installed a few weeks ago to the right of this post? is awesome! It's a great alternative to my iExcel sheet I have been using to track my mileage. Plus, it's pretty :) 

Hope everyone has a great weekend! Wish me luck and pray it doesn't rain too much.

3/15/2013: Miles run - 190 of 1000. Miles remaining - 810 of 1000

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Running Clubs

Hello from Pittsburgh! 2 more days until the DC Half Marathon. I'm sure y'all are sick of hearing about it by now, but I'm waaaay excited since it's my first one ever! 

Today I wanted to write about running clubs. I've come across a few I found online in the Austin area, but honestly, I'm a bit intimidated by them. I've never been a huge fan of running with a partner, much less a big group of people, but I've never really even given it a fair maybe it's about time I try it out. 

Running is most commonly known as a solitary sport, so when people decide they want to run in groups, it can seem a bit out of the ordinary. Running can get lonely at times, but it's also great "alone time" to collect your thoughts, relax, and zone out. But, if you're more of a social person and are looking for that in a workout, running clubs might be a good fit. 

Here are a few benefits of running clubs:

-Safer - Saftey in numbers, people.
-Conversation - If you want to stay at a relaxed pace and have a full on conversation, more power to you. However, I prefer no talking when I'm in the zone. 
-Increased Motivation - find someone to push you and make you get up early for that 5 mile run!
-Better Performance (sometimes) - This depends on what you're looking for in the running club. If you want to be pushed, then yes, they can affect your performance. If you're in it more for the social aspect, then your performance may not change.
-Meet new people and expand your social circle
-Learn new routes
-Pass the time quicker
-Gain advice and learn from others who may be more experienced than you - such as nutrition, injury prevention, race preparation, gears and shoes recommendations, etc. 
-Belong to a group - they usually send out newsletters, have get together's (Happy Hour, anyone?), meetings, discounts on races and gear, etc.
-Bring out your competitive side- no one wants to be last in the group!

You can find a running club in your area here. I'm definitely going to check one out after I get back to Texas in a few weeks. 

I'll be hitting 200 miles on Mile 10 of the Marathon on Saturday! Woot!

3/14/2013: Miles run - 190 of 1000. Miles remaining - 810 of 1000

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Joint Pain Update

Just a quick update post today!

Back in January, I blogged about having some knee pain during my runs, which I thought was a little odd for a youngin' like me (ahhh I'll be 25 in 2 weeks from today...nooooo!). I researched a bit and started taking Glucosamine and Chondroitin. At first, I was taking an entire pill every day and it was causing my stomach to become a bit upset. So I cut back and starting cutting the pills in half and taking half a pill daily, which helped tremendously with the stomach issues. 

It took a few weeks, but I have definitely noticed a big difference in my joint pain. My knees no longer hurt during runs (even on the tough pavement) and they're pain-free after my 3-6 mile runs. Anything longer than 6 miles, a little joint discomfort is natural and normal for me.  But overall I'm very glad I started taken the supplements so that I can continue with my goal and keep on running! I highly recommend them if you're like me and have some general discomfort in your knees during your workouts. 

Today is my rest day since I'm traveling to Pittsburgh this evening. Tomorrow will be an easy 3 miles, followed by another rest day on Friday before the DC Half Marathon on Saturday. The forecast says it's supposed to be a low of 36 and a high of 64 (my kind of temps) but with a 40% chance of rain...bummer! I do NOT want to run in the rain, but I will if I must. I'm starting my "non-rain" dance now. 

3/13/2013: Miles run - 187 of 1000. Miles remaining - 813 of 1000

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Chews Review

Does that title rhyme, or am I just weird thinking that it does? It's probably just because both words have a "w" in them. 

Anywaysssss, 2 weekends ago I bought some gear at REI for my upcoming half marathon in DC this Saturday. Included in my purchases were 3 types of energy chews that I wanted to test out before the race this weekend. I'm a chew newbie (that should rhyme too since they both have a "w" in them, right?) and I wanted to test out a few before selecting one for my upcoming long distance run. I wasn't sure what to expect (maybe the placebo effect), but I had to give them a shot and see what all the hype was about. 

