Monday, November 29, 2010

My Secret Weapons

Love.Hate.Sex.Pain.
This is a song by Godsmack. I love it. It's angry. It's raw. It gets me moving.
It's one of those songs I strategically put on my play list for speed work, racing or the end of a long run so I can kick it up a bit. I find that there are just certain songs that tap into my primal side and bring out the fire in my soul. This is one of those songs.
Love. I love running and I love a good run that just leaves me feeling sooooo good when I am done.
Hate. I hate running on the TM but it is a necessary evil.
Sex. A good run is right up there on the list-some runs, well see Love.
Pain. I am learning to deal with the pain. Some days, I welcome it with open arms.

Last weeks speed work run was on the treadmill-the plan was a tempo run, 1 mile warm-up, 3 miles in the 7's and then a 1 mile cool down. I like doing speed work on the TM because it really allows me to control the pace. I can forget about staring at my Garmin and just focus on my breathing, my form and my thoughts (training the mind!). I am sure as I become a better athlete and runner, I will be able to do this more effectively on a track but for now, the TM is my tool of choice.

Even though I was really tough on my legs last week, I felt really really good for that run-I felt strong physically and mentally. I know now that it was because of the awesomely awesome PUNK ROCK RACING tech tee I was wearing-

Happy Me post tempo run with Lola


Swining Lola-her tee says "if you think IM cute, you should see my Daddy"
 Yup. The tee shirt gave me superpowers. I felt so badass in that tee shirt I felt that my run should reflect that! I mean, I am no EMZ by any stretch of the imagination (on the TM or otherwise) but I'm working on it *wink*wink*
So my tempo run went better than planned and I ended the last mile in the 6's-which for ME, is a good day. It was one of those Love.Hate.Sex.Pain. runs and it was awesome.
So combine a little good music with a hot Punk Rock Racing tee and you got a great run folks! That is the secret combo to get my legs moving on the TM. Shhhhh. Let's keep it our little secret.

What is motivating me this week?
Sonja Weick's performance at IMAZ. Seriously, this gal is just a rockstar!! You can read all about it here-The Prequel, The Swim, The Bike, The Run.  Congrats Sonja-you are such an inspiration!

Michelle Ford's amazing legs! I don't wanna "lift" a pic of her without her permission but oh-my-oh-my, she has got some awesome legs (you can check 'em out yourself here). Oh, did I mention that she just qualified for KONA at her first 140.6? Yeah, another rockstar!

Random side note: So yeah-now I have two new people to stalk goals to achieve! With Emz abs of steel, Michelle's chiseled legs, Sonja's guts...I am building myself a little FrankenJen triathlete/runner monster! he he he

I had really great quality workouts last week since hubby was on home on vacation. I was able to sweat out all that pie and gravy. I am hoping to keep the quality up there this week now that he is back to work.

The Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge! I got in 30 miles of running, 32 miles of biking and 3.5 hours of iron time. This makes me happy--I want to be even happier this week. I am happy to get my nutrition on track and eating good quality clean foods always makes me feel amazing.

I'm putting together a fun giveaway to celebrate 100+ followers! Will have many more details to come...

What is motivating YOU this week??

Friday, November 19, 2010

A 10k, Stalking, Eating & Bootie Bustin'

Part I:
I am proud to announce that I have teamed up with Operation Jack and Train 4 Autism! I have been wanting to join a cause  for quite a while and after much thought and consideration, Train 4 Autism seems to be the perfect fit for me. I met up with Sarah and Danielle (local chapter members) at the Maine Marathon expo and have been seriously considering it for the last month. Then I got an invite to run from Sarah and well, trigger pulled.


Here is a little bit about the man-Sam Felsenfeld-who started Operation Jack:


Operation Jack will be an attempt by Sam Felsenfeld to race at least one marathon a week in 2010 (61 total for the year) to generate attention that will raise funds and nationwide awareness for Train 4 Autism, an organization that works tirelessly to raise money for Autism charities.
Achieving the unthinkable would be nothing new for Sam. After breaking his neck in a swimming-pool accident when he was 16, he was lucky to have use of his legs. Later, after taking terrible care of himself in college, his weight soared to 261 pounds. A former smoker, Sam started walking less than five years ago. Walking turned into slow jogging, and eventually, slow jogging turned into his first marathon.

Now, he’s completed 70 marathons and four ultramarathons, and has 24 Boston qualifiers and a personal-best time of 3:00:05. He knows that if he was able to work hard enough to complete this transformation, he can work hard enough to run 61 marathons in Jack’s honor. And he knows that as tough as Operation Jack might be, it’s nothing compared to the daily grind Jack suffers through as he battles the nasty neurological disorder he was born with.


I have a nephew, Nathan who is on the spectrum so I am honored to do this in support of him. He is the sweetest boy and just adores Lola. I also like the race flexibility that is offered and the ladies that I have been in contact with are just amazing.

Most people I know have someone in their life who has been touched by Autism-if you are interested in learning more about Operation Jack and Train 4 Autism, please check out this link:

http://www.operationjack.org/

I will be running a 10k race on Sunday, December 26th in Portland. This is a satellite race for Operation Jack--If you would like to show your support with a donation, you can click on the Operation  Jack/Train 4 Autism logo on the top, right hand sidebar. Every single dollar makes a difference!

Part II:
While out running errands today, I ran into a local "elite" and former Olympic runner. I have seen her several times at races and even had the "pleasure" of being next to her at the start line once (BIG MISTAKE on my part). I said "hello" to her when I saw her and she was very pleasant. We exchanged a few pleasantries about running and then I had to exercise some EXTREME self control. All I wanted to do talk about running with her ALL DAY LONG!!

