Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Running Skirts Virtual Skirt Basket Winner ...

I just want to say thank you to everyone who has already donated to my fundraising efforts and to Running Skirts for sponsoring this AMAZING Virtual Skirt Basket. As of this morning, I have raised $3161 of my $3000 commitment, a whopping 105%! Without all of your support, reaching my goal wouldn't have been possible. With that said, there is still time to make a donation to Grassroot Soccer. All you have to do is check out my fundraising page HERE.

And now for the winner! There were 494 entries and thanks to the winner is ...

#212 - Judy Read (no blog)

Congrats! Please email me at racingwithbabes (at) yahoo (dot) com to claim your prizes!

Hood to Coast Recap: Nuun Platuun ...

Location: Mt. Hood, OR to Seaside, OR (200 miles)
Date: 8/26/11 - 8/27/11
Temperature: variable
Official Time: 27:59:17 (average pace of 8:24 per mile)
Place in Division: 10/39 (Womens Open)
Overall Place: 311/1268

I am 100% positive that this recap will not do justice to the experience that I had at Hood to Coast. In fact, I'm not even sure that I can accurately express how monumental the entire event is or how amazing the Nuun staff is. You have to experience it for yourself. The great parts were fantastic. The good parts were great. And the bad parts weren't really all that bad. Even the lack of sleep and real food weren't horrible. I'd do it all again, right this very instant, if given the opportunity.

The Good:

Nuun: Not only did Nuun sponsor both Nuun Platuun and AfterNUUN Delite (think all race logistics taken care off, more Nuun than you could ever drink, wicked cute gear, etc), but the Nuun staff was AMAZING. They were friendly and welcoming, and at least in my van, put up with all of our crazy antics. I returned home wishing that Nuun was headquartered in Richmond, because it would be an awesome company to work for. (Note: I also wish that all my nuun-mates lived in Richmond. That would be EPIC.)

The numerous companies that hooked us up: In addition to Nuun, there were several other companies that showed Nuun Platuun some love. All of the SWAG we received, rocked my socks and it would be totally worth your while to check these fine companies out.The Course: Not only is Hood to Coast, the Mother of all Relays, but the views are FANTASTIC. Even the overnight legs (with the exception of those on gravel) were beautiful.

My Nuun-mates: Wicked Awesome. That is all.

Spreading the Nuun Love: As Nuun Ambassadors, it was our job to spread the Nuun Love during the race. At the major exchanges, transitions and even Quiznos, we handed out samples, applied tattoos and informed our fellow athletes about Nuun and all of it's awesomeness.

And I LOVED EVERY SECOND of it. I was totally in my element. And I couldn't get enough. It made me realize that I need a job that lets me engage with other people while working with something that I truly believe in. So, Nuun, if you're looking for someone to run your Southeast Sample Team, give me a call.

My First Leg (#11): I lucked out on the timing of my legs, with my first run starting at sunset. Talk about beautiful. And although it was slightly warmer than I would have hoped, I crushed it. When I finished the mostly flat run, my Garmin read 38:14 for 4.87 miles (7:51 pace). A new 8K PR by 44 seconds.

My Second Leg (#23): This leg shouldn't really be in the "Good" category. It should be in the FREAKING AWESOME category. 4.14 miles of small rollers, hidden in the massive trees of the Pacific Northwest on a very crisp morning. It was the single most perfect run of my entire running career. I ran fast and hard and could have kept going. I finished the leg 31:47 after I took off (7:40 pace) and hit the 4 mile mark at 30:47, 1:26 faster than I'd ever run 4 miles before. I wish I could have bottled up that leg.

Our Driver/Coach, Casey: Fueled with endless energy (without caffeine, by the way), Casey drove our van, recorded our splits, kept us realistic and optimistic from start to finish, and tolerated all of our insanity (and trust me, we weren't tame) without a SINGLE SECOND of sleep.

And as if he wasn't already awesomesauce, with just about 3 miles left in my last leg, he jumped out of the van and helped me and my suffering quad make it to the exchange. Total rock star.

The Memories/Inside Jokes: There were so many moments that I want to share here, but it would be futile. Anyone outside of our van, or perhaps our team, wouldn't really "get" what happened or how hilarious the members of Nuun Platuun are (Note: We created new words and laughed until it hurt). But, I will say that I cherish EVERY SINGLE SECOND of this journey and would highly recommend that EVERYONE run a relay at some point. All of the "hard parts" are worth it.

The Bad:

The Weather: It was unseasonably warm. Like Virginia warm. Enough said.

My Disorganization: I am a little OCD. I pack and I repack. I rarely forget things. But the biggest mistake I made during Hood to Coast was not packing each outfit in Ziploc bags. I felt like I was constantly digging for and losing things.

