Monthly Archives: April 2013

Running Swag

I’ve been on a buying spree with running swag lately. After running the Cherry Blossom 10 miler, I consulted my running buddy VB for her counsel on a few items I had been eying. She really should work in product development.

Here’s what I’ve bought recently.

A J/Fit foam roller

I work in an orthopaedic and physical therapy practice and was exposed to these bad boys for the first time last year. When I’m actually training, my legs are in constant need of a good stretch. The foam roller really helps to relieve the pressure. I bought mine on Amazon for $26.01 (included shipping). Size: 36×6 inches.

Here are just some of the benefits (source):

  • Improved blood circulation throughout your skin, fascia, muscles, and even tendons and ligaments where you can access them with a foam roller.
  • Through improved blood circulation, more efficient exchange of nutrients and waste products at a cellular level, leading to better overall cellular function and inter-cellular communication.
  • Lengthening of short (tight) muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Some muscles (like hip flexors) and ligaments (iliotibial band) are prone to shortening, and are difficult to effectively stretch and apply therapeutic pressure to using standard massage and trigger point therapy techniques. But with a foam roller, you can apply deep pressure massage to such areas and lengthen shortened tissues, thereby preventing physical imbalances that can predispose you to injury.
  • Promotion of optimal spinal range of motion. You can accomplish this by slowly rolling your spine against a foam roller and pausing whenever you feel restrictions to allow your joints and surrounding tissues to stretch.

j fit foam roller

PRO Compression Socks

PRO Compression works against gravity by helping your vascular system increase blood flow which relieves discomfort and assists in recovery. I can attest these actually work. I wore them while running the monument 10 k and for the first time in a while my feet actually didn’t hurt at all.  My legs were a little sore the next day, but not nearly as bad as usual!

I used a coupon from GearBuzz and only paid $30 instead of the regular $50.

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SPI Belt

Yep it’s a stylish fanny pack or as they call it “a small personal item belt”.  I realized I needed something like this when I was running the Cherry Blossom 10 miler. I wanted to bring my phone so it was easier to meet up with friends afterwards, but didn’t wanna carry it.  Again, bought mine on Amazon for $19.95 (included shipping).

spi belt

Hand Held Water Bottle

One last product I’ve been wanting is a new hand held water bottle. I bought one from Pacers a while back and it leaks every where.  Not so nice when you’re 3 miles into a run and all your water is already gone.

I haven’t bought the amphipod handheld water bottle yet , but plan to. I’m leaning towards the Hydrafoam Handheld ergo-lite.  I’ll let you know what I decide on!

amphipod hand held water bottle

What kind of running swag have you bought lately? Any recommendations?

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Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

The Cherry Blossom 10 Miler is a verrrrry popular race in the D.C. area. So popular, in fact, the racers are actually chosen through a lottery system. I’ve heard of racers who have tried unsuccessfully to snag a spot for three years. So when entering, I really didn’t think I had a shot. Meanwhile, this guy Ben Beach has run 41 Cherry Blossom 10 Milers. Who does he know?

Luckily though, I rallied 8 of my closest racing buddies to join in too and with the power of the racing gods on our side, we got in! Yayyy we won the lottery!!! Now we get to run 10 miles and pay money…wait, what kinda lottery is this?

Training for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler

If you’ve noticed, I haven’t posted many running entries lately. Over the past few months, squeezing in runs seemed impossible. Until about a month and a half before the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, I wasn’t really running at all.  Just a leisurely run once or twice a week.

running slugs

Me before training with VB

Thankfully I have this dedicated friend, VB, who often helps kick my butt back into shape.  One dreadfully long run with her on a Saturday morning was a true wake up call that I was out of running shape. I forced myself to painfully run during the week, and with a couple more long runs on the weekends with her,  I slowly gained some running confidence back.

But what worried me most about this race was my feet. Yea, you know those things you run on. Whenever I reached a distance of 7+ miles, my toes really started to ache and by mile 9 or 10 I felt like I was running with cinderblock shoes.  Despite these issues, I hesitantly set a goal of beating my Army 10 Miler time of 1:25:09 with high hopes that my feet would corporate.

