Friday, July 30, 2010

Review Crew: Gu

_0029_products_gu_flavors The original. Highly imitated, never duplicated Gu. Well, at least that’s the way I look at it. It could very well be that Gu was not the first ever created energy boosting performance enhancing electrolyte replenishing gel for runners, but it was the first I had ever heard of when I started going out for the long haul training for my first marathon. So, that’s the way it stands in my book.

It was a friend of mine from high school, also training for her first marathon at the time, that introduced me to Gu. She just mentioned something about vanilla bean gu in casual conversation as if it was something I was supposed to know about to which I simply nodded in agreement all the while wondering what the heck “gu” was. Considering my previous experiences with gulike substances would not be something I’d call edible (“hmmm…look what I just found under the back seat of my car in the middle of a hot hot summer?” Lift lid. Sniff. “Ewww…what exactly is this gu?”) much less described as a delightful little flavor like “vanilla bean,” I did what any aspiring runner would do, I googled it.

And lo and behold this is what I discovered: in short, a teeny tiny little packet of gel you suck down during a run to give you an energy boost. For the long version, what exactly is in Gu and why it works, visit the Gu website here.

Now for me, Gu gel is similar to Gu Chomps. It doesn’t pack quite enough punch. I am a tremendously heavy sweater and because of this I need to consume more electrolytes on a run than the average bear. I do use Gu on shorter long runs (is that an oxymoron?) of say 7-10 miles, but anything longer than that and I am opting for Gu Roctane or E-Gel instead with the higher sodium content (more on both of those in an upcoming review). I will also use Gu, similar to the Gu Chomps, pre-run if I haven’t eaten in awhile and I don’t have time to eat a real meal, wait for digestion, then run. And then there’s Gu for dessert, but that’s really an entirely different story (which happens to be located here if you’re interested. Yes, I do believe vanilla bean is just that good.)

Gu comes in a variety of flavors and over time I’ve pretty much had them all except espresso love as I just can’t quite bring myself to like coffee no matter how hard I try (oh wait…I have also never tried mint chocolate or jet blackberry. It seems they do not carry these lovely flavors at my running store. Hmmm…how to get my hands on some? Wonder if anybody I know at my favorite PR company, Outside PR, could come to my rescue and save me from the virtually desperate situation that is my mint chocolate/jet blackberryless short long runs? Anybody? Anybody? Bueller? )

My personal favorite is yes, vanilla bean with plain a close second, but really all the rest are pretty good too and there’s no funky after taste like power gels or some of the others. So I keep a mixed bunch in my repertoire in order to be fully prepared for whatever my taste buds might be craving for on any particular day.

I should also mention, that in the smattering of flavors Scott from Outside PR sent me to give a shot, he included the newly developed mandarin orange flavor. I’m not a huge orange fan and in particular when I think mandarin orange, I think strong flavor, but not so much here. It’s more of a soft subtle orange flavor, not overpowering or super sweet (super sweet = not good while running. Trust me). Very tasty. Definitely keep an eye out for that one when it hits your running store and give it a try.

As for The Crew, here’s their take on Gu:

karen_thumb[1] RunSis Says:

“When I first started running, I couldn't run and drink so my first try with gu went horribly wrong. Now that I'm a more "seasoned" runner and can proudly drink and run (PSA: never drink and drive), I gave Gu another shot. It went down a lot easier than my first attempt. I tried lemon sublime and it tasted good, a little on the sweet side and left a sweet aftertaste that I eventually chased away with Gatorade endurance. I don't think I'm ready to make the switch from chomps to Gu, but I'm not afraid anymore to experiment with Gu.”

marie The Spazz Says:

Flavor: Espresso Love
What can I say, I felt the love. Espresso Love contains 2x the caffeine as regular gels and it truly packs a punch. As a coffee drinker I loved the flavor and the energy boost. I took one before a 5 am run of 4 ½ miles and felt peppy and alert the entire time. However, I would suggest skipping the 2x caffeine of Espresso Love and opting for regular strength for caffeine sensitive runners.”

Flavor: Chocolate Outrage
"This is my all-time favorite Gu flavor. I purchase this stuff by the case.
Chocolate Outrage has the regular/lighter level of caffeine, and a smooth chocolate flavor. If you are not a big fan of the taste of Gu I suggest trying this one. The chocolate flavor isn’t very different than a melted Hershey’s Bar.”

Flavor: Strawberry Banana
"I also enjoyed this flavor. Strawberry Banana does not contain any caffeine, so it is a good substitute for caffeine sensitive runners or for mixing up between caffeinated gels and non-caffeinated gels.”

dad_thumb[1] Mobile Mile Marker Says

"I love the gu. It gets me thru the long rides."

(Told you. He's a man of many words.)

Next up on the review agenda: Gu Roctane and finally, what you’ve all been waiting for…the sweaty sweaty me story (what? Did you all think I was going to say Gu giveaway. Yeah, yeah that’s coming too, but really my sweat. What could possibly be more interesting?) Stay tuned.

'Til next time...

P.S. While you’re still hanging around, try to score yourself a running headband or some super sweatproof sunscreen. Click here for details.

A Word to the Wise (finished) & A Word on Michigan

You know the old runner’s saying: “Do not try anything new on race day”? I’m thinking maybe that should be extended to race week. Do not try anything new the week of your race. Wait…now let me repeat this slowly in case you’re just perusing quickly through:

Do. NOT. Try. Anything. New. The. Week. Of. Your. Race. PERIOD.

“Oh, but it’s just a short run.”

“Yeah, but this is really no big deal.”

“I’m sure I’ll be fine.”

“Come on, what are the chances?”

“I think I can handle it.”

NOPE. Stop. Back up. Go read my boldly printed slowly written period excessive sentence again. Under NO circumstances should you try something new the week of your race (unless perhaps your children are being chased by a smelly pack of wild foaming at the mouth hyenas who are angry because your daughter just tried to give them a makeover while they were sleeping or some other highly unlikely extreme makeover scenario gone wrong situation).

You see, I did end up going on vacation Up North this week. For those of you who are not familiar with the general location of Up North, that would be for us Michiganders anywhere in the fine state of Michigan below the Upper Peninsula and above the approximate middle of the mitten. Really, if you’re not from around here you should know we in Michigan throw around the term “Up North” like it’s going out of style in the summer time. Not only are we surrounded by the Great Lakes around here, but we are FULL of literally thousands of gorgeous inland lakes. Therefore, the vast majority of Michiganians will head towards the north and to the edges of the state anywhere there’s water in the hot months for at least a weekend. And honestly, if you’ve never been on a vacation in Michigan you are SERIOUSLY missing out. Think rolling forested hills, pristine white sandy beaches, crystal clear blue water (with nothing that can eat you in it), cozy quaint friendly little towns, and fabulous food including of course tasty yummy fudge…mmmm….

I can not think of a place I’d rather be in the summer than Up North right here in Michigan. And on that note, we’ll pause here briefly for a commercial interruption. After the break…my foolish race week mistake and the results thereof. Is the weekend tri up in the air now? Back…in 60 seconds…

So we were in Frankfort this past weekend at the Harbor Lights Resort right on the shore of Lake Michigan. THE perfect place to go for a little barefoot beach run, although my husband wisely called me off suggesting I probably didn’t want to tackle that for the first time the week of my tri. What if I stepped on a shell? Or the sand was a far harder workout on my legs than I thought?

Taking his advice I decided to run on a bike path, through town, and then on the sidewalk to get in a little 4 mile run. But the brilliant beach running idea was followed by an even more brilliant idea #2, why not run sans socks? Now I realize this is not exactly the same as running barefoot on the beach, but I figured it was a little bit closer to it and more importantly, I was planning on running this weekend’s tri (3 mile run) without socks on to save time in transition. I mean, I ran the last tri (1.5 mile run) without socks on and had only the mildly irritated beginnings of a blister so what the heck? How much worse could it get? Let’s just throw caution to the wind shall we and try 3 or 4 without socks.

Now, I guess if I look at this positively, it’s better I found out what a 3 mile run without socks will do to feet that have not been properly acclimated to running in such a fashion BEFORE the race. Let’s just say by the time I hit 3 of the 4 miler, I was sensing something was wrong and about a 1/2 mile later I felt that something wrong tear open. So I stopped to remove my shoes and take a peek.

