25 March 2014

Training Tuesday - 110% Flat Out Sox Review and Giveaway

This week's workouts:

Tuesday, March 18:
Speek work: 1mi warm up, 1mi cool down.  3x1mi repeats with 400m recovery.
9:58, 10:21, 9:43.  Overall, on track for a 4:30:00 marathon finish time, although not consistent
Barre3 workout: 10min Runner's Workout: Arms and Legs

Wednesday, March 19:
Barre3 workout: 60min Studio Burn.

Thursday, March 20:
with everything going on this weekend, I needed to switch up my schedule.  Worked expo set up for the Publix Georgia Marathon event and then went to BPRC Midtown to run from there.  Because of when I finished expo set up, I did 9 solo miles, and the last 6 with the group for a total of 15 miles, with about a 20min break between segments.
15mi in 2:49:20.  Avg pace: 11:16mm.  Intervals of 3:00/0:45.
Barre3 rest day

Friday, March 21:
Hill workout today.  Not as many miles as I'd hoped to fit into my "midweek miles" distance, but as usual I ran out of time before I had somewhere to be.
4.71mi in 56:38.  Avg pace: 12:01mm.  Tried to run up the hills, do a walk recovery, and sprint back down.
Unplanned Barre3 rest day because the day was so long.

Saturday, March 22:
"easy 5mi" turned into a somewhat hilly 6 since Jason and I joined in on the BPRC Saturday morning group run.
5.57mi in 59:45.  Avg pace: 10:43mm.  Intervals of 3:00/0:45.  Running with Dave definitely pushed the pace.
Ended up not taking stuff to the hotel for Barre3, so another rest day.

Sunday, March 23:
continuing to switch things up, today was my "rest day" - although I did manage 30,266 steps...

Monday, March 24:
had planned on getting in my bike ride today, along with getting back to Barre3 - but sadly none doing.  Oh well, I think I had a good week none the less.

So, you may be looking at the recap and wondering what the heck I had going on this weekend that threw everything out of whack.  Well, here in Atlanta we were hosting the Publix Georgia Marathon and Half-Marathon weekend full of fun.  As a Big Peach employee (our awesome local running store) and a fanatic of 110% gear, I had the privilege of working the expo for the 110% booth in conjunction with Peachy Jr., our expo booth.  Here's a break down of the "weekend" starting Thursday -
Thursday, 10am-4pm, expo set up.  Meet up with the 110% marketing manager Jenna to get the gear for the booth, then head down to the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) to set up the booth with the Big Peach crew.  After the set up, run 15 miles (as mentioned above)
Friday, morning speed work before heading off to work the expo from 11-7.
Saturday, easy 5 miles before heading to the expo to train the "new girls" working for 110% that day, then back to the store until 6.
Sunday, volunteer at the race in the last mile, from 6:45am until 12:45pm.
Monday - not even sore!

So, how did I manage 25 miles on my legs PLUS over 20 hours on my feet at the expo and the store AS WELL AS covering the last mile of the course up and down for 6 hours?!?! My answer is my faithful sidekick and training partner - 110%.  If you haven't heard me talk about 110% before, we've never chatted about running.  I live by this stuff, which is why I was so excited to work the booth both at the Publix Georgia Marathon and Half-Marathon event as well as last month at the Donna Marathon expo.

Here's my secret - Friday, I wore my 110% Juggler Knickers and did a lot of demoing of the icing recovery opportunity while at the expo.  Saturday, I rocked the Flat Out Sox under my jeans at the expo, at the store, and in my evening adventures with friends.  Sunday, I again rocked with Juggler Knickers, along with Calf Sleeves, to stay warm, and keep the blood flowing to oxygenate and refresh my muscles all day long.

During my training, I've been relying on my Juggler Knickers to help with post-long run recovery.  After each run, I come home and stretch and foam roll, before taking a shower.  Once I've showered, I pull on my knickers, head down to the freezer and throw in my ice therapy before starting dinner (I'm NOT a morning runner, most of the time, which is why switching up the schedule these last few days has been horrible.  I relished sleeping in on Monday morning!).

