Friday, July 29, 2011

Tommie Copper Review ...

A few weeks back, I was offered the opportunity to test out some compression gear from Tommie Copper. Not one to turn down a chance to try out a product I think I will utilize, I decided to test both the calf sleeves and the knee sleeves.

Prior to being contacted by Tommie Copper, I knew very little about the company and their products. So, I did a little digging and here's what I learned.

"Tommie Copper compression garments are specifically designed to form-fit the user's physique. They are extremely comfortable and lightweight, unlike ordinary compression wear. Because of the enormous surface area of copper in our exclusive fabric, circulation and oxygen flow of the blood are greatly enhanced. (Tommie Copper offers ankle, calf, knee and elbow sleeves, compression shirts and compression gloves.)

Until now, compression wear was designed primarily for athletes to be worn for short periods of time to increase performance, enhance recovery and alleviate pain.
Today, everyone can tap into these benefits with Tommie Copper. Our product line is enhanced with copper infused yarn and engineered to be worn all day, everyday. It acts as a support to aching joints and muscles, and delivers the benefits of copper at the point of your discomfort."

Interesting. I am a big fan of compression, but I had never heard of the benefits of copper. And I bet you haven't either. Until now ...

"Copper is necessary for the growth, development, and maintenance of bone, connective tissue, brain, heart, and many other body organs. It is involved in the formation of red blood cells, the absorption and utilization of iron, and the synthesis and release of life-sustaining proteins and enzymes. These enzymes in turn produce cellular energy and regulate nerve transmission, blood clotting, and oxygen transport.

Copper stimulates the immune system to fight infections, repair injured tissues, and promote healing. Copper also helps to neutralize "free-radicals" which can cause severe damage to cells. Symptoms of copper deficiency include osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis."

Armed with that knowledge, I put on the calf sleeves and let the testing begin. I was immediately impressed by how quickly my calves felt refreshed. In fact, I tweeted this ...

Montel Williams even took note ...

I wore the sleeves all day and when I ran later that evening, my legs felt awesome. The following morning, I left my knee-high socks at home and donned my Tommie Copper calf sleeves for my long run ...

I'm pretty sure G thought I had been possessed.

The sleeves performed well during the run. On a rather hot day, my legs felt cool and my calves were strong (no chafe, either). I'm not sure if it was the copper or the compression, but either way, I was satisfied with the results. However, I do wish that there was a little bit more "squeeze" to the sleeves, as I like slightly more compression.

I tested the knee sleeves only in the post run time frame (while wearing my compression socks, of course).

Personally, I felt that it was harder to judge the effectiveness of these sleeves as I was not experiencing any knee pain at the time, however, considering how much I liked the calf sleeves, I am sure that if you suffer from knee ailments, these sleeves would provide relief. In addition, I felt that the elastic on the knee sleeve was far too tight for my liking, despite the fact that I ordered the proper size based on my leg measurement (perhaps, "the quad" was just too much to handle).

All in all, I was a fan of the Tommie Copper line and will continue to use their products.

To learn more about Tommie Copper, visit their website HERE, Facebook HERE or Twitter HERE.

Note: I was provided these items for free to review. However, the opinions stated here are all my own.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

NYC Marathon Raffle Winners, Week 6 ...

I just want to say thank you to everyone who has already donated to my fundraising efforts. As of this morning, I have raised $1946 of my $3000 commitment, just about 65%! Without all of your support, reaching my goals wouldn't be possible.

And now for the final three winners! There were 324 entries and thanks to random.org the winners are ...

#149 - Missy (no blog)
#300 - Tricia @ Endurance Isn't Only Physical
#107 - Stephanie Anne @ Running to Health

Congrats! Please email me with your prize selection at racingwithbabes@yahoo.com

And if you didn't win (or donate yet), remember that I will be launching a Running Skirts sponsored raffle on Monday that you won't want to miss ...

Three Things Thursday, crazy edition ...

Crazy Funny - Do you know what happens when my kids get a hold of J's iPad and go rogue? It looks a little something like this ...



Or this ...



Yes, that is what I have to deal with on a daily basis. My house is always that loud. I think this just goes to prove that my children are insane (Note: We found 30-40 other little gems like this on the iPad when these were discovered.)

Crazy Far - Three miles into yesterday morning's run, I ran my 1000th mile this year. Not bad, considering I only logged 16 miles in May, thanks to the crash. 2000, I'm coming for you ...


Crazy Awesome - G and I are headed to San Francisco today! I'm pretty sure it's going to be EPIC. If you want to "run" into us and don't think you'll be able to find us in the sea of runners at the start of the race, we will be HERE. I'm sure it will still be crowded, but it might be slightly easier to spot my red hair. (Note: We are in Wave 3 on race day.)

As for the race, our goals are pretty basic.

1. Have Fun
2. Get G her sub-2 half.
3. Get G her sub-2 half and a PR for me (1:57:05 would do that).

Piece of cake, right?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

perception ...

Perception is a funny thing. You can put two people in the SAME EXACT position and get two VERY DIFFERENT takes on the situation. And generally speaking, neither take will be 100% correct. We all have our own bias and beliefs and misconceptions that affect how we view the world around us.

Take me, for example.

When I look at myself, I see a strong, driven and confident person with just a dash of adventure.

But when some people look at me, they see an unapproachable, competitive and cocky person with just a dash of crazy.

Are they completely wrong? No. I can be all of those things.

But, am I completely right? Probably not. No one likes to admit their flaws.

