September 28, 2012

Eating batteries: don't do it

Today is the first day that I finally feel recovered from Saturday's race. My run went well this morning, and I'm hitting the hay early-ish for my 20 miles tomorrow. My training partner won't be there in the morning, so I'm interested to see how crazily I fall apart without her. She has been my long-run anchor through this whole training cycle, and I'm really going to miss having her there. 

Maybe these snacks will make me feel better. I won a bunch of Mojo bars from a contest on Women's Endurance Gear. Chocolate almond coconut?! Why didn't anyone tell me about these? That flavor doesn't come in my Costco jumbo pack of Mojos. I think they leave the best flavors out to force you to buy more. Recently I had to stop buying Builder Bars at Costco because I've gotten so addicted to the chocolate mint ones that I can't stand to buy the boring flavors in the bulk box anymore. 


If you don't like Mojos, maybe you'll be into this other snack I found at the kid table this week. Other popcorn toppings are going to seem so boring to them after this. Did I mention that one of the twins always has to have batteries with him wherever he goes? It all started a couple of weeks ago. I'm not sure what the draw is, but maybe he's power hungry. Killing it right now, e-people. Kill.ing.it. 


Obviously if you top your popcorn with batteries, you'll have to make more trips to the dentist. And just like the constant stream of full-sugar gum I had to have while I was pregnant (I developed a nine-month aversion to sugar-free gum), it was worth every cavity. For me. But this kid was declared cavity free despite his acidic diet. 


Remember when I told you that Alabama has this weird policy about registering your vehicle and getting plates. So now, apparently, political stickers are passing as license plates. I might as well just put my 26.2 sticker on the back of my car when renewal time comes next year. It'll be a lot cheaper.  


Also, there should probably be a law against being as cute as these guys. We got to spend a little extra time with our nephew (the super hero in the middle) this week because he just became a big brother. 


It's a hard job, but somebody has to be the cutest baby on the planet.


Plus she's super snugly.


Oh right, this blog is about running. I did some of that too this week. To break my feet back in after the race, we hit Red Mountain Park on Tuesday. I'm not gonna lie that I was very nervous about getting poison ivy again because mine has still not 100% healed from several weeks ago. So I had my eagle eye out for any signs of it. I'm pretty sure this little booger is the one that I jumped into a few weeks ago when a tree was down after a giant storm. To the people who clear the trails after storms, thank you so freaking much! Everything looked nice and clear this week, and I could happily take pictures of poison ivy from the safety of the free-of-debris trails. 


Does looking at that picture make you itch? It made us do this.


And it made my brother go bald. Or was that genetics? Whatever, I'm blaming the poison ivy. 


The alarm is set for 4:30 a.m., and as this post was already losing steam, I will peace out. Plus my melatonin is kicking in and not giving me much choice. 

Do you look for poison ivy/oak everywhere you go? Ever since I found out I'm allergic, I am like the freaking Sherlock Holmes of poison ivy detection. 

If stickers passed for license plates, what sticker would you pick?

What are you running this weekend? 20 miles tomorrow and then another full day of rest. 

September 26, 2012

Women's Half Marathon Nashville, September 22, 2012

* If you would like a FREE I (heart) Women's Half Marathon sticker, like the one in this linked post, please email me at yomommaruns(at)gmail.com with your mailing address, and I'd be happy to send one to you!

Travel to the race: We left around 1:30 on Friday to head to Nashville from Birmingham. That means I had three road hours to hydrate.


Some people didn't like that I had my race playlist blasting on repeat. 


The expo: we arrived at around 4:30 on Friday, so parking downtown was still a bit hectic. Luckily, we found a spot about two blocks away and quickly walked to the expo. It was all really easy to navigate, and we walked straight up to the table to grab my bib and packet. No lines! Then on to the booths. My daughter was getting high on her bored-with-all-things-running scale, so we didn't spend much time in the expo. Swiftwick, Run U Mother, SPIbelt, Newton, and several (meaning more than I could keep count of) headband companies were there. There was a loooong line at the Dr. Scholl's booth. Maybe because they were giving out free headbands for trying out their inserts. Or maybe they had Magic Mike playing behind the booth. 