Cherry Blossom Race Day

On race day, my plan was to meet my racing buddies at the Smithsonian metro stop, only someone (me) forgot to to specify which metro exit to meet at. Somehow we did meet up with 5 of the other racers, leaving 4 of my race buddies to fend for themselves.  Even though most of my friends run at different paces, I love starting off races together even if I do trip them once we cross the start line. Hey it’s a race.

cherry blossom 10 miler 2013

Brian actually wanted to run this race with me. Shocker. He’s real darn fast, so he usually leaves me in the dust, coughing and trying my hardest to catch up. Longer distances aren’t so much his thing though and he wanted to save up his energy for the Monument 10 K in Richmond the next weekend. Secretly I was plotting to beat him the whole time. mwhahahaha. just kiddddding. kinda.

But for real though, I never want to hold someone back from making their time, so I highly encourage people to leave me all the time. I often bring my broom to the race for this very reason, “Go on, skat!”

Cherry blossom 10 miler

Okay enough silliness. The course was a beautiful tour of Washington D.C. and its many monuments, and even though I live here it still amazes me to run by the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorial. I like to think they’re giving me a high five as I pass by. The cherry blossoms weren’t quite in peak bloom this year, but their pink buds were still beautiful and running around Hains Point and the Tidal Basin was lovely.

Around mile 8.5 my feet really did start to kill me. Every step was super painful, but with Brian by my side I pushed through. The last mile was surrounded by motivating fans. I blew kisses and used their energy to finish the race.

For some reason, D.C. races have this tendency to have the finish line at the top of a hill. This race starts and ends at the Washington monument. Even a small, tiny hill can feel like torture and this race was no exception. I did feel great reaching the top though, and I racked in a time of 1:23:48. Bonus: I was the fastest Seay to run the race.

cherry blossom 10 miler 2013

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If you know runners, the first thing they want after a race is…..water, the second thing is free food. This race had tons of freebies from Larabars, bananas, apples, and even these warm gooey homemade muffins. I think I ate two and stole bites from my friends muffins when they weren’t looking.

I would definitely run this race again and will try to snag a spot again next year.

Here are some tid bits if you’re running the race next year:

  • Its important to start in the right corral, so enter with a time close to your goal time. This race is really popular(read: crowded), and you will have to weave in and out of people. It thinned out by mile 2, but if you start as close to your pace as you can, you won’t have to weave in and out as much.
  • Be prepared for the wind tunnel at Hains Point. This mile was the hardest of the race with wind blasting off the tidal basin. Think it was around mile 6 or 7.
  • When signing up for the race, you have the option to pay more to get a medal or a tech shirt. I chose the tech shirt and Brian the medal. Looking back I wish I had gotten the medal. It’s way cooler than a shirt.
  • Hoard as many muffins as you can. Just kidding.
  • Make brunch reservations in advance. After the race even further locations from the race like Foggy bottom got slammed.
  • Take photos of your fiance’ on race day… Somehow I didn’t snap one photo of Brian 😦 He even sweetly grabbed brunch to go and made me homemade bloody marys when we got home. He’s da best.

homemade blood marys

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Prayers for Boston

I tried writing a running post last night and it just didn’t feel quite right. The bomb attacks yesterday at the Boston Marathon were just a little too close to home. I’m still in a bit of shock that someone would target a running event and looking through the photos of fellow runners sends a chill through my core.

As a runner, what especially saddens me is that each and every runner really worked their asses off to be there. They trained, they made an awesome time, and actually qualified for the mecca of all marathons,   the Boston Marathon.   This act of terror targeted people who literally dedicated more than a year of their lives to train for this event. Many were robbed of their finish, others are now missing the very tools that got them to this place, their legs,  over 100 injured, and 3 lost their lives.

But I have a message for your bomber. You messed with the wrong crowd. Runners are tough. Runners are strong. Runners will push through.

 

Today my thoughts and prayers go out to every hard-working runner in Boston. May your strength that got you to the marathon motivate you to keep on running. It’s what got you to this place after all,  and what will help you prevail through all life’s challenges.

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Shake it like a Polaroid Coaster

DIY Polaroid Coasters!

My DIY projects have been slacking lately, so I thought I would share one I made a while ago.