Usually, other people's misconceptions about me don't bother me. But for some reason, when it comes to how I am viewed as a runner, all those misconceptions get under my skin.
  • When you see me in my skirts and socks, I am NOT mocking your sport. And just because I look cute doesn't mean I don't take running seriously. - I am a runner with drive and passion and fashion sense. These things are not mutually exclusive.
  • When you see me running with my posse, laughing endlessly, I am not goofing off. Just because I have managed to combine friendship and running doesn't mean I don't train my butt off. - I am a runner who runs 6 days a week, 2000 miles a year and is constantly striving to improve. I just bring my friends along for the ride.
  • When you hear me talk about pace and PRs and placement, I am not asserting that I am better than you. Or even that I am trying to be better than you. - I am a runner who is competitive with no one but me.
  • When you tell me I am too fast (or slow) for you to run with, you are wrong. There is no such thing. Pace is relative to the individual and the workout. Chances are we can find a common ground. - I am a runner who will always run with anyone who asks. No matter how fast or slow.
  • When you tell me that I'm crazy for whatever the reason (mileage, 2 marathons in 6 days, eating habits, doing something you "could NEVER do"), you are lucky that I don't punch you in the face. I am not superhuman. Or even extraordinary. I'm not doing anything that thousands of other people don't do every day. I am not doing something that you couldn't do if you tried. - I am a runner who sees the value in pushing past self-imposed limits and sets goals (sometimes lofty) to make that happen.
Just to set the record straight - I AM A RUNNER. End of story.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

the answers, part 2 ...

Are you ready to learn even more about me? Remember, there will be a quiz tomorrow. So study up. And if you missed yesterday's answer post, you can check it out HERE. Now for the second half of questions ...

Julie Stubblefield asked: Have you always been athletic, or is this a passion you have realized later in life? I have always been athletic, but I was never a runner. I played soccer for 15 years, starting at age 3 and I dabbled with the sport post-college. When I was in the first grade, I began playing basketball, which I competed in until 10th grade. And when I was in 7th grade, I picked up the shot put and the discus. Throughout high school, I was a three-sport athlete in addition to playing soccer on a travel team. And as a senior, I was voted "Most Athletic"

After high school, I went on to compete for a Division 1 Track and Field team, which meant focusing on throwing and giving up my other sports. It wasn't until 2007 that I began running, but if I was given the opportunity, I would play soccer and throw again. I really loved both.

Miles for Breakfast asked: Will you ever do a 50km race? Or a 50mi race? (not a relay) Maybe. I've learned to never say never, but at this point in time, I have ZERO interest in a 50 miler. And I have only a slight interest in a 50K and it's definitely not enough to sign up for one.

RunHapi13 asked: If you were only allowed one race event in 2012, what one race would you choose and why? A 70.3 - without a doubt. Right now, I am deciding between three events. One of them will be my race and that will be my focus for 2012.

Run with Jess asked: What has been your ONE single favorite race ever?!?! And of course, why? I have two. My favorite race is the Disney Princess Half. I love everything about that event. The atmosphere. The course. The expo. The location. And this year's VIP treatment didn't suck either.

But, my favorite course to run is the HCA 8K at the Richmond Marathon. The 8K is my favorite distance to run and the course is awesome. Fast and flat with a downhill finish. Every time I have run it, I have crushed it.

Erika asked: What is your advice for how to balance your family and their needs while training and still finding time for yourself? To begin with, find a supportive spouse/significant other. J is 100% on board with all of my training/racing/etc. Without him, I'm not sure I would be able to train and race to the extent that I do.

Second, determine what you are willing to sacrifice. For me, I am willing to give up sleep and my own "free time" to accomplish my training. I am NOT willing to give up extensive "family time." Thus, I do the bulk of my training before my family is awake. The remainder is done after the kids are in bed at night, usually while J is still at work (or training himself).

Lastly, schedule everything. I start each week by planning when and where I am going to do all of my workouts. I talk it over with J. And I commit to it. Doing this makes it much easier to accomplish everything that I need to.

Mandi asked: What is your biggest piece of advice on how to get through difficult runs? Accept that not every run is going to be fantastic. And know that you are going to get through the tough ones. Sometimes, you need to take a break. Sometimes, you need to walk. Sometimes, you need to speed up and get it over with. But, I guarantee you will never be disappointed if you man-up and finish.

Running Ricig asked: What is the best thing you've ever eaten? This is tough. I'm totally obsessed with food. But, I would have to say that the chocolate souffle from the Black Angus Grille at the Wyndham in Nassau, Bahamas. J and I had dinner there on our honeymoon and it was pretty much the best meal ever and that souffle was the perfect ending. The sad thing is that I just checked the menu for the restaurant and they don't make it anymore.

Karen asked: You always seem so confident in yourself and comfortable with who you are. Are you ever plagued with self-doubt? Most definitely. My self-doubt tends to materialize at "crunch time." I start to question whether I am really capable or if I have just bolstered myself to think I am capable. Sometimes, I can fight the doubt, but sometimes I just cave in and fall apart.

Cat B. asked: Do you ever get in a 'running rut'? You know, when you just aren't interested in the run anymore. If so, how do you bust out of it? Honestly, no. I have never experienced that. And I have no idea how I would handle it.

CupCake@ Bigger Girls Can Run Too asked: Was there ever a time when you DNF or came close to calling it quits? Why? Just one time - when I crashed my bike at Muddy Buddy Richmond in May. A separated shoulder will do that to a person. Although, since I'm being honest, I tried to keep going and if I had been able to "pop" my shoulder back into place, I would have.

Other than that, I have never had a DNF. I am just too freaking stubborn. I would probably crawl across the finish line if I had to.


Sarah asked: What race do you have your eye on (but have not registered for)? Right now, I am deciding on my 70.3 goal race for next year. As of right now, it is between Patriots Half in September, Ironman 70.3 Florida in May and Ironman 70.3 EagleMan in June.

S Club Mama asked: If you couldn't run, what would you do to stay fit? Easy, I'd play soccer.