110% has a full line of compression and icing products - from Double Life Calf Sleeves and Overdrive Sox, to Juggler Knickers and Transformer Shorts.  They've even got Arm Sleeves and Elbow Sleeves.  My favorite compression (only) sock on the market has to be the Flat Out Sox from 110% - I've tried the Pro Compression, the Adidas, and the CEP sleeves - and none compare in comfort or quality to this sock.  Flat Out Sox have both gradient and zoned compression.  Gradient compression is when it's tighter at your ankle and looser by the knee, to help stimulate the blood flow back to your heart, reoxygenating the blood and reducing fatigue and potential for cramping.  The zoned compression mimics what you would do with KT Tape, stabilizing the muscle and reducing the chance of shin splints.  I am super excited that I am able to give away a pair of the Flat Out Sox on my blog this week!!!  They come in three different colors - Hi Viz Green, Pink, and Black and White. I love my pink ones.  So, enter for your chance to win, and choose the color and size of your choice.
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

18 March 2014

Training Tuesday - Mizuno Wave Rider 17 Review

A weekly recap:

Tuesday, March 11:
Speed work. 1mi warm up; 2mi x 2 with 1/2mi recovery; 1/2mi cool down.
12:49; 21:11; 6:06; 21:05; 12:01.  On pace for about a 4:40 marathon
10 min Barre3 workout - Runner's Workout: Glutes and Core

Wednesday, March 12:
Daylight Saving Time is still wreaking havoc on my mornings, so although I set the alarm to get in a BodyPump class at the gym before work, I couldn't manage to get out of bed.  And after a FULL day of working two jobs, I was just too tired when I got home to do anything.

Thursday, March 13:
Double workout to make up for yesterday's skip.
40min Barre3 workout - Interval Strength
Hill work - not as many miles as I had planned, but I was short on time, so I did three repeats of the same hills as last week, and one final hill sprint, for a total of 4.07miles in 41:39.  Avg pace: 10:14mm.  Splash of intervals 3/:45, but mostly adjusting to kick it up the hills, recover, and sprint back down.

Friday, March 14:
Easy 5 miles.  Intervals: 3:00/0:45
Barre3: Studio Shape. 60min.

Saturday, March 15:
12mile long run in 2:12:21.  Avg pace: 11:01.  Pretty consistent on the intervals and pace.
Intervals: 3:00/0:45 until my watch ran out of intervals (around 1:45min)

Sunday, March 16:
An open house in the middle of the day really AND rain really messed up my plans for the day.  Ended up heading to the gym for 40min on the spin bike.  Forgot my HRM and didn't have a cadence sensor, so I have no idea what sort of workout I got in. I did manage to read 3 chapters of Hunger Games (rereading it after finally seeing Catching Fire on Friday).
Also did Barre3: Studio Balance. 60min.  After work.

Monday, March 17:
long day of work but I still managed a workout once I got home.
Barre3: Studio Slim II. 30min. (had a little trouble with my internet, so cut it short about 10min)

Last week's winner of the Feetures socks: Lauren B.  CONGRATS!

This week I want to talk about my go-to running shoe.  When I first started running, I went to my favorite local running store and had a gait analysis and fit process done to make sure I was in the right shoe.  I highly recommend this for everyone - what works for me may not work for you.  But after going through a few shoes (and thank you SO much to running stores that let us take shoes out in the "real" world and take them for a test-drive and then return them if they aren't fabulous), I found the ones I LOVE!

I'm talking about the Wave Rider from Mizuno.  This amazing shoe has carried me through 2500 miles - well, not just one pair.  I have made my way through the Waver Rider from version 14 to the current version 17.  And of all the shoes that have made it into my closet, these are the hardest to part with after I can no longer run in them.

When I first started running, I went with a gel cushioning shoe but after a few hundred miles in those, I realized I needed something a little more firm.  The Wave Rider, with its wave plate technology is amazing. The is ample cushioning, so I don't ever feel like there's too much pressure, but it doesn't give under my weight the way of my body.

These shoes have evolved over the last four years that I've been wearing them, and I've been one of the lucky ones that has liked each change.  The most recent update came out in December, and I am absolutely in love!  Their midsole is a totally new system called U4ic, which is very responsive, lightweight cushioning.  I've been transitioning to a midfoot/forefoot striker over the last few years, and these shoes give me the right amount of cushioning where I need it, while still allowing me to feel connected to the ground.

I've heard some discussion about sizing differences for the 17s compared to earlier models, but I am still in a size 9.  As a marathon runner, it may be that the 17s do have a little more room in them, but since I'm putting 15-20 miles on them for my long runs, and since December have put about 150 miles on each pair (yes, I already have two pairs of these, I love them THAT much), they are holding up well and I'm not having any issues.