The only thing I saw that stood out as not running related was a booth of fancy jeans for sale. I guess runners wear tight, fancy jeans every now and then. You have to wear something to hide your five layers of compression gear.  

Parking on race morning: I was hoping to find some free street parking, so after my early wake up of 4 a.m. (I was driving about an hour from Franklin, KY, to the race), I headed out at 5. With virtually zero traffic, I made it to downtown about 5:45. My first idea was to park at a meter. Nope, they still charge you on Saturdays and limit your time, so that was a no-go. Then I tried some paid parking. I checked out the cost, and it was $4. Perfect, but by the time I went back to my car to get my card, some random dude was putting a trash bag over the machine and now charging $10. Lame. But it was better than getting booted. So if you get to the race pre-5:45 and pay right away, your parking might be cheaper. The good news is I was only a couple blocks from the start, and it was easy to find again after the race. Plus other race ladies were parking there too, and I walked down to the race with another lady. Safety in numbers!

Pre-race vibe: Once we got there, the port-o-potties had no line at all. That changed later because I tried to go again right before the race, and the lines were pretty long but seemed to be moving quickly. The start of the race was clearly marked, and I headed over to take some self portraits by the start banner. Another lady quickly volunteered to take some for me. That seemed to be the theme of the race: niceness. 


There were also lots of official (and officially friendly) photographers hanging out, getting every group or interesting thing they could find on film. 

Also in my solo milling around, I got to see tons of folks. 

First there was Rachael who won the race entry on my blog a few months back. She was there with her family, including her baby who just happens to be the cutest baby on the planet. They all came up from Alabama to cheer her on for her first half marathon. I saw her afterwards, and she's already planning her second one. Race addicts unite. 


Then I bumped into Jordan from Short Legs + Long Runs, who is pretty much the nicest person on the planet. She just happened to be meeting Kelsey from Go Girl. So right then and there was an impromptu blogger meet-up, smack dab in front of the port-o-potties! Jordan, who is from Nashville, told me a little bit about the course and reassured me that the hills weren't that bad. After the race, I assumed she was joking! Ouch, my butt hurts just thinking about those hills.


Then I ran into Donna who is from my hometown and is a fellow Birmingham Track Club member. That was an awesome surprise! I originally met Donna at my first trail half marathon (aka my first trail race ever), and I remember her well because I spent the last many miles of that race following her and her friend on the trail. I felt like they had a rope tied to me and were pulling me along with their strength during that race. 


By the time I bumped into a hundred people, it was time to head to the start line for the 7 a.m. start. That's where I spotted this lady with creative bottle storage ideas. Is she my long lost bra storage BFF?


There were almost 4,000 people there, including the 5Kers. 


And this Segway was trying to squeeze into a tiny sliver of space. That awkward moment when you realize that walking would have been easier. 


I was in the first corral, somewhere in the middle, and they had to make an announcement to tell everyone to scoot up to the start line. That's how non-competitive and lovey this race is. No one wanted to elbow their way to the start line. 

The race: And the start was slooooow. Considering it was the first corral, we started with a very slow jog for a minute before we could break free of the crowd. I think everyone just had the idea to not go out too fast and not elbow anyone. After the first mile I got into my groove and was able to concentrate on hill after hill after hill after hill. On a regular run day, these might not have been too crazy, but it felt slightly like torture to try and hold a 7:49 pace on those hills. Luckily we were running through Nashville, which is one of my favorite cities to run in because it holds so many awesome memories. I was so happy that we ran past the International Market on Belmont Blvd. because I've been there a ton with my sister, and it just makes me smile (and want to sit down and scarf some grub) to see it. 

Source

We also ran by the Nashville Parthenon and through Centennial Park, which was a beautiful and peaceful.

Source

There were also some singers out on the course to help push us along, but honestly, I was mentally plugged in to my playlist to stay motivated. It also looked like a lot of kids and dads had come out to support their moms. That helped remind me to run faster because my rockstar husband was at home with all the boys so that I could come up and bust my rump at this race. So I had to get to busting.

