June 30, 2014

Top 10 things to do in VA Beach

The Rock 'n' Roll Virginia Beach half marathon weekend is about two months away and we're hoping to see lots of running buddies at this fun summertime race!  If you're not from Virginia Beach, you'll probably be interested in checking out the area and enjoying all of the great summer activities that this town has to offer.  Our family lived in Virginia Beach for 7 years in the late 90s and Christine has been a resident of Hampton Roads for the last 9 years.  So it's safe to say that we know a thing or two about the area and have a few recommendations that will take you off the beaten bath from the traditional touristy destinations.

1. Have an Orange Crush and some steamed shrimp at Chick's Oyster Bar.

2. Go to the beach at the North End - that means north of 42nd street.  You'll be mingling among the locals and will avoid the chaos of the resort area of the beach.  Just be sure you don't park in someone's driveway!

3. Test out your skills with a round of mini golf among the animals at Jungle Golf.  It's cheesy but we love it!

4. Enjoy brunch at Doc Taylor's on 23rd street.  This darling cottage serves fantastic brunch and has great prices on brunch drinks!  It's a locals hangout on the weekends, so be prepared to wait for a table.

5. Visit Jody's Popcorn at the shops at 31st street. Jody happens to be a surrogate mother to Christine, also Christine's best friend's mother. The popcorn shop was a lifelong dream for Jody and she has fabulous popcorn, fudge and other treats. Christine's favorite is the double cheddar and cinnamon toast popcorn. They also offer free samples!

6. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins.  They're seen in many of the bodies of water around the area and there are special dolphin watching cruises that you can take that leave from Rudee Inlet. 

7. Rent bikes on the Boardwalk.  And provided you have the time, head north along the access road on Atlantic Avenue to see some gorgeous beachy homes.

8. Spend some time in the lobby of the old Cavalier Hotel.  It's a gorgeous old hotel on a hill on 42nd street - you can't miss it.  There's even a small museum commemorating notable visits from Presidents, celebrities and the like.

9. Check out First Landing State Park.  There are some great trails that are good for walking, biking, and of course, running!

10. Grab a Sandwich at Taste Unlimited, a fabulous local gourmet food store.  Our favorite is the Hilltop with lettuce and tomato.  Order it.  Seriously.  You can thank us later. 

So now you get to tell us what you're planning to do or see while you're in Virginia Beach...and based on your comments, we'll pick TEN people who will win a Rock 'n' Roll promotional tee.

Now here's the fine print.
- Each person can gain a single entry by providing a blog comment telling us what you're planning to do or see in Virginia Beach.
- Shirts are available in men's and women's sizes, s-xl.
- Must include email address in blog comment.
- Open to U.S. Residents only.
- Shirts will be sent by Rock 'n' Roll.
- Giveaway ends at midnight on July 2nd!

Good luck and happy running!

June 29, 2014

Weekly Roundup: June 29th

Summer is officially here and running is hard.  Let me rephrase that, getting through runs at the moment is a test of mental strength.  The heat and humidity has been through the roof and returning from a run includes wringing out my clothing before I head inside.  No complaints though since we have enjoyed mostly sunny skies for the last seven days.

Christine had quite a week that included flights to California on Thursday followed by the Zooma Napa valley race yesterday.  She called the course, "the most beautiful race course I have ever run".  The heat made the race a difficult one, but she finished with a big smile and a shiny new medal!

I had not one but two practices with my running group this week, since I was still on mandatory rest last week.  I can't wait to lace up my shoes today for a 10 mile run with the girls down at the beach.  I am very lucky to have this kind of scenery to view when I hit the pavement.

Might need to jump in here after the run!
So here is our week of workouts.  My favorite was spending over an hour in the ocean helping a neighbor watch their 5 grandchildren! Let me tell you, these kids loved the water and were very busy with boogie boards! I also helped with sand castle construction.  (no photos to protect their privacy)

Sunday, June 22nd
Pam: Ran 6 miles at 9:15 pace
Christine: Rest day

Monday, June 23rd
Pam: 30 minutes elliptical, weights, plank
Christine: 3.5 mile run at 8:22 pace

Tuesday, June 24th
Pam: Without Limits running practice 5.5 miles total
Christine: 30 min elliptical, 80 push-ups, 100 crunches, stretching

Wednesday, June 25th
Pam: 20 minutes stationary bike, 50 minute water aerobics class
Christine: 20 min walk with Paddy

Thursday, June 26th
Pam: Without Limits running practice: mileage 4.25 miles speed work, 1 hour in the ocean with kids!
Christine: 2.5 miles at 8:33 pace

Friday, June 27th
Pam: 35 minutes elliptical, plank, sit ups
Christine: Rest day

Saturday, June 28th
Pam: Rest day
Christine: ZOOMA Napa Half Marathon

June 27, 2014

Friday Five: Five things about me you may not know

What a fun topic from the DC girls this week!  Courtney at EatprayrunDC, Mar at Marontherun and Cynthia at Yousignedupforwhat have this for their Friday linkup and I am excited to share some things you may not know about me.

1.  I have moved alot. We were not in the witness protection program (joke), but working for a big corporation made moving a necessity for Tom's job.  Our moving included five times in Texas, two in New Jersey, two in Connecticut, two times in Virginia, New Hampshire and the biggest move was England!  All the locations had pluses and minuses and the favorite would have to be Virginia Beach.  However, England was probably a close second since we got to do so much traveling while living overseas.

2. Traveling is one of my favorite things to do!  This may not be a total surprise, but the travel bug hit while living in England and since then, I have been fortunate enough to visit every continent.  There are still loads of places I want to visit and revisit. A few of my favorites include Antarctica, French Polynesia, and Africa!

