Monthly Archives: October 2014

What I’m Eating Wednesday

Eating is not only a big part of my training routine, it’s one of my favorite things to do.  Rather than a What I Ate Wednesday post, I thought I’d share what I’m currently eating, loving and can’t wait to eat again.eating

These oatcakes are delicious!  I received them as part of a gift basket and was excited to try them.  I’d never had an oatcake before.  As for my first oatcake experience, it was lovely.  Effie’s Homemade Oatcakes make a great snack all by themselves and are even better with some peanut butter or a slice of cheese.  The Canadian business makes several other varieties of simple, tasty cakes that are both portable and versatile.

If you’re looking something meatier to eat, try these jerky snacks from KOOEE!  I discovered the company through my SweatPink ambassadorship and was went two flavors of samples.  I started by eating the Smoked Chipolte and Apple Flavor yesterday and am eatinglooking forward to opening a package of Lime Pepper with Mango later today.  The Smoked Chipolte and Apple was delicious.  They’re working hard at KOOEE! to get off the ground and you can help their Kickstarter campaign here.  Stay tuned for my full product review!

The third food related item I’m eating right now is this Dulcet Cuisine Toasted Sesame & Ginger Asian Sauce.  It’s the first of their products I’ve tried and it’s delightful.  All natural, Kosher and preservative free make it taste all the eatingbetter.  I picked it up along with lunch at Taste Unlimited because I knew we were out of soy sauce at the house and this seemed like it might be a good, something different for dinner that evening.  The light sauce goes very well with salads, chicken and pork as a dressing or dipping sauce but isn’t heavy enough to make a good marinade.

I love eating these three foods and definitely recommend giving these small companies and their delicious products a try!

Meredith

Have you tried any of these products?  What are you eating and loving this week?

Sunday Funday Lately List

Happy Sunday!  I read this post on Terri at A Foodie Stays Fit’s blog and like she said ‘it looked like a fun little thing’.  As the copying and pasting continues, I’m volunteering myself as next up to share what I’ve been doing in my life lately other than running, working, eating and sleeping.

Making:  My bed.  Admiral McRaven says it’s a good idea and I believe him.
Cooking:  Chicken noodle soup.  One of my favorites any time of year even though it’s best when it starts to get chilly outside.
Drinking:  Water, and a few Sweetwater 420 IPAs.  IPA isn’t something I usually like but this one is refreshing without being too hoppy.
Reading:  Way of the SEAL, again.  A great reminder to take some time each day to put the world away and work on myself.  I definitely recommend this one.
Wanting:  New carpet or none at all.  What’s here doesn’t look bad, I’m just convinced it’s a big reason Doug’s allergies never improve.
Looking:  At the sunrise every morning I teach on the beach and it’s something I pretty lucky to have.sunday fundayPlaying:  Cornhole (with those Sweetwaters…) on a gorgeous afternoon yesterday.
Wasting:  Milk.  After being out of town for a few days, almost half of what was left in the fridge had to be canned :(.
Sewing:  I can sew in a pinch, I think.  Certainly not one of my best talents and I should learn.
Wishing:  The weather could be like early fall all year long.
Enjoying:  The aforementioned perfect running weather.
Waiting:  To eat dinner because I really don’t like thawing meat in the microwave.
Liking:  All of the amazing runner accomplishments at #RunChat on Twitter.
Wondering:  What’s next for FitNicePT.  Running my own business is exciting, difficult and stressful but it’s also rewarding.
Loving:  The weather.  I just can’t say enough about the weather the last two weeks.  It’s fantastic.
Hoping:  My next target half marathon course will only be 13.1 miles and I’ll have a new PR.
Marveling:  At how terrible my Hokies are.  They started strong and have fallen off the football cliff the last few weeks.  It’s quite upsetting.
Needing:  The mole to move out from under the chimney.  It drives Jordy crazy and hopefully we can get some cement in there today to solve the problem.
Smelling:  A nice clean dog.  Jordy got a bath Thursday and he still smells like shampoo.
Wearing:  My Eagles gear!  It’s game day.
Following:  Too much news.  It’s usually a downer and a little less might help my day be a bit brighter.
Noticing:  How many drivers are too busy on their phones to be aware of the things going on around them.
Knowing:  I’m learning everyday and that’s the best I can do.
Thinking:  About what races and states to run next fall.  So many choices!
Feeling:  Refreshed.  After an easy recovery week both my body and mind feel cleaner, more organized and ready to get back to business soon.
Bookmarking:  A few lengthy academic studies about work related topics that are a pain to fight through but always valuable.
Opening:  A package of Kooee super snacks that I can’t wait to try.  You can help them out here.
Giggling:  Like crazy when I’m overtired and get a little slap happy.

