Run Your Heart Out 5k

I’ve been doing an insane amount of running these past few weeks, and its been showing – in terms of mileage (39 mileage week three weeks ago and another one last week) and in terms of pace and strength.  Definitely feeling the best that I have in terms of health wise body and mind in a very long time.  And as a result of all this running fun, I signed up for PRR’s Run Your Heart Out 5k Sunday, February 9.

Going into the race, I knew I wanted to push myself to see where my fitness was at, to get a good evaluation of my speed and strength as I began week three of theCherry Blossom Ten Miler training program I am doing with CUCB, New Balance & PRR (Its a free virtual training program they offered to all participating runners).  Other than that I had no goals, other than to try to be somewhere around 21:15 (my PR).

Race morning came, and I hopped in the car with my friends from PRR, Ashley, Amanda and Dustin, and headed out to Reston, VA.  It was COLD out, but we grabbed our bibs, hit the INDOOR bathrooms and hung out til race time.  We also saw a few of our other fellow PRR friends there as well (shoutout to Lauren & Becki!).

At 9:01 it was go time and we were off.

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The race starts on the track, and then heads down a huge hill into the woods, where the course winds and turns and goes on lots of little ups and downs before returning the to the huge hill we went down which we had to CLIMB just about a 1/4 mile from the finish.  That hill was HORRIBLE.  It caused me to slow down significantly and to almost lose my breakfast at the top.  And then I felt awful as I had to run into the finish.

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Evidence of Feeling Awful…And Cold.

Then the course finished on the track, and I felt and finished strong – surprised to see the time of 21:07 on the clock, which meant a shiny new PR!

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All in all I was happy with my performance.  I also know that but for the hill at the end, I would’ve likely broken 21:00, which would’ve been amazing and has been my goal for a long time.  Additionally, I learned that in the case of the 5k, I can’t look at my watch.  I looked 1 or 2 times just to see mileage, but I never once looked at my pace and just kept running hard and trying to pick off the person in front of me (which I did quite more often than being passed), and it worked!  I was able to shave 8 seconds off my PR – and am seeing that 20:xx goal come within reach!

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Lauren, Me and Ashley post race

A nice surprise was also placing 2nd in my AG – something I never expected to happen since the PRR races generally have an extremely fast field (hello, the girl who won it ran it in 16 and some change), but it was a nice way to round out a PR race for me!

Next up?  I’m looking for another 5k in about a month or so — hopefully something without the hill of death at the end to make that 20:xx a little easier.  And then I’m training, as mentioned before, for the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler.  My goal for that is to run a consistent race, and hopefully at my 10k PR pace from this fall.  Lofty goals, but something I definitely think is feasible.

What races are on your schedule this spring?  What fitness goals do you have?  I was supposed to run a marathon, but I decided that right now, I don’t have the time or the ability to train and so I am deferring.  I hate doing it, but I know its the right decision for me, especially having been plagued with a series of injuries since fall 2012.  A marathon is in my future, I just need to find the right one and the right time to train properly – I am finally admitting I have too much on my plate.

Brooks Pure Project Fashion Show

I recently had the privilege to get a preview of the Brooks PureProject apparel and see the new Transcend which hit shelves this weekend (seriously crazy shoe!). Potomac River Running hosted one of Brooks‘ fashion shows to introduce the product to the staff and running community. They went all out with goodie bags, food, wine and models.  [There was supposed to be a DJ but he never showed.]

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The goodie bags were filled with premium glass water bottles, a travel case for toiletries and some Brooks soap-on-a-rope (sorry no photos of the goodies inside!)

Next up, Brooks catered the event with delicious food and wine from Whole Foods.  Seriously, the toppings on the toasted french bread were to.die.for.  I didn’t snap any photos of the food directly, but my goodness they were tasty.

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Next up was the main event — the clothes!  Brooks brought in models to wear the new PureProject apparel clothing, which is advertised to be functional for daily life and working out.

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I have to say that for the most part, I love the apparel.  The shorts are adorable and come in some fun patterns (Tribunal, Checkered) and the Seamless Capris are so cute and the material feels soooo nice.

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There are a couple cute tops as well (I really love this LS and this tank) though I do have to admit, I’m a little baffled by the women’s PureProject Jacket.  Love the pattern, love the fabric, but I’m not sold on the fit.  The top half of the jacket looks like it just hangs there, and I don’t think it would be that flattering on someone who is well endowed or a little bigger and un-model like.  I definitely think the jacket could have been designed to be a little more flattering for all body types.

Now, the men’s PureProject Jacket?!  That is a completely different store.  Swoonbait – I wish they had a women’s version of this.  Simple and clean.