And what's your favorite song to run to? I don't really listen to music when I run since I am almost always running with other people. But, I'm a fan of any song I can sing along with. It makes the miles fly by.

Kurt @ Becoming An Ironman asked: So many people look at running 10, 20 miles and laugh; "I could never do that!" On top of that, you've recently put up a goal of doing a 70.3 triathlon. Do you feel that there is any sport or athletic event/endeavor that you would think "I could never do that" about for any reason? Or have you gotten to a point where you think you could tackle just about anything? At this point in time, an Ironman seems impossible. Outside of endurance events, I don't think I could ever do anything related to heights - I have a crazy fear of heights. Diving. Ski Jumping. Sky Diving. Bungee Jumping. Rappelling. Rock Climbing. Trapeze. All of those things are no gos.

TNTcoach Ken asked: What did you think of your photo and article in Runner World? I freaking loved it. The picture was awesome (as were the other ones they shot) and the article definitely expressed why I dress the way I do. Plus, I got to share this once in a lifetime experience with my girls and I wouldn't trade that for anything.

~K~ asked: How long have ya been running and what's your favorite race distance? I started running in August of 2007, so just about 4 years. And my favorite race distance is the 8K.

Jenn asked: What is your favorite cupcake flavor? Do you really think I could pick just one? My three favorites are Salted Caramel, Oreo Cheesecake and Frappechino.

Lisa asked: I seem to have chronic issues with my back and my knee that flare up once a year causing some unplanned time off. Do you have any chronic issues that affect your running? If so, how do you stay sane when you can't run for an extended period of time? Fortunately, I do not have any chronic issues, but both times I have had to take off running due to injury, I kept my sanity by cross-training.

Rene' asked: I am struggling with eating/nutrition and early am running. Do you have something that you eat before you do your early runs or do you eat as you go? Also, during a race Gels? shot blocks? If my run is shorter than an hour, I don't usually eat before. But if I am running longer or wake up hungry, I have either a GU, protein/Clif bar or a banana (although, I have been known to have a bowl of cereal too).

As for during the run nutrition, I don't eat anything on runs of less than two hours, unless it's a race. On race day and on 2+ hour runs, I use GU (chocolate outrage, mint chocolate or chocolate raspberry) usually every 5 miles or 45 minutes.

eep asked: What percentage of your miles do you do on the treadmill? I would say that I average about 30% of my mileage on the treadmill. Sometimes, I will go a month and never run on it. And when J is traveling, I have been know to log 40+ miles in a week on it. I am a wimp when it comes to running solo in unfavorable conditions. I will almost always choose the treadmill over running alone in the rain, heat or cold.

Running Moose asked: What is your all time favorite running memory? All of my favorite memories are ones I have shared with my family. Crossing the finish line with J during his first half marathon, running Dizzle's first 5K with her and pacing Doodle in her first half mile race would definitely be my top three.

What do you remember of your "first run"? When I started running, I used a walk/run method. And although, I don't remember the first time I laced up, I do remember those first few weeks and how long the run portion of the intervals felt. I used a six week program for my first 5K and I never ran 3 miles straight before race day. I was completely unsure that I would be able to on race day (I did, in case you were wondering).

Monday, July 25, 2011

the answers, part 1 ...

So, it only took me a week, but I have finally answered the questions from last Monday's Q & A post. And I've chosen a winner of a Runner's Goodie Bag. 42 of you asked me questions and thanks to random.org, #15 ~K~ is the lucky individual. Congrats! Email me to claim your prize.

And now for the first half of answers ...

Chris asked: What, for you, is the most difficult aspect of running? Is is getting up in the morning, finding time, dealing with injury, etc. Personally, I think that finding the proper nutritional balance is the most difficult aspect of running. At this point, I have figured out how to manage my schedule and have been smart with my training, helping me to avoid injury. But, I almost always fail on the nutritional end. In fact, I can almost always link a bad run to poor nutrition or hydration.

Marlene asked: What are you MOST excited about for your upcoming trip/race in NYC? I think the thing that is most exciting about the NYC Marathon is the fact that it's my first race with true elites. I think it's pretty cool to run the same course at the same time (albeit much slower) as so many amazing athletes. Oh, and I've heard the swag is pretty sweet too ...

Twila asked: Do you have any sayings you say in your head while your run? Like personal mantras? Currently, I have been repeating my favorite line from a Lemonade Mouth (Disney movie) song - "Push it till you can't and then demand more." I love it and I feel like it really encapsulates what I aspire to do as an athlete. But, honestly, it depends on the day. Sometimes, I just tell myself that it would be embarrassing to stop and that's enough to keep me going.

And if you only had 30 minutes a day to work out what would do you? Run. I don't run because I have to. I run because I love to.

runaroundaroo
asked: If you could take a family vacation any where where would it be and for how long? Disregard budgets, time off work and such... Easy peasy - Australia. For at least two weeks. It's been my dream destination FOREVER. And J and I are planning on taking the kids there sometime in the next few years. I'm thinking we will probably go for our 10th anniversary in 2014. I'm not sure if J is thinking the same thing, but I usually get my way ...

Jen asked: What is the favorite hair color you have had over the years? Pink. But purple looks really good on me.

Stacy asked: You have an amazing amount of confidence. Were you always a confident person, and if not, to what do you attribute your inner strength? I have always been confident, and I think that most of that has to do with my parents. They always told me and my sisters that we were "The $h*t" and so, I believed it. When you are constantly told you are the best, you begin to be just that.