Please copy and paste!  Share your Sunday Funday lately list, even if it’s on Monday 🙂

Meredith

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon 2014

I ran the 2014 Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon to complete my South Carolina state race and check another location off my 50+1 list.  Doug also ran the half marathon, his first in over four years, and even though it’s not an arduous journey from home in Virginia Beach, we stayed an extra myrtle beach miniday post race to relax.  The racecation began with our Friday night arrival.

We checked into our hotel, grabbed some dinner and hit the hay after a long day of work and traveling.  We had a leisurely Saturday morning while the Coastal 5k went off then made our way to packet pick-up.  The expo was small but well organized and I thought it was interesting you had to walk through the vendor area to pick-up your race shirt at a different location than your race number.  With our myrtle beach mininewly acquired numbers the rest of the day was spent relaxing, watching college football and hydrating before a nice big salad and bowl of pasta for dinner.  I went to bed a bit before Doug with my alarm set for 5:20 and got an OK night’s sleep on the firm hotel bed.

Race day dawned chilly like we expected, but that meant good running weather and I was very happy with the 60 degree morning.  We fueled with breakfast, bagel for me, oatmeal for him and both downed an E2 en route the the Start.  The race was point to point, beginning at the Coastal Grand Mall and finishing on the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk.  There was more than ample parking and the Port-a-Potty lines were fairly short when Doug and I walked over.  A few minutes later the lines started to lengthen, which was problematic because the portable toilets faced the road and people waiting were forced to stand on a curb trying to stay out of the incoming race traffic.  After avoiding that mess, we made our way back to the car, folded our sweats into gear check bags, checked them (hence no start photos) and made our way to the corrals.

We wished each other good luck and I slid happily into the front of the 7-8 minute mile corral.  A short time later I listened to the National Anthem and took off with the crowd just about right on time.  The course began with a loop around the mall for Mile 1 and I did a good job of being sure not to take things out too fast as I clocked a 7:30 first mile.  Coming into sight of the Mile 1 sign, I was running between two gentlemen and within a few seconds of one another, all of our watches beeped.  Before the marker.  I was at 1.06 when I ran past it and knew I had to be very aware of taking the shortest route possible for the remainder of the race.

The course wasn’t anything spectacular on a mile by mile basis until the last few.  Through Mile 9 it was pretty flat with only one big bridge to conquer, a few gentle grades and a paved trail around the Mile 6 mark.  My left glute got a little grumpy climbing the bridge but it loosened back up quickly as I ran on.  Miles 2 through Mile 10 were between 7:18 and 7:21 and I did a very good job of taking the straightest lines I could through each curve and turn since I didn’t pick up any additional distance.  When I passed the Mile 10 mark my watch read 10.06 and I was ready to go for the last 5k.

A turn at Mile 9.5ish had the course running south, parallel to the ocean, and a mile later a lovely a 10-15mph headwind kicked up.  An annoying headwind is something I’m used to but never keen on at that point in a race, especially one where I’m pushing myself.  Miles 11 and 12 averaged a slightly slower pace (7:23, 7:24) but I felt good in spite of the slower times because I was ahead of my goal time by over a minute.  When I passed the mile 12 marker with 12.06 and myrtle beach mini1:28.26 on my watch I was thrilled.  In all of my excitement, I made the turn onto the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and don’t recall when I saw the Mile 13 marker, or even if I noticed it at all.

