Friday Five: These are a Few of My Favorite Things!

Here we are! Another week, another Friday Five. We went with “Favorites” this week – just a few things you’re loving. This has been a pretty packed week for me with loads happening. I picked a few bright spots from my week!  Join me, Cynthia and Courtney this and every week :)  FF

1.  Open windows and Peppermint Tea – ah yes, fall. I know everyone craves the pumpkin (which I love too, don’t get me wrong!) but this is perfect tea weather.  I’ve been trying to get into the routine habit of hitting the hay early (work in progress!) and sipping on some Twinings Herbal Peppermint Tea beforehand. Relaxes my body and mind. And the fact that I can now leave my windows open and enjoy the crisp fall air. Heaven… ???????????????????????????????

2.  Nature Box day!!!  I’ve tried out other subscription services to test products and see what the fuss was all about, but this is one subscription service I will never give up!!  I received a sample of Peanut Butter Nom Nom’s in my swag bag at a race last year and soon thereafter hit Google like nobody’s business to find out how to bring these permanently into my life.  At first I was unsure because I was getting a random assortment of snacks but at least I was able to try a variety of things. Now you can now customize your own box so you get the snacks you want each month. These are all my favorites: ???????????????????????????????

3.  My VIM & VIGR Compression socks. I got an opportunity to try a Nautical Stripe pair and am absolutely in LOVE with this style, and fabric, and colors. I almost look forward to my long runs (18 this weekend, eek!) just so I can put ‘em on after ;) And don’t forget about my GIVEAWAY to win a pair of your own (they come in Men’s too fellas!) Ends Sunday at 11:59 pm. Get on it!!

4.  Moji 360 Foot Massager. Um, this showed up as a random Facebook ad (creepy) several weeks ago but I was intrigued enough to hit up the Google machine again. I found it in City Sports, paid about $35 and it’s the best money I’ve ever spent.  Since injury my right foot will get stiff at times and tennis balls just do not work and golf balls hurt like heck. The 2 sides are for different pressures. OMG. I can’t even… ???????????????????????????????

5.  The 80′s!!! Tonight, I am headed to a private concert with Hall and Oates. I’m like totally getting my 80′s dance moves on – like, totally. Private eyes are watching you!

What are a few of your favorite things?! TGIF!!

Fall Fitness Fashion (Compression Review+Giveaway)

Disclaimer: I was provided with compression gear to try and compare in exchange for my review. All opinions expressed are my honest thoughts.

PhotoGrid_110913513959A few months ago I introduced you all to BrightLife Go, a Washington, DC, based (shop local, shop small!!) company that offers a tremendous array of compression products. At the time I had only worn Zensah or Feetures so tried out brands CEP and Sigvaris.  I mainly use compression for recovery after a long run but with marathon training have seen the benefits of wearing compression pretty much every day all day (kidding, sort of) and with all of the traveling I’ve been doing have used for long plane and car rides.

I know I am not the only one who has shamelessly worn my compression socks or calf sleeves out and about to run errands and otherwise carry on my day, amiright? I do not care about strange looks or side eyes – we’re talking recovery people!! Even so with fall officially just around the corner, the temps have begun to dip to long pants and light sweater weather and I’m here to tell you there ARE compression products out there that are not only fashionable, but do all the good things that compression is supposed to do. That piece of knowledge you just received? You’re welcome ;) !

In celebration of their website relaunch this week BrightLife Go has graciously allowed me to try a few of these kicking styles and can I say these are fun, fun, FUN!!  Enter stripes, argyle and polka dots: CompressionReview

The first thing to know is these were all Mild Compression (15-20 mmHg) level. Mild compression “improves circulation in the legs, providing relief from minor to moderate swelling, tired aching legs, and spider and varicose veins.”  These are especially useful when traveling or sitting for prolonged periods of time. 

First up, VIM & VIGR’s Nautical Stripe: I selected the gray stripe and yellow socks (because Steelers) and first used them after Rock N’ Roll Virginia Beach during and after a 4 hour car ride.VIM&VIGRI mean, who doesn’t match their sundresses to their compression socks? They were soft and comfortable with just the right amount of compression. And the style couldn’t be beat for sure. I’ve worn them twice since including to recover from the Navy-Air Forice Half.  