Part III:
 I am getting so sick of the same old meals all the time. It seems I eat the same things over and over again! UUUGGGHHHHHH I have been reading up a bit on Paleo but mostly I stick to keeping it clean.
I have been scouring YOUR blogs and websites and links to find new ideas.
I have found some really great recipes and I can't wait to try 'em!
Some noteworthy finds:
TriMarni's Carrot Ginger Slaw (I am SO making this TONIGHT!)
Life of an Aspiring Athlete Banana Walnut Muffins (go bananas!)
Tri to Cook's Turkey & Spinach Quiche (perfect for post Thursday!)
The Gracious Pantry Black Bean & Quinoa Salad (easy peasy!)

Actually, all of the links above have some amazing recipes to explore, so take a look around!

I made a really amazing TexMex Turkey Meatloaf last night and while I am not a meatloaf fan, this was really, really good! I will definitely be sharing this recipe with y'all!!

Part IX:
 The Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge starts tomorrow and I am ready with a plan and a schedule. WOO HOO!

Mon: Rest or recovery run or ez cardio
Tues: weight training-other cardio and/or swimming
Wed: moderate distance run or tempo run
Thur: weight training-other cardio and/or swimming
Fri: jogger run
Sat: weight training-ez run and/or swimming
Sun: long run

I have some great goals set for myself for the next several weeks and I am totally happy to have a race in the books. I see several 5-6 mile tempo runs and lots of hill work. Danielle (who did the 10k course for my Dec race) made sure this course was hilly. Thanks D!! :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Work It Out Wednesday: One Hot Mama

Some of you are aware of a little group (about 500 of us!) I have on CafeMom called Work It Out Sexy Mama. Some of you are even members of this wonderful group of positive ladies. For those of you who do not know what Work It Out Sexy Mama is-it is an online community of Mom's who love (or or are learning to love) working out! The group shares tips, hints, motivation and inspiration. Best of all, we challenge each other and it is a tremendously supportive group-No drama, no B.S. 
This group of gals have been there by my side from Day One of my journey-I don't think I would have accomplished some of the things I did without their support! 
We have every fitness level from beginner to the competitive athlete. We have runners, we have triathletes, we have Mama's the rock the Kettlebells, lifting Mama's, Yoga Mom's...You name it-I bet we got it! The diversity of the group is what makes it SO unique and fun. There is always something new to learn.
We have several ladies in the group who have accomplished amazing things in their lives-from running their first 5k to rock climbing, to losing a tremendous amount of weight or fitting in those "skinny jeans"- Ladies who are living better every day and have transformed their lives through fitness-and today I want to share the story of one of those Sexy Mama's with you.

Say Hello to Melanie-aka Mellie.
Now Mellie does not do any cardio *collective gasp* Yeah, I know! She does not run. She does not bike. She does not pedal away on the elliptical- She lifts, and she lifts heavy! But her results don't lie.


Mellie-BEFORE

Mellie-NOW






Q: You have gone through an amazing transformation-what triggered your desire to get fit?
I always loved lifting weights. It all started with a phys ed weight training class I had in college. I continued lifting weights on and off after college and while I had my kids. But once I had my 3rd child, my weight really started to sky rocket and as my 3rd child got a little older I was able to find time to start back at the gym.

Q: Tell me about your journey from Day One to now-
In 2007, I was 207 lbs. It took me until December of 2008 to join the gym. At which time I had gotten down to 191 lbs. I never liked cardio and got into the mindset that I wanted to be stronger so I'd weight train instead of doing cardio. I knew the weight loss would come, just more slowly and I accepted that. So I started lifting - heavy. Low reps, high weight. I started with my own basic program and then became friends with the trainer at the gym (heck, I was there so often, haha) and we became workout partners. He pushed me hard and designed my programs and I developed a strong base of muscle. During this time, I cleaned up my eating very slowly. Started off cutting out junky food before bed, then started cutting down on junky food during the day. I managed to get my weight down to about 150 lbs. I stayed there for some time and then hired a competitive bodybuilding trainer. He gave me a very strict nutritional plan and started designing my trainings. I'm now down to 136 lbs and still getting stronger.


Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced meeting your fitness goals?
My eating. Diet is so important - it's about 70 to 80% of your success in weight loss. I always knew this but didn't embrace it until training with my new trainer. At first I told myself that, "I train because I want to eat whatever I want!" but that idea slowly faded as I started seeing results. I discovered that I didn't want to feed my body a whole bunch of bad food when I was working so hard to improve my health and fitness. I'm glad I did it the way I did, though, because it became a lifestyle - not a 'diet'. And I fully embrace it because I'm ready for it.

Q: What is a typical workout week for you?
I work out 5 days a week now. Each session is about 45 minutes long. My trainings have become non-traditional in the sense that most people look at it and say, "wow, that's weird!" I have muscle parts that I'm not focusing on this training session because they've reached a certain size or shape already and then I have other muscles that I do two days in a row because they need to be improved to make myself more symmetrical. I have supersets and negatives in my training and timed rest periods between sets.

Q: I know you hate cardio-do you ever see yourself attempting anything cardio related??
Nope. Not regularly, that's for sure! Even if I decide to compete my trainer has said I can (and will) do it without cardio. I will get my results from my nutritional plan. I've seen him do this with another client of his and it works. He knows his stuff and I fully trust his judgement. BUT, I do enjoy rollerblading and swimming and like to do those on a recreational basis.