Somewhere around mile 7, we turned around and backtracked for a mile or so, and I got to fist pump to Donna and high five Jordan. Plus my favorite aid stop was here. At the GU station, a bunch of dudes dressed up in flannel shirts and cutoffs and were sporting beards and mustaches. So whoever you are, lumberjacks, you made that aid station hilarious.

Those were some good distractions to push me along until mile 9. I kept telling myself that if I could just get to mile 9, it would be downhill after that. I remember reading somewhere on the site that after mile 9 it was downhill. What my brain didn't retain was the word "net." It was truly net downhill according to my Garmin.


But the uphills, hidden among that net downhill, were burning my legs up. 

Because of all the little and big hills, my speeds looked crazy. Fast, slow, fast, slow, fast, slow.


But the splits weren't too terrible. My goal was 7:49, and I think I even managed one of those in there, and I'm really surprised with the sub-8 on mile 1 because we started out so slowly. Mile 8 was a long, steady uphill, so I definitely slowed down there. Unfortunately, the all-out I had planned for the last four miles, turned into an all-survive. Ouch, ouch, ouch. 


In case you didn't see the final stats in my other post, my time was 1:42:03, 11th in my age group, 30th woman, and 31st overall (yup, not a lot of dudes in this one, but they are allowed to race that day). 

Chrissie Wellington was a huge mental inspiration for this race. Her book, A Life Without Limits, is a great read before any race that you're trying to PR. She's tough as nails and does not quit pushing herself to the edge. 

I definitely felt spent at the finish, and my calves were cramping after I stopped. My heart rate averaged 164 for the race, so the ticker was working hard. My legs, even with a healthy dose of compression shorts and socks plus stretching, were sore until Tuesday, but I was happy for the soreness to verify that I really pushed my limits that day.

Post-race party: After the finish, there were plenty of snacks, drinks, and things to do. 

The cookies were flowing.


The band was playing.


You could have someone remove the charm from your medal. The charm was actually really cool (see medal below), and even though I'm not a jewelry wearer, I would consider wearing this. Maybe it can even take the place of wearing medals to social events. 


I didn't check anything, but this was definitely the most organized gear check area I have ever seen. 


The massage tent immediately caught my weary eye, but it was $10 for 15 minutes. I brought no money, so I was super bummed that it wasn't a free massage. My calves were also mad at me for not bringing any money. 

While I was milling around, I spotted these cool ladies who were running for Ethan's Army. On the back of their shirts, they had attached pics of kids who are fighting cancer. 


In the above pic, they are giving thumbs up for Lane Goodwin, who is fighting for his life right now. Take a picture of your own thumbs up and post it to Lane's Facebook wall to let him know he has support all over the country. 


Swag: I love the bags they hand out for this race because they are tougher than other reusable bags I have, and they are perfect for swim excursions in the summer because of their waterproof lining.

Here are the free samples we got in the swag bag this year.


Minus the pretzels stolen by this kid. Don't mind if I do.


The shirts seem to run a little large, so if you aren't sure when ordering, I would opt for a size smaller, unless you want it to fit a little looser.


These were for sale in the store at the expo, and I actually liked their design better than the race shirt. Can I go ahead and cast my vote for 2013?


And the medals were huge (which I consider that an awesome thing)! The removable charm is the little lady running in front of the state of Tennessee. Love. Also, the ribbon was nice and thick with the date printed on it. Sometimes I like fancy ribbons just as much as fancy medals.


After the race: I celebrated with this chica.


Overall impressions: This race is perfect if you want a chilled out, upbeat race in Nashville. It's much less crowded than the Nashville RNR half, but you still get to enjoy the best sites in Nashville. And the after-party is more accessible and built for just kicking up and relaxing right at the finish line. Plus the lack of crazy traffic on race morning is a huge positive, and I love the 7 a.m. start time. The route has an average amount of crowd support, meaning you'll see people all along the path but they are spaced out. The streets we ran were completely blocked off, and the police did a great job of holding traffic back. There is a lot more space to spread out during this race and do your own thing pace-wise versus the constant crowd fighting during the RNR half. And all the ladies I met were so positive and supportive of each other!