3. I play the flute  My first year at college I attended the Boston Conservatory of Music but because I had other interests than music, I transferred to the University of New Hampshire the next year.

4.  Swimming in the ocean is scary to me!  I have a fear of the ocean after being pulled under by a huge wave while on vacation as a child.  Going to the beach is a favorite activity, but I am extremely cautious when I go into the water and always swim with a buddy!

5.  I have three siblings.  By keeping the blog about running and related topics, talking about my family has been kept to a minimum.  Alison, who has participated in several runDisney events with us has been included several times. However, I have another older sister and a younger brother.  Two years ago, we took a vacation together to the island of Kauai.  It was amazing to have the group together (plus Tom) for a wonderful week of activities.

Now it's your turn.  What is something that we don't know about you?

June 26, 2014

Throwback Thursday: track camp

Back in 1990, we were living in hot and humid Texas. During the summer, Kingwood High School offered several different summer programs and one was a week long track camp. Christine signed up with one of her school friends and each weekday evening, the girls went to practice.  It was so exciting for Christine when she got in the car on the fourth night of practice with the "Runner of the day" baton! Little did she realize the amount of running she would be doing quite a few years later!

And I hope I won't be in trouble for posting this photo!

June 25, 2014

Refueling on the Go!

Have you ever gone for a long run away from home?  Whether your running route is a bit of a drive from your home or you're on vacation, recovery is still a key priority after you log some serious miles.  Lucky for you, many restaurants and cafes are offering healthy options that will help you recharge with key nutrients for muscle repair and recovery.

Tropical Smoothie: They offer whey or soy protein additions to their smoothie which helps amp the protein power of your smoothie.  I had a Mango Magic smoothie with whey protein after my 10 miler on Sunday.  It was delicious and hit the spot after a very sweaty, challenging run!

Starbucks: Their smoothies each include a whole banana, whey protein, fiber powder and milk...plus other flavors.  They're also all 300 calories or under which makes them a great refueler after shorter runs when you're not looking to replace significant calorie deficits immediately.

Convenience store finds: Pick up a low fat chocolate milk, banana or a bar that has protein and is low in fat and sugar.

How do you refuel on the go?

June 24, 2014

Training Tuesday: Time for some water aerobics

Do you enjoy cross training?  Since I rarely run more than 3 days per week, cross training is necessary to keep up my fitness level.  And what better way in the summer than in the pool?

For deep water aerobics, you need a flotation belt.  Actually, you don't need this, but it makes the moves much easier to do and if you are worried about staying afloat, buy one! I have attended the deep classes several times without a belt and believe me when I say that treading water for 50 minutes is tough enough without adding in other work.

Yesterday I missed class due to an appointment lasting longer than expected.  So I strapped on my belt and jumped in my pool to get some water aerobics time on my own!  After taking several of Rachel's classes, I knew some of the moves and got to work.  Tom even caught a photo of me wearing my new belt!

Always wear a hat and cover yourself in sunscreen!
Here are some easy exercises you can do in the pool:

1.  Pool jogging  Obviously this is a shallow water activity so don't try this with a flotation belt!

2.  Rubber ball resistance for arms  If you have a small rubber ball, you can use it to do some arm exercises.  Moving it through the water in various direction will give your arms a super workout.

3. Side shuffle  Walking sideways in the pool engages your abdominal muscles.  Trying going back and forth across a pool a few times in shallow water.

4. Arm Press You can do this one in deep or shallow water.  Keep your arms in front of you with your hands cupped together and bring them in front of you and down by your sides.

5.  Lunges  I like to do these across the pool in the shallow end.  Do two or three sets of these and you will feel some burn in your legs!

6.  Jumping Jacks  The difficulty of water jumping jacks increases with the depth of the water.  Try ten and repeat if you wish.

These are some of my water exercises.  Do you have some to share?

June 23, 2014

POPSUGAR June Must Have Box: Beach Bag Essentials

As a POPSUGAR Fitness Select member, I've been lucky enough to get to try out their Must Have boxes for free and let me tell you I couldn't have been more excited when this month's box arrived at my house.  It's a summery, beachy theme and I simply ADORE all of the items.  Like for real.  Love them.
EEK!  What's inside?
The boxes are always really nicely packaged
This month's box included seven items: Emily Griffin's newest book, The One & Only; a Turkish-T beach towel; One Potato Two Potato kettle potato chips; Native Union gift card; You Smell lemon wet wipes; SACHAJUAN body lotion in a citrus scent; and Lollies hair ties.  Seriously, this stuff is fabulous and being that I live at the beach, it suits my summer lifestyle perfectly.  So let's talk about each, shall we?  

1. The One & Only: I normally read really high quality literature, generally of the non-fiction variety, but during the summer I always let myself read some lighter books, oftentimes of the chic lit genre.  I started this book about a week ago and so far, am really enjoying it.  It's the perfect type of book for the beach or to read before bed.

2. Beach towel: I love how thin and light this is.  It doesn't take up a lot of room in my beach bag and the color is super cute!  I may look into getting a few more of these, just because it's so easy!

3. Potato chips: Now, I don't really buy chips…mostly because I usually think of one bag as a single serving no matter what size it is.  And I also usually go for barbecue flavor too so these chips were perfect (they were Hawaiian BBQ flavor)!  I enjoyed them one afternoon for a snack after work.  
I love chips!
 4. The Native Union gift card is the only item I haven't used.  They have some neat looking gadgets and digital products on their site, but I haven't pulled the trigger on anything yet.