Q: Tell us more about Mr. Trainer-
Hee hee, well, I mentioned him my other responses but basically he's got me on a 5 day split. My programs last 6 weeks. He doesn't come to the gym with me but I go see him at his work and get evaluated and get my new programs and he goes over them with me. We never talk about how much weight I'm lifting because it's of little importance. I lift heavy enough to push myself hard and that's what counts. I tell him that he's the brains and I'm the muscle... but don't let that fool you, he's buff too!

Q: What do you normally eat? What are you eating now with Mr. Trainer on board?
Before my nutritional plan, I was eating 5 to 6 times a day. Usually cereal and yogurt for breakfast. Peanut butter sandwiches and cottage cheese for lunch. Snacks in there. And various stuff for supper. Now my eating is much different! A real bodybuilding nutritional plan now! Egg whites and plain oatmeal for breakfast. Low fat cheese as a snack mid morning. Meat and green veggies for lunch. Shake for my afternoon snack. Meat and green veggies for supper and low fat cottage cheese before bed. Absolutely nothing else. No bread, no milk at all, no butter... It's an insanely tough nutritional plan and I had a rough time the first week... about 3 days into it. Looking back, the shock of the new plan made me physically ill! No joke! Now, though, it's much easier (it's been 3 months). I do get a cheat meal once a week, though! And that is the best time of the week! My friends marvel at how much I can put back for my cheat meal.

Q: What are your goals? Do you want to compete (in bodybuilding/figure competition)?
My goals right now... hum, tough to say for sure! I want to lose all my excess body fat. I want six pack abs (they're coming!)! I want to be really cut (I'm on my way in that department too). Competing might be in my future, but not yet. I don't feel ready. By most standards, I'm still a 'baby' in my training - it's only been 2 years that I've been lifting seriously. And the average age of competitors seems to be a little older than I am right now so I think I have some time to decide. Although, I'm pretty spontaneous and who knows? I might make the decision tomorrow! I'm just like that! I think that when I feel ready, it'll all come together.


Mama's got Muscle!

Q: You are now a single lady-do you find your physique helps or hinders your dating life?
Well, here is what can sum up my dating life: I've turned down dinner dates because it doesn't fit in my nutritional plan! People tell me men are intimidated by me but I don't always believe that. I hang around with a lot of men at the gym who have the same goals as me so they are, finally, accepting and supportive of me. At first none of them would talk to me but once I got to know one or two of them, we all became friendly. Some of them even like to learn from me and ask me training questions! And I've always said that if a man in intimidated by me, well, that's not the type of man I'd want to date anyways! As for my muscular physique - like any feature, some men love it, some men hate it.







Q: What is your biggest fitness achievement or proudest moment?
I was very proud of myself for bench pressing 175 lbs 3 times, when I did that I weighed about 150 lbs. I always loved benching and hitting that number naturally - no drugs or bench shirt, was cool. Doing unassisted dips and chin ups was also nice. And now I can do a couple unassisted wide grip lat pull ups which is also an achievement for me!

Q: What is your best advice to someone new to weight training?
Don't under estimate the importance of weight training. Don't be intimidated. Go as heavy as you can.

While Melanie's path may not be the path you choose to follow, there is no denying that his lady has taken control of her life and her health to become a fitness role model to many. Her sense of humor is always appreciated and I am so glad she is a part of our group!

Do you have a question to ask Melanie?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday's Dish: Pancakes

Did you know that the average American gains anywhere from 7-10 lbs over the Holidays? That is a lot of extra fluff to be carrying around. To lose that extra fat you would need to burn an additional 35,000 calories!
That equals:
  • running 350 miles
  • 87.5 hours of circuit training
  • walking the dog for 171.6 hours
I don't know about you but I don't have enough time in my schedule to add all that extra exercise into my already full days.

One of the best ways to stay on track with your nutrition is to start the day with a healthy breakfast!

Lola and I are getting ready to head out for a run with the BOB but before we do, we wanted to share what WE had for breakfast today! Add these protein packed pancakes to your breakfast repertoire--you will be glad you did.

The pancake batter recipe is from Oxygen magazine but the blueberry topping is my creation.
Every summer we go blueberry picking many, many times (remember
this post?) and I love having bags of frozen blueberries available all winter long. I use them in muffins, oatmeal, pancakes etc.

The warm spices added to the blueberry topping not only tastes delicious but will make your home smell amazing!


Protein Pancakes with Spiced Blueberry Topping
The actual pancakes I devoured this morning!

Batter:
1/2 cup oats
1T flax meal
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
2-3 egg whites
1/3 cup low fat cottage cheese

Blueberry Topping:
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1T water
1T honey
walnuts* optional

Combine the batter ingredients in a blender, using 2 egg whites to start. If the batter is too thick, add the third egg white. It is suggested that you use real egg whites since the carton egg whites will change the consistency of the batter. Let the batter rest for several minutes in the fridge while you prep your sauce and get the pan ready to make the cakes.

In a small sauce pan, add the frozen berries and the water. Bring to a bubble over med heat-once bubbling, add the honey. Add your spices and let the mixture simmer gently while you make your pancakes.

Heat a skillet over med heat-spray with your favorite oil to keep the pancakes from sticking. Add a scoop of batter. Once it starts to bubble along the edges, flip and cook on the other side.

This amount of batter should make 4 4" pancakes or 3 bigger ones.

Top the finished pancakes with the warm blueberry sauce and then top with walnuts (if using).

Enjoy!

Tell me-what is your favorite healthy start to the day??

