Thursday, July 28, 2016

SLS3 Compression sock review

I received free socks but no compensation in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from SLS3 offering me an opportunity to review their butterfly compression socks. They would provide me with one pair of socks, my choice of color, in exchange for this review. Knowing that I love compression socks, I applied for this opportunity, and when I was selected, I ordered the caribbean blue socks through


I wore them twice before committing myself to a review, once for a run, as I do like to run in compression, and once for recovery. When I took them out of the package, they were relatively stretchy, and so I was not sure what the compression was going to feel like. I wanted them to be effective for recovery, but still be comfortable enough to run long in. I took them out for 16 miles.

The socks were surprisingly difficult to get on, considering the stretchiness of the sock. Once I pulled them up appropriately and adjusted them accordingly (so they fit me comfortably), they felt quite well. I purchased them in XS/S (running shoe size 9) and they were the right amount of compression for me. In addition, despite the fact that they are long sock, they breathed well and were comfortable for the 16 miles that I tested them.

Wearing them for recovery was the other test I put these blue socks through. They felt great, kept my legs feeling fresh, and made me super happy.

If you are looking for a pair of long compression socks for training or recovery, I highly recommend these. You can purchase them here or here on amazon.

Do you wear compression? Just for recovery or for workouts too?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

#jasyogajuly with Addie

I have been participating in Jasyoga July, which is an online challenge this month, and now, with the month coming to a close, it is time to reflect a little. I purchased the #hitreset book with a credit I received from Amazon. And when it arrived and I started breaking it down, Addie was into it.

So let's take a look at some of the poses that we have worked on during #jasyogajuly.
 Toddler modified boat pose.
 Side bend
 Down dog
 reclined cobbler pose
 Windshield wiper
 Happy baby

Hope that was a fun change!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Barre 3: I am addicted.

I was recently asked by a friend, the friend who introduced me to Barre class in fact, to try and do a little comparison between Barre 3 (where I have landed) and Pure Barre (my introduction to Barre workouts, and where this friend is a regular). So I have been to 6 Pure Barre classes at 2 different studios and 24 (!!!) Barre 3 classes, including one outdoor class, as of yesterday. I will be back today at 10 am!

So let's take a look at the format of Barre 3 first.
Class Length: 1 hour
Format: Warm up, leg work (usually at barre), combo work with light weights, seat work (barre or floor), core work on mat.
Equipment: Always core ball, mat and light weights (all are provided). Sometimes resistance band or strap.
Attire: Tights or crops, bare feet,  fitness top (I recommend a tank - but I am sweaty).
Cost: Now, this varies studio to studio, but at my studio is $22 for one class and up to $140 per month for unlimited classes.

The details
A class always starts and finishes in the exact same manner. Three deep breaths. I try to use this time at the beginning to kind of focus myself and gear myself up to really put myself all in to this class. Some days I am quite tired, but taking three super full breaths really gets me going. From there we start getting everything moving with some squats or lunges with varying foot positions, adding arm movements, and eventually doing several longer holds in yoga poses, and then usually flowing through some movements. By the end, I am warm. Warm up is completed with a 90 second plank. There is some variety here as well, because as I am sure you know (if you are reading this) there are plenty of plank variations.

Following that warm up, we head to the barre to immediately start working on legs. This involves lots of squats and lunges, on toes, on flat feet, in various positions, etc. We do a lot of teeny tiny movements and then kind of relax the muscles with full range movements - prior to barre 3, I never realized how much it would help to throw in full range squats. With no break, the instructor pulls us out of a pose, tell us to grab our weights and head to the middle of the room for combo work.

The best way that I can describe combo work is to ask a question. Have you ever done the Jillian Michael's 30 day shred? Combo work is like the first section of that, the longest (3 minute) section. So it is combining some leg work with upper body work. I typically use 3 lb weights myself, and have definitely walked out of there sore SEVERAL times.

