July 30, 2012

Legit long run and family reunion

Weekend workouts

Friday: Best cross-training ever -- soccer! I played with about 15 other people at our family reunion. Usually we use dirty gym bags and shoes to mark goals and the long gravel driveway to mark the sideline. Not this year. Nope, the cool people of my family actually spray painted lines on the farm grass and built PVC pipe goals. This soccer game was definitely one (of the many) of the family reunion highlights.

Saturday: Long run! 13.22in 1:53

As I briefly mentioned in my last post, I've been family reunioning it in Kentucky for most of the last week. This was with my husband's giant family where there are ten kids, plus all of their spouses, plus all of the kids' kids. It's busy, crowded, scheduled, hectic, fun, relaxing, and amazingsauce all rolled into one.

I still haven't figured out why my computer doesn't recognize that amazingsauce is a word that I don't want autocorrected into two words. If you don't know me by now, Mac, you will never, never know me.

Back to the hugeness of my husband's family. This is a picture of just the grandkids with the grandparents. There is also one great-grandma (we named our daughter after her) in the picture and about two handfuls of great-grandkids.

My own kids felt pretty fantastic about the whole affair. Ask a kid to run free on a Kentucky farm all day, and you will get no sass. They love the guts out of that place.

Next is a couple of awkward faces. Enjoy.

And I took some engagement pictures for my sweet niece and her fiance. Guess what you will do if I take pictures for you? Run your buns off. She had on sandals, so she was only required to do a little running. But don't they look so young, free and in love? I'm pretty positive it was the running.

Rewind to that long run I mentioned earlier. My husband was so romantic and set up the perfect long run for me on Friday night. He drove me through his hometown to plan the perfect route, and we debated water drop-offs and paces. It was every runner's dream date. My repeated quote for the night: "You are being so romantic right now." He's learning how to sweet talk the new runner in me -- with mileage, paces, and potential potty stops.

After unsuccessfully trying to recruit just one of the millions of people at the family reunion to join me for the long run, I took off shortly after 5 a.m. for my lonely exodus through a small Kentucky town. At about mile two, I cracked my first smile when I saw this. Still not a lot of light out, but clearly Kentucky is freaking gorgeous.

After mile 6, I really started to feel warmed up and awake. That's also about the time I got into the old country roads and started on a few hills. The elevation changes were nothing compared to my home neighborhood, so I was still in a great mood post-run. I also ran by tons of sad drought evidence. Here's some lowly looking corn.

The horses still looked happy.

About a mile after that group of horses, a lone horse was in his pen staring at me, and I made a tiny hand flick and said very softly, "C'mon." Just like that, the horse took the heck off. It was the coolest thing I've ever seen. I'm not a horse person, so I didn't really know that my tiny hand gesture and whisper voice would elicit such an explosive reaction.  He raced all the way to the end of his fence line and then around the pen. And also, he won.

Once the sun came up, there was tons and tons of green to make me feel happy, and these country back roads were pretty empty (read: safe for running). Here I am with my tether. I only used one ear bud to lower my risk of getting run over or bitten by a dog.

This is the finish of my run on top of a hill at the farm where my husband grew up. I ran this last bit with the farm dog, and it made me want a dog running partner. At that point, I would have taken any running partner.

I was shooting for 8:57 average pace for 14 miles. I didn't quite make it to 14 miles (the reunion schedule was too busy to keep going), but I scored the added negative-split bonus.

Some things that went great on this run:

  • I drove it the night before and planted six 8-ounce bottles of water by stop signs and under bushes. That worked out perfectly! My first time ever hiding water, and it made me feel totally legit. And I found trash cans so that I didn't have to litter the bottles. Although the last three bottles I had to carry back to my in-laws' farm because no one's trash can was beside the road in that farmy area. One in my shirt (my bra was already full) and one in each hand. Also legit. 
  • My heart rate average was 147 with a high of 163, which means that I was keeping it cool and not overworking. 
  • I tried Shot Bloks for the first time. Why have I not tried these before now? Mistake, mistake, mistake. I randomly found them when I was looking for a running water bottle at Wal-mart (BTW, they don't sell them) the night before my long run, so I picked some up. I almost considered not bringing them, but I'm so glad that I did. I bought the Black Cherry and took one every few miles. Things I loved: how easy the were to break off and squeeze one out of the package without making a mess, no crazy racing heart or intestinal problems, easier to chew and get out of the package than GU Chomps, much better than one giant shot of gel. I like the tiny increments of calories and zing throughout the run. I will be getting more of these. 
  • I wore my Wrist Saver that I won a while back over at Too Tall Fritz. I prepped my spray finger for about six unleashed dogs out in farm country. Thankfully, they were all bark and no bite, so I didn't have to actually use the spray. But I was so glad to have it. 

The rest of the day, I spent praising my husband's romance skills for putting together such a fine run.

What is the one thing you have to take on long runs? 

What is your favorite long-run fuel? Have you tried Shot Bloks?

Have you been to a family reunion this year? My husband's family has a reunion every other year.

July 27, 2012

Bra storage and dreamy hairstyles


Monday: 6 miles
Tuesday: 13 miles in 1:50 (making this up from a skipped Saturday run)
Wednesday: 8 miles
Thursday: much needed rest

These workouts felt hard as heck. The 6- and 8-mile days included faster miles in the middle, totally kicking my tail feather, which felt more like a tail boulder. Tough nuggets.

Sometimes I use outings with my daughter as blogger training camps. Lesson one: master the art of self portraits in bathroom mirrors with crapster camera phones. She nailed it.

We're currently at a family reunion where I just figured out that our hotel has the most horrible wireless internet that ever existed. Al Gore would be so ashamed right now. So instead of wasting three more hours trying to load some really amazing pictures, I'm going to give you some random thoughts. Joy.

1. Stacking this week's runs on three consecutive days felt like my old Hanson days. So when I finished those 8 miles on Wednesday, I felt like a rock star. A slow, decrepit, pains-shooting-in-every-available-direction, hobbling-the-rest-of-the-day rock star. Super glamorous. Today's rest day felt a-mah-zing, and I'm looking forward to some family soccer for tomorrow's cross training.

2. As some of you may know, I use my bra as a pocket or satchel. On long runs, I can store enough food to feed a small, starving family (read: three GUs) and my phone. This week during the 13 miler, I had some serious chafing, which I normally don't have, from my phone, and I felt nervous that I might have to give up using my bra as a phone pocket. It's so convenient that this thought brings a tear to my eye. I know they make belts and arm bands to carry phones, but honestly, the less stuff I have to strap on during a race, the better. But my phone, now that I have to keep with me. I use my phone for music when I'm indoors, and when I'm outdoors, I use it for safety. My husband can always ping it in case he's worried, and he pings it to locate me in races too. That way he can pull up to a spot just as I'm running by. Timing is everything in race spectating. So my new trick for races might be wearing two bras. Not because I need extra support because I could actually run without a sports bra and probably never notice the difference. The bottom-layer sports bra would be the skin protector, and the top-layer sports bra would hold in snacks and my phone. And maybe I could fit some tools or small pets in there too. This plan is really starting to come together.

3. My son has some serious shag hair going on right now. I'm waiting for the free JCPenney haircuts starting in August, so I'm letting him shag it out a bit longer. Today, as he was finger styling his hair, he told us that the hairstyle he had just given himself was the best he's got, and that he'd like to call it the Man of Your Dreams hairstyle. Is it even possible to stay that cool forever? Because I'd like that.

In case you didn't hear, Aspaeris is having a sale on compression shorts. Buy a red pair and get a black pair free. The code is down there on this coupon, but in case you like to read it in paragraph format, it's RUNRED45.

And if you haven't entered to win an entry to the Go Commando Half on October 20th, visit my giveaway here. Your chances of winning are high right now!

Do you run with your phone? If yes, how do you carry it?

What would your Man of Your Dreams hairstyle look like?

