Friday, February 5, 2016

Finding a Fitness Facility That Works For You and Your Goals!

Finding a Fitness Facility That Works For You and Your Goals! 



1. Location:  Picking a location that is close to your home or work is crucial.  If you have to go far out of your way, or if working out will add significantly to your commute, I guarantee you won't be sticking with your routine for long.  It's just not sustainable.  You want to maximize the time spent sweating, not driving. 
 
2. Price:  Finding a great deal to fit into your budget will help you stick to your goals.  If it is something that is affordable it will help you stick with it each month. 
 
3. Fitness Class Schedule:  Working out with others is fun!  But, if you are a group fitness fan like I am, it is so important to check out the schedule before you join a gym.  It is so sad to join and then realize the times they hold classes do not work for you. 
 
4. Child Care:  As a parent, I feel this is so crucial.  You never know when you are going to need it.  Spouse travelling on business?  You can still work out!  Day off school with the kids?  You can still work out!  It's one less excuse. 

I was recently able to visit Washington Sports Clubs® (https://www.mysportsclubs.com) and realized that this club meets many of my needs. 

1. Location!  The are many WSC clubs all throughout the DC region which is a plus for me.  They are also big in NYC, Boston, and Philadelphia:     New York Sports Clubs®,  Boston Sports Clubs®
and Philadelphia Sports Clubs®  The Sports Club Network has grown to more than 150 clubs. Find a local sports club near where you live or where you work: https://www.mysportsclubs.com/studio/search

2. Price.  They are moderately priced and running some great promotions right now.
1.       To find out the most current promos, go to  www.mysportsclubs.com
2.       For a free 1 day pass  https://www.mysportsclubs.com/Home/ProspectInterest
3.       To try a free class,  https://www.mysportsclubs.com/scheduler
4.       For a free personal training session https://www.mysportsclubs.com/forms/4858

3. Class Schedule.  I love group fitness classes and WSC is proud of their slogan, "Your class, your flow" – find the perfect fitness class for you/classes available every hour.  They offer a variety of popular and motivating group exercise classes such as Spinning®, yoga, Zumba® and exclusive programs such as UXF® Circuit and the UXF® Training Zone.  If group fitness isn't your thing, they also have enhanced personal training to help you reach your goals.

"Spinning Builds Endurance"
 

4. Child Care is very important to me.  That way I can bring my daughter along and not have to worry about finding a babysitter/coordinating with my husband's work schedule to attend a fitness class.  At WSC, Babysitting and active kid programs are available so I can work out worry free.

child care room at Washington Sports Club Columbia Heights



I was very happy with my visit to Washington Sports Clubs: Columbia Heights location.  They have been a fitness leader since 1974 and it shows. The facility was clean, modern and inviting.  Facility extras that stood out to me: racquet sports/full basketball court and the babysitting and kids programs.






This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Town Sports International. The opinions and text are all mine.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Lost Your Motivation to Run? 6 Tips To Help!



Lost your motivation to run?  Yeah I have been there!


I have found at times I lost my mojo a few things helped:

1.   No devices (except music!)   Just going where your legs want to take you and at the pace they want to take you.  Sometimes when we've lost our motivation looking at a watch can feel defeating....I only went 2.5 miles?  Ugh.  My pace was what?  Ugh.  Turn off that part of your brain and just go to go.

2.  Run with a buddy to chat.  This can be such a great distraction.  It's like going out for a coffee with a friend, but cheaper and less calories!  Just take the pace nice and easy and enjoy the company of your friend!   

3. Download some new music.  That song of the moment that you just can't get enough of?  Yeah download it.  Listen to it on repeat if you have to.  It will quicken your step and lighten your mood.  A running dance party!   

4. A cute new running outfit.  I know it seems superficial but a new pair of shoes, or shorts, or leggings can sometimes be what does it! 

5. Sign up for a race.  Maybe a distance that perhaps you've always had a nagging time goal you have wanted to beat.  Thinking ahead to long term goals can give runs today more purpose.  

