This holiday season I was blessed with many gifts, one was a pair of these amazing socks from Tabio USA.
Another (unwelcome gift) was facing the worst cold season I’ve had in a long time with being sick on and off for over a month. Bronchitis is the pits and it totally prevented me from giving these Signature Run Toe socks a proper trial on the running trails or pavement, but I did get to test them out elsewhere.
What better way to break them in than through touring the streets of Rome?
My travels through Rome involved A LOT of walking and with clunky boots the added arch support was a godsend.
I had also been suffering from hotspots on my heels from wearing improper socks a few days prior and these bad boys saved me from any further blistering. The large heel structure and snug fit prevented any potential rubbing and left my feet happy.
The trip was a blast and I made my way home with happy feet and a full and happy heart. I’m very much looking forward to trying them on my next run and will need to report back once I do–it’s getting that much closer to race day and Seneca7 will be here before I know it.
Here’s to health and happiness in the New Year! Cheers!!
As a trainer, I know the importance of adding various stability work to build on our proprioceptive abilities. Challenging our natural movements with The Surge® is a great way to accomplish this, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to be awarded the opportunity to try it out for myself.
The Surge is a portable piece of training equipment that uses water to create dynamic resistance, which will effectively challenge every part of your body as it works to stabilize the moving water.
It can be used in a variety of manners and is extremely versatile. You can go light or add more water (see chart below) to take things up a notch. However, you should be aware that you’ll want to lighten your load due to the added challenge of the moving water.
As mentioned, there are a variety of ways to use The Surge. The dual vertical and horizontal handles open up a whole slew of possibilities. You can do anything from deadlifting to jump squats.
In addition to these traits, The Surge also comes in two different sizes. The more compact 3.0 is great for core and upper body work.
This is definitely a great addition to my arsenal of training tools. I look forward to using this in my work with clients and within my own training plans. It’s going to get a lot of use.
Have you heard of The Surge? Do you see how it can benefit your training sessions?
Back to back race weekends are not something I am used to and likely not something I would recommend. In short, my body and mind are exhausted, but it was so worth it.
If you’re from the area and you are a runner chances are that you’ve heard of the Seneca7 relay race. It’s fairly new (5 years old) and this is my second year participating in the fun.
Last year I was just on the mend from bronchitis by race day, this year I was facing a similar fate. My cough was finally gone, but my body was still under-conditioned due to the 3 week hiatus and not quite ready for another long day of racing. I was nervous and being runner 7 didn’t help calm my nerves. I always get nervous before a big race (even if the outcome doesn’t matter) and I had to sit around and watch every other runner on my team complete their legs before I had a chance at my own.
Leg #7: 4.1 miles, 00:49:06, 12:01 pace
When it finally came time for leg#7 I was ready (or at least I thought I was). I knew my distance was 4.1 miles, but I failed to fully checkout the elevation chart for that first leg. Can you guess what it looked like??
It was a lovely 4.1 miles of an uphill climb. It wasn’t the worst of hills, but for someone like me who was still physically recovering from a hilly half, it was brutal. Not the way I envisioned starting out my long day of racing. Seeing my finish pace of 12min/mile was defeating. How could I have slowed down so much since last year? What was going on?
In short, hills suck. They suck the life and energy out of every muscle in my body and are a literal pain in my ass.
Leg#14: 3.1 miles, 00:35:24, 11:26 pace
Leg 14 felt a lot better, but I still couldn’t get past the mental game that was going on in my head. Why on earth was I still moving so slow? Why were so many people passing me while looking so light on their feet? Why couldn’t I push myself more? I’m used to being slow, but back to back weekends of getting slapped in the face with the slow stick was definitely starting to take its toll on my mind.
Leg #21: 3.7 miles, 00:43:13, 11:45 pace
My final leg was a relief, not because it was easier, but because I was that much closer to ending such a long day. I was spent and all I wanted to do was drive home and get cozy with my bed and pillow. Being the last runner was so much more challenging than I had anticipated. Watching each of my teammates finish their final legs while I was still awaiting mine had me wishing I was runner 1.
I sucked it up and finished off as strong as I could. By the time I reached the team reunification point I was running on E, but felt a final kick of power set in. I picked up my pace for the last quarter mile and lead my team across the finish. I was done. We were done. FINALLY. Team Prepping For The Zombie Apocalypse had finished their last year with the namesake.
Well, I did it! I finished my second racing half marathon! It wasn’t at all as I had planned–this was supposed to be the race I would PR in and where I finally hit sub 2:30, but that didn’t happen and I am okay with it.