Next up, seat work. This varies from class to class, as we can do it at the barre or the work is performed on the floor on mats. It definitely depends on the class, which I appreciate. Recently, in my last few classes, the instructors have stepped it up a notch, and I feel like I have stepped up to the challenge. After seat, we do core, using a core ball frequently. This core is definitely super intense and has led me to step up the core work that I do in the evenings.

At the end of class, a few stretches with long holds and we close the same way we open. Three deep breaths.

Things to keep in mind
Barre 3 is the most yoga focused class that I have taken at the barre. There is more stretching in this class (a few in between every section of the class) than I have done at the others, and because that is what I struggle with, that is what makes this the best barre class for me.

Have you been to Barre 3? Let me know if you have questions!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Training Update: Weeks of 7/11 and 7/18

Sorry sorry. I know...  I totally failed at updates AGAIN last week. Maybe someday, I will be able to keep up with blogging the way that I want to, I hope...
So, since I had some time to sit down this weekend and do a little bit of writing, you are going to get a training update, and I know that it is a good thing since I am now less than 2 months out from my BQ.2 race and my third official (not counting Chicago last fall) BQ attempt.

Week of July 11
7/11: 6 miles, 4x30 s strides. 6.52 total miles. Barre 3. Core.
7/12: 5 miles, easy pace. Barre 3. Core.
7/13: 6.16 miles, convo pace. Core.
7/14: 50 minute walk. Barre 3. Core.
7/15: 5.01 miles, easy pace. Barre 3. Core.
7/16: 10 miles, 7:56 pace. cool down walk.
7/17: OFF (little bit of yoga/stretching)

Barre 3: 4X
Core: 5X
Miles: 32.69 running
XT: 1X

Week of July 18
7/18: 9 miles. 4x 30s strides. 9.52 total miles. Core.
7/19: 1 hour walk. Barre 3. Core.
7/20: 7 miles, easy pace. Core.
7/21: 9.34 miles, speedwork. 3x2miles, 2x800m. 7:45 avg (including walking recoveries!). Barre 3. Core.
7/22: 8 miles, easy pace. Cool down walk. Barre 3. Core.
7/23: foam rolling, stretching.
7/24: 16 miles, convo pace.

Barre 3: 3x
Core: 5X
Miles: 49.86 (UGH! SO CLOSE!)
XT: 1X

As you can see, I am working on ramping up my mileage, working on ramping up my workouts, and working super hard to make sure that I am capable of meeting my goal on 9/10. More to come!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Training Update: Week of July 4

So last week was a big week for me because it was an up week and I am really feeling like things are starting to feel REAL with only 9 weeks to go. In addition, they announced the date that registration opens for Boston in the fall. Registration opens on 9/12/2016 with rolling admissions as they have done in the past. I run my marathon on 9/10/2016. JUST in time.
So let's look at the week that has passed.

Monday: 10.91 miles  - fartlek ladder workout 7:37 avg pace. cooldown walk. Core.
Tuesday: 1 mile run, 3.4 mile walk. Barre 3. Core.
Wednesday: 7 miles easy (8:59 pace). Barre 3. Core.
Thursday: 8 miles convo pace and 4x 30s strides. 8.55 total. Core.
Friday: 7 miles easy. Barre 3. Core.
Saturday: 16 miles. Barre 3 in the Park.
Sunday: 1 mile jog.

Total Mileage: 51.46
XT: 1 day
Barre 3: 4 days
Core: 5 days

Seems like a pretty solid week, right?

Friday, July 8, 2016

Friday Five: XXXIII

For this week's Friday Five, I want to focus solely on my long run from last weekend. It was the first run of this cycle up over the half distance, so it deserves it.
1. My total distance running last Saturday was 14 miles. And then I had to walk it back in to my house. I did not dread running that length. I feel like this is progress.

2. I was scheduled to run 7 of those 14 miles at marathon-ish pace. Coach Jen had me running those miles at 8:00-8:15. Yeah... didn't happen. See below.

