Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thursday Tidbits


1. YESTERDAY'S INTERVALS
I kicked A$$!!  Seriously, I'm still on a high over the 7.5 mile workout.  It's been a couple weeks since I nailed a real interval session without an injury of some sort.  After a 2 mile warmup, I broke up the 10x400 into two sets.  Pure mental.  I didn't break in-between, but it really helped to count them out separately.  The first 5x400, I ran at a 8:00 pace (7.5mph).  Second set at 7:53 pace (7.6mph).  Wait... go back, reread that.  Yes, a 7:53 pace!!  I've never run anything in the 7's, not even a short interval!  Best of all, my legs felt so good afterward that I even did a bonus evening run!  I'm becoming a true believer in the Run Less, Run Faster training plan.



2.  NEW HEAD GEAR
I forgot to wear a headband during intervals yesterday, and nearly wiped my forehead raw from all the sweat.  So I was delighted when my new order of Bondi Bands arrived today.  Check out the fun new styles I now own!  Don't forget to enter my Bondi Band giveaway, ending this Friday! 

I also scored some new winter fleece headbands at the dollar store yesterday... how diva-like are these?  And only $1 each!  I love winter clearance!




3.  RACE HISTORY
Are there races in your past that you have no idea what your time was?  Back in the day, I ran woggled along with no concern about time.  Fear not, you can still find out those race times (if you want to...).  I just found the website athlinks.com, a huge database of every chipped race time... even my fun 2 mile obstacle race on the beach.  Check it out!


4.  MOVIE NIGHT
I'm so excited to go see "My Run" tonight.  Nothing like a good kick of motivation mid-training.  Check out the movie trailer HERE.  Are you going?


5.  THE JELLY BEAN!
Check out the new virtual race for Easter week... The Jelly Bean 5K/10K.  Run wherever you like, whenever you like... just report in your "official race time" and get entered to win some truly awesome prizes from our sponsors.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Humpday Humor #2

Middle of the week... it's all downhill from here folks!


I'm going to run super fast today... like someone is chasing me with a spear!
10x400 intervals await me.  Is it sick that I'm kinda excited about this?!


DON'T FORGET...
Sign up for The Jelly Bean virtual race


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Click your heels & Get to work!

"I don't think you can become an outstanding runner 
unless you get a certain amount of enjoyment out of the suffering.
You have to enjoy absorbing it, controlling it and - ultimately - overcoming it."  
~Derek Clayton in The Masters of the Marathon
I love the Runner's World Quote of the Day!


If you missed my post over the weekend, this week is one of REFOCUS and RESET.  I've upped my goal (from a 2:05 to a sub-2), revamped the training schedule... and added in a race!!  Yeah, I'm just plain crazy... or else I enjoy that suffering that Derek Clayton mentions above.

So here's what my next five weeks look like.  Yes, I'm kinda obsessive-compulsive over planning and filling in a calendar.  My poor hubby...



So I'm feeling pretty good right now... read into that as "ready" or maybe even "cocky."  But whatever,  I've decided to add in an early Half-Marathon in the schedule.  Say hello Oshkosh!!  It's not really crazy impulsive... I have valid reasons, right?

• After reviewing details for the Illinois Half, I realized the races have staggered starts this year, with full marathon and 10K taking off 10-30 minutes before the Half-Marathon.  Not sure how this will play out, but I immediately think of all the walkers that are automatically in front of me.  It's never easy getting around them and certainly not ideal for conserving energy for a PR...

• The Oshkosh Half-Marathon is fairly cheap entry even last minute like this, small in size, and on my hometown turf.  I always seem to run well on the old stompin' ground. 

• None of my family can make the Illinois Half.  Hubby has to work which means kiddos will go to grandmas.   Not that it's a deal-breaker, but mentally it's motivating to have cheerleaders.  In Oshkosh, I'll have free overnight housing, plus the whole gang there to cheer me on and celebrate when I hit that sub-2.