With that said, I think that my confidence has definitely flourished in the last few years. There is something about taking hold of your life and transf
orming yourself that will boost your confidence. When I look back at who I was and compare it to who I am now, I can't help but be proud of the positive changes I have made and I don't see any fault in sharing my "pride". Plus, I am surrounded by people who support me 100% (even if they think I am insane at times). How could you not be confident when so many others are believing in you?

massage momma asked: What is your favorite thing to wear while running? I know you might be shocked by this, but my favorite thing to wear while running is a skirt and knee high socks. I don't care if it's 110*, I am still going to rock the socks. I even wear them under my tights in the winter.

And is there one item or piece of gear that you absolutely HAVE to be wearing when you do a race? Sunglasses. Even if it's not sunny. My race photos would be tragic otherwise ...

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner asked: Fast forward 7 - 10 years the girls are all active and busy with sports and interests, how do you see your active lifestyle (running/racing) evolving to handle the shift from your time intensive goals to theirs? Maybe it's just me, but I actually think that fast forwarding 7-10 years would show that my goals have grown to be even more time intensive. Right now, I train in the "off" hours, logging most of my miles when my children are in bed (early morning and late nights). I am often limited by their schedules and by a lack of child care. Once they are all in school full time, I am going to gain a whole window of training time. Plus, I really hope that by that point, all my kids will be running/racing with me.

Zoƫ asked: What is the longest your hair has ever been? Ever - between my shoulder blades. As an adult - just past my shoulders. This was me in 2007 (Note: I straightened my hair this day. It's actually quite curly.)

The Boohers asked: Where do you get your awesome socks? A variety of places. But my favorites are from Little MisMatched, Dick's Sporting Goods (Reebok All Sport Socks), and RunningSkirts.com

ajh asked: Does anything embarrass you? If so what? Most definitely. I just try not to let things bother me for too long. I'm quite good at just "shaking it off." But I will say, one time, my father called me out of work and told them I had explosive diarrhea. I'm still embarrassed by that one.

Caroline asked: Who would you like to meet? I think this is the most challenging question I've been asked. I can not think of an answer. Seriously, I don't really have an "idol" and there's not really a celebrity that I am dying to meet. Maybe the cast of NCIS? That way I could thank them for providing me with hours of entertainment on the treadmill ...

And what is something you cannot tolerate? Lateness. It drives me crazy. I am notoriously early for things and it irks me when others keep me waiting.

And what is your dream race, if money is not a factor? The London Marathon. J and I started dating on a trip to England and I think it would be the most awesome thing to go back there and run that race with him. I think that if there is a half marathon option, I could probably convince him.

cql asked: Why wasn't Dilly in the RW pictures? For a few reasons.
1. They didn't ask her to be. I submitted a picture of Dizzle, Doodle and me and that's who the photo editor requested.
2. She didn't have the wardrobe.
3. She's 2 and 2 year olds don't always cooperate.

And what do you love most about blogging? Here's my top three:
1. Blogging allows me to document my family and our experiences on a daily basis. One day, I know my children will appreciate this.
2. It has afforded me many experiences I would have otherwise had, including meeting like-minded individuals, traveling to races, and being featured in Runner's World.
3. The free stuff doesn't suck.


Kortni asked: What is the best and worst running advice you have received? Best advice - If you want to improve, build a stronger base. Worse advice - Don't run so much. You are going to hurt yourself.

And, do you prefer to run solo or with your posse? Most days, running with my posse. But a solo run every now and then is nice too. It teaches me to appreciate always having someone to run with.

Linz asked: Can you tell us more about your experience upping your mileage? Your high weekly/monthly/yearly mileage has always impressed me - how did you get there? For a long time, I was running somewhere between 18 and 25 miles a week. Even for my first and second marathons, I peaked at 36 miles. When I decided to increase my base, I did it very slowly. Basically, I just stuck to the 10% rule and once the mileage of my mid-week runs was at about 6 miles, I added a 5th day of running. Adding that extra day, gave me the ability to spread out my total mileage better. Recently, I have added a 6th day which I am a HUGE fan of.

If you are going to build your base, you just need to be smart about it. Don't jump too fast in either distance or pace. Lots of easy, slow miles are the key. My body likes 40-50 miles per week. My mind wants to log 50-60 miles per week. Eventually, I will get the two to agree.

Melissa asked: What tips do you have for avoiding running injuries? There are a few things you can do, but I think the number one thing is to LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. Pushing through pain is just stupid. And you know the pain I am talking about. Pushing through discomfort is one thing, but pain is another. I try to live by the rule that if my pain is a 3 or more on a scale of 1-10, it's time to stop.

Also, it's never smart to mix increasing mileage with speed. If you are running all of your miles at tempo pace and then you start adding longer runs, you are just setting yourself up for disaster. Think, "one thing at a time."

XLMIC asked: Was your husband your first? You know what I mean. Yes, he was (and my kids better take that to heart). First serious relationship. First everything. He is and ( I feel confident saying) will always be my one true love.

And who is your celebrity crush? Why? Andreas Thorkildsen - Reigning Olympic Champion in the javelin (I'm a thrower at heart)

(source: norway.com)
Why? He's Olympic champ. And pretty much unstoppable in his discipline. Plus, did you see him? Isn't that reason enough? (And yes, J knows about my crush ...)

And if you could only read one blog from now on, which one would you choose? Mile Posts.

Holly asked: What question do people ask you the most? Don't you get hot in those socks? or Are those socks compression? Do you like them?

And do you/did you watch Biggest Loser? What do you think of Anna Kournikova? I watch the weigh ins. That's all I care about. As for Anna, I don't really have an opinion. But, I don't know if she's qualified to train people (as in certified). If she is, then good. If not, then why the heck is she a "trainer"?

Lucy asked: Do you have a pump up song you listen to before you run? If so, what is it? I almost never listen to music when I run. But, in general, I am loving "Determinate" by Lemonade Mouth.