RejuvaHealth’s Argyle: I wore these to work the day after my 16 miler because my legs were still feeling a bit tired.  RejuvaHealth

I love the argyle pattern and actually have a pair of Zensah’s in a similar style. These particularly socks didn’t go all the way to my knees and the ribbing was a little too compressed around my calves so I ended up taking them off before the end of the day.  I did wear them again (just yesterday!) to work and did last all day – so perhaps I just needed to get used to them.

Sockwell’s Polka Dots: I loved this pair! They were made of a Merino Wool blend which was so super soft and comfortable and meant to keep your skin dry. I wore them at home after a mid week run. They went all the way up to my knee and the only thing that bothered me slightly was the wide ribbing at the top (see above). It’s meant to keep the sock in place and I know a lot of socks have this so it’s my own issue but I could see being annoyed after a long period of time.  Overall though I liked the look and especially feel of this brand.  ???????????????????????????????

The verdict? While I appreciated them all by far my favorite both in comfort and style is the Nautical Stripes of VIM & VIGR. The stripes are just too fun!!  Now YOU can win a pair of your own VIM & VIGR Nautical Stripe compression (in your choice of color/size below) courtesy of BrightLife Go. GiveawayTo enter please use the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway ends Sunday, September 21 at 11:59 pm. There are many ways to enter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

And I have to high five BrightLife Go for bringing VIM & VIGR into my life.  Seriously, my feet especially thank you for it!

How do you rock compression (or do you)? What do you think of these styles?

Week 10: Navy Air-Force Half Recap

Week 10 will forever be known as “it is what it is”.  Seriously, this week was awful. Work was crazy, I barely worked out and was feeling terrible and run down all week. This was a cutback week with trimmed down mileage for marathon training anyway, which I took literally.

Monday was a REST day following my Sunday 16 miler. Tuesday was an unplanned REST day but I did go for a 2 mile walk.  Wednesday was personal training with Jake but I was so drained and exhausted (thanks for taking it easy on me buddy!) that I probably should have skipped it.  Thursday was going to be my speed work day and every attempt at a drill was thwarted. I finally hopped off the treadmill after 1.5 miles. Friday simply wasn’t any better so I did a 3.5 mile walk (there may have been a visit to Sweet Frog in there). Saturday was my final day of REST so I decided to call the week a wash and prep for the Navy-Air Force Half on Sunday.  NavyAirForce

The Expo was on Saturday and held at Nationals stadium. This was the only day packet pick up was available so the lines were long to get in.  I may or may not have had a little fun with the United States Presidents while waiting as the Washington Nationals mascots were at the stadium to hang with the runners for a bit: Presidents

I met up with Courtney and we got our gear, did a once through of the Expo (which was small, unimpressive, and kind of oddly set up) then headed to Gordon Biersch for lunch and carbs:

Duh, Beer

Duh, Beer

Sunday I was up bright and early to head to the start which was at the Washington Monument (awesome!)  This is a much smaller race than a lot of other DC area races so getting there by car and parking was easy and plentiful on the street. I actually parked near the White House! It was about 55 degrees and slightly chill so I opted to check a bag for later, which I don’t normally do, but Gear Check was a breeze.

I met up again with Courtney and headed to the start!  Bloggers side note: boo to the random guy who decided it was a good idea to stretch in the opening of the Corral shoot and kicked my shin – you broke skin you doofus jerk.  End note.  Given my low mileage last week (7 mainly walking) I was taking this race ultra conservatively. My long runs tend to be in the 10 minute mile range – so nice and easy. I stuck with this strategy for the duration picking up and slowing down my speed as bursts of energy allowed.