Minimal Interaction: Going into this event, I assumed that both Nuun teams would be hanging out all the time. But, in actuality, I barely saw anyone from AfterNUUN delite and I didn't really get to spend a good amount of time with Van 1 of Nuun Platuun until the post-race party. It was one of those logistical things about relay races that I just didn't consider.

The Ugly:

My Third Leg (#35): During my first wicked awesome leg, I tweaked my quad. THE QUAD. Immediately after, I said to Jess that I felt like I had pulled a lot harder with one leg than the other. I tried to loosen up the quad during our "rest" period, but when I started leg 2, it was still sore. But then, I crushed leg 2. Unfortunately, I also crushed my quad.

Seven hours later, when I was about to start my third leg, it hurt to get out of the van. I planned to run as strong as I could, but I didn't really know how it would go. The first 4 miles were great. I was averaging an 8:38 pace. And then the climbs came. And my quad failed. I ended up walk/running the next two miles, before Casey convinced me to push it to the finish.

I handed off to XL MIC, after 8 miles and 1:19:57. She ran to the finish line and I ran to the medic tent. (Note: I'm better. Not 100% better, but better than I was).

Missing the Finish: As soon as I got back from the medic tent, we headed out to try to make it to the beach to see XL MIC finish. We made it like half a mile and hit bumper-to-bumper traffic (something that occurred pretty much the whole race). It took us over two hours to make it the six miles to the beach. Such a bummer.

Our Van Guest: Don't ask. Let's just say, our "guest" was a total fail.

Thanks again to all of the wonderful people at Nuun for allowing me to be a part of this EPIC event. I've already got it marked down on my calendar for next year. I'm grandfathered in, right?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

back to reality ...

Wow! I'm not even sure where I should begin. Hood to Coast was amazing. Nuun, and everyone who works there, is amazing. My nuun-mates are amazing.

(Nuun Platuun Van 2: Casey, XLMIC, Harmony, Jess, me, Susan, and Kim)

Even all the missteps were amazing (well, maybe amazingly funny or amazingly frustrating). Honestly, I'm don't even know if my recap will do my experience any justice.

But regardless, the recap is going to have to wait, as today is my first full day home since August 18th. I have no clue what's going on here and I need to get my butt in gear. So, to hold you over, here are some of my favorite pictures from the weekend ...

P.S. Today is the LAST DAY to enter my wicked awesome Running Skirts raffle. The winner will take home a COMPLETE OUTFIT from Running Skirts. Shirt. Skirt. Socks. Gear Bag. Winner takes all.

All you need to do is make a donation HERE. For every $5 you donate, you get one entry. All of the details can be found HERE. And as an extra incentive to donate, if you make a contribution TODAY, I will give you five (5) bonus entries to the raffle. Plus, you'll earn some good karma. So what are you waiting for?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Three Things Thursday ...

Blogger Brunch - On Sunday, J's parents and I took the girls to New Hampshire for some outdoor adventures, including gondola riding/hiking and Storyland. On the way up, the girls and I stopped at the Black Forest Cafe to have brunch with Rene and her two youngest children.

It was awesome. The food was amazing. The kids totally got along (and were planning future playdates). And Rene is awesomesauce. She so needs to move to Virginia. I'm not sure I can convince her, but she is visiting for the Richmond Marathon in November. And I can not wait to see her again.

Cupcakes - Yesterday, I drove the 11 hours home from Rhode Island with three children who were in fine form. Full on tantrums. Biting. Kicking. And yelling (sometimes out of joy, sometimes out of agony). It was rough. But when I came home, I found this on my dresser.

Who has the best husband ever? Yeah, that's right. I do.

Free Stuff and Good Karma - Thanks to some amazing generosity from so many of you, I have reached my $3,000 goal! I can not express my gratitude enough. For each $25 that Grassroot Soccer raises, one child will be educated to be an agent of change against HIV/AIDS in his or her community.

Thus, I have no intention of stopping here and you still have time to make a donation. Plus, any contribution you make will earn you entry in my wicked awesome Running Skirts raffle. The winner will take home a COMPLETE OUTFIT from Running Skirts. Shirt. Skirt. Socks. Gear Bag. Winner takes all.

All you need to do is make a donation HERE. For every $5 you donate, you get one entry. All of the details can be found HERE. And as an extra incentive to donate, if you make a contribution TODAY, I will give you five (5) bonus entries to the raffle. Plus, you'll earn some good karma. So what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hood to Coast Preview ...

Unless you live in a bubble, you probably know that this Friday and Saturday, I will be running Hood to Coast (a.k.a. the Mother of All Relays) with Nuun Platuun (and our sister team, AfterNUUN Delite). I'll be joined by 19 other amazing blogging runners and 4 Nuun staff members for a 197 mile, two day adventure.

To say that I am excited would be an understatement.