I continue to be in love with these shoes.  Mizuno Wave Rider has always been my go to training shoe, and I'm confident that these amazing shoes will take me to the finish in Boylston, with a proud 26.2 miles of awesome on them!

Keep an eye out on Facebook and Twitter... I may have some sweet Mizuno loving to share with you in the coming days!

11 March 2014

Training Tuesday - Feetures Giveaway

My first real Boston training week is in the books:

Tuesday, March 4:
Speed work.  1mi warm up, 1mi repeat x3 with .25mi recovery. 1mi cool down.
12:27 warm-up; 10:33; 10:32; 10:33; 12:02 cool down.  WOW - pretty consistent! (first time using MVP to break down segments)  This is in the range for a 4:30-4:45 marathon finish time

Wednesday, March 5:
Weight training.  Did a workout from Boston buddy Adam.
Crunches: 3 Sets of 20
Leg Lifts: 3 Sets of 20 on each leg 
Bicycle: 3 sets 20 counted Left Right 1, Left Right 2 
Side Leg Lifts: 3 sets of 20 
Bridge Marches: 3 sets of 20 counted Left Right 1, Left Right 2 
Squats: 3 sets of 20
Plank: 1 min
Side planks: 1 min on each side. 

Thursday, March 6:
Switched it up to run with a new friend. 5 "easy" miles.  (she runs WAY faster than me)
49:36.  Avg pace: 9:50mm.  No intervals.

Friday, March 7:
Hill work.  Total climb: 465ft.
Total time: 1:15:05.  Total distance: 7.00miles  Avg pace: 10:44

Saturday, March 8:
10mile work out broken into two workouts.
Silver Comet 10K race: 57:23 (chip time).  Avg pace: 9:14mm.  No intervals - only walked briefly through water stops.
Last 3.8 miles running back to start area: 47:49 (total time).  Avg pace: 12:37mm.  Intervals 3/:45

Sunday, March 9:
Sunday Spin.  20mile bike ride, including hills (same from Friday's hill work, plus home hill)
Total time: 1:32:33.  Avg speed: 13.2mph  Avg HR: 145bpm  Total climb: 1983ft

Monday, March 10:
Rest day.  Starting a new component to training thanks to an EveryMove reward from Barre3.  Doing the 28 to Great plan, that includes daily barre workouts and nutrition for 28 days.  Getting serious about Boston now!  Barre Posture 30min workout.

This week I want to share my love of socks.  I have found my sock partner and we are bound for life! I'm talking about Feetures socks!  I was grateful enough to be introduced to Feetures back when I was working at Big Peach Running Company - we were given sample pairs to try.  And I haven't looked back.  The thing I love about Feetures is that they are anatomically correct - which means there is a left and right sock.  Just like your shoes, you need socks that correctly conform to your feet, and Feetures does just that.  They have built in arch support, thus the need to be on the correct foot, which helps keep them in place.  I'm telling you - I've never had a blister or any foot issues from these socks (don't worry, I'm knocking on the proverbial wood right now, even though I don't have to because these socks are THAT AMAZING!).  I'm a huge fan of low profile socks, and these are designed with the Sock Lock to keep your foot from sliding around in your socks.

Having worked at a running store, I know how important socks and shoes are for runners - and that you have to find the perfect fit for you.  That's why I'm so excited I have a pair of High Performance Feetures to giveaway this week.  I only have the one pair, in pink and size M - so hopefully it's a perfect fit for the winner!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

07 March 2014

26.2 with DONNA recap

I was super pumped for this race weekend.  #CorralG's own Marcia is the Social Media Butterfly for DONNA, and she had gotten almost all of us to sign up for either the half or full in Jacksonville.  We missed Jeannie, who was down at Princess weekend getting her Glass Slipper, and Cindy, who has moved back to Switzerland, so we're all going to have to head across the pond to race with her!

In case you missed my post about fundraising for this amazing race, 26.2 with DONNA was started by Donna Deegan, a three-time breast cancer survivor, in 2008.  Since then, the race has raised over $3.5 MILLION to help finish breast cancer. 70% of proceeds raised go to Mayo Clinic, where groundbreaking research is helping to find a cure.  The remaining 30% go to breast cancer patients, so they don't have to make a choice between cancer treatments and groceries.  I set a pre-race goal of $500, and I have exceeded that goal.  The great thing about 26.2 with DONNA is that we have until March 31 to continue fundraising, and I have decided to double my goal because of my experience.  You can donate here.