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Sunday Run with Chrissie Wellington! (and other stuff)

Another week in the books of 2010 and another week that did not go quite as planned.
The week started out promising-I got in a couple quick, short runs (3 & 4 miles) and then a couple brick workouts. I did not hit the weights since I was planning on lifting heavy Friday and Saturday but you know what they say about the best laid plans...
While I was able to get in some quality miles, some speed work and got my butt on the bike I did not get in all the workouts planned. I had a 54 mile week: 28 miles running and 26 miles on the stat bike.
Friday night I could FEEL the cold coming on--that thick headed feeling, a bit of a sore/scratchy throat. Sure enough, I woke Saturday morning with a full on head cold. So I skipped the gym session and decided to keep my running date with Dawn. Luckily, she told me on Friday that she was not really digging doing hill repeats so the running Rx was changed to nice-n-easy.
Saturday was gorgeous! Sunny and 60's~we met up down at the strip in Old Orchard Beach and ran down to Pine Point and back--an easy 6 miles: flat, perfect weather and great company. I stripped down to my tank top quickly, that's how nice the weather was!
I think that Dawn is getting used to the fact that in the middle of our run there is usually going to be a pee break for me. I don't really care too much where-I do have a modicum of modesty so I do try to be discreet about it. I run off into the woods or hide behind a building or something. Saturday's pee break was no different. We came upon a seasonal condo across from the beach that looked vacant. Soooo....I walk behind the vacant condo, dash behind a tool shed! PERFECT, no one can see me here. Except the cargo train barrelling towards me along the tracks honking it's horn!! By this time, there is no aborting this mission so...I guess the train got a free show!
I felt really good while running and on the way home, I could feel the chill invading my body. I got home and made a steaming hot bowl of veggie soup and then joined Lola for nap time!
Sunday I was still feeling ICK. Hubby had some stuff to do around the house so I got errands done in the morning. By lunch time, I was feeling the itch to get out and run. You HAVE TO take advantage of any warm weather Mother Nature has to offer in November here in Maine. I planned on an easy 5-6 miles. Grabbed the ipod and went out the door with a plan to listen to fellow Mainer, Jason and his podcast Mainely Triathlon. Got the old ipod fired up and dang it! The only episodes on que were the ones I listened to last week. That left me with 2 episodes of The Age Grouper: the Chrissie Wellington episode or Plan Your Year from 2009.
I wasn't feeling much like using my brain to plan anything so Chrissie won.


What a pick! The majority of the podscast is a discussion/Q&A with Chrissie at Runner's High 'N Tri in Chicago.



Chrissie

Me

Turns out I have a lot in common with the 3-time Ironman World Champion!!

1-we are both female
2-we both love triathlon
3-we both competed in our first triathlon with a borrowed bike...
4-...that borrowed bike was heavy!


"my first triathlon was a sprint and I did it on a borrowed bike. It looked like a bumble bee-it was black and yellow. I still, still have it-I can do bench presses with it, it weighs that much! Umm, and I had the toe clip pedals and my running shoes. And um, the laces came undone and and the running shoe laces got caught up in the crank and I did a very ungainly and ladylike dismount onto the tarmac so that was the first race"--Chrissie describing her first sprint triathlon 

Listening to Chrissie's stories about her first days of triathlon just made the time fly by and before I knew it I was at the turn around point of my planned run. I was feeling SO good and enjoying the day so it was ONWARD. I then headed down to Fortune's Rocks to run some more.

One thing came through loud and clear while listening to Chrissie speak-not only is she a champion in triathlon but she is a champion for the sport and for the people--cheering on age groupers after racing the course herself, chatting with fans, signing autographs. Her passion for triathlon, her humanitarian efforts and her use of her fame to bring awareness to the causes close to her speak volumes about her character. Her positive attitude is contagious and you can almost hear her smile when she speaks.
So hearing how hard she pushes herself during training sessions certainly made ME want to push myself a bit harder-not only today but all days. My planned 5/6 mile run turned into a hair over 9 miles (9.12) and it was a wonderful run. I enjoyed the day, the beach and the fresh air. I learned a lot about an amazing professional triathlete and I learned a little about myself too!
So even though the week did not end up as I had planned, it was a fine end-sick and all.
I hope your week was a good one!
Where did you find motivation?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Numbers, Numbers, Numbers (and a winner!)

I love numbers.
Sometimes I get a little too focused on certain numbers-you know THOSE numbers.
pace
miles
HEART RATE
calories
body fat %

Since I started logging my workouts at Dailymile.com

  • I have run 777 miles (actually 776.82 but 777 is a nice number)
  • I biked 452.14 miles (since I started riding this summer)
  • I burned 830.65 donuts (or the caloric equivalent for those NOT up on DM jargon)
  • My fastest pace was 6:10
  • My longest run was 22 miles 
Some cool Maine related ING NYC Marathon numbers-
Local Maine runner Sherri Piers was a Women's Top 25 finisher (#25) with a time of 2:40:35
Another local rockstar runner, Kristin Barry finished at 2:42:01
 
Other local runners I know that rocked ING:
Brian Denger 3:19:32
Joel Croteau 3:54:20
 
Then there are the fun numbers~
My favorite number is 19

I will regularly pick one or more of these numbers when ever playing any kind of lottery:
03 06 08 10 12 22 24 26

  • Hubby and I will celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary this month.
  • I will be turning 37 in December-but I've already embraced 37 since this is my USAT age.
  • I have lost a total of 104lbs since I had enough of being fat and lazy.

There are 54 posts on this blog. This post will be #55.
I now have 100 followers-really!
I gotta do something special to celebrate this monumental achievement!

I had 81 entries for the Yurbuds giveaway
(I took out my one comment about ear blisters. Yes-ear blisters. If you are curious about the ear blister situation, read all about Jen's dilemma here!)