5. Lemon wet wipes: Another item that's awesome for the beach!  I stashed a few of these in my beach bag and when I hit up the grocery store after the beach, I was glad to feel like I had "cleaned up" a little bit.  And maybe I didn't smell?  Or at least hopefully more like a lemon than sweaty, beachy Christine!

6. Body Lotion: I'm really picky about my lotion.  I usually go with a really light scent or unscented lotion, usually because I don't want it to compete with my perfume and I also feel like lots of lotions almost have a candy-esque smell.  This is magnificent; the scent is light and mature if that makes any sense.  I've left it on my nightstand as a reminder to moisturize my tired runner feet before bed.
Two of my new favorites on my nightstand
7. Hair ties: I'm constantly losing mine and these are cute enough that I'd use them to pull my hair back at work into a neat ponytail…and it even looks polished with a pretty hair tie!

It has been great to have a chance to try all of these fabulous products and they've definitely been great additions to my summer repertoire.  Interested in your own box?  Use code JUNESELECT10 to get $10 off a three month subscription if you sign up by the end of the month.

Disclaimer: POPSUGAR provided me with a complimentary POPSUGAR Must Have box.  The opinions I have shared about the box are my own and POPSUGAR did not tell me what to say or how to say it.

What are your beach bag essentials?

June 22, 2014

Weekly Roundup: June 22nd

It's hard to believe that it's the end of June.  This summer has simply been flying by, which means lots of racecations are on the horizon!  I spent a lot of time this week prepping for my upcoming trip to Napa and also doing some research and planning for our trip to Ireland later this summer.  It's a good thing I have maintained a base level of fitness since Shamrock as these races have snuck up on me a bit and while most of them won't be a PR attempt, it will be nice to not die!
Trip planning and working out - multitasking!

Sunday, June 15th
Pam: Long walk on beach
Christine: Long walk on the beach, stretching

Monday, June 16th
Pam: Water aerobics, 30 min elliptical
Christine: 40 min elliptical, abs, 80 push-ups

Tuesday, June 17th
Pam: Played 9 holes of golf
Christine: 4 miles each descening pace, abs, stretching

Wednesday, June 18th
Pam: Water aerobics,
Christine: Rest day

Thursday, June 19th
Pam: Played 9 holes of golf
Christine: 3 miles at 8:30 pace, 0.5 mile cool down, stretching, 60 push-ups, abs

Friday, June 20th
Pam: Walked 45 minutes
Christine: Rest day

Saturday, June 21st
Pam: Rest day
Christine: Ran 6.5 miles at 8:55 pace

June 20, 2014

Friday Five: How to beat the summer heat!

This week, the girls of DC, Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Mar at Marontherun and Cynthia at You signed up for what have chosen "How to beat the summer heat" as their topic for the Friday five link up.  What an appropriate topic for a week when the weather has been scorching hot and the sun has been shining brightly.

Last spring, Christine wrote a post on this very topic, so I am going to include some of her ideas and add a few of my own.

1. Hydration Now is the time to be filling that water bottle multiple times per day and also drinking your choice of electrolyte replacement drink.  Summertime weather really takes a toll on your body and fluids will help you with your workout as well as your recovery.

2. Adjust your pace  Do set your goals based on what you can do in 70-90 degree weather versus optimal conditions of 50-60 degrees with no humidity.  I remember the first summer that I did workouts at the track.  I used my training book to figure out my distances and paces and tried desperately to reach goals that were totally unrealistic.  Do not beat yourself up over a workout, and set the tempo at one you can actually do in the heat/humidity!

3. Start early   Now is the time of year to set your alarm and get out there for your outdoor run or workout before the sun comes up.  Our running group meets at 6:00am for our long runs on the weekends to try to avoid the heat of the day.  Your body will thank you that you are not running in the middle of the day when the heat could be at it's highest with sun blazing down on you!

4. Ice bath for cool down After a difficult summertime workout, nothing feels better than a cold bath to ease your muscles.  At the very least, make your shower cooler than normal to get your body temperature lowered!

5.  Dress appropriately  Thin summer workout wear is readily available and having a couple really comfortable lightweight outfits will make your runs or cross training more bearable.

What are your tips for enjoying your workouts during the summer heat?

June 18, 2014

A new marathon in Hampton Roads: One City Marathon

On Monday, there was an exciting press conference that took place in Newport News announcing a new marathon, the One City Marathon. 
Image from One City Marathon FB Page
I didn't see all of the details until much later in the day and my enthusiasm was high.  I was ready to pull the trigger and sign up...that is until I read the full announcement and details.  The inaugural event is set to take place on March 15th, just one week before the Shamrock marathon weekend events.  I couldn't have been more confused.  Why on earth would they pick an adjacent weekend to one of the area's most successful race weekends?  The logic still evades me.  The newspaper article even quotes the race director and says it won't conflict.  And to you Mr. Race Director, I respectfully disagree.  If you're looking for a marathon PR in the spring, most people wouldn't entertain both events.

The One City Marathon weekend sounds fabulous - a marathon, 8k and 1 mile fun run.  All 26.2 miles will wind through the city of Newport News which has some interesting spots, including some waterfront areas that would prove to be scenic if that's the way the course ran.  And when I heard that legendary Boston Marathon race director, Dave McGillivray, would be the speaker at the pasta dinner and running with bib number 1, I felt downright annoyed.  Why force me to choose between Shamrock and One City?  Why not pick a different spring time frame (Feb or April) or a fall date?  I'm sure these factors were considered and I don't want to sound like a petulant child.  I would love to be able to support both events...and I still may.  Doing a shorter event at either race weekend followed by or preceded by a longer race could work.  Time will tell.