Training for this half was touch and go and there were times where I wasn’t sure if I should stick with it. At the end of February shortly after a 10K training run I was hit with the worse case of flu/bronchitis that I’ve experienced since college. It hit really hard and took me out of training mode for 3 weeks. Three weeks might not seem like a huge chunk of time, but it was and it left me with just 4 weeks to retrain my body to run 13.1 miles.
I went in without high expectations and accepted the fact that this would not be the race I had initially hoped for. What I didn’t account for was how mentally challenging it would be. This race was probably one of the most difficult ones to date. I was (and still am) fighting yet another cold with a cough and the medication I take does wonders, but it also dries me out. By mile 4 I was regretting my decision to stick with the half–I kept wishing I had just downgraded to the 10k. I was parched and my lungs burned as I sputtered out dry coughs.
The inner dialogue I had with myself was at times comical, but mostly I kept repeating, “FUCK! Why is this so hard? What am I doing here. Why didn’t I downgrade. 9 more miles?! What in the actual fuck? How will I make it through”.
I am a slow runner, but this is the first time I’ve truly experienced true back of the pack racing. It adds to the mental challenge. You find yourself racing solo and the walk breaks are so much more tempting. The urge to quit is that much greater and every ounce of pain is magnified. I had no music to distract me and no friends to push me forward. It was hard. I felt like I was failing.
The rolling hills didn’t feel like rolling hills, they felt more like a constant gradual incline with the occasional downhill. With the steeper hills I found myself walking and fighting so hard not to lose momentum. I’m not typically a run/walker–I would much rather keep a slow and steady pace than break and restart. This is the first race (aside from the full marathon) where I continually needed to walk and it was frustrating.
Though I spent a lot of time running alone, I was sandwiched between a couple of runners, yellow shirt guy and neon shirt lady. Both had pulled ahead of me at various points during the race and my goal was to stick with them. I didn’t want to finish behind them so I did my best to conserve my energy for a strong finish. I took advantage of the downward hills and used them to catch up, but they still remained ahead of me until mile 11-12.
Having the finish on one of my regular routes was definitely beneficial for my final stretch. I knew after mile 12 that the remainder of the course was on a slight downhill. I knew that I’ve run down that same path on Tower road and that I would always finish my lunch runs strong. I knew that I already had 11 miles behind me and that giving up in the last mile would have been for someone weaker than myself. I knew that my heavy legs still had some life in them.
I powered through and pulled ahead. I passed both yellow shirt guy and neon shirt lady. I know it probably didn’t mean much as far as boosting my finish time, but I dragged myself across the finish at 2:55:30. It was 21 minutes past my PR and I was legit 592/598. It almost embarrasses me to post that time and place, but what can I do? Why be embarrassed?
It’s these moments of humility that strengthen us. It’s these moments where we wanted to quit but didn’t that show us we are capable of greater things. I know I will do better and that this race doesn’t define me as runner. If anything it has taught me a lesson about perseverance and pride. Pride for those back of the pack runners. No one knows true strength and determination until you’ve experienced running a race at the back of the pack. It’s an experience every runner should feel. I know it’s opened my eyes for appreciation of what our bodies and minds can achieve.
Did you race this past weekend? Were you at Skunk Cabbage? Have you ever experience a lesson in humility during one of your races?
**I did not get paid for my review, but did receive free product. As always, my experiences and opinions are my own. As a blogger and fitness enthusiast I do my best to provide true and honest accounts of fitness products that I’ve used.
A few weeks ago I was contacted by a rep from Ozzy Gear Impact Armbands and was so graciously offered an opportunity to both review and giveaway their product. So, what’s so special about these armbands?
I’ve had my share of armbands for my iPhone/iPod before and the majority of them didn’t hold up well over time. Ozzy Gear has worked hard to create a product that stands up to the test of time.
Upon inspection, you can see the durability of this product. It is made of neoprene and is pieced together with durable stitching and strong velcro.
One of my favorite things about this band is that it’s adjustable to fit many arm widths. Option A fits arm sizes approx. 8″-11.5″ and Option B fits arm sizes approx. 11.5″-14″. This is great for those of us with larger arms and also provides multiple ways to be worn.
When I run and am using my tracking app I like to wear the band on my forearm so that it’s more easily accessible. I also choose this option when I’m training my arms. I don’t like to have it strapped to my bicep while my muscles expand and contract because I find it to be restrictive. Having the alternative option takes care of this issue.
I used the band with my iPhone 5S (includes case) and it fit comfortably and protected my phone from the elements. I’ve worn the band multiple times through wet snow and freezing rain and my phone was left dry and unharmed. The armband stands up to its description of being durable, but within a few weeks there was minor wear present at the insertion point.