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Also, for the men I loved this SS top (It also comes in LS).  Especially in the yellow.  Its a workout shirt without looking like a workout shirt.  And the fabric is so soft and comfortable.  I could definitely see lots of men wearing this to the gym and around town.  And I kind of want one of my own, either for myself or for the boyfriend so that I can steal it…

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All in all, I was impressed with the simplicity and functionality of the Brooks PureProject apparel line, something that I was unaware of until recently.  I love the versatility of the clothing — you can definitely wear it for just hanging out or for working out — as well as the feel of the fabric and the definite quality you can see in the apparel.

I’m definitely excited to see this line evolve, especially as the Moving Comfort clothing line is being phased out (DON’T WORRY MOVING BRA AFICIONADOS LIKE MYSELF – THE BRAS ARE NOT GOING ANYWHERE!!!!) as I loved a lot of the MC clothing line, and think that Brooks will have great success with this line in the future.

I was excited to be a part of this fun evening, and love that I was able to get a closer look at the products as well as learn about them and discuss future plans with the Brooks Sales Rep for the region as well as some of the higher-ups from Brooks in Seattle.  Definitely a great company with some wonderful people creating great products for runners.

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Brooks Models in PureProject Line.

[Although I was able to attend the fashion show through my affiliation with PRR as a sales team member and assistant coach, it was also open to the public and about 70-75 individuals attended the event.  I received no compensation for this post nor any products, and as always all opinions are my own.]

Fueling with Island Boost

Its not secret on the blog — or to anyone in my life really — that I have had an insane amount of stomach issues while running.  Back in July it killed my dreams of a 42-43 minute race at Wharf to Wharf (which I just realized I never recapped…), and in February it dashed by dreams of a close-to or attempt at a sub 1:40 half marathon at the San Diego Women’s Half Marathon.  And those are just two of the most recent downfalls of my stomach woes.

Since then, and I’ve made it my mission to discover different fuel options that will work for me in my long distance PR quests in 2014.  As I’ve embarked on this mission, there has been one name recommended to me over and over as I’ve explained to runners from all walks of life the massive amounts of stomach unhappiness that I get on raceday — and during long, hard runs in general: Island Boost.  So, for a while, I’ve been dying to try out Island Boost but just because everything has caused me problems, I’ve been hesitant to try out something new.

IMG_1495After receiving an email about Island Boost attempting to get a new flavor (Chocolate!) FDA approved, I knew I needed to try it, especially with the hopes of chocolate coming out in the future, so I reached out to them to see about getting a sample of the chocolate. Unfortunately, the chocolate samples were all out, but they did graciously give me a few samples to try out.

It’s different from your average gu or gel because it’s not a gu or gel.  Its more the consistency of Gatorade, but its got more calories than Gatorade in a small little thick liquid.

I was pretty excited to try it, and I’m not going to lie — my first taste was a shocker.  I mean, its like really, really over powered Kool-Aid on the first sip (note: this is coming from someone who doesn’t drink sugary drinks or juice because I don’t like them, and who thinks the Gatorade generally made at water stations is faaaaaaar too potent).  However, by the end of the first pouch, I got over the intensity and the flavor was actually pretty darn good (Passion Fruit Flavor).

IMG_1496I was given three flavors to try, and of the three, Passion Fruit was by far my favorite, but the Orange wasn’t far behind.  I just couldn’t get behind Blueberry-Pomegranate flavor, but then again I’m a fresh wild blueberry girl from Minnesota, and anything made with blueberry flavoring, just doesn’t cut it for me.

The real test, though, was how the Island Boost functioned for me on my runs.  Although I was only able to take them on one run (I’ve only run one run long enough to require fueling in the past few months), I was stomach problem free.  I can’t say it was my hardest run or my longest or that I had anxiety associated with race day, but it settled nicely in my stomach.  Maybe its because I can read and pronounce pretty much everything on the back of the nutrition label?  Or because it has coconut water in it (cue automatic swoon)?! Those both definitely made me happy — oh and its gluten free and dairy free!

IMG_1501So would I buy them for training?  Definitely — I’m actually putting in an order this weekend.  I’m still playing with a few other options for long runs and hard runs, but I am definitely keeping Island Boost in the mix — and if they can come up with the funds to get the chocolate through FDA testing and production, you bet your buns I will be all over that like a runner in a self serve fro-yo joint.

If you’d like to try out Island Boost, or just help them get chocolate into production, there are 10 days left in their fundraiser — if you give money, you get fun things back – for example $25 gets you a 10-pack of Island Boost to try; $40 gets you a 10-pack of Island Boost + a runner’s hat/visor.  When I get paid on Friday I am definitely jumping on that — every little bit helps, and it gives a great company run by wonderful people with a good product the chance to make it against the big guns.  Check it out here.

IMG_1502(I’m excited for all the temporary tats they sent me! — the inner child in me rejoiced!!)

Have you tried Island Boost?  What’s your fuel of choice?

***While Island Boost gave me the samples to try, they did not compensate me in any way or ask me to write a review.  As always, all opinions are my own.