6. A destination run. Go to a  place that the sheer beauty will make you think "This is WHY I love running".   For me it's the beach, or a beautiful wooded path. 


Good luck!  I hope you find the joy in running again soon!  Let me know how it goes! 

Product Review: UnTapped Maple Energy

I have recently discovered a new fuel for my long runs and I am very excited about it.  I had to share!  I bought Untapped on a whim on Amazon when it was suggested to me. (You can get it directly from their website as well: http://untapped.cc/) I took it out on my last two long runs.  I shared some with my BRF and she has since bought her own box online as well!   
 
Why I love it:  The consistency and the taste are huge for me.  It goes down very easy.  My BRF and I took it without water (because we weren't carrying any) and were able to swallow it just fine.  The taste had us sucking out the package to the last drop! 
 
UnTapped's reasons to love it! 
• Maple syrup is low glycemic. Containing all natural sugars, maple syrup provides prolonged, sustained energy rather than offering a quick burst and subsequent crash like many adulterated sports sweeteners.
• Maple syrup contains Calcium, Riboflavin, Manganese, Zinc, and Potassium. These inherent elements of maple syrup promote energy production, muscle recovery, and help prevent cramping.
• Maple syrup features more than fifty antioxidants. This cocktail of polyphenols have powerful free radical fighting properties. Foods with similar qualities include berries, green tea, red wine, and flaxseeds.
• Maple syrup contains amino acids, which prevent muscle deterioration.
• Maple syrup is water soluble making it easy to digest, quick to absorb, and no more gut-rot from downing sugary energy gels! Plus it’s a cinch to clean up; just rinse with water. Alternative sports gels are like tar to clean up.
All this means that UnTapped maple is an organic, single ingredient, one-stop-shop for your on-the-go needs.
 
I am sharing this review with you all because I am just really excited about this product.  I was not given any compensation or product for this review.  I bought my own Untapped but just had to share.  Now my BRF and I are on a crusade to get it carried locally. 

Race Recap: Richmond Marathon Nov. 2015

After not having the race I wanted at the Marine Corps Marathon (you can read that recap here), I decided at the last minute to register for the Richmond Marathon with my run bud Abbie.  She didn't have the race she wanted at New York either, so we were out for redemption.  I was nervous about two marathons back to back (3 week apart with basically just taper in between) and another runner friend of mine told me that she didn't think it was a good idea, but I KNEW I could do better than what the time clock read at MCM.  I was determined. 
 
Friday was a school field trip for me and I went the entire day without water.  I forgot my water bottle....I couldn't believe it!  I finished out the school day and we hopped in the car southbound for Richmond.  We spent a lot of time in the car as we sat through all the Friday evening DC rush hour traffic.  Ugh. 
 
Richmond Bound!
 
We finally arrived around 7pm and were starving!  We made a quick stop at the expo to get my packet and Abbie's.  I had yelped restaurants in the area and we found Sticky Rice.  It had lots of sushi options, tater tots and PBR on special.  What a way to fuel the night before a marathon, right?  As we sat at dinner, my muscle everywhere just seemed to ache.  I got really nervous because that is how my body felt when I had gotten the flu last winter.  On the way to the hotel we stopped at Target to buy a thermometer just to make sure.  No fever.  I decided to sleep it off and see how I felt in the morning. 


Morning came and I felt okay, but still incredibly nervous about how this was going to play out.  I just kept thinking- this is such a bad idea!  The muscle aches were gone and I think they were a result of dehydration from not drinking much water all day Friday.  I got ready in the hotel room and had some instant apple and cinnamon oatmeal and kona cola nuun.  


Ready to go.  Huma Gels, Garmin, Nuun Tat, Gloves, Toss Away Layer
We drove to the start area and parked in a parking garage.  We walked the half mile to the start.  Right as we were arriving we could see the half marathon getting ready to start.  We found our way over to the marathon start which was a different location.  We waited in the porta potty line and when we were finished, the 4:00 pace group was just crossing the start line so we hopped right in.  Perfect timing! 
 