This doesn’t seem to have any effect on the product and my only real complaint is that the camera hole doesn’t really line up well with my phone. I suppose that is the trouble with a band that is designed to fit many models of phone. Per their website, “It’s a perfect fit for iPhone 6 (4.7) and Galaxy S5. Also fits many iPhone 5/5S/5C and iPhone 4/4S with protective cases on. Does not fit iPhone 6 (5.5).”
Now let’s get to that giveaway!! I’ve got three of these babies up for grabs and there are multiple ways to enter! You can earn chances to win by commenting below or by following me on Instagram and sharing my giveaway photo with the hashtag #SarahGriffFitOZZYGEAR, you can also tweet this post with the same hashtag.
I will be selecting and announcing the winners on Valentine’s Day so be sure to get entered! You can enter as many times as you want via Instagram/Twitter, but can only earn one entry for commenting below.
In addition to my giveaway I’ve got a $3 off discount code to share with you all. Use code “SARAHFIT” for $3 off the purchase of an armband (good through midnight 2/28/2015).
Do you use an armband during your workouts? Have you tried Ozzy Gear bands yet?
I’m not a small person and I don’t carry the (stereo)typical “runner” physique. I’m still working towards my weight loss goals and my body isn’t light and lanky. I have heavy, solid legs and curves. My mommy tummy still shakes and jiggles when I run and I pound the pavement hard.
Running at this weight might not be ideal, but it still feels pretty damned good! I’m pushing 185-188lbs these days and on a good day can push a 10:10 pace for a 5K. My long runs are much slower, but I can go for miles and miles without needing to rest. Really though, none of that matters–I am a slow runner, I am a larger runner, I am a mother runner, I am a runner.
It doesn’t matter which adjective I use to describe it, it all boils down to the fact that I am a runner. I am strong and powerful and I can accomplish more than my mind knows.
BUT, that doesn’t mean that running larger doesn’t come with its challenges. Having a heavier build often means that you’re exerting more wear and tear on your body. Pounding the pavement hard can take its toll on the body if you do not take the proper precautions. Many of us larger runners take on running as a means to lose weight. Eager to go hard and hit big goals, many new runners are faced with the dread that is a running injury.
Believe me, I’ve faced my share of running related injuries and I know what my body can and can’t handle. Surprisingly, most of said injuries occurred before I even became a runner. In college when I participated on the woman’s rowing team I faced multiple overuse injuries to my knees. I had IT band issues and patellar tendonitis. There really wasn’t a time where pain wasn’t present. I resigned to the fact that I had bad knees and thus couldn’t be a runner.
Fast-forward to today. I haven’t faced any real injuries (aside from the time I didn’t change shoes soon enough) since my running ventures began in 2013. In the first weeks of running I did make the mistake of using my 2-year-old running shoes and soon enough I began to feel pain in my shin. This is when I learned the importance of a good shoe and how easing into training is the best course of action. So, I’ve decided to use my own experiences and compile them with additional tips for preventing injury as a larger runner.
*Please Note: I am not a running expert nor a physician. These tips are based on my own experiences and research.
Ease into your training. If it hurts when you do it, then don’t do it! I know this seems counterintuitive because running can “hurt” in a good way without causing injury, but what I’m saying is that you need to ease your body into running so that you don’t get injured. If you try to go too fast or too hard too soon, your body will pay the price. I strongly advise that you take a couple of weeks to build and develop strength in your legs. I usedP90X as my foundation builder and I think it’s what helped me feel like I could actually be a runner.Having a proper base is a great way to prevent overuse injuries. This can also be achieved by using one of the beginner runner programs like Couch to 5K. Programs like this ease your body into running and it’s important to follow the program as advised, it is not the time to be an overachiever (which can actually set you back instead of push you further).
Buy proper footwear. Because we are built heavier, it’s very important to make sure we make the effort to get a proper shoe and to make sure we change our shoes when they lose their support. A good rule of thumb for bigger runners is to find a shoe with a strong midsole support system. For me this just so happens to be Asics Gel Kayanos. Every shoe’s life expectancy varies depending on the runner’s stride, the shoe type, and the conditions the shoes are run in (i.e. concrete running vs. trail running). For myself I usually find the 300 mile range to be my sweet spot. It’s all about listening to your body though! If you start to feel aches and pains that weren’t there a few weeks ago it might be time for a new pair.
