|December 27th, 2012||Gear, Giveaway, Running|
Before I get into the post scheduled for today, I wanted to say that I FINALLY WENT BACK TO THE GYM. As you know, I did a short workout on my birthday, but today I got back to running.
I woke up at 5:30AM, put on my new Running Skirts gear and drove to the gym. It was damp and cold outside, so walking the 1000 feet to the gym today just wasn’t an option.
The best part about this shirt… the length! It’s perfect for my long torso. I can’t wait to wear the top with leggings to yoga! The headband actually matches the pattern of one of my running skirts I own from Running Skirts. I can’t wait until the weather gets warmer so I can wear it again!
Getting back into running was not easy. Trust me it was not easy at all. I only did two miles, but it was two miles more than I’ve done all month. I figure I’ll start slowly and get back to the fitness level I was a few months ago. No need to get injured!
Okay… now that you’ve read about my morning workout… I guess I’ll tell you about the GIVEAWAY!
Mediterranean Snacks Giveaway
While I was at the Runner’s World Half Festival, I received a bag of Mediterranean Snacks’ Baked Lentil Chips. At first glance, I thought… hmm interesting but it probably tastes like cardboard (hey, at least I’m honest). When I opened the package and tried the first chip, they were actually amazing! Even Bryan likes them!
The flavors I received were:
- Sea salt
- Parmesan garlic
- Cucumber dill
- Cracked pepper
- Roasted tomato – my favorite!
I’m giving away a mixed box of lentil chips, a tote bag, and t-shirt for one lucky reader! See below on how to enter. The giveaway closes next Monday!
Here’s how to enter this giveaway!
- Comment below and let me know what flavor you’re looking forward to trying
- “Like” me on facebook (optional)
- “Follow” me on twitter (optional)
- Tweet –> Want to try lentil chips? @_nicolekennedy is having a giveaway! (optional)
- ** please comment below each time you either “like” “follow” or “tweet”. That way I know to give you separate entries!
Talk to Me
- What flavor are you looking forward to?
- Have you ever tried lentil chips?
- What’s your all time favorite flavor chip?
|November 27th, 2012||Gear, Reviews, Running|
I haven’t gone for a run since the Half Marathon, so there isn’t much to post about running. However I do want to tell you about the Zensah Smart Touch Running Gloves. A representative from Zensah asked me if I’d like to try out their gloves for the half marathon, and of course I said YES! I’d be looking for a pair of gloves to wear and had no luck until I saw these.
The gloves are great because they have the iTip technology, which allows you to use your iPhone or other touch-screen devices. When I found out that little fact, I was sold! I hate when I go for a run in the winter and I have to take off my gloves to flip through my music.
During the half marathon, I wore the gloves for the first few miles until my whole body started to warm up. The gloves are very breathable and keep your hands warm but not too warm. I think these are perfect for running, but probably not too great for your everyday commute. I prefer to have fleece or leather gloves for the day-to-day, but I will keep these gloves around for my outdoor runs this season.
The gloves also have silicon gripping on the palm of each glove to keep your devices in place. Although a minor detail, I find this to be critical. There’s nothing worse than wearing gloves and have your expensive iPhone slip out of your hands and onto the ground.
I don’t typically run at night, but if you do these gloves also have reflective stripes for increased visibility.
For $29.99 you can’t really beat these gloves. They are the perfect holiday present for the runner in your life.
Talk to Me
- What winter gear do you wear when you run outside?
- Have you ever tried gloves with iTip technology?
- How long do you typically keep gloves on during your runs?
|November 21st, 2012||Half Marathon Training, Races, Running|
This is the last part of the Philadelphia Half Marathon Recap, I promise.
After running 13.1, what’s next?
So what will I be doing now that the half marathon is over? I’m not entirely sure just yet. I know I want to register for another 10K in the new year and maybe even a 5K before Christmas like I did last year.
One thing I’m looking forward to is weight training. I’ve said numerous times in the past that although my half marathon training plan allowed for a day of weight training, I never did it because I was just too tired. Now that I won’t be necessarily running ten miles every weekend, I’ll have extra time to grab the weights.
I’m toying with the idea of putting together my own weight training program integrating many of the workouts from the Jamie Eason Live Fit Trainer that I did in the beginning of this year. But, I’m open to other suggestions.