We started very conservatively.  Going slow, chatting, looking at the historic houses and having fun.   We started to warm up and I tossed my gloves and long sleeve.  This race I brought along salt stick tablets and I really think that they helped.   
 
Around mile 18, Abbie started to fade.  I was still feeling good and encouraged her to just stay with me.  She eventually told me to just go.  I felt awful leaving her but she wanted me to have a good race.  I continued to feel strong all the way to the finish.  One neat thing about this race was all the spectators that handed out water, drinks and fuel.  I didn't take any of the food and candy because I didn't want it to mess with my stomach, but I did stop at a make shift water stop and downed two cups of their water! 
 
Some of the final miles I experienced a little bit of mental boredom but my body felt pretty good.  The long slow gradual uphill returning to downtown was beating me up a little.  Once we got closer to downtown again, my spirits picked up.  About mile 25 the lululemon cheer squad was out in full force right at a corner and as I rounded it, I gave them "raise the roof" arms in appreciation!  I kept looking at my watch thinking how proud I was of myself and how proud my husband was going to be too!   I was just looking forward to the final stretch downhill that I had heard so much about.  I saw Courtney in one of the parking lots along the way and she gave me a nice cheer and yelled, "You look strong!".  Once I got to the top, I took off downill at a 7:18 pace for the final third of a mile!  On the fast downhill I was looking on both sides at the wall of spectators hoping to catch my husband and daughter.  I saw them!  I was so excited!  I crossed the finish line with a HUGE smile on my face.  I did it!  When looking at my splits, I stayed consistent the entire race!  I finished in 3:51 with a 8:48 overall pace.  I had just cut 19 minutes off MCM! 
 
I met up with my husband and daughter at the finish line area.  There was lots of food to choose from candy, pizza, bagels, etc.  The pizza was a bit cold and not that appetizing to me, but I made sure to use my beer ticket of course!  I ate some of the food I had stored with my husband and we waited for Abbie. 
 
Feeling pretty ecstatic! 

I was so happy and so proud of Abbie when I saw her.  Two marathons in two weeks.  Hardcore. 

finish festival
After spending some time in the sun at the finish festival, we headed out to go get some real food.  I was able to enjoy another beer and really take a good look at the medal.  It is beautiful and made with stained glass.  This one will always be one of my favorites. 

Gorgeous medal! 

 
I couldn't leave Richmond without a jumpshot of course! 
And the little wanted in on the jumpshot action! 

 

I went on to instagram to check out the #RunRichmond hashtag to see other pictures and stories from the race during the car ride home.  I was so happy to see I had made top post status!  I enjoyed looking at other's photos and offering them words of congrats. 

#RunRichmond Instagram Feed

A few days later, I got the email with my photos from the race.  This was the first race where I liked every single photo!  I am tempted to buy them all! 

Race Photos I Actually Like! 

Grade: A.  I would definitely Run Richmond again.  The weather was great, the people were great, the course was great.  Seriously, I have nothing but love for this race.  I am sure that hitting a PR is part of those feelings, but that is okay with me!  I also really enjoyed exploring Richmond.  What a neat city! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Product Review: Kushyfoot socks


I was recently sent some samples of Kushyfoot brand socks and I love them!  I wanted to share and give them a shout out since I am asking for more as stocking stuffers and know that some of you may want to as well! 

As a runner, I always feel the need to protect my feet!  The flats to go are excellent because I am able to store them in my purse or bag and use them if my feet are hurting from the shoes I am wearing that day or if I feel a blister forming.  I can't risk getting a blister from every day shoes that will compromise my run!  The other product that I have fallen in love with is their foot covers!  I wear ballet flats daily and these are the PERFECT sock to wear with them to keep stinkiness at bay!  I hate when you wear a super low cut sock but you can still see it peeking out of your flats.  The Kushyfoots are completely hidden!  A ballet flat lovers' dream.

Seriously....I am in love and wanted to share.  As runners, we need to protect and pamper our feet...even/especially when we aren't running!