For Brian’s 30th birthday this year, I decided to give him 30 presents to celebrate every year of his wonderful life. I figured I needed to take the edge off of him turning into an old geezer 🙂

It was really fun picking out things I knew he loved. I chose some small items like pez dispensers,  running socks, rollos, and even these apple pie pastries that I loathe but he loves. I added in a few coupons like not washing the dishes for a week (yes, Brian does the dishes and that’s just one of the 23472340 reasons I luuuuuv him), and then one big ticket item like scuba lessons!

30 birthday gifts

I wanted to make at least one of the 30 presents, so I decided to make photo coasters.   Here is where i got this great idea:

 

This project looked simple enough,  and I thought it would be a great way to display some more of our travel photos. You know we love to travel and when we’re not traveling we’re thinking about traveling.

What you’ll need:

  • 4 white tiles from Home Depot. The ones used for bathroom tiling.
  • 2 sheets of foam from Michaels
  • Mod Podge from Michaels
  • Sponge brush from Michaels to apply the mod podge glue
  • Hot glue gun and glue

Step 1 for diy polaroid coasters:

Cut the photo to fit onto the tile. You will want to cut so there is a .25 inch border on three sides of the picture and about 1 inch on the bottom.

polaroid coaster

Step 2 for diy polaroid coasters:

Cut the foam the same size as the tile and then glue on using a hot glue gun. polaroid coaster diy polaroid coaster

Step 3 for diy polaroid coasters:

Once the hot glue has dried on the bottom, glue the photo onto the tile using mod podge. Once the photo is in place, cover the whole front of the tile with mod podge. This will create a seal to protect your photo.

polaroid coaster diy polaroid coaster

That’s all! I made two to start and still need to pick two more photos to make the other two coasters.  Now every time we have a drink, we’re reminded of two of our awesome trips. The picture to the left is from our trip to Maui and the one on the right is from our trip to Peru.

diy polaroid coaster

Also I’ve seen a few people make these into magnets.  You would need to buy smaller tiles for that project.

Here are all the birthday presents for Brian! Good thing 40 is 10 years away 🙂

30 birthday gifts

What cool presents have you given your beau? Did you DIY anything?

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Girl in the Plastic Bubble

marina el cid mexico

Boy oh boy was I in need of big time  R & R. I couldn’t have been more excited to spend a whole day relaxing by the pool and beach.

We began our day by stuffing our faces at the buffet breakfast. Afterwards, I was in full food coma mode, so a lounge chair with the warm sun on my skin couldn’t have been a better spot. Ahh,  the good life. The pool was fully stocked with waiters and bar tenders working hard for their money, so we never were too thirsty.

After relaxing for a while, Brian somehow peeled me off my lounge chair to go kayaking with him. We began our kayak journey by slowly paddling out into the blue Carribean. It was quite peaceful away from the resort, that is until Brian and I got competitive and decided to race one another. I let him win.

About an hour later, we returned to the pool to find my mom chatting it up with a few new pool buddies. She was quite the resort socialite.

The hotel staff did a great job of keeping their guests entertained and had tons of games during the day. While lazily lounging, I heard the announcer mention something about a hamster ball race and without another word, I jumped out of my chair, dragged Brian along and reserved the last two spots in the race.

hamster ball stud

The hamster race involved two large clear, inflatable balls. Each racer had to step inside the ball and the staff then inflated it with a leaf blower. I must admit I got a little claustrophobic the first time. Suffocating in a big plastic ball would’ve been a tough way to go.

After the ball was inflated they rolled us into the pool and luckily the ball floated on top. Each hamster ball racer then eagerly waited to spin his or her ball to victory. When the whistle blew,  we crawled our hardest until our ball reached the finish line.

hamster ball race

The loser was then eliminated from each round. I’m happy to share after many rounds of beating the opposing hamster, I’m now the reigning hamster ball champion!  John Travolta, I hope you’re proud of this girl in the plastic bubble! Brian took home the prize of best lookin’ hamster ball racer.

My mom played team photographer and snapped tons of fun photos.

marina el cid dinner

We later enjoyed lunch by the pool and a yummy 5 course dinner at one of the resort restaurants, El Alcazar.  I couldn’t have wished for a better day with my mom and Brain!

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