Later in the day, I noticed that Flat Out Events, the race management company, posted a photo on Instagram about the event and I took an opportunity to share my feedback.  They responded quickly and professionally and also mentioned that they had coordinated with J&A Racing, Shamrock's race management company, prior to launching the race to ensure there was no (my words, not theirs) competition or local turf wars.  This impressed me and in some way, got me on board. I still haven't signed up but I figured out you can already register for the marathon and registration is $70 - not bad!

For more details, visit the race website.

What would you do if you were in my shoes?  Try out an inaugural event or stick with the well-established race?  I'm on the fence and I'll likely do one of these two races.

June 17, 2014

Mandatory recovery and do you rest enough?

My coach gave me a mandatory week off from running after my recent Asheville Half Marathon that has actually turned into nearly two weeks of no running.  Honestly, it does not bother me.  While I love to run with my group, my body definitely needs the rest after such a taxing race.  Older runners probably need a little more time to recuperate and I am milking that one to the max!

Runner's World Magazine and several other online sites have excellent articles about rest and recovery that I have read and reread to truly understand exactly what the correct balance is for me.  Everyone has different ways to recover, but at the end of the day, several things have proven most critical for my optimal recovery from a hard race.

1. Sleep Most of us do not get enough sleep.  Anyone racing a half marathon or longer distance race needs extra sleep for your body to be prepared for the long practices and races that it will endure. One of the signs of over training is changes in your sleep patterns and insomnia. Be sure to check your training log if you are having trouble sleeping. You just may find a parallel.

3. Break from training Most runners I know have difficulty staying away from the roads or treadmill after a race.  While running should be off your training plan, this is the perfect time to cross train.  Biking, swimming, gym machines, strength training, tennis etc are perfect ways to have some fun exercising and keeping your fitness level high. After very difficult run workouts, a rest day or low impact cross training day will keep your body strong but help avoid the overuse injuries such as stress fractures and the dreaded shin splints.

4. Embrace your rest days:  More is not always better and a rest day actually makes you stronger by giving your body time to adapt to the harder workouts.  Sometimes, in the midst of a very hard training cycle, you may wish to take more than one rest day per week.  Give yourself permission to let your body recover and adapt. A few years ago, while a new runner, I found this really hard to do.  Even after some tough races, I did not give myself enough of a break.  Now, I listen to coach Sami and pay attention to my post race/workout aches and pains to take plenty of time to recover before I lace up my shoes for another run.

Rest days don't exclude shopping for new shoes though!

Here are some links to the articles that I have found to be very helpful:
The Rest is Easy:  http://www.runnersworld.com/running-tips/rest-easy

Time to Rest:  http://www.runnersworld.com/running-tips/time-rest?cm_mmc=Twitter-_-RunnersWorld-_-Content-Training-_-10SignsNeedRestDay

What to do on rest and recovery days:  http://www.active.com/running/articles/what-to-do-on-rest-and-recovery-days

Why you need to rest:  http://www.therunnersguide.com/rest/

Do you have any special tips for recovery?  Do you take rest days?

June 15, 2014

Weekly Roundup: June 15th

We've had a lovely weekend in North Carolina.  The last time we had a family weekend was over Easter so it's been a while.  And I love spending time down here during the summertime because there are tons of great outdoor activities.  The weather has held out so we've enjoyed beach and pool time plus a fabulous lunch on the intracoastal waterway where we got to watch lots of boats.  And it was great that I got to spend a bit of Father's Day with my Dad before I'll head back to VA this afternoon.
Walking Wrightsville Beach
Dad and I at lunch at Bluewater

Sunday, June 8th
Pam: Rest day
Christine: 9.9 miles at Cape Henry Trail with Lacey

Monday, June 9th
Pam: 50 min water aerobics
Christine: 40 min stationary bike, weights, abs

Tuesday, June 10th
Pam: Rest day
Christine: 4 miles at 9:10 pace, stretching, push-ups

Wednesday, June 11th
Pam: 50 minutes water aerobics
Christine: 35 min yoga

Thursday, June 12th
Pam: Rest day
Christine: Rest day

Friday, June 13th
Pam: Without Limits workout, 2.7 miles total
Christine: 3.5 easy miles at 9:10 pace, stretching

Saturday, June 14th
Pam: Biked 5 miles with Christine, walked the beach
Christine: 10 miles at 9:20 pace (not my favorite run!), walked the beach

Are you doing anything special for Father's Day?

June 13, 2014

Free Friday - lots of fun things

This week, the topic for the Friday linkup with the ladies of DC is free.  In other words, write about any five things you feel like.  This was right up my alley since I discovered several new things this week that I wanted to share with you.

Organic Fuel by Organic Valley:  This drink was served after the Asheville Half Marathon and boy is it delicious! A high protein milk shake, it comes in several different flavors and I was allowed to take two drinks, one vanilla and one chocolate!  I immediately drank the chocolate one and can I just say it was yummy?  It was icy cold and hit the spot after a long hot half marathon. I brought this vanilla one home for a post long run refuel.  Unfortunately, these are not available at my local stores yet.

Nuun party favors: This week the nine hole ladies golf group of which I am a member is hosting an event.   With table favors a customary thing for our luncheon post play, I thought Nuun water bottles and tubes would be the perfect thing for the 72 ladies in attendance.

