Friday, March 27, 2015

5 Friday Favorites: Spring Food 3/2/2015

Be sure to go enter my MealEnders giveaway which ends Monday at 12:00 AM! 

Despite crazy changing weather which has left me battling some sort of weird head cold all week, I am hopeful that actual spring is right around the corner (even though it's officially here). It has to be because I'm seriously over snow, cold temperatures, and the lack of shorts/sunglasses weather. 

In the spirit of season, I'm sharing my favorite spring foods with the DC Trifecta Friday Five linkup. I clearly love food and am beyond ready for spring so it was a perfect match.  

5 Favorite Spring Foods

1. Jersey peaches

jersey-peach1

I love all fruit year-round. Growing up in southern New Jersey I was surrounded by lots of fresh produce in the spring. It is the Garden State, after all! Fun fact-New Jersey is actually the nation's second largest producer of blueberries (which is a close second to peaches for me).   There is nothing like the first juicy bite of a softball-sized Jersey peach in the spring.  

2. Ice Cream 

kohrs-bros-ice-cream-cone1

I love ice cream in any weather-I heard they actually sell more in the winter! However as the weather gets nicer I definitely find myself enjoying it more. I love taking walks to grab some local ice cream in the city or visit a local shop in my travels. A childhood favorite is always a big soft-serve cone from Kohrs Bros. at the Jersey shore right before the summer is in full swing. I posted the photo on Instagram and apparently others thought it looked delicious as well! 

I always ask for rainbow jimmies on top! 

3. Huge Fresh Salads

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I love the Sweet Green salads in DC!
With lots of fresh local produce becoming more available I love making huge salads with a variety of chopped produce I have on hand. With warm weather and sunshine I  am always craving fresh salads for lunch-the bigger (and more filling), the better!  
Baltimore totally needs more fresh salad spots.  

4. Iced Coffee

iced-coffee-lediplomate
This iced coffee from Le Diplomate in DC was fancier than most. 
I love spring because it means I start switching over to enjoy iced coffee during the day.  I make it at home, but more often than not am picking up one in a plastic cup from whatever coffee shop is closest.  I love that I can pretty much grab one anywhere nowadays. 

5. Smoothies & Juices

nutri-ninja-green-smoothiegundalow-juice-baltimore-sailors-delight

With warmer weather I also want more refreshing juices and smoothies. A cold fruit smoothie definitely hits the spot after a warm weather run. Whether I'm whipping up a big green smoothie as a snack or grabbing a fresh, fruity Gundalow juice while I'm on-the-go, both hit the spot. I also love that I now have my NutriNinja which can blend ice into my smoothies to make them think and icy. 

I'm also linking up with ClareJill,Katie, and Heather

Also if you are looking to get your run on this weekend, why not run a virtual 5K leading up to the opening of the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas race registration on April 1st

Did I mention you  get a FREE tank or tee for participating? 


rock-n-roll-kickoff-run1

It's absolutely free-just submit your time here before April 1st and be sure to share on social media with #LVKICKOFFNIGHT. 


What's one of your favorite spring foods? Do you eat ice cream all year round?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

MealEnders-An End to Overeating {review & giveaway}

Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary 4 pack of  MealEnders lozenges for review through the Sweat Pink Ambassadors network. Giveaway was offered and is provided by MealEnders. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Through blogging and being a part of many networks, I receive products and reviews offers each week with most of them not being worth my while.  Initially I was hesitant to accept the offer from Sweat Pink to try out MealEnders lozenges which claim to help keep you from over-eating, but curiosity got the best of me. 

They are low-calorie, stimulant-free signaling lozenges which come in four different flavors: Cinnamon, Citrus, Chocolate Mint, and Mocha.  



These lozenges are gluten-free with 15 calories per piece and only 2 grams of sugar.
  
I have my degree in Chemistry and love learning about science. Naturally I was intrigued by the food science of how these lozenges work, especially with the plethora of bold yet ultimately false claims made by diet foods in today's world. 


Mealenders lozenges have two layers. The first is a outer "reward" layer that is sweet like candy and signals the end of the meal. It's a softer, sweet layer that melts away in your mouth. The second is a tingling "inner core's active-taste layer"  engages the trigeminal nerve or "taste" nerve to signal the end of eating.  It's harder, and the best way to describe the feel is that tingling from menthol cough drops but in a delicious flavor. 

