Posted in BibRave Reviews, Race Reports, Running, Thoughts

So a PR Happened – Hot Chocolate 15k Race Report

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the HotChocolate 15k – San Diego as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro(ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own. 

So you know how only a few short days ago, I told you all that I was going to take it easy and enjoy the race? Yeah, who was I fooling? LOL. I’m competitive at heart and the racing atmosphere just brings it out of me.

I started off my race weekend with a short 3 mile shake out run. The run was tough. My legs still felt really stiff, but I powered through and was grateful it was over. I spent the rest of the morning resting and then went downtown to pick up my bib and race jacket that came with the registration. 🙂 Walked around the expo a bit and then headed home to rest and sleep early.

I woke up the next morning with jitters. I was worried I’d get there late by trolley since it seemed like it only ran every 20 minutes and figured if I just went straight to the start line and just parked a bit further away, it’d be fine. Turns out, I was right! Parking on the street on Sundays in downtown is free and if you’re willing to walk maybe half a mile away from the start, you can find parking pretty easily, assuming you’ve also come an hour before the race starts. I had a blanket in my car and slept for a bit before walking over to the start where I met up with a few people.

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Jeannie, Velle, and Hugh from the Movin’ Shoes running group
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Fellow BibRave Pro Rory!

Then the race started. Let me tell you, this course is not easy in the slightest. I ran it two years ago and remember it being hilly. My memory deceived me. It was so much worse. LOL. 😛 I must be a masochist or something because after I finished, it didn’t seem that bad. LOL

The race starts on a hill in downtown and for the first 2 miles, it’s a steep incline. There are very short stretches where it flattens out or declines, but for the most part it’s incline. After the sharp incline, you get a short break and you start a more gradual incline until mile 4. From mile 4 to 5.5, the course plays with your emotions. LOL. It goes up and down quite a bit. You think you’re done with the hills, but guess again! LOL. After 5.5, you get a really nice break where it’s just downhill for a good mile or so. The view is beautiful here. You get a great view of the Coronado bridge and you just think you can do anything at this point. At least, that’s how I felt. IMG_5466

Then you get to the last stupid big hill, which crushes your soul (I kid), and then you’re back in downtown where you sprint to the finish and get your fancy schmancy medal and finisher’s mug. 🙂

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Hot chocolate, dipping chocolate, marshmallows, pretzels, rice krispies, and a banana to tie you over

I had all sorts of leg issues during the race. My ankles were hurting at the beginning and throughout the race, I was getting what I think was plantar fasciitis. It was a struggle, but I just kept breathing and pumping my arms on those uphill climbs. I also walked when I needed. It also helped to see friendly faces along the route. I saw the Movin’ Shoes running coach around mile 7 and he just gave me an extra boost of energy to finish the last 2 miles.

Despite all the leg issues, I did manage to squeeze out a PR. When I crossed the finish line, I looked my time and thought 1:20:41 was an okay time. I hadn’t run a 15k in over a year and I couldn’t remember what my last 15k time was and based on how I felt crossing the finish line, I didn’t think I did well. But LO AND BEHOLD, I was wrong! I had actually beaten my time by over 5 minutes! 🙂 Thank goodness for Athlinks keeping a record of how I did previously. I was able to find my result from 2 years ago super quickly. 🙂 Hooray! So maybe I am getting faster after all. Yay!

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Boom! Athlinks results claimed! Wheee! I did well!
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My new shiny medal and pretty jacket from the Hot Chocolate race! 🙂

Question for you: Have you ever finished a race thinking you did so poorly, but in reality, you did better than expected? Or have you gone into a race thinking you’d do poorly and then you blew your expectations out of the water? 

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Posted in Running, Thoughts, Training

T’was the week of the the Hot Chocolate 15k

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the HotChocolate 15k – San Diego as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro(ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own. 