The Biltmore Estate: While Asheville is not the easiest place to run, the beauty of the mountains and the opportunity to visit the Biltmore Estate make it worth a trip.  Not only is there a beautiful mansion to tour, there are gardens and a winery that round out your visit.  We did not have time to see the winery, but Nancy and I enjoyed the house and the lovely gardens with many flowers in full bloom.  We could not resist a stop for some wonderful ice cream after lunch. Have you tried salted caramel flavor?

The estate, Bird of Paradise in greenhouse and my salted caramel ice cream treat!

Naked Juice: During a trip to Costco this week, I saw this in the refrigerated section and decided to give it a try. Worst case scenario, I would choke it down while holding my nose!  What a surprise when I liked the taste and texture!  Each bottle is packed with a ton of fruit (11.5 apples, 2.5 bananas, 2 kiwi, 1.5 mangos and 1/3 pineapple).  But that's not all!  It also has some veggies, grasses, ginger and parsley.  It is a great drink when you need a little pick me up and very healthy too.

Water Aerobics: After a really hard race last weekend a recovery week was in order. Sorry I have been so whiny about the race. Plenty of other runners had hard races too!  My recovery has been slow and I decided to take 2 water aerobics classes, one shallow and one deep water to ease my muscles.  The shallow one includes a little pool running and various other exercise while your feet are firmly planted on the bottom of the pool.  Deep water is totally different and all of the other ladies were wearing a belt.  Yours truly does not own one yet, although one has been ordered since I nearly drowned at class this morning.  Just kidding, but you really need a belt to get the full benefit from this class.  Noodles were my friend since I did not have the appropriate equipment! 

Did you try anything new this week?  Thanks again to Courtney at Eat Pray, Run DC,  Mar at Mar on the Run and Cynthia at You Signed up for What for hosting the Friday link up.  

June 12, 2014

New Rock 'n' Roll Events

I was pretty excited to see an email in my inbox yesterday afternoon announcing a new event at Rock 'n' Roll Dublin - a fun run!

But before I jump into those details, there's more!  A few weeks ago, Rock 'n' Roll announced that they're expanding some of their other race weekends to include other races. Many of these are family oriented or shorter distance races to draw new and different runners.  And not to mention the allure of additional bling for completing multiple races in one weekend.

I can't help but feel like this may be a slight response to the unparalleled success of the runDisney race weekends which are truly for runners of all ages and abilities.  And I think it's brilliant!  It's no secret that we love a good old race challenge and encouraging family participation is fabulous!  So now let's talk about the new Rock 'n' Roll events, shall we?

Rock 'n' Roll Dublin Family Fun Run:
* 3 km / 1.5 mile FunRUN that starts and finishes in Phoenix Park
* Finisher medal for all participants
* Event takes place on Monday, August 4th at 11:45 AM
* Registration is SUPER CHEAP until June 30th (10€ for adults and 7€ for children under 12)
* They also have a family 4 pack registration (30€)

Rock 'n' Roll Running Festivals
* Where: Chicago, Virginia Beach, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Savannah
* Additional races were added to Saturday, making it a two day event
* Each city has different events
      * Chicago: additional 5k on Saturday
      * Virginia Beach 1 mile run on Saturday and 1/2 mile run for kids age 5-8
      * Philadelphia: additional 5k on Saturday
      * St. Louis: additional 5k on Saturday
      * Savannah: additional 1 mile run/walk on Sunday after the full and half marathon
* By participating in one of the Running Festivals, you're eligible to receive an additional medal!
* All running festival events are timed, except for the kids races

Note that Rock 'n' Roll Running Festival registration is discounted until Friday, June 13th so don't delay!!

Are you interested in one of these new races?  I think we may be registering for both the FunRUN (possibly the family run if we can convince my Dad and another runner to join us!) in Dublin and the 1 mile beach run in Virginia Beach.

June 11, 2014

Know your race course - Ignorance is not bliss

Who has signed up for a race, not having a clue what the course would be like?  Raising my hand here twice, because my very first and most recent race were exactly that experience.  Before attempting our first race at Disney, Christine and I signed up for a local race to get corral placement.  Did we even know what corral placement was?  Of course not.  But my sister Alison, who was also running the Princess Half Marathon with us in February 2011, advised us to run a 10k and we complied.  Finding a turkey trot on Thanksgiving Day 2010, we drove to the start and were both a bundle of nerves.  The race was held in Virginia Beach near a recreation complex, and we both assumed the race would be on asphalt.  But no, this race included a fair bit of flat trails during the run.  The course markings were probably good, but as a first time racer, I missed one of the turns on the course.  I ended up running about 50 yards and realized that I was the only one on that path.  I immediately turned around, saw Christine and crossed a field to get back onto the race course.  About thirty minutes later, the finish line was in sight and boy was I relieved.

My second mistake with a race happened on Saturday, when I took on the Asheville Half Marathon.  My knowledge of the course was a big fat goose egg.  The online course was featured on the web page here and of course this gave no details of the elevation.  Knowing that Asheville is located in the mountains, I knew hills would be a factor.  However, as a flatlander I did not do my homework and suffered for it.  Here is the course elevation that I should have studied prior to the race.

So after completing not one but two races with ignorance and no bliss, alot was learned and will be applied in deciding which races to choose in the future.

Here are some simple tips:

1.  Search the internet for course information

2,  Talk to people who have participated in the race in a prior year

3.  Use Map my Run to figure out the course elevation and difficulty

4.  Create a route on the USATF website

A big lesson was learned from my race Saturday and I will not sign up for a race in the future without course knowledge.  While it certainly did not hurt me, my race day plan might have changed had I known about the massive hills.  The end result was fine, but the anxiety during my race was huge!

Have you ever raced without course knowledge?  How did it go?