Choose your running surfaces wisely. Not all running surfaces are created equal! Concrete is by far the worse surface to run on, it doesn’t offer any form of shock absorption so your body is faced with the brunt of it. When possible it’s best to opt for softer surfaces–this is why you often see runners on the road when there is a perfectly good sidewalk next to them. I’ve grown to love trail running for this particular reason. My stride is cushioned by the soft ground and the scenery and terrain change makes for a fun run.
Listen to your body. With any fitness routine it’s always important to listen to your body. If you feel achy and it’s just sore muscles you won’t do too much damage by going out for a quick jog. If you feel pinpoint pain that worsens upon running then you might want to cut back and let your body heal. If you’re not sure what your body needs then you might want to consider seeing a doctor. Persistent pain is a big red flag and ignoring it can lead to permanent injury that can derail your running completely.
Go your own pace. This goes hand in hand with easing into your training. Group runs are fun, but running with others means that you might try to push yourself too hard.
Fuel your body. With any new routine (even if weight loss is the goal) it’s important to fuel your body. This is not the time to skimp on your diet. Your body needs to be properly fueled and fed in order to prevent injury. Malnourishment can lead to prolonged recovery and an increased risk of injury and illness.
Dress the part. Clothing attire might not be something that seems important, but for myself I think it helps! Having the proper clothes can save you from jostling around with each stride and can help prevent chafing.
Allow for rest and recovery. If you’re just starting out running there is no reason to be running everyday. Your body will need time to recover and repair those hard-working muscles. Ignoring rest days can lead to fatigue and poor form which can cause long-term injuries. As always it’s important to be mindful and listen to your body.
I know that a lot of these tips may seem like common sense, but as a once newbie runner I know that it’s not always so easy. I didn’t know that running shoes weren’t one size fits all. I didn’t know that running surfaces mattered and I didn’t know that a gradual build to running was best. It’s still a learning experience for me, but I am eager to keep running and work on that speed.
Are you a larger runner? What tips do you have to offer? What have been your biggest obstacles?
This past year has been a whirlwind! Let’s take a moment to look back to my Fit Goals of 2014 and see what I’ve accomplished!
2014 Fit Goals
Run the entire Walt Disney World Marathon on January 12, 2014
Sign-up for and complete either the Wineglass or Empire State Marathon.
Sign-up and complete a Tough Mudder or similar obstacle race.
Sign-up and PR in at least one Half-Marathon.
Complete at least one unassisted pull-up.
Run faster/more frequently (aim to triple mileage).
Complete 1 round of p90x3.
Sign-up for and complete a few 5k races.
Eat cleaner! I struggle with this one and often fall off into old habits.
Start biking during the warm months.
Sign-up for the 100 mile Ride for Life
Lose the weight/lose inches–ideal weight=150lbs, size 6/8
Blog more about fitness! (not really a fit goal, but related–I’d like to make sure to keep you updated on my progress and struggles)
I didn’t get through them all, but I am very proud of the goals that I did accomplish!!
Completing my first marathon is by far my biggest accomplishment of the year! It wasn’t easy and I didn’t do as well as I had hoped, but I did it and was brave enough to sign up for this year’s marathon (which unfortunately I had to back out of in December). It was a great year of increased mileage, strength, and fun races to boot!
It wasn’t a Tough Mudder, but I did manage to run in 2 obstacle 5ks! Both were a blast and I’m definitely eager to try my hand at something a bit more challenging in 2015.
I also did fairly well at picking up my pace and increasing my mileage throughout the year (thanks to my months of ill-fated marathon training). Longer runs became easier and shorter runs were faster. I was also happy to have completed more 5ks than the prior year, but missed out on many races due to our hectic wedding schedule.
My favorite race of the year might have to be the Trick or Trot 5k because it was the first race that my little nugget ran. I’ve been counting down the days until this little dude could run with me and it was ridiculously cute to see him wearing his first race bib.
All in all, it’s been a great year! I didn’t complete as many goals as planned, but I didn’t gain back any of the weight I lost in 2013 so I feel proud and accomplished. I do have big goals for 2015 and hope to keep moving forward with this healthy life and am grateful for all I’ve gained in 2014.
What did your 2014 look like? Do you have big goals for 2015?
Have you ever had a tech tee or running tights that just smelled straight up funky no matter how many times you ran them through the wash? I know I have! I’ve become all too familiar with stocking my laundry room with a gallon jug of vinegar just for that reason. I constantly struggle during the summer months or if I’ve left clothes in my gym bag for too long.
It would always seem that no matter how much I washed my technical fabrics the stench just wouldn’t disappear. Well, it looks like that may be a thing of the past and I just may be able to finally ditch the vinegar! WIN Sports Detergent is a specially formulated detergent that essentially removes embedded sports odors.
