Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Rock CF Recap

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Rock CF 1/2 Marathon

I had heard of Cystic Fibrosis before this year but never really knew what it was.  I knew it was a chronic disease but did not know or understand more then that.  Through the GP Runners I was "introduced" to Emily from Rock CF, she is an active member of the group who has CF.  The more I found out about Emily, the more inspiring her story was/is (Click here to read it for yourself) and along the way I learned exactly what Cystic Fibrosis was and also how far CF has come in recent years.

A description of Cystic Fibrosis from Cystic Fibrosis Foundation:

What Is Cystic Fibrosis?
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide). A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that:
  • clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections; and
  • obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.
In the 1950s, few children with cystic fibrosis lived to attend elementary school. Today, advances in research and medical treatments have further enhanced and extended life for children and adults with CF. Many people with the disease can now expect to live into their 30s, 40s and beyond.

Originally Rock CF Rivers 1/2 Marathon was not on my schedule, but the more I learned about the cause and about the women behind the cause, I quickly signed up...Here is the thing, I truly believe some people our put on this earth to make a difference in the lives of many (we are all here to make a difference in the lives of those around us, our family, our friends, the people we meet) but some people are meant for greatness.  Emily was meant for greatness, honestly she is amazing; her energy, her drive, her motivation, her inspiration, her contagious smile, the hope she gives to younger CF patients and their families.  It was very awe inspiring to watch her "work" this weekend.

So let's get to the race recap:

Saturday I hung out at packet pick up and got a chance to meet some great people.  I was really taken back at the way the Township of Grosse Ile had embraced Emily and Rock CF.  There were signs everywhere for Rock CF on the island, they allowed the use of the High School for packet pick up and on race morning to stay warm.

Sunday I arrived on the island a little after 6:30 am (I had been up since 4, even did dishes before heading out to pick up my friend and make the hour drive to Grosse Ile).  We parked in one of the off lots and quickly caught a shuttle to the high school.  We stayed warm in the gym and took care of business before catching up with the fellow GP Runners and walking over to the middle school where the race started.
We were off at 8 am...My friend Rachel was determined to break 2 and I told her I would run as far as I could with her so I started off WAY to fast, but kept her "company" for a few miles till she pulled away only to be seen again as I entered the track at the finish with the medal around her neck and a huge smile on her face.  I was so excited for her (only last year she ran like a 2:45 1/2 marathon and here she was about to CRUSH 2!!) Between 5.5 and 13.1 was honestly a struggle for me, I had been sweating so bad that every time the cold wind would get me I would shiver, not sure how to make my muscles relax when they are shivering.  Every now and then another friend from the group would make an appearance next to me, John was always a welcoming distraction for a bit before he would say "I'm gonna back off", and then before I knew it there he was again.  I was especially grateful when he showed up just after 12 and informed me that I was going to PR (My garmin had stopped when I tried to hit "lap" at mile 5.5, but instead it finished the workout so I shut it off)  I also found motivation at the airplane hanger where GP Runners were volunteering and cheering their little heads off!  As we hit 12.75 we see another runner who is clearly injured, turns out it is another GP Runner...OH NO! John stayed with Mike and they told me to go on, I was running for time.  So off I went and crossed the finish line at 2:04 and some change clock time...I knew I had a PR, which after taking 2 weeks off for strep I had not thought it was possible at this race and went in only with the goal to use it as a training run which called for 1/2 pace + 30 which would have equaled a 2:06:24.  Official time was 2:04:08. BOOM! That was a boost of confidence I needed a few months before Bayshore!
GP Runners after with a bunch of successes to celebrate including a birthday, 2 age group wins, an overall win, PR's, personal achievements, Rock CF raising $70,000 for CF and another successful event...It was a good day on Grosse Ile and I cannot wait to Rock CF again next year where I will be the one crushing 2!

For those who want some pros and cons:
Other then the cold I thought the race was very well organized (one of the better ones I have seen), we did not have any problems with shuttles to the high school or back to our car, there were some lines at the bathrooms and for gear check but those are kind of expected at most races, water and hammer gel stations were high energy and fully stocked, I did see some port o potties along the course and none had a line, the airplane hanger was really cool to run through and there was a live band there along with the parade company, residents waiting patiently in traffic even rolled down windows and cheer us on as we ran by, some people did have problems with the shirts being to small however I personally did not have any issues since I ordered a larger size then normal.  I did have a problem with my race photos-that NONE of them were flattering in the least so to prepare for Bayshore I will practice looking cute while running...

