Thursday, July 31, 2014

PRO Compression Review + 40% Off!

I was given the opportunity to review PRO Compression socks because I'm a Sweat Pink Ambassador through FitApproach. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 
I've been a big fan of PRO Compression socks since I bought my first pair three years ago and was thrilled when I was given the opportunity to review them.

Let's start with the basics. 

What are compression socks and why do you see runners running wearing tube socks?

The "tube socks" help improve blood flow, provide comfort while running and help speed up recovery times. Since I love my PRO Compression socks and have a few pairs, I wear a pair on my longer runs as well as a pair after my run to help with recovery. If I run with my socks on and then put on a pair after my run, I have very little soreness in my calves the next day...and that's with 18+ mile runs!

I wore my awesome black compression socks for my 10 mile race this past weekend. After cleaning for nearly eight hours on Saturday, my legs were SORE so I decided that PRO Compression socks were going to be part of my race day attire. It was a wise decision because it helped my legs not feel so heavy, especially later in the race. 

During the race, a fellow runner asked if the compression socks were hot. Absolutely NOT! They are light weight, moisture wicking and who gets sweaty calves when they run anyways?!

I also wore my socks on an eight mile trail run after work this week. Since trail running is a bit tougher than road running, and because I don't do it often, I figured it would be a great opportunity to try out the socks. My legs were tired but after the trail run but I woke up the next day without any calf tightness. 

What else do I love about PRO Compression socks?
  • They feel amazing after a long run. After my long runs, I look forward to putting on a clean pair of PRO Compression socks. It a feeling until any other. The folks at PRO Compression should come up with a full body compression because that would feel amazing after a long run to have every inch of my body covered in compression material. 
  • They look cool. There are a TON of colors to choose from and PRO Compression is always coming out with a new sock design. 
  • The socks are budget friendly. Each month there's a new sock of the month which is 40% off! 
Everyone loves a good deal so take 40% off YOUR ENTIRE ORDER (!!!!) of PRO Compression socks of your choice using the coupon code PINK.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Race Recap: Green Bay Marathon

It had been over six months since I last ran a marathon and I was so thrilled to run another on Sunday. I ran the Green Bay Marathon for the second time and was up for a little redemption after last year's mess. I hadn't planned on running a spring marathon this year but when I heard there was a new course, a new start time and a much smaller race, I decided to sign up.

Training didn't go exactly as expected, but does marathon training ever do? Nope. I was still excited to run another marathon

On Saturday, I did my usual pre-race ritual of packing, staying hydrating, eating lots of food and attending the expo to pick up my race packet (where I signed up to do another marathon this fall). I stayed the night at my uncle's house since it is somewhat close to the race. I had a delicious pre-race meal of roasted chicken, mashed sweet potatoes and some paleo naan along with glass of red wine.

I didn't get as much sleep as I wanted so when my alarm went off at 5:00 AM, the last thing I wanted to do was get up to run a marathon. I made it to the starting line about fifteen minutes before the start and, of course, I had to go to the bathroom. I HATE not having enough time to go to the bathroom before a race because it's such a freaking pain to stop along the course. 

The start of the race was really chilly and windy. I didn't want to deal with having to ditch clothes during the first couple miles so I just wore my shorts and t-shirt and dealt with the wind and cold until I warmed up during the first mile. 

With less than 2000 runners at the start of the race, it was much less congested than last year. I listened a the pacer coach his group on how to do the run/walk strategy and once I got sick of listening to him, the headphones went on and I was in my own little world. The first several miles were kind of in the middle of nowhere away from spectators. The only thing to look at was the railroad museum (weird?) and industrial buildings.

The bathroom break came between miles three and four which took about two minutes. Apparently runners pee fast during a race; there were several runners ahead of me in line but two minutes is all it took. After my little break, I decided on a goal for the race: have fun and enjoy it. 

Around mile five, the course went through a downtown-ish area of a small town, though a neighborhood and then, by mile 10, the dreaded and hot Fox River trail. I remember it so well last year; it's where I fell apart. There is no shade on the trail whatsoever and the sun reflecting off the pavement is killer, especially when you've trained in single digit temps and your body isn't used to running in the warm temps. I thought I was going to come apart like last year around mile 12. I saw my mom and Ryan for the second time and I told them that the race wasn't going to end well. I walked through all of the water stops (about four) and tried to keep it together. I just kept telling myself to keep running and not to stop for more than ten seconds. 

Around mile 14, my strategy paid off and I snapped out of the funk I was in, picked up my pace a bit and I was enjoying the race again. I'm not really sure what happened between miles 14 through 18 but it was nothing exciting. I believe I was thinking about wedding stuff during those miles.