Soooo I’m 3 days out from the Hot Chocolate 15k and well, I’m not where I want to be. Training has been really difficult for me and I’m still not sure what the issue is. I have a suspicion that I’m not sleeping enough and that my body isn’t recovering as quickly as I’d like it to. I haven’t been running any insane distances. Last Saturday was the first Saturday in a while since I’ve hit double digits.

The plan for the rest of this week is to take it as easy as I can. My hamstring has been acting up a bit and hurts whenever I start running. It eases up a mile in, but still, the pain is a bit concerning. My left foot also tingles a bit at the bottom 3 miles in, which also is a red flag. Sigh. Maybe I need new shoes too. Hmm. So far, this week has consisted of a slow 5 miler on Monday, an interval night with 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, min intervals with a 2 minute rest in between on Tuesday, and an easy 3.1 mile run for Pi day (3.14). Nom nom nom. I have a spin class scheduled for tonight and then have a short 3 mile run on Saturday. However, if the pain persists, I may just skip the run on Saturday and just rest Friday and Saturday so I can run the 15k on Sunday.

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Running in the rain during intervals night

The game plan for race day will be to get lots of sleep the night before and to park at a lot where I can just take the Trolley down to downtown. This will save me a lot of stress from finding parking in the morning. 🙂 Then, I’ll just take it easy from start to finish. My competitiveness is telling me that I should try and attempt a PR, but since the following week is the Carlsbad5000 and that race is a goal race for me, I’ll stick to a nice easy race for the Hot Chocolate 15k. Maybe I’ll even stop for sweets along the course.

Question for you: Any suggestions to make my legs not feel like lead when I run? Also, is there a trick to eating M&Ms along a race course? Do you have any tips for me? 

Posted in Marathon Mondays, Running, Thoughts

Marathon Mondays – Week 14 of Chicago Marathon training

OMG. 3 weeks left and counting. I’m doomed! LOL. Jk. Only sort of doomed. 🙂

Scheduled mileageActual mileage

Monday (7 miles)7 miles

Since I was still in Texas and it was still hot as hell, the next few days of running were strictly on the treadmill. It was unfortunate, but it wasn’t unbearable. I ran an easy 7 miles and called it a day.

Tuesday (3 x 2 miles with 800 m recovery and 1 mile WU and CD)4 x 1 mile with 800 m recovery after 3 x 1 mile and 1 mile WU and CD

Intervals should be easy on a treadmill, right? You can adjust the speed to what you need it to be. Too bad my body wasn’t having it. I couldn’t hold the speed for 2 miles at a time and had to do 1 mile intervals instead. Boo.

Wednesday (Rest)9 miles with increasing pace

I was traveling to Boston on Thursday so I moved my tempo run to Wednesday. Unfortunately, my muscles were still really tight so I just decided to start out really easy and increase the speed slowly as each mile passed. I never got to my tempo pace, but I wanted to listen to my body. With only 3 weeks left, I can’t afford an injury right now. I also got booted out of the gym early because my boyfriend wasn’t with me. All residents must accompany guests to the gym. Boooooo.

Thursday (10 mile tempo run with 1 mile WU and CD)Rest

Again, HALLELUJAH! Honestly, I love rest days SOOOOO much especially when you spend half the day traveling.

Friday (6 miles)16 miles

Since I was in a completely new city (Boston) and my friend wasn’t available until noon, I decided to do a little sightseeing by way of running and boy did I sight see. In 16 miles, I was able to explore numerous neighborhoods and even got to run along the historical freedom trail.