The course itself was pretty enjoyable. We started at the Washington Monument and headed down Independence Avenue around the Lincoln Memorial and over the Arlington Memorial Bridge, looping around in front of Arlington National Cemetery and back over the bridge down Rock Creek Parkway. Very familiar territory during my training runs!  Basically Miles 3-8 were through Rock Creek with a turnaround half way. From there we continued on to Ohio Drive and the Tidal Basin for a lo(ooooooo)ng stretch. Seriously Miles 8-11 were pretty dead to me. In any case we looped around Hains Point for the homestretch back to the Washington Monument and the finish line.

Official finish time was actually 2:13:25, pace 10:12 minutes/mile. An average run for me but overall I’m feeling good about where I am in marathon training. While it would be nice to focus on speed, I’m all about mental capacity and building endurance for this PR distance.  After injury it’s all I can do!  I did the Navy 5-miler a couple of years ago, vowing I’d do the half someday and I did!  This year they offered medals instead of the coins they had given in the past: medal

WhiteHouseAll in all it was a beautiful day! Week 10 is now over and done and on to Week 11 (!!!!) Oh and big ups to my girl Courtney who PR’d her goal race half. Super proud of my BRF!! EatPrayRunDC

By the way kids, though I feel pretty bad a$$ for this run, I don’t recommend a week of no running then bringing the boom with a half marathon. Do as I say not as I do. That said: “The body achieves what the mind believes”.  True Story. :)

Who has fun, happy news from the weekend?! 

Friday Five: Blogs to Love

This week we went with a tried and true theme – and a favorite we’ve used before - Blogs to Love.  I hope by now you are avid followers of my gals Cynthia at You Signed Up For What?! and Courtney from Eat Pray Run, DC. And if you’re not, get on that!  But today we are focusing on other blogs we know and love.  bloggerlove

It’s be almost a year since we started this link up.  We’ve grown from 3-5 bloggers a week to over 40, sometimes topping off at 50+. With such growth it takes us a little longer to hit all the blogs but believe me – we do read them ALL!!  If you find me not commenting there could be 2 reasons for that, one – I got distracted (oooh look a squirrel!) or B. you don’t have the Name/URL option. If I have to login to some other option in order to comment, I’ll give you page views but no comment love :)  (just being real)

So for today’s Friday Five I am spotlighting a few linker uppers who I’ve enjoyed reading and getting to know.  These bloggers have consistently linked up with us (some newer and some for awhile) that I wanted to show some extra love to, so make sure you check ‘em out :)

  1. Stacey at Run To Be Free
  2. Heather at Heather Runs 13.1
  3. Allyson at AMP Runs
  4. Kristen at Run Away With Me
  5. Janelle at Run With No Regrets

And don’t be offended if I didn’t list you, choosing 5 is hard y’all.

Happy weekend – who are some of your favorite bloggers?  

Gear Check: Hydration Vest Review!

Since I’ve been marathon training I’ve had to adjust to increased mileage and all the preparation that goes with it. I am not a huge gadget person in general but with the miles getting longer my needs are vastly different for 2-3 hour runs versus a quick neighborhood jaunt.  I’ve been trying out gear, fuel, hydration and think I know which shoes are “the one”. Who said running was a “free” sport? YouKnowYoureaRunnerWhen

Over the next few weeks I’m going to bring you some reviews (and other fun surprises – think giveaway!) on various products I’ve tried.  Up first is the Zelos Hydration Race Vest by Nathan Sports. ZelosHydrationAfter running out of hydration using my handheld a couple long runs in a row I realized I was not making it through my planned 16 miler without a better hydration plan! I knew I didn’t want a fuel belt so set out to find a hydration pack that would fit my tiny frame, be comfortable and lightweight.