Around mile 18 or 19 the course continued on a high school track which was really weird, especially during a marathon. I hate the smell of tracks. It reminds me of running track in high school and how much I hated did not enjoy it. Apparently this track/field was where the Green Bay Packer's first played. Or practiced. I don't know. All I know is that it was weird. Thanks to the track, I got lot of pieces of rubber in my shoes so I had to stop and empty those out along with the stone that had been in my shoe for the last 15 miles. After emptying my shoes of the debris, I ran two steps and then realized my shoes were too tight so I had to fix them again. Annoying.

The next few miles were around some sketchy neighborhoods on the trail for a hot minute (literally) and then back to more neighborhoods. I started to get pretty darn excited when I saw Lambeau Field and only had a couple miles to go. I was then running in front of the stadium and was pleasantly surprised by all the spectators along the road. It was when I needed some crowd support the most. I was pretty darn tired, everything hurt, I wanted to rip off my water belt and I wanted my medal.

One mile to go and I found myself looking up at a gradual hill. Great, thanks for that, race director. Normally hills don't bother me, I'm pretty used to them but at mile 25 of a marathon?! Come on! I was a wimp and walked up it. Everyone else was walking around me anyways. Up over the hill and just around the corner was the downhill entrance to Lambeau. I started to feel really good, like I could keep running for miles, so I picked up my pace and ran with a smile on my face the last mile of the marathon. 

There was a downhill to get inside the stadium with the finish line on the other side of the chain link fence. I was having fun and feeling good so I was cheering for the runners who were close to the finish line who may have needed some encouragement. I entered Lambeau and enjoyed the scenery, looking up at the stands trying to imagine what it's like to play on a field like that. 

Once I exited the stadium I was presented with another gradual hill to the finish line. I gave it all I had left, which wasn't much, and crossed the finish line with my arms up in the air. And then dry heaved for several minutes afterwards. 

No marathon is complete without celebrating all the hard work and time that goes into training. Unfortunately, the 26.2 beer was not available after the race but don't worry, I found a different beer to drink. I also ate a lot and then got home and drank more beer. Beer is so good after a run. 

On Monday, I went on a walk for my recovery. I was only planning on walking three miles but it was such a beautiful day and I had off of work so I wanted to enjoy every minutes of it. I ended up walking five miles through a park and on a trail in the woods. Tuesday was worse than Monday. My knees hurt the most but only when going up and down stairs. I'm itching to go on a run but I think I need to take a few more days off, maybe just do some easy yoga.

No matter how many marathons I run, that feeling of finishing is none like any other. That feeling is what keeps me going when I want to quit. That feeling is what gets me out of bed when all I want to do is sleep in. That feeling is something that only marathoners understand. That feeling is unforgettable. 

Marathon #7 is complete!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

My Oatmeal Review

As a Sweat Pink Ambassador, I was giving this product to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

My Oatmeal is an awesome company that lets you create your own custom oatmeal! Why didn't I think of that?! You can create your own blend using your preferred type of oats, add your flavors, sweeteners and any toppings such as fruit and nuts. 

Here's what my custom oatmeal consisted of:

My Oatmeal
Gluten Free Quick Rolled Oates
Gingerbread Flavoring


Yes, it's a bit boring but I prefer my oatmeal with a tad of flavor and without sweeteners. 

I was running late for work the other day (typical) and didn't have time to make my beloved eggs so I cooked up some oats for my to-go breakfast. The directions were easy to follow and allows you to cook whatever portion size you are hungry for. I used a half of cup of oats and a cup of water, boiled on the stove for 90 seconds and breakfast was ready! I was pleasantly surprised how quick the quick oats actually were. I've made quick oats before that weren't exactly "quick". 

The flavor was great! It was just a tad sweet with a hint of gingerbread with the apples being a nice compliment to the gingerbread flavor. It tasted like I had added fresh, not dried, apples to my oats. The oats were cooked to perfection; not too hard and not too mushy. 

Now that I have made my custom oatmeal, I'll be creating more flavors and may even get more daring on my recipes!

My Oatmeal will be fueling my next marathon on Sunday!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fuel Your Better: Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator

I received this this product complementary from the good folks at Vega. All thoughts and options are my own.

I'm a big fan of Vega's chocolate and vanilla protein shakes so when the opportunity came to review the Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator, I was excited to try it out. 

According to Vega, the recovery accelerator targets six key elements for post-workout recovery: 
  • Muscle glycogen replenishment
  • Muscle tissue repair and protein synthesis
  • Hormonal support
  • Soft-tissue repair
  • Immune support system
  • Inflammation reduction and rehydration
It also has a 4:1 carbs to protein ratio which is key for post workout recovery.

I received the tropical flavor on my doorstep last week in perfect time for my highest mileage week of my marathon training. I tried it for the first time after an early morning 10 mile run on Wednesday and again after my 20 mile run on Saturday. 