Donna and the Butterfly leading the pack
Thursday night I flew down to Jacksonville after work and was picked up by the gracious Butterfly.  We headed over to Mellow Mushroom for some eats, before heading back to her place and finishing some prep work for the #runDONNAmeetup that was happening Friday morning.  I was super excited that I was going to be able to attend this fabulous meet up with founder Donna Deegan and Olympic gold-medalist Joan Benoit-Samuelson.  We got up early Friday morning to head to Starbucks and get ready for all the guests to join us at One Ocean Resort.  The group gathered, and we had some great motivational words from Donna and Joan before heading out for about a 3 mile run through the neighborhood - our first glimpse of the race course.  It was a little chilly with the wind coming off the ocean, but the humidity was also high.  It was a great morning for a run!  I acted as unofficial photog for the morning, snapping photos of the group in action.  After the run, it was time to get cleaned up and off to the expo!  Marcia had official Butterfly duties to attend to and I was working the 110% booth.

Together Again! Linzie and the girls
Later in the day, Jill and Jen C arrived from Atlanta, and shortly thereafter scooped up Linzie from the airport after his multi-plane hop across the country.  We were thrilled to be back together again - and only a few more hours until the rest of the group arrived!

Saturday morning, Marcia and Linzie headed out early for the 5K.  I enjoyed sleeping in a bit, and then heading over to the expo with Jill and Jen, again spending some time working the 110% booth.  Around lunchtime, the rest of the gang arrived (well, almost all of them...).  Joe and Kasi got in, Jen P wrapped up a PR at the Inaugural Enchanted 10K and drove up, and Adam arrived with Princess Caitlyn and a few other Chambos!  Kira and her mom had to stop for lunch and a little retail therapy, so Kira missed out on our photo shoot for the afternoon... It was great reconnecting, even briefly, and we were all looking forward to the rest of the weekend.

#CorralG at work.  Photo credit: Michael Kelly
It was a whirlwind day, and soon enough, it was time to head back to Marcia's to get ready for the evening.  We bumped into Kira and her mom arriving just as we were leaving.  Luckily, they were staying right around the corner, so we would see them all again soon enough.  Marcia and Linzie were heading to Mayo for a fundraiser's dinner, and Jen P and I were lucky enough to be invited to tag along.  It was so amazing hearing from the lead doctor on the research being done at Mayo to finish breast cancer, as well as from the many teams raising money in honor and memory of loved ones. We had a great, scientifically proven, pre-race meal for runners.  The rest of the gang was back at M's cooking up a fabulous pasta meal, and while we weren't eating with them, we were eager to get back and catch up with everybody.
Family Time!
Photo credit: Marcia Barton

All too soon it was time to say goodnight, and get ready for our big races in the morning.  Adam and the Jens would be tackling the half, while Joe, Linzie, Marcia, Kira, and I would be facing 26.2 miles.  Everybody laid out their race attire, and we headed to dreamland.

Ink n Burn Ambassadors ready to ROCK!
Alarms started going off at 4am - such a great sleep-in compared to a Disney race morning!  We were up and moving, grabbing breakfast, and making sure we were all ready to be out the door promptly at 5.  Marcia was leading the pack, knowing what needed to be done to avoid any stress once we got to the race start.  We caravanned over in three cars and were soon passing over the bridge that would be momentous later in the day.  We parked, and then most of us stayed in the car for another 45 minutes, not wanting to venture out into the chill of the morning just yet.

The day was set - temps would start in the low 50s and climb into the 60s.  There was a chance of rain, but it was supposed to hold off until about 3:00, plenty of time for us to run the race and get home.  We finally headed over to the start village, making a stop at the ports-potties before one last group shot.  We ran into some of our other favorite people, including many of the race ambassadors and our own Krazy Aunt Krissy! Kira wanted to maximize her time, so she headed off to one of the earlier starting corrals with Krissy.  The rest of us lined up in our start corral.  The plan was intervals of 2:30 running, and 1:00 walking.  I had debated about sticking with the group, or pushing out on my own intervals of 3:00/0:45, like I'd done in training, and trying to hit my 4:45-5:00 hour finish.  I'd had great training, and felt good, but I decided I would at least start with #CorralG, so keep me from going out too fast, and then see how things went.  I sent my interval timer for my intervals, so that if I decided to head off on my own, they'd be all set.