That brings us to the winner of the Yurbuds giveaway!!

The lucky number for this drawing was...pick via Random.org early this morning

LUCKY NUMBER 3


oh you can't see it?
alright...




The winning comment:
I'm a follower

The lucky winner??


Congrats Aimee! Send me an email at jsmall14 (at) maine (dot) rr (dot) com and I will get you the code to order your very own set of Yurbuds!

Keep your eyes open for a fun 100 follower celebration giveaway soon. Those original 100 followers will have a little something extra special. Not sure what yet but...

...in interim, make sure you check out Aimee's blog--she is doing super fun giveaway of her own!! All of her favorite things.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Breaking up is hard to do

It's not me, it's YOU!

You have changed. You are not the same-you are no longer as reliable as you once were-you are falling apart at the seams, literally. I cannot ingore this issue anymore-
I tried to fix this. I have given you so many chances and nothing has changed.
It's time for me to cut my losses and move on.
 
So ASICS, I am breaking up with you.
 

NO. There is no one else. Not yet.
But you will be replaced...soon.
I am not sure with what as I am still seaching.  I have been out with a couple other shoes-Newtons, Brooks, Mizuno, Saucony but no one has really rocked my run.

With Regret,
ME



If you recall this post from early August, I have been having  serious quality issues with my ASICS. They keep ripping, stitching coming apart way too soon, lining ripping or coming out. I'm talking less than 100 miles on two pair and one pair falling apart at 60-something miles. Really!!

So on the advice of the very wise running moms in the RUNNING MOM's, I e-mailed ASICS with a long letter describing my many quality issues of late with Kayano's (14/15 and 16).

I got an email back from Chris (the Consumer Relations Lead) telling me to mail him my shoes and IF Asics determines that it is a quality issue then they will replace my shoes with the same or a similar model. SO...I mailed out my Kayano's ($23.00 to mail 'em!) that were ripping apart all along the toe box (right shoe) and the side of the shoe (left shoe). Note that this pair only had 93 miles on them.

Chris wrote back to me a couple weeks later suggesting that I try out the 3020's or order a size larger in the Kayano's. He also sent me a diagram of how to lace up the shoes. Ok, I'll try something new-I am open to any suggestions. Chris assures me that he will order the shoes (3020's) and get them to me very soon.

A couple weeks pass and a big brown truck pulls up one day. Oh happy dance-a big box from Asics. I am so excited I almost hugged the delivery guy. I open up the box and admire the pretty white and blue sneaks. Then I try them on.
FAIL.
Major FAIL!!
The right shoe is a different size than the left shoe. The right shoe is so tight it is pinching my big toe-the left is just fine.
Now my feet are pretty much the same size- I do not have issues with sizing. I am starting to wonder if I am crazy but NO! these shoes are two different sizes. I pull out my tape measure and sure enough! Right shoe is 1/2 inch shorter than the left shoe.
Now I am very sad and very annoyed.

I write Chris another e-mail explaining this problem and his response?
NOTHING. No answer.
I write a second e-mail to him once again asking for help to resolve this NEW issue.

I get a response about a week later telling me that he is willing to exchange the shoes ONE MORE TIME and wanted to know if I wanted to try a different pair of 3020's or Kayano's.

Excuse me.
ONE MORE TIME.
Ahhh, you sent me TWO DIFFERENT SIZED SHOES.
This is not a case of me being picky about a color. I cannot wear these sneakers.
So needless to say, this response annoyed me even more. I decided to stay with the Kayano's since I did not even get a chance to run in the 3020's. Several weeks later I got the pair of Kayano's via big brown truck (no big hug for driver dude this time) and I returned the irregular pair of sneakers to Asics. Two months to have a single pair of sneakers replaced that were defective to being with...

The whole situation left a sour taste in my mouth. I mean really...just in 2010 alone I purchased 4 pairs of Asics for running, never mind cross trainers and sneaks for my hubby (2 pair for him but who's counting?!). I spend a lot of money with Asics and I really expected a more from them in the way of customer service.

So between the quality of the shoe and the quality of the service, I am taking my hard earned dollars elsewhere.

I just don't know where yet...but when I find out I will let you know. Oh yes, I will yell it loud and proud.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday MMM's

Another Monday~I hope everyone had a great weekend! Here is a summary of last week in Miles Muscles and Mommyhood style!

MILES:
Finally, some miles! I got in a long(ish)/long(er) run on Saturday--just 10.3 miles but it's better than the shorter runs that I have been logging since the 1/2 marathon. Now it is time to rebuild that base and work up to 16/18 mile long runs again.
The 10-miler on Saturday felt good-really good-I went out easy and just enjoyed the beautiful (cold) morning along one of my favorite beach routes, so serene, quiet and peaceful. I was even greeted by a bushy tailed red fox! Anyway, negative splits and the last mile I felt so good I was able to just GO! I switched from music on the iPod to listening to a podcast. I think that this change really helped me to keep the pace slow to start. Some days I am just so dang happy to be out running, I'll have some high energy tunes blaring and I am go out too fast.