Lord have mercy! My shoes chewed my feet up and spit them out. I’ve got two huge blisters on each of the insoles of my feet and the skin on my right heel has pretty much been ripped right off (that’d be the something wrong tearing open). It’s ridiculous. (I like to call them my battle scars, but my husband says in order for them to actually qualify as battle scars I probably had to be running for more than 40 minutes. To which I pointed out that the actual time of injury in battle makes no difference, the only requirement for a battle scar is to be in battle. Although he astutely noted, I was not in an actual battle. A point which I was forced to concede. But then again, if one were to look at the wounds on my feet, one might suggest that the damage my shoes caused would certainly qualify them as a some sort of violent aggressor to be fought OR say it with me now…battled. But I digress…again…)

To make matters worse (because let’s be honest here folks, that’s totally the way I roll), I walked around on the sandy beach all day with my kiddos (why deprive them because of my silly mistake?) thus rubbing dirt into the open wound on the back of my heel and further exacerbating the closed blisters to just this side of monstrous. Which although make fascinating skin bubbles for my 4 year old to look at, are more than a little annoying for me.

**SIGH** So that would be my current conditioned. Irritated. Basically, as I sit here with my feet in a bowl of warm water and sea salt, thanks to the terrific suggestion of my fellow running blog mamma, Cynthia, I’m thinking about just blowing off transition #1 on Sunday and taking all the time I want to put on some socks, maybe even a band aid (or two…or three) before I head off on the bike after the swim. My goal for the race can be to swim, ride, and maybe, depending on the feet, run a faster pace than at the last tri and not worry about the total finishing time. It’s kind of hard to compare the two anyway, because the distances are not exactly the same (400 yard swim not 400 meters, 11 miles on the bike not 10.7, 3 mile run not 1.5 miles).

Either way, I have serious doubts though that I’ll be getting through this one with out causing some more damage. But at least in the eyes of my husband, it’ll take long enough the be a “battle scar”. In the words of a famous greens keeper, “So, you know, I got that going for me.” (Anybody know that one?)

And the lesson from all this besides if you’re going to run without socks or barefoot you might want to start slooooooowly is: DO NOT CHANGE ANYTHING RACE WEEK. Your feet will thank-you.

'Til next time...

P.S. Best place to travel in Michigan? I’m partial to Lewiston on East Twin Lake where my Grandpa’s cabin used to be, but unless it’s changed a lot since I was a kid, it wasn’t really a touristy town. Here’s a few of my other favorite Michigan places in no particular order except for the way they pop into my head: Ludington, Grand Haven, Mackinaw, Mackinac Island, Traverse City, Leelanau Peninsula, Silver Lake…I could go on and on, but let my defer to my fellow Michigan enthusiats. Anybody else have any other favorite summer Michigan vacation destinations? Leave us a comment and/or a link to check out.

P.P.S. Gu review. Tonight! In the meantime, check out two of my other recent reviews/giveaways, Scarlett Craft Running Headbands and Scape Sunscreen. There’s still time to get in on the giveaways if your interested and it really doesn’t take much to enter. Really. I swear. If you’re reading this, you’re probably only one or two clicks away from entering. Promise. It’ll take all of 30 seconds.

Well that was not supposed to happen

Oops. Guess I shouldn't try to blog while my kids are both awake eh? They both seemed busy enough in their little play room, but one thing led to another and VOILA! An unfinished post was published earlier today.

My apologies. I have no idea what you read exactly (although I'm about to find out). All I know is I went to edit my draft on Live Writer and I got a message that to do so the post would have to be retrieved from my blog. Uhhhhh....come again? That's when I realized instead of save draft, I must have hit publish post. Wups.

To those of you who stumbled on it earlier today, SORRY! Think of it as the coming attractions (plus spelling errors). I hope you'll stop back later for the rest of the post (yes, I can complete a thought and don't typically just leave things hanging mid tangent.) If you hadn't noticed, carry on then. Nothing to see here.


'Til next time...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Review Crew: Scape Sunscreen + Giveaway

2010-07-03_04.58.28 But first an update. Shoulder and neck are about 95% back to normal. (Thank God for Chiropractors!) And the 20 mile run is in and done. And yes, it was done on the treadmill which makes me a rock star…or completely insane. But since a fair number of rock stars seem to have in fact completely lost their mind (think Brittney Spears a year or so ago), I feel the term aptly applies.

My sister and mom on the other hand, prefer to consider it something of CIA undercover spy training. In the unfortunate case of my capture by our enemies, should they chose torture by treadmill, I would not break. No sir. They would get no sensitive intelligence from me. However, it was duly noted that should my captors wisely choose to offer me chocolate I would of course be forced to comply and squeal like a pig ;-)

But onto the sunscreen…

When I was offered the chance to test out and review Scape, I jumped on it. I’m a massive sweater (to be discussed in a future post. Aren’t you so excited?) with the uncanny ability to sweat off just about anything. But a sunscreen developed by an endurance athlete? Oh yeah baby, sign me up. SPF 50+. Waterproof. Sweatproof. Noncomedogenic. Vitamin E & Antioxidants. Sounds good right?

So they sent me the lotion and the lip balm and I tested them both out on an 18 mile run. The first thing I noticed about the lotion is that it’s thick and I don’t know why that seems like a good thing, but it just does. Like somehow the thickness would make it stay on better or form an impenetrable force field that the suns rays could just not pierce.

There’s no weird sunblocky fragrance. There is a fragrance, but it’s very mild and doesn’t make you smell like you just left a tanning bed or something (not really sure why you’d wear sunblock to a tanning bed anyway, but I think you get my point).

Now, I’d already been running outside quite a bit, so I’ve got a nice (runner’s) tan going on which makes it highly unlikely that I’d get burnt (it’s just the way I am. But don’t worry I still wear sunblock anyway). So to fairly and accurately test out this product, I had to pull out the big gun (this is how much I love you all). I bared that blinding white rarely see the sun belly and ran in just a sports bra. But wait…because that’s not all. What I did was wear my shirt for about 7 miles to see if it would rub the sunscreen off, THEN I took off my shirt and finished the run.

Results? No sunburn. No running in my eyes. I’m sold.

And the lip balm? Goes on nice and smooth and flat out just feels good on your lips. Thumbs up on this one too!

oc RunDad Says:

“Sunscreen worked great. Stayed on during the entire 8 mile run. Sweat did not wash it into my eyes. Very waterproof.”

karen_thumb[1] RunSis Says:

“Funscreen- Thumbs up- Just to let you all know, I am the whitest person EVER and have been known to get sunburned on a cloudy day. I used it before my 18 miler in the Great Sahara (of Michigan) and did not get sunburnt, not even when my run went horribly wrong and I cut my run SIX miles short and basically laid on a big hill and attempted to get a "suntan" while I waited for my husband to finish.”

So who wants some? Scape was nice enough to send me a second care package of sunscreen AND the lip balm to give out to one lucky reader. (Thank-you very much Scape!). So let’s have ourselves another little giveaway shall we? You all probably know the drill by now, but just in case somebody new is out there, let’s review what you need to do to enter. And in honor of blog reader Tracy, I shall tell you BEFORE you get to the methods of entry that you only need to leave me one comment instead of individual comments to let me know each way you’re entering. Think of it as my little gift to you :-)

REQUIRED ENTRY:

1. Become a follower of this blog or let me know you already are one via the comments.

ADDITIONAL ENTRIES:

And as always if you are already a FB fan, Twitter follower, Daily Mile friend, or I’m on your blog roll, just let me know. That counts too. Same if you are following Scape or a friend of Scape on FB. All entries must be received by Thursday, August 5th at 11:59:59 PM. I’ll announce the winner on Friday, August 6th.

Good luck!

'Til next time...

P.S. Don’t forget there’s still time to enter the giveaway for a running head band too! Click here for details.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Epic Fail

Don’t ever ask me to go with you to a casino. Unless of course you’re looking to leave a lot of cash one their tables. Then I. Am. Your. Girl.

Let’s just say my gamble with the weather this weekend did NOT pay off. I am currently 20less and you might have noticed no second contest has been posted yet.

Quick re-cap. Friday after my post weighing the options of running through a thunderstorm Saturday am or pushing it off to a more pleasantly forecasted Sunday and promising to post another giveaway later that evening, my family and I headed out for dinner only to have our plans thwarted by a faster moving than expected storm front. Yeah, when the clouds appear to start dropping down out of a nearly pitch black sky, it’s time to seek shelter. So we did at our nearest relative’s.

With two little girlies hopped up on an evening at Grandma’s and all the fun that entails, it was a late bedtime for them and alas for me, no second post.

Fast forward to Saturday morning, you know, the Saturday morning that I had decided not to run and the rain was…absent. Mr. weatherman got it wrong AGAIN. Yep. Nada on thunderstorms. Just a little rain on and off but nothing one wouldn’t run through. I’d like to say something here to the effect of on the bright side I got to sleep in, but my youngest got up at 5:30 am. So, not so much.