Women's Half Marathon comped my race entry, but all thoughts and opinions are my own. Although I was swayed by the really big, shiny medal. 

September 24, 2012

Core Power giveaway winner

For once, I'm on time posting a giveaway winner. Maybe this new Scramble addiction I gained over the weekend is helping the cognitive function in the procrastinating zone of my brain. That's an official zone, right?

Without further nonsense, here's your winner.





Congrats, Hanna! All of the natural ingredients they use will be perfect for her because she's working on growing a baby! Email me at yomommaruns(at)gmail.com with your address and which flavor you would like to try.

Thanks to everyone who entered! And thanks again to Core Power sponsoring this giveaway!

Boston Marathon qualifying question (help!)

I need your e-help. Today I decided to go onto Boston Marathon's site and read up on qualifying times and dates to see if, for some crazy reason, all spots aren't full for the 2013 race after Nov. 3rd (our goal race date) if we could still sign up.

Then I read this little bolded statement and had a sudden realization that I may have been calculating incorrectly this whole time.


My birthday is before the race date, and I'll be 35. Does that mean that from this point on I can use the 35-39 qualifying times? Because it's not how old you are when you run your qualifying race that counts but how old you are when you run Boston. Right?

This entire time I thought that the age on your qualifying race date was what counted. Sometimes it pays to read instructions and not just assume. It's one of those weird life lessons that a five year old could teach you or that you could learn even if you had been locked in a closet for ten years.

But I have to make sure that I'm reading that correctly before I totally freak out.

How do you interpret that statement?

Did you already know this?!!! I feel like the whole interweb has been holding back this information as an evil trick.

Did you on purpose withhold this information as an evil trick?

Oh, and it's the last day to enter to win some Core Power (yummy recovery milk, filled with protein). Go here to enter!

September 22, 2012

Women's Half Marathon Nashville results

Chip time: 1:42:03
Division place: 11/469 (dang, so close to top 10)
Gender place: 30/2823
Overall: 31/2911 (yes, there were a few dudes running)
The playlist favorite of the race: The Fighter
Most cramped body part: calves and feet. Darn you, Nashville hills!

Thanks, Donna (fellow Birmingham-ite at the race), for this pic!
More info to come on the race, fellow bloggers I met (spoiler: they were awesome), and the expo/race. 

But most important is that these results mean that McMillan says I now have the possibility of a 3:35 marathon. And if a soulless calculator says something, it's always true. Never question that. 

September 20, 2012

Race prep and food exploration

*Go here to enter the Core Power protein drink giveaway.

Workouts for mini-taper week

Monday: 6.5 miles that included 1 warm-up mile and 6 .75-mile sprints with 2 minute rests between.

Tuesday: 11 miles. 1 warm-up mile, 10 miles @ 8:12.

Wednesday: spin class, 50 minutes. 30 minutes of stretching and rolling.

Thursday: rest day

Friday: I'm planning to run about 4 slow miles.

Saturday: The Race!

Sunday: rest day

Those last three days are just a plan in my brain, but I think they will come to pass.

Thanks to Running and Rambling, who hosted a Honey Stinger giveaway, I have some new fuel to try out. I'm really interested in the waffles. I think the gel will be like most gels, slightly tolerable at best (with the exception of Chocolate Outrage GU), but they get the job done.


As long as I'm going to start trying out new stuff, I might as well try my first batch of beef tongue (upper left corner of the picture below). My husband grew up on a farm where they ate beef from their own cows, so tongue wasn't new to him (read: no wasting parts of the cow). This beef tongue was at a Korean barbecue, so I dipped it into sesame oil and salt. My final verdict: good flavor but a little chewy.


This is what it looked like cooked.


In case the tongue didn't work out, I had plenty of lettuce to chomp.


Because I'm not doing desserts this week, I skipped the red bean ice cream. I was only a little sad about that. Again, if it doesn't work out, there's some backup lettuce. 