Speed work! #nuun #brooksrunning #noexcuses #hotmess #treadmill #procompression #locklaces #smallstepsseriouschafing

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

All in! @nuunhydration #nuunhtc #nuun #takechances #mywalkonthemoon #smallstepsseriouschafing

UPDATE: I was not chosen for this years team but no worries I will try again next year.... :)

Yesterday I submitted my video and application to run Hood to Coast with Nuun.  Never in a million years would I have taken a chance like this, I mean it is the equivalent of trying out for the Real World, except this is 20 strangers picked to hang out in a van and run 200+ miles with each other.  All while smelly and dirty and sleep deprived.  However in the last year I have really worked on accepting myself for who I am and have finally realized I do have something to offer the rest of the world.  Joining the GP Runners has helped with this process tremendously, they have been accepting and supportive of my personal goals, and to watch them in action, a big group of runners being there for one another is pretty awesome.  I am glad I took the chance and met them for a few early runs in the beginning.  I am just as excited that I am taking this chance/opportunity because I do not have anything to loose.  Hood to Coast is one of those bucket list runs, one of those once in a lifetime opportunities.  So being able to run for Team Nuun would be pretty amazing (like if they pick my I would probably go bat pooh crazy from the excitement) and I am not gonna lie the fact that we would get to drink free Nuun is pretty cool too since I am seriously addicted to that stuff!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Friday, March 15, 2013

UPDATED! Won an adjustable nonslip headband from @busybeeheadbands and it arrived today! Love it! #nonslip #gear #smallstepsseriouschafing

Update 3/20/13 for a review:
A few weeks ago I won a Busy Bee Headband on their Facebook page.  I was so excited, I have been wearing similar non slip headbands but after awhile the elastic stretches and they just do not fit and start to slip.  I have heard wonderful things about the owner Tracy from several people who reside/run in Carmel where she is located.  The contest ended on Tuesday and by Friday I had my headband, can we say SUPER FAST shipping!  The first thing I noticed was how soft the inner fabric was.  The elastic band is also fully adjustable so I was able to get the perfect fit after only a few minor adjustments.  I had not worn it on a run till yesterday though (since it is still cold enough here in Michigan to wear my ear warmers).  I will say that both yesterday and today I was able to run a total of 10.5 miles with my new Busy Bee Headband and not once did I need to adjust it during the run nor did it move.  When the time comes to purchase a new headband I will be ordering from Busy Bee.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

@roastingplant another wonderful cup of #jamaicanbluemountainpeaberry #coffee #detroit #smallstepsseriouschafing

I have a small addiction to The Roasting Plant.  It is a great AMAZING cup of coffee served by some pretty cool people in Detroit.  If you happen to be in the area check it out!

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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Whole 30 and eating overhaul...

Ever since I did Atkins years ago, I have stayed away from fad diets or quick weight loss through shakes or gimmicks.  I believed that everything in moderation, plus exercise and people including myself could be healthy and fit (notice I did not say skinny, I want to be strong and healthy, not just skinny).  However after a few weeks of food tracking I realized that my "moderation" was more of an overindulgence and while my under active thyroid and ineffective medication may be playing some roll in my weight loss, my "diet" (I am using the term diet to describe the usual food I consumed)  was a very big problem.   Apparently the major food groups are not sugar, candy, chocolate, coffee, bread and beer.  After a few weeks of trying to limit my sugar intake I realized I was addicted in a really bad way and no matter how many miles I ran it would not be able to make up for my poor food choices.  I had seen Whole 30 mentioned on several blogs I followed, but really was not keen on the idea of giving up all of the food I love and thought it was really just the next South Beach or Atkins fad.  I checked out the Whole 30 website and blog (a free version of the program is available here: ) and really it made sense. While you are giving up dairy, legumes, grains, sugar and alcohol for 30 days it is more of a reset and a way to really understand what food does to your body, how it responds to them and also your own relationship with food.  I still was not completely sold but I bought into it enough that I downloaded the book "It Starts with Food" from Kindle and spent the next several days reading it.  When I was all done I figured what do I have to loose? The worst that could happen would be that I would hate it, and go back to attempting to conquer my sugar and cruddy food addiction by myself, at least this way I would possibly begin to understand my relationship with food and why I eat what I eat and maybe I would really reset my body.