All day Saturday was spent grocery shopping and cleaning because we’re kind of sort of possibly planning on going out of town (going out of town = the one time I must have my house clean from top to bottom. Who wants to come home to rest from a busy vacation of resting and do it in a messy house? Who can rest in a mess?). But I began to notice a little twinge in my neck and it was progressively getting worse. By the evening it had spread to my shoulder and I was begging my husband to massage it.

So yada yada yada, I’ll spare you all the details of trying to get to sleep with a shoulder/neck in a great deal of pain (sort of similar to trying to find a comfortable sleeping position when 9 months pregnant). It just wasn’t happening. At 4:30 am I finally got up, scratch that, sort of rolled out of bed (the way you do when your neck is useless to you) to get ready to run.  At this point now, I can no longer really turn my head and I started to think running might not be such a good idea.

Now technically, I realize, you don’t actually need your head so much to run. Eyes ahead. Go. That’s pretty much it right? Though without the use of my head, I might risk being branded a running snob not being able to give the casual nod to my fellow runner passersby and all. But perhaps that could be overcome with a mild to moderate wave. But the shoulder, now the shoulder was going to pose a problem as my early morning pajama pretend running in the bathroom would attest. I couldn’t really swing my arm.

Having experienced before how 20 miles can turn something minor into something major (like say for example how a teeny tiny annoyance of a thread out of place on a shirt can turn into a serious flesh wound) I was more than a little nervous about what three plus hours of running would do to enhance an injury. So despite knowing exactly what skipping out on my morning run would mean (20 miles on the treadmill Monday morning after a visit to the chiropractor), I went back to bed.

And as if some grand sign from God, the skies opened up about a half an hour later with massive thunderstorms. Some of which I hear seem to be repeating themselves right about now. **SIGH** Looks like I’m cutting this one short tonight. Power off for me.

'Til next time...

P.S. Really. Tomorrow. Review + Giveaway. Swear. It can’t storm all the time.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Runner's Gamble: The Weather

And so I find myself here once again, staring at the weather for tomorrow weighing the options for my weekend long run. It is not looking good...at least not for tomorrow anyway.

Hot. Mid 80s even in the early am (and by early am we're talking butt crack of dawn early). And thunderstorms. To start tonight and hang around for most of the day tomorrow. And while this slightly excites me because I won't have to water any of my plants (it's the little things), it's not exactly the forecast you hope for when you've got 20 miles on the agenda for morning.

Now Sunday, on the other hand, Sunday's looking good. Mid to high 60's in the morning and not a storm in sight. I don't think you could ask for a better running forecast, at least not in Michigan at the end of July.

It's the great gamble. Do I re-arrange my schedule due to the impending threat of storms and push my long run off 'til Sunday? Mess up my training plan? Call in someone to babysit on Sunday? Risk a whole nother* day of life with the kiddos that provides a plethora of the unexpected with always the potential to get in the way of a run?

Or do I chance that the weather man might just possibly, albeit schockingly (in a world where even the most highly anticipated events are shocking), be wrong? I mean, I have afterall on more than one occassion found myself stuck on a 15+ mile run on my treadmill in the basement due to a gloom and doom forecast that turned out to be bogus all the while watching not a single drip drop fall outside my window (no, no, that wasn't frustrating at all.).

And it's not like I can just take a peek outside the window and decide in the morning, because first of all, who wants to wake up at 4:30 in the morning to check the weather? And secondly, I've got to make arrangements for the girlies. Lastly, maybe this is just me, but when I've got a really big run to do, I want it done not hanging over my head. It's almost as if at any moment I might lose my motivation. So I've got to get it in while the motivation is there before it slips away into the cozy comfort of my bed or some giant bowl of ice cream (nah...let's make that a slice of chocolate cake. I'm not a huge fan of ice cream). I love running. Really, I do, but I'm nearly always on just this side of skipping my run and letting the lazy side of me take control.

So it's a gamble. And here I sit, watching Beauty and the Beast silently debating whether or not running in thunderstorms would actually be THAT bad. Aren't the chances of being struck by lightening like one in a bazillion anyway? Hmmm....

'Til next time...

P.S. Think I'll be posting another giveaway tonight. So keep your eyes peeled. In the meantime, be sure to enter the giveaway for one of Kat's running head bands here.

*a whole nother: (adj.) completely or entirely another as opposed to half another or a part of another (come on you all know you say it or have heard it said).

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Review Crew: Running Head Bands + Giveaway


Because I know you all want one, just like I did.

It’d been awhile since I last had a hair cut (not anymore. I am now currently chopped and blond and rarely resemble my profile picture), my bangs were at that long enough to get into your eyes but not quite long enough to get into your ponytail stage which is in other words insanely frustrating, especially when they’re all sweaty and in your face on a run.

Now, I’d seen some of those running head bands on people before, but just never really pulled the trigger on purchasing one for myself because, well, (brace your self for a really lame reason here) I didn’t really want to pay to have a single head band shipped to me so I could try it out. So, I just opted to wear a hat (which I just recently broke btw. How exactly does one break a hat? I have no idea but I managed to accomplish that feat. So say sayonara to the white Nike hat you see in all my pictures. Sadly, it is no more.) or on shorter treadmill runs I just dealt with the bang annoyance, since it seemed kind of embarrassing to run indoors on a treadmill with a hat on (should anyone happen to break into my house and wander down into my basement to say hello and actually see me while I’m running that is).

Now enter Kat. Kat is a marathoning mom who’s turned her passion for running into a new business. Scarlett Craft is her shop on Etsy. She started sewing head bands for her own workouts using hi tech wicking fabric and making them a little wider than your average running head band so they could stand up to the extra sweating that comes with distance running. She asked me if I’d be willing to test one out and gladly, I obliged.

The one I tested you see in the photo above and I’ll be perfectly honest. It was a major fail for me the first two times I wore it. I wore it once on the bike and then I planned on wearing it at the Rollie Hopgood 5K, but both times it slipped right on off my head at the 5K, during my warmup. I was sorely disappointed because I really really wanted it to work. Now my mom and my dad both had a head band to test out and they were loving it (more on their reviews here in a second), so I figured I must be doing something wrong. And turns out yes, the same woman who broke a hat also apparently can not properly apply a head band. I had put it on just at my hair line and Kat’s head bands need to come on down a little onto the forehead.

Armed with this new knowledge, I gave it another shot on a 6 mile run and am happy to report no slippage and no sweat was able to break through and trickle down into my eyes and let me tell you folks I am a SERIOUS sweater. In fact, it has crossed my mind once or twice before that if I ever got in a serious pinch on a long run, say perhaps there was a hole in one of my fuel belt bottles or some crazy electrolyte deficient cyclist rode by and just snatched one out of my belt and I suddenly found myself without enough electrolyte replacement fluid to get through the run, I could probably just lick myself and be fine. I am completely coated with salt crystals when I finish a long run and shirts are no good to me anymore by mile 8. I get that sweaty.

So yep. It completely works and she has tons of pretty styles (and neutral if you happen to be a fella) that you can choose from. She’s also willing to custom make them if you happen to have a uniquely sized head or if you would like it to say something like 26.2, Runner Girl, or whatever.

Oh and totally aside, my (almost) 2 year old LOVES it. She hardly has any hair, so I like to try and identify her as a girl (so people don’t get embarrassed when they get it wrong) with headbands and bows, but she never leaves them on. On a whim, my mom put her head band on her. Not only did she leave it on, but she kept walking up to people, touching her head band and tilting her head to show it off.

Guess you can say thumbs up for me and my 2 year old!

dad Mobile Mile Marker Says:

    1. “I think I like it. No sweat & I didn't even know it was there.”




momRunnana Says:

“I wore my headband while working out on the treadmill. I wore it just about a half inch below my hairline. I found that it really did keep the sweat out of my eyes, was soft and comfortable, and felt very light on my head. I haven't worn it on a run outside yet... I really don't like to have "stuff" on me when I run. I also don't like sweat dripping down my face so I'll probably try it. The one I wore was striped and very cute!”

The Spazz Says:

"Red headband made of moisture wick material ~6” wide and sewn together at the base. I like wearing hats and headbands but this one seemed to slide all over the place. I would suggest adding an anti-slip piece of rubber stitching every inch or so. (Like the sport headbands they sell in the hair-care isle.) I did however like that the moisture wick material didn’t feel rough on my skin and seemed to do a good job of keeping the sweat out of my eyes."