I felt fabulous on Sunday. No discomfort. Nothing!
So running 5 days, getting in a "long run" and some speed work this week is making me happy!
I got in 5 days of running-3/6/6/3/10 miles
two days on the bike (short rides) 9.5/5 miles

2010 ING NYC MarathonYesterday was WORLD RUN DAY** I had the pleasure of watching the ING NYC Marathon yesterday with Lola on my lap and it was awesome! I was super psyched to cheer on American runner Shalane Flanagan to her second place finish-2:28:40-and her marathon debut!! 
Lola did her share of cheering yelling RUN RUN!!
I am just in awe at the pace that these runners can hold for 26.2, especially the men. I cannot sprint at a 4:26 so to see them pulling out this pace at mile 18/20/24 etc is just unbelievable. I never had an appreciation for this until I started running myself. My favorite men's runner, Meb, finished 6th.
Retired NFL'er Amani Toomer ran the ING NYC Marathon starting dead-last and earning $1.00 for each runner he passed. Timex would donate those dollars to New York Road Runners Youth Programs. Toomer finished with a respectable 4:13 finish and estimates he passed about 20,000 runners.
Photo By Lisa Coniglio/Photo Run

**I did not get in my run on Sunday which was World Run Day but more on that in the Mommyhood!!

MUSCLES:
I had limited time in the gym this week so I had to make the workouts effective. As I mentioned in a previous post, I got my Tabata groove on and it did it's magic on my legs. I love me some DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and I like knowing I worked hard enough.

I am still having a bit of discomfort with my left shoulder so I took it easy once again with my weights this week, keeping it light.

I dropped about 4lbs this past week and I can definitely feel/see a difference. My veins are popping in my arms a bit more (yes, I am totally into vascularity!!) and my arm appear leaner to me. I can also tell in the tummy area too. So I am going to continue cleaning up the nutrition, getting in some intervals and long runs and hitting the IRON.

MOMMYHOOD:
I love my daughter with all my heart. She is my joy and makes me laugh every single day.
Sunday, not so much laughing going on.

I had been planning on attending a Total Immersion swim clinic for 2 weeks and this was something I was really looking forward to doing. I need to learn SO much about swimming. Well...come Sunday morning I am literally up at 3:30 am because of the time change. I opt to get laundry done and clean out Lola's closets of outgrown clothes vs. running or working out since I am going to be in the pool for 1 1/2 hours later that morning.
Lola gets up and she is the velcro-kid and won't give me a moment to myself. Anytime I go down to the laundry room it triggers a full blown crying fit! Then we head out as a family to do yard work and she turns into a wild animal. Really...all over the place and very defiant. Before long she is soaking wet from rolling in damp leaves so we head inside. More defiance. Before I know it, I should be leaving for the swim clinic and family life if just not letting me get away.  So I continued on with the project in Lola's room and harboring some resentment that I am missing this clinic but looking forward to my run later. After all it is WORLD RUN DAY and I have to run right?? WRONG> let's just say things don't ever go as planned and the highlight of my day was watching the marathon.
Of course my friend, Dawn just had to call me later in the day and tell me how AMAZING the clinic was and how USEFUL this would have been for my horrible swimming skills (ok, so she did not say THAT but...) So yeah, I was feeling a upset yesterday about missing the swim. And then I felt even more upset for feeling upset--I thought it was really selfish of me to feel that way when obviously Lola was having a day. I got over it though. Oh yeah, did I mention Dawn is totally going to help clue me in as to what I missed? Also, she told me that Joel Friel is coming to Maine and doing a lecture in December so I am TOTALLY going to that!
NO MATTER WHAT.

Don't forget to check THIS out for a chance to win a pair of YURBUDS. Contest ends 11/11

Saturday, November 6, 2010

World Run Day~ Who will you run for??

Runners are asked to celebrate the sport of running on the day by promoting the health benefits of running to others and running “their own course” by either themselves or with a small group. Many participants send a monetary donation directly to their favorite charity.The 2010 World Run Day Event Shirt was first unveiled in Boston at the Boston Marathon Expo. World Run Day takes place Sunday, November 7th this year. Registration is available now thru Nov 7th on active.com. Your event shirt will be mailed out to you as soon as possible. ~from Runday.com

To register for this event click HERE
 
 
 
 
Tomorrow is World Run Day-are you running??
I will be running in honor of my mother-in-law who has MS. I am lucky to have a very close relationship with her and I love hear dearly. So it will be an honor to run with her on my mind tomorrow.
 
This is a journal entry from early summer and I think it is a perfect reminder to be thankful for our legs that run!!
 
Yesterday I spent the day with my mother-in-law visiting her friend, Marilyn at her home on Hills Beach. It was a perfect day-sunny and warm. My MIL was excited to show off her granddaughter, Lola.
 
You see, my mother-in-law has MS (multiple sclerosis) and it paralysed from the waist down. She has been in a wheelchair since 1992. Her friend of many, many years-Marilyn-was in a severe car crash a while ago and she is now a paraplegic. Just watching these two do daily things we take for granted really got me thinking about how lucky I am. I am active and healthy. Today. This could not be the case tomorrow. I could be hit by a car. I could become ill. I could lose the use of my arms and legs.
So the four of us went for a long "walk" along the beach, of course since they are both in electric wheelchairs, our journey was on the road that follows the curve of the beach. We talked about life, admired the beautiful homes we passed. Marilyn told me about how fun it was raising her 3 children at the beach. She told me about her nursing career. Marilyn now works as an advocate for people with disabilities and assists others in obtaining the very expensive medical equipment needed for people who are paralysed.

We went out for lunch and although my MIL has control of her arms and hands, Marilyn is not so fortunate. She needs to use a special drinking cup and utensils. We had a delicious lunch and enjoyed more conversation. Lola showed off her eating skills as well and made many of the patrons laugh with her antics. Our day together came to an end and we parted ways with promises of doing the same again very soon.

Then I went for a vigorous run...because I can. The next time I am feeling like I don't want to run or work out, I will remember yesterday. And I will walk, run, bike, swim, whatever...because I am thankful that I can.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday's Fitness & Fuel: Sunshine & Rainbows


Are you willing to fight for your dreams?