Deanne asked: What motivated you to get started running? I started running to "lose the baby weight," but I kept doing it because I became passionate about it.

And what motivates you to get going on your daily workouts? I don't see workouts as an optional thing. Just like anything important, I schedule them in my day. When workout time rolls around, I get it done, even if I don't feel like it. I've yet to regret it.

And what motivates you to keep going until your workout is over? I don't like to think of myself as a quitter. I want to finish what I start. That almost always keeps me going.

Jess @ Blonde Ponytail asked: I think I know that cupcakes might be your fav post-race fuel, so what is your fav pre-race fuel? I have a mild obsession with Luna Protein Cookie Dough Bars. I love them.

And do you get car/van sick? Actually, yes. But usually only when I have overeaten, am dehydrated or can't see out the front window.

And who would play TMB in a movie? Someone totally bada**. I don't think I have a doppelganger, so I think it would have to be someone who shares my sheer awesomeness.

Friday, July 22, 2011

NYC Marathon Raffle Winners, Week 5 ...

I just want to say thank you to everyone who has already donated to my fundraising efforts. As of this morning, I have raised $1801 of my $3000 commitment, just about 60%! Without all of your support, reaching my goals wouldn't be possible.

With that said, there is still plenty of time to donate and to win some FABULOUS prizes. Just head over to my NYC Marathon Raffle post HERE, make a donation HERE and come back to enter. It's easy peasy.

And now for the next three winners! There were 356 entries and thanks to random.org the winners are ...

#238 - SarahwithanH @ Becoming a Runner, Becoming Me
#329 - Laurie P. (no blog)
#269 - Karen @ Working it out

Congrats! Please email me with your prize selection at racingwithbabes@yahoo.com

And if you didn't win (or didn't enter yet) remember that there are still 3 prizes in the mix and the final three winners will be selected on Thursday, July 28. Good luck!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Three Things Thursday ...

"Shock me, shock me, shock me with that deviant behavior" - Unless you happen to be friends with me on Facebook, you probably don't know about my latest, um, styling choice. Remember how I shaved my head two weeks ago? Well, now I dyed it RED. Like RED RED. Not "I was born with red hair" red. See?

Yeah, I told you I like to experiment with my hair ...

San Francisco - One week from today, G and I head to San Francisco for our annual "Girls' Race Weekend." I CAN.NOT.WAIT. We are running the San Francisco Half Marathon (first half). My bib number is 15526 (feel free to stalk) and we are in wave 3. If you are running it, look for us. I'm easy to spot. I'll be the one in the pink sparkle skirt with mismatched socks and freakishly amazing red hair ...

Fundraising - I am running with Team Grassroot Soccer and have committed to raising $3000 and I need your help to reach my goal.

Right now, I am hosting an AWESOME fundraising raffle HERE. There are 6 fabulous prizes left and I will be selecting the NEXT 3 WINNERS TOMORROW. You know you want to enter. All you have to do is make a donation HERE and then leave a comment on the raffle post. Easy peasy.

And you might just want to donate sooner rather than later. It will earn you a chance for bonus entries in my next raffle starting on August 1st - A virtual gift basket from RunningSkirts.com. We're talking a new outfit from head to toe (plus some other goodies). You're not going to want to miss this ...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Nuun Platuun!





The information on this very select group of highly-trained individuals has been held classified ... until now. Running in the Hood to Coast Relay will be two hand-picked Nuun teams of female bloggers. One many people already know about... they are After-NUUN Delight.

Introducing their badass flipside...

N*U*U*N PLATUUN

free your mind and your feet will follow...




Major Miles... aka Tricia...firmly believes "Endurance Isn't Only Physical". She applies that doctrine by doing the majority of her training mentally. Sure, she plans on putting in some "major miles" as part of training, but just as importantly she is preparing for Hood to Coast by dreaming about running down that mountain, talking about the upcoming relay to anyone that will listen, and focusing her energy on tracking down the perfect camo print in wicking material.


"Draft beer, not people"


Captain Cupcake ...Average A who keeps the Diary of an Average Runner, has this to say: My life has become amazing once I started believing in myselfand putting my mind and spirit into my dreams. This runs the gamut in every aspect of life: from overcoming addictions; moving across the country on my own; and becoming better, stronger, and faster in my own body every single day.

I am really excited to not only have the chance to run this
historic race, but I am excited to team up with so many wonderful, talented, and inspiring female bloggers -- some of whom I've admired for years!




Our third runner is the quiet brains behind 'Operation Hydration', Corporal Kim ...our Nuun Staffer





Captain Obvious of Seattle has a superpower-esque way of making completely useless observations to her running buddies: “Look, there’s a slug. Don’t want to step on that.” She has been distance running, racing and blogging about it for two years, and recently completed her first full marathon. Captain Obvious, who blogs at Mom vs. Marathon, would like to point out that she is a mother, as well.



Running the "Bataan" leg... Captain Underpants ... aka the faster bunny whose notable accomplishments include but are not limited to having run three marathons, BQ-ed and NYC qualified. She is incredibly good at never getting injured! Hasn't been injured since age 16. Additionally, she's got a couple tech-y sounding degrees that she is proud of (Engineering and MBA). (The lack of any English classes probably explains the awful grammar in her blog). She can make some mean pancakes for breakfast and a great key lime pie. She is learning to bike so that one day she can do a triathlon.

A lover of all things crazy and that push you to the limit, she is excited to be a member of this squad because Hood to Coast is just that. She feels that to be on a team with a ton of extremely nice and inspiring women is priceless.