Now if you think you might want to test one of these running head bands yourself, you can hop on over to Scarlett Craft and order one up OR you can enter my giveaway! Kat has graciously offered to give away one head band to one of my readers. Here’s what you have to do to enter:

Required Entry:

1. Become a follower of this blog or let me know you already are one and you want in the giveaway.

2. Head of to Scarlett Craft and let me know which head band you would choose if you won. (Be sure to check out some of Kat’s other sweet stuff while you’re there).

Additional Entries: (Do as many or as few as you like)

  • Follow Kat on Twitter
  • Follow me on Twitter
  • Tweet about this contest
  • Become a Run Fast Mommy fan on Facebook
  • Suggest Run Fast Mommy to your FB friends
  • Status update on FB about this contest
  • Come hang out with me on the Daily Mile
  • Add me to your blog roll
  • Blog about this contest
  • Go post the funniest thing your kid has ever said to you (or someone else) on my funny kid post here.

If you are already a twitter follower, fb fan, daily mile friend or I’m on your blog roll, sweet! That counts too. Just let me know what all exactly you’ve done via a comment. One if fine, don’t stress yourself out trying to leave me a bunch of separate comments (unless you really really want to then by all means).

All entries must be received by 11:59:59 PM on Saturday, July 31st. Contest winners will be announced on Sunday, August (**GASP** I can’t believe it’s almost August!) 1st.

Good luck!

'Til next time...

Grins & Giggles: Funny things kids say

I’m about to announce a new giveaway here in a few right after I get this last little darling to bed. In the meantime, here’s your mid week giggle:

http://www.davesdaily.com/funpages/funny-kids.htm

Hope a few of them made you chuckle! Feel free to come back and leave us a comment with the funniest thing you’ve heard from your little one. I’ll do the same…if I can narrow it down to one that is.

'Til next time...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Um…so I have an idea…

Everyone just sit down and take a deep breath. It’s all going to be ok. But yes, I have an idea again. Last time this happened I believe I found myself riding a bicycle as fast as I could in my bathing suit trying to catch some woman with a black markered 32 on her leg at my first tri. It was fun, just not exactly something I pictured myself doing about this time last year (or, well, ever actually).

Now, I’ve got another one. And it’s hovering somewhere between really just stupid or maybe not so much. So who better to bounce the idea off of than my fellow running mammas eh? Bear with me, because it’s a work in progress, but here’s the idea:

I’m thinking of becoming a running coach. Not in the “hey you, runner there, let me tell you what I think you ought to do” sense, but the real I know what I’m talking about not only because I’ve done it, but also because I’ve studied about it and learned from Obe Wan Runner Kanobe (who’s name I’m sure I’ve spelled incorrectly ;-) ) and I actually have some form of credentials.

My thought is this basically: I love running (you had no idea right?). And running has done great things for me, as probably is true for many of you. I would really really love to share that with others in particular, other moms who would like to get started but don’t know how or maybe just need some encouragement and support to do so (feel free to insert my running story post baby numero uno here if you’re needing an example).

But what I don’t know or what I’m on the fence about is as my husband likes to put it: “is the juice worth the squeeze?” Is there a market out there for moms who want to run and are looking for a coach? Or is this just a big fat waste of time, money and energy that would be far better spent playing another game of dress up with my 4 year old?

So, I leave the floor to you, my blog family, any thoughts, opinions, advice, etc. on my little idea (Be gentle please if you are going to crush my slowly morphing dream here). Do I go break out the check book and sign up for coaching certification or put on a princess crown?

**SIGH** This has been on my mind solid, for a week now. Help please.

'Til next time...

P.S. I PROMISE I won’t be integrating coaching with my blog. Other than perhaps asking for a few guinea pigs once certification is complete. I know you’re all here for my ridiculously random running stories (no Kelly. It’s the goods. The free goods you giveaway. Duh.) not running advice. I’ll form a separate site for that if I need to.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Grins & Giggles: Toddler Tri Training

A day late, but still worth a grin I do believe (will I ever get these up on Wednesday? Maybe I should just switch the day to Thursday).

Remember after the Iron Goddess Tri I told you I spent the rest of the day training my girls for their own? Well, one of my little girlies was taking that seriously…

toddler tri

I’ll be shopping around for a tiny wet suit and swim cap later today. I think the cycling shoes might be a challenge though ;-)

'Til next time...

P.S. You might be wondering exactly what she is holding next to her cheek. That’d be broccoli. After all, what serious triathlete doesn’t bring a little broccoli to their competitions? Hers is just plastic though. Practice broccoli.

P.P.S. Don’t forget, if YOU’VE got something you think is worth a grin or a giggle that you’d like to share send it to me at runfastmommy@gmail.com.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Review Crew: Gu Chomps + Giveaway?

_0030_products_chomps_flavors Ok before I can review this product for you honestly, you should know I have issues. If you have perused over my about me page and deciphered my random facts, you might remember, I am a freak about choking. Really.

I’m not exactly sure where it stems from, but let’s just say ever since my oldest daughter (now 4) was big enough to eat solid foods, I wake up in the middle of the night on a somewhat frequent basis due to choking dreams. I still cut up her hot dogs to this day. Blueberries that are on the bigger side will get split down the middle for my now almost 2 year old.  I have nearly lost a finger on more than one occasion trying to retrieve a bite of something from that same toddler that looked just a tad too big. And basically my kids are not allowed to move while eating…anything.

So perhaps you see the problem for me and Gu Chomps. Running while chewing. Can you see me twitching? But our friend Scott over at Outside PR asked me to give them a shot. So I did (actually for the second time).

Gu Chomps are designed to give you an energy boost during your runs just when you need it most and keep you from tanking. Do they? Well…I don’t know. I tried guys. Really, I did. But I just can not seem to chew and run (not a shocker considering I couldn’t even drink and run for a looooooong time). I’m sure it’s all a mental thing, but for me mid run, it’s not happening unless I stop and, well, you know. Who wants to stop mid run?

But let me tell you how I DO use these in a not necessarily recommended but it works for me kind of way. I run a lot in the evening after my babies are put to bed, usually 9ish. The thing that blows ginormous chunks about this is that although it’s long enough past dinner that my stomach won’t be upset (usually) by whatever I ate, it’s also long enough that I’m a little bit hungry again. Now, at this point, I am totally not up for eating something, waiting half an hour to an hour to digest, then running for an hour. I mean, the only thing that I like better than running is perhaps sleeping (although eating also ranks right up there) and so I’d like to get to it at a somewhat reasonable hour.

So what do I do? I eat some chomps, 4 to be exact and it seems to be enough to get me through my run without feeling like I’m going to pass out or just completely dragging (which is definitely something to be said for this product, because after chasing around a 4 year old & almost 2 year old all day, it’s a miracle NOT to be dragging even without adding a run into the mix.)

So I am a big big fan of this product pre-run, at a stop mid run, or even post run. It tastes terrific and it works. But during a run, eh…not so much. Best flavor for me is blueberry pomegranate…or maybe orange…ok no, I actually really likes the cranberry apple. Shoot. They’re all good. Just pick the flavor you think you might like best and give it a whirl.

karenRunSis says:

“I prefer Gu Chomps to energy gels any day of the week. But I like them best in the summer when they’re easy to chew, not so much in the winter when they’re frozen (it gets mighty cold here in MI in the winter time, enough to turn a chomp into a rock on a 2 hour run). Strawberry is my favorite.” 

 

marie The Spazz says:

“Before I start off let me state that I am not a big fan of energy chews while running. I have a hard time chewing while I run, and I always feel like I’m going to choke. I am more of a liquid Gu fan. However, I did enjoy the flavor (blueberry pomegranate) and they seemed to dissolve quickly. I ate one chew every mile and my energy and glucose levels seemed to remain in the normal range. I would recommend consuming these while hiking, climbing, or mountain biking instead of running.”

momRunnana says:

“I had two chomps on a longish run. I really did like the flavor (cranberry apple) and they seemed to do the trick just as well as a Gu packet. I found the package a little difficult to open with sweaty hands, not horrible, but they aren't as quick and easy to open as regular Gu packets. I usually don't have any problem swallowing Gu, but my last race was a hot one and I squeezed in a packet of gu and didn't think I was going to be able to swallow it. At the time I was thinking that probably the chomps would have been a better choice on that day. I think the Chomps might be a better consistency if you're feeling a little queezy. I will probably use them in the future.”

dad Mobile Mile Marker says:

“Gu Chomps, Gu chomps taste great!
Wish I had some,
Can't wait!”

(Ok, so I told you my Dad would always be short sweet and to the point, but I forgot to mention that he is also the king of cheesy, I mean, poetic lines which frequently rhyme. There you have your first one. He had strawberry btw.)

olliechloe RunDad says:

“Chomps....I Like Them. No sticky fingers like I get when I take regular Gu packs. They are a little to big for me to chew all at once so I stick a Chomp in my mouth, bite it in half. Stick half in my chimpmunk cheek and chew the other half.

