Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Spirit of Survival Superhero 5k

This post is super overdue, but I was waiting on race pics so don't hate me!

Saturday, Mom and I drove to Lawton for packet pick-up and to check in to our hotel room. I am VERY lucky that my amazing bf has connections at hotels, because having the room was wonderful. It's so nice not to have to wake up, drive, and feel rushed getting to the race. Plus, it gives my mom and me time to catch up.

The first thing we did after arriving in Lawton was head to the park ,where the race was held, for packet pick-up. We found this race online at the last minute and knew very little about it, so we didn't really know what to expect. From what we heard online we thought there was going to be some sort of expo on Saturday, however packet pick-up was pretty typical with the addition of some race merchandise for sale. (Tip: If you are considering running the race, everything available Saturday is also available Sunday, so it isn't necessary to go Saturday.) We grabbed our packets and checked out the area and finally went to the hotel to check in.

Saturday was a big game day for my school (OSU) and my mom is absolutely freaking insane a little crazy when it comes to football. So, we spent the next few hours in the hotel room screaming at the tv. In case you can't tell, I could care less about football (sorry I'm awful) and so I spent the time reading and checking out the great swag we scored at packet pick-up.

Here's what we got in our packet:
  1. Race bib and timing tag
  2. Tech tee
  3. Pen
  4. Magic towels in a tube
  5. Three water bottles
  6. A bag
  7. Some coupons and flyers
Pretty sweet if you ask me! Once Mom was done ensuring the Cowboys won by rendering me deaf, we went out for a pre-race dinner. Generally we only travel for half marathons, so our normal traveling pre-race tradition is to "carbo-load" (read eat crappy-for-us food in huge quantities) and "hydrate" (read drink some frozen alcoholic beverage). We decided to keep the tradition alive even though it was only a 5k and we had some pasta and cocktails.

The next morning was race day and we woke up and got all dressed up. The theme of the race is all about superheros, so you know I had to dress up. We ended up leaving later than we planned and I was really on edge. I'm always on edge before races for some unknown reason and being late and sick (I had pneumonia!) was enough to make my normal nerves turn into crazy b%#$@ mode. Let's just say, I had some apologizing to do before the race started. I seriously need to work on that. I don't even know why I get so crazy. 

After we got to the race and I realized what a pain I was, Mom and I took some pre-race pics together. Mom and I had some pretty rockin costumes if I do say so myself! I made mine by myself completely from scratch!
My Wonder Woman costume
Batman (mom)  and Wonder Woman near the finish line

I forced her to take this pic, but she makes a great hero!

Soon it was time to line up for the start. I feel like every race I've been to has had something that really stood out to me and this time it was definitely the people. And more specifically the kids! There were people of all ages (Up to 77!) participating in the 5k, but there were so many young kids running. While we were waiting for the race to start we met a 12-year-old running her first ever 5k. I asked her what her plans were and she said, "I don't want to win, I just want to finish. Which is kind of like winning anyways!". So cute!

After chit-chatting with her and her mom, the race started. The half-marathoners started a few minutes ahead of the 5k runners, but we finished and started in the same place so there was some overlap. Mom and I planned on walking the entire race because of my pneumonia, but got caught up in the moment and agreed to run/walk at an easy pace instead. The course had a water stop and was fairly flat. We ran some through the streets of Lawton and then back into park to finish the last half.

Honestly, I didn't pay much attention to the course because I was too busy saying "Aw!!!" about every three seconds. Here's the sappy moments that totally made this race:

  • A couple was pushing their toddler in a stroller next to us. At certain points he would say, "me too" and they would let him run a few feet so he could feel included. It was adorable! I love that his parents are already inspiring him to want to participate in healthy activities. 
  • A dad was running with his 6-year-old son. Here's the convo they had:
    • Son: "I wanna run faster!"
    • Dad: "Careful what you wish for buddy! We've got 2 miles ahead of us still"
    • Son: "You know what I wish for Dad? I wish we could run together forever because you're the best dad in the whole world!"
  • Another stroller couple had a stereo attached to their stroller playing music out loud. The dad said he was getting tired and the toddler said, "Dad play Rocky!". Even toddlers know the power of a cheesy song like that one! haha
  • A cancer survivor ,still bald from her chemo, was rounding the corner to finish and her kids were there waiting to run to the finish alongside her. 
There were so many more adorable moments I wish I could remember, but trust me: the cutest kids in Oklahoma must have decided to get together for this race.

Mom and I finished with smiles on our faces. Once we crossed the finish line we were handed a really nice medal.
Crossing the finish

The medal
At the finish line there were some refreshments for the runners, a place to get your time printed out (for the back of your medal), free massages, and stands to cheer for the other runners coming in. Mom and I sat and watched some of the half marathoners for a while and then drove home.

Overall, I loved this event. The atmosphere was great. On top of all the adorable kids, there was also a great attitude from all of the runners. This event clearly had a lot of first-timers and the vibe was all about doing something good for yourself while helping a good cause. The swag was also pretty amazing. The tech tee is super comfy and the medal is awesome. It's actually much bigger than some of my half marathon medals! haha. There was one water stop (that I remember) during the 5k and the volunteers were very friendly and cheered everyone on.