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Sight seeing at its finest
This was probably the best decision of my Boston trip. 🙂 Although, the 16 miles were not all in one go. Ideally, it should have been one consistent run, but since I wanted to sight see, I made stops along the way. Hopefully that didn’t hurt my training too much. Bleh. I’d run and if I saw something interesting, I’d pop in to see what was there. I also went to convenience stores and bought water. LOL. Can’t have heat stroke in a new city. That’d be bad. 🙂

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Statue of Paul Revere along the freedom trail
Saturday (6 miles)6.2 miles

Someone on Friday mentioned that if my 16 mile route didn’t include running by the Boston marathon finish line, that I did it wrong. LOL. Sooooo I went back out and ran a route that specifically ran by it. It was awesome. 🙂

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The closest I’ll ever get to the finish line unless a miracle happens and I can run like lightning
Sunday (16 miles)4.2 miles

On Saturday, I flew back and what was supposed to be a 5.5 hour flight ended up being 10 hours. Since I was tired as hell, I just ran a easy 4 miler and called it a week.

Total mileage (57 miles)51.6 miles

Thoughts of the week: This was peak week for Hanson’s Marathon method. Thank goodness. I didn’t think I’d make it to this point. LOL. Although I missed the target mileage, I’m still pretty proud of myself traveling and still being able to continue my training plan with a few modifications. It’s also the most mileage I’ve ever run in a week so yay! On another note, remember when I resolved to run 1000 miles this year? Mission accomplished! Yup. I achieved it this week. I’m stoked. 🙂

Question for you: The next few weeks are critical for me. Hanson’s marathon method doesn’t actually really taper until the absolute last week and that worries me because I’ve been so fatigued lately. With my current mileage, how much should I decrease by? Hanson’s has me running 50 and 49 miles for the next two weeks, which is still really high considering I wasn’t able to hit 57 this week. I was thinking about shooting for 45 and 44 instead. What do you all think? What kind of taper works for you? 

 

Posted in Marathon Mondays, Running, Training

Marathon Mondays – Week 5 Chicago Marathon training

I am officially done with week 5 of marathon training and boy am I pooped. POOPED I say. This was a crazy week as Hanson’s marathon method had me scheduled to run 39 miles! THIRTY NINE miles. The week before, I was only scheduled to run 24 miles. Why 39 miles? Oh lord. Anyway, here’s how last week went.

(Scheduled mileage)Actual mileage

Monday (4 miles) 9 miles 

My boyfriend was visiting for a week and I knew that I would not have enough time to do my scheduled interval training on Tuesday, which was estimated to be about 6 miles plus a 1.5 mile warm up and 1.5 mile cool down. Also, since I had a race on Sunday, the plan said to forgo interval training for that week. Because of all that, I woke up Monday morning thinking I’d just run 9 miles just like that. LOL. Thinking about it now, I still can’t believe I just decided to run 9 miles like it wasn’t a big deal or anything.  I think I’m running obsessed. Anyway, I broke up the distance up into two runs making the mileage a lot more manageable. I ran 3 miles earlier in the afternoon and after work, I met up with my run group and we ran another 6 miles. Thankfully, a friend who runs at a similar pace was there and she ran with me the entire way. Yay friends!

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After my 6 mile run with Movin’ Shoes

Tuesday (Speed training 12 x 400 m with 400 m recovery jog) – 4 miles 

Despite being exhausted from Monday’s run, I kept waking up in the middle of the night, which made Tuesday’s run tough. I had to pick up my boyfriend from the airport that morning so I squeezed in my run before his arrival. I was a bit late waking up so I ran 4 miles in the hot sun. Luckily, there was a lot of shade and breeze along the bay I ran around and it wasn’t too bad.

Wednesday (Rest)Rest

You bet I rested. Working out/running for 8 days without a break is killer. I wouldn’t recommend it. Do as I say, not as I do. I’m clearly (running) crazy.

Thursday (5 miles)5 miles

Thank goodness for scheduled group runs. It was the second Thursday of the month meaning it was Adventure Run day. I unfortunately ate something bad right before the run and ended up running with a crazy upset stomach. I struggled through those 5 miles, but I finished.