When I'm huffing and puffing a full chomp can get in the way.
I tried the strawberry flavored Chomps. They had a nice, not too intense, flavor with a pleasant finish (wine geek talk for after taste).
Two Thumbs Up for the Chomps”

 'Til next time...

P.S. Wait…what are you still doing here? We’re all done. Oh that’s right! I mentioned giveaway didn’t I? Well, not just yet, my running pals. Not just yet. There IS a Gu Giveaway coming and I believe the exact word Scott from Outside PR used was “big.” If you could only see the giant mound of Gu goods I got when he used the word “smattering,” you’d be chomping at the bit (pun intended). So stick close. I’ve got a whole number of Gu products to tell you about so you’ll know exactly what you’re getting. For a sneak peek at the reviews to come and some of what you might get the chance to win, go check out the Gu website.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ryders Winners

Well lookie here! I am right on the ball tonight ladies and...well...mostly ladies. Still an hour and a half to go and I'm revealing the big Ryders winners. And the winners are:


AND

Woohoo!! Congratulations ladies! You are both going to look super fabulous in your new sunglasses.

Tomorrow or Wednesday I'll have another review for you which might possibly have a giveaway attatched to it. Just working out a few details. But if not, you should know I'm working on no less than 3 Giveaways for you all in the upcoming weeks (who loves ya baby?) Go ahead. Say it. I know I'm your favorite blogger. Right? Flattery will get you everywhere. Well, maybe it has no actual effect on who's name my 4 year old picks out of the big bowl of entries, but I'll write your name a little bit fancier on the paper and if it does get selected it will look extra nice when I read it. So you've got that going for you.

'Til next time...

P.S. I updated the Giveaway button the other day. Have you clicked it recently? Some pretty cool giveaways going on around bloggerville. Check it out! Oh...and if I'm missing yours, it was not by design. Give me a shout out and I'll post yours too.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Racing for Revenge: Rollie Hopgood 5K

rollieshirt **GASP** Revenge? Now Kelly, you know that goes against the very fiber of what running is all about don’t you? Runners run for noble causes, in loving memory, even for personal accomplishment. But revenge? Shame on you. That goes against the very essence of what running is. And quite frankly, I’ve come to expect better from you.

Yeah. I hear you out there random blog reader and protectress of the sacred art of sport. But it is what it is and what it is (or was rather) was revenge.

In fact, my husband asked me a couple of weeks ago, “what are you running that race for?” Not that there is anything wrong with running a 5K or specifically the Rollie Hopgood Mid-town Taylor 5K (heretofore to be known as Rollie Hopgood), it’s just that I am right smack in the middle of training for the Air Force Marathon in September. Training which includes a long run on the weekends and generally not a short near sprint of a race.

But the fact of the matter is I had no choice. That race haunts me. You see, it was the first race I ran after getting back into running shortly after the birth of my first daughter and actually, my first 5K ever. Three years ago, when I ran it, I tanked and I tanked hard, barely dragging my sorry behind under that massive inflatable finish line and coming in well behind two friends from high school/college, who had both been athletes in high school, but had not really pursued running at least not back then. And to add insult to injury, as I neared the home stretch, I heard a familiar voice cheering me on, one I hadn’t heard in quite some time. I couldn’t place it as I heard it, but once I crossed the finish, I realized one of my high school track coaches had been on hand to watch the spectacle. He actually told me later that day “I don’t know Kel. You might want to rethink the marathon. It’s pretty tough and you might want to get a little more experience.” (I was a month or so into training for my first. He was probably right, but that’s another topic).

Now, my time that day was actually not too shabby I don’t think: 27:13. But that my friends, that was pure heart as I could literally see my college roommates ahead of me, kicking my behind. I had an extremely difficult time keeping the contents of my stomach actually in my stomach, I’m pretty sure my pace had slowed to a near walk and once it was over, it took a looooooooong time to recover from. I vowed that I could do better and would.

But in 2008, I was 7 months pregnant and not exactly in condition to be pr’ing. In 2009, it just didn’t work out in my schedule. But this year, it did. And I was desperate to have my revenge. My revenge on that course, on that time, and on my head that got the better of me on that last mile. It was time.

So I entered, despite the fact that the race didn’t exactly fit neatly into my running schedule and that I knew chances were slim to none that I’d be finishing anywhere near the top, even in my own age group. You see, Rollie Hopgood is put on by Everal Race Mgt (which in this area at least, automatically means it’s going to be very well organized creating quite a draw) and by the Downriver Runners (which is a very well established running club with some tremendously speedy runners). In fact that first year I ran it, the winning female ran a 5:45 pace. You might have heard of her Sheila Taormina, Olympic gold medalist. In my age group alone that year, the top three runners all ran average paces in the 6 minute range. It’s just a fast fast race.

But it wasn’t about that, it was about putting that race under my belt once and for all. Feeling like I had given it not only my best, but my smartest running effort because running a too fast first mile and sucky stupid 2nd & 3rd miles leaves you shaking your head knowing you could have done better.

So I took it on today, with goal #1 (I always have multiple race goals for some odd reason. Maybe b/c it gives me a better chance at walking away feeling accomplished?) being to run that course faster than before. Goal #2 to PR (beat 24:40). And goal #3 break into the 23’s.

Now, I learned my lesson from the previous race. Gun start, chip finish (so they turn all your timing chips on at once which can add some unwanted seconds, or even minutes on to your time depending on the size of the race and how far away from the start you area when the gun fires or horn blows) so I squeezed my way up near the front, but not too close so I wouldn’t get plowed over since I am in no way capable of 5ish or 6ish minute miles at least not any in a row (or any that happen to be 1600 meters in length). Giving my best guesstimate as to where the 7ish minute mile runners were gathering, I attempted to blend in.

Setting aside that it was starting to get hot and that one of the most disingenuous politicians I have ever met was selected to start the race (grrrrrr...politicians….so frustrating….no business at any of my races ruining my running chi. Why is it that they insist on getting their fingers on EVERYTHING? Really, do you think pushing the button on the little air horn somehow makes you one with runners and thus more electable? It just annoys me that we’ve got to stop and take two seconds to recognize their almighty presence. How about you just come and hand out water at an aid station? Hmmm? Now that would impress me. Ok vent over. Sorry about that, but you know me and politicians right? I suppose I should just be thankful that she didn’t speak. Anyway…), I was good to go. Cue air horn.

And off I went down a couple of shadeless blocked off from traffic main roads. Waaaaay too fast. Yep, the Rollie Hopgood mile one bested me yet again. I know it’s because the race is so dang fast. It just doesn’t feel like you are running that quick when everyone around you is running at the same speed and you’ve just started so you’re not tired yet.

Mile One – 7:14 and remember you can peel off at least a couple of seconds for not standing right immediately at the start line. I believe I counted 4. So a 7:10 first mile. Fastest mile I have ever run in a race, maybe ever. Not good when your game plan was to run negative splits (or in other words, the second half faster than the first). Kind of hard to run your 2nd and 3rd mile faster than your 1st, when your first was the fastest mile you’ve ever run.

Perhaps needless to say, I slowed down on that second mile. I actually re-vamped the game plan once I hit that first mile marker and assessed the damage. New plan: slow down to 8:30ish & rest a little for mile 2. Pick the pace back up for mile 3. Sprint to the finish.

But it was also about this time when I spotted this 9 year old boy just ahead of me. And now I must pose one of life’s great unanswerable questions: Why is it that someone so small, nearly half your size, with short little legs and practically no muscle in comparison can get those little legs moving just as fast as you or faster even and keep them that way for so long? It just doesn’t seem right. But this little dude stayed ahead of me the entire race (way to go kid. He ran a 24:40). He was a rabbit. I was a fox. The fox went hungry today. I could NOT catch that kid for the life of me. At one point I was pretty close to shouting “WEAR OUT ALREADY WOULD YOU?!” (hmmm…I might have I’m not sure ;-) But I’ll tell you one thing, he made a fine argument for limiting kids to kids races only. That way the adults can save face.

Mile Two – 8:26 All part of my plan. For the second mile we ran down a side street and back to the park where we started. The heat was starting to get to me (since when have I become such a hot weather pansy?). So, I grabbed a cup of water. Unfortunately, I am apparently incapable of drinking out of a little paper cup of water at an 8:26 pace so I just spilled it all over myself (which felt great!). Then we were onto some very well groomed gorgeous trails through the woods (ahhhhh….shade) before we spit back out into the sun, the dreaded dastardly sun, onto the paved park trails. I was fading fast.