Another thing I am looking forward to is getting back into my yoga practice. I was very diligent with going to classes this summer, but with the craziness of getting acclimated to a new job and training for the Half I didn’t have time to add it into my schedule. Now that I have more time for other exercises, I can’t wait to get back into it! Since I first started practicing yoga back in college, I fell in love with it. It’s a calming experience, but gives you a kick-butt workout. First step: new yoga mat! I have my eye set on “The Mat” from lululemon. It’s a black non-slip mat that I’ve used at yoga studios before and it’s basically amazing.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner (literally… tomorrow) I just wanted to give thanks to all of those who gave me well wishes for my half marathon. It was absolutely painful, but amazing and I couldn’t do it without the support and love. I also want to give thanks to Bryan for being patient with me every weekend when I had to get a long run finished, and waiting around at the Philly Marathon in the cold weather for me to cross the finish line.
Talk to Me
- What did you do post-marathon/half marathon?
- What was your favorite part about your first marathon/half marathon?
- What holiday runs are you looking forward to this season?
|November 20th, 2012||Half Marathon Training, Races, Running|
Now that you’ve already read about Part 1 of the Philadelphia Half Marathon weekend that covered the expo, dinner the night before, and race day… I bring you the second part of my recap series.
Freezing, but ready to go!
After waiting in a long line for a porta-potty, I finally made my way to my corral. I made it just in time, because my corral was moving towards the starting line shortly after I got there. It took us 21 minutes to cross the starting line, and I could feel the runners around me getting excited.
Thank you Bryan for taking this photo
Mile 1 – Benjamin Franklin Parkway to Love Park: My feet were numb. No, not from running but actually from being so cold. I actually thought I may have gotten frost bite, but I’m dramatic so I knew deep down I was probably fine.
Mile 2 – Arch Street past Liberty Bell to Race Street: My feet warmed up quickly and I took my gloves off at this point.
Mile 3 – Columbus Boulevard: Gorgeous scenery running down by the water, but there weren’t many spectators cheering during this mile.
Mile 4 – Columbus Boulevard to Front Street: Don’t really remember this mile much, but I do remember that this is where my knee started hurting.
Mile 5 – South Street to Independence Hall: The crowds on South Street were amazing! There were so many crazy signs that I could read to keep my mind off the pain. One of my favorites was “You trained longer than Kim Kardashian’s marriage.”
Mile 6 – Chestnut Street to City Hall: Probably my favorite part of the entire race. The amount of spectators was breathtaking. SO many people were cheering on both sides of Chestnut Street. Thank you to the random spectators who screamed my name to keep going. It helped! At this point I thought to myself, “This would be a great route for a 10K.”
Mile 7 – 17th and Chestnut to 30th Street: Spectators seemed to diminish around this mile as well. Up to this point the route was really flat.
Mile 8 – Drexel University and University of Penn: Hills and drunk college students. Ran out of my Jelly Beans at this point.
Mile 9 – Martin Luther King Drive past the Philadelphia Zoo: I remember this mile being one large hill. A spectator screamed to us that at the end of the mile there was one large downhill. Also picked up a Clif Shot in Vanilla for energy. Happy Happy Happy!
Mile 10 – Fairmount Park: More hills. I’m pretty sure at this point I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to finish. I took walking breaks from now to the end. But… every time I stopped and started again my knee seemed to go in shock.
Mile 11 – Please Touch Museum to the Schuylkill River: At the end of mile 11, there were 6 or 7 men and women dressed as women in spandex body suits dancing and cheering us on. HILARIOUS. It definitely made me smile and realize that it’s almost over and that I could do this.
Mile 12 – Running by the Schuylkill River: This mile was by far the hardest one. I tried so hard to keep pushing, but my knee was basically giving up. That’s the one thing I realized during this mile… I HAD this half marathon mentally. I was ready to go, however physically my body was telling me otherwise.
Mile 13.1 – Heading to the Art Museum and Finish Line: The final mile was a blur, but it was all worth it. If you were at the finish line, you probably saw me crying – not because I was emotional about finishing… but because my knee hurt SO bad. The final .1 of a mile I sprinted to the finish line, which is probably why I’m in such pain today.
Crossed the finish line at 2:23:15. Definitely NOT the pace I’ve been training at, but I am just glad to have finished! I figure this gives me something to work towards.
Up tomorrow: Post Half Marathon.
Talk to Me
- Have you ever done the Philadelphia Marathon or Half Marathon? If so, what was your experience?
- Do you prefer 5Ks, 10Ks, Half Marathons or Marathons?
- Random question – What running gear do you want for the holidays this year?
|November 19th, 2012||Half Marathon Training, Races, Running|
It’s actually over. I can’t believe that the half marathon came and went that quickly. The weekend was absolutely amazing, and I’m sure you’re all just dying to hear all about it.