I found myself in City Sports and checked out their Camel Bak selection which I wasn’t impressed by (I like Camel Bak as a brand just not the options there). I was set to go elsewhere until I saw a few Nathan products on another wall.  When I picked up the Zelos I loved that it was really, really light! I chatted with the sales guy who was pretty helpful and actually recommended Nathan over Camel Bak.  I do have a Nathan handheld I like a lot so I tried the vest and walked around a bit adjusting the straps as I went along. I was pretty sold on it in the store so away I went. Zelos

The features: a sizeable bladder and a handheld bottle/pocket in the front for additional hydration or fuel (I used honey stinger chews in the pocket); lightweight and mesh; a top side zipped pocket for cash, ID, keys, etc; plenty of storage in the pack; reflective material. ZelosPack

The experiment: I filled the bladder with Gatorade and decided to leave the water bottle at home. There are plenty of water fountains on the route I chose for Sunday’s run so figured I’d use those water stops in between. When I first put it on, it felt a little heavier than it was in the store – but duh, I was carrying a liter and a half of fluid! I loosened the straps a bit to make it more comfortable and off I went.

I was not annoyed by the straps or the sloshing (which was minimal and actually Nathan has videos if you Google search on how to limit that!). Once I got into a comfortable rhythm it was really all good. Then as I started to hydrate (around Mile 3) the weight began to shift and it was even more comfortable. Obviously I was aware I was wearing it and perhaps because I was so focused on the test it got me through the miles!!  I loved having the flask handy and not having to fully stop for hydration. 

I did stop about Mile 7 when I lost my shoe in the mud (it rained heavily the evening before and I was avoiding a puddle, then surprise!!) I easily flipped the pack off to get my hand towel and tightened the straps.  All in all I was really happy with this hydration vest! It will definitely come in handy for future long runs so I’m glad I tried it! The amount of storage space is a HUGE plus.

A couple of notes: the Zelos retails for about $125. I purchased mine on sale at City Sports and as a member of their Insider Rewards program used earned rewards dollars so paid even less.  Also, the Zelos is considered the men’s version and the women’s version is called the Zeal. The big difference is an additional front zipper on the women’s vest and brighter colors but I preferred this color and size and it fit the way I wanted. So every body is different and I’m sharing my personal experience!

Have you ever run with a hydration pack? Do you have a preferred method of hydration on a long run? 

Week 9: Halfway There

The Marine Corps Marathon is just 40+ days away. That shrill ‘eeeek’ you just heard?! Yeah, that was me. I’m excited but also nervous and slightly scared that I’ve made the worst decision in life. Kidding – sort of. I think my training has gone well overall and am in disbelief this past week marked the beginning of the second half. Given that I went through 10 weeks of training before falling to injury I’ve been a bit unnerved. Past is past but sometimes you can’t help but go there.  While self doubt and fear has gone through my mind this cycle, I am determined to push it away!   shebelieved

Prior to injury the longest distance I had run was 16 miles and this was the 16 mile week. I approached it optimistically. It took me a while Sunday morning to get all my gear together and out the door but when I stepped out – it was 68 degrees, low humidity, with a light breeze under a beautiful sky.  Amazing.  sky

I ran consistently and conservatively at a 10:48 pace (actually slightly faster as I forgot to pause my Garmin during one of my hydration / shoe got stuck in the mud (WTF?! don’t even ask) breaks). So, how do I feel at this point? Well, after running 16 freaking miles I actually think I can make it through this thing!!  Naturally I was sore and tired from running nearly 3 hours but no worse than any other run. A little Epsom Salt soak, compression and early bedtime does a body good. My psyche though is in a much better place and I feel a bit renewed for the second half and ready to conquer these remaining miles.

Weekly Recap

Monday:  the day after the VA Beach half was going to be a rest day. But it was also a holiday and I felt energized so I went to the gym. 40 minutes on the stationary bike plus some strength training action on the weight machines.

Tuesday: Um, all my aforementioned “energy” hit me hard. This was an unplanned (but needed) REST day!

Wednesday:  My rest day jumbled my scheduled a bit so I went for a run instead of personal training. I set out for 6 miles but note to self: after Labor Day the sun goes down earlier. It went dark by 8 pm which I wasn’t prepared for so cut it short around mile 5.2. Noted.

Thursday: 30 minute morning speed/hill interval training on the stationary bike

Friday: Speed work on the treadmill. 30 minutes including warm up and cool down, 3 sets of 1200 m at 8:13 pace with a 400 m jog in between. I have to say, that felt GREAT!