I know that running this relay, while being sponsored by Nuun, is pretty much a once in a lifetime chance (Yes, I am trying to make you jealous). And considering I live 3,000 miles or so from Oregon, it's probably the only time I'll ever run this race. Thus, I plan to make the most of it.

So, here's what I have in mind ...

1. Have fun.
2. Spread the Nuun love.
3. Take lots of pictures.
4. Look fantastic.
5. Run strong, meaning stick as close to those prediction times as possible.

And speaking of those prediction times, here's what I have ahead of me:

Leg 11: Leg on Springwater trail over relatively rolling to flat terrain
Distance: 4.84 mile
Predicted Times: 40:34 (8:22 pace)

Leg 23: Basically flat terrain on narrow country roads with minimal shoulder
Distance: 4.18 mile
Predicted Times: 33:52 (8:06 pace)

Leg 35: Gently rolling terrain on a combination of paved and gravel roads
Distance: 8.09 mile
Predicted Times: 1:13:58 (9:08 pace)

Needless to say, this is going to be interesting. I'm not really sure how they figured out those paces (OK, they used my 10K time), but if they say I can, then I guess I can, right?

And because I know you want to track the Nuun teams all weekend long (both teams start at 12:30 on Friday), I'm going to give you about a zillion (or five) ways to do that.

1. Follow me on Twitter (@tmbrunnerfirst) HERE
2. Follow Nuun Platuun on Twitter (@NuunPlatuun) HERE
3. Follow AfterNUUN Delite on Twitter (@AfterNUUNDelite) HERE
4. "Like" Racing With Babes on Facebook HERE
5. "Like" Bloggers spreading the Nuun Love on Facebook HERE

Let Operation Hydration commence ...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Subway Baseball DeSIGNS (giveaway)

Although, I am primarily a runner now, that wasn't always the case. As a child, I focused my energies on team sports. At the age of three, I began playing soccer, something I would continue for 15 years. Then, when I was six, I added basketball to my schedule. And eventually, as a teen, track and field.

Year in and year out, I was part of a team. It was a time in my life that I wouldn't trade for anything. During those formative years, I learned to both support and depend on others. I established self confidence and drive. I gained strength and humility. All lessons I have carried into adulthood.

And now that I have my own children, I expect them to participate in team sports, as well. I want them to experience what I did, to enjoy being active and to learn lessons that they will carry with them for a lifetime.

I'm sure most parents would want the same. Don't you?

Answer the question "What life lessons do kids learn from playing team sports?" for a chance to win a $500 gift certificate for sporting equipment for your child’s team.

Want to help more children stay active by playing team sports? Go to SUBWAY® Baseball DeSIGNS Auction onEbay. All proceeds go to the Little League Urban Initiative, which helps fund inner-city youth leagues and teams.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SUBWAY® Baseball DeSIGNS. The opinions and text are all mine. The $500 Gift Certificate Giveaway Contest runs from August 19 - 28, 2011. A random winner will be announced by September 1, 2011. Official Contest Rules.

Friday, August 19, 2011

potential ...

In case you didn't realize, I live in a sauna. A sauna named Virginia. It is at least somewhat warm, year-round. In fact, as long as you are running during daylight hours, it's very likely that you don't need to own a pair of running tights.

In some ways, this is awesome. I can almost always get outside for a run. I'm never afraid that I am going to get frostbite and if I time my runs correctly, there is almost no chance of heat stroke. (Unfortunately, it can be really challenging to run at 3 a.m.)

The major problem with the warmth of the area is that I never get an accurate gauge of my running "potential."

Think about it. Numerous studies have shown that runners perform best when the temperatures are between 41 and 55 degrees. Do you know how many days fall in that range in Virginia? About 6.

Thus, I have run very few times in "ideal" conditions. In fact, it's rare that I race when it is cooler than 60 degrees. The two times I did in recent history, I ran wicked fast. Like a 33:50 marathon PR fast.

Recently, though, I have felt like I just can't find my speed. I am currently training for a sub-4 marathon, but most days I struggle to hold a pace that would just give me a PR. I know that this is mostly due to the fact that the average temperature when I run is around 78 degrees with 70% humidity. That take a toll on your pace. And your confidence.

Honestly, I was feeling unsure about my ability to run strong during Hood to Coast. My final leg is the longest of any on the course (8.09 miles) and I will be running it alone. Without an iPod. On close to no sleep. And above all, I don't want to let my teammates down.

So, yesterday, I set out on a run in Rhode Island. 6 miles in much cooler temperatures with little humidity. I left the iPod at home and hoped to mimic what my Hood to Coast legs will be like.

Mile 1 felt easy. 9:24.
Mile 2, I knew I was going to run 8 instead of 6. 9:05.
Miles 3 and 4, piece of cake. 9:01. 8:49.
Turnaround, then mile 5. 8:50.
Mile 6, couldn't believe there were only 2 miles left. 9:00.
Mile 7, Spotted a deer, a fox and DEM. 8:51
Mile 8, I so have this. 8:50.