On Saturday morning, Bry and I drove to the Philadelphia Convention Center for the Health and Fitness Expo to pick up my bib and race packet. The Expo had vendors, such as Running Skirts and Sparkly Bands (which you know I loved since I got some of their gear at the Runner’s World Half Festival). I received my bib, a Philadelphia marathon bag, coupons, and a really comfortable tech-long sleeve t-shirt.
After walking around the Expo for about an hour, Bry and I went to the Reading Terminal for lunch then braved the traffic home.
My dinner Saturday night was spaghetti! I knew I would need the carbohydrates for energy the next morning. I used the rest of our angel hair spaghetti and homemade tomato sauce.
Race Day Morning
I went to bed around 10 PM on Saturday night, but my alarm was set for 3:20 AM and 3:30 AM on Sunday. I knew I had to get a good nights sleep if I wanted to actually finish the race. To my surprise, when the alarm started ringing early Sunday, I was wide awake and ready to go.
All of my clothes were lined up on my bedroom floor the night before, because nothing is worse than forgetting your race bib.
1. Running Jacket (TJ Maxx)
2. Freemotion Luxe S/S Tee V-neck (c/o)
3. Nike Dri-Fit hat
4. Futuro Moisture Control Knee Brace
5. Spi Belt (c/o) – inside: my ID and Jelly Belly Sport Beans
6. Race bib & pacer band
7. Champion sports bra
8. Zensah Smart Touch Running Gloves (c/o)
9. Old Navy compression running crops
I ate two pieces of toast with butter and banana on top and got out the door around 4 AM.
Luckily, we didn’t hit any traffic on the ride down to Philly and for once we found a cheap parking garage ($9!) really close to my corral. The purple corral was right in front of the Art Museum, so we sat there to keep warm. Noted: I will be packing a blanket for the next winter race I do. It was windy and COLD!
Eventually the sun came up and I headed to my corral. I anxiously waited with thousands of other people (approx. 30,000 runners). I tried to get my music ready to go, but to my surprise Pandora wouldn’t load because of the high density of runners. I wasn’t too upset, because I knew that the energy and crowds would keep me going. YES, I ran the entire 13.1 miles without music.
Up tomorrow: Running 13.1
Talk to Me
- What do you bring to cold races?
- What’s the largest race you’ve ever done? How many people were there?
- What’s the one food item you ALWAYS have before a race?
|November 15th, 2012||Half Marathon Training, Running|
When I signed up for the half marathon, I knew I would be following a plan to help guide me through. I found the Hal Higdon Beginner Novice 2 plan and decided to implement that. The Novice 2 plan was designed to fill the gap between those just beginning running and those who have run a few half marathons before.
Although I didn’t always follow the plan exactly, I did get in the majority of my long runs. Long runs were done on the weekends which gave me the time I needed to dedicate to the run. During the week, I never had the time to run 10 miles, get a shower, and commute to work. The plan calls for you to run 12 miles as the highest mileage run, but I stopped at 10 because I was a few weeks behind on training. No need to get injured running that last 12 miler a week before the half marathon.
I was supposed to do cross training in the plan, but I didn’t. It’s crazy how when I’m told to do something I don’t do it, but when I’m not following a strict plan I do it anyway. For instance, all summer I took yoga classes- so when I found out I had to practice yoga once a week for my half marathon plan, I thought it would be easy. NO. I barely did any cross training. I did however do the occasional weight training workout. I even did a post in July called, “Why Cross Training is Important for Runners.”
I unfortunately didn’t keep up with the shorter runs in the plan. I ran as many miles as I felt like doing on each particular day. I wish I would have stuck with the plan in this regard, but I didn’t and that’s okay. I don’t think it will make much of a difference.
Overall, I’m not completely pleased with the way my training worked out, but there’s nothing I can change at this point. I’m very excited to try my best on Sunday and just make it across the finish line. I won’t be worried about time or pace. The only thing that will be running through my mind on Sunday is the joy I will get from seeing the finish line.
Talk to Me
- Give me some insight on your first half marathon.
- Leave your questions below on anything you’d like me to talk about next week following the half marathon.
- What’s your favorite thing to do the night before a race?
|November 13th, 2012||Reviews, Running|
You know how much I love my ProCompression Marathon socks. I wear them anytime that I need extra recovery or support at night or during a long run. I’ve been looking for a shorter sock for my lower mileage runs, and then I found Swiftwick. I received the socks at the Runner’s World Half Festival and I couldn’t wait to try them!
Aspire Zero Compression Socks
The socks that I have are the Aspire Zero Compression. Here are some of my initial thoughts:
- These socks look small.
- These socks are soft.
