Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Quick Look Back at 2013...

I'm going to keep this quick, and avoid all the introspective, "I learned this about myself and life and stuff" blah-blah-blah-ing. I've never liked to look back. You can't change what already happened, all you can do is change where you go from here. In keeping with this mindset, I'm going to give you a brief review, and the next post will be where I'd like to go from here.

2013 was the year I started running. January 11, 2013 to be precise. I ran my first 5k in Detroit on March 10, my first half marathon in Indianapolis on May 4, with two more half marathons, a 10k, and another 5k thrown in. After a 5 miler today, I clocked in at 603 miles for the year.

I discovered so much about my will to finish, my ability to be defeated, products I love, products that don't work, how to eat gluten-free, and more. I had 3 different jobs and a period of hopelessness that felt like it lasted forever. I had a basement flood, a water heater bust, an oven go out, and redid my kitchen.

I found an amazing running community on Twitter, faced a diagnosis of Parkinson's in a family member, and started a fundraiser. I smashed some goals, faltered on others, and set new ones.

I can't say 2013 was a good year, but all things considered, it certainly wasn't the worst. In so many ways though, the 'New Year' feels so arbitrary. Yes, we flip the page. Heck, we flip the whole calendar. But if you're like me and use the right kind of planner, you get to flip the page every single day. It's easy to break our goals into the new year, to use the changing year as motivation, but really, we are moving forward each minute and each day.

So, sayonara 2013, welcome 2014, I've got some plans for you...

Workout of the Day: 5 mile run

Song of the Day: "Dancing by Myself" - Robyn

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Fuel and Long Runs...

Yesterday's long run was... interesting. In no way would I call it bad, but the first mile and the last mile were rough. I felt like they were awful, though I stayed on a very steady pace throughout my run.

It was very amusing to me that 38 degrees and sunny felt legitimately WARM. I wore my Nike tights and my new Marmot Variant jacket (more on this in a later post). The jacket is going to be fantastic when we return to the teens this week, but yesterday?  I was half unzipped, sleeves pushed up, and roasting!  I guess I really have acclimated to those cold, early morning runs!

It was the first run long in a long time long enough to bring fuel with me. This gave me a great chance to finally try out Island Boost on the go. The timing is very similar to PowerBar Gels (every 40ish minutes), but it seems to kick in a bit faster. When I would run with PB Gels, I would actually have a moment sometime after I took the Gel where I could feel the Gel hit me and kick in. With Island Boost, I felt just a continued, consistent fuel.  I did feel pretty smoked by about mile 7.25, but I'm guessing that was due more to the warmth than anything else.

If you haven't used Island Boost, I highly recommend you try it! (I DID apply to be an IB Ambassador for 2014, but right now, I'm just sharing experience with you). The flavors are decent... I hate the taste of coconut water, and Island Boost is coconut water-based. The drawback for me is that of course, every flavor is a bit tainted by this, but the benefit is that Island Boost is liquid. Yup, liquid.  You don't have to choke it down, no difficulty squeezing it out of the pouch on the run, just drink up! This also helps speed it to your muscles. I did think the Aspire flavor tasted a bit like sweaty feet, but the Renegade flavor (blueberry-pomegranate) is pretty good.

What really sold me was using it for a few runs, running out, and getting some more. I like to have some type of fuel right before I run... just to top off my energy stores. I previously used PowerBar Performance Blends, so I decided to try Island Boost the same way. The first few runs, I didn't feel like I noticed anything. I had a good energy reserve, but nothing told me it was completely from the Island Boost. The runs without though were rough. I definitely felt the lack of fuel!!  Once I got it back, I felt good again. SOLD!   They're also perfect for morning runs... a half cup of coffee, a banana and an Island Boost, and I'm good to go!

Have you tried Island Boost? What are you fueling with?  How was your weekend long run?

Workout of the Day: 8 mile run

Song of the Day:  "Burn" - Ellie Goulding

Thursday, December 26, 2013

An Update...

It just dawned on me that I promised to blog more and then vanished. I promise I have a good reason. I promise.

I got a job!!!

Hooray for me!!!

I'm also well into marathon training, and I'm sure you have a million questions. I'm sure they go a bit like this:
Is your cold weather gear advice still working? (yes. I own the winter)
How long until you bite it the first time? (trick question, I already did. In a snowstorm. Just kidding about that owning the winter thing..)
Did you survive the Paleo holidays? (Yes, I did. Those I actually owned, and even my non-Paleo in-laws were happy).
What shoes are you wearing? (Inov-8s. TrailRocs and RoadX-Tremes. I'll tell you all about those soon)
So wait, if you have a job, how are you fitting in your training? (I get up early. Wicked early. I have turned into a morning runner. And I actually don't mind. It's disgusting)
How early? (Early. Give me coffee.)
But, isn't it dark out? (Yes. See and be seen. I've got some advice about that. Flashing lights. Sweet flashing lights)
What would you do if you saw someone in front of you making random hand gestures indicating that they may be crazy? (two choices... duck into the darker neighborhood, or stay on well-lit main road and go fast. I sprinted. No abducting me, please)
What else can you tell me? (Lots. Lots. More blogging coming, I swear).

So, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you!!  I had a wonderful Christmas. A very fit Christmas in fact. I have tons of new products to tell you about that I've either purchased or received like Inov-8 TrailRocs, Island Boost endurance fuel, SmartWool PhD Run Socks, Marmot Varient jacket, Amphipod gear, etc. You know I love to share what I've found, so look for reviews coming soon! I'll also be chatting about some gear I really want to get/try, like the CamelBak Marathoner vest.

I really have started running in the morning. I actually get up between 5:00 - 5:30 so I can have coffee and a little fuel and then either run or strength train. I've done amazingly well, and actually don't mind it (too much!).

I hope you've all enjoyed your holidays and are gearing up to start the new year strong. Much more coming soon!