Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Friday Five - Race Fuel

It's time to start linking back up with the DC blogging trifecta, Courtney @Eat, Pray, Run DC, Mar @ Mar on the Run and Cynthia @You Signed Up For What? for the Friday Five.

My topic this week - race fuel.

With my biggest race this year drawing closer, I have spent the last few weeks experimenting with different fueling options.  I like to take advantage of this during my long runs (13 miles or longer) because I am not one to advocate trying new things on race day (advised in many legit places).

So here are my favorite 5!


This is probably my favorite *new* find.  After being encouraged to try it by many of my MRTT friends, I finally gave in and used the sample I was given at one of the Lifetime Fitness runs.  It was flavored orange, so instead of mixing it with water (which I had heard can give it a very chalky texture), I mixed it with a bit of orange juice.  It pretty much taste like a sugar free orange dreamsicle - yum!  UCAN is basically pure starch for sustained energy (needed when running marathons).  Over the weeks I've started adding more than one scoop into my pre-workout drink and have had great results!  Instead of having to rely on gels during a half, UCAN gets me through the entire race without feeling low on energy or even hungry.

**Side note - If you have a Sprouts grocery store in your hood, this stuff is 25% off right now.

#2 Powerbar Gel - Orange

Sensing an orange theme?  One of my friends and inspiration, Janelle, from my hometown gave me a TON of these when I visited her and her husband's gym this past summer.  Besides actually tasting WAY better than GU, they don't sit like a brick in my belly.  I feel like it may be due to the viscosity of this particular gel.  Instead of being thick and gooey, like GU, it's rather thin and you can actually drink it.  These will be a must carry for all of my marathons this year.

#3 Sports Legs

You know that lactic acid burn that you get during your first couple of miles in your legs that makes you want to basically quit after one mile?  Sports legs help to eliminate the discomfort.  I read about this on another blogger's site.  I was a little leery going into using these regarding whether they would actually work.  They had decent reviews on, so I figured why not.  Well guess what?  They worked.  I take 3 tabs about 30 mins before my long runs and then 3 every two hours there after.  I've noticed when I use these I have very little DOMS.  Score!

#4 Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer

I was given the opportunity to review these through Sweat Pink earlier this summer/late spring and although I don't particularly like the acai berry flavor (I'd really like to try the lemon lime), but I really like the burst of energy it gives me during my shorter distance runs.

#5 Optimal Nutrition Vanilla Ice Cream Whey Protein

I LOVE this stuff and have been using it for over a year after a recommendation from friend Seallie (she was using it too).  It taste sooooo good mixed with fresh or frozen raspberries & milk (like birthday cake ice cream with raspberries at Coldstone) or with peaches, mangoes and OJ (my other favorite).  Each serving is packed with 24g (more if you use milk) of protein that actually tastes good.  This is great for post work out or just as a way to get some extra protein in your diet. It comes in several other flavors as well, but the ice cream is definitely my tried and true.

So that's what is going to get me through 2014-2015's SIX full marathons (that and a whole lot of support from family and friends & funny race signs)! What is your favorite fueling source?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Weekly Chase

Even though it seems like I just started my marathon training plan, the road is coming to an end - aka the taper begins!  This year, I'm trying to go into the taper like a real person, not by running 40 miles in the preceding weeks to a full marathon!

Last week was pretty eventful...

Two new pairs of shoes.

These kicks will carry me through some BIG races.

I was given an amazing opportunity through my X-1 Audio Ambassadorship to review these!

A great speed workout and an epic 21 miler (my new distance record on the treadmill)

and sadly, another fall.

I was so excited to get my new pair of Newton's broken in, the night I went out for my tempo run, about two miles in...I flew.  Not a cool like Superman fall, a clumsy, not paying attention fly through the air and land on my face and shoulder kind of fall.  Part of the reason I love running at night is because no one is really witness to my clumsiness, but I also run the risk of tripping over things I can't see, in this case, a huge lip on the sidewalk.

I chalked that run up to a huge gain in mental toughness (which I NEED).  Instead of calling home to have Mr. Southern Fried Soul pick me up, I continued on with the rest of my run & even kept pace.  I'm still sore and beat up, but looking back and thinking it could have been MUCH, MUCH worse.