Start line #CorralG selfie!
There was a slight delay, but around 7:40, we were off.  We stuck together, with Marcia chiming her famous "running" and "walking" calls for us.  We had a blast through the early miles, and since the half course and full course were the same until around mile 7, Adam and Jen were running with us too.  Jen kept leading the pack, and we had to wrangle her back in.  But she was having a GREAT morning, and she finished with her another PR for the weekend.

The weather was still perfect - slightly overcast, humidity not too bad.  Course conditions were at green.  I realized as we were driving over that morning that I had brought some energyBITS with me, but no other fuel. I decided I would just rely on the course fuel, not really knowing what it would be or how often it would be available.  It turned out they had Gu, which I know I can tolerate, and made sure to grab a couple packs each time we passed by.  Around mile 5 I took some energyBITS, and made sure to take water and Gatorade at each water stop.

Photo credit: Jen Pelham (leader of the pack)
We headed on to the beach around mile 6.  We all ran together on the beach for about a mile - Linzie finally got to see and touch the Atlantic Ocean, and Marcia found her word (strength) that she had signed at the expo.  Around mile 7, Adam and Jen headed off the beach to loop back towards the finish.  From there it was Joe, Marcia, Linzie, and me.  We came off the beach and ran through some neighborhoods.  Marcia mentioned this was where she fell apart the last time she ran the full, and she was searching for redemption today.  I was starting to notice the pain in my foot - a few weeks previously, I had foolishly run into a manhole that was sticking up.  My pace started to slow, and I was very glad that I had my friends, and wasn't trying to tackle this race on my own.

After we made the marathon turn around, we started to notice that the course had gone yellow.  I mentioned to Linzie it may have been because of the humidity.  We didn't notice too much difference in the weather, so we kept on.  Joe and Marcia were slowly creepy ahead of Linzie and I.  Linzie was also having a rough day, having his own fueling issues.  I kept up taking gus as they were offered on course, tucking some away, but didn't really have a consistent or set fueling plan.  I started to get slower.

Somewhere around mile 17 or 18, Linzie and I totally lost Joe and Marcia.  They just got too fast for us.  Linzie was getting a cramp, so at one point we stopped so he could stretch it out.  The stretching helped, and we were back at it, although at this point, neither of us had an interval timer for the "right" intervals, so we were just sort of making things up.  At mile 20, they had a great brick wall with a 20 crashing through it, and on the ground it said "break through the wall!"  I didn't have a mental wall at that point, but I was glad for the restroom break.

We noticed at the next course sign that the course had gone red.  Around mile 21 it started sprinkling. I started yelling to the sky, "shove off," which is (for some reason) what I say when weather rolls in that I am not happy to see.  Linzie confessed that he had NEVER run in the rain - the benefits of living in SoCal, I suppose.  While I had run in the rain before, I had never run in cold rain, and I had always worn a rain jacket when I'd been out in it before.  That day, I was dressed for the other forecast - the 50s-60s, overcast forecast.  I was NOT prepared for rain.  Especially the rain that we got for the REST OF THE COURSE!

Yes, it kept raining on us for the NEXT 5.2 MILES!  It was not fun.  It was not even bearable.  Linzie and I spent some time seriously struggling those last miles.  We got angry at the weather.  We got angry at our respective races.  But we were so grateful to have each other.  We each confessed that had we not had one another, we would have quit.  That's right - it was that bad, quitting crossed my mind more than once.  We came up the ramp and on to Butler Blvd - the last stretch before the finish. Across a bridge.  And at this point the course had gone BLACK!  Yes - black.  According to USATF rules, a course goes black when there is "Cloud to ground lightning within 5 miles and those exposed to the elements need to be out of harms way." (thanks to official race meteorologist and husband of Donna, Tim Deegan for this clarification)  Linzie and I were coming up to the bridge at this point.  We had no idea what black meant for those of us on the course.  We were walking at this point, but we were determined to get to the finish.  