Their online store is currently closed at the moment as they upgrade, but you can buy on amazon! 



About KUSHYFOOT  : Kushyfoot legwear products are one of North America’s finest hosiery manufacturers, and supplier of prestigious private label programs for retailers, as well as a core brand manufacturer. Available in over 10,000 doors around the nation and online, and in more than 50 styles, they deliver unheard-of comfort and high-end quality at affordable price points ranging from $3.99 to $9.99 retail. Flats-to-go(R), tights, trouser socks, anklets/crews, foot and toe covers, shoe cushions, sport socks (including pedicure and yoga socks) and home/dorm socks comprise the collection.  Kushyfoot.com sells on a multi package basis.www.kushyfoot.com

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

I love Hemp Hearts!

I have always loved hemp hearts.  They are such a healthy addition to so many recipes and foods I already eat.  Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts are a staple in my fridge.  Check them out at manitobaharvest.com

These nutty little seeds are packed with protein and Omega 3s, and taste delicious sprinkled on just about everything, from salads to toast, to soup, to smoothies to oatmeal. 

Lunch is served!  Avocado Toast on Ezekial Bread with Hemp Hearts!
 



I love pumpkin soup with Hemp Hearts!  Recipe here



Want some additional inspiration? Manitoba Harvest has some AMAZING recipes here

I want to share the love, so I am doing a giveaway for a bag of hemp hearts! 

Giveaway restrictions: 
  • Open to US and Canada residents
  • One prize per person. If you win this giveaway, and have already won another prize from Manitoba Harvest through another blog, please disclose that you have already won so we can choose another winner. 
Enter the Giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

@ManitobaHarvest (IG and Twitter), #hemplove, #sweatpink

Monday, November 2, 2015

Race Recap: Marine Corps Marathon





This year was my 3rd running of the Marine Corps Marathon.  This year was made extra special as I connected to a fantastic organization to honor Marines who lost their battle with PTSD once they returned home.  I signed on and was matched with a Marine that I would run for.

"Their pictures on our backs - Their names in our hearts”



Approximately 22 veterans a day take their own lives, a report released in 2012 by the Department of Veteran Affairs shows.

There are a number of reasons for this startling statistic, among them: post-traumatic stress (PTS), the effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI), and the negative stigma in the military community around seeking help.

Through athletic events, 22 Too many seeks to serve as a living memorial, increase public knowledge and awareness of PTSD to help reduce the stigma, share helpful resources, and provide support and comfort to the grieving families left behind.

          Our goal is to see 22 reduced to 0. 

We started the weekend with the expo on Friday night.  I kept my MCM metro card from last year and used it to get down to the expo.  I thought it was very fitting! 
The expo this year was at the convention center downtown which made it much more convenient than going to the Armory as in year's past.  I have heard next year the expo will not be at the convention center, but will move to National Harbor.   We got to the convention center and made our way to our first stop, picking up my daughter's packet for the kid's race to be run on Saturday morning.  She was so excited!  Then we picked up our packets for the marathon.  We had to take a group picture as all three of us had bib numbers! 


The Expo is large!  So many booths to visit, free samples, and official gear to buy!  You can definitely spend a good while there.  


We headed home at closing on the expo on Friday night.  Saturday we were off to the kids race (a separate blog post and review on the kids race here), errands, picking up my in-laws at the airport and marathon prep.  The night before, I had a very difficult time picking out my race outfit!  I knew that the orange was more unique and easily visible in a crowd, but the maroon and black won out after I was reminded that this 40th running of MCM was the ruby anniversary and the shorts were perfect fit for the occasion! 

We woke up early, hopped on the metro from our house and rode in with a lot of other runners and we all chatted on the ride about the course and our goals.  Jim and I are both members of Montgomery County Road Runners and they had arranged for a hospitality suite before the race as a place for bathrooms and to leave our gear and then walk to the start line.  We dropped off our things and then left earlier than the rest of the group to walk over.  I am glad we did because we encountered quite a security line!  From everything I have heard/read of others accounts a lot of people were late to the start line! 
Running in Honor of Fallen Heroes.  22 Too Many Veteran Suicides Per Day. 