So I've pretty much made the decision.  The only thing that would alter the early Half is if Wisconsin has a mid-April snowstorm... It is completely possible there!  So with less than three weeks of training until the Half, time to click my heels and get to work...
Do you think I'm crazy to move race day up 2 weeks???

THE GOOD WORD according to Mr. Scale... 
I've been participating in a Biggest Loser contest for the last 12 weeks.  Today was final weigh-in day.  I lost -18.2 lbs total for a 9.9% weight loss.  Hopefully it will be enough to score a money prize tonight!  Not quite there yet, but I'll keep pushing... Hoping to hit 145 by the first day of summer!!

MARK YOUR CALENDAR!
Super excited to announce a virtual race for Easter week... Sign up now for The Jelly Bean!!
Lining up some cool sponsors and prizes right now!

Monday, March 28, 2011

2Toms Winner

Last night was the conclusion of the 2Toms Giveaway.  
If you missed it, read my review of 2Toms products HERE.

With the help of my girls, we have a winner!!

video


Congratulations Jess @ The Blond Ponytail!
Click HERE to check out her blog.  
Besides the fact that she has an awesome name (Jess!), 
she's also really interesting, motivating and gorgeous (even post-workout!!).

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Yabba Dabba Do!

No Barney Rubble by my side, but I'm kicking up my heels like Fred Flintsone, shouting "Yabba Dabba Do!"

I just finished a 16.1 mile run!  That is the longest distance I've ever ran, by 2 miles.  I practically stalked the thermometer this morning, so anxious to run.  The bright sunshine was deceiving, registering only 22 degrees  By mid-morning, it was up to 35, so I headed out to my favorite trail from East Peoria to Morton.  Sorry, no pretty pictures this morning... I was all business.

Most important, the run felt really good on the body and mind.  The trip took me 2:42 with a 10:03 average pace.  I can't say the pace was exactly steady...  The first part was uphill with cold wind in my face, but I made up that time on the way home.  I felt really strong the last couple of miles.  Of course, downhill will do that to you.  I practiced my fueling with two GUs and a handful of jelly beans, which worked out perfect. I also learned the max time for an iPhone battery using GPS and the ipod.  It died right after I stopped.

After chocolate milk, foam rolling, stretching and a hot shower, I'm still smiling!  :)
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


DON'T MISS OUT ON MY CURRENT GIVEAWAYS!


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Reset

The past two weeks have been kinda messed up regarding the training plan... foot pain, Sunday race, busy at work, then sore hamstring, and now the sub-30 cold weather is back.

I feel pretty good about how I've been adjusting to it all and keeping myself in check.
No breakdowns (yet).
But come Monday... I'm calling a RESET.

I've been following the FIRST training plan, as laid out in the book Run Less, Run Faster.  The pace tables for key workouts (intervals, tempos and long runs) are all based off your last 5K race time.  It had been a while since I actually raced a 5K, so I just guessed a 28:00 when I created my training plan paces.

During my 8K race last weekend in Chicago, I timed the 5K split.  I'm overjoyed to have clocked a 27:00 flat for the 3.1 mile distance.  On the drive home, it got me thinking that I need to re-evaluate my training paces... and my goal time for the Illinois Half-Marathon.  Do I stick with my 2:05 goal?  or shoot for the sub-2?  You know where my heart is...

Yesterday I sat down and penciled up a new pace chart for my training runs, based on my new 5K time...

Seriously, you see those paces that start with an EIGHT!?!?!  O'dear... But come Monday, I'm fighting for that sub-2.  Even if I don't nail 1:59 on April 30, I'll know I give it my best shot.

FRIDAY'S RUN:  7.5 miles in 74 minutes for a 9:52 pace.  I was cautious during the first couple miles due to the sore hammy.  (Lesson learned... Hills + Stroller = overworked hamstring!)  But by mile 3, it was feeling good so I picked up the pace, so it turned out to be a Tempo Run.  I clocked my last mile at an 8:35!!  Afterward I iced down the hammy and today it feels good... so I'm hoping to tackle 15 miles tomorrow for my long run. 