Was there anything I would change? I wish I had run the half. By the time we found out about the race we felt like we didn't have enough time to ramp back up to half marathon distance, which is why we chose to do the 5k. I'm kind of glad because of my pneumonia, however it felt kind of wrong to finish so early when all the half runners were still out there! Also, the race website talked about an expo. The expo was more like a few tables selling shirts. I definitely wouldn't expect more (in fact much less) from a small race, but I thought it was weird that they advertised it differently. 

Would I run it again? Absolutely! Except the half next time!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Displaying Your Bling

I survived my 5k this weekend, and had a great time! I promise to post a full report as soon as they post the official race pics. Until then, I've got a review for you!

As I've mentioned before, I'm a big fan of running bling. It's a physical reminder of the miles you put in and the fun experience you had. Every time I see my medals I feel a little sense of pride remembering what they mean. So, obviously you need a great place to store your bling where you can really put your accomplishments on display, right??

I won a huge giveaway at Running With Sass, and one of the awesome prizes was a Sport Hooks medal display. I had been looking for a display like this anyways, so I couldn't wait to get my prize in the mail. Sport Hooks displays were created by a marathon runner who wanted a cute functional way to display her bling. The displays come in various sizes (1 hook, 5 hook, and 10 hook) and styles, so that you are sure to find one that fits you're personality. If not, they also make custom displays! One of my mantras is "Breathe and Believe" so I chose a display that says "BELIEVE". Here's what it looks like:

This pic doesn't do it justice at all, but trust me it's really cute. And once I get my bf to hang it for real and get rid of the tacky push pins I'm using instead it will be even cuter! haha. What I like most about the display (vs other options) is that you can expand it as well. Sport Hooks sells extra bars to put underneath with extra hooks. That'll be great since I've already managed to fill this one. Seriously, go check out their site, because I love my display and I know you will too!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What would you do for race bling?

Apparently, I'd enter a 5k with pneumonia for some bling. Pathetic.

So a couple weeks ago, I was on the hunt for some fun races to do this fall and found the Spirit of Survival. The race is super-hero themed and has a "Hulkin' Half Marathon"and a"Super Twins Half Marathon Relay"and a "Superhero 5k". By the time I found out about it, I felt like I didn't have enough time to prepare for a half marathon, so I instantly signed up for the 5k.

There are a few things I look for when I'm trying to pick a race. The most important one is the cause. I love running races that benefit others. One of my favorites from this year was definitely high on the list because of the cause. The Superhero 5k benefits cancer research, so that's one requirement down! After the cause, I'll be honest: I love the swag. The Superhero 5k not only gives out medals to all finishers, they also give out tech tees to all participants. Yes please!! Finally a fun atmosphere is high up on my list of reasons to love a race. All races are fun, because runners are just awesome people. However, some have a little extra "fun factor" going on, and that's a huge perk in my book. The superhero 5k "strongly encourages" dressing up as your favorite superhero. Yay!!

Well there you have it. Even though I'm still recovering, I can't NOT run this race. I've been really excited for it for a while. Should I probably be at home? Yea, but I plan on taking it easy and making the weekend about fun and supporting other runners.

Saturday I'm driving there and going to the packet pick-up and pre-race pasta party at the park. My bf has some awesome connections, and scored me and my madre (who is also running) a hotel room in town for that night. Then sunday I'll be waking up early to "run" (more likely cough/walk) the 5k. After the race there is a post-race expo with vendors and I'll also be hanging around to support the half marathoners (because we all know I wont be finishing after any of the 5k people).

In other news, I finally got my hair cut and it feels great! My hair has been in need of serious help since 2010. Like for real, if you cut off my dead ends, I would be bald. Who knows why I put off hair cuts, because I always love the way I feel after. Yay for soft hair! 5+ inches gone and I feel so much better. Ah!


Am I the only one that puts off hair cuts for a year for NO reason at all? probably.

What are you're three things you look for when picking out races? Fun atmosphere, swag, and a great cause! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hydration Tips and a review

Just like with exercise, hydration is vital when you're trying to get better. Luckily for me, I got sent some amazing tips and (even samples!) from Crystal Light Pure recently helping me to stay hydrated and I thought I'd share them with you:

Hydration Tips from Crystal Light Pure Spokesperson Molly Kimball, RD

1.       Keep a Tally
We can’t actually tell how well we’re hydrated by how thirsty we feel. For many of us, by the time we start to feel thirsty, we’re already dehydrated, but just how much water is enough when it comes to staying hydrated? Keep a running tally of how much fluid you’re getting and aim for half of your body weight in ounces of fluid per day, plus an extra 16 ounces for every pound of sweat lost during exercise or work in the heat. 

2.       Flavor Up to Drink Up
Want to drink water to stay hydrated, but hate the boring taste? Add the flavor you want and none of what you don’t by sipping on naturally sweetened Crystal Light Pure. It’s got no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or preservatives and is sweetened with sugar and Truvia, a natural sweetener derived from the stevia plant. It’ll give your water light, refreshing flavor with just 15 calories and 4 grams of sugar per serving. And the Grape and Strawberry Kiwi flavors have the added bonus of electrolytes!