Saturday: Personal training w/Jake.  We focused on upper body and did some core and cardio work given my long run plans for Sunday. Oh, and if you are in the DC area – Roam is now Urban Athletic Club and opening a new facility in Georgetown (stay tuned!!)

Sunday:  16 mile long run.

Happiness is... Rock Creek Park and a long run!

Happiness is… Rock Creek Park and a long run!

Ever have a mental workout block you needed to get over? Anything fun happen this weekend?!

Friday Five: Racing Rituals

Happy Friday peeps! For this weeks Friday Five Cynthia, Courtney and I went with “Racing Rituals”. My first thought was – umm, I don’t have “rituals” per se. I follow a similar line of thinking but am not superstitious and don’t always have to eat the same or dress the same or carry that super secret lucky charm. I thought I’d give more of my thought process leading up to race day. road

1. Hydrating. For races on Sunday I start with additional hydration patterns on Thursday. Water is my substance of choice on a daily basis regardless but I increase my intake, namely with SmartWater (or Electrolyte 365 from Whole Foods) and also include at least one bottle of Gatorade each day.  252

2. Stretching. The evening before race day is spent in good company with my first love, Mr. Foam Roller. I also try to incorporate some yoga poses, namely downward down and cobra inversions.

3. Carb loading. I know some out there don’t do this, but I think it’s valuable. I always have some type of pasta with as little sauce as possible and often simply use olive oil.  I try to stay away from cream sauces, dairy, and heavy cheeses. And yes, I do include a beer ;) carbs

4. Rest mode.  The day before the race is spent in as much relaxation mode as possible.  I try to get to bed earlier  than usual, though adrenaline always gets me and sleep can be restless.

5.  Flat Mar. Getting my gear together for the morning is always an important part of the racing process. Making sure I have fuel/fuel belt, Garmin, shoes, socks, bib, etc. I like to get to the start line as close as possible to gun time of the race so not much preparation is needed in the am (besides, I like sleep).  flatmar

TGIF!  What are some your pre-race preparations?  Any races this weekend?

Rock n’ Roll VA Beach Recap!

My quick trip to Virginia Beach for the weekend was quite the adventure! I headed straight to the expo on Saturday and you won’t get a separate recap for that because… there isn’t one. I literally went in to pick up my bib and swag, which never disappoints, and did a quick walk through. It seemed smaller than before and I don’t need anything at this stage so no use wasting precious beach time!  RNRVB

I did quickly pop over to the Got Chocolate Milk booth where Abby was hanging out. It’s so great meeting blogging buddies in person and she is positively delightful and fun. Afterwards, I messaged Maria and met up with her on the beach.  It was great finally meeting my blogging twin in person which was like catching up with an old friend. We thoroughly enjoyed the sunshine and the waves!

Hanging w/Lil Mys Ninja!

Hanging w/Lil Mys Ninja!

Abby and I then met up for dinner and headed to Croc’s 19th Street Bistro. Can I just say this place alone is worth the trip to Virginia Beach?! We started with Lavender and Lemon Sangria (the lavender was fresh from their own garden!) and if I weren’t running the next day, would’ve consumed several of these bad boys… Sangria

Dinner was equally amazing with fresh jumbo lump crab dip and garden pasta bowl for dinner. OMG.  So scrumptious and now I wanna go back… Carb loading for the win!!dinner

But, off to the hotel to relax and get ready for Sunday’s early wake up call.  Of course, I did not sleep well at all.  Ugh.  Luckily my hotel was a 5 minute walk from the start line but I still didn’t get out the door when I wanted. I got there in time for the National Anthem and paused but still had to make my way to Gear Check.  I almost never check a bag but decided to this time because I planned on icing in the Atlantic after and wanted my beach towel and flip flops.