General Confusion.Lisa is a married mother of two wonderful children who blogs at Discovering the Meaning of Stonehenge. She took up running 3 1/2 years ago, at age forty. While training for her first marathon, she discovered her love of running and fitness. Since 2008, she has run five marathons, 16+ half marathons, six mud runs and oodles of other races. She is a RRCA certified running coach as well as trained in pre- and post-natal fitness, teaching Stroller Strides and Body Back bootcamp classes. Running is her escape, her fun and her “me” time. She builds friendships around running, but also finds her “happy place” during solo runs.

She loves spending time with her family, especially outdoors. Hiking and biking are key activities that everyone in the family loves. Her son is following in her footsteps and recently ran his first 5K.

In a previous life, Lisa was a casino executive (for 18 years!). She worked long hours in a tough, people-focused industry which really gave her a thick skin. There isn’t much Lisa hasn’t seen or heard, and a bunch of women in a van during Hood to Coast will be tame compared to some of the high rollers in the casinos.


Hood to Coast has been a dream of Lisa’s for many years. Her father ran it a few times in the 80’s and even before Lisa was a runner, she thought that HTC would be very cool. The course goes through her old stomping grounds of Mt. Hood, Sandy, Gresham, downtown Portland and the Oregon Coast. She is thrilled and honored to have been chosen by NUUN to run on their team.

Private Chafe ... aka Jess Allen aka "THE" Blonde Ponytail ;) Jess ran her first race ever, the Portland Marathon, last October 2010 and began her blog, Blonde Ponytail shortly thereafter. Jess is a recognized ninja. When she isn't silently assassinating wrong-doers, she advises students at Washington State University where her husband coaches baseball. Jess is a NSCA-CSCS and former Stanford University softball player. She is mom to one fur-child, Cooper, a 3.5 yr old golden retriever.


Cap'n Crunch introduces herself: Hi everyone! I’m Caitlin and unlike most of the lovely ladies on my team, I am not (currently) a blogger! I am a part of the Nuun Event Marketing team and I volunteered myself for a spot on the team! I graduated from Washington State University in 2010 where I played soccer for the Cougs, in addition to earning my degree in Comm. I grew up in a running family and have run two half marathons in the past year. My Hood to Coast legs will be the most I’ve ever run in 24 hours and I’m quite looking forward to the challenge.










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Code name: Nightingale. This super secret agent is rumored to blog at Nurse on the Run. Her identity is closely guarded and all info is classified. When sighted, she is usually in the vicinity of someone needing medical assistance... or running really fast!





Major Pain ...aka H Love... whose motto and blog are Keep On Keeping On. She tells us: I spent my time growing up between Florida and Washington State, enjoying the beauty of both places! I am a small town girl who loves to compete (with myself) and try new things. I have always loved sports, but running was never one of them. I played basketball at the community college level and then finished my schooling at Washington State University! Go Cougs! In 2009 another mom asked me to be on a 100K relay team to run the last leg....4.3 miles! What? It was
a huge challenge. After running those 4.3 miles I was HOOKED! Those 4.3 miles , led to 13.1 and recently 26.2! Being part of NUUN Platuun is a huge gift and I still can't believe I am going to be part of HOOD to COAST! I am a mom of three amazng kids (10, 8 & 5) who inspire me daily! I am blessed with a hard working hubby that makes me laugh and supports me in all I do.


I "stay at home" (ha, ha, that's a joke) with the kiddos and work part time as a Early Childhood Education consultant and trainer. I love to bust a move (no alcohol necessary) and enjoy hanging with my fam and friends. Love, love, love, white sand beaches,the gulf of mexico and warm sunshine! I try to enjoy the moments I am given and always looks for ways to inspire and connect with others! Can't wait to "bring it" with this amazing group of women! Go NUUN Platuun! Hoo- Rah!!


Sergeant Style ... aka Tonia. Here's the short version: Mom. Runner. Wife. Triathlete. Friend. Pescatarian. Coach. Not necessarily in that order.

And the not so short version: As a former Division I Track and Field athlete, I have always had an athletic side, but it wasn't until my second child was born that running became my passion. I began running in 2007 after I vowed to run a 10K by the end of the year. I finished that 10K and have never looked back. Since then, I've run 4 marathons, 10 half marathons and a slew of shorter races. Right now, I am training for the NYC Marathon with Team Grassroot Soccer.

Although, I am primarily a stay-at-home mom, I have been active in the fitness industry for five years and is am a certified running coach with the Road Runners Club of America. In 2010, I established, TMB Endurance Training, a coaching endeavor focused primarily on distance runners. I am also certified as a fitness instructor with the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America, where much of my focus has been spent in the areas of Prenatal and Postnatal Fitness.

On a personal level, I am mother to three beautiful daughters, Dizzle, Doodle, and Dilly, wife of 7 years to J and author of the blog,
Racing With Babes.

Notable accomplishments: 3 kids. 4 marathons. An Ivy League degree. An a appearance in the August 2011 Runner's World magazine.

Why I am so excited to be on Team Nuun for Hood to Coast: Well, isn't it obvious? Hood to Coast is "the Mother of All Relays" and running it with Team Nuun is a once in a lifetime experience. Who wouldn't be excited? Seriously, though, I am so honored to be included in this group of amazing blogging women from all over the country. I am looking forward to being challenged and forming new friendships and bonds. I know this is bound to be an experience I will never forget.

Commando ...aka XLMIC, blogger at Taking It On ... lurks in the shadows until the perfect moment to jump out and bust someone's cojones. She is relentless in everything she does. If she cannot out-and-out beat you running on the road, she will annoy you into the ground or make you laugh until you are immobilized... or you wet your pants. She appears unphased by almost any situation. She began running as a way of cross-training for her favorite sport, rowing. She rowed for Cornell University, at Vesper Boat Club, and was on the 1991 US PanAm team. After running two sub-4 hour marathons, she had four kids and took an injury-forced, 8-year hiatus from athletics. (She also has 6 grown stepkids). She resumed running less than a year ago and prefers to run at night... stealth-style... after everyone is asleep. Don't look for her because you won't find her that way. Just listen... she has a hard time keeping quiet for very long.