3.       Don’t Forget about Food
Staying well-hydrated is essential for maintaining optimal energy levels, preventing muscle cramping and headaches, and more serious issues like heatstroke. But that doesn’t mean you have to force down gallons of water or bottles of sugary sports drinks. Any type of alcohol-free beverage can count toward your fluid intake – and even some foods! Some of the top electrolyte-rich, hydrating foods include all types of fresh fruit, soups like gazpacho and Greek yogurt.

4.       Watch the Caffeine
For years, the widely-held belief was that caffeinated beverages were dehydrating. An abundance of research has proven otherwise, however. The amount of caffeine typically found in standard servings of tea, coffee, and soft drinks appears to have no diuretic effect, meaning that these beverages don’t cause us to lose more fluid than they provide. But remember that you don’t want the majority of your fluids to come from caffeinated drinks since most health organizations recommend we limit our caffeine intake. Instead, try to vary what you’re drinking. 

**Everything in italics is directly quoted from an email I received from a representative on behalf of Crystal Light Pure.

In addition to the awesome tips, which I think we all can incorporate into our lives to get the best out of our hydration, they also offered to send me samples of the (new to me) Crystal Light Pure drink packets. I immediately said yes and was totally excited to try it all out.
My samples :)

I'll be honest with you guys. I always thought Crystal Light products were yummy, but never considered them for exercise. I'm beyond attached to my Gatorade. Despite the unnecessary calories in Gatorade, I never found anything that made me feel a difference while working out (or coughing up a lung) like sports drinks did. Enter my new love affair for Crystal Light Pure.

You just mix a packet in a water bottle, and go. They have very few calories(30 calories per packet), lots of flavor, and still have the electrolytes you need. On top of that they are made without preservatives and are naturally flavored. They get a 100% thumbs up in my opinion. My favorite is the Strawberry-Kiwi flavor. It's definitely a more health-conscious and diet-friendly option than sports drinks.

*Note* I recieved a sample of Crystal Light Pure from Kraft Foods, however the opinions expressed here are purely my own. 

What's your favorite hydration tip??

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I'm not dead...sort of

Sorry for disappearing AGAIN. If you're new to the blog I promise this doesn't happen often. I've been really sick and haven't done much besides lay in bed coughing lately (I have pneumonia we think). I know how excited you are about that, so I didn't have much to post.

I do have some great reviews coming up though! Recently I've received some awesome products, some from a giveaway I won ( thanks again heather!), that I thought I'd review for you. So please don't give up on life's a wheeze, I will be back with great stuff once I'm healthy enough to write something everyone who isn't on drugs can understand.

Now back to my codene-induced stupor. Bleh.

Monday, October 3, 2011

a great weekend with blah workouts

Sorry for disappearing off the face of the earth last week. I had a lot going on, and none of it was very exciting in the workout department. Most of last week I spent studying for exams. My running shoes got very lonely and Champ got very restless.

Sorry guys, my professor doesn't take "But my dog was REALLY bored" excuses for failed exams.

After pulling a few all-nighters and high pollen levels, I ended up sick (of course).  Running pretty much became off limits after that, so I ended up trying out some yoga. Hey guess what? I'm not bendy at all. I've got zero flexibility, and it was pretty hilarious, to me and my sister at least, trying to watch me do even the most basic moves. I tried for like 15 minutes to properly get into a downward dog pose. FAIL.
Like I said, FAIL.

Then my bf Cam came up to visit me. I've talked about it before, but we are currently living in separate towns (about an hour apart). It's really hard on us sometimes because we care about each other so much, but we make it work. We spent the weekend catching up with each other's lives and spoiling our dog together.

Cam was the one who bought Champ completely out of the blue. Cameron is super spontaneous and carefree, so when he saw him he couldn't walk away. When I first found out about Champ it went like this: "Hey babe, come over to my place I've got something to tell you." I drive over there and a dog greats me at the door. "So I bought us a dog. Will you be his mommy?". I'm a super planner and type a personality to the point where I kind of believe Claire Dunphy's personality was based off of me. I immediately jumped to thinking about "how can we afford this?", "where will we keep him?", "how will this work?" type thoughts and panicked. Now it's a different story. I think getting Champ was the best idea Cam ever had. It really brought us closer together, and has helped both of us grow even more. I'm a little less psycho-planner and he's a little more think-it-over now.

After playing with puppy all day, Cam took me out to dinner. I rarely go out because I'm always so busy with school work, so it was really nice to just have time for us. We talked and I laughed (that boy can make anyone giggle) all throughout dinner. I love romantic nights out with my guy. I don't talk about him enough on here, but I really should because he's such a huge part of my life and my happiness. Cam isn't a runner because he has a bum knee and prefers his workouts manly ie hard core weight lifting, p90x, basketball, or football. Even though he's not a runner, he has always been very supportive of me in everything I do, and is trying to make it to my next race! I can't wait to have him at the finish line.

Have you ever tried yoga? Are you as awful as me?