DON'T MISS OUT ON MY CURRENT GIVEAWAYS!

Bondi Band Review + Giveaway!

While pregnant, my hair was full and strong.  Shortly after my babies were born, I suffered hair loss like no body's business (This is quite common so I've read HERE).  My problem is that after the hair fell out, new hair growth started... resulting in a bunch of itty-bitty hairs along my hair line.  The best solution was to cut bangs and hide them.  I did, but I hated bangs.  So now I'm back to long hair, but I've still got the little wispy hairs along my forehead.  No matter how much gel I use to slick them back, they manage to fly away during a run... sweaty out-of-control hair is simply not cool in post-race pictures!

I've wrestled with headbands over the years.  The half-headbands stay put, but press too hard and end up hurting behind the ears.  Most wrap-around headbands eventually slip off the backside of my head.  For running, I've used regular bandanas occasionally.  To get them to stay, I have to tie tight... resulting in headaches.  The bandana material is not exactly ideal either... I get really hot in them and often break out along the hairline if I wear them for a long run.  Are you feeling my problems with headbands yet?!?!

Enter Bondi Band.  I heard other runners bragging them up, so I decided to give them a trial run.  I ordered two of the lycra (light sweat wicking) headbands in fun patterns.  It was really hard to pick as there are so many fun patterns, sayings and plain styles.  Bondi Band states that the lycra headbands "dry pretty fast but are not technical wicking material."  They are more for fun and fashion.  However, I've found them to be PERFECT for my runs.  I position the headband about 1" above my brow line and underneath my pony in the back.  It barely moves through the entire run.  In fact, what I like best about the Bondi Band is that I forget it's there all together!!  It's so comfortable and lightweight, and I never have to wipe dripping sweat.

I hand wash the headband to keep it fresh, clean and ready to go, but they are also machine-washable.  The headband is 4" wide, but can be rolled or bunched up easily.  However, the print is only one-sided.  The  headband is sewn together to keep it narrow along the backside.

Besides the Lycra headbands, Bondi Band also has heavy sweat wicking ones that are made from a dry-tech coolmax material.  These come in a variety of colors, plain or a printed graphic/fun saying.  I  just ordered one of these, in black with breast cancer pink ribbon, to wear for my Race for the Cure in May.

I'm also adding to my birthday/holiday wishlist a Bondi Band ponytail hat for next winter (Mom, if you're reading this, I'd like the 26.2 black one once I complete it!).  They also carry neck gators, pigtail hats, mens hats, swim caps, doggie buddies and child-sized headbands.

Want a Bondi Band?  Enter my Giveaway!
HOW TO ENTER:  One entry into giveaway for each of the following... Don't forget to leave me a comment(s) to let me know which you do!

Run with Jess... be a follower of this blog.  Just click the Google Follow button in right sidebar.
• Visit the Bondi Band website and take a look.  Tell me which style headband you like... you pick the style you win - so this is kinda MANDATORY.
• Like Bondi Band on Facebook.
•  Like Run with Jess on Facebook.  Just click "Like" in right sidebar.
• Blog, facebook or tweet about this Bondi Band giveaway.  Spread the good news on how awesome these headbands are!

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on Friday, April 1 (No fooling!)
Giveaway product was supplied by Bondi Band.  I was not reimbursed in any way for this review.  It is 100% the opinion of Jess.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring makes me Misbehave

The Illinois Half-Marathon is 37 days away.  After seven weeks of diligent training according to the plan, I've been naughty this week.  No worries, I'm still running, but this gorgeous spring weather makes me want to run... not train, just run!

Monday was suppose to be rest (at the very most cross-train) after Sunday's race.  Instead... I ran 3 miles.  Seriously, it was 70 degrees at four o'clock.  You can't tempt me like that!  Tuesday I got caught up with my job responsibilities (see my wedding business HERE), and completely slacked on the run front.