I was a little unsure of the taste when mixing it up given its bright orange color but I was pleasantly surprised; the taste is wonderful and refreshing! It's nice and light so I didn't have to worry about any stomach aches after chugging it post run. I normally get a bit light headed after a long run if I don't eat right away, but on the other hand, eating right after a run makes me nauseous. The recovery drink worked great for me; I didn't get my normal port run shakiness and could wait for my body to become normal again before eating lunch an hour later. 

I highly recommend the recovery accelerator because of its great taste and, more importantly, its ability to aid in post workout recovery. It's best mixed prior to a workout and placed in the fridge to chill then consuming immediately port workout.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Marathon Training Update

This is a long overdue marathon update. It still hasn't really hit me yet that the Green Bay Marathon is just a week and a half away. Perhaps it's because I messed up my training schedule and was a week behind the entire time training, causing me to cut my taper a week short. Or maybe the fact that I tried to sell my bib last week because I wasn't excited nor did I feel ready for it. Or maybe it was my annoying plantar fasciitis that doesn't seem to go away.

Spring marathons are hard to train for because a majority of the training is when it's cold out. Getting up early in the morning for a long run when it's dark and barely above freezing sucks. I've missed more runs than I should have, both long-ish (12 mile) runs as well as some shorter weekday runs. I did make sure to get in all of my long runs so at least I have that going for me!

The biggest issue I've had has been my plantar fasciitis. I've had it for two and a half years now and it won't go away. It was so bad a two weeks ago that I couldn't run the last half mile of my 4 mile run. I was so bummed that when I returned home, I tried to sell my bib on Facebook. I was secretly hoping that no one would take me up on the sale because a small part of my still wanted to do the marathon. I would have felt like a "quitter" if I didn't at least attempt it. 

I would also miss out on the amazeballs 26.2 beer after the race. 

I started to say a lot of prayers, bought a new pair of shoes and dusted off my orthotics. The days following I ran with the uncomfortable, ridiculously expensive pieces of plastic in my shoes that made my foot pain disappear but made my back hurt. I then remembered that I had foam inserts that I received from the podiatrist as a temporary fix while my orthotics were getting made, so I tried those out on a short run and my foot felt good. The days following, I had little pain in my heel. I then figured that if I could get though my 20 mile run without heel pain, I could do the marathon.

I had a really great 20 mile run this past weekend; I didn't want to stop running. It was so beautiful outside and I felt fantastic. Usually, the last couple miles of my long runs are hellish, leaving me question if I can actually run an additional 6 miles. Luckily, I didn't have that feeling at the end of my 20 and 18 milers so I think that's a good sign of things to come. 

Since my foot pain has cleared up, I'm starting to get excited about the marathon rather than dreading it. Bring on marathon #7!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Today's my special day!

Ahhh! I'm 30 today!

I never thought the day would come that I turn 30. Yes, I know it's not that old but it seems pretty darn old for me...and I'm okay with it. 

Before I fell asleep the other night, I was reflecting on what I've accomplished the past 10 years, the fun I've had and the crappy things that life had given me. 

I learned that friends will come and go but the real ones stick around. 

remembered thinking how stressful school was but having a career was a LOT more stressful.  

I learned that if you REALLY want to run a marathon, you'll run a marathon.

I learned to never underestimate the power of a glass of wine and some sushi after a long day. 

I remembered how exciting it was to get into a bar with a fake ID and realized once I turned 21, I didn't really like going to the bars all that much anymore. 

I learned that breakups suck and although they seem like the hardest thing to endure, there's someone better out there (and you'll end up marrying him). 

I learned that going on a run may not make things better but it will clear your mind for those few miles. 

I realized that it's better to have a job that you love (or enjoy) versus a job that pays more. 

I learned that a beer tastes amazing after a long run. Who cares if it's not good for recovery!

I remembered how exciting it was to move into my first apartment by myself. Dance parties every night? You betcha!

I learned that when unsure about a big decision or when feeling like there's no other option, say a prayer.  

I leaned that your mom is your best friend. 

I learned how important it is to find something that you love to do. Something that makes you feel good, something that keeps you healthy and something that you can be proud of. 

I realized that my 20s were pretty awesome and that my 30s will be even better!

P.S. Don't forgot to enter here for your change to win a free race entry!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Spartan Race Giveaway

If you're like me, you're thinking about your next big challenge minutes after you're trying to catch your breath after completing something that you never though was possible. 

Well, do I have a challenge for you today! The friendly folks at the Spartan Race contacted me to give away a FREE race entry to the Spartan Race of your choice! 

What's this race all about?

The Spartan Race is the world's leading obstacle race series that is sure to promise craziness and challenges along the way. The races contain fire, mud, water, barbed wire, and occasionally Hell on Earth! 