These formidable and fun athletes will present a force to be reckoned with at the 2011 Hood to Coast!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

why I'm lacking content and a winner ...

Right now, the girls and I are halfway through our trip. And I've found it hard to find the time to write a post, because rather than staring at a computer we've been hanging out here ...

eating a lot of this (Ralph's Italian Ice - so yummy) ...

while catching up with family ...

But then, something that started out looking like this ...

sent us to the ER for the afternoon (spider bite - she's fine).

But, I've run. And played. And the girls are having a blast. Summer vacation is rocking their socks.

(And in case you were wondering, the drive here was fantastic. I swear someone sedated my kids before we left.)


And since we are having such a fabulous time, it's my turn to make someone's day by announcing the winner of the OnlineShoes.com Brooks Giveaway. There were 556 entries and thanks to random.org, the winner is ...

#73 Amanda @ There are Two Sides

Congrats! Please email me to claim your prize.

Didn't win? Go over and enter my NYC Marathon Fundraising raffle HERE. The next three winners will be selected on Friday.

Monday, July 18, 2011

inquiring minds want to know ...

Like much of the blog world, I am jumping on the Q and A bandwagon, after being tagged by my Hood to Coast Nuunmate, XLMIC.

So, with no further ado, it time for ...TMB

Here's how to play (and you'll want to. There's a prize involved):

1. Ask me a question, whatever you feel like. I promise to answer them all honestly, but since I am on vacation, I can not promise it will be done in a timely manner. I'm thinking Friday, but maybe I'll wait to the weekend and surprise you by posting on a day that I usually don't. Who knows? I like to be mysterious like that.

2. Well, there is no two. I just felt like a numbered list with only one item was too short.

I will accept questions until Tuesday, July 19th at 11:59 p.m. Anyone who as asked me a question at that point will be eligible for a "Runner's Prize Pack" (a random mix of things I love).

OK, that's it. So ask away ...

p.s. Today is the last day to enter my Brooks giveaway HERE ...

Friday, July 15, 2011

NYC Marathon Raffle Winners, Week 4

I just want to say thank you to everyone who has already donated to my fundraising efforts. As of this morning, I have raised $1801 of my $3000 commitment, just about 60%! Without all of your support, reaching my goals wouldn't be possible.

With that said, there is still plenty of time to donate and to win some FABULOUS prizes. Just head over to my NYC Marathon Raffle post HERE, make a donation HERE and come back to enter. It's easy peasy.

And now for the next three winners! There were 395 entries and thanks to random.org the winners are ...

#226 - Shelly @ It's Just on Foot in Front of the Other
#58 - Courtney @ Run, Courtney, Run
#312 - Jess @ Run with Jess

Congrats! Please email me with your prize selection at racingwithbabes@yahoo.com

And if you didn't win (or didn't enter yet) remember that there are still 6 prizes in the mix and the next three winners will be selected on Friday, July 22. Good luck!

P.S. - I'm also giving away a pair of Brooks (valued up to $100) from Onlineshoes.com. You can enter HERE.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Three Things Thursday ...

Vacation - The girls and I are leaving tomorrow for a week long road trip, where we will visit Virginia Beach, New Jersey and Baltimore. I'm sure it will be quite the adventure, as traveling outnumbered 3:1 always is. And since we are out of here in less than 24 hours, there are two things I have been doing a lot of recently - Packing and Working Out.

Since Friday night, I have logged 103 miles (63 bike, 40 run) over 11 workouts (and I still have today's run on tap). Knowing that I would have a hard time getting all my runs in while we are gone, I "front loaded" my schedule this week to leave the fewest (and shortest) runs left to complete during our travels. It's worked out quite well, but when bed time rolls around I am DEAD TIRED. I feel like I could sleep for 12 hours. Which of course is never going to happen ...

No Shut-Eye - Dilly, being the angel that she is, thought it would be a fabulous idea to wake up at 1 a.m. last night, and not go back to sleep until 5 a.m. Obviously, she didn't get the memo that I AM DEAD TIRED.

Every 10-15 minutes for four hours straight, Dilly got out of her bed, walked to her door and yelled for me (J was out of town).

Pure insanity.

Needless to say, I am not in a very good place right now. She, however, got up for the day at 7:15 feeling fresh and rejuvenated. I'm sure by 2:15 p.m., I'll have a monster on my hands.

Loot - I am running with Team Grassroot Soccer and have committed to raising $3000 and I need your help to reach my goal.

Right now, I am hosting an AWESOME fundraising raffle HERE. There are 9 fabulous prizes left and I will be selecting the NEXT 3 WINNERS TOMORROW. You know you want to enter. All you have to do is make a donation HERE and then leave a comment on the raffle post. Easy peasy.

And, if you want another shot at winning a sweet prize, check out my current giveaway HERE. Thanks to OnlineShoes.com, one lucky winner will walk (or run) away with a new pair of Brooks.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

look-alikes ...

You know how it's said that people start to look like their dogs over time? Well, do you think that applies to training partners too?


Obviously, we are solemates ...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

double take ...

I often wonder about the thought processes of my children. I am treated on a daily basis to their craziness, and um, childhood logic. In recent days, all three of my girls have said or done something that made me do a double take. I know, you're shocked.

Dizzle: If you've ever seen Dizzle, you know that she is a miniature version of me. She loves this fact (I'm sure she won't in about 10 years) and she CONSTANTLY rubs it in Doodle's face. Yesterday, Dizzle came up to me and said ...

"Mom, we are twins. But we are NOCTURNAL twins, because we don't have the same birthday."