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Thank you to my friend Alex who ran with me and kept me company while I struggled with tummy issues

Friday (4 miles)4 miles

My car was having some issues so I had to get it to the repair shop stat. It took 45 min to get my car fixed so I decided to just go for a 4 mile jaunt around the block. LOL. You gotta do what you gotta do to get those miles in. 🙂

Saturday (8 miles) –  3 miles

Because I was running a half marathon on Sunday, I made this day a 3 mile run. I was supposed to log 16 miles over the weekend anyway so I just split the distances over the two days.

Sunday (8 miles)13.1 miles

Having run so many miles earlier in the week, I was a bit worried about running a half marathon and about having to run it at a faster pace than usual. Luckily, I survived the race and finished off the week with 13.1 miles. Woohoo! A re-cap of the race will be coming shortly. Stay tuned!

Total Mileage (39 miles)38.5 miles

Thought of the week: I will have to say that despite missing my target mileage by a half mile, I’m still extremely proud of myself. Prior to this, I had never run anything more than 32 miles a week and that was peak week for my NYC marathon training. It may not seem like much to a high volume runner, but it was all I could manage last year. I feel that this year, I’m much more prepared as a runner. 🙂

How is everyone’s training going? Did you race this past weekend? 

 

Posted in Marathon Mondays, Running, Thoughts, Training

Marathon Mondays – Week 4 of Chicago marathon training

After 3 weeks of base training, I finally started increasing my weekly mileage. This week, I was scheduled for 24 miles. Let’s see how I did, shall we?

Monday (Rest) – Soooooo I wasn’t going to actually rest on Monday. I had plans to go to kickboxing again, but once I got there, they were closed. Womp womp. Turns out that they had closed in preparation for the 4th of July. Oops. I should probably check their schedule in advance next time.

Tuesday (5 miles) – The group I run with at Movin Shoes had an organized 10k fun run up to Mt. Soledad. For those of you who don’t know, the trek up Mt. Soledad is STEEP! There’s a gain of 676 ft in elevation over the course of 3.1 miles. I ran up this hill in May and must have forgotten how steep it was because I ran up it again on Tuesday and boy was it killer. I am proud to say that I ran up that entire hill without stopping though. 🙂 When I ran it in May, I had to walk a portion of it so I think I’m improving. Yay!img_0778

Wednesday (Rest) – Since I didn’t do kickboxing Monday, I caught Wednesday’s kickboxing class instead. I, once again, pulled my butt muscle. LOL. I honestly don’t know how I keep doing this to myself. Sigh.

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Thursday (4 miles) – Ran an easy 4 miles.

Friday (5 miles) – It started heating up a bit so I grabbed my OrangeMud Phone. (hydration) Flask. Vest. and made it through the 5 miles. The run was a little slower than I wanted, but it still fell within the pace range my program suggested.

Saturday (4 miles) – The weekend runs got a little tricky. It was expected to heat up to the 80s and when it gets hot, I don’t want to run. Luckily, I do group runs on Saturday and I’m a bit more motivated to run on Saturdays so I ran a bit more than suggested. Ran 7 miles at an “easy” pace along the beach. 🙂 In reality, it wasn’t easy. It was hot and humid and chafing was definitely a thing during that run.

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The Fall half marathon/full marathon training group

Sunday (6 miles) – HAH! Yeah, right. Six miles was not going to happen. I had anticipated this, which is why I ran more miles on Saturday. Go past me. 🙂 Anyway, I scheduled a free spin class at SparkCycle in the morning courtesy of Yelp (elite). The class was intense, but I survived thanks to Krystin, my instructor for the class. On a scale of 1-10 for energy, Krystin was an 11. LOL. After finishing class, I went to work and ran an easy 3 miles to finish off the week.

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Krystin, the instructor for the class

Weekly mileage – I ran 26 miles. 🙂 Hooray!

Thought for the week – This upcoming week will be kind of crazy. My boyfriend will be visiting for a week and so I will be trying to run most of my miles in the morning. I’m also deviating from the Hanson marathon method quite a bit since I’m racing on Sunday. Eek. Not sure how this will pan out, but I’ll have my fingers crossed. 🙂 How do you deal with deviations in training? 