Many times I have trouble waiting the 20 minutes for my stomach to catch up with my brain and end up overeating. Also as a huge sweet tooth, I always love eating something sweet after meals-especially after dinner. 

Since I was really tuned in to my body while trying these, it's hard to know if it was just my awareness or the actual lozenges, but I felt that MealEnders did actually help curb my sweet tooth and distract my taste buds in between or after meals. 



 It was nice having a sweet candy to suck on with my evening tea to keep me from becoming a snack monster like I usually do.  I also love them instead of a piece of gum throughout the middle of the day while I'm at work. 

My favorite were the mocha and chocolate mint because they were really delicious and that sweet bite really helped stop mindless grazing of snacks. The flavors were bold and tasted great-not weird or "fake-tasting" at all.  I found both the food science and behavioral aspects behind the  interesting and liked how these really helped with mindful eating. As always,there is not a magic candy to stop overeating or make you magically lose weight. 

Are you intrigued like I was? Lucky for you MealEnders has agreed to giveaway samples of their product to my readers! 

This giveaway is only open to U.S. residents (sorry!) and the winner will receive 4- 25 piece pouches of MealEnders in all the flavors.  Enter below before Monday March 30th at 12:00 AM EST. 

Check out MealEnders on their website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

*Just a note-I know the Chocolate Mint flavor is so popular right now that it's backordered but will be back in stock mid-April!

Also do not worry if you do not win the giveaway because MealEnders has a special discount for all the runners up: 

"MealEnders wants to put an end to overeating and believes the more people its 15-calorie signaling lozenges can help, the better!  So for two weeks, all "runners up" for our recent giveaway will be able to buy MealEnders at 30% off.  Just enter coupon code WINNER-TOO at checkout. To place your order and learn more about the product, visit www.mealenders.com."

This post was linked up with Tasty Tuesday. 


Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Favorites 3/20/2015 feat. LesserEvil popcorn and Hip Hop Spin

This week has been crazy busy and stressful so I'm just popping by to link up with my 5 Friday favorites from the week here here, and here.  

Despite the fact that it's snowing and raining here today, I'm still celebrating the fact that spring is indeed here. I just want to be able to wear shorts without freezing, c'mon. 


1. Favorite Snack: LesserEvil Avocado-licious Popcorn

I'm really excited to announce I'm a LesserEvil Ambassador, a company I've loved ever since I reviewed their snacks last year. I am queen of snacking so having some crunchy snacks and popcorn on hand that are gluten-free, non-gmo, and full of nutritious ingredients is awesome. I was literally speechless when I came home from work one day this week to see three HUGE boxes of snacks waiting for me!


lesser-evil-snacks

lesser-evil-snacks-popcorn-avocado

I'm been currently working my way through bags of their Avocado-liciousBuddha Bowl popcorn made with avocado oil and pink Himalayan sea salt which will be hitting the shelves soon. It's only 40 calories a cup so there's no need to feel guilty when I eat half the bag! The subtle flavor from the avocado oil is so unique. I will definitely be sharing more snacks from LesserEvil with you. 

2. Favorite Workout: Hip Hop Cycle with Shauna Harrison

This is technically from last week, but I got to try out Hip Hop Cycle at REV Cycle Studio with Under Armour sponsored Shauna Harrison. Shauna created Hip Hop Cycle in Baltimore which makes it even more special. The spin class was intense with lots of hill climbing, and her soundtrack  was awesome! You should be following Shauna Harrison on Instagram because she posts #Sweataday, an exercise to try each day.  She also has killer arms which put mine to shame. 


shauna-harrison-under-armour-hip-hop-spin

3. Favorite Song: Shut up and Dance by Walk the Moon

I LOVE Walk the Moon, and their super catchy songs. I have been loving their new album including this single which has been all I want to run, sing, cook, or groove to lately.   I dare you to listen to this song and not get it stuck in your head. 