Getting to and from gear check was annoying (because I never looked up where it was!) and I missed my starting Corral 5 so ended up in 7. No big deal though because at 75 degrees with 80% humidity, just walking from one end to the other had me sweat-ing like a crazy person. I knew immediately that this race was definitely not one to be “raced” and I just wanted to successfully get my miles in. This was confirmed when the announcers even said – don’t try to PR this course and hydrate!  Having run this race once before I knew what to expect along the way.  RnRstart

I hopped in to Corral 7 and started my Garmin. To which it said, to heck with you. It never turned on from “Getting Location” so I settled on Map My Run but I was well past the start line then.  I never knew my pace, I never knew my time and I was simply ok with that. It was just a get er done kind of day and I did – slow and steady.  This course is relatively flat starting at the Convention Center. By Mile 3 you are hitting the only real “hill” a quick overpass which you also hit again at Mile 11. I kind of zoned out at this point never really breaking my slow stride.

There were hydration stations every mile and half or so with water and Gatorade. Along the course there were handouts of orange slices (passed – I’m allergic to oranges), beer (passed on that too, ew), freeze pops and wet sponges. Yes and Yes.  I think I even saw beads and leis – so funny.  Given how leisurely I approached this race I stopped several times for photo ops :) RnRoller
cooling

I rounded the bend for that last mile stretch on the Boardwalk to the finish line. I finished in 2:33:18, which I mentioned is my worst half marathon time ever, but I’m not disappointed at all in that. I got my miles in, had some fun and am keeping my eye on the ultimate prize – Marine Corps Marathon! This to me was just a training run and it has been checked off the list. I talked in my last post about using races for this purpose and this certainly fit the bill.

Afterwards I got my medal, post race refreshments and headed straight to the ocean. I mean, that’s the whole appeal of a race at the beach, right? VABeachMedal

I managed to avoid the random hose sprayings (unlike last year) but did get caught by one directed at my feet which made for a soggy finish. I literally wrung my socks out! At this point I was glad I checked my flip flops!!

I met up again with Maria, got caught in a couple of wild waves and had my cell phone succumb to the wiles of the salty Atlantic. No worries, after some rice it was better but now the volume control is uncontrollable. Ha! Someone had a good time at the beach ;) PhotoGrid_1409761039997

Have you ever run a race at the beach? Who likes Rock and Roll races? Someone find me the Lavender and Lemon Sangria recipe STAT! (or I’ll be forced to drive back south)…

Week 8: Using Races for Training

Happy Labor Day! I had a fun weekend in Virginia Beach and am just looking forward to relaxing a bit today and maybe hitting the gym. It’s also the first of the month which means a new Coach Mar says, running tip of the month! CoachMar

I recently had a question come through asking if it was ok to race during training to which I emphatically say – YES!  I’ll give you my reasoning and tips but first Week 8 of marathon training went a little something like this:

  • Monday: personal training w/Jake, lower body focus
  • Tuesday: 4 mile run
  • Wednesday: personal training w/Jake, upper body focus
  • Thursday: Roosevelt 5K.
  • Friday/Saturday: rest and travel
  • Sunday: Rock n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half

As you can see I ran not one but 2 races this week as part of my training plan.  There are many advantages to this such as testing your fitness level, getting your long run miles in and having a little fun with training. How you do it is another story.  It’s important to have a goal in mind (no, I’m not talking time necessarily).  Let’s take the Roosevelt 5K:  Roosevelt5K

Colleen (who is also training for Marine Corps), Cynthia and I got together to run this race. It was a low key 5k event with a max of 100 participants and sponsored by Georgetown Running Company. When Colleen asked if I was interested I consulted my training schedule first and saw I had a speed workout on tap. What better way to get your speed session in than with a 5k course that promised a fast downhill then flat and scenic route? So my goal for this race was to run, fast.

Since I’ve been slacking on speed work these days I wanted to test my conditioning. The verdict? I finished in 28:50 (it wasn’t chip timed so that’s clock) which is a couple minutes off my 5k PR of 26:41. This told me 2 things:  1) do more speed work!!!! and 2) I’m still not pre-injury Mar. I’ve known this for awhile actually and it’s both frustrating and disappointing that I’ve essentially had to start from scratch but it is what it is. For any of you thinking I’m crazy and that’s still a good time – you’re right, it is – but not what I’m used to seeing and was aspiring to prior to injury.  Still it gave me a bit of knowledge and I can make some strides to improve my overall conditioning during the marathon training cycle.