Posted in Running, Thoughts

Ahhhh! It’s Taper Time for the La Jolla Half.

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the La Jolla Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! All opinions are my own. 

Yes, that time has come again. Tapering. Some people love it. Some people hate it. I personally LOVE it. A week where you can decrease your mileage in preparation for a race. Woohoo! My tapering strategy has changed over the years and I just wanted to say that I am in no way telling anyone how to taper. I’m still figuring it out and it’s a lot of trial and error.

When I first started out, I was doing cardio kickboxing three to four times a week with short 3 mile runs in between. My kickboxing trainer told me to start resting on Wednesdays for a Sunday half. That sounded good to me. Less running? Hell yeah. LOL. Nowadays, my taper week goes a little something like this. I run the bulk of my miles on Monday and Tuesday. This usually ranges from three to six miles depending on how I feel. On Wednesday and Thursday, I try for shorter mile runs and on Friday, I rest. On Saturday, I do a three mile run to shake out my legs and on Sunday, I’m ready to go. I usually average 21 miles a week. The week leading up to a half, I average maybe 8 to 9 miles. *Edit* I know the total taper week plus the race equals 21 or 22 miles. LOL. Maybe it’s not a taper week at all? I’m still new at this! Only three years running. I’ll figure it out soon enough. 🙂 

Now my training for the La Jolla Half hasn’t been too bad. With all the races I’ve signed up for this year, I don’t really have a structured training plan for halfs. (The only structured training plans I’ll have for this year is for the Chicago marathon and for the Dopey Challenge too.) As mentioned earlier, I try to average 21 miles a week and some weeks, I go over and some weeks, I miss my target mileage by a lot. The last week of March and the first week of April wasn’t too kind to me mileage wise. I blame a lack of motivation, injury, and life. LOL.

All of that changed last week. Can you guess why?

A strava challenge started. Haha. I’m definitely the competitor type and the Runner’s World Boston Challenge was just what I needed to kick my butt back into gear. From April 8 to 17, I had to run 26.2 miles. Here was my initial thought process:

Run 26.2 miles in 9 days? Sure. Why not? Totally doable.

*2 days later*

Hmm. When did that challenge start again?

*Looks at challenge*

Oh crap. It started 4 days ago. I’ve skipped two days of running already. Hmm, should I still try for it? You at least ran 3.1 miles on Sunday. That’s still something. You got 23.1 miles to go and 6 days to do it. That’s 4 miles a day. That’s doable…I think. 

It is now April 18 and I’m proud to tell you that I finished that challenge two days ago! Woohoo! IMG_8848

Although I haven’t done any long runs in a month, I’m hopeful that my mileage the past few weeks will get me through the La Jolla Half Marathon this weekend. 🙂 Wish me luck!

If you still haven’t registered for the La Jolla Half marathon and would like to run it Sunday, April 23, use the code “BIBRAVE20” for $20 off their registration fee! 

Posted in BibRave Reviews, Running

Luvo Comes To Save The Day

Disclaimer: I received some Luvo frozen meals to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been able to try a variety of Luvo frozen meals and honestly, they couldn’t have come at a better time. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been sick with what I can only describe as an inconvenience to breathing. Having to spit out phlegm every hour or so has not been fun, but it’s okay, I’m getting better. With the Luvo meals, I was able to easily pop one into the microwave and within minutes, I had a healthy meal that was piping hot, smelled delicious, and tasted great.

Here’s an excerpt from Luvo’s website:

“Where your food comes from makes a big difference—not just to your body, but to the world as well. So we’re making every effort to support farmers and suppliers by sourcing responsibly. We use antibiotic-free meat and poultry, and non-GMO, organic ingredients whenever possible. Of course it’s a work in progress, but we’re constantly working to bring you the highest quality, most delicious, nutrient-dense food at the best price. Learn more about our practices in our FAQ.”