I started the Whole 30 on Friday March 1st (finishing up the day before Easter, which happens to be my favorite holiday because I love the food and the candy).  I am finishing up day 9 today and honestly I am actually really happy with not only the weight loss results (10 lbs yeah I know it says do not step on a scale but the doctor weighed me when I went) but also how I feel.  I am eating now to fuel my body, as opposed to emotional eating or just because there is food around (like eating off the kid's plates or handfuls of whatever as I am making their meals).  I have not followed the plan as strictly as they outline though; I am still drinking coffee, I had honey in my tea last week when I had strep throat again, I consumed a honey gel and a protein bar on my long run last weekend, and even tried to enjoy a beer last night (which I dumped after 2 sips because it was not even appealing).  As far as cravings I really miss and want cheese but other then that I have not had to many and any that I did have went away quickly.  I am struggling with what to eat the night and morning before a long run and neither apple sauce or a hard boiled egg sound good.  I do find that after most meals I am full with out feeling gross and that with all of the resources and recipes out there cooking is easy.  I plan to continue with Whole 30 for the rest of March as I am now, giving me plenty of time to figure out the details of long run days, and start it again in April before I reintroduce the dairy, grains, and legumes. (I left out sugar because I do not have any intention of reintroducing sugar into my diet (remember I am using the term diet to describe the food I consume on a regular basis), and when I do consume sugar it will be worth it and enjoyable.

Friday, March 8, 2013

My little pirate having a great night at his school "dance"...#parenting #happiness #smallstepsseriouschafing

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Pro Compression Socks Review and Giveaway!

My Pro Compression Collection (minus black they are in the wash)

I have ran and raced in compression socks for years. For me it always felt better to run in them, and my legs always appreciated the tightness of compression socks. I even wore compression socks when I was pregnant to keep the swelling in my ankles down. The only thing I hated about compression socks was there were not many "options", I could have either white (which would end up dingy and gross after a few months) or black.  A few months ago I stumbled upon Pro Compression on Facebook and was excited to see the colors, oh the wonderful colors of compression socks.  Now if only they fit and worked as good as the other brand I had been using for years.  I figured I needed a new pair of socks anyways and even if they did not fit perfect for training they would at least come in handy to wear after long runs so I ordered the limited edition Michellie Jones pink and stars socks.  They arrived in just a few days and fit great. They were a bit long but after some wear and a few washings it was not a problem at all.  I have since retired all of my boring white and black compression socks and replaced them with some fun colored Pro Compression socks including my latest pair of "Lucky Socks" that I hope will help carry my to a sub 2 half marathon in a few weeks.  

Why would one consider switching to compression socks?  Here is a little blurb from Pro Compression's website explaining a little about graduated compression socks and what they do.

"What will your socks do for my legs and feet?"

From the moment you slip on a pair of PRO Compression socks you will benefit from the science and comfort behind the ‘graduated compression’ technology that is felt mainly around the ankle.
Whether at rest, playing a round of golf or running a marathon, your PRO Compression socks are working to circulate blood back to your heart and lungs. With more efficient circulation comes less fatigue and your tired muscles are replenished with fresh oxygen and nutrients to reduce soreness and give you the extra stamina needed to exert yourself at the fullest.
Sporting my limited edition Pro Compression at PoHo in January
I personally feel compression socks work during and after a run.  During the run I feel a little extra support on my legs as opposed to when I am wearing ankle socks.  After a longer run I will wear a new pair and notice there is always less muscle fatigue and soreness the next day, as opposed to how my legs can feel when I forget.  I also wear my compression socks if I will be at work standing for a long period of time or if I am traveling a will be sitting for a long period of time.

I contacted Pro Compression and not only were they kind enough to give my readers a code good for 40% off a pair of Marathon Socks but they are sponsoring a giveaway and one lucky reader will get a FREE pair of Marathon Socks (size and color of your choice!)