- Wow, these socks really stretch to fit.
- I love these socks.
These socks are marketed towards a narrow foot, but I have pretty wide feet and they fit perfectly. Let’s take a look at the technology of this sock:
- No seams at the toe
- Olefin toe and heel making it a lighter and thinner sock
- Double covered with multi-filament T-66 nylon and wrapping core spandex to hold shape and deliver arch support
- Olefin footbed – T-66 throughout the sock, olefin content at 39% or more making a high quality compression
- Y-Heel contour
- Thin channeled upper allowing air flow with less bulk in your shoe
- Double welt compression cuff at ankle
Before getting these socks, the only socks I wore were 100% cotton (with the occasional run in my ProCompression socks). You can definitely tell the difference when you slip on these socks. They do exactly what the website says they will. They keep my feet dry and don’t bunch at the heel or toe in my sneakers, which is very important. I’ve worn them probably 10x since receiving the sock and they are still the same shape as the first time I took them out of the package. Some socks tend to stretch at the ankle, but not these.
The socks are knitted at 200 needles making them the highest density you’ll find. The high needle count does not allow train debris or other materials to penetrate through your sock. The high-gauge construction produces a softer, denser, and more durable garment.
Made in the USA
Swiftwick makes all these products in Tennessee and allows the company to really take a look at how their products are being made. Swiftwick’s American factory improves quality control, while employing an American workforce.
You can purchase these socks for only $11.99 from the Swiftwick website.
FTC: I was given a pair of Swiftwick socks for review at the Runner’s World Half Festival. All opinions are my own. No compensation was given.
Talk to Me
- Have you ever worn a pair of socks from Swiftwick?
- Do you wear compression socks during your run? After? Or Both?
- How many pairs of compression socks do you own?
|November 7th, 2012||Advice, Half Marathon Training, Running|
You can probably guess from the title of this post what I did on Saturday. I completed a ‘long run’. But how long you may ask? TEN MILES! I haven’t done a long run in a few weeks, since my eight miler, so I was ready to go for another long run.
I did my ten miles in 1:35:11. Because the treadmills at my gym don’t go over an hour, I had to take two photos.
How to Recover from a Long Run
I admit, when I first started running a year ago I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I wasn’t sure what a ‘split’ was or how many miles were in a marathon. I looked to other healthy living and running blogs for information and I was pleasantly surprised how much information was out there.
One thing I didn’t have to worry about last year was recovery. I was doing light stretching after my 2 and 3 milers, but I never gave much thought to proper recovery. That was until I started running more and feeling an increased amount of injuries.
So you may be asking yourself, “How should I recover after a long run?”
- Use ice – not heat. I don’t think I could ever get myself to do an ice bath. I hear they work wonders, but there’s no way I can see myself doing that. However, ice is important for recovery as an anti-inflammatory to reduce swelling and pain. *Apply ice for only 10 to 15 minutes at a time and don’t use directly on the skin.* I like to put my ice cubes in a zip-lock bag or sometimes in a towel.
- Massage your muscles. Self-massage will not only easy your aches and pains, but also improve your ability to stretch and remain injury free. My favorite method of self-massage is using my foam roller or The Stick. I do warn you… at first it will HURT. But trust me, if you’re doing it right, it will make your muscles feel 100% better the next day. Another form of massage I like to do is even easier – wear compression socks! I guess it’s not technically a massage, but it does the job overnight.
- Rest. I know that I hate taking rest days when I feel like I finally got myself into a schedule, but its very important for proper recovery. After my long runs, I like to either completely rest the following day or do restorative yoga/light stretching. I rarely run the following day, and if I do for whatever reason it’s always an easy run.
- Keep your legs lifted. By lifting your legs on a few pillows or blocks, you allow the blood to rush from your feet and down your legs. My favorite way to do this is to rest on the couch and put my legs on the back of the couch, or lie in bed and prop up three or four pillows for under my feet. There are various ways you can do this, so do whatever works best for you.
Talk to Me
- How do you like to recover from your long runs?
- Have you taken ice baths in the past? What are your thoughts?
- How miles did you run this week?
|November 5th, 2012||Gear, Reviews, Running|
Instead of doing my usual weekend recap this morning, I wanted to make sure I mentioned these amazing products that I’ve been wearing a LOT during my runs.
While I was at Runner’s World Half Festival, I was able to try some new running gear. Two of the things I picked up were the FreeMotion Performance Apparel “Wind” Jacket and a headband from Sweaty Bands.