I purchased 3 types:
1. Clif Shot Bloks in Chocolate Cherry Flavor
2. GU Chomps in Watermelon Flavor
3. Honey Stinger in Pomegranate Passion Fruit Flavor

I tested each kind out this past week and I definitely think they made a big difference in my performance. I enjoyed the taste of all 3 (even though Chocolate might not be the best choice for Texas weather...I forsee these melting in my belt pocket as it gets closer to Summer). 

The Clif Shot Bloks are $2 for a pack of 6 "bloks" and have about 33 calories per piece. Each piece has 2g of sugar, 9mg of sodium, 2.5mg of potassium, 4g of carbs, and 17mg of caffeine. They are 95% organic. The pieces were a little big for my liking and trying to chew them while running threw off my breathing a bit. Before my 4 mile run, I ate one "blok" and had another after mile 2. You can see it kicking in at the beginning of my last mile (good news for this weekend when I hit that 4 mile marker...that's usually my make or break point for most of my runs). 

Overall I'd give the Clif Shot Bloks a 3.5 out of 5.

The GU Chomps are $1.59 for a pack of 8 and have 22.5 calories per chew. Each piece has 2.75g of sugar, 12.5mg of sodium, 10mg of potassium, 5.75g of carbs, and no caffeine. 4 pieces will give you 100% of your daily Vitamin C and Vitamin E needs. The watermelon flavor definitely caught my eye at the store, as that's typically my favorite type of flavored anything (especially Starburst and Jolly Ranchers). However, even though it still tastes good, it's not quite the watermelon deliciousness I'm used to. It has some hint of citrus (at least according to my taste buds), which I'm not a big fan of. These didn't have the same impact on my performance as the Clif Shot Bloks. My GPS and I didn't really notice any difference in my pace (I didn't take a picture of my splits because they weren't that different from the norm). 

Overall I'd give GU Chomps a 2.5 out of 5. 

The Honey Stingers are $2.30 for a pack of 10 and have 16 calories per chew. Each piece has 2.7g of sugar, 8mg of sodium, 4mg of potassium, 4g of carbs, and no caffeine. They are 100% organic. The entire pack of 10 will give you 100% of your daily Vitamin C needs. The Stingers are also the only one of the 3 to provide any protein (1g in the entire pack). Even though each brand's flavor was tasty, the Honey Stingers Pomegranate Passion Fruit was by far my favorite! I tested these out on a 5 mile run last week and had some pretty incredible split times (in my opinion at least). I had a chew before I started, one before mile 3, and another before mile 5. I have run 8:02 and 8:10 miles before, but they're usually done at mile 1 or 2, not at mile 3, 4, and 5! I'm usually slowing down my pace a bit by then because I'm tired...but not with Honey Stingers.

Overall I'd give Honey Stingers a 5 out of 5. They are also the ones I'm going with for my race this Saturday. 

Here's why:
The effect they had on my performance
Big fan of the 100% organic deal
Least amount of calories
Get more chews per bag
Some protein 
Best tasting

There ya have it! I'm hoping they'll help me with my goal of completing the 13.1 miles in under 2 hours on Saturday.

I'm off to Pittsburgh tomorrow. TWO whole weeks with the boyfriend! Yes, TWO!!! Adios Texas. 

3/12/2013: Miles run - 187 of 1000. Miles remaining - 813 of 1000 

Monday, March 11, 2013

My First Bulu Box Review

Last week I was excited to announce that I was offered the opportunity to become a Bulu Box Ambassador. I gladly accepted and received my first box last Thursday. 

Here's what I got:

Dream Water - "Dream Water is non-habit forming and offers a an effective way to help get a restful night’s sleep without many of negative side effects associated with several of the OTC and prescription sleep aids on the market. It's available in a 2.5 oz. shot in the great-tasting flavors of Lullaby Lemon w/ hints of tea, Snoozeberry (blueberry and pomegranate flavors) and Pineapple PM." (Source)

My Thoughts - I received the Pineapple flavor and thought the taste was alright. It's great if you have a late night sweet tooth but don't want to add any additional calories to you diet before bed. I feel like it did help me relax before bedtime and helped me fall asleep, but it didn't quite help me stay asleep. You can get a 4 pack for $14.99 at

ProLab Quick Fire - "ProLab Quick Fire is a powerful pre-training formula that drives explosive training performance ot push your workout to the next level. Its quick loading effects fire up a full range of both mind and muscle energy systems. Each dose helps launch Nitric Oxide fuled blood flow and supplies nutrients to fuel muscle contractions, feed prolonged endurance and heighten mental focus." (Source)

My Thoughts: I added the sample size fruit punch flavored packet to my water bottle before taking 2 1/2 hours of my Aunt Tamie's classes at the gym on Friday. Considering I had a small breakfast, I definitely think this helped me push myself and keep me fueled to make it to the end. Even though I'm not a fan of many fruit punch flavored products, this one actually tasted a bit like bubble gum (not as sweet, but still a hint of it), so I didn't mind it at all. You can get a large 130g container for $10.99 at (that's a great deal!).