This morning I woke up to a beautiful sunrise.  The air smelled so fresh from the overnight rain, and the sun was warm on the skin.  They are forecasting snow this weekend, so I knew this might be our last day in the 60's for awhile.  Yup, I skipped spinning class.  Little Girl and I packed up the stroller and headed to the park.
Me & Little Girl

When you take a two year old on a 6 mile run, there are a couple things you need to know...
1.  Pack snacks.  And don't forget her water bottle.
Even a 2yr old need mid-run fuel!

2.  Pick a safe route/trail that keeps the little one entertained.  Today we ran the Pekin trail... Started and ended with a couple loops around the lagoon.  She yelled at every duck and goose we passed, "Beep-beep, duckie!"  Then we hit the wide paved trail, where she waved to all the elderly walkers (retirement home near by).

3.  Explain the reward system before the run starts.  I park next to the big playground.  If she's a "good girl" during mommy's run, she gets to play afterward.  She understood that... and play we did for nearly an hour after the run.

4.  Get a good jogging stroller.  Pushing 70+ pounds for six miles is no easy task.  The trail is fairly flat, but there are a couple nice hills that I challenged myself with today.  Last year, I bought a new double jogging stroller (HERE), and have never regretted it.  The big wheels turn on a dime and almost roll by themselves.  The front wheel can easily lock or swivel depending on your surface and/or speed.  Most importantly, it gives me the freedom to get outside and enjoy the day without trying to lineup child care.  Plus, I love having the company along for the ride!

TOTAL:  6.1 miles in 62 minutes.  
That's a 10:09 pace with the stroller!  Holy crap, I'll take that! 

Do you ever run with a jogging stroller?
Today's 6 miles is the longest I've run with the stroller.  I'm so much stronger this year than last!  I enjoy stroller runs, but not every day.  However, the jogging stroller makes it possible for us to do family runs and/or get my runs in during the day so we can have family time at night.

Do you ever deviate from the training plan?  Do you feel guilty about it?
I used to freak out a bit when I deviated from the plan, but I've eased up as I've grown more confident with my running.  To me, the bottom line is to enjoy running - it's the only way to make it a lifestyle for me.


P.S. I wore a short-sleeve shirt today and NO UNDERARM CHAFING, thanks to 2Toms SportShield. Don't forget to enter my current giveaway to score yourself a free sample of it!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Warm Spring Run + GIVEAWAY

First of all... check out my interview on Little Miss Runshine's blog today... click HERE to read.  I'm feeling kinda famous!  Ha, Ha!


It was sunny and 70's today in the Midwest!  Happy Spring!  Any runner in their right mind was outside today.  So despite planned rest after yesterday's race, I felt good and called a "Family Workout" this evening.  As soon as hubby got home from work, we were headed to the Illinois River Trail (paved path from East Peoria to Morton).  Hubby jogged alongside Big Girl on her pink Barbie bike.  And Little Girl relaxed in the jogging stroller while I pushed along for a quick 3 miles.  It's been awhile... I forgot how much work it is pushing that double stroller!


I tried out a new tech shirt tonight... with short sleeves (gasp!)  If you haven't heard yet, I never run in a short sleeve shirt.  It's either long sleeves or jacket if cold, or a sleeveless tank top.  Why?  Reasons of comfort usually - but also short sleeves tend to have extra fabric in the armpit and I always end the run with underarm chafe.  (Got chafing problems?  Me too... read more here)


Tonight, however, I applied 2Toms SportShield roll-on to my underarms before the run.  It rolled on smooth and clear, a wet gloss on the skin, but quickly dried with no odor.  2Toms describes it as a "thin invisible coating to the skin that eliminates or greatly minimizes the friction that causes blisters, chafing and irritation."  I dropped the short sleeves overtop the application and headed out the door... and never thought about it again.  And I ran chafe free!  Perhaps short-sleeve shirts can find a way back into my fitness wardrobe afterall...


And now the good news... you can give 2Toms a try too!  Enter the giveaway below to win this 2Toms Variety Pack of ButtShield plus 2 BlisterShield sample packs.