Then Sunday I ran the Rock n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half.  Which was 75 degrees and 80% humidity at 7 am. Yeah, hot.  My only goal for this event was to get my miles in. I had 13-15 on the schedule so this fit right in. Sweat was trickling from the moment I left the hotel to the start line which was a mere 5 minute walk away. At that point I knew this race should not be “raced” and instead I ran 13 steady miles, with a couple of hydration walk breaks to the tune of 2:33:31. My worst half marathon time ever.  edal

But I’m not complaining as RnR Virginia Beach suited its purpose (and I got a medal!!) as I hit my mileage goal.  After a shower, compression and a 4 hour drive home – I’m no worse for the wear. I tested out a handheld bottle coupled with aid stations, which you don’t generally have in a training run so that was helpful.  In comparison to a few weeks ago when I ran the Arroyo Creek half it was much better weather (in California) and that race was targeted at testing my fitness level since I hadn’t run a half in nearly 3 months and just getting going really on my training. So I went for it in terms of pace.

Another way to use a race is for those “race pace” miles. Depending on the total mileage you could warm up easy on your own, run the race at pace (say 10k for example) then follow it with a cool down.  This obviously would vary for race distance.  In short, using a race during training is a great way to test out fuel and gear options, test your fitness level so you can make adjustments, get your long run miles in and/or have fun – just make sure you set goals for that particular race!  And by all means, if it doesn’t fit or move your training forward – don’t do it! :)

Who else has used a race for a training run? How did you incorporate it? If you haven’t would you consider it?

Friday Five: Fall Preview

Ah yes, Labor Day weekend…  I always say this signifies summers “Last Rites”. Even though the season doesn’t officially end for a few more weeks, for all intents and purposes (with kids going back to school and pools closing) welcome to FALL!!

In honor of the impending change in seasons, Courtney, Cynthia and I chose “Fall Preview” for this weeks Friday Five theme. What’re your plans, what’re you looking forward to, what’s happening? Join us this and every week!FF

Now as for me I am not letting summer go down without a fight. I will be running the Rock n’ Roll Virginia Beach half this weekend and enjoying the Atlantic Ocean breeze and sand one last time with some fabulous blogging peeps (see you soon Maria and Abby!)  I am looking forward to fall though and here are just a few reasons why:

ONE:  Reason numero uno is a biggie, MARINE CORPS MARATHON!!!  I’ll wait for a later post to detail where I think I am in terms of training and preparedness but I’m certainly looking forward to this milestone run.  MCM

TWO:  Dare I say, football?!  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know I am a HUGE Steelers fan and if summer has to end, well happy that football comes with it!  And in true Mar fashion I already have a couple of road trips planned for some away games (c’mon, you know I can’t stay put for very long!)

THREE:  Preparing for back to school.  “I’m going back, back, back to school again. Oh oh I wanna go, back to schoooool” (I will buy dinner for the first person who knows where this song lyric is from!!)  I’m keeping mum on the details of the program I’ve applied to (for now) but I just received my acceptance letter and will start next Spring. I’ll need these next few months post marathon to get all my little ducks in a row. Hmm, do I need a book bag? :)  Do they still call them that?  Dreams

FOUR:  My summer was extremely busy with work and travel and other things.  Right now marathon training is taking over everything else. However, I have been working on my plans for formally offering run coaching services which I look to implement in the days and weeks to come.  And number three has a little something to do with this ;)

FIVE:  Several weeks ago I mentioned sitting on a conference call with the EleVen By Venus team to preview the Fall 2014 collection. Part of the collection, Herringbone, went live that week.  I also mentioned that I hoped you liked RED because the Vintage Floral collection has lots of it AND was just released on the EleVen site (Venus has also been sporting it throughout the US Open!) Good thing today is payday for me (or perhaps not).  Use code Team11MarA for 10% off!!

can we talk about this collection?! wowza!  EBV

What’s on your fall agenda? What do you think of this RED?