Do you know what my goal marathon pace is?


Do you know what 8:50 felt like?

Conversational pace.

Confidence restored.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Three Things Thursday ...

Road Trip - Yesterday morning, the girls and I embarked on a road trip from Virginia to Rhode Island and after six bathroom breaks and 11 hours of Radio Disney, we arrived. I stepped out of the car tired, sore and hungry. The girls bounced out like I had poured sugar down their throats the entire ride. Go figure.

Anyway, we will be in New England visiting J's family until next Wednesday when we will have the pleasure of traversing the 440 miles home again. Oh and did I mention that we should be arriving home a mere 12 hours before my flight takes off for Seattle and Hood to Coast with Nuun Platuun? Sounds like a great plan, right?

NYC Revelations - As we drove past NYC yesterday, I said to the girls, "Look out Dizzle's window and you will see NYC." They did and then Dizzle and I had this exchange ...

Dizzle: "Mom, that's NYC? It's extra humungous."
Me: "Yes, it is really big. Millions of people live there. Did you know that I am going to run my next marathon there?"
Dizzle: "Really? So, are you going to run from one end to the other and back?"
Me: "Yeah, something like that."
Dizzle: "Wow, you are going to get doubly sweaty. Really, mom, the city is SO BIG! I guess that's why they call it the 'BIG CITY' "

Thanks, Captain Obvious.

Free Stuff and Good Karma
- Have you entered my wicked awesome Running Skirts raffle to raise funds for Grassroot Soccer (My NYC Marathon Charity Team). The winner will take home a COMPLETE OUTFIT from Running Skirts. Shirt. Skirt. Socks. Gear Bag. Winner takes all. I am just $434 away from hitting my $3000 goal and I need your help to get there!

All you need to do is make a donation HERE. For every $5 you donate, you get one entry. All of the details can be found HERE. And as an extra incentive to donate, if you make a contribution TODAY, I will give you five (5) bonus entries to the raffle. Plus, you'll earn some good karma. So what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

the "whys" ...

Did you ever wonder why I run?

Maybe it's because I have to balance my cupcake intake. Maybe it's because I need an excuse for dressing in all of those bright running clothes I own. Maybe it's because I like to torture myself.

It's kind of all of those things, but, the real reason I pound the pavement, day in and day out is explained in my guest post over at Another Mother Runner.

You can check it out HERE.

Well, what are you waiting for? Go ...

Oh, and a special thank you to SBS and Dimity for letting me speak to "The Tribe" and self-indulge even more than I already do ...

Monday, August 15, 2011

5,013 ...

Four years ago this week, I started running. At the time, I didn't really know what to expect.

I hated to run.
I NEVER finished the timed mile in high school.
I faked illness to get out of any run longer than 800 meters.

But, for some crazy reason, when I was eight months pregnant with Doodle, I set a goal to run a 10K by the end of the year. Yet, by the beginning of August, I still couldn't run a mile without stopping. The possibility of a 10K seemed very slim.

Then, a few of my friends decided to run a 5K as a team. I signed on, figuring I had to bite the bullet if I was ever going to make my goal. And so it began. They all trained together. I trained alone - just in case I failed.

The weeks passed (six to be exact) and on the last Saturday in September, I ran my first 5K. It was the first time I ever ran 3 miles without stopping. It was the most glorious and maybe most painful (aside from childbirth) 31 minutes of my life. I knew I wasn't done with running after that 5K and my goal of a 10K by the end of the year became a half marathon in March. That half marathon never happened though, instead I switched to the full, because I either "Go Big or Go Home."

Now, four years later, I laugh at my stupidity. Who starts training for a marathon only two months after their first 5K? It was a bad idea. I got injured. I was mentally defeated during the race. I kind of wish I had done it differently. But, I can't take it back, I can only adapt how I train now and marvel at how far I have come in the last four years.

Yesterday morning, I ran my 5,013th mile since becoming a runner in 2007. Over those 5,013 miles, I have ...
  • made and lost friends.
  • found my "running style" (skirts and socks, obviously ...)
  • had two running injuries (the same thing both times)
  • determined that I am a runner first, logical thinker second.
  • run through an entire pregnancy, including a 10K race at 35 weeks and 8 miles two days before delivery.
  • completed 4 marathons, cutting my time by 51 minutes.
  • completed 11 half marathons, cutting my time by 41 minutes.
  • won my division at a four miler.
  • placed third in my division at a sprint triathlon, despite not biking or swimming for two year prior to the race.
  • I crashed my bike at Muddy Buddy and had a total AC Separation.
  • convinced J to run his first, second and now third half marathon.
  • paced Dizzle in her first 5K, a month before her sixth birthday.
  • held hands with Doodle as she crossed the finish line of her first race at age three.
  • been featured in Runner's World.
  • found my passion.
  • become certified as a running coach.
  • pushed myself and all the limits I thought I had.
  • changed myself both inside and out.
Here's to the next 5,000 miles ...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Aspaeris Pivot Shorts Winner ...