Turning left onto what I thought was the final straightaway, I quickly became frustrated.  Running on what’s known as the Promenade, this last stretch was not the friendly, straight Boardwalk I had expected.  The Promenade is narrow.  It is twisting.  It felt never-ending.  When I finally hit the wooden boards, it was completely demoralizing.  The Finish Line, like the last two races I’ve run, isn’t visible until you’re practically on top of it.  I took a glance at my watch and noticed I had run much more than 1.1 miles since that Mile 12 marker.  With 13.18 on my watch, I could see the clock ahead and realized I still had more than 100 meters to go.  After feeling so great about the first twelve miles of the race, terror sank in as myrtle beach minithe seconds ticked away and I thought I might not make my goal due to the extra time additional distance had eaten up.

I made it by the skin of my teeth, crossing the under the Myrtle Beach Mini race clock as it flashed 1:37.25.  Even though I averaged a 7:20 pace for the race, I was incredibly frustrated when I hit the stop button on my watch.  I had run 13.29 miles in 1:37.24 when I had expected to run 13.16 in under 1:36.45 just nine minutes before.  My frustration took a while to dissipate as I collected my massive medal (these things are huge), water, pretzels, a banana, an apple and finally cruised over to the gear tent.  I settled onto a bench to trade shoes for flops and give my feet a little air, used one of the large number of finish area port-a-potties and started to calm down.  No matter what had myrtle beach minihappened during that last mile, my race had been a success.  It proved that my training paid off and next target race will definitely be faster.

Waiting for Doug to run past me as he came off the Promenade himself I decided to check the results online.  Citing my frustrating finish and the large number of people who had taken off in front of me, including the 7 min mile pace group, I didn’t feel good about placing in my age group.  I’m pretty sure my mouth fell open when the page opened and said I was first in my age group, 13th female and 79th overall.  I had correctly guessed there were a lot of people in front me, luckily they happened to be mostly men.

Moments later Doug ran by, beating his goal time by two minutes and just as frustrated by the Promenade section as I.  In the end, Doug ran 13.30 miles, I ran 13.29, several people I chatted with were anywhere between 13.18 and 13.31 and apparently myrtle beach minithis non-USATF certified course is not coined a half marathon because it’s longer than 13.1 miles but shorter than 26.2.  We enjoyed our complimentary beer while waiting for the awards ceremony and here I am with the other female 30-34 award winners.

Other than the length of the course, it was sparsely populated with spectators until the oceanfront portion and even though I wasn’t stopping at the well staffed water stops I did notice, and have Doug confirm, the final stop seemed a disproportionately long way from the penultimate one.  There are lots of positives about the Myrtle Beach Mini, too.  The course is fairly flat, the water stops are well stocked with volunteers, water and Gatorade, there was tons of parking at the start, the medals are massive, the awards ceremony was great, the band was very good and it was well organized.myrtle beach mini

We snapped this photo while waiting for our shuttle back to the start and that was quite an adventure itself.  When we lined up there were three buses departing for the 3.5 mile trip back to Coast Grand Mall and our parked cars.  We waited on a cement sidewalk for close to 20 minutes before a bus finally returned.  It seemed like this could have been spaced out better or communicated to the participants.  Once a bus load of people had boarded, we were on our way.  It was a quite a bumpy trip as the bus seemed to have trouble shifting out of first gear and possibly needed some engine or transmission work.  We finally safely arrived back at the car and made our way back to the hotel for some serious foam rolling and refueling.

I don’t see myself running the Myrtle Beach Mini again but recommend it if you’re looking for something in the area.  There was construction that forced the course to be changed this year and I think that might have been the source of the additional distance.  Myrtle Beach is a great place to visit off season, especially in the beginning of the week and we had a great time exploring the Boardwalk area on Monday.

Meredith

Have you run Myrtle Beach?  How do you deal with an extra long race course?

Myrtle Beach Race Week 2014

Myrtle Beach Race Week has flown by just as quickly as Taper Week 2.  My training went very well and I’m definitely ready to go Sunday morning.  All of my training lately, even my less than stellar first attempt at a long run two weeks ago, has me feeling like a new half marathon PR is easily within reach.  I’m writing this as Doug and I are en route to our weekend home on the first of my two pre-race rest days.  Here’s what this week’s workouts looked like and what I’ll be up to until I stand at the Starting Line.myrtle beach race week

Monday:  Light cross training, mobility work.  Myrtle Beach Race Week kicked off with a nice, easy workout that didn’t get my heart rate too high and left my legs feeling very fresh.