My first load of stinky gym clothes was the ultimate of tests. I decided to provide the best stench inducing environment for my gear–I packed 2 days worth of sweat soaked clothes into a ziplock bag and let it stew for a week. It was rather rank by the time I was ready to try out the detergent so I had high hopes. If the detergent didn’t work I would know right away and I would also be stuck with the funk.
Lucky me! The clothes came out fresh and stank free! The best part is that the amount needed is fairly low and one bottle gets you 21 loads of fresh duds.
For my second and third trials I decided to up the ante and include a few pairs of my son’s pee laden jammies (he’s still prone to the occasional accident). Both batches turned out fresh and any scent of urine was gone. I am definitely sold!
These detergents are great because they aren’t just a fragrant method of covering up odors, they actually work to break them down and eliminate them completely.
If you’re looking for a great holiday gift for that runner in your life, look no further. PRO Compression brand sleeves and socks are the way to go!
A few weeks ago I was awarded the opportunity to review PRO Compression brand calf sleeves. If you’re a runner or know a runner, then you’ve probably heard about these handy accessories or at the least have seen another runner donning a pair.
According to PRO Compression the benefits are many….
“Marathon Calf Sleeves combine the optimal blend of advanced materials and innovative design to deliver maximum benefit. True graduated compression technology helps improve blood flow and oxygen delivery, resulting in better, more consistent performance with less fatigue and faster recovery.
Thanks to our advanced design, Marathon Calf Sleeves also support critical muscles and tendons, helping reduce inflammation and soreness associated with running and other activities. Put it all together for the perfect compression sleeve for training, racing, recovery and travel.”
They sounded like a dream! Whilst training for a marathon the body is fighting constant muscle abuse. Recovery time is often limited while following a busy training schedule so it’s important to find ways to aid in that routine. I’m still a fairly new runner (I only truly began running and training in April 2013) so a lot of this training and recovery is new to me, but the one thing I learned early on is that having the proper support during a run is key to maintaining a healthy body.
From stability shoes to KT tape, I’ve found that the little things really do play a big role in overall performance, recovery time, and injury prevention. So you can imagine how eager I was to try something new!
I’m not severely prone to injuries, but I am a “heavy-stride” runner. My feet really pound the pavement when I run so shoes with cushion and support have been a huge help in preventing injuries, but I still on occasion (especially during my long runs) feel pain in my left shin.
I tried my sleeves the day of my first run back after having been sick for 2 weeks. I knew that my body would be angry with me, but as soon as I slipped those sleeves on I felt like my calfs were wrapped in a warm hug. Though they were a pain to get on, the struggle was worth the effort. I wore them during my run and then again in the evening after my run and slept through the night with them.
During my run I appreciated the snug feel, it was like wearing a sports bra for my muscles! My shin didn’t ache and the next day my calves weren’t sore. I can’t wait to see how they feel on my longer runs! Unfortunately, I cancelled my marathon plans and haven’t been mentally capable of doing anything over 5 miles in the past few weeks so I’ll need to update you on how they aid in long run recovery later.
I do look forward to picking up my training though and hope that I’ll have another long distance race planned soon. I know these sleeves will be a new part of my routine. Another added bonus during the winter months is that they turn my capris into long pants! BONUS!
If you’re interested in trying a pair or buying them for a runner friend be sure to visit http://www.procompression.com and use PINK2 discount code thru December 15th for 40% off your purchase.
I finally had the chance to test out my new flip belt! AND I LOVE IT! I really didn’t know how I would feel about it because I figured it would bunch up and look weird, but once I popped my phone in and flipped it over I was good to go.
I ran for 5 miles and with my iPhone5s tucked away it stayed in place just fine. It didn’t ride up or bounce around as one would expect, but I did need to wear it over my pants so that my mommy pouch wouldn’t be squished.
I think this belt would be great for a variety of people, but can see larger individuals or people with excess loose skin (like myself) struggling to feel comfortable. I was able to solve this problem by wearing the belt over my running tights. My tights help to hold everything in so my gut wasn’t flopping around over the belt as I ran.
Overall, it’s a great product and I would recommend it to my friends (and you!). The only con I can see is for larger individuals. I know that this is something I would have avoided like the plague back when I first started my journey and can understand that it’s not something that is meant for every body.
I should also note that I ordered a size large for my size 10/12 hips so it’s a fairly standard fit.
If you’re interested in buying one of these at a super discounted price let me know ASAP (leave your email) so I can share my special discount code (I have 15 codes available for 33% off).
Also if I run out of super saver codes you can use code:Sweat10 for 10% offyour entire FlipBelt purchase!