2Toms Variety Pack Giveaway

HOW TO ENTER:
One entry for each.  Leave me a comment letting me know which ones you did.

•  Run with Jess... be a follower of this blog.  Simple, just click "follow" in my right sidebar.
•  Like 2Toms on Facebook. 
•  Like Run with Jess on Facebook.  Easy, just click "Like" in my right sidebar.
•  Follow 2Toms on Twitter.
•  Follow Run with Jess on Twitter.  Quick, just click the "follow me on twitter" button in sidebar.
•  Blog, facebook or tweet about this giveaway.  Spread the good word!

Giveaway ends on Sunday, March 27 at 11:59pm.
Products were supplied for review and giveaway by 2Toms.  I was in no way paid for my review.  It is 100% the opinion of Jess.  

St. Paddy's Race Report

By far, the cutest couple there!
Welcome to new followers who joined my run in the last couple days.  I've been offline, having fun with the family... but still running!!

I'm so excited to report back on my St. Paddy's Day 8K race in Chicago this past weekend.  I threw out a time goal a couple weeks ago on this post, and almost immediately regretted it.  Today I'm proud to say... I NAILED IT with 30 seconds to spare!!

8K Straight-up Results
(exactly 5 miles according to my GPS)
44:30
8:54 avg pace

#376 out of 933 runners
(40% percentile)

#17 out of 77 in age group 35-39
(22% percentile)

The race was a lot of fun.  I ran the 8K, and my husband ran the 5K while pushing the double jogging stroller.  (I was so proud of him - This was his first 5K, and he did awesome considering the extra load!)  Both the 5K and 8K started together, split after one mile, then reunited again after another mile, then split again before the finish line.  Sounds kinda hectic, but it wasn't too bad.  My only complaint was that when we rejoined with the 5Kers in the middle, there were a lot of walkers... so it puts you into jot and dash mode trying to get around people (exert extra energy).  But the plus side is I got to see (pass) my kids and hubby in the middle of the race.

The race was organized very well.  We registered ahead of time, and had quick packet pickup the day before the race at a local running store.  The day of the event, we did register the kids for the Leprechaun Leap Kids Race (free to participate, but if you wanted the race number and kids shirt, it was $10).  The line moved quickly and the kids were ready to go in less than 10 minutes.

Girls are proud of their race ribbons!
The port-a-potties were lined up in a good location with plenty of room for lines.  Per my typical pre-race jitters, I made it through the line several times, waiting no more than 5-10 minutes each time.

The race started on time, which is always a big one for me.  I hate waiting.  They sound system was great from where I stood.  The announcer talked the crowd through some pre-run stretches and warm-up.  There were time clocks at every mile.  The route was part of the Chicago Lakeshore running/biking path.  It was well-marked with volunteers helping throughout, plus several water stations.

The rain started with about 3/4 mile to go, so I got a little wet.  My green hat protected my face from getting hit straight on.  Thankfully, the rain slowed afterward, and the kids race went on as scheduled!  My girls would have been heart-broken if they didn't get to run!

Overall, we had a great weekend in Chicago.  So much to see and do there... A great place to visit if you're looking for a race destination to bring the family along.  We were graced with a beautiful sunny spring day on Saturday to walk through Millenium and Grant Park and see Buckingham Fountain.  We walked the Lakeshore Riverwalk all the way to Navy Pier, where we rode the big Ferris Wheel and could have spent all day at the Chicago Children's Museum.  In the evening, we strolled the Chicago Riverwalk and had a fun dinner at the Rainforest Cafe.  Thank you Chicago for another great mini vacation for our family!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mop the Floor

Go Hard... or Go Home!
For those of you who read yesterday's post, the foot is feeling much better today after a day of ice/rest.  Hoping it was just a fluke.  Whew...