4. Favorite Fitness Gear: CALIA by Carrie Underwood 
I'm currently lusting over the new CALIA fitness wear collection by Carrie Underwood at Dick's Sporting Goods. I love all the feminine details and how they clothes are fashionable yet still look functional & comfortable. The collection definitely has a Lululemon vibe to it.  I'm loving this, this, and this


calia-carrie-underwood-dicks-sporting-goods-tank
(Tank found here)

5. Favorite Post-Run Eats: Pizza 

Last night I was lucky enough to get out of work in time to head over to Falls Road Running Store with some November Project friends for a fun run with Hoka where I finally go to wear-test a pair of their shoes. I always make fun because they do look like moon shoes but have been really intrigued by them because all I hear is good things. The shoes were really cushy and the lower heel drop offset really changed my foot strike. I'm not sure my thoughts on them yet. 


hoka-one-one-baltimore-pizza

Anyways, the best part was there was amazing pizza waiting for us after the run. I was expecting run-of-the-mill pizza but this was so delicious. There was even cake for someone's birthday too. I will run for pizza any day! I seriously do not have enough pizza in my life lately. 

I've got a big exciting weekend that is getting started earlier this Friday. 

Do you have any fun weekend plans? What's your favorite song of the moment? 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

2015 KELLY Shamrock 5K Race Recap

After running Rock 'n' Roll DC this past Saturday (recap to come) I ran the annual KELLY Shamrock 5K in Baltimore. Since it's Saint Patrick's Day, it seemed appropriate to recap this festive 5K that I have run the past three years.  


It's really great but after doing a double header last year, I was not sure if I'd do it again. Of course, it was part of the Charm City Run B3 Race Package which included two other races I was planning on running so I figured why not!  

The KELLY Shamrock 5K is a big race that sells out every year and marks the start of spring racing in Baltimore. It is Charm City Run's largest race with 5200 runners but is always well-organized. The 5K happens right before the Baltimore Saint Patrick's Day Parade so it's awesome having everyone already lined up for the parade to cheer for the runners.Everyone is very festive and decked out in everything green!

After a night of drinking and a big Irish dinner, I got back from Washington D.C., with an hour to spare before the race started. I drank some water and Nuun since I was clearly dehydrated and got ready for the race. Partying the night before a race is not recommended! I was not as sore as I expected to be aside from some nagging calf tightness and a sore knot on my right hamstring.  

The weather was beautiful and sunny (unlike the previous day) but some strong winds had me wearing a jacket on top and shorts on the bottom.  The race ends at PowerPlant Live! so I wanted my jacket with me at the end of the race and decided just to run with it on, even though I'd probably be a little warm during the race.  

I walked a few blocks to the start and squeezed into the sea of green-clad runners.  


With a race this large, if you are not at the very front you get stuck behind tons of people for the first half of a mile or so. This plus the first mile being so fast and downhill, I always go out fastest for the first mile of this 5K. It's really hard for me not too when I am trying to get to the pace I want to settle in at but can't because people are in front of me.  I wish people would take self-seeding more seriously because it can be dangerous! 

The first mile was fast, but my legs felt okay. The second mile as we came down Key Highway moved quickly, and I cheered as I saw speedy Sarah running after the turnaround. After the turnaround I was running into the wind which felt awful. I felt like I was having to work a lot harder to move forward. Thank goodness I had my iPod with some music to help me push through it.  

Mile 2 was the worst, and I totally felt unprepared to try to run a speedier 5K.  A big reminder that I need more speed workouts in my life. As we came back down toward the Inner Harbor I felt better and tried to finish strong. I gave it everything I had at the end as the race flew by. I ended up finishing in 21:58 with an average of 7:05 min/mile. I felt great because that time is just a little over a minute off my PR and close to my faster finishes in this race.  I finished 12th in my division which isn't bad either. 


I finished, caught my breath and quickly grabbed a banana. My next move was to get in line to grab a free beer of course. I went with the Blue Moon peach beer which was refreshing (and way better than the alternative-Coors Light). 

It's a nice post-race atmosphere because most people hang out afterwards and grab food & beer. They had a live band playing 90s cover songs, which for some reason always makes me thing of spring. I always felt like it was spring when I could drive with the windows down and play some upbeat music I love so maybe it comes from that. 

Soon after the whole area was really crowded so my boyfriend and I decided to go take a walk around Baltimore and eventually met up with Sarah, her boyfriend, and some friends. 


Overall I think this race is a great event. It's a fast course, well-organized, and always has a nice after-race party.  It's pretty big for Baltimore which makes the start hectic, especially with the parade going on shortly after.  

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! 

Also I saw this on RER today and had to share because I have seen many a green smoothie on social media today! 

In honor of a bit of Irish in me, I'll be having a beer or two tonight! 