The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows-It's a very mean and nasty place, and it don't care how tough you are...It will beat you to your knees and leave you there permanently if you let it. You, me or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard you hit. It's all about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done~Rocky



If I am going to fight, I need to refocus on the two F's:

FITNESS-I don't have a problem working out. I really do love it. All of it. Cardio-weights-whatever. I love the way I feel after a good workout. I just feel like I am off track and all over the place. I finally logging some good running the last 2 weeks (although yesterday's rain derailed my running plans). This was actually a relief since my toes are still all red and irritated from my sock fail on Wednesday. So I hit the gym and decided to brutalize my legs for an hour. 20 minutes on the Cybex ARC trainer doing hills with 70lbs added resistance. Then I did a quick leg workout Tabata method-which took around 40 minutes.
What is Tabata?
Tabata (aka 4 minutes of hell) was developed by Izumi Tabata, Ph.D., a former researcher at Japan's National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Kanoya
Tabata Protocol is an interval routine developed by the head coach of the Japanese speed-skating team. It's called a protocol because Tabata and his team took the speed-skating coach's workout and studied it to quantify just how effective it really was. The workout consists of 20-second "sprints" interspersed with a rest period of 10 seconds. You can pretty much "Tabata" any cardio workout--or even most resistance exercises.
Today's workout was strength training and not cardio based so I applied Tabata to reps.
Max reps for 20 seconds/10 seconds rest. 8 rounds for each exercise with 1 min recovery between sets.
  1. smith squats 60lbs  
  2. forward lunges, left leg 15lbs DBs  
  3. forward lunges, right leg 15lb DBs  
  4. high knee jump rope  
  5. backward lunges, left leg 15lb DBs  
  6. backward lunges, right leg 15lb DBs  
  7. jumping squats  
  8. belt kicks
So my legs are feeling the love today. Nothing like a little soreness to know that you hit those muscles in a way that they needed to be hit. Call me a masochist, but I really do love the way my body feels after a really good workout.


Another day of rain today so no Friday morning run with the BOB Brigade. Instead I am heading to the gym for some quality time with the iron, a little cardio and if time allows-POOL TIME!

I am going to sit down this weekend and take a long look at my fitness goals for the next month or two and write up a plan of action.

One part of my plan of action is participating in the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge being hosted by RunToTheFinish! Y'all know how I cannot resist a challenge~especially when there are cool prizes involved!! The Challenge runs from 11/20 through 1/7 so if you are interested in participating, check it out!

 

FUEL-This is the one place I have been lazy. I know what to do. I know how to do,  I just have not. Halloween is done and over but this was just the kickoff party to months of celebrating with food! We've got Thanksgiving, my anniversary (yes, this is a Holiday!), Christmas Eve & Christmas Day (2 distinctly separate holiday celebrations in my family), New Years Eve & New Years Day all still to come. I have been quite lax with my nutrition lately and have been allowing too many "treats". I think having a clear race schedule is causing me to do that -I seem to be at my best when I have a goal and a focus. Even dreaming of getting abs like EMZ has not been pushing me to eat clean BUT-I am not gonna throw in the towel, I know how important a clean diet is for overall health and wellness. Never mind my goal of having those amazing washboard abs and running in a teeny-tiny sports bra & race bib once warm weather arrives. I also know that leaning out a bit is going to give me some speed so...
It's back on the EC wagon for me! It's really all just a matter of planning for me. If I plan things out, I stick to it. No plan, I'll eat whatever. I have a big dry-erase calendar/schedule of my workouts so now I just need to get the old "menu plan" back up on the fridge!

So my weekend plans include making plans: running & workout schedules, food plans and menus.

What are you fighting for?
What is keeping you fit?
What is your fuel?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

5 random things on my mind today...


Socks-

Balega Enduro White - MediumAhhh, the importance of good socks. Once I started running regularly I became quite picky about my socks. I was like Goldilocks-these are too thin, these are too thick. Too tight or too loose. Or the toe seams would drive me BANANAS!  I was wearing a couple different styles of Asics socks but they did not seem to be moisture wicking-anything over 10 miles and I was getting blisters or irritation. Then I participated in a sock swap with The Running Mom's group and my sock swap partner sent me a pair of Balega's Enduro's.
L-O-V-E
Now I try not to run in anything but my "beloved Balega's" as I affectionately call them.
Yesterday I snuck out for an almost 6-miler before dinner and I threw on a pair of the Asics socks. BAD. The toe seam was running along the top of my left foot and I could feel it just grinding into my toe. Several adjustments later and still no success. Today there is a nice little abrasion going across the tops of my toes on the left foot. Lesson learned.
What socks rock your world??



No More Candy!
Mommy Butterfly and her Baby Bungle Bee

Hubby and I took Lola out for her very first Halloween adventure. She dressed up as a "Bungle Bee" (as she calls it) and I joined the fun and dressed up as a butterfly. Lola was quite frightened of all the decorations--especially the scary ones! But after a few stops at some neighborhood houses, she got into it and had a lot of fun. We only went to a dozen or so houses and then called it a night. I ate SO many Reese's Peanut Butter Cups that I actually was wondering if I could ever feel the same about them. Turns out the next day I was pretty much over it.


Getting Wet-
I'm getting back into the pool finally! I met up with Dawn on Sunday morning and she gave me some really great tips! She also gave me some useful feedback on what I can improve on and one small change led to an AHA moment for me. I am attending a Total Immersion swim session on Sunday so I am really looking forward to learning more. I have also been in contact with Celeste (who does the clinic) about some one-on-one sessions.