July 25, 2012

Go Commando Half Marathon & 5K Giveaway

Go Commando: no it's not just about no underpants. This is the second year for the Go Commando Half Marathon and 5k in Clarksville, TN, and just like the rest of Tennessee, Clarksville is surrounded by gorgeous. 

So here's a little refresher, in case you are new to Yo Momma. I ran this half last year with my big brother. 

It was the inaugural Go Commando race, and they had lots of unique bits going on in their race. There were dudes in kilts, which I'm pretty sure was just a reminder that you can use this race as an excuse to wear no underwear if you want. I kept wanting them to trip and fall, just so I could verify that theory. Plus seeing people fall warms my cold, cold heart. 

Or maybe a strong breeze would have helped us out. 


Moving on. This amazing dude set a world record for running the fastest half marathon time in a gas mask. 


He runs for Red, White & Blue, a non-profit set up to assist wounded veterans with reintegration. One hundred percent of the donations go to helping with this process so check out teamrwb.org for more information about running with them or donating. 

Did I mention that they give out Army shorts in the swag? Some people call them ranger panties, and they are a cool change from getting a shirt that will almost certainly immediately get lost in the race shirt black hole that exists in my drawers. In some cases, they leave less to the imagination. Ahem. Scroll fast if that idea makes you nervous. 


And they hand out dog tags for medals. Opposite of the boring same old, same old. 

The Fort Campbell army base is nearby so we saw a lot of military folks at the race last year. There were elderly ladies in full sweat suits (on a not so chilly day) cruising past us the whole race, probably pushing strollers and carrying on easy conversations as if they were strolling through a field of daises. I'm going to go down on the records saying that people in the military kick giant butt at any age. Seriously, I thought I had a pretty good finish time for a smaller race, but because of those butt-kicking military folk, I was not even close to placing in my age group. 

This race is still my current half personal record of 1:45, so this year, I'm going to have to kick it up a notch. It will definitely be a perfect competitive environment for a PR. You aren't just going to mosey on down to the finish line in this one. These people have got some fight in them, and they aren't afraid to whip out the big guns (their muscles, not real guns, y'all) on the course. 

They made some course changes from last year, which sound like great additions to the event. We get to run through their historic downtown this year, and like last year, the course takes you by the Cumberland River. Thank you, gorgeous river, for giving me something to think about when my quads are burning.


And after running Oak Barrel, I see what they mean about this course being relatively flat for Tennessee. Not relatively flat for Kansas, just for Tennessee. 

Registration costs $55 until September 30th, when it goes up to $60. The race is October 20th. Because Go Commando is a non-profit race, the proceeds go straight back into Clarksville's community. This year they are capping the race at 1,500, so if you know you're in, sign up now.  

So here's what I want: all of you running with me on October 20th! And definitely at least one of you will because Go Commando has agreed to provide a free race entry to one of you awesome people. Thanks, Go Commando!

To enter: 

In the comments of this post, tell me why you want to Go Commando in Clarksville.

For bonus entries (make sure to leave a separate comment for each so I can count them all!):

* Like Go Commando on Facebook and let them know Yo Momma sent you (then laugh because that joke never gets old). Leave a comment telling me you did.

* Share this giveaway via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or your blog. Leave a separate comment for each share!

* Follow (or already follow) Yo Momma Runs via Google Friend connect (see the right sidebar). Leave a comment telling me you do.

* Follow (or already follow) Yo Momma Runs on Twitter. Leave a comment telling me you do.

* Like (or already like) Yo Momma runs on Facebook. Leave a comment telling me you do.

I'll pick the winner using a random number generator on Friday, August 3rd. I want to give y'all plenty of time to spread the word to your friends and family who would love to run a fun and fast Tennessee race. 

Go Commando is providing the race entry for Yo Momma and the winner of this contest. They are not offering any other compensation, and as always, the ideas and bad jokes here are my own. 

July 24, 2012

Foot Rubz giveaway winners

Thank you so much to all of you readers for putting up with the shenanigans on here. Also, super huge thanks to Foot Rubz for providing the little balls of joy (that didn't sound right, but it's late so I'm not taking it back) for this giveaway!