Have you ever run a Saint Patrick's-themed race? Do you go out too fast on 5Ks? Are you drinking green beer tonight? 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Rock and Roll DC Half Marathon & Shamrock 5K Weekend 2014 Recap


Just yet another reason I'm an awful blogger (but still a super awesome person) is that I get super behind on race recaps, etc. and have a bunch of posts just sitting in the drafts folder. Since I'm running the Rock 'n' Roll DC Half Marathon and KELLY Shamrock 5K back-to-back again this weekend, I thought I'd finally publish last year's weekend recap! 

Spoiler alert: it involves lots of sore legs and cold beers. 

RNR-DC-Shamrock-5K-2014-recap

 I had run the KELLY Shamrock 5K in Baltimore 2012 & 2013 and actually have my 5K PR from that race.  My winter running cabin fever got the best of me, and I signed up for the RNR USA half months earlier because there was a really cheap price deal on it.  Then I realized that the Charm City Run B3 Race Package which included two other races I wanted to run, included the Shamrock 5K so I was running it again!  That's how it happened that St. Patrick's Day weekend I'd be running races back-to-back. Talk about a way to jump-start spring running! 

The Friday before the race after work I took the train from Baltimore to the metro to another metro and hiked down to the expo at the Armory-yes it was really out of my way and no fun lugging all my bags with me. There was a line to get in because of Armory security which was added to my stress. It was nice to peruse the expo by myself and look at all the fun gear plus grab free samples of all the snacks I could find. I stocked up on salted caramel Gu and was really tempted to buy some of the cute St. Patrick's Day-themed running shirts for sale.  
This was one from Brooks Running almost made it home with me: 
brooks-running-run-til-youre-green

rnr-dc-2014-expo1
So true, Brooks Running.

On race morning after crashing at a friend's, I took the metro in to the start area. I hate arriving super early to races so I was cutting it close as usual. I skipped going to the port-a-potty because it seemed there were some long lines. I met up with a bunch of friends I convinced to run with me in one the first corrals along Constitution Avenue right by the Washington Monument.
RNR-DC-Half-Marathon-recap-1

It's a huge event with big half marathon and smaller marathon fields.  The bag drop was easy, and I had plenty of time to get settled before the 7:30 AM start. 

RNR-DC-Half-Marathon-recap-start

The weather was cloudy and cool, but warm enough for me to rock a tank-top and arm sleeves. The first couple of miles is scenic, passing the White House and Lincoln Memorial. You hug the Potomac River and then get to the dreaded steep hill toward Calvert Street around mile 6. That hill was no joke, especially for someone who hadn't really trained for this all the winter.   Since I was just running this without training and for fun, I tried to stay around 8 minute miles.  

After that big hill it wasn't a flat race persay, but felt more like rolling hills to me.  I ran with one friend from around miles 7 to 10 passing around the Howard University area.  The second half of the race wasn't particularly scenic.  However, it was really cool coming up a slight incline those last few miles along North Capital Street and seeing the Capitol building in the distance.  In true fashion, I decided to pick up the pace at the end and zip right to the finish ahead of my friends. I was pretty out of breathe, which was a good reminder to run longer distances before another big race!  I zipped right through the finish line by RFK Stadium in 1:42:28, which is pretty great for no expectations. 1:42-1:44 is my sweet spot for half marathons.  


RNR-DC-Half-Marathon-recap-results


I'm not a big fan of the live bands on the Rock 'n' Roll courses. Usually they are just okay, and jamming to Beyonce on my iPod is a better boost for me.  I did love all the DC residents and spectators cheering and offering beer to runners.  

Around mile 12 (don't quote me) I think the full marathoners split off, and apparently go through a less-scenic remainder of the course.  

The finish area was pretty smooth, and it didn't take long to get my dropped bag.

RNR-DC-Half-Marathon-recap-finish

I met up with my friends at the post-race party and grabbed a chocolate milk, snacks, and my free beer.  I was feeling pretty great about a race that I thought might go horribly.  
Good thing my Bad Ass socks weren't a lie today.  
RNR-DC-Half-Marathon-recap-2
#truth
You can find all the information about RNR DC here!

After hanging out post-race, I started my trek alone back towards my friend's house on the other side of the city, stopping for food on the way. A big Starbucks iced coffee and Sticky Fingers vegan chocolate chip cookie first, later followed by a big salad for lunch. 