That's right, Dizzle. We are nocturnal twins. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

(me and my nocturnal twin)

Doodle: On a daily basis, I tell my children that I am a vampire, as I have extremely sharp and pointy canine teeth (also known as fangs). Doodle has recently realized that she too has similar canine teeth. Because of this, she now believes she is part vampire. Yesterday, she said to me ...

"Mom, when did we go to Vampire World? Was it like when I was zero? Cuz that's when I got my vampire teeth, right?"

Sure, Doodle. We frequent Vampire World ALL.THE.TIME. That's totally how you got your fangs. It wasn't genetics or anything.


Dilly: On Sunday, I found Dilly watching TV like this.

Enough said.


Have you entered my NYC Marathon Fundraising Raffle HERE yet? The next three winners will be selected on Friday. And my OnlineShoes.com Brooks Giveaway HERE runs through Monday. Hurry up and enter for your chance to win!

Monday, July 11, 2011

piles of miles ...

I think a lot about mileage. For most (not all) people, reaching your full potential as a runner lies in running MORE miles. And if you are smart about your training, boosting your weekly mileage can be done safety and effectively.

From 2008-2010, I attempted to log 1,000 miles. The first two years, I fell short with 923.27 and 921.35, respectively. I just couldn't "find the time." Then in 2010, someone, well, actually two someones, far wiser than I, told me the weakness in my endurance was a direct result of a small mileage base.

That's all it took. I didn't want my weakness to be caused by something I could control. I don't have much control over my body type. Or huge quads. Or VO2 Max. But, I could control how much I was running. So, I committed myself to running more and when 2010 ended, I had logged 1808 miles. Nearly two times as much as I ever had before. And all my PRs had dropped.

For me, I don't think there is such a thing as "junk miles." Every run has a purpose, whether it be at tempo, conversational or recovery pace. Yes, sometimes a run can suck so badly that it feels like "junk," but it's not. It's doing something for you.

Maybe it's teaching you to run on fatigued legs.
Maybe it's teaching you how to conquer your mental demons.
Maybe it's promoting muscle recovery while you catch up with your friends.

Every run makes you stronger.

Yesterday morning, I ran 12 miles with my friends - a post-surgery PR.

It started out fabulous and ended ugly. I was dehydrated and tired. I wanted to quit. At times, I wish I had. But once it was over, all the positives came to light.
  • I had just run 12 miles. 60 days post shoulder surgery. At a decent pace.
  • I finished the run with 905.08 miles on the year. On July 10th. Pretty rock star, especially considering I took a month off to heal the shoulder.
  • I ran 34 miles and biked 50 miles this week. My legs should be tired.
But above all, I am getting stronger every single day. With every single mile.

Friday, July 8, 2011

NYC Marathon Raffle Winners, Week 3

I just want to say thank you to everyone who has already donated to my fundraising efforts. As of this morning, I have raised $1545 of my $3000 commitment, just about 52%! Without all of your support, reaching my goals wouldn't be possible.

With that said, there is still plenty of time to donate and to win some FABULOUS prizes. Just head over to my NYC Marathon Raffle post HERE, make a donation HERE and come back to enter. It's easy peasy.

And now for the next three winners! There were 318 entries and thanks to random.org the winners are ...

#302 - Katie @ Blessed with Full Hands
#141 - Erika @ MCM Mama
#205 - Lesley @ Racing It Off

Congrats! Please email me with your prize selection at racingwithbabes@yahoo.com

And if you didn't win (or didn't enter yet) remember that there are still 9 prizes in the mix and the next three winners will be selected on Friday, July 15. Good luck!

P.S. - I'm also giving away a pair of Brooks (valued up to $100) from Onlineshoes.com. You can enter HERE.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

3TT: Travel Edition ...

Christmas - As you may know, J and I have started the tradition of taking the kids on vacation for Christmas, rather than filling our house with things we don't need. I want my children to have experiences, not things (They do still get a gift from Santa, though).

Plus, Dizzle, Doodle and Dilly are the only children on either side of the family, which means there are PLENTY of gifts for them to open from everyone else. Last year, we surprised the girls with a trip to Disney. And we had an absolute blast.

On Tuesday, we booked our tickets for this year's trip to SAN DIEGO - home of Legoland, the San Diego Zoo, Sea World and the Running Skirts store (OK, it's in Encinitas, but close enough). This trip is going to be total awesomesauce.

Summer Adventures - Each Summer, J and I try to make a trip back to see our families in NJ and RI. This year, thanks in large part to my race travel and the aforementioned San Diego trip, J isn't going to be able to get time off work. So, instead, I will be road tripping with the girls.

Next weekend, we will head up to NJ, a short, six hour drive from here. It should be heaven. In a complete torture kind of way. Seven days after we return, G and I head out to San Francisco for our Girl's Race Weekend (J was kind enough to take off time, so that I could go).

But the fun doesn't stop there, in August, I am going to be brave and make the 12 hour trip to RI with no backup. After spending six days there, I'll make that 12 hour trip again and then leave the following morning to run Hood to Coast with my nuunmates.

It might be just me, but I'm thinking that this plan borders on insanity ...

NYC - My final destination trip this year will be the NYC Marathon. I am running with Team Grassroot Soccer and have committed to raising $3000 and I need your help to reach my goal.

Right now, I am hosting an AWESOME fundraising raffle HERE. There are 12 fabulous prizes left and I will be selecting the NEXT 3 WINNERS TOMORROW. You know you want to enter. All you have to do is make a donation HERE and then leave a comment on the raffle post. Easy peasy.

And, if you want another shot at winning a sweet prize, check out my current giveaway HERE. Thanks to OnlineShoes.com, one lucky winner will walk (or run) away with a new pair of Brooks.