Random.org picked the winners. The first six in the sequence are the lucky ones!

And just to confirm, the winners:

Laurel C
Bean at Just Plodding Along
Hiker Mom at Livin the Fit Life
Kelly at See Kel Run 13.1

Please email me at yomommaruns(at)gmail.com with your address so that I can send out your Foot Rubz.

July 23, 2012

Training plan changes and a slice of Hotlanta

*Last day to enter the Foot Rubz giveaway. Go here to enter!

Workouts: I went off the plan last week. It all started when I needed another day of running. So far the paces with the Run Less Run Faster (RLRF) plan are either way faster or way slower than what I want to hit on marathon day, so I thought I would start adding in one day a week of a marathon pace run. I stole this idea from my Hanson plan (love you, dude). So on Friday, I did 6 miles, average pace 8:10. I just really want my legs to know what 8:13 feels like for race day, but I think the speed in RLRF will help me get my 1:42 at the Nashville Women's Half.

I followed up my gung-ho extra day of running with a skip of my long run for the week. Don't worry, kids, I plan to make it up today, but I thought it was kind of funny that I was feeling all cool about showing my training plan who's boss on Friday, just to flush it down the rest stop toilet on Saturday.

All for perfectly good reasons, sometimes called excuses.

My amazing sister agreed to watch our four kidlets while we went on an overnight date to Atlanta, which I will from this point on only call Hotlanta. It's impossible not to, so there's no reason to fight it any longer.

We stayed at the super hip Glenn Hotel in downtown ATL. I knew I was going to like it when they gift wrapped my toilet paper. And in orange.

Some other highlights were the spooky glass recessed heads. Two can play this creepy staring game, glass head.

Hallway grass, for when your tiny pet rats need a place to go.

Giant exercise mats. Don't ask why I thought this would be a good bed picture pose. Some things just happen when you jump on a freshly-made hotel bed.

And even though, surprise, my camera phone took a crappy (oh man) picture, I needed you to know that I got the most important shot. Corner toilet, don't mind if I do.

When we first walked into the Glenn to check in, there were dozens of people in the small, open lobby/bar, and I felt like we just walked into someone's cozy house party. We were about three notches below cool enough for the lobby scene, so we tried the rooftop lounge. Also, slightly too cool for us, and the seating was limited. So we took to the streets.

Can anyone from ATL help me identify this building? We were pretty sure it belonged in a science fiction movie produced in the 80s.

Spock called and wants his Vulcan IDIC back.


The hotel was right beside the Centennial Olympic Park, where we learned that not all Southern statues with giant mustaches are Colonel Sanders. I was shocked.

Turns out that this mustache-ier is the Frenchman Pierre de Coubertin, father of the modern Olympic games, who apparently had the most unusually large hands. Perfect for holding on a midnight stroll in the park.

The next day, we woke up late and just sat around amazed at the silence of a hotel room without kids. Turns out that we are pretty quiet when we don't have four small people surrounding us.

The best decision of the trip was to hit up the Highland Bakery. If you are in Atlanta, you just absolutely have to go there. Unless you hate delicious stuff.

While we waited for a table, we sampled a few of the bakery items. Fresh cinnamon rolls and sweet potato biscuits.

For the main course, we decided to share the shrimp-n-grits and the peanut butter french toast.

Holy amazing grits! And the jalapeƱo focaccia was a perfect addition to the plate.

And holy giant french toast!

I could barely see my husband over the french toast massiveness.

We were in food heaven, and between the two of us, couldn't finish the food. That basically never happens to me. I'm giving this place a hundred thumbs up because 1) everything I tasted was fantastic, 2) the prices were reasonable, 3) the portions were giant enough to turn one meal into three. Definitely go there hungry.

What was the last change you made to your training plan?

Where was your last date?

If you have kids, do you ever get away for a weekend without them? It's a very rare occurrence for us, but I love it because it reminds me why I like my husband so much.