Photo credit: Sport Photo
As we finally crested the hill on the bridge - the one we'd driven over earlier that morning - Kira came running up and PASSED us!  So not fair - she had so much energy that had been sapped from us through the rain.  She kept going.  So did we.  As we started down the hill, we saw the ramp where we would head down to the finish chute - and we saw buses coming up the ramp to take participants off the course because of the conditions.  I wasn't sure if they were going to pick us up - I was determined, at this point past mile 26, that I was not going to miss out on my finish.  They drove by.  We were SOAKED through, my feet were squishing in my shoes.  Every fiber on my body was full of water.  Linzie and I made the turn into the chute.  We tried to run, but it was too hard.  We gave up running, and walked across that finish line, holding hands, knowing we may have been conquered that day, but we still beat 26.2 miles.  

As we came through the chute, there was Jill in her poncho, ready to whisk us away.  She had an urgency in her voice, and we just followed her.  Out of no where, Adam also appeared, wrapped in his mylar blanket.  The photographer wanted to take our finisher photos, but we just wanted to get out of the rain.  There was no food, no water, no gatorade.  Not even medals.  As we came up to the hospital, Katy Perry came on my iPod (yes, I'd been listening to music the whole time - and so thankful to neighbors who handed out ziplock bags as it started raining).  I shouted out the lyrics - "this is the part of me that your NEVER gonna EVER take away from me."  I was a marathon finisher.  This wasn't my best, it wasn't my worst time.  But it was HARD.  It was the hardest 26.2 miles I've done.  

As we were coming across the bridge, I said to Linzie, "I'm so glad this race is finishing at a hospital, because they are going to know how to take care of us."  And when we got inside, that was the case.  I immediately took off my shoes, and instructed Linzie to do the same.  Then made us walk around so we didn't cramp up.  The medical team brought in all the "patients" they had been working on out in the runners village.  I asked if they had warm blankets, and while they didn't, they did start grabbing sheets and towels to help wrap people in.  I had been smart enough to pack an entire change of clothes in my check bag, so once that showed up, I headed off to change.  Linzie went into the medical area, where they gave him those dry sheets and towels to wrap up in.  Somehow, Adam had managed to find medals for us.  We were ready to be done with this race.  It was a little chaotic, but the DONNA team did their best to care for us in the worst situation.  This was the first time it had ever rained for this event, and their contingency plan went into effect.  Everyone was taken care of and safety was the number one priority.  We were held in the hospital until the major weather passed, and then we headed back to Marcia's.  She had to stay and help with the situation, which we totally understood, but our post-race plans were out the window.  

We got back and showered, got warm, had some leftover homemade meatballs and spaghetti, and unfortunately had to get on the road.  Linzie was flying out at 6:55, and Jill and Jen C and I were heading back to Atlanta.  Jen P and the Chambo clan were driving back to Orlando, through the worst of the storm.  It turned out there were tornado warnings and 80mph winds in the neighboring county to the south, so the race crew made the right decision in going to black on the course.  

It wasn't the race I wanted.  It wasn't the race any of us expected with the weather going crazy.  (and I hear something similar happened at Little Rock this past weekend as well)  But we were all safe, and we were able to be together.  This race solidified in me the power of friendship.  If it weren't for Linzie, I'm not sure I would have pushed on those last few miles.  

This race also showed me determination - I saw back bibs on course proclaiming honor and memory for aunts and sisters, moms and daughters.  I saw survivors on this course, showing cancer who was boss.  And I saw, the Mayo dinner, what our efforts to finish breast cancer are doing.  This was a horrible race for me, but a wonderful opportunity to see what we can accomplish when we put our minds to it.  

And so that, my friends, as long of a recap as it was, is why I am upping the ante and pledging to raise another $500 for 26.2 with DONNA.  To help finish breast cancer.  And to show that no matter what, we can accomplish our dreams.  

04 March 2014

Training Tuesday - Priceless Partners

This week's workouts:

Tuesday, February 25:
Was hoping to run in DC while I was there, but wasn't feeling well.

Wednesday, February 26:
Still not feeling well, so another rest day.

Thursday, February 27:
On the mend, but still not 100%, so taking another rest day.

Friday, February 28:
Another needed rest day.  Feeling much better.

Saturday, March 1:
Ready to get into my Boston training mode.  Saturdays will be "spin" days and today was such a great day for an outdoor ride.
14.98miles in 1:13:11.  Avg speed: 12.28 mph.  Avg HR: 145
*still can't get cadence to work with GPS. didn't want to waste time messing with it today but will try to take the bike out a few times this week to try to get it to work.