It was lightly raining as we walked to the start.  Humid and warmer than I would have liked.  I was not cold at the start except for my hands.  Luckily someone tossed their gloves in the corral and I ran over to grab them!  I wore them for the first two miles.  Score.   I had my strongest training cycle to date but didn't want to get ahead of myself goal wise.  I just told myself all I wanted to do was go sub-4:00.  I started out slow as was my plan since the first 4 miles of the course are pretty hilly.  I also wanted to start slow to conserve my energy for later.  My early miles were in the 9:30s much slower then goal pace, but for some reason these early miles felt really hard.  I started to doubt how I was going to make it all 26.  I had a feeling this wasn't my day.  At mile 6 I got a painful side cramp.  I never get side cramps and honestly can't remember the last time I had one.  I tried deep breathing, running with one arm in the air, etc.  It finally went away around mile 8.  Around that time, my stomach began to feel very acidic.  I keep feeling like I had to burp but each time I would, stomach acid would come into my throat.  It was very unpleasant.  Each time I felt I had to burp I tried to suppress the feeling...that was hard to do.  I was starting to feel pretty uncomfortable.  I stopped at the Medical tent at the end of Haines Point to ask if they had Tums.  They said all the had was saltine crackers.  Looking back now, I should have accepted those. 
Not feeling good, but faking it for the cameras.  I couldn't even fake it later on. 

I met up with my running buddy, Abbie around mile 19 to give me the support to get over the 14th street bridge.  For some reason that bridge just gets me.  It killed me in last year's MCM and I had to walk part of it.  It got me during the Army 10 miler and in my splits you can see that is where I was off pace.  I just don't like that bridge!  I told Abbie about my stomach issues and she so graciously offered to run to a CVS and get me some pepto or Tums...something to quiet my stomach.  I figured we would never find each other again if she left.   The thought of more sugar in the form of Gatorade or Gu or Cliff Shots made my stomach want to turn.  I had a similar issue during my very first marathon and my stomach pain brought me to tears during that race.  Once we got to Crystal City, the stomach pain was pretty overwhelming and I had to stop twice to walk.  I needed something, anything to balance out all the acid I was feeling.   A spectator had a giant tray of goldfish crackers and I grabbed a handful.  I was trying to eat them while I was running and it was so difficult since my mouth was dry and they stuck to the roof of my mouth!  It did help the stomach a little bit!   I kept checking my watch and even with the slower pace then planned, I was calculating that I would be very close to 4:00.  What I didn't plan on was running long.  I didn't realize how far off I was from bring accurate to the mile markers and that in turn made my own calculations be pretty far off.  My watch beeped for Mile 26 but the finish line was no where in sight!  I finally came upon the final 90 degree turn and up the final steep hill to the finish.  My watch finished at 26.7 miles.  That extra half mile adds almost 5 minutes unfortunately.  I know that it is impossible to run the tangents in a race this large, but I need to get better at attempting it.  It can make a big time difference.   I ended up crossing the line with a 4:10 finish.  It was a 3 min PR over last year, but the training I put in this cycle should have carried me to a much stronger finish so I still felt very disappointed. 

I walked through the very long finisher's chute and saw my husband and our friend Jamie Corey.  We all shared our race stories and I learned my husband was over ten minutes off his sub-3:00 goal too!  He threw up on the 14th street bridge (see I told you that bridge was EVIL!).  He considered a DNF, but since we were both running in honor of fallen Marines and sending our medals to the families', he knew he had to press on to get his.   For some reason, for both of us- it just wasn't our day.   Better luck next time.....

The marathon distance is such a fickle beast.  It's tough on the body for sure and I feel like things have to fit together just right sometimes.  The weather wasn't ideal and obviously something within my own body wasn't ideal either. 
Wasn't the race I imagined, but every finish line is a victory!