Without further ado, my review of the Luvo frozen meals I got to try out in order from least favorite to OMG, PLEASE GIVE ME MORE. 🙂

5. Chicken Enchiladas – This meal also comes with black beans and brown jasmine rice. On the front of each of the packages, it will usually indicate how flavorful it is. I’ve found that what they say pretty much rings true. The chicken enchiladas were marked as “on the mild side,” and this was right on. I love spice and personally do not prefer mild tasting food. However, as someone who had a really sore throat two weeks ago, this was actually pretty good for me. The chicken was moist and the flavor didn’t worsen my throat. Woo!

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4. Kale Ricotta Ravioli – This comes in a fire roasted tomato sauce, which I really appreciated. I found the ravioli to be a bit on the blander side, but the sauce totally made up for it. It was really flavorful and I am a little ashamed to admit this, but I licked the plate clean. IMG_8099

3. Turkey Meatloaf – This comes with mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts, butternut squash, and cranberries. Do the ingredients sound familiar? If it doesn’t, you clearly don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. This meal is practically Thanksgiving in a box. The mash potatoes tasted fresh and the gravy was so rich in flavor that I forgot for a second that these meals were actually healthy. The meatloaf was moist and not dried out at all even after 7 minutes in the microwave. IMG_8184

2. Turkey Vegetable Lasagna – The lasagna consists of whole wheat noodles, kale, and spinach. This was my very first Luvo meal and I was over the moon with this dish. I kept telling my boyfriend that he had to try it and after some skepticism, I got him to try it and he liked it too. I’m not even a huge fan of kale, but this lasagna mix was delicious – extremely savory. IMG_8077

1. Orange Mango Chicken – This one was my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE. It comes with whole grains, broccoli and kale and is smothered in a delicious orange mango sauce. Think regular orange chicken but healthier because it’s not deep fried. I really didn’t think I could like orange chicken that wasn’t deep fried, but I was wrong. The chicken soaked the sauces in. The whole grains and veggies were a bit on the blander side, but just dip those into the sauce and you’re good to go. IMG_8243

Too long? Didn’t read? In that case, here’s a pros and cons list for you. 🙂

Pros 

Healthy – Their meals consist of antibiotic-free meat and poultry, and non-GMO, organic ingredients whenever possible. Their meals have a full serving of fruits and veggies. This is HUGE for me since I’m a terrible eater. In N Out anyone? 🙂

Smells – The meals, once cooked, SMELL INCREDIBLE. Seriously, my colleagues always wondered what I was eating because it would always smell really good.

Taste – I’m a person that loves to eat. I mean, I live to eat. That means that taste is really important to me. Out of the 5 that I tried, I really liked 3 of them. Even with the other two, I could have added a little more salt or spice to it and it would been just great to eat.

Environment friendly – Their packaging comes from recycled paper! Woo. Every step towards being more environmentally friendly helps, right?

Cons

Portion size – This one is not actually a con for me, but may be a con for others. I have a tendency to overeat so I love just taking one of these to work with me and eating just that and nothing else. Their portions are perfect for me, but may not be for you.

Variety – Luvo actually has quite a bit of variety (boxed meals, burritos, bowls, vegetarian, non-vegetarian), but since they are still starting out, it’s sometimes difficult to find the meal you want. A lot of the stores around my neighborhood would only carry three different meals so I went around to different stores hoping to find some new ones to try.

If you’re interested in trying any of Luvo’s meals, they have this little search engine that tells you where to find specific meals. They also have some promotions on their site if you want to save a few dollars. 🙂  I would definitely recommend the Orange Mango Chicken, Turkey Lasagna, and the Roasted Cauliflower Mac and Cheese. Stores in my neighborhood didn’t carry the Mac and Cheese meal, but fellow BibRave Pros raved about it.

And finally, here’s what fellow Bib Rave Pros thought about Luvo:  JeannineLindseyAngie, and Jeremy