Mile Three – 8:36 Apparently my legs didn’t get the entire message on my revised game plan. The pick it back up for the last mile just wasn’t happening. In fact, I think I might have ended up far worse if I didn’t tell myself off somewhere in the middle of it and get my act together because the second half of this mile was much faster than the first. Good thing, because I was passing by my husband and my babies near the 3 mile marker, by then I was back on.

.1- 0:47 (Does this even mean anything to anyone?) This was up a little hill, then downhill to the finish. I sprinted. I am only kicking myself a teeny bit for not completely running through the finish. Because:

2010-07-10_12.56.32

I tied for 2nd in my age group. Woohoo! Had I not been kind of bummed at seeing the clock hit 25:00, I would not have eased up any and maybe I would own that 2nd place myself. But for now, it seems I will just have to share it at 25:07.

And while I didn’t hit all of my goals, I at least hit one to run a faster time on that course than I did before. Besides when you factor in all the extenuating circumstances (and of course no one else’s) you get a substantially faster time (and thus a higher place). So technically, I believe I may have quite possibly hit all of my goals if you appropriately adjust my time due to the following 10 factors:

1. I have two small children one of whom was throwing a minor fit about not being able to run the race herself and the other who apparently ate one of every pair of her shoes to deal with before the race.

2. It was hot but only in the places where I was running at the exact time I was running through them which is why it didn’t effect anyone else.

3. Since it was so hot, I was forced to run shirtless with only a sports bra exposing my blindingly white seldomly seen bare belly to the entire world. Besides being virtually unable to see from the glow, I also had to suffer the humiliation that comes along with running belly free in a shy belly body.

4. I got bit by a weird bug this week and it was certainly not a performance enhancing insect. (Really I did).

5. I forgot my hat. You might as well of cut off one of my limbs. It’s that serious.

6. My baby cried when I ran by her near the finish. No, wait…that might have made me run away faster. (Did I say away? I meant run faster to finish sooner. You know, so I could take care of her. Yeah, yeah, that’s definitely what I meant).

7. I got a little stain on my Iron Goddess shirt that I didn’t end up wearing. (It was the trauma of the stain).

8. Doug Kurtis and Ella Willis were there and extremely accomplished fast people intimidate me and make me run, well, pretty much the same pace I’d run if they weren’t there.

9. Did I mention the politician?

10. My bib pins were different sizes. I was horribly unbalanced.

So all things considered. I’m going with the average pace my watch indicated (because it’s a cheap watch and the .1 was averaged in equally. See why I don’t get a Garmin?) and that would be a 6:17 min/mile pace. So technically, I won the women’s race. It’s astounding how quickly I’ve progressed isn’t it? One might almost call it absurd. Oh look, someone agrees…

Bobble, bobble.

'Til next time...

chloebobbleP.S. Place your bets how long exactly that head will remain on my priceless trophy. “I just love her. She’s so cute.” Bobble bobble. My daughter really wanted me to take a movie of her bobbling that poor runner girl’s head as fast as she could to show you all. I’m pretty sure if the race officials knew the fate that awaited this award before they handed it out, they would have skewed the results in a humanitarian effort.

P.P.S. Yes, I AM entering my daughter in a race. Wood Duck Dash 1/2 Mile Fun Run in August, I do believe is the winner. And it is totally and completely only going to be all about her that day. Pretty sure she’ll be expecting her own bobble head when she crosses the finishline though. Wonder if they have any extras?

P.P.P.S One more day to get into the giveaway for the Ryders sunglasses. Don’t miss it! Click here to enter.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Grins & Giggles: Signs, signs, everywhere are signs

Anybody else frying out there today? **Phew** It is H-O-T (and when you spell it, that's definitely serious). I was baking like a toasted cheeser. But if you got your workout in today anyway, pat yourself on your back for me. You are a rockstar. Here's a little giggle for your reward (and if you didn't, don't worry. I don't blame you and I promise not to tell).

Funny Marathon Spectator Signs

And how about one more:

Perfect Timing Marathon Signs

'Til next time...

P.S. With that super hot sun blazing down on you today during your run, you probably wished you had a sweet pair of sunglasses to wear now didn't you? Well, you are in luck my friend. I'm giving away two pairs of Ryders sunglasses. Click here for giveaway details.

P.P.S. Anyone spot the obscure movie reference besides RunSis who I'm sure will totally add her own line from the mystery flick in the comments?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Review Crew: Ryders Sunglasses + Giveaway

DSCF6371 Ok…I’ll just come right out with it. I love these sunglasses :-)


Now perhaps this should be prefaced with the fact that I’m no sunglass connoisseur. No wait…maybe I am. I was going to tell you how as a lifeguard/pool manager for many years I’d go through a good 3-4 pairs of cheap sunglasses each summer. They were cheap, but still I guess you could say I’ve seen my fair share of sunglasses.


I really haven’t been one to wear sunglasses while running though. I’ve just opted for a hat and a squint, but a few weeks back the squinting got old, so I bought myself a pair of Foster Grant’s Active (Raquel Welch wears them so they MUST automatically be fantastic right?). I tried them on at the store. They looked cool. Felt fine. Figured they would do.


Good thing I opted to try them out at my daughter’s t-ball game first before taking them out on a run (which is hilarious btw. The t-ball I mean. The kids either stand around playing in the dirt OR they’re like my kid and attempt to field any ball that is hit anywhere regardless of the ball’s actual proximity. As a matter of fact, my daughter fielded her own hit on one occasion, but I digress). I didn’t even make it half way through the game with these sunglasses on. I have no idea why, but either these sunglasses shrink while you wear them or they cause your head to expand. I don’t know which, but by the time my daughter got up to bat for the second time, I had a wicked headache and couldn’t take the squeezing anymore. If I had worn them on my long run, I’d probably have pitched them or randomly handed them out to some passerby (hello there Cycling Casanova with waaaaaaay too much cologne on, would you like a pair of sucky sunglasses?).


But the Ryders on the other hand, ahhh….sweet Ryders. So very light, I don’t even know they’re there. I actually tried two pairs. One with an open frame (which my husband says makes me look sporty and I don’t think anybody’s ever called me that before. So, you know, I’ve got that going for me) and one with closed frames. My personal preference was for the closed frames because I think I can get away with wearing them pretty much anywhere, whereas the open frames if I were to attempt that people might expect me to just up and start running wherever I was, like my kids swimming lessons or the family 4th of July picnic. And you know, people are much less likely to talk to you if they think you might just take off running on them at any moment.


It all worked out though, because apparently if you have super long luscious yet overly sensitive lashes like my sister, the closed frame glasses might not be the best choice for you. She was thoroughly annoyed that her eyelashes kept touching the lens of close framed pair. So after we were about a mile out on our sunglass test run, we swapped pairs. She was happy. I was happy. All was right with the world.


So my verdict: Thumbs Up!


RUNDAD SAYS:

There were a lot of things to like about the Ryder Sunglasses.
1. Light, yet had sturdy construction.
2. The lenses relieved a lot of eye strain and squinting that usually occurs when running.
3. Rubber tips on the ear and nose pieces made the glasses very comfortable to wear and prevented slippage.
My one recommendation would be to buy the model without the frame on the bottom and the slide. This will prevent any obstruction when looking off to the side.”


RunDad Verdict: Thumbs Up!


karenRUNSIS SAYS:


“Not much to say which I think is a good thing when it comes to sunglasses. I barely noticed they were there. They didn't bounce on my face or squeeze my brain. They kept the sun out of my eyes and seemed like little LCD screens since my vision seemed crisper with them on.” (weird, but yeah. I’m totally agreed about the LCD thing).


RunSis Verdict: Thumbs Up!


And thanks to our friends at Ryders and Outside PR, two of you get to add a pair to your super sweet running gear collection. Here’s what you’ve got to do:


Required to enter:


1. Be or become a follower of this blog.


2. Visit the Ryders website and let me know which pair of these three you would choose: Lolite (Black), Porter (Black), or Drill (Light Blue)

Additional Entries:


Notify me via the comments (one comment is fine) what methods you have chosen to enter. All entries must be received by, Sunday July 11th at 11:59 PM. I’ll announce the winner on Monday, July 12th. Good luck!


'Til next time...


P.S. Looks like we might be having a little trouble with the comments, a Blogger glitch. I switched the comments to post automatically, but if you still can't get your comment to show up, then send me your contest entry via email or Facebook (HA HA! We are too smart for you Blogger. You will not ruin our giveaway no matter how uncooperative you might choose to be!)