3. Instead of running 7 miles at 8-815, I ran 12 miles a good bit faster than that. Splits were as follows:
Mile 1 - 8:25
Mile 2 - 8:25
Mile 3 - 8:13
Mile 4 - 7:56
Mile 5 - 7:48
Mile 6 - 7:48
Mile 7 - 7:39
Mile 8 - 7:43
Mile 9 - 7:37
Mile 10 - 7:46
Mile 11 - 7:34
Mile 12 - 7:47
Mile 13 - 7:49
Mile 14 - 7:48
So yeah... Hot.

4. Tomorrow I am kicking it up two more miles to 16. I think that it I am more than ready for that. I am psyched for this training cycle, still, and thank goodness for that. I am happy to have that mental strength going on.

5. I just ran little loops in my neighborhood for this run. I am not sure why it was not super boring or exhausting, but it wasn't, and I made it work. And I honestly think I can and will do it again.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Trip to Texas - Part 2

When I last left you, we had gone up to Austin. We had a beer, we got some BBQ (and it was damn delicious) and then we headed off to our hotel.

We had gotten a hotel through Priceline, naming our own price, and ended up at Hotel Van Zandt, which is part of the Kimpton Hotel group, and was kind of boutique-y. I have never stayed in a hotel like that, and it was clear from the photos online that it was trying to be true to the live music scene that is so prominent in Austin.
Seriously, look at that chandelier. It is made of brass instruments. It was so neat.

After dealing with some parking incidents (they do not have self park there, at least not easily obtainable, which was super annoying, we got into the hotel and checked in. They let us know about the daily coffee bar in the morning and cocktail hour in the evening, both of which we made mental notes to attend. It was already absurdly hot outside, so we decided to dress in our swimsuits and head up to the 4th floor deck pool.

I spent most of my time in the pool. Sitting in the sun was just way too hot for me. It was not like being in Mexico where you would occasionally get a nice breeze or something,  it was just OPPRESSIVELY hot. J was in and out of the water, and did a little bit of reading/watching golf while we were out there. There was the outdoor portion of the on-site restaurant, Geraldine's, as well. It was not quite a swim up bar, but pretty close. After we were sunned out, we headed back into our room to get ready for some food.

After J watched golf for a little while and I browsed Yelp for dinner options, we found a place that was walking distance from the hotel that seemed to fit our style of food. An upscale bar (gastropub style) with a pretty good beer selection is the kind of food/restaurant that we like to look for wherever we go. We ended up at Revival Public House, where I ended up eating some delicious chicken with a pilsner, and J had some enchiladas with his beer. We both selected beers local to Texas.

After dinner, we decided to walk a few blocks over to the Congress Ave bridge, where we heard about the bats (see this page for some details on what I am talking about). When we got there, we went down a set of stairs to the bike path, to walk down a little ways to a dock to watch from there.)

Unfortunately, we realized we must have been there during the time when the bats are giving birth and therefore they either do not come out, or they come out much later, so we only saw ONE BAT the whole night. It was a bit of a bummer, but that is ok. We walked back to our hotel in the dark and enjoyed a Mule at Geraldine's before turning in for the night.

The next morning, J got golf tuned up on his ipad and I headed down to the gym to run my easy run. I ran 7 miles at right around a 9 min/mile pace. After that, we showered and got ready for the day. We decided we were going to walk down 6th street to see what the deal was there, have lunch. And then we were going to walk up to the University of Texas (the very far end of downtown) to see if there was anything cool over there since they have an iconic football stadium, etc.

We walked down 6th street, stopped at Austin Ale House for a beer and some lunch, then headed up Congress Avenue toward the statehouse. When we got up there and were looking at it, you could see the top of the stadium, so we decided to keep walking over toward it. We walked in the hot sun up to the university and checked out the bookstore, and then I had to use the restroom. We were on the other side of the stadium and there was a little building that was open. I went in to ask about the bathroom and then told J to come inside too! It was the Longhorns football Hall of Fame. It had all of their championship trophies, player trophies, etc. It was pretty cool!