Remember those sweet Aspaeris Pivot Shorts I was giving away? The ones I love so much that I sleep in them pretty much every night? The ones that give my quads the squeeze that they need?

Well, I've decided to keep them for myself. I really need another pair so that my current ones can be washed more often.

OK, so I'm kidding. I'm pretty sure Aspaeris isn't going to let me keep them (but I will take another pair, if they want to send them. *hint, hint*).

And now for the winner ...

There were 215 entries and thanks to, the winner is

#162 - Jennica @ Miss Jennica

Congrats! Please email me at racingwithbabes (at) yahoo (dot) com with your size, color preference and mailing address to claim your prize.

And if you didn't win, head over to the Aspaeris site HERE and use the code "NOACLHURT" for $10 off a pair of Pivot Shorts.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Three Things Thursday ...

Busch Gardens - Yesterday, I had the crazy idea to take the girls and meet Katye and her family at Busch Gardens. They are visiting for a few days and we didn't have plans, so it worked out quite well. Unfortunately, we only got to spend a short time with them (lunch and a few rides), but we had a blast.

And I only regretted attacking Busch Gardens with a 6, 4 and 2 year old a few thousand times. OK, I'm kidding. Mostly.

Change in Plans - As you may recall, I have been following a modified version of the Hanson Brothers plan from Runner's World. I love this plan, but, and this is a big but, a six day a week schedule leaves little room for flexibility or rest. I started feeling tied to this schedule and I refuse to sacrifice my family life to get my runs in. It just won't happen.

So, I made another slight modification to the plan. I added a rest day by making Tuesdays "double days." Easy run in the morning. Speedwork at night. This means I can still get all my miles in, but I also gain an extra rest day (or the ability to throw in an unscheduled run, if I'd like). Now my plan looks like this ...

Talk about trial and error.

Free Stuff
- Have you entered my wicked awesome Running Skirts raffle to raise funds for Grassroot Soccer (My NYC Marathon Charity Team). The winner will take home a COMPLETE OUTFIT from Running Skirts. Shirt. Skirt. Socks. Gear Bag. Winner takes all.

All you need to do is make a donation HERE. For every $5 you donate, you get one entry. All of the details can be found HERE. And as an extra incentive to donate, if you make a contribution TODAY, I will give you five (5) bonus entries to BOTH the raffle and my Aspaeris Pivot Short Giveaway which ends tonight. So what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Open letter to Doodle ...

Dear Doodle,

I do not know what's going on with you lately. You've always been "heated", but these fits of yelling and aggression are NOT OK with me. They are draining and taxing and test my limits and I've had enough. I freaking surrender. You win.

Except, I'm not sure what you've won, because I can't figure out what the heck you're so worked up about anyway.

All I know is that your behavior is soul crushing. It breaks me and makes me want to walk away. Or yell. Or cry. And honestly, today, it's done all of those things. I do not know how handle you. Do you not see how your actions are affecting me? Can you not see the hurt on my face? Stop asking for "one more chance," I've given you a thousand.

What is happening here? You want for nothing. And you are treated no differently than anyone else in this household. We all live by the same rules. Do you not see this?

Perhaps, it's because you are four and you can't figure out how to express yourself any other way ...

Perhaps, it's because you are a middle child and you feel "invisible" ...

Perhaps, it's because you have low blood sugar ...

I don't know. I am at a complete loss. I have no clue of what course of action to take. Help me, Doodle. You are driving me crazy.

I love you, even when I can't stand you.


Monday, August 8, 2011

it's a choice ...

I'm going to admit it. At times, I can be judgmental (and I am quite positive that most everyone else is too).

It's not like I care what you are wearing. Or how you've styled you hair. I don't think twice about whether your designer bag is real or a knock-off. I'm just not into things like that.

I don't think you are a bad parent because you can't get your child to stop screaming when you are in the middle of the department store (I've been that person). And I almost never assume that bad service at a restaurant is solely the fault of the server (it almost never is).

But, I almost always pass judgement of others' food choices when I'm standing in line at the grocery store. I know, it's a dumb thing to get worked up about. But, it infuriates me.

When I see the checkout belt filled with processed junk and soda and candy and void of fresh foods, I want to grab the person in front of me and scream, "THIS IS NOT HOW YOU NEED TO FUEL YOUR BODY!"

And the only thing that bothers me more, is when they are shopping with their children. Buying (and then eating) all that crap doesn't teach the next generation how to be healthy individuals. As adults, especially parents, we need to LEAD BY EXAMPLE. We need to halt and then reverse the epidemic of obesity. Not encourage it.