Looking forward to this week...

taking is easy and another supported half marathon training run on Saturday Morning - the Michelob Ultra 13.1 in Dallas.

I have several friends doing this one as well, so I know it will be a really fun day!

I've also heard some *great* things about this race and was thrilled when the opportunity came up for me to get an entry into it.

Race day is getting closer and closer!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Race Review: The Showdown Half Marathon

Last weekend I ran the Showdown Half Marathon in the nearby city of Fairview, TX.  The Showdown is basically a fun way for runners to celebrate the TX/OU Red River Rivalry (the football game played later in the day).  I usually run with the UT side, but loved the red medal this year and crossed over to the dark side (sorry, not sorry).

This is a really fun race, well run, in which a TON of my MRTT frunners also participated in (which makes it even *more* fun!!).

Even though for me this was basically a supported training run that just happens to award a medal (or two for me!) at the end, I did have some goals.

I wasn't looking to PR this race as it is a notoriously hilly one, but I did want to out perform my dismal performance from last year.  I also wanted to keep this run at a marathon pace the entire way without going out to fast (which I am GREAT at doing!).

Packet pick-up for this race is always a smooth one.  I think it took me longer to walk into the building where packet pick up was held, than it did to actually get my things.  Love that.

Race morning was nice and cool.  I arrived at the start a little early so I could catch up with friends and get a picture with my MRTT friends.

There is no corral line up for this race as it is on the smaller side (maybe 700 ran the half?), but the pacers are a plenty! I think there are pacers for each 5 minute increments up to the 3 hour mark.  Lots of help if you are there to meet goals!

 The course is pretty cool too.  We ran for about 3 miles on the highway service road and then took a turn into the country side.  There was so broken asphalt terrain for about a quarter mile that I didn't care for (I have issues with falling), but otherwise the terrain was just basic blacktop.  Plenty of support stations handing out not only water and Gatorade, but gummy bears.

The alpacas and horses didn't happen to be out on this morning, they were smart to stay in on this cold and dreary day...but the scenery never disappoints.

Speaking of the weather, it was pretty much perfect.  It had stormed quite a bit the night before and I know most of us were doing no rain dances the days leading up to the race.  It was chilly and a bit drizzly, nothing like the warmth and humidity of last year.

So I finished this one in 2:12:55.  About 10 mins better than last year (so I met that goal) and I kept a 10:11 pace on a hilly course.  Just what I wanted.

Post race was filled with lots of delicious things runners love: chocolate milk, KIND bars and Nothing Bundt Cakes.

I also got to meet this little lady, who btw, beat me.

Lil Roxy might look all cute and cuddly (ok, she really is), but she is a *beast*.  Roxy has completed FOUR 50 MILE races with her owner and is a half marathon fanatic!  Roxy is *legit* and totally made my day (even though she beat me).

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Weekly Chase

I'm back from a little hiatus.

I had to take some time off blogging to get my head wrapped around grad school, marathon training and just life in general.

Racing season is finally here!

I ran my first half of the season this fall (more on that later this week) and have several races I'm looking forward too.

This past week saw my peak in mileage - 38.5 for the week, including my first 20 of this cycle (which went well).  I have another 20 miler coming up this week and then the real taper will begin.

Over the past month, I've learned about some new fueling options that I plan to employ in my next several races (coming in the Friday Five).

I am still keeping up with barre....but that 100th class seems to be eluding me!  I am *so* close, but in keeping up with my training plan, I've had to cut it back to twice a week.

BUT the goal is in sight!  With just a month to go until my *A* race, it's getting real!

In other fun *life* news, I asked my *amazing* future sister in laws if they would be my bridesmaids!

They said YES (just like I hoped they would!)!

AND one of my BRF's (even though she's way faster than me) qualified for the Boston Marathon yesterday with a kick a$$ time of 3:53:56!!!

we like to match and stuff

I am so proud of her as she has worked incredibly hard during the intense heat this summer to get to this point.

I'm excited to get on with these next couple of weeks and get marathoning myself!