Suck It Up, Buttercup 10K {Race Recap}

Oh hey there. Yes, it’s true… I’m still alive. Not only that, but I have my first official race recap of 2015 — because I love running again! I’ve actually been itching to post again about… something… anything… but I just haven’t had the time or energy or something. #excuses

So yeah… back to this race thing.

For the 8+ months I have been missing my racing buddy. She was injured. I hated running. Racing just sounded miserable. The races I did do were fun, but there were missing something. Really someone.

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#favoritepicture

So, for her 29th birthday (it’s a big year!) I bought her the BEST GIFT EVER — a race registration. Not only that but a race register in the middle of the hottest summer we’ve had in YEARS. Oh, and did I mention there were actually hills? (I know, it’s amazing to hear that we actually have some here in Orlando that aren’t just overpasses) Sounds like a great comeback race if you ask me! I started this race weekend making very healthy choices. We went to a fantastic Imagine Dragons show on Friday night in Tampa.

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Bedtime = 2am

I followed it up by going out for drinks and a showing of Magic Mike XXL with a bunch of my lady friends on Saturday night.

Bedtime = 12:30am Healthy choices guys. It’s a priority for me, obviously.

hodakathyleeanderson This means I slept maybe 8 hours in 2 days. I’m smart! So, it’s not surprising that I LITERALLY had to forced myself to get dressed and out the door to pick up Paula by 5am. Yay. Thankfully, race adrenaline kicked in (oh, and an iced coffee helped too!) and by the time we got to the race site, about 45 minutes away, I was wide awake.

We easily picked our bibs and t-shirts, dropped them off at the car, and then had plenty of time to use the porta potty (see Paula’s post for more on this) and mingle. I got there early so I could get into an East Orlando MRTT picture. I’ve only been running with them for a couple of months — but I already love them!

Paula and I also found our co-worker, Leah, who I might have talked into running this race.

We then stood around for a LOOOOONG time. The Race Director was MIA and apparently she needed to be there to kick this shindig off. We were supposed to start running at 6:30 – and it was closer to 7 when we started. But, I guess the good news is that it finally started and we were off.

And it was HOT. So, so hot and SOOOOO humid. It was like running in mud.

Suck it up, we did.

My only complaint (other than the late start) is that the 10k and the 5k started together and it was a cluster. The first mile was such a strugglefest – not just because of the hills (I secretly love hills — my legs can get some good traction!), but becuase of all of all of the bobbing and weaving. However, I kept pushing.

Around the 1st mile the 10K and the 5K split and things got a little easier. By easier, I mean there were less people. This course was still tough. I also managed to catch up with two of girls I run with during the week and chatted with them for a little bit (which I NEVER do during a race — who am I??) before an elastic on one of my braids snapped. EFFFFFFF! I suppose I could have continued on looking like a crazy person, but I was already really gross and sweaty and everything was sticking to me — so I pulled over and stopped (AGAIN — SOMETHING I NEVER DO). Thankfully, I was wearing a hat and I quickly pulled it up into the hat. I still probably lost about a minute. BUMMER.

Even though I lost my girls, I fought hard to keep them in my line of sight. I actually almost caught up to them, but we hit a loooooong incline between mile 4 and mile 5 and I slowed down a little. I was so happy to chase them though because I REALLY think I would have stopped to walk at least 8 times. They seriously kept me going.

After what felt like a million hills, I finally hit the decline towards the finish and all I could think about was how happy I was that this wasn’t a half marathon.

Buttercup

I finished in 1:02:26 and while that’s a far cry from my PR, I was happy. I am happy.

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A happy person who looks like a toolbag with Paula’s sunglasses on.

I figured that I the humidity added at least a minute per mile to my pace (obvious statement: humidity is a BITCH) — and stopping to fix my damn didn’t help. I’m really just excited that I’m running and happily racing again. I also know that there are PRs to come. I was also excited to celebrate with some lovely running ladies.

That’s Paula’s favorite porta potty right behind us…

While we didn’t have beer (sad!) there was Dunkin Donut and munchkins (and unlike other races – they didn’t run out).

Overall, I really enjoyed this race. Summer races are hard to find here (for obvious reasons!) and I look forward to running this again next year — at an even faster pace.

My next race is still up in the air. I’m thinking about running the Stone Island 10K in August, because it can’t be any worse than the one I just ran! It will probably be just as humid, but at least it’s flat (and the 5K and 10K starts are at different times). After that I have the Lighthouse Loop Half Marathon in October. Could it be a PR?? I’m not holding my breath. But next year?? It’s on.

Oh… and I also discovered that E still really likes medals.

Guess I need to keep running!

<3 <3 <3

Shoe Review – New Balance Foam Fresh Zante

A long, LONG time ago (I’m talking when I was in college) — I tried to run/work out in New Balance shoes. I loved how they looked, my friends raved about them, and they got great reviews, but they were always too wide for my skinny/high arched feet – even the narrows didn’t fit right. It bummed me out and apparently shaped my shoe shopping habits for years to come.

Despite the fact that shoe styles change EVERY SINGLE YEAR, I have avoided New Balance shoes because of this. My brain equates New Balance to Wide Shoes. UNTIL NOW.

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I probably would have kept living in ignorance if I wasn’t given the opportunity to review the shoes. And now my life is much more fulfilled. And I’m pretty sure I have a new running shoe.

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Look! I ran! Really! Also – this was safe.

So enough about me…

The Zante shoe is a new addition to the New Balance family. Here are some of the