It's really not more expensive to eat whole, fresh foods. Think about it? How much does your morning coffee drink (filled with sugar and fat) cost? $3-4, right? Well, for $3-4 you could get 2-3 pounds of apples. That's a heck of a lot more filling than a 16 oz coffee drink.

And just like eating healthy doesn't mean spending a fortune, the cost of exercising (equipment, gear, memberships) is actually SMALLER than the cost of being obese and unhealthy.

I can't think of a single valid argument for living an unhealthy life.

You don't have to by junk. You CHOOSE to.
It's not that you don't have time to exercise. You CHOOSE not to MAKE time.
It's not that you CAN'T. It's that you WON'T.

The power is in your hands.

I take charge of that power EVERY SINGLE DAY and I want to help others to do the same. That's why I became a group exercise instructor. And then a running coach. And now a Beachbody coach.

I CHOOSE to be healthy.
I CHOOSE to exercise.
I CHOOSE to eat well (most of the time).
I CHOOSE to be an example for my children.
I CHOOSE to support the people around me.
I CHOOSE to be the best me possible.

And you can too.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Aspaeris Pivot Shorts Review and Giveaway ...

Recently, I was given the opportunity to test out a pair of compression shorts from a new company named Aspaeris.

Aspaeris, a New Haven, CT based company, is developing products with the female athlete in mind.

"Aspaeris was created because women’s sports are evolving at a lightening pace. In just a few generations after Title IX, the Moms who once played competitive sports like lacrosse in the 70’s now watch their daughters play a much different game. Young women athletes push their bodies to their limit. They jump, turn and pivot with ever-increasing determination and drive. An unfortunate result is that these athletes suffer a wide range of injuries.

Our mission is to create technical performance apparel to address the complex needs of female athletes. Our product designs are built using continuous feedback from athletes. We seek to constantly evolve and improve our next generation of products so that they adapt to whatever standard our athletes seek to achieve.

A company that wants to give the consumer exactly what they want and need. Sign me up.

I was sent the first product in Aspaeris's line, the Pivot Shorts (retail for $60) in a size Medium, to test and was eager to try them out. Personally, I am a huge believer in the benefits of compression gear. I wear compression socks and sleeves pretty much daily. However, despite my constant complaining about quad fatigue, I had yet to cave in and buy compression shorts (I have worn them around the store, though).

When the shorts arrived, the first thing I noticed was the size. They were SO TINY. I really didn't think I would be able to put them on. Here's a picture of the Pivot Shorts on top of my very small bike shorts. Note the size difference ...

Somehow, after much tugging, pulling and squatting, I got them on. And jumped on the treadmill for a six mile run.

At first, the compression seemed to be a bit much for my cold muscles, but a few minutes into the run the Pivot Shorts settled into place and my quads felt fantastic. The shorts stayed put (probably because they were basically glued to me) and I had no problems with chaffing. It was awesome.

But like with any compression product, it is hard to assess it's effectiveness until the next day. I knew that if the Pivot Shorts did their job, my legs would feel strong on my long run the next morning, less than 10 hours later.

Do you know how that run went? It was my best run post-surgery. It was one of those days that I could have kept running. Sure, it wasn't entirely due to the Pivot Shorts, but I am confident that they contributed.

And do you know when the Pivot Shorts perform even better? During recovery. I swear that as soon as I put them on post-long run, I felt instant relief. Heaven in a pair of shorts.

How bad do you want to try these? Well, thanks to Aspaeris, one lucky reader will win a pair of Pivot Shorts of their own. Here's how to enter:

REQUIRED: Visit the Aspaeris website HERE. Then comment to let me know one thing you learned.

1. Follow this blog. Leave a comment.
2. Follow Aspaeris on Twitter HERE. Leave a comment.
3. Like Aspaeris on Facebook HERE. Leave a comment.
4. Follow me on Twitter HERE. Leave a comment.
5. Like Racing With Babes on Facebook HERE. Leave a comment.
6. Repost this giveaway on your blog, Facebook or Twitter (be sure to include @tmbrunnerfirst and @AspaerisPivot in the tweet). Leave a comment.

Entries will be accepted until Thursday, August 11th. Winner will be randomly selected and announced on Friday, August 12th.

Note: I was sent this product free of charge to review. However, the opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Three Things Thursday ...

Speed - Ever since returning to running (June 1) after my surgery, I have been focused on slowly building my mileage. I've skipped all forms of speedwork, despite the fact that the posse holds weekly hill repeat sessions. Part of me felt like a slacker. And the other part of me knew that I couldn't build my distance and speed at the same time (and neither should you).

Anyway, I vowed to add the speedwork back into my schedule once the San Francisco Half was out of the way. And that's exactly what I did. Last night, I hit the treadmill for 800m repeats ...

