Monday, October 28, 2013

Good-bye to Grain Brain!

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Grain Brain. Opinions expressed are entirely my own!

Have you heard of Grain Brain? The full title is Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar -- Your Brain's Silent Killers, a new book by Dr. David Perlmutter, outlining lifestyle changes you can make today to keep your brain healthy, vibrant and sharp. Last week I received a copy to read and review. I also received an invitation to join Dr. Perlmutter's Grain Brain Challenge, a 4-week challenge designed to improve brain health through some diet, exercise and sleep recommendations.

I gladly accepted the invitation and agreed to take on the challenge.

The timing couldn't be more perfect because I'm not training for any races right now, so I don't need to freak out about changing up my diet. And, as you'll see, Dr. Perlmutter's dietary recommendations really aren't that different from what I'm doing now anyway . . .

READ MORE ----->

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mohawk Hudson Half Marathon race report.

I wanted to run an awesome race and, in some ways, I did. I'd like to say I sailed smoothly over the 13.1 miles of the half marathon on Sunday but, honestly, I didn't.

I sailed smoothly for about 7 miles. But, then . . . well, then I struggled. I struggled for 6 miles, willing myself to run toward my A goal (1:46:58 or better!).

Fortunately, my day started surrounded by lots of friends and Strong Running Mamas. Here's a bunch of us at the start:

Go, Strong Running Mamas, go!

I lined up in the middle/front at the start line and told myself to run strong, but start slow. I have trouble holding back at the beginning of races and I wanted to try to rein myself in.

It didn't happen. See, I'd made a tactical error leading up to the race: I'd entered my recent 5K time into one of those race time predictor calculators and I'd seen what time I (according to the calculators) should be able to run a half marathon. Low 1:40s.

Low 1:40? Well, heck. If that's the prediction, shouldn't I be able to run 1:45, no problem? Should I make a new goal? Skip the A goal and go right to an A+ of 1:45???

1:45 . . . so tempting. I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to sell myself short, but I also didn't want to run too hard and blow up at the end and miss setting a new PR.

After all the back and forth, I started the race like a fool.

7:51, 7:34, 7:42, 7:48, 7:37 . . .

The first five miles ticked by and I felt great. Great! Effortless. I loved every minute of those first five foolhardy miles and I foolishly led Foolish Self to believe that, yes, I could hold that 7:45-ish pace for-evah.

Running happy!

Around mile 5, I tried to take a gel and -- blech -- it didn't work. I got a little bit down but could barely swallow it and could stomach it even less. I guess I just can't handle gels during races. Lesson learned (for about, oh, the tenth time . . . ).

Anyway, mile 6 and 7 were still strong but I remember hitting the mile 7 marker and thinking, holy crow. I still have 6 miles to go. I might not make it.

I started doing the math and freaking myself out. 6 miles. That's 60 minutes, if I run the rest of the race at a 10 minute pace. One. Whole. Hour. I can't run for an hour! I don't have another freaking hour of running in me! 

No worries, Happy Runner! I replied to Freaked Out Self, You're running faster than that! 50 minutes. Just run 6 miles in 50 minutes. You can do it!

I could barely do it.

I was fading with each mile and by mile 10 I really needed a gel but couldn't risk it. By mile 11 my legs felt like lead and I was pretty convinced that my A goal was out of reach. I simply couldn't muster any more speed. 

And then I heard a cheer. It was my friend and Strong Running Mama, Melissa H. with her daughter, Mia. Melissa was not running because her body's working hard growing a baby -- but she was out on the course cheering. Hard. She put a smile on my face and gave me some much needed pep.

Not far from Melissa were two other friends and SRMs, Danielle and Melissa D. Another smile. A little more pep.

With maybe a tenth of a mile to go, I was locked in. I saw the clock and I knew if I pushed it I could get my PR.

Pushing it to the finish.

I got it.

1:46:17 -- a 42-second PR!!!

I was so happy. So. Wildly. Happy.

I ran a foolish race but still pulled it off. I couldn't even run back in June but I still pulled it off. I had doubted myself many times over the past month but I still pulled it off.

Pulling it off ROCKS.

And you what else rocks? Friends.

Like Bridget, who rocked the race to a HUGE PR of 1:58:

Happy PR runners!
And Janis, who didn't run but still came out to cheer and snap happy pictures of her pals:

That's me with great friends, Janis and Bridget.
And Jen, who ran her first half marathon; Darlene, who climbed back from injuries to run; Karyn, who put up a big PR of 1:56; and Karyn's SIL, Eileen, who drove up from Long Island to run with her:

Jen, Darlene, me, Karyn, Karyn's SIL, Eileen

And many more (like all those SRM in the first picture -- and the awesome cheerers!!).