I'm working on final race prep, which means a killer playlist. My playlists are sort of like my children (only not as needy). As soon as one race ends, I start prepping for the next race's playlist. I keep an iPhone note where I add any song, new or old, that moves me during training. The best places to add to the list are during spin class and on the treadmill, mostly because it's easier to type when the phone is stationary. Also, I know if I like it during those two activities, chances are it won't get on my nerves during a race. The worst is having a song come on that you normally love but for some reason makes you want to kick it in the face while you're running. That happened to me with birthing too (so Radiohead was a big no for delivering a baby), but that one's not as easy to practice and know beforehand. 

And today is free queso day at Moe's. That means you get one free cup of queso with chips. I always get mine to go, and I make all four children go in and get one too. The rules are one per person. The queso is pretty good reheated too if you can't cram it all into your piehole in one sitting.  

Have you tried Honey Stinger waffles? Love or hate?

Have you tried beef tongue? If no, would you try it? 

What's your favorite workout song right now? I might need to steal it for my list!

September 19, 2012

Core Power review and giveaway

How many times have you guzzled chocolate milk after a workout? Too many to count? Yup, me too. Basically, Core Power is chocolate milk on crack. You have the deliciousness of flavored milk plus a load of natural protein. 


Here's some info from the company:
A delicious post workout recovery drink for your active lifestyle, Core Power is a real milk protein drink made from fresh, lowfat, lactose-free milk and real honey. Its optimum protein to carb ratio and nutrient-rich profile make for the perfect last stage of every workout. From endurance sports and bodybuilding to pilates and yoga, Core Power helps you recover faster, build lean muscle and stay at the top of your game. No matter which game you happen to play.
Why Protein?
  • Milk protein contributes to muscle development while the natural carbohydrates of honey provide the energy to rebuild muscle and glycogen stores. Consumption of carbs with protein after a workout optimizes muscle recovery and growth.
  • Made from fresh milk and real honey, one great-tasting, lactose-free serving of Core Power provides athletes and fitness enthusiasts with 26 grams of high quality fresh milk proteins, consisting of 21 grams of casein proteins and 5 grams of whey proteins. The light versions still pack a heck of a punch, serving up 20 grams of the same high quality fresh milk proteins.
  • The unique nutritional profile of Core Power uses the best proteins and delivers calories that your body can actually use.
  • Milk’s unique ratio of whey and casein proteins builds lean muscle while its vitamins and minerals keep the body healthy.
  • Honey boosts athletic performance and endurance while reducing muscle fatigue.
I tried the chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry banana flavors. The only other flavor available is honey.

Chocolate: It gets one thumb up for taste. They say that it doesn't taste chalky like other protein drinks. It wasn't chalky, but it also wasn't quite as tasty as a glass of regular chocolate milk. But then you are getting a lot more protein! So still thumbs up.


Here's the nutritional info. 

Vanilla: This one actually tasted like a melted vanilla milkshake to me. So if you like that, you're good. I enjoyed the taste. So one thumb up.



Strawberry Banana: This one was my favorite. The strawberry banana flavor wasn't too strong or fake tasting. I actually didn't realize this one was light until I started taking pictures of it. Looking at the ingredients, this one is sweetened with honey and stevia instead of honey and cane sugar like the two above. So two thumbs up for this one! They also have a light chocolate, but I only tried the full-calorie version of chocolate.



When to use: to recover after a hard workout. I sometimes drank the whole container at once, but sometimes I drank half and then drank the other half after my next workout.

After a weekday run.

During my post-20-miler ice bath.

You can find Core Power on Amazon for $41.52/case of 12. Or check here for locations that sell it near you.

Or better, just win some! Core Power is going to give one of you a free case in the flavor of your choice.


To enter: Just leave a comment telling me your favorite way to recover from a 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. Leave a comment telling me you do.

* Follow Core Power on Twitter. Leave a comment telling me you do.

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

* Like Core Power on Facebook. Leave a comment telling me you do.

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

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

I'll pick a winner on Monday, September 24th, with a random number generator and my post-half-marathon high