Monday, July 5, 2010

All hands on deck…please

Because this is important.

Madison Walters is 7 years old. I have never met her and never even heard of her until this past weekend.

Even though I don’t know her, I’d imagine she’s lived her life as a fairly typical northwestern Ohio girl, playing, laughing, perhaps picking on her 4 year old little brother every now and then. Maybe watching her dad, a long distance runner, go out for a run. That is at least up until June 5th.

You might remember I wrote to you all on June 6th about that night. It was the night I spent huddled in my basement with my husband and my girls with tornado sirens blazing, slightly terrified. It is Michigan after all, not your typical hotbed for extreme weather. In fact, in the 4 years I’ve lived in this house, I’ve never heard those sirens until that night. The same night that would drastically change Madison’s life.

She, her brother and her parents were asleep in their home upstairs when the tornado hit. It ripped the second story off of her house and leveled it to the foundation. Tragically, Madison’s mother and her brother Hayden were killed, while Madison and her father were taken to the hospital to treat their injuries. About a week later, Madison would be released from the hospital, but not her father. His injuries were too severe. He died in the hospital.

madison

I heard about Madison on Sunday on a local radio station. While Madison’s immediate needs have been taken care of by her extended family and a giving community, a number of radio stations have joined together with 5/3 Bank to set up a fund to take care of her future living expenses and college.

Times are tough now, this I know. But this father, he was one of us, a runner. Like you and me, I’m sure on his long runs he imagined what life would be like for his children. Who would they grow up to be? What would they become? How could he help them achieve their dreams and grow up to be the best they can be? But just like that. In a matter of seconds, he’s gone.

Please. Let’s not let the dreams he had for his daughter go with him. We all know life is not easy and while certainly no one will be able to replace the loss of her family, perhaps we can do our part to help her carry on the dreams of her father. If you are at all able, even if it’s just $5-$10, please consider making a contribution to Madison’s fund that she may go on to be just that young woman her mother and father imagined she one day would be. Please send your donations to:

5/3 Bank

3559 W Sterns Rd

Lambertville MI 48144

Checks should be made out to Madison Walters. Please also include a note that says for the Madison Walters Cumulus College Fund. You can also drop your donations off in person at any 5/3 in Northwestern Ohio or Southeastern Michigan (from Monroe to the border) if you happen to live in the area.


'Til next time...

P.S. Here’s some more links on Madison’s story:

Toledo Blade

Statement from Madison Walter’s extended family

K100 Cumulus College Fund

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The big RoadID winner is…

ASHLEY!!

Congrats Ashley! You can visit her over at her tremendous Run Fat Girl Run blog (spoiler alert: she appears to be anything but fat, but you will also find duck storeis there. So you automatically know it's got to be good).

But if you are not Ashley, not to worry. My daughter was HIGHLY disappointed she only got to pick one winner this time. She is after all 4 and thus it is only logical, at least in her world, that she pick four. So I suppose that means we should give some more goods away eh? And what do you know, I just happen to have another review/giveaway up my sleeve. Tomorrow two winners will get another piece of super sweet running gear. Stay tuned…

HAPPY 4th of July!!

'Til next time...

P.S. Want a hint? Click here. I can say no more ;-)

P.P.S. Except that I must also say: Shake and Bake Berryfine. Shake. And. Bake.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Grins & Giggles: When Snow White attempts to fix her own nail polish

It winds up looking a little like this…

snowwhite

I realize her nails are not even in the picture, but that is actually what she was trying to do earlier today with a marker. And currently, yes, she’s still slightly green.  Oy!

'Til next time...

P.S. Sorry this Grin’s a little late. With the Iron Goddess review & Lanacane winners to announce, it slipped my mind. Fortunately, upon discovery of the little princess in the middle of her artisan nail crafting this afternoon, my memory was jogged.

P.P.S. There’s a sweet One More Mile contest that started today (and I know how we all love One More Mile!), but it seems like the site’s contest page is a little glitchy at the moment. I’m entering, so as soon as the kinks are all worked out, I’ll post via Facebook the link so you can all check it out. So if you’re interested, either keep an eye on the One More Mile website or go like my Fan Page and I’ll let you know (see how I’m always trying to suck you into Facebook. It’s part of my master plan ;-) Well, either that or I’m worried that one day Blogger will crash and I’ll lose all of my ridiculously hilarious followers that I could not possibly live without. )

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Lanacane Winners

So technically, I have not gone to bed yet. Thus, it is still June 30th to me. Why is that important you may be wondering?

Because I promised you the winners for the Lanacane Anti-Chafing Gel on June 30th of course! And might I just say, what a very fine bunch of talented literary artists you all are. I thoroughly enjoyed your haikus.

But let’s get on with the winners shall we? And the winners are:

Jennifer

AND

Judy

Congratulations! You will both be receiving one tube of Lanacane Anti-Chafing Gel thanks to Lanacane. Email me at runfastmommy@gmail.com and we’ll get it out to you asap.


'Til next time...

P.S. Still a few more days to get in on the Road ID giveaway. Did you enter yet?

My First Tri: The Iron Goddess

2010-06-29 20.11.17 And a whole lot of other firsts too! My first trail run. My first barefoot run. My first competitive swim. First time running in a bathing suit. And my very first time winning my age group! (Really. Swear. See that hat in the picture, that’s my proof, my big award).

So here’s how it went down:

First off, I was ridiculously nervous. I spent a good 1/2 hour in transition setting up my stuff. Then setting it up again…and again. Then looking at other people’s stuff and re-arranging my whole set up. I never really practiced transitions, so I knew this was going to be my weakest link (goodbye). Finally, I just figured really how many times can you move around shoes, a helmet, sunglasses, and a water bottle? It would have to do.

I wasn’t really sure what to do next, so I just headed over to the beach. La la la la la…I just kind of stood around to see what everybody else was doing. Here’s me looking all unsure:

me swim

Guess, I’ll just adjust my cap again. Tuck a little more hair in. Wish it matched my bathing suit, but I digress.

Eventually, with about 5 minutes left until go time, I headed into the water, which was supposedly 77.9 degrees, but dang it felt cold. Not too awful bad at first, but after waiting and waiting to start, my teeth began chattering. I don’t know how long we waited, but it seemed like forever (although I’m sure that was just nerves). I was bouncing up and down like some kind of fool to stay warm until the thought crossed my mind that I might possibly be wearing out my allswimlegs and I was going to need them a little later. So I went back to standing still, chattering, and hugging myself, not nearly as effective I’m sure.

At some point the race director made her way over to the water and said some things I couldn’t hear. She was trying to give directions to people on the beach and to the first wave of participants who were already in the water with a megaphone, but mostly us in the water just kept going “Huh?”

There were a few shout outs to the swim teams who were participating. (Yeah. Swim teams. Just great. That’s what I thought too.) Then somebody started swimming and others followed. For a few seconds I thought, “what the heck? These people are cheating. Is she gonna call them back or what?” Turns out the director, did actually say go though. Here’s us swimming:

usswim

If you look very very carefully, you can see me. I have a yellow cap on ;-)

I made one fatal mistake on the swim. I put myself in the front of the pack at the start. Now, in my defense, I checked the results from last year to see what people swam it in. Most of the times for the 1/4 mile swim were 10 minutes or slower (I think there were two in the 8 minute range). I can definitely swim a 1/4 mile in 10 minutesish. But what I didn’t know is that included in those 1/4 mile swim times from last year, was a 1/4 mile run to the first transition (for those of you who are rookies like me that’d be where you get on your bike), a run which was UPHILL no less. So actually those 1/4 mile swim times were much much faster. Which means, yep. I got plowed over at the start. And it freaked me out. I think the exact thought running through my head was “What the crack am I doing?” (although the expletive of choice was slightly harsher than crack) which was followed by “I will never ever do this again.” And I had maybe swam for oh…about a minute.

Knowing I had to calm down a bit, I opted to go to breaststroke even though it’s a seriously slower stroke. But I’m more comfortable with it, plus I could see where I was going instead of getting smacked in the face with someone’s foot. And then just as I was starting to recover from my initial tri start shock and ready to get back at it, I swallowed a gallon of lake water in someone’s wake and was right back to freak out mode. Hacking up a lung, I remembered the advice of the race director a week earlier at the open water swim trial which was: “If you start to freak out, even though now you’ll have done this before, just go to your back and kick for a little bit.”

So I did. I didn’t want to, but I seriously needed to re-group because I was not off to a good start. “Ok Kelly. Just calm down. You’re half way done with this swim. We’re all spaced out now and at least now you’re gonna be totally hydrated for the rest of the race on lake water.” I really wasn’t on my back long, but I’m glad I took that minute or so to refocus because after that I finally got control of my head.