July 20, 2012

I could really use a Foot Rubz right now (a giveaway!)

Before I get into the foot rubbin', I wanted to share that Running with Molly just signed up for her first half marathon, and I think we should all go show her some love. She's going to be taking on the Women's Half Marathon (with me!) in Nashville. Get it, Molly!

Now on to the Foot Rubz.

When was the last time your feet didn't long for a massage? Um, never. At any moment, I am ready to throw myself onto the ground and let any of our four children (or even strangers' children) pounce or jump on my back, legs, arms and feet. That's how desperate I am for a massage. I'll take my chances at losing a limb or denting a kidney with wily toddler jumps. Seriously, it's often unsafe.

I've tried the tennis ball method of foot massage, but for my smallish feet (size 7), the tennis ball is too big and flips out from under my foot before I can erase a single knot. My preferred method of foot relaxation is tricking my husband into thinking that we are having a couch date (i.e. we go watch a movie while the kids are sleeping), and then I launch a begging-for-a-foot-rub attack about five minutes into the movie. He's usually pretty good about granting me a few minutes, but I'll be honest, the poor guy is hard core sacrificing because I will be the first to tell you that I inherited my dad's foot odor genes. Sorry, dad, but you know what I mean. That junk is not always pleasant.

That's where Foot Rubz waltzes (or waltz -- that z in rubz is throwing me off grammatically) into the picture. I first found them at our local Fleet Feet when I was searching out a birthday present for a running buddy. That's the problem when you're buying a running gift -- if it's something really good, you have to get one for your friend and yourself. Being a good friend is hard work!

Now the Foot Rubz is my permanent buddy. I take him on trips. He watches over the floor by my bathroom sink so that anytime I am washing my hands or brushing my teeth, we can get a foot rub on. Occasionally the twins discover him and use him as a toy. Warning: the Foot Rubz is much denser than a regular bouncy ball and can easily take out a brother or two in a throwing match.

I've also tried it on my shoulders. Not as good as my husband giving me a massage (ahem), but it works to loosen up the tight spots. FYI, I just washed my hair before this pic so it's not just super oily.

If you are a piano player, I bet this would feel delightful after a long sesh at the keys.

Dimly lit pictures of my feet are the best because you can't really tell how mangled (by running) and gross they are. Keep the lights down, baby.

Forgot your hacky sack for your high school reunion, don't even worry about it. Foot Rubz has got you covered.

The deets in bullets: 

  • Small enough to really get into the arch of your foot.
  • Nodules with flat ends that dig into knots and hit acupressure points.
  • Grips the wood/tile floor so that it's not always flying off like a slick tennis ball.
  • Easy to take when packing light (carry-on only) for a race.
  • Can double as a spiky hacky sack in a pinch.
  • Useful as a weapon in a toddler fight. 

My Foot Rubz cost just under $7 at Fleet Feet. You can also buy them on Amazon or find a retailer near you.

Edit: This giveaway is now closed. Go here to see the winners. 

Better yet, let me send you one for free. Foot Rubz sent me six of these to give away to you awesome readers.

To enter: 

In the comments of this post, tell me which part of your body is most sore after a race or hard run.

For bonus entries (make sure to leave a separate comment for each so I can count them all!):

* Follow (or already follow) Yo Momma Runs via Google Friend connect (see the right sidebar). Leave a comment telling me you do.

* Follow (or already follow) Yo Momma Runs on Twitter. Leave a comment telling me you do.

* Like (or already like) Yo Momma runs on Facebook. Leave a comment telling me you do.

* Like Due North (maker of Foot Rubz) on Facebook. Let them know Yo Momma sent you. Leave a comment telling me you did.

* Share this giveaway via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or your blog. Leave a separate comment for each share!

I'll pick six winners (using a random number generator) on Monday, July 23rd. Seriously, y'all, it's like no one can lose with this one. 

I purchased Foot Rubz on my own, but Due North, parent company of Foot Rubz, supplied the prizes for this drawing. They didn't compensate me for this review, and the thoughts and opinions are all my own.