To receive 40% Use Coupon Code: BLG13

Enter to win your very own pair here just by leaving a comment telling me what color you would pick if you won.  Contest ends March 18th at 12:00 am.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Pro Compression is sponsoring the giveaway with one free pair of marathon socks however the opinions expressed are my own and I have purchased all of the Pro Compression socks I wear)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Roasting Plant Detroit

There are several things that I love as much as my kids and my family, they happen to be running, beer and COFFEE. Like running and beer, it is much better when enjoyed with friends so I very excited to have a mid day coffee break with some plain clothed GP Runners at a new coffee shop downtown called The Roasting Plant.  Several friends have stopped their and raved about it, and I have been "patiently" waiting to try it out.  The location is right near Campus Martius Park and easy to get to with ample parking in the area (I found a spot relatively close as did my friends).  It smelled heavenly in the little shop, and the "whooshing" of beans through their Javabot made for a unique environment and a very fresh cup of coffee.  The Jamaican Blue Mountain Peaberry coffee (which I drank black) was smooth and creamy.  I now see why those that have tried it have gone back several times because this a far superior coffee in my opinion to any other coffee chain in the area.  The freshness of roasted and ground beans makes for a flavorful bold cup of coffee.  It was also nice to have the option of a real mug for those drinking in, my friend had a very cute little double walled glass one that I could have easily taken home.  I am already trying to plan my next visit so I can try another bean (most likely the Mocha Java).

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The Roasting Plant

Woodward Avenue

660 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 782- 4291

Mon - Fri: 7:30am - 5:30pm 
Saturday: 11am - 4pm
Sunday: Closed

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Training Road Block

My main goal this year is to run a sub 2 hour half marathon.  I attempted last year, fell a little short but knew that my body was still recovering from a pregnancy, adjusting to running again, and then later dealing with a hip injury, and most of all I was dealing mentally with being a runner again and pushing myself to the limits when there was no one else around.  After being introduced to the GP Runners (an awesome and supportive group) I had no doubt I could break 2 in 2013 (I would mean shaving almost 8 minutes off my half marathon time from October 2012).  I planned to use the Furman FIRST training, while modifying it a bit (switching weeks and runs) to be able to run with the group and still get in Tempo, Speed work and Long Runs.  What I did not plan for was strep throat, not once but TWICE! I had not had strep in years, and cannot remember the last time I was on antibiotics.  However a few weeks ago my "sore" throat had become so painful and swollen I headed into the doctor for treatment.  A round of antibiotics and a couple easy runs and a couple decent runs I managed to keep up with my training and only missed a speed work and a long run.  With the antibiotics finished I thought I was well on my way to being back on track and on my training schedule.  Once again less then 2 weeks after the first diagnosis I was back at the doctors for another round of antibiotics. (I had run 12.5 miles that morning, felt just ok but thought it had to do with recent diet changes, then that night the sore throat reappeared)  UGH, seriously, not only do antibiotics do a number on my stomach but that also meant more "rest" days.  I miss running when I am "resting", I miss the sweating, I miss the hard work, I miss the feeling of accomplishment I get when I am done, I miss running with my new friends and the adult conversation, I miss crossing workouts off my schedule, and I miss the good mood that running helps out with.  It was tough yesterday to rest instead of head out for an easy run since it was 40 and sunny here is the gloomy Mitten State.

I have not decided how I am going to tackle the missed workouts.  Whether I am going to add them in during "easier" weeks throughout the remaining weeks or just write them off and hope the based I built keeps me in shape enough that I can get back into it and still meet my goal.  The biggest challenge, like many I deal with lately as a runner, is the mental challenge...the disappointment from not following the schedule I had planned, the disappointment that my body was not doing it's job and staying healthy, the daily grumpy mood from sitting inside staring at my running shoes, and the antsy feeling from not exercising.

This weeks entries into my running journal and the most likely "not gonna happen" runs on the schedule

How do you handle road blocks in your training plan when life stops you from completing a workout?  How do you handle not running when you know your body needs rest?