Spartan Race is on a mission to get you active, healthy, excited about change, and return to our ancient roots where running though woods, getting dirty and facing adversity was part of everyday life. The events are all about challenging today's perception of normal.  

Enter below for your chance to win a FREE entry to any 2014 Spartan Race in the continental U.S.! You can also save 15% on any Spartan Race by clicking here to register. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tuesday Ramblings #9

1. I was bored last Thursday night so I decided to go to my local co-op store to see if I could find anything fun to cook and boy did I find the deal! I'll let the picture do the talking. FYI, there were five in the package!!

2. If you're a fan of country music, you must check out the 90s country station. It's all the great country songs you I grew up with. It's crazy how I still remember the songs word for word, not to mention impressive. My dad used to say, "If you would remember your school work like you do songs...." 

3. BASEBALL IS BACK AND I'M EXCITED. YES, I'M YELLING. I was lucky enough to see the Brew Crew at opening day and had SO much fun. No work, rest day, bloody marys for breakfast and seeing the boys on the field again. Gosh, I love to my home town team. 

4. Speaking of baseball, I'm famous! The boy and I were on ESPN cheering on Ryan Braun's first at bat in a long time. I was screaming when I saw the picture. I'm the gal wearing the blue hat with the weird month.  

5. A little taste of moving. Over the weekend I helped move a bed for my nephew from my fiance's house to my sister's house. It probably wasn't the best thing for my ongoing back issues but it needed to be done. In moving the bed, I got a reminder of how much moving sucks. I'll be moving out my my cute, little apartment to a house sometime in June where Ryan will be joining me after we get married. Luckily, I don't like having a lot of "stuff" so I think moving should be pretty easy. I hope. 

6. Speaking of moving/wedding/marriage, we just reached the six month mark! We've been engaged for almost a year so to be only six months away is so close! I. Can't. Wait. 

7. I just checked my mileage count for March and I'm three miles away from 100. I'm mad I didn't check sooner because I would have squeezed in one more run for the month. 

8. Plantar fasciitis sucks really, really, really bad. During my fifteen mile run on Saturday, I was feeling great until the last two miles when my PF really started to hurt. I could barely run. Later that day I went to the running store to get a Strassburg sock because that seems to be the only thing I haven't tried yet. If anything is going to fix my foot, I think the sock will be it. It stretches my foot really well and feels good/hurts at the same time.  

9. I think I'm the crazy old neighbor who yells at people when they're loud. I live in a two unit duplex on the upper level. The house is old so I can hear a lot that goes on below me. Normally, noise don't really bother me and I can sleep though it. However, the past weekend wasn't the case. I had to walk downstairs twice and tell the people downstairs to shut their door because they were being so freaking loud at 11:00 P.M. and 1:30 A.M. It seems like common sense to SHUT YOUR DOOR when you're inside but you know what they say about common sense...

That's all the randomness I've got for today. 

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Weekly Workout Recap March 21st - March 27th

I thought I ran a lot this week BUT I really didn't. My training plan was a bit of a hot mess last week meaning that I ran my longest run during the week and shorter runs on the weekend. I got the miles in so whatever, it worked. I almost ditched my 7 miler on Sunday morning; it was cold and windy out and I didn't feel like running 25 laps around an indoor track but I made myself go and had a pretty darn good run. When I really don't want to run, I tell myself that I'll just do a few miles but I almost always run what the training schedule calls for. 

The weather finally warmed up to the upper 30s this week so I got a little sweaty on my run. Weird! I took a break from work three times this week for a runch. I love getting out of the office to stretch my legs, clear my mind and soak up some vitamin D. Heck, I just like not working for an hour!

I'm a tad nervous for Saturday's run as it's 15 miles. Eek! I feel as though once I run over 13 miles, my long runs are getting serious. I also have a big weight lifted off my shoulders after my first longer-than-thirteen-mile run of my training plan is complete. No matter how many times I've run double digit miles, there's always that thought in the back of my head that I may not finish. 

I have yet to get back to spin, yoga and Body Pump. I still have pain in my back that seems to slowly get better and I don't want to mess it up more by doing cross training. The ticket you ask? A massage? Nope, tried that. Foam rolling? Yes, sir. That thing is amazing. Who would have thought an overpriced piece of foam would work so well? Someone is getting rich off those. Anyhoot, here's a look at my weekly workouts!


Saturday: 4 miles

Sunday: 7 miles

Monday: rest

Tuesday: 3 mile runch

Wednesday: 4 mile runch

Thursday: 7 mile runch



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lifestyle and Accountability Podcast

Hi Friends!

On Sunday I was interviewed on the Lifestyle and Accountability podcast and asked about healthy living, motivation and, of course, running. You can check it out my interview here!

Enjoy and have a fantastic Tuesday!