We walked back toward our hotel, checking out a bar that J wanted to see (which did not open until 4), and stopping for a beverage. When we got back to the hotel, we were both pretty beat from walking around in the super hot sun, so J turned on golf and we both fell asleep for a while. Upon waking up, we got dressed again and went downstairs for cocktail hour. We each had a margarita (we generally drank more cocktails and less beer on this trip. It was just so hot!) and then we headed out for dinner. We decided to go back to Moonshine, which is the same place we had stopped for a drink earlier that afternoon. Here are a few pics from dinner.

Those little corn dog looking things are actually shrimp! So I couldn't eat them, but J LOVED them. We split that peanut butter pie for dessert. It was DELICIOUS.

After dinner, we went back to the bar we had peeked into earlier. They were open now, and J was scouting for potential locations for meetings that he has in Austin in September. It was a 1920s themed bar called Gatsby's. J loved it. After Gatsby's we went to a bar very close to the hotel called Container. It was made of shipping containers! It was very cool.

After that drink, we headed to bed, and the next day boarded a plane to head back to Ohio. It was a great trip, but I was looking forward to being home to Addie.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Trip to Texas - Part 1

In mid-June, I flew into San Antonio to meet up with J. He had already been there for about 4 days for a conference for an insurance accounting group that he is a national officer for - newly appointed after this conference ended. We had good BIG plans to spend a bit of time in San Antonio and then to run up an hour-ish to Austin to spend some additional time.

I got there on Wednesday afternoon, J was at a lunch for the conference, so I rented a car, drove into downtown San Antonio, and then hit the treadmill for my easy run that I had planned for the day. After 7 miles on the treadmill, I headed back to the room and met up with J. He got a text from one of his friends, Karyn, a fellow officer in the group. They were going to find the Alamo and wanted to know if we wanted to meet up with that.

It was VERY hot, so we went and hung out at the Alamo, which was very cool, and then went to find a place where we could have a beer and sit in the air condition. We found a Saloon that also happened to have a Wild West Museum in it. We did not tour the museum ($10 did not seem worth it!) but we were able to see a lot of stuffed animals while we drank native to Texas beers. I had a black Hefeweizen that J picked for me. In the evening, we had happy hour at the hotel before heading out with the group again for dinner.
We ended up having dinner at a restaurant called "Cure". They smoke and dry their own meats. In fact, they had a whole pig on their smoker when we arrived. J and I split an order of gumbo and some poutine. It was super delicious. And based on Chuck's recommendations (the guy in the bottom left corner) all of us were drinking Mules (J and I decided that we like mules, drank a lot of them over the weekend!).

We got back to the hotel pretty late (for me) around 10 pm, and J and I headed up to our room for the night. We had plans to head up to Austin in the morning after I got my run in.

The next day, after I knocked out my tempo run (3x2 miles that I was nervous about for some unknown reason) we got in the car and headed up to Austin. It was about an hour away. We found a brewery on yelp and decided to head there first. It was called "hops and grain" and was just on the outskirts of downtown, maybe a mile and a half from where we were going to be staying.

We had a beer, asked the folks there about barbecue, and then headed out to their suggestion of Le Barbecue. It ended up being a food truck that was parked in a little food truck park! It was perfect, with picnic tables, etc. And the food was UNREAL. IT was SO GOOD!

More to come on our trip to TX, as this is getting long already!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

My Barre Class Journey

I know that I mentioned before that I am taking Barre classes. I blame Krista entirely for this. Granted, I purchased a few barre dvds off of groupon several years ago, I think when I was pregnant to get some different exercise, especially after breaking my elbow and not running anymore. I had done two of the five dvds at that time, but in reality, after Addie was born, I was back on running, and that was that.

However, back in January Krista started going to Pure Barre very seriously. In a recent conversation with her, she admitted that she goes 5-6 times per week. 5-6 times is a lot. But... I will get to that part.