Redd Remedies atEASE PM - "A good night’s sleep is as important to health as a good diet of nutritious foods and exercise. Sleep presents the body an opportunity to repair and rebuild. It also gives the mind an opportunity to process the stresses and events of the day. While we may focus on sleeplessness and restlessness at night, sleep problems can actually begin during the day. Anxiety and nervous tension are some main causes of restlessness.

At Ease PM™ has 4 key functions that provide a wonderful night’s sleep:
  • Promotes neurotransmitter balance
  • Promotes healthy brain function
  • Calms nervous tension at bedtime
  • Promotes restful sleep" (Source)
My Thoughts: I took this little pill in conjunction with the Dream Water, so I'm not sure which one actually had an affect on my ability to fall asleep quickly. I'm sure they both contributed, but I can't quite give this a fair review. I wish the sample size would have been more so I could have tried it out for a 2nd night without the Dream Water. You can get this for $25.99 for 50 capsules on

AeroShot Energy - "AeroShot is the revolutionary new way to get your energy. It delivers a unique blend of caffeine and B vitamins with natural lime, raspberry, or green apple flavor in a fine powder that you draw into your mouth and swallow. So you get a quick boost of energy that starts working right away." (Source

My Thoughts: This simply felt like shooting flavored chalk into your mouth. It comes in a dispenser that pumps out a powdered form of B vitamins and 100mg of caffeine onto your tongue. It's an interesting and creative new way to take a supplement, but I'm not sure if I'm a fan. I received the raspberry flavor, which was pretty tasty. I just wasn't expecting a mouth full of a chalk-like substance to come out. You can get this for $2.99 for a dispenser on

iTrain $50 Gift Card - "Jam-pack your MP3 player with workouts from the premier source for downloadable fitness programs featuring the best music and top celebrity trainer voice-overs. Try iSculpt and iStretch to keep fit and flexible!"(Source)

My Thoughts: This is kind of like having a personal trainer right in your ear. If you like having a fitness coach guide you through workouts and tell you what exactly you need to do, then iTrain is a great program for you! I went to the website and browsed around a bit. I have yet to redeem my gift card because I'm not sure which workout I want. Good thing is, the workouts range in prices starting around $9 a program, so I could pick multiple ones if I'd like to use my gift card up. Since I'm training for the half marathon this Saturday, I've remained super focused on only running. But I think after next week, I'll select a workout or two, use my gift card, and check out a variety of other exercises out there other than running (but don't worry, I'll still get my run on for my goal!). 

QSpeed CoQ10 100 mg - "QSpeed™ is a delicious, natural-orange flavored, sugar-free fast-melt tablet that melts in your mouth in seconds. It is formulated with only the highest quality of naturally fermented Coenzyme Q10. Utilizing patented fast-melt technology, QSpeed™ in a clinical study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition has been shown to support exercise performance and to increase muscle CoQ10 concentration. QSpeed™ CoQ10 fast-melt tablets also support heart health and enhance cellular energy production." (Source)

My Thoughts: I HAVE to be honest here and say I haven't gotten a chance to test this out yet. I didn't want to mix it with the Prolab Quick Fire I took on Friday before the gym and I was a little under the weather this weekend so I wasn't able to get another intense workout in, so if I would have taken this, it would have been wasted. I will take it tomorrow before my 4 mile run and let y'all know my thoughts. But you can get 40 tablets for $24.95 on

If you don't want to purchase the products separately, you can sign up for their monthly subscription box like I do and get similar sample products delivered right to your door. It's only $10/month - a great deal!

If you use the code BULUGAN879 at checkout, you can get the first month FREE (a savings of $10)! 

3/11/2013: Miles run - 183.5 of 1000. Miles remaining - 816.5 of 1000