June 10, 2014

Training Plan for Richmond Marathon

If you follow our Facebook page, you know that I was diligently working on my marathon training plan on Sunday night.  See, I kept my promise?!  Insert smug smile here. 

Anyways, back to the plan.  I'm a little excited and a little nervous to start training.  I don't start training right away as I'm 23 weeks out from the marathon and my true training won't begin until mid-July, which puts me 18 weeks out.  So let's look at this training plan, shall we?

Training Plan Basis
* Paces are based on those from Run Less, Run Faster.
* Tempo and speed workouts are from Run Less, Run Faster.
* Long run mileage is from Hal Higdon.

What's the same from past training cycles?
* Incorporates 2-20 mile training runs.
* Includes 3 days of running per week (I only broke this rule training for Dopey when back-to-back runs were crucial).
* Focuses on quality cross-training 2 days per week.
* Cut back weeks after long mileage the previous week.

What's new?
* I'll include speed work for this training cycle. 
* No pressure to do back-to-back runs like with Dumbo Double Dare and Dopey Challenge.
* Pace-based long runs.
* Weeknight tempo runs that will flirt in the 7-10 mile zone, which is longer than previous tempo runs.

Any tips for a successful marathon training cycle?

June 9, 2014

The time when I almost had a DNF!

Saturday June 7th was my 39th wedding anniversary and my morning was spent running the inaugural Asheville Half Marathon.  Or rather I should say surviving the Asheville Half Marathon.  This is a test for runners who want to be challenged with a very hilly course.  As someone who runs on flatland 99 % of the time, I knew this would be a hard race for me.  But even I underestimated it in a huge way!

The starting area was nicely marked and I had no trouble finding it after parking my car at a lot in downtown Asheville.  After a short walk to the start, I made a quick porta potty visit and then stood around chatting with other runners.   Soon it was 7:55AM and the National Anthem was sung by Joe Lasher, Jr, a wonderful local vocalist. Then it was time to run!

All smiles until I hit the hills!

This race starts with a gradual downhill for the first couple miles.  It eases you into a comfort zone and in the back of my mind, I was thinking, wow, this may not be too bad.  Hitting 9 minute miles, it was easy going. Shortly after mile three it was time to see what the course really had in store for the runners.  There was a huge uphill climb towards UNC Asheville and this is when I thought I might have to insert some walk breaks into my race strategy.  By mile five, I secretly wished I had signed up for the 10k instead of the half.  In fact, my mind was trying to decide if my body was going to keep running.  The temperature was hot, it was humid, the sun was beating down and yes, I was being a total baby!  I actually tried to figure out if I could drop out of the race and find my way back to my car. I also did something I have never done in a race before!  I sent a text to Christine and it was one word: "Brutal."  It was sent at 8:53 AM when I was considering my DNF! That was a brief thought and then I got back to the business of running and trying to concentrate on one mile at a time. After each wonderful downhill stretch, it seemed like an even bigger hill portion was waiting for us.  By mile 10, my legs were really feeling the elevation changes and each step forward was difficult.  At mile 10.52 my Garmin watch acted up and I no longer could read either my pace or my distance.  Operating only as a stopwatch, I had to gauge my pace based on effort only.  Unfortunately, I missed the 11 mile marker, but after seeing the mile 12 marker my pace picked up a little.  I also missed the mile 13 marker and asked a runner nearby if we were close to the finish.  She replied, "Yes", and we turned left at the next intersection and ran about 150 feet uphill to the finish line.  Of course we had to finish with yet another hill!

While this was not even close to a PR, I am very happy that I completed the race in 2:08.25.

With Boston looming in April 2015, running hills needs to be included in my fall/winter training. Do you have any advice on how to tackle hills for this flatlander?

June 8, 2014

Weekly Roundup - June 8th

This week was crazy with a capital C.  And the worst part was that I didn't expect it.  It was one of those weeks where I worked longer hours than anticipated, my personal to do list grew on a daily basis and my motivation to workout wasn't as strong as I would like it to be.  And all of that made the weekend that much sweeter!  I've been able to knock a bunch of things off my to do list, spend some quality time in the beautiful warm summer sunshine and see some friends.  These are the weekends I cherish.  I'm looking forward to a long run with a friend later this morning too.  It will be just the push I need to get in some more miles!
My favorite parts of this week: a nice easy run on Friday morning, a fun
treat in the mail from Mom, sleepy Paddy after she came home from the kennel,
and a delicious apple pasty from a European bakery

Sunday, June 1st
Pam: Rest day 
Christine: Rest day

Monday, June 2nd
Pam: 4 mi at 9:15 pace
Christine: Rest day plus push-ups and abs

Tuesday, June 3rd
Pam: travel day
Christine: 4 miles at 9:00 pace, stretching

Wednesday, June 4th
Pam: 4 mi at 9:30 pace
Christine: 1 mile run, 20 min stationary bike, 20 min circuit workout

Thursday, June 5th
Pam: walked 6 mi 
Christine: Rest day - 2 hours heavy house cleaning (it needed it!)

Friday, June 6th
Pam: 1 mi easy run with pickups 
Christine: 5 easy miles at 9:10 pace

Saturday, June 7th
Pam: Ran the Asheville Half Marathon
Christine: 2 hours yard work

June 6, 2014

Friday Five: This summer I will:

The lovely ladies of DC, Courtney, Mar and Cynthia have a fun topic for their Friday five linkup. This summer I will:

1.  Spend more time at the pool swimming laps!  I have mentioned several times recently how much I enjoy swimming and with the summer heat upon us in North Carolina, I am ready to swim laps a few times a week.