Sunday, March 2:
Another great day of gorgeous weather.  Training plan called for 8 miles today.  Since I hadn't run all week, I was ok not hitting the full 8.  A little discrepancy between TomTom and RunKeeper, mainly because I started RunKeeper as soon as I met up with Jason, and TomTom once we actually started running in the park.  So there was about a mile of walking warm up :)  Intervals of 3:00/0:45.
TomTom: 6.54miles in 1:21:35. Avg pace: 12:28mm
RunKeeper: 7.77miles in 1:34:05. Avg pace: 12:05mm

Monday, March 3:
Back on schedule, so today is a rest day.

Linz and I finishing 26.2 with DONNA
As I was gearing up for this week's post, I was trying to figure out which training partner to focus on. I've got my list that I planned on working through, but today was a "free" day in terms of what I had planned for when.  I have a lot of "gear" I use in my training - so far I've highlighted energyBITS, Handana, Nuun, and Ink n Burn.  Over the next few weeks, I'll also talk about my shoe loves, my favorite socks, the most amazing recovery tool, and how I fuel.

However, I realized there was a gaping hole in my plan: not one week was devoted to talking about a training partner you can't buy.  I love having the products I'm highlighting as training partners, but the best training partner that anyone can have is the one I want to talk about today.  That training partner would be: another human being!  So this week I want to talk a little about my human training partners and how much they mean to me.

Jason and I after running The PATH from The Carter Center
My original "BRF" - best running friend - is Jason.  Jason and I go way back.  Not to high school way back, but at this age, knowing someone for 10 years seems like "way back."  I won't bore you with the details of how we met, but we reconnected a few years ago when we were both living in the same part of town.  I moved to the area, and we got to chatting, and kept talking about how we should go running together.  Both of us were relatively new to running, and thought it would be great to have someone on the journey with us.  Unfortunately, we never ended up running together in the six months that we were practically neighbors!  Maybe it's all for the best... because now I count him as a valuable training partner.

Jason and I did 5 loops of the mountain!
In 2012, when I made my plan to run a race every month, Jason was right there with me.  Our first race that year was a 10K, and it was (no lie) all up hill!  It was the first time I managed to run 6.2 miles straight, aside from a few walk breaks through water stops.  Jason was the one pushing me to do this, encouraging me at each mile by breaking into the Count's voice (from Sesame Street) and letting me and all the runners around us know which mile we were at!  Our second race that year, it sleeted on us, and we tried so hard to keep warm on the short walk back to my house after the race in our race swag cotton t-shirts!  Our schedules didn't line up the next couple of months, but we were back together at the start of a race in May.  I had been more diligent about training, so Jason told me to go ahead and try for a speedy race that day.  It's definitely one of my fastest races.  We kept racing together that year, and our friendship grew stronger.  My own journey finally encouraged Jason to take on the big miles of a half marathon, so in 2013, when I was gunning for my first marathon, Jason signed up to run the Donald Half Marathon at Disney World.  It was so great to have my "original" BRF there the weekend I met my newest human training partners - #CorralG.

#CorralG - always keeping in touch!
While #CorralG is scattered throughout the country, we still keep in contact on a regular basis.  In fact, I sometimes talk more to these people than I do my own family!  Over the last year, we have virtually trained together, signed up for and run races together, and just this past weekend had another sort of reunion when 8 of the 10 of us gathered in Jacksonville for the DONNA festivities (recap coming).

I am beyond excited that as I turn my attention to Boston, I will be running with Linzie and Adam on that hallowed course, and we will be checking in with each other and training together to reach that finish line on Boylston.  I have also really valued the last 5 weeks of training and being able to have Jason join me for my long runs.  We've explored some new locations around town together, and it gives us a great chance to catch up, vent about the crap of life, and recharge ourselves for the coming week.  Jason is considering his own first full marathon, and I hope that I can continue to be there to cheer him on, no matter which finish line he chooses to cross after 26.2 miles.

Jason wondering what this post will say about him after our
6-8 miles in Piedmont Park this week.
Having someone to join me in my training - whether on a run, or virtually checking in with my progress - has made a HUGE difference in this training cycle.  I know I could do it on my own - that's how I've done a lot of my training over the last three years - but having a friend by my side, supporting me in my endeavors, makes the finish even sweeter!

Who is your BRF?