Tuesday:  30 minute tempo run.  This run brought back some bad memories of the summer with temperatures in the mid-70s and humidity over 90%.  In spite of the runner-unfriendly weather conditions I was happy with this outing and felt good picking up the pace for a short fifteen minutes.

Wednesday:  5x800M repeats.  These were surprisingly solid in spite of the morning’s repeat of Tuesday humidity and 15 mile an hour headwind I had for 50% of the run.  I had planned to do them at half marathon race pace but felt good pushing them to 10k pace.  Hopefully it wasn’t too much a few days before race day.

Thursday:  Two mile race pace run.  My legs felt good for this one but the rest of my body?  Not so much.  I popped right out of bed, slid on my shoes and went to get this workout done in the cool early morning.  I fast intermittently and wasn’t concerned about running two hard miles without much fuel but I also failed to have enough water.  About mid-way through I got very thirsty and had to fight off a bout of side stitches.  It was a good reminder that even when the weather is runner friendly my hydration strategy shouldn’t change.

Friday:  Rest!  Mostly.  An easy one mile run will help me shake off the cobwebs from spending six+ hours long hours in the car this afternoon.  I’ll follow that up with foam rolling, stretching and a bit of mobility work after arriving at the hotel then enjoy a delicious carb filled dinner.

Saturday:  More rest and relaxation.  I don’t expect the expo to be very big but hopefully we’ll spend a little quality time there picking up our numbers (2308 for me, 895 for him).  I have no idea how numbers are assigned seeing as how my faster finish time has my number quite a bit higher than his but it doesn’t seem to be alphabetical either.  This definitely has me a little worried about a possible Starting Line traffic situation even though the race’s website states: “The corral system assures a smooth and safe start by lining up participants of similar pace in the same area. All participants are asked that they line up according to their estimated finishing time. Large signs indicating these paces will be displayed through the start line corral. Please be courteous and look for the area that fits your pace best.”

Sunday:  Race Day!  The weather forecast is looking good with starting time temperatures in the mid-60s and things not warming up too quickly.  Hopefully getting close to the front of the first corral will help me avoid any traffic issues.  As of right now the forecast is looking good with temperatures in the mid-60s and a light breeze.

Myrtle Beach Race Week’s workouts have left me feeling that my goal of coming in under 1:37.30 is definitely attainable and my bigger goal of breaking 1:37.00, which would be a great reward for working hard in the heat this summer, could happen, too.

Meredith

Are you racing this weekend?  Where?  What’s your goal?

Right Now: October Edition 2

It’s time for October Edition 2 of Right Now!  I missed posting a Right Now in September and am making up for lost time with this second post.  You can check out the first one here for some of the other things I’ve been up to lately, other than running, that is.

Here we go!

Eating:  Mashed potatoes.  I love potatoes.  Baked potatoes take a while, even baked sweet potatoes so I’ve taken to mashing them up and freezing single size servings.  This article not only made my day, it makes the good point that even though I love my pasta, I can benefit more from chowing down on a baked, mashed, boiled spud with a handful of cheddar cheese and some garlic than a bowlful of penne after a hard run.october edition 2

Using:  The Fitness Games.  I reviewed this app a few weeks ago and still use it every now and then.  I love the strength program on I’m on now, but sometimes after a hard run I know lifting heavy weights wouldn’t be a good idea.  The app’s bodyweight workouts are challenging and make good cross training sessions for those non-running days when you want to stay away from the gym.

october edition 2Registering:  I used the 2015 Rock n Roll TourPass 3-Pack I purchased earlier this month to get two of next year’s race locations on the calendar.  With 43 states to go, I’m aiming to check off five per year (as long as the budget permits) and will be getting started quickly with Rock n Roll Arizona the second week in January.  Next up is Rock n Roll DC in March.

I hoe you enjoyed October Edition 2 of Right Now.  Heading into the next few days, I’ll be en route to Myrtle Beach for the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon where the last six months’ hard training will hopefully pay off with a new half marathon PR.  Stay tuned for lots of race weekend fun!

Meredith

Do you like potatoes?  What’s your favorite recipe?