2. Spend more time at the beach.  Last summer, I only made it to the beach a handful of times and who knows why?  This year, I plan to get there at least once a week and last weekend was a great start with a long walk on the beach with Tom including a stop at Beach Bagels. It's always fun to get a tasty breakfast bagel to munch on while strolling along this beautiful beach!

So inviting!

3. Take some time off from running.  Every since the Dopey Challenge, other than a two week mandatory rest put into place by coach Sami, I have been logging the miles each and every week.  My body is tired and I need to hit the refresh button.  As much as I love running, a break can be really helpful when looking at future goals.  The end of June is my time to relax and do some cross training and hopefully I will be ready to tackle some training for the Rock 'n Roll Dublin Half marathon that Christine and I will be racing on August 4th!

4.  See family and friends. Lots of plans are in place for a fun family visit in July followed by a visit with several friends when we travel to Ireland and England later this summer.   During our trip to Boston next month, we will take in a Red Sox game to celebrate my Mom's birthday, and hopefully visit New Hampshire.  Our trip to England follows the race week in Dublin.

5.  Make lots of delicious food with vegetables and herbs from our garden!  Already we are harvesting radishes, spinach and kale from the garden.  Tom even pulled beet greens that I cooked earlier this week combined with spinach.  I was sceptical, but they were delicious and filled with lots of nutrients! More items are being harvested daily and when the tomatoes and peppers are full grown we will be fixing some fantastic summer salads!

At the moment, I am reading The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Sendker.  Summertime is a great time to catch up on your reading.  Do you have any good books to recommend either running related or otherwise?  What are your summer plans?

June 5, 2014

The third marathon

I have a coworker who is a runner.  He's run several marathons and many half marathons.  Usually we talk business and then inevitably, our conversation drifts to running.  He had an injury last fall so I often felt bad asking about the status of his running.  He's healthy now so we have been bantering back and forth about fall races.  He ran Richmond half last year and he's offered some words of wisdom for the entire race weekend regarding hotels, the course, the crowds, etc.

When we were chatting earlier this week, I mentioned that I was a little anxious about the fact that I still don't have a defined training plan and that the hotels advertised on the race website are sold out.  He looked me and said "Christine, you've run 2 marathons including Dopey.  This should be like clockwork for you.  You know you can run a half marathon tomorrow if you have to." 

On some level he's right.  But I wasn't gutsy enough to tell him about my goal for Richmond.  I'm still not gutsy enough to tell you.  I'm still not sure I want to affirm it to myself.  It's aggressive, but hopefully reachable.  I believe I can accomplish it but I need to get a training plan on paper. 

I find solace in a plan.  I'm a type-A sort of girl so naturally, a detailed plan is my happy place.  I need that plan to feel like I'll be ready for Richmond.  Developing this plan has been on my to do list for many weeks.  I'm embarrassed to admit how long I've been meaning to actually write it.  But I finally have a new copy of Run Less, Run Faster and developing a plan based on the training plans they prescribe will be one of my top priorities this weekend.  I look forward to sharing the details of the plan next week...please hold me to it! :)


June 4, 2014

A Day to Celebrate Running

Today we celebrate National Running Day.  It's a great day to celebrate the fun, camaraderie, and health benefits that come with being a part of this community.  No matter how slow or fast; far or long you run; number of races you've completed or registered for; cost of your shoes; or the type of GPS watch you have, this community can be tremendously beneficial for us all!

National Running Day has been held on the first Wednesday of June each year since 2009 and has some phenomenal partners, including B.A.A., Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series, Marine Corps Marathon, Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Women's Running Series and many many more!  So how can you get involved and take advantage of this great holiday?!

Get Involved
* Connect with National Running Day on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
* Find a local run in your community.  If you're a resident of Hampton Roads, VA, both J&A Racing and Running Etc. are hosting runs both in the early morning and evening hours.  Check the Facebook pages of each organization for the latest and greatest!
* Make your own digital badge to share why you run!
* Pledge your miles using the Charity Miles app, which will provide funding to a charity of your choice.

* The Rock 'n' Roll race series is offering 24 hours of savings on their events.  You can save up to $20 on certain events!  And you could always sign up to join us in Virginia Beach.  The half marathon registration is $85 today only.
* Gone for a Run is offering 50% off some of their products using code RUNDAY01.
* Women's Running Series is offering a discount on their race series.  More info here.

How are you choosing to celebrate?

June 3, 2014

Race Prep

It's finally hit me that I have a fair number of races in the coming months….ZOOMA Napa, Rock 'n' Roll Dublin Half Marathon, Tower of Terror, and Richmond Marathon.  Given that none of these races are located in my hometown, there's a fair bit of logistical planning for each event.  And two of these are being treated as vacations once the race is over so that comes with its own set of complications.  After sitting down and thinking through all I needed to do for each race, I started a to do list.

- Plane ticket is purchased woohoo!
- Need to research and identify some fun activities for our itinerary in addition to the Keenan winery (it is my namesake after all!)

Rock 'n' Roll Dublin Half Marathon
- Plane tickets have been purchased for a while.
- Figure out the second half of our itinerary once we leave Dublin for some more scenic, country spots
- Recruit some other runners…don't forget about our discount code (RUNROCKNROLL)!

Tower of Terror 10 Miler:
- Hotel is booked.  We're staying at the Wilderness Lodge and I cannot wait!
- I'll be using my Disney Chase Visa rewards points towards our room, park tickets and meals.  I'll be ordering that card soon.
- And last but not least, I need to figure out my flight.  Unfortunately, Southwest has cut back some of their Norfolk to Orlando routes so I don't have as many options.