RNR-DC-Half-Marathon-recap-3RNR-DC-Half-Marathon-recap-4

Overall, it was a pretty solid race day. The organization of the race was smooth and the whole event turned out to be great. I wasn't crazy about the course and wasn't planning on running it again (or so I thought). 

RNR-DC-Half-Marathon-recap-5
mirror pic, clearly.
The next day I was back in Baltimore feeling pretty sore. I wore compression sleeves the post-race the day before but had not really stretched or rolled out like I should have.  Luckily, the race start is only a few blocks from my apartment so I didn't have to plan ahead.  This race is huge and always sells out-it's a Baltimore staple of spring running in my mind.  It makes for getting anywhere near the front awful with lots of families and runners not really following the self-seeding directions. 

The KELLY Shamrock 5K is right before the Baltimore St. Patrick's Day Parade so there is always a big crowd waiting for the parade to cheer you on as you run. This is also the one race where many people wear the race shirt. 

It's awesome to see a sea of bright neon green runners coming down Charles Street!

shamrock-5k-baltimore-2014-1

This race was pretty much a blur. 3.1 miles went by super fast after running 13.1 the previous day. I was kind of caught in a crowd of people at the start so my first mile was slower, and then I pushed it on the second mile. It's a pretty fast course. and legs were definitely hurting as I tried to push it on the last mile toward the finish line at Power Plant Live.  I ended up finishing in 22:41 which surprised me. It's only 20 seconds slower than the year before and less than two minutes from my 5K PR time.  I think I was definitely running for the free beer at the finish line party.  Lucky for me, I snagged two free beers. 

shamrock-5k-baltimore-2014-2

After this the parade starts and ends so the whole area of the city is really crowded. At this point I was tired, hungry, and a little cranky. My boyfriend and I found a spot to grab another cold beer and some food before I took a nice long afternoon nap.  

Overall a solid weekend of racing and great way to kickoff spring! 

It looks like I've got another long weekend ahead of me with some running fun. I just keep hoping the all-day rain tomorrow is not too heavy at the start of RNR DC.  Luckily, the weather will be great on Sunday for the Shamrock 5K in Baltimore.

RNR-DC-Shamrock-5K-2014-recap2

Have you ever done back-to-back races? What are your St. Patrick's Day weekend plans? 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

My Big Fall Goal Race & RNR Brooklyn

It seems that everyone has running fever now that the weather is warming up. That means sporadically signing up for all the races #raceeverything! It's hard because with trips and events you have to sign up and book so early in advance. Sometimes it's difficult to plan for things you've signed up for 6 months out especially with commitments just popping up all the time. 

I am happy to share that Rock 'n' Roll Marathon series finally announced that the inaugural Brooklyn half marathon will take place Saturday, October 10, 2015.  Registration is open for only Tourpass holders until March 15, and the general registration will open to the public on Monday March 16. You can sign up for an email reminder about registration here

Check out the full details on the race here!

rock-n-roll-brooklyn-half-marathon-2015_1

I really wanted to run this race, but I unfortunately can't because I'll be in Chicago getting ready to run the Chicago Marathon on October 11, 2015

Yes, it was quite lovely to see this email in my inbox this morning: 

2015-chicago-marathon-entry-approval1

Thanks to last year's Chicago Marathon time, I time-qualified for guaranteed entry this year.  I'm running Chicago again because despite being sick the week before, I had a really amazing race. I came only 1 minute shy of a 3:35 Boston-qualifying time for my age & gender group. I know in my heart that I can come back and get my goal time of 3:30 on it's fast, flat, energetic course.  Part of me wanted to re-type that and just say under 3:35, but let's be honest I'm aiming for 3:30. 

Goals are supposed to be big & scary, right?

Hopefully I can have a strong training cycle and show up to race day healthy and ready to run!

The 2015 Chicago Marathon lottery entry opened yesterday and closes Tuesday, April,21 so check it out if you are looking for a great big fall marathon!  Be sure to read my recaps from last year's expo and race.  

It looks like it's going to be another summer of #breathedeeplyandrunchitown. 

2014-chicago-marathon-expo-magnificent
at last year's Chi Marathon expo. word. 

Do you have a goal Fall race picked out yet? Are you already planning big events for later in the year?

Monday, March 9, 2015

ZOOMA Annapolis Kickoff

Last week we had two snow days after getting a little over 6 inches of snow on Thursday. While I should have been productive, I mostly snacked, slept, and watched a lot of Netflix. Living that pajama life, you know

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  Sometimes a break like that is necessary and refreshing.  After lots of takeout and eating out, getting my butt out of bed Saturday morning to head to the ZOOMA Annapolis kickoff run event at Charm City Run Annapolis was just what I needed.  