Congratulations on the remodel but OH how you have been missed #kenscountrykitchen...#breakfast #smallstepsseriouschafing

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Monday, March 4, 2013

Wish there was more then tea in my mug tonight but I am not falling off the wagon #whole30 #sickagain #strepsucks #longday #smallstepsseriouschafing

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Energy Bits-Product Review

I had been seeing EnergyBits on several blogs and also on Instagram. I was curious, I hate vitamins because I do not absorb them well and was currently looking for an alternative. Energybits claim to increase energy, endurance, mental vitality, they are high in protein, lower blood pressure, reduce fatigue (this was a big one since I am currently battling fatigue caused by an under active thyroid). I contacted Energybits (Check out their website for all the information on the benefits of algae: and was able to not only purchase a single sample of Recoverybits and Energybits but they also sent me an extra sample for my husband (who I just added them into our smoothies and he happily ate the algae)

This whole trial really sucked because I have had Strep Throat not once but TWICE! I just wanted a decent day without antibiotics to give these a try and actually never got one.

Recoverybits-I took these as soon as I received them in an attempt to combat my nasty throat. I really cannot say if they made a difference. I felt like garbage because of the antibiotics and the strep and I am not sure how much algae I would have needed to feel better.

Energybits Try 1 - 5 days after the first diagnosis I took about 30 bits and headed to the gym for speedwork on the treadmill . I hadn't run in a week but was able to crank out 6 x 800's at a 7:53 pace. I was tired by the end but I attribute that to strep and lack of running. I am sure the Energybits helped. I did not mind taking them like a "pill" however I could taste them and they are a taste you may have to become accustomed to.

Energybits Try 2 - This past Saturday I thought I was clear, no antibiotics and felt ok. I took about 30 bits about a half hour before I met my group to attempt an 8-10 mile long run. I really can't say if the Energybits helped I did pull a few decent splits but I started having GI issues around mile 4-5.5 and called the run at 6 miles.

Guess what happened today...I was at the doctors again and this time being tested for strep and mononucleosis sucks at the moment as I start another round of different antibiotics.

Overall I would say there is a benefit to the algae however I cannot honestly say one way or another how they effected me because I felt like such garbage lately. I will say they had great customer service and were willing to help and answer questions and were very patient while I got around to this review. (My opinions are my own and was not influenced by the people at Energybits)

Would I buy them? Yes, if I had the extra money for them I would love to see what 30 days on them would do. The cost is $115 a bag (about 33 servings) and then an additional $12 for shipping. That unfortunately adds up and would also take away other food purchases such as our meats, fruits and veggies.

Look what I found on clearance #hotpink #locklaces I have been wanting to try them since I hate to tie my shoes (esp at 4:45 am) ....they look so awesome in my Purple #brooksrunning #pureflow #smallstepsseriouschafing

I have seen Lock Laces before and know several runners swear by them, but I never could understand. I never really had a problem with my shoes coming untied and with the few pairs I did I just rubbed the laces with a candle to stop them from slipping.  However when I was "grocery" shopping at Meijer the other day I came across a pair of Lock Laces on clearance...WHAT!  They were HOT pink and $4 I could not pass them up.  Not because I "needed" them but the promise of never have to tie my shoes is very appealing especially because at 4:45 am I HATE tying them.  Of course I put them on my Purple Brooks PureFlow right away.  Basically all you do is lace them in like you normally would, add the lock and then the closure and you are done.  I have yet to run in them but have used them on the cycle trainer and the elliptical and all I can say is "I will never tie my shoes again".  Seriously, I can get my laces tight enough (the cord is almost like a little bungie cord) and I really do not have to tie my shoe.  These Lock Laces are going to save me at least 3 minutes every morning, at 4:45 am that means something.  Now I understand the Lock Laces rage...they are awesome! (And a bonus if you check out their website they have a TON of colors so you can match or coordinate with any pair of shoes)

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Do you want to try Lock Laces?  Check out the special they are running (shared with permission from Lock Laces):

Spring Training Special Offer: Send your old shoelaces to: LOCK LACES™ Shoelaces Exchange, 2225 Sycamore Street; Harrisburg, PA 17111 with a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope and we'll send you a coupon for a free pair of LOCK LACES™ redeemable @ now thru March 31, 2013. (shipping and handling not included)

Thank goodness for sick bay hours! #strepthroat #sickagain #smallstepsseriouschafing

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