Richmond Marathon:
- As I was casually talking to a friend about Richmond, I decided to check the race website and the hotel listings.  And guess what?!  Most of them are already sold out!!  So above all else, I need to get my act together to find a hotel that's near the start that won't break the bank.
- And like I've mentioned previously, a training plan is still absent for this race.  In addition to a hotel, that may be my #1 priority for this upcoming weekend.

How do you keep your racecations/destination races organized?

June 2, 2014

Tips for older runners

First let me start by saying I am not a fitness or running expert.  But I have been running since October of 2010 (starting when I was 57) and ran my first half marathon in February of 2011.  So with a few years of running under my belt, or should I say on my multiple pairs of running shoes, there are things that have proven very helpful for me, as an older runner, that may help you.

* Longer Recovery
Most every running book you pick up will have a chapter on race recovery and long run recovery.  What they may not always include is the fact that as we age, certain things will take longer.  When I come off a race such as a half marathon, my recovery time is probably double what someone in their 20's or 30's would need. Your body will thank you for taking a few extra days off from exercise.

* Annual Physical Examination

This goes without saying, but make an appointment with your doctor and tell them exactly what you are doing in terms of physical activity.  They can assess your fitness level and give you some guidance, especially if you are a new runner.

*  Balance, Strength and Flexibility Work

As you age, so goes your strength, balance and flexibility.  My gym routine always includes time working on all three of these issues.  One simple thing you can do to work on your balance is to brush your teeth while standing on one foot.  Sounds simple, but after a minute or so, it is easy to lose your footing.  I also try to fit in some yoga moves each week and stretching is part of my post run recovery.

*  Diet

We all know a healthy diet is important at all ages.  However, from my personal experience, a few days of poor eating impacts my ability to perform at my best.  Most older adults will find that focusing on a balanced diet each and every day will increase your performance and give you a better quality of life.  It really is that simple.  One little tip I learned was that everyone should shop the perimeter of a grocery store.  Let's just think about that for a minute.  All the produce, dairy, meat and fresh items are all shelved on the store perimeter.  Everything that has been processed sits in boxes in the middle.

*  Sleep

Everyone needs sleep, and how much depends on your own body. As we age, it is more difficult to have a full night sleep without waking up a few times.  Therefore, a nap in the afternoon can be the perfect way to get that extra sleep we need.  Recently, I saw an article stating that Ryan Hall, the superb marathon runner and Olympian calls his afternoon nap his office visit.  Rest is critical for optimal performance and the best athletes get plenty of shut eye.

*  Routine

Every elite athlete will have an exercise routine that they follow to the minute.  While I do not mean to compare older runners to the elite group, it is beneficial for older athletes to follow a routine to produce the results that we are hoping for such as a PR at our next race.  Keeping a log of your workouts and making sure you have rest worked into your routine will also make it easier to find why certain things are working and others not so much.

*  Speed

Last but not least, speed is something all runners think and talk about. We all want that PR at our races, but as you age, speed decreases after the age of approximately 35.  This should not stop anyone from trying to improve, because many runners start running after the age of 35.  If you keep your goals modest, you will have a much better chance of reaching them.  Shooting for the stars may be fine if you are in your 20's or 30's, but not so much as you reach those birthdays with candles on the cake that light up an entire room.

Please take a look at this article yesterday that Runner's World magazine posted on their Facebook page.  Harriette Thompson proves that anyone at any age can meet their goals and achieve their dream! Someday, I hope to grow up and be just like Harriette!

June 1, 2014

Weekly Roundup: June 1st

Another week has passed and it is hard to believe that it is already June.  This year is flying by!  We are both excited that in just two months, we will be flying to Dublin to run the Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon.  In the meantime, each of us has a half marathon this month and perhaps a 5k race before our European adventure!

This week has included  a fabulous weekend of celebrating for Christine at her Bucknell University reunion weekend.  Tons of her friends made the trek to Lewisburg, PA and they are having a wonderful time as evidenced by the Instagram photos that have been showing up!

Ready for reunion weekend!

While Christine enjoyed her reunion, I was busy running, picking strawberries and some mundane chores around the house.  Next week we will be driving to Landrum, SC to visit old friends. The first thing in my bag will be my racing outfit for Saturday's Asheville Half Marathon.  I'm excited to be running in a new place, but scared of what will be a hilly course.  My coach agreed to let me run, but suggested I use it as a training run. No problem there with hills in the equation!   

And these three boxes arrived yesterday, but no, these are not all for me.  I am assisting with a ladies golf event and our table favors are Nuun hydration tablets and a water bottle.  Isn't this a great gift?  

Love a Nuun delivery!

How was your week?  Did you try anything new?  Here's our workouts: 

Sunday, May 25th
Pam: Rest day
Christine: 8.3 miles at 8:45 pace

Monday, May 26th
Pam:  Rest day
Christine: Rest day plus push-ups and abs

Tuesday, May 27th
Pam: 5 mile run average pace 8:53
Christine: 4 miles at 9:00 pace, stretching

Wednesday, May 28th
Pam: 40 laps swimming
Christine: 30 min stationary bike, 100 push-ups, abs with medicine ball, stretching

Thursday, May 29th
Pam: Without Limits practice 5.5 miles total average pace 8:30 (hard intervals followed by moderate miles)
Christine: Rest day

Friday, May 30th
Pam: 30 minutes elliptical machine, weights, situps
Christine: 7.8 miles average pace 9:06

Saturday, May 31st
Pam: 6 miles average pace 9:33
Christine: Rest day