I showed up bright and early right after the free yoga class ended in the store. I've actually never been to this location, but the staff were just as friendly as they are at other locations.  It was a bit chillier than I'd liked but the turnout was still great!  Unfortunately it was a little icy around the Annapolis Towne Center, but run leaders made sure everyone was safe and we got in a nice 3 mile run.  It was awesome to chat to more of the other ambassadors. 

We're a fun bunch, if you can't tell! 

zooma-annapolis-race-kickoff-ambassadors

Charm City Run was offering a 15% discount on gear so I snagged a cute shirt perfect for Saint Patrick's Day and got a sweet ZOOMA bag and tech shirt from the race last year with my purchase.  

They also had Einstein's bagels, coffee, and the fixings for mimosas.  I was ever so grateful for the coffee.  

zooma-annapolis-race-kickoff1

I got to spread the Feetures! love and giveaway four pairs of socks which was great. It was awesome to see a few people come out who will be running their first 10K or half marathon at ZOOMA in May with us.  

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I'm actually really excited to get to run the beautiful course through Annapolis at the end of May. You should join me on Saturday May 30-it's going to be such a great event! 

ZOOMA-annapolis-discount-ambassador

You can still use my discount code LAUREN15 to save 10% on registration for the 10K or half marathon. 

Luckily on Sunday it hit over 50 degrees in Baltimore so that meant running outside in the sunny weather capris.  It was crazy because half of the harbor was still frozen. It's amazing how happy the warm weather can make me (unlike the cold). I ran into Sarah on my long run so we ran together for a bit which made the miles go by quickly.  I ended up slowly finishing the last few miles to make it to 13.1 miles for the day. Spring needs to stay! 
baltimore-snow-day-outside-run

I don't feel prepared for Rock 'n' Roll DC this weekend at all, eek! 

 Have you ever run a ZOOMA race? What are you most looking forward this spring?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Dear Winter, It's time to go.

winter-snow-socks

Dear Winter,

It's been real, but it's time for you to leave. I'm blaming you for my craptastic running this winter. I'll also be cursing you when I run a half marathon in less than two weeks that I'm wholly under-prepared for (I'm looking at you Rock 'n' Roll DC with those hills).  You forced me to struggle through a ten mile run on the treadmill yesterday morning that was only slightly bearable thanks to 3-4 episodes of Gilmore Girls on Netflix.

You're not all bad. I do like the beginning of winter and how lovely the season goes with the holidays. Bundling up around the fire with some hot chocolate is lovely.  A white Christmas always makes me smile too. Winter can be magical around the holidays. 

Not returning from a run drenched in sweat is nice. I can re-wear some of my layers because everything I wore isn't disgusting after a run. Having to put on 10 layers and bundle up before leaving the apartment is not so nice. I'd also like to be able to feel my fingers and toes again when I'm outside, thanks. 

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Snow is pretty. It does make everything look like a winter wonderland. I'm all for having fun and building snowmen and making snow angels. Snow that causes a big mess and doesn't even get me ANY snow days off from work this year is not cool.  A couple measly two-hour delays are all you doled out to me this year which still forces to me to have a less than pleasant work commute.  I know Baltimore didn't get hit as hard as other cities, but it's just been annoying here. Slightly warmer and okay weather one day and then below freezing and an ice storm the next day. 

The main culprit lately has been ice. The devil of winter. I'll bundle up and take on the cold with minimal complaining. Taking a chance of wiping out and possibly busting myself up on a patch of ice? No thank-you. It was very unpleasant on Sunday to see the weather forecast as "ice pellets". 

The cold weather has made it difficult to do anything other than put my sweatpants on and curl up on the couch watching Netflix with a cup of tea. (Okay winter, you're right, part of that blame belongs to House of Cards too

I'm trying to be gentle because I think we could try it again next year.  I certainly don't want you to have any hard feelings and try to fight to stay around.  It's just that it's March which means it's time to start heading out. 

 Spring, come quickly!  I'm so ready for you. I'm ready for sunshine, outside events, cool & breezy weather, shorts, sunglasses, a little more sweat, flowers, and plenty more Vitamin D. (Spring is my favorite season, so don't take it personally, winter.)  