(This is how you dress to run repeats on your treadmill when no one is going to see you, right?)

After a quick warmup, I did 6 x 800m @ 7:30 @ 0% incline (equals 7:49 pace on the road/track) with a 400m jog in between. By the last one, I was definitely spent but I felt strong. And if we are being honest here, I was more concerned for my treadmill than for me. I'm pretty sure he's on his last leg. Boo!

And then this morning, after a full 9 hour rest, I met the posse for hill repeats. 1.5 mile warmup, 7 repeats (.13 mile) @ 10K pace (splits: 0:58, 0:59, 0:59, 0:58, 0:59, 0:59, 0:57), 1 mile cooldown. Basically, I am a human metronome. Be jealous.

Speedwork, you've got nothing on me ...

Running Skirts - In case you missed it, on Monday, I posted my latest raffle to raise funds for Grassroot Soccer (My NYC Marathon Charity Team). The winner will take home a COMPLETE OUTFIT from Running Skirts. Shirt. Skirt. Socks. Gear Bag. Winner takes all.

All you need to do is make a donation HERE. For every $5 you donate, you get one entry. All of the details can be found HERE. And as an extra incentive to donate, if you make a contribution TODAY, I will give you five (5) bonus entries. So what are you waiting for?

Nuun - As you know, I am running Hood to Coast later this month with Nuun Platuun. The lovely Kerrie T. made our team this sweet logo ...

Basically, I am in love.

And if you'd love to try Nuun, here's your chance. From now until September 30th, you can save 25% on your order from Nuun HERE. Just use the code "nuunplatuun" at checkout.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

San Francisco Half Marathon Recap ...

Location: San Francisco, CA
Date: 7/31/11
Temperature: 54 degrees
Official Time: 2:04:09 for 13.1 (9:29 per mile)
Garmin Time: 2:04:09 for 13.26 (9:21 per mile)
Place in Age Group: 208/1067
Place in Gender: 569/3547
Overall Place: 1565/6255

The Good:

Lululemon Pre-Race Shake-Out Run: On Saturday morning, G and I met up with our buddy Bart Yasso (and 40 or so other runners) for an easy 3 miles hosted by Lululemon.

It was a super way to see some of San Francisco by foot and to spend some time with our West Coast blogging buddies, including Aron, Katie A., Rad Runner and Alyssa (They are all wicked cool. Be jealous).Afterward, we headed to the Ferry Building (basically my favorite place on the planet) for coffee and some delicious vegan donuts.Yum!

The Location/Views: San Francisco is an awesome city and the race course offers some amazing views. This is a shot from Vista Point, mile 7.5 of the race.

Plus, how many people can say they have run across the Golden Gate Bridge? Not many. And that experience makes running this race an experience not to be missed.

Race Logistics: The San Francisco Half Marathon is hands down the best run race I have ever encountered. From expo to finish line to post-race shuttle, everything went off without a hitch. Plus, the race tees and medals were sweet. I know of quite a few races that could benefit from adopting some of the procedures used by this race.

International Running Flag of Friendship: I got the chance to add to the International Running Flag of Friendship during this race. Here I am with my flag ...

If you don't know how the IRFoF works, each participant runs with a small flag of their choice and then it is sewn onto a larger collective flag. Then after you're done, it gets passed along to another person. I think it's a cool concept to unite runners from across the globe.

Miles 1-10: G and I had been told by more than one person that after mile 10, the course was "fairly flat." We took that to mean that the major climbs were before mile 10 and then after that there would be "rolling" hills. Um, no.

We crushed the first 10 miles. We were on pace to get G her sub-2. We flew over the bridge. Even the monster hill at mile 10 didn't break us. Then the downhill at mile 11 helped us gain back whatever we had lost on the last climb. If it had been "fairly flat," we would have been fine. But we were spent. We executed our race strategy perfectly. Unfortunately, our race strategy didn't match the course ...

Running with Kim: G and I were fortunate enough to meet up with Kim and her hubby, S, before the race.
It was awesome to see her again and to log the first few miles of the race together (we ran You Go Girl! last September on Team Will Run for Ice Cream). We had a blast spending time with them and I think we are uber-close to getting them to visit us for an East Coast race ...

The Weather: 54 degrees. Overcast. Light Winds. Can you really beat that?

Our Outfits: G and I wore the Team Sparkle Traveling Skirts for the race.

And like usual, we were wicked cute and got about a zillion shout-outs along the course ...

The Bad:

No Sub-2: After crushing the race through mile 10, our legs died. And so did a sub-2 half. But G did walk away with a PR, so it wasn't a total fail ...

The Ugly:

Miles 11.5 - 13.1:
After a mile long down hill from 10.5-11.5 (which trashed my quads), we thought it was supposed to be "fairly flat." Instead, we were faced with a mile long climb up to Golden Gate Park. My legs had NOTHING left. It was soul crushing. We should have known though. This was a sign at the expo ...