Taper Week 2: Expected Success

Taper Week 2 of my first two week half marathon taper was an expected success.  There are six days until Myrtle Beach Race Day and I’m entering a very light Race Week tomorrow.  I’m just fine with a light race week.  I was good to go with this week’s light mileage.  It was last week that was the problem.  I wrote about my Taper Week 1 Nervousness but had none for Taper Week 2.  It was, with the exception of my very first one, the same thing I’ve done the week before every half marathon race week I’ve had and very comfortable.

Taper Week 2’s goal mileage was 23 and the schedule included two days of strength training where I spent a little extra time working on my ankle mobility and practicing pistols, an uneventful race pace run, a good long run of 10 miles, an easy three mile recovery jog and a solid speed work session.  With nothing on the calendar except ‘speed work’, I couldn’t decide what I wanted run Saturday morning.  I knew I didn’t want to do a brutally hard Michigan and opted for a ladder workout.  One mile warm up,1x1200M repeat at 10k pace, 800M recovery, 2x800M repeats at 5k pace with 400M recovery between and 3x400M at five seconds faster than 5k pace with 200M recovery, one mile cool down.  Short and sweet with middle of the road difficulty.

As I mentioned above, Taper Week 2’s long run was good, especially compared to last week’s first attempt.  To be honest, it left me feeling better than good.  I ran a large portion of it at race pace and loved the way my legs felt.  They were tired, sore and a bit heavy from tempo front squatting the day before.  This incomplete recovery made the faster parts of the run a challenge but knowing I could maintain my goal race pace for five miles feeling like that definitely helped me feel good about the potential to hit a new PR next Sunday.

I’m excited for Taper Week 2 to be behind me.  Race Week is finally be here!  The training for this race is different than anything I’ve done before and even though I know I’m faster, stronger and tougher than I was when I kicked the plan off, I’m curious to see what happens when I try to leave everything out there.

Meredith

How’s your fall training going?  Have you done a two week taper for a half?

Right Now: Starting, Buying, Working On

I was very busy in September and somehow missed my normal Right Now post.  That means two in October!  There are lots of things going on in my running and business owning life and I’m excited to share what I’m starting, buying and working on with you!

Starting:  I’ve partnered with Bon Secours Health Systems and Moms in Motion to create Fit Moms Boot Camp.  Designed to help mothers at all stages of motherhood get a little quality grown-up time while building friendships, getting fit and prepping for a road race, I’m excited to help these women reach their goals.  I’m chipping away at starting the program startingby finding a sponsor, putting the word out and getting women involved.

Buying:  The 2015 Rock n Roll TourPass 3-Pack.  In my effort to run all 50 states (and DC), I’ve committed to running three Rock n Roll races in 2015.  I have one locked in, Rock n Roll Arizona in January, and a few ideas for the other two.  I’d like to check off a new state with each of the races but even if one ends up being a repeat in Virginia Beach, the pass is a great deal.  At $199, it’s almost a buy two-get one free deal for the $100+ entry fees common for Rock n Roll Races.

Working on:  Ankle mobility.  I’ve altered my strength training program a bit and have added a new goal: mastering the pistol.  This is a proposition I can succeed at if I garner the ankle mobility required to correctly complete the movement.  While I don’t often notice having tight calves, there’s more to ankle mobility than that and I need to work on mine.  I’m starting to get a little looser at the joint and can feel my mobility improving ever so slightly.  As a bonus, I’ll also need to get stronger to nail this one without lifting shoes.

Meredith

Are you running any Rock n Roll events in 2015?  Do you work on mobility?

Taper Week 1 Nervousness

Phew!  It’s been a busy few days and I’ve been 100% MIA on the blog since last Wednesday’s Trail Running tips.  There are two weeks to go until Race Day Myrtle Beach and I had an unexpected bout of Taper Week 1 nervousness that left me not sleeping well.

I’ve never done a two week taper for a half marathon before but I’ve also never trained like I had been the last six months.  There’s no better time than the present to try something new.  Right?  I hope so.  I beat my big goal at the Heart of Ghent 10k by over a minute and should trust my all the work I’ve put in at the this point.  I am definitely faster, definitely stronger and definitely capable of hitting a new half marathon PR.  Knowing all of this makes my taper week 1 nervousness seem ridiculous.  Stepping into uncharted territory known as the two week taper, however, has been more of a mind game than I expected in spite of hearing taper horror stories from lots of 26.2 runners.