Not-So-Extreme Makeover-
So did ya notice the new look of the blog? Let me know what you think! I decided to play around with it a bit yesterday and I am liking the improvements so far. It is still a work in progress so I am sure there will be more changes to come.





HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!
Happy Birthday Cake
Today is my Mom's birthday and I know that nothing could be better than having me announce this on my blog-What a great gift huh?
So, here's to you Mom!! I hope that this year brings you health and happiness. Thank you for being you!

Don't forget to enter my YURBUDS giveaway!
You can find that HERE!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's GIVEAWAY TIME!!

Last week I "ran" into a bit of luck and won a pair of YURBUDS from Holly's blog, Rust Belt Runner. I was pretty excited about this since I just got a new iPod nano and I don't like the earbuds that come with it. They are too big for my ears and they fall out constantly. I usually purchase Skull Candy or Sony earbuds that fit inside of the ear canal but these too have their drawbacks (specifically, the cords tend to wear out easily and then you have only one earpod that works or NO music at all). Needless to say, I was ready to try something new!

If you have not heard of YURBUDS yet, let me introduce you:





video

  • Yurbuds - Ergonomically Brilliant Yurbuds Earbud Enhancers provide an unparalleled level of comfort and fidelity with a fit that ensures the earbuds stay in your ears, even during the most strenuous physical activity.
  • Ultra-Soft Comfort Extreme Fit Guarantee Light and Intense style Yurbuds Earbud Enhancers guarantee a perfect fit. Made from ultra-soft medical grade silicone for extreme comfort during extended listening periods.
  • Richer Acoustics Yurbuds Earbud Enhancers are clinically proven to improve sound quality and deliver deeper, richer acoustics. Enjoy music and the world around you like never before.
  • Bluetooth® Devices Yurbuds Earbud Enhancers are compatible with Jawbone® ICON & Jawbone® Prime headsets and are clinically proven to enhance the sound during your calls.
  • Universal Compatibility Yurbuds Ironman Series headphones work with mp3 devices including Apple® iPod®, iPhone® supporting an industry standard 3.5mm (1/8") gold plated stereo mini-plug for wide-ranging compatibility.
  • Designed by a Triathlete Avid triathlete Seth Burgett, CEO of Yurbuds came up with the award-winning idea for custom fit earbud enhancers while participating in an Ironman competition. Yurbuds Earbud Enhancers were created for the human ear by athletes, audiologists, and engineers to stay in place, avoid pressure points, and provide a pain-free listening experience.
  • Sweat Proof Yurbuds Earbud Enhancers protect headphones from perspiration, even during the most intense workout sessions. The protective silicone of the earbuds ensures that rain or extreme humidity will stay out of the headphones.

I placed my order online and I had order confirmation the same day. Next thing I knew they were at my doorstep. Talk about quick turnaround time-I was very pleased with how simple and quick it was to order from Yurbuds online. You can also purchase Yurbuds from the retail stores Best Buy, select New Balance stores and Fleet Feet Sports.

Of course I ordered the HOT PINK ones! Not only are they my absolute favorite color but $10.00 from each purchase goes to the Susan G. Komen fund



The Yurbuds came in a small, zippered blue nylon case with directions. The website said the Pink buds came with a WHITE case but...whatever. They fit just right and they were easy to figure out. Even a 2 year old could do it (which she did). The buds are made from medical-grade silicone and Yurbuds offers a fit guarantee as well as a 90-day parts and labor warranty.

Test #1 was some crazy dancing around with my daughter. When I say CRAZY, I mean crazy headbanging, rump-shaking moves! And they did not fall out. The sound quality was good too. They did feel quite a bit different than what I am used to wearing (the round buds that fit INSIDE your ear canal) as these fit in the exterior of your ear but they were comfortable and stayed put. The Yurbuds came attached to a typical pair of earbuds

Test #2 was some circuit training in the gym-now when I circuit train, I add in a lot of plyo based exercises like burpees, box jumps etc. Again, the Yurbuds stayed put and I did not have to adjust them ONCE. (this is usually a problem with my current earbuds).

Test #3 was a very sweaty hill interval ride on the stat bike. No issues here either and I was able to enjoy the entire ride listening to The Age Grouper podcast without interruption.

Test #4 was a 5 mile run in the wind. Now, the Yurbuds are NOT noise cancelling or sound isolating so I could hear all that was going on around me (ie approaching cars) which I liked. However, this also allowed some wind into the mix. The Yubuds stayed put but I could hear the wind ripping right through them. Not a deal breaker for me but definitely a drawback vs. my other earbuds.

My overall impression is very good--I am happy with them and I will continue to wear them even running outdoors on windy days. I want to give a big THANK YOU to Holly at Rust Belt Runner for this awesome giveaway!!

I was so pleased with them that I am going to offer YOU the opportunity to win your very own pair!!

Here's how to enter. Please leave a separate comment for each entry!!

1) MANDATORY: Visit YURBUDS and tell me something you like or something you learned from their website.

2) MANDATORY: Be a current follower of my blog or become one.

Additional Entries (optional):

3) Like YURBUDS on Facebook.

4) Follow YURBUDS on Twitter.

5) Share the love & spread the word about this giveaway on your blog, on FB, Twitter, email etc. One entry for each way you are sharing the love! *again, please separate comment for each way you are spreading the word!

6) Add Miles Muscles & Mommyhood to your blogroll.

7) Tell me what songs are rocking your playlist right now.

8) Tell me what podcast you LOVE and why.

Entries accepted until Thursday, November 11th at 6am. Then I will pick a winner via Random.org and announce the winner very soon after that!!