FreeMotion Performance Apparel Wind Jacket
I’ve been looking for a running jacket for quite some time so I knew I’d be wearing this jacket a lot. Bryan already makes fun of me, because I always seem to be wearing it. It’s extremely comfortable, what can I say?!
According to the website,
“We’re not going to lie. This is the cutest workout jacket ever. We’ve layered a lightweight crop windbreaker over a soft, supple jacket to bring some fashion and flair to fitness. And, since life doesn’t stop after the gym, you could wear this everywhere. The sleeve cuffs are extra wide and super stretchy. Push them up so you can get down.”
I’d say this is 100% true.
The one thing that I do want to point out is that I love that the jacket is on the longer side. I have a pretty long torso and it’s always been a problem finding tops that don’t fit like a belly shirt. I’m not lying. There’s nothing worse than running in the cooler months with a top that creeps up in the back- leaving space for freezing air. No thank you.
I’m also loving the gorgeous colors on this jacket. Most of my work out gear is black, so it’s nice to have a pop of color every now and then. The jacket literally matches with almost 100% of my work out bottoms. The only thing it doesn’t match are my neon green Nike Tempo Shorts. But maybe I’ll feel adventurous next spring and bust out all of these colors at once.
Another amazing thing about this jacket (there are many things, I know) are the sleeve cuffs. I love how stretchy they are and how they are also really long. They keep my wrists warm and I don’t have to worry about my sleeves coming up thanks to the thumb holes. Perfection!
You can purchase this jacket for $99 by going to the FreeMotion website.
Have you ever been on a run when you have to fix your hair multiple times because it keeps getting into your face? Have you ever worn a headband that kept falling back on your head? I know I have and although I do love my Lululemon anti-slip headband, I was looking for other options.
Enter in: Sweaty Bands.
The inside of the band is a soft, fuzzy material, similar to velvet. This makes the band anti-slip and I love it. I’ve been wearing it on every run since I first got the headband, and I haven’t been happier. I love the embroidery on the top of the headband, because it’s different than any other headband I’ve ever seen.
The headbands range from $15-$18, which is pricey, but you can purchase on the Sweaty Bands website. The quality of these headbands make it worth the purchase. I know I’ll have this headband for many years and races to come.
Talk to Me
- What is your favorite place to purchase headbands?
- Do you have a wind jacket that you like to run in? What does it look like?
- Tell me about a piece of running clothing that you seem to always wear.
|October 31st, 2012||Gear, Half Marathon Training, Reviews, Running|
By now you all know that I got to attend the Runner’s World Half Festival in Bethlehem PA a few weekends ago. It was the first time I met up with other healthy living bloggers and it was definitely an event to remember. Want to read my recaps so far and get caught up on this madness?
This, my friends, is Part 3 of my recap from that awesome event! I received a bunch of awesome goodies to test out on my blog. But one item that I tried out right away is this little gem. If you’re a runner or athlete in general, you’re going to really appreciate what I’m going to tell you…
THE STICK IS AMAZING.
What is The Stick?
The stick is also referred to as the “toothbrush for muscles.” It’s a device used to compress and stretch your muscles. It treats muscle pain and trigger points.
Some benefits associated with the Stick:
- Prevents and predicts muscle injuries
- Dramatically improves strength, flexibility, and endurance
- Rapidly prepares muscles for activity
- Disperses the effects of lactic acid
- Accelerates muscles recovery!
Which Stick is best for me?
The company offers a range of Sticks to choose from based on your body type and the reasons for using the Stick. Here is a graphic that outlines the different Sticks they offer and details about each one.
How do you use The Stick?
It’s pretty self explanatory, but after you do a hard run (or really any workout), you use The Stick to massage any muscle that needs it! I like using this on my calves and hamstrings after a long run to speed recovery!
Which Stick did I choose?
I chose the Stiff Stick because I wanted something that would be firm enough for a deep massage, but could be used for lighter massages as well.
I’ve been using the Stick after my runs and I notice a significant difference the next day when I use it. I love this because I don’t even need to lay on the floor to use it. I used it on the floor in the photo below because the photo came out better than when I used it on my couch (blogger secret!).
I enjoy The Stick over my foam roller because:
- I don’t need to lay on the floor to use it. I can lay on the couch and use it while I’m watching TV.
- It travels a LOT easier.
- It targets my legs and gives it a deeper massage.
For more information on The Stick and where to purchase, check out The Stick website.
FTC: I was given a complimentary stick for review at the Runner’s World Half Festival. All opinions are my own. No compensation was given.
Talk to Me
- Have you ever tried The Stick?
- Which Stick are you interested in trying?
- What type of recovery method do you do post-runs? Ice bath, foam roller, other?