Our Post-Race Attire: G and I planned to spend the day in San Francisco after the race (we stayed in Berkeley). So, we packed our bags with clothes to change into. Except that we kind of didn't bring pants or new bras, which left us walking around in wet clothing. Fortunately, we hadn't gotten rid of our pre-race "throw-aways," giving us something to wear. Unfortunately, we looked like two homeless people walking the streets ...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

July Rewind ...

Seven months down, five to go. Here's my recap of July 2011 ...

Run Miles Planned/Miles Ran:

Bike Miles Planned/Mile Rode: 0 (I should probably start planning these)/93

Rest Days Planned/Rest Days Taken: 4/5

Highest Run Mileage Week: 7/25-7/31: 42.46 miles

Highest Bike Mileage Week: 7/4-7/10: 50 miles

Long Runs Planned/Long Runs Completed: 5/5 (with a post-surgery distance PR of 13.26 miles)

Current Book: Amazingly, I read one and a half books this month. On my way to San Francisco, I read The Runner's Rule Book (a quick fun read, FYI) by Mark Remy and on the way back, I started Running on Empty by Marshall Ulrich.

Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: The shear amount of food I consumed in San Francisco. Oops!

Current Colors: Pink and Turquoise

Current Drink: Dunkin Donuts Coffee. The hot variety. (Yes, I realize it's summer. But I am ALWAYS cold.)

Current Song: Determinate - Lemonade Mouth

Current Triumph: I hit 1,000 running miles last week. And I've raised 65% of my fundraising goal for NYC (click HERE to donate). Things are total awesomesauce ...

Current Goal: Stick to the training plan and crush NYC ...

Current Blessing: I feel like my whole life is one big blessing and I am entirely grateful.

Current Excitement: Hood to Coast. Only 23 days until I leave!

2011 Goals - Status Update:

  • Clean up my diet - I am tracking my food religiously at SparkPeople, survived my sugar detox and have been able to add a small amount of sweets back in without causing a total binge.
  • Eat no more than 25 cupcakes - As of August 2nd - 18 cupcakes eaten
  • Pay off our consumer debt by the end of the year - We have paid off over half of our consumer debt and are on track to be credit card debt free in 11 months. Plus, we are on track to have our student loans eliminated by February 2013, five month ahead of our schedule. And 10 years faster than if we let it go to term.
  • Spend $0 on clothing - As of August 2nd - $173 spent - I caved and bought some stuff from Lululemon.
  • Run 2,000 miles - As of August 2nd - 1031.71 miles run.
  • Run a sub 1:55 half marathon - Next race - 10/16, Newport Half Marathon
  • Take 30+ minutes off my marathon - Completed - 3/26, National Marathon, 4:15:48, 33:50 PR.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Running Skirts Virtual Skirt Basket ...

This November, I will be running the NYC Marathon with Team Grassroot Soccer, a fantastic organization who's mission is to educate, inspire and mobilize youth to stop the spread of HIV.

And as you probably know by now, I am a huge Running Skirts fan. At last count, I had 32 of their skirts, in addition to several tops and five pairs of RunLove Compression Socks. Basically, I am a walking billboard for the company (Note: I wore their white running skirt in the August 2011 issue of Runner's World).

With that said, it only seemed natural that I team up with Running Skirts to raise funds for Grassroot Soccer. Thanks to the generosity of the Running Skirts twins, Cindy and Christy, I have an AWESOME Virtual Skirt Basket to raffle off.

One VERY LUCKY winner will receive the following (winner's choice of size and color):
  • Top
  • Skirt
  • RunLove Compression Socks
  • Gear Bag
Pretty awesome, right? I know you don't want to miss out on this one. So, here's how to enter:

REQUIRED: Make a NEW donation to my NYC Marathon Fundraising HERE. For every $5 you donate, you will receive one (1) entry. If you have donated in the past, you MUST still make a NEW donation. However, your total number of entries will be based on the total amount you have donated (Example: $50 previously donated + a new $10 donation = $60 or 12 entries). Once you've donated, leave a comment to let me know the TOTAL amount you've donated.

  • Become a follower. Leave a comment
  • "Like" Racing With Babes on Facebook HERE. Leave a comment.
  • Follow me on Twitter HERE. Leave a comment.
  • "Like" Running Skirts on Facebook HERE and let them know I sent you. Leave a comment.
  • Follow Running Skirts on Twitter HERE. Leave a comment.
  • Repost this raffle on your blog, Facebook or Twitter (Be sure to include @tmbrunnerfirst and @running_skirts in your tweet). Leave a comment.
Entries will be accepted until Tuesday, August 30th at 11:59 p.m. Winner will be randomly selected and announced on Wednesday, August 31st.