Love,
Lauren

spring-soleofthecity10k

Friday, February 27, 2015

5 Favorite Marathon Training Products #2

Disclaimer: As a Team Nuun member I receive discounted product and as a Feetures! ambassador I receive complimentary socks.  . I was sent a Forerunner 15 watch to test & review from Garmin. I did not, and will not, receive any financial compensation from Nuun, Garmin, or Feetures! As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Even though we're stuck in the thick of winter, I'm holding on to the fact that spring isn't too far away. While I'm under-prepared for my spring race season (oops), it is quickly approaching. Soon everyone will be running, racing, and coming out of hibernation to train. I thought I'd share five of my favorite products from training for my second marathon-the Chicago Marathon, last year. This list is slightly different from my favorite gear list during training for my first marathon.  


Actually all of these products, besides the shoes,  I use all the time no matter the distance I'm training for!


five-favorite-marathon-training-products


1. Adidas Energy Boost 2
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I'm still a Brooks Running lady at heart, but the Adidas Energy Boost 2 shoes were good to me this past marathon training season. I've been spoiled because no shoe I try ever feels as bouncy as these do. I loved the responsiveness and slight cushion of the boost material along with the thinner, slightly stretchy upper. I felt like I definitely had enough support for long runs and the constant pounding of me feet. These also gave me no problems during the actual marathon which is obviously super important. 

2. Garmin Forerunner 15
garmin-forerunner-15-gps-running-watch1
Also picture is my Road ID which I highly recommend. 
Last summer I was sent a Garmin Forerunner 15 tester to use & review, and I haven't gone back to my Garmin Forerunner 405 since.  Besides this particular Garmin being in one of my favorite colors (it comes in many), I love how much more lightweight it is.  The Forerunner 15 has solid GPS tracking along with step/activity tracking.  It retails at around $140  which is reasonable for a GPS running watch.  I like that the sporty design, clear display, and fairly long battery life.  The setup of the watch is really simple and clear, but you can get more details and features when you sync it online. Even though it can track steps, it doesn't track sleep, so that's why I still like using my FitBit sometimes.  It only displays two data fields at a time (i.e pace and distance) so you have to press a button to flip through them which is sometimes inconvenient. 

However when I'm running I just need a simple watch to help with speed workouts and to track my pace, time, and mileage so this watch does the job. 

3. Fuel: Salted Caramel Gu & Nuun Energy



Clearly as a Team Nuun member for the second year in a row, I love me some Nuun. The tablets are like Alka Seltzer and dissolve in water, leaving me with a slightly effervescent, flavored hydration drink with no sugar and lots of vitamins and electrolytes.  For races I love the Nuun Energy Lemon-Lime flavor. It has the usual electrolyte mix but is boosted with caffeine (about the amount in a cup of coffee, nothing crazy).  Nuun has no carbs though so I always need to fuel during long runs and training. My marathon method of choice this past time was the delicious Salted Caramel Gu every 5-6 miles. I used this throughout training to make sure I felt good with it. Each packet is 100 calories with 22g of carbs and was enough for me during the marathon after doing a pre-race carb-load.  
Hydrating with Nuun as I spectated the 2014 Boston Marathon
4. Pacebands
From the Pacebands Facebook page
I bought two Pacebands before the marathon training started-a 3:30 reach goal, and a 3:35 one. I ended up wearing the 3:35 one during the race, and since I started the race just trying to have fun and run as well as I could, it was nice to focus more on my paceband and less on my Garmin. I used the paceband a couple times during tempo runs to practice with it and make sure I felt good pacing myself. 

I know I've seen stickers or even people writing the paces per mile to reach a certain goal time on their arm, but I liked the idea of a reusable band I could wear on my wrist. They retail for $8.99 and come in a variety of paces for races including half marathons,marathons, 10Ks, and even 5Ks.  

5. Feetures! running socks

 I've mentioned multiple how excited I am to be a Feetures! Ambassador this year. I discovered the running socks brand when I was training for my first marathon 2 years ago and realized how important a good pair of socks was. I mostly use the high performance Feetures! in the light cushion style.  They have just the right amount of cushioning for my feet.  I love how the socks are so soft and comfortable, but also keep my feet blister-free and dry when the mileage creeps up during training. 

What are your favorite race training products?  Do you have any big spring races coming up?

This post was linked up for Friday favorites here, here, and here
 
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