This morning I made up for the rest... It was RACE DAY in Spinning class today!!  Wrapping up the 10-week session of classes, it was a special event... no newbies, doors lock early and all out baby!  I grabbed the bike front and center.  (I tend to push harder when I know there are people behind me that could be watching.)  I was drenched to the bone with sweat, and a nice puddle under my bike.  I gave it ALL during the race, and felt good and strong at the end.  I feel proud of my legs today.  Oh-yeah, and the fact that a guy after class said, "Man, you're like a machine. I couldn't keep up with your ponytail..."  Yup, that helped too.


What is a Spinning Race Day?   Race Day puts you to a test, and challenges everything you've taught your body in the past classes... jumps, hills, and speedy flats.  The goal is to never let your heart rate fall lower than 80-92% of your maximum heart rate.  The key is to push big gears (resistance) while maintaining an aggressive leg speed.  Pedal cadence should be about 80-110 RPM.


Why a Race Day?  Similar to running a tempo, a Spin Race Day challenges your body to work at high heart rates, and push above your current lactate threshold.  By pushing your body to this point, your body is forced to adapt to greather concentrations of lactate, which will improve your lactate threshold... and bottom line, your ability to run/pedal faster.


Have you caught the Spinning bug yet?
It's my favorite XT.  I look forward to it twice a week.  
In an odd way, the break from pounding pavement makes me also look forward to my run days.


My schedule is thrown off this week, so I did some modifications to "the training plan."  
Here's how the rest of my week looks...
Wed - Boxing bag and an easy 3 miles tonight.
Thurs - I'll be lucky to squeeze in yoga between the green beers... Happy St. Patty's Day!
Fri - "Shake Your Shamrock" Virtual Race 13K
Sat - Rest!  Enjoy the day in Chicago with my family.
Sun - St. Paddy's 8K Race, Chicago lakefront



Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ice Ice Baby

This picture sums up my day.  
:(

I woke up with shooting pain through the top of my left foot today.  I've been icing it and saying a lot of prayers.  I learned last fall not to push an injury, so I'm resting it today. Yesterday, I did spin class, an easy 3 mile run and a 45 minutes with the boxing bag... I honestly have no idea what I did.  Really bummed out right now.  

So instead of doing intervals today (o'darn!), I'm working on my race outfit for Sunday.  I will rest all week if I have to... I WILL run on Sunday!  

Need your help... I want a funny, yet run-slanted saying, on the back of my shirt for my St. Paddy's  8K in Chicago.  Vote below to let me know what saying you like best... or give me a new idea!  Thanks!





Monday, March 14, 2011

Winner, Winner, Turkey Sandwich?!


After a solid morning workout, I always crave a hearty sandwich for lunch.  I like salads fine enough, but I've always been a sammy girl at the midday meal.  While I usually stick to the same old turkey sandwich, I also enjoy making new creations.  Today between my slices of 10-grain bread was turkey, cheddar cheese, light mayo, jalapeno mustard, cucumber slices, red onions, pickles and romaine lettuce.  How can does one actually fit it all that in their mouth?  Somehow I manage just fine...

What is your 'must have' on a sandwich?  Mine is probably cheese.  It's high calories, but I'm a Cheesehead through and through.  Mayo is pretty high up there too.


What is your favorite sandwich creation?  Keepin' it healthy of course!  Last week I made a new Tuna Salad just in time for the Lenten season. Here's the recipe...

1 can 12oz Starkist Tuna Light In Water
1/2 ripe avacado, mashed or finely diced
1/2 roma tomato, diced
2 medium stalks of celery, finely chopped
1/4 c. cucumber, finely chopped
2-3 T. red onion, finely chopped
1/4 c. yellow pepper, finely chopped
1 T. Miracle Whip Light
1/2 lime - freshly squeezed juice
salt and pepper to taste

Mix it all together.  Serve on large romaine lettuce leaves... or toast, crackers, tortilla wrap, etc.  Enjoy! Makes 3 good servings (Each 155 calories, 8 carbs, 6 fat, 20 protein, 2 calcium, 3 fiber)

Today's Workout:  Spinning class + easy 3 mile run (29:15)
Up Next (Tues):  INTERVALS 1600, 3200, and 2x800.  Ugh, I hate loooong ones like this.