But, back to the race. Overall, a tough race with a terrific result. Now, you can take a look at my embarrassing splits:

Mile 1: 7:51
Mile 2: 7:34
Mile 3: 7:42
Mile 4: 7:48
Mile 5: 7:37
Mile 6: 7:50
Mile 7: 8:00
Mile 8: 8:13
Mile 9: 8:24
Mile 10: 8:25
Mile 11: 8:24
Mile 12: 8:35
Mile 13: 8:14
last .1: 8:03 pace

Tale of two races, huh? Yeah. I need to work on my pacing -- obviously!

Here are my stats:

Overall (net) time: 1:46:17
Pace: 8:07 per mile
Overall place: 121 out of 800
Age group place (F, 40-44): 6 out of 92

And with that, I'm resting up. My plan is to take the whole week off to ensure that I give my hip ample time to recover so I don't risk re-injury. I will probably run on Saturday or Sunday and then I'll see what's up next. I'm contemplating a 15K in a month but I'll decide on that later.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Mohawk Hudson Half Marathon goals.

It is time to lay it down.

Here we are, two days until race day for the Mohawk Hudson Half Marathon. Two days . . . yikes!

I've been thinking about the race a lot and, of course, one of the biggest things I've been considering is my race goal. I've gone back and forth about my goals (I just want to finish! OK, I want to finish strong! Make that finish under 2 hours. No, just finish with a smile on my face, no pressure!) and now it is time to lay it down, to put it out there.

I want to have an awesome race.

First and foremost. As recently as the end of June, I couldn't run. At all. And, now? Now I'm back at it. I've had a good training cycle, including (yay!) a new 5K PR. But, I've also had some bumps in the running road.

The biggest bump has been getting Lyme disease -- again! -- in September. It has screwed me up but I've been determined not to let it stop my training and general living. Living being pretty important and all. Yes, training is not quite as important but, to me, it kinda is. So, I've kept at it.

And I ran that 5K race to a PR while I was ill so . . . well, so, shouldn't that mean I can run an awesome race on Sunday?

You betcha!

Awesome race, here I come! My time goals are, as always, three-tiered and they look like this:

C goal: 1:52 or better. I ran 1:53 for a 13.1 mile training run two weeks ago so I should be able to achieve this, no problem.

B goal: Beat my More/Fitness Half Marathon time of 1:48:46. 

A goal: My "if the stars align and shine their magical light down upon me" goal is to set a new PR, 1:46:58 or better. Grand goal, I know, but a girl's gotta dream!

Now, I'm off to hydrate, rest and dream. Oh, and figure out what the heck to wear on Sunday. Such runner problems . . . 

Thanks for stopping by -- have a great weekeend!

Monday, October 7, 2013

September recap.

I'm a week late but, eh, that's just the way things are going around here these days!

September was supposed to be my peak month before the Mohawk-Hudson Half Marathon. I figured my workouts -- long runs, a few strong tempo runs, regular ol' runs -- would push my monthly mileage up to about 120 (from 108 in August). I wanted a big month to prepare me for the race. My running has been going so well since the beginning of August -- with a big month full of strong runs well, maybe, just maybe I could start thinking about a PR.

Well, I didn't exactly have the big month I was planning on. For a variety of reasons, there were a few runs that didn't happen. Although I got in all of the long runs that I was counting on, I didn't get in the harder speedwork, and that accounts for the lower mileage.

I'm not going to worry about it.

I ran a great 5K at the beginning of the month and a kick-butt solo 13.1 mile run at the end (13.1 hilly miles in 1:53!!!).

Here's my month in numbers.

September Stats:

Running (miles): 101.9
Racing: 1, the Youth Make a Difference 5K (new PR!!)

Happy day -- rocking a new 5K PR!!

October mileage will be lower, because I'll talk a (needed) rest after the race. I'd like to think I'll be much smarter about rest this time than I was six months ago when I hardly rested after the More/Fitness half and ended up with a torn-up hip. We'll see!

So, thanks for stopping by -- have a great week!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Goddess Garden Organics review and giveaway!

Two things about me: 1) I buy organic stuff -- mostly food but I've been branching out to cosmetics, and 2) I'm a daily sunscreen user. Given these two things, you'd think a product like the Goddess Garden Organics daily lotion (SPF 15) would be a perfect match for me.

You'd be right.

I was invited to sample the daily lotion and opted to try out the Tangerine Lavender scent . . . CONTINUE READING----------->

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