For this first ever two week taper, I had my final long run scheduled as 15 miles then two taper weeks of 13 and 10 miles, respectively.  That final 15 miler went really, really well and kept my positive outlook on a new PR in Myrtle sunny.  Things took a turn for the worse and taper week 1 nervousness put my mind in overdrive when I was about halfway through my first taper long-ish run.  Around mile eight of that 13 miler I noticed my legs were 100% fried.  It didn’t surprise me when I started looking back at the week because I hadn’t done a good job of recovering from my previous three workouts and by Mile 10 my taper week 1 nervousness was in full effect.  This run was going badly.  That wasn’t supposed to happen.  Ugh.

Rather than push my body too far, I bailed.  I had spent the last 1600M doing math and shuffling workouts in my head and when I decided to quit, I had completed 20 of the week’s planned 30 miles.  I changed my schedule to include another long run over the weekend, this time 12 miles, rather than speed work and a recovery run.  The minor difference between 30 and 32 miles would certainly not derail my physical training as much as heading into Race Day with a less than ideal long run weighing on my mind would mess with my mental training.  To boot, the fact that I had run 35 miles two weeks before my PR effort at the Shamrock which was a big part of easing my taper week 1 nervousness.

I set out for my final long run and needed it to go well if taper week 1 nervousness was really going to be beaten.  Sunday morning’s outing start off well with temperatures hovering around the mid-50s and ended better than it began.  I did eight miles at long run pace, the last four at 10k pace and it definitely turned my mindset around after what happened Thursday.  My taper week 1 nervousness paid off with the decision to run 12 even if it did cost me a little sleep and two more miles.  I’m back on track, once again feeling excited about hitting a new PR in South Carolina.

Meredith

How do you taper?  Do you ever have training run nervousness close to race day?

7 Trail Running Tips

Trail running is a great way to enjoy the changing leaves, crisp air and great outdoors this fall.  It’s also a little different from road running, requiring a different mindset, different muscles and a bit more time.  Here are seven tips from both myself and Team FitNice keep your trail running safe and injury free this fall. trail running

Accessorize.  Make sure you’re prepared for a trail running workout with trail shoes, sunblock, a hat, sunglasses and bug spray.  You can also check out running gaiters.  These fashion accessories help keep your ankles and feet safe from stones, sticks and other trail debris while you’re out enjoying nature.

Work on your core.  Running on uneven ground challenges your balance.  The muscles of your core, abs, obliques, lower back, are what help you stay on your feet.  The stronger they are, the more stable you’ll be and that means less likelihood of injury.  Practice balance and core strengthening exercises regularly to help your trail running performance.

Leave extra time.  You’ll be looking for the path of least resistance, rather than the shortest route from Point A to Point B on the trails and that might mean switchbacks or taking the long way around.  Run for time, rather than distance until you’re familiar with different paths and the difficulties they each ask you to face.

Start slowly.  Trails are different than roads or treadmills.  They’re uneven, inconsistent and tougher on ankles and feet.  Adjust to trail running with runs short than you’d do on the road and build up trail runningover a few weeks until you feel 100% comfortable.

Keep going slowly.  With dirt paths, roots to watch out for and lots of other potential obstacles, trail running requires more effort then road running.  Slow down and run by effort rather than pace, even if it means walking uphills in the beginning.

Stay safe.  Consider head lamps, pepper spray and reflective gear.  Always be sure to take an ID, tell someone where you’re planning on going and when to expect you back.  If you can, take your cell phone or a map and be aware of what’s going on around you at all times.  Knowing the rules of the trail, such as yielding to downhill runners, equestrians and cyclists as well as staying on marked trails and running through, not around, puddles will all help you get home safely.

Bring fluids.  Trail running can be unpredictable.  Mud, rain, snow and streams all have the potential to make your run a little more hazardous, making the time it takes you to finish hard to determine.  The last thing you want to do is run out of water, so wear or stash it.  If your route crosses parking lots or picnic areas, drop a water bottle off before you start to run.  You can also use handheld water bottles, mini-bottle waist belts or a hydration pack to make sure you don’t get thirsty.

Meredith

Do you like trail running?  What’s your favorite thing to see out there?  Least favorite?