Winner, Winner...
I had a giveaway contest this week to win "The ABC's of Yoga for Kids" book by Teresa Anne Power.  If you missed my review, check it out HERE.  The winner is The Cooks.  Congrats to Danielle and her son Carson (who ran his first 5K this weekend in 30 minutes flat!).  In addition to running, I know they'll enjoy doing yoga together too.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Rest 'n Roll

The power of the purple!
I love the long run, but hate the muscle soreness that comes afterward.  Enter the Foam Roller.  I've had some questions about it lately, so I'll go more in-depth since it's my rest 'n roll day.

In January, I used a holiday gift card to pick up the Gaiam Stretch and Strength Foam Roller Kit (foam roller + DVD).  A foam roller is a firm foam log about 6" in diameter.  It can easily be picked up for under $20.  When placing the weight of your body against the roller, it works to place direct pressure on muscles.  Think of it as a cheap massage therapist, especially if your significant other is wearing thin on the massage offers!

Simply place your body on the foam roller, and slowly roll up and down for 15 seconds on the targeted muscle group.  Putting direct pressure on a tight muscle releases tension in the tissue and flushes out toxins after a hard run.  Foam rolling is a labor of tough love... working a tight muscle in not always pleasant, sometimes even painful, but the end result is quicker recovery, injury prevention and improved performance.

RUN.  Roll.  Stretch.  Rest. 
This is the order I recommend.  After a hard workout, one should ideally roll the muscles before stretching to eliminate any knots.  When you stretch, the healthy parts of the muscle are worked, but any knots will remain unstretched.  It is also advisable to roll before a run (although I never seem to have time or remember to do that) to increase blood flow and release any tightness that may interfere with proper running form.

IT Band
While I'm certain to provide many laughs with my own demonstrations, I'll leave some examples up to the beautiful model from Runner's World!  Here's some of my favorite rolls...

IT Band
Quadriceps
Lie on your side with the roller near your hip. Move along your outer thigh while slightly leaning forward. For added stability, bend your top leg and rest your foot on the floor. Add pressure by stacking your legs.


Quadriceps
Lie with a roller placed under the front of your thigh and slowly roll your quads, from the bottom of your hip to the top of your knee. Repeat on each leg.


Hamstrings
Hamstrings
Place the roller under your thighs. Lift your hips and slowly roll from the knees to the buttocks. To increase the pressure, roll one leg at a time, turning your foot in and out.
Calves

Calves
Place a roller under one leg in the middle of the calf. Roll from the ankle to just below the knee; rotate the leg in, then out. To increase the pressure, cross the opposite leg over the leg on the roller.

More...
See complete instruction videos on the above exercises as well as the Piriformis, Abductors, Thoracic Spine and Lats by visiting HERE.

Do you foam roll? 
Find it helpful?




Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hills or Wind?

Quite a few new followers this week... Yeah!  Welcome, I'm glad you're along for the run!

Week #6 of half-marathon training using the FIRST plan from the Run Less, Run Faster book is now complete.  And I just nailed 13 miles today in my long run!  Woo-Hoo!  As I ran today, I couldn't believe how much further along I am today than this point last year.  Last year I questioned if I could even finish 13 miles.  Today the question is how fast...

I'm stuck running solo most of the time, but this morning my friend D joined me at sunrise for a trail run. The poor thing has been stuck inside on the treadmill for the past five months!  Unfortunately, the weather did not make it easy... chilly 30's and winds up to 20mph.  So a little experiment today... What's worse?  HILLS or WIND?


The first part of the run is pretty downhill and usually very enjoyable... except today there was a strong headwind that required a good head tuck.  The latter portion of the run was tougher on the quads with hillwork, but I found it a welcome relief with the wind at my back.  And boy, did my splits show that!  The stats say it all... I'll take the hills.  and nice weather please.
After water, chocolate milk and hot coffee (thirsty?), I headed home to find my hubby doing dishes and laundry, with a high-five for my run.  As wonderful as it is to bond with girlfriends, it's incredible to come home to a supportive husband.