Anyway, the once when I was in Toledo, I made plans to meet up with her for an early morning run, and she asked if I wanted to join her for barre following our run. She got us registered for the class, and we went. This was early May. Although the class was hard as hell, I was in love. I felt great when it was over, despite the fact that I was exhausted. I had been out until midnight the night before and was up at 5:30 am.

Since that fateful day in Toledo with my running twin, I have realized two things.
1. I love barre workouts. They are hard, they make me feel strong, and I am just legitimately enjoying the workouts.
2. I could do this every single day, and I want to.

Ever since then, I did 2 videos per week. then, I checked out two new studios. I went to Body Alive in Kenwood and Pure Barre in Mason. Obviously, I have already done pure barre in Toledo, but that was with Krista, so I was able to use the "first class for $10" deal. On Tuesday, the trip to Body Alive was kind of random. I decided I felt like going about 20 minutes beforehand, and just registered and headed over there.

My original plan was to do the Pure Barre workout on Friday with Karen. I was going to the 10 am class, which is not super convenient, but at the same time, I wanted to try it again, and I wanted her to try it as well. I mean, YES, it has been a HUGE difference for Krista, and she is in love with it, but I need that experience for me.

I want to clarify that previous statement a little. I want the experience of strength in this manner for myself. I want to find a strength workout that I am consistent about and love doing.

I then, in my quest to find my home, purchased 3 classes for $30 at a local Barre 3. I attended those and then was home in Toledo for 5 days (attending 4 Pure Barre classes). Since then, I have really found my home at Barre 3, I believe. I signed up for their $99 first month special, making it effective for when I got home from Texas and Toledo. I went 6 times that first week, then 4 times the week after. So I am two weeks in to the first month. I plan to head over there at 10 am today. I really think I have found my Barre class home, and I could not be happier.
Wish me luck as I continue to get stronger and keep it up.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Training Update: Week of June 27

So... I know that I have not published a training update in a MONTH or something (and then I had to write two weeks at once), but I am just going to tell you that I have been training. Constantly. And we will just go from there.

So anyway, I am down to less than 10 weeks out from my marathon, which scares the crap out of me. But its ok. Here we go. I KNOW I can do this.

Monday: 8 miles, 4x30 strides (8.51 total), Barre 3. Core.
Tuesday: 7 miles, 8:53 avg, Barre 3, Core.
Wednesday: 50 min walk, 1 mile run, Barre 3, Core.
Thursday: 8 mile tempo, 0.68 mile cooldown walk, Core.
Friday: 7 miles, 8:53 avg, Barre 3, Core.
Saturday: 14 miles with 7 @ marathon pace.
Sunday: 1 mile

47.19 miles
4 days Barre 3
3 days Core

Lots of great stuff here. It was a super solid week, and I am VERY proud of the work I am putting in. Especially, like I said Friday, working on the LITTLE things.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Friday Five: XXXII

Well for the first time in WEEKS, I am back here for the Friday Five!
1. I am thrilled that I am allowing myself the time today to get a Friday Five post up. It has been a long time, at least, it feels like it. And so I am really glad that I am sitting down right now and trying to write this post and trying to write for two days in a row. That is kind of a big deal, considering how the last few weeks have been going.

2. It is July 1. I am not sure how that has happened already. I am not really on track with too many things - meaning, annual goals. But I am ok with others. I probably need to update where I am on the yearly goals sometime soon.

3. I have been focusing on the "little things" this training cycle, and next up, I want to spend a little more time into foam rolling. I have some tight IT bands right now, and if I spend time sitting on the roller tonight and tomorrow and then continuously, that will get better!

4. One of my very best running friends is moving. Not too far, but further than he was for sure, and so we are making plans for "one last time" things. I am excited for that, but sad about it being the last time.

5. I have my first run over the half marathon distance of this training cycle tomorrow. I was supposed to do it two weeks ago, but due to the ass fall (ugh) I skipped my first 14. Then it was a cutback week. So... yeah. Coming up.