After that I didn’t have any more problems, at least not with myself. I did get stuck behind a lady near the end of the swim that kept swimming diagonally. I think she was having a hard time spotting and would over correct when she realized she was off course. It made it hard to pass her. I think there’s something about tapping someone on the foot if you want to pass, but that seemed waaaaay too advanced for me. So I just kind of followed her and all her crookedness into the finish.

When the water was a little less than waist deep I stood up and took a few short steps to the shore. I didn’t feel all wobbly so the minute I hit the beach, maybe even a little bit before, I started to run. I was shocked that nobody else was running, not even jogging or walking fast really. They were just kind of walking and chit chatting. As a matter of fact for a minute I thought maybe I was doing something wrong, but then figured hey, you all might have just kicked my A$$ on the swim, but running’s my game so I’m gonna own this hill. I can not even tell you how many people I ran by on that hill. A bunch.

1/4 Mile Swim time: 12:56 (including that 1/4 mile uphill barefoot run)

Transition 1 went pretty smooth. Just prior to the race I had decided to put that Lanacane Anti-Chafing Gel on BEFORE I started the swim. It absorbs so I figured, it should still work for me by the time I got to the bike. Glad I did because those precious few seconds it would have taken to apply during the race I was going to need later. So at T1, I just slipped on my shoes, threw on my helmet, took a little swig of Gatorade and was off with my dad shouting “25” to me on my way out to let me know how many bikes I needed to chase down. Ugh. Not horrible. But my work was cut out for me.

Transition #1: 1:38

mebike

Yes. I biked in my bathing suit. Aren’t I so brave? There wasn’t really a whole lot of thinking that went into this. I just didn’t want to throw on a pair of shorts and have a wet butt for the run. Simple as that.

The bike course was a blast. Rolling hills, virtually no traffic (I think only one car went by). But I can definitely see room for cycling improvement. Turns for one. My super biking dad tells me there’s a way to really power out of the turns by downshifting to keep your cadence up (SAY WHAT??!! I know. It didn’t make much sense to me when he said it either. I think I’ve made him explain it twenty times since then but the basic premise is it’s a way to take the turns without braking and thus slowing waaaaaaaay down).

My other weakness on the bike was the uphills, this involves more complicated gear talk which I’ll save for some other post (mostly because I frequently use incorrect terms when talking about gears and shifting and I don’t want to sound like a complete idiot. Once I get it all figured out, maybe I can do a bike language post for beginners).

But all and all I only got passed once, no…make that twice on the bike. The first lady who passed me though I returned the favor shortly thereafter. The second lady, however, I could not seem to hunt down. She never got too far ahead of me, but she was making me crazy because I could see that 32 on her leg which meant we were in the same age group. ARRRRRR….So frustrating.

Nearing the finish, Miss Blond 32 slipped by three teenage girls who were having a rough go on the bike just before our last turn. I on the other hand, didn’t get up to them in time to take them before the turn. After the turn, they were taking up the whole road, but I got by one. The other two were sort of side by side and even though their friend shouted at them from behind that I was trying to pass, they didn’t yield. We were getting pretty close to the 2nd transition at this point, so I just let it be thinking maybe I could catch up and take Blond 32 on the run.

10.7 Miles Bike Time: 37:43 (17.0 mph)

Important Side note: After setting up your transition area, it’s a good idea to identify the location of your area from both the run in AND the bike in. Otherwise, you may run down the entirely wrong aisle to rack your bike, not realizing this until you can not find your stuff at the location you think your stuff should be which is exactly what I did. Fortunately, I already had on my running shoes. So all I had to do once I did actually find my transition area was take off my helmet, rack my bike and take another swig of Gatorade. Oh…and slip on a running skirt that was not actually a running skirt, but an old bathing suit bottom. So all I had to do was step in and pull it up without having to take off my shoes (GENIUS!! Right? But the real question to ask yourself is why is it ok to bike in a bathing suit, but weird to run in one? Or is that just me?)

Transition 2: 0:51

I ran out of transition two tossing on my hat just behind that group ofmerun three teenage girls that had blocked me on the bike. This time my dad was yelling “Nine. You’re nine!” as I passed by. I knew I was going to take those three girls and I figured Blond 32 couldn’t be far ahead. Things were looking up. And by up, I also mean literally up.

First order of business on the run, was a hill. “Who put this hill here?” I shouted to the teenagers who started to giggle. After a short ways, we came to a race volunteer who interestingly enough directed one of the girls one way and the rest of us the other. Hmmm…”This is the way for the mini sprint right?” I shouted and they shook their heads yes. Our run was 1.5 miles. The other run was 3 and I wasn’t feeling particularly up to that at that very moment.

As the first teenager circled around to join us, we headed down a well beaten path. Trail. Hadn’t really expected that (it would certainly do me well to read a course description from time to time now wouldn't it?), but it was a short run and there were plenty of paved paths around so I figured we’d pop out onto one at any time.

We didn’t. Almost the whole run was trail, and by trail I mean dirt, ruts, twigs, leaves. Not paved bike path which is what I actually mean when I say trail referring to what I usually run on. I’ve been wanting to get into real trail running, so this was a nice little taste. Definitely a bit slower, but I really enjoyed it. Think I’ll wait though until after my fall marathon before taking on the tricky terrain again.

Fairly early on I passed two of the teenagers, but one decided to give me a run for my money. I stayed hot on her heels as we passed someone else and than ran down this extra muddy portion that had a couple of boards for you to run across so you wouldn't get stuck in the mud (one of which I fell off of. Doh!) I could tell this young girl was really working hard to stay in front of me and the mom in me started to come out. I warned her she needed to turn her bib around before we crossed the finish (I didn’t want her get dq’d for something stupid. Chances are it was her first tri too). Then I started toying around with the idea of letting her beat me if it was close, kind of like I do for my daughter. I mean, I bet she’d feel terrific crossing that finish line knowing she held me off.

But then, maybe just past half way, we hit a huge hill and just before we started up it. She asked me if I thought we were close to the finish and I knew that meant she was probably tanked. I told her I thought we were pretty close and then passed her on the way up. I’ve got no problem stepping off to boost a young girl’s self esteem, but I’m not about to hand it to her. We’d probably both just wind up getting run down by someone else anyway.

So then I set my thoughts to Blond 32. Where could she be? Did she really get that far ahead of me? I was coming out of the woods and nearing the finish and still I couldn’t see her in front of me. In fact, couldn’t see anybody in front of me. I hate not having someone to chase down.

I passed my brother-in-law and nephew. So I ran a little faster. Then I passed my husband who let me know I had someone right on my tail. Honestly my first though was “Screw you. I don’t care. I’m way too tired to run any faster, plus I know it’s that teenage girl and she’s not in my age group anyway!” But he was standing there with my 4 year old, and on second thought, I didn’t want anybody passing me in front of them if I could help it, age group or not. So I picked it up again.

The run to the finish was downhill (Sweet! But why do I always lean to the side when I run?):

mefinish

And if you look very carefully to the left (my right side) you will see…dun da da duuuuun….Blond 32! Except I did not take her on the run. She actually ran a faster pace than me, apparently I took her on the transition winding up winning my age group by just 4 seconds (special thanks to The Spazz, my fellow running neighbor and newest member of the Review Crew, for loaning me that video on transitions without which none of this would be possible).

Of course, I didn’t see this picture until well after the race. So you can only imagine my shock and confusion at finding out I won my age group. Not that I was complaining.

But then it got a little bit weirder because later that night, when I checked the overall results, Blond 32 was missing. Best I can tell, she was listed originally in the wrong age group, so it turns out that despite the jet black number written on her leg, we weren’t actually competing for the same prize anyway.

1.5 Mile Run Time: 12:16 (8:11 pace)

Finishing Time: 1:05:21

Overall, I finished 10th out of 200something (I know it sounds like I was 5th from the story, but there was another wave of participants that started 15 minutes after my wave and 4 of them snuck in there with a faster time). So not too shabby for my first time eh? I’ll take it. Definitely a learning experience with the most important thing learned being this: if you do actually finish a race near the front of the pack and the race happens to offer free massages, get right over to the massage tables, otherwise you’ll still have to wait (can NOT believe I didn’t think of that sooner).

And the most fun of the whole day…memadswim mechloeswim

Training my future triathletes.


'Til next time...

P.S. RoadID is having a major giveaway. Click here to check it out. Although, I'm assuming the competition is pretty steep on that one. For a RoadID giveaway with slightly better odds, go check out mine.

P.P.S. My Racevine review for the Iron Goddess is here.