I'm off to foam roll those hard-worked muscles, and kick up my feet in these new recovery socks. Thanks Blonde Ponytail for recommendation and discount!


If you had the opportunity to choose, would it be Hills or the Wind?

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Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Fun Facts

It's a rest day today... and I'm incredibly antsy and cranky without exercise.  (Hubby has been home all day and will attest to that!)  So I entertain myself with needless-to-know trivia information.  Here's a little "Did You Know?" marathon fun for a Friday afternoon...

NOTHING AVERAGE ABOUT A MARATHON!
The average marathon time for women is 4:52:31
(so goal for the fall marathon is to be faster than this!)
Average time for men is 4:24:17
(okay wait... I want to beat the men!)

GO GIRL.
Women account for 40.4% of marathon finishers, 
which has grown almost 3% points in the last decade.

NEED FOR SPEED.
The fastest age group for women is 35-39 with avg marathon time of 4:46:10.  
However, the 25-29 year olds quickly follow and represent the largest number of women runners. 
For men, the fastest age group is 40-44 year olds, who are also the largest group overall.

FINISH IT.
Only 20% of women finish a marathon in under 4 hours.  (Men 40%)
Between 4 and 5 hours seems average with 43% of women finishing in that time range. (Men 38%)
Slow and steady wins the race... 37% of women finish in 5+ hours.  (Men 22%) 

** Above statistics taken from marathonguide.com 2009 US annual marathon report.

In 2011, there are close to half a million people who will finish a marathon in the United States!

Marathon = 26.2 miles = 138,435 feet = 1,661,220 inches!



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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Confession


I chafe. 
I chafe so bad that I've been know to scream out in the shower.  You know when that cold water hits the spot for the first time... OUCH!!  Are you thinking TMI?  Leave now, it gets worse... All is fair topic amongst runners, right?!

All super heroes wear Spandex, right?!
When I first started running (+50 lbs ago!), my inner thighs got it every single time I ran.  No exception.  It really made this new sport of running fun... And then I found compression shorts.  All Hail the Spandex!  Someday my inner thighs will not touch and it will all be good.

Next came the sports bra lines.  Talk about some sore girlies!  So I tossed the cheap $10 cotton sports bras from the '90's, and invested in some quality moisture-wicking ones.  Even at that, when I get over the 10 mile mark, I have to lube up the girls beforehand, or I'll come back with painful red marks.  My pricey Under Armour sports bras are now my go-to for the long runs.

Finally, the underarms.  Again I replaced the cheap cotton tanks for moisture-wicking material that pulls perspiration away from my body.  It helped temporarily.  Then I started losing weight, and there was suddenly extra material in the underarm area as my tops became more and more loose.  When you're overweight, loose fitting shirts are just more comfortable (on the ego).  Unfortunately, they also accelerate chafing.  Do I have to... snug fitting clothing?  You betcha!

I work hard, thus I sweat hard.  Naturally, I decided to just double-up on the deodarant.  After some research, I found that makes it worse!  You should stick to talcum powder, cornstarch or potato starch to stay dry... or just lube up and problem solved.  Lubricants allow the skin to slide rather than rubbing raw.  There are lots of fancy ointments and creams out there, but my budget right now is good ole fashion petroleum jelly.  It can also be used on feet and toes to avoid blisters.  
I'm anxious to try out the 2Toms product sample on the way (review and giveaway to come!).  They have a contest in-progress right now to win a year's supply of products... Have I made it perfectly clear that I NEED that yet?!?!  So help a gal out... Like the 2Toms facebook page, then scroll down a bit and find my wall post (Jessica Wucki McMullin) and please, pretty pretty please, click like under my post!  Got chafing problems yourself? Enter the contest.

After all that, I'm off to a long-tempo run.  Hopefully chafe-free today.

Are you a fellow chafer?!
What's your favorite product and/or prevention method?




Don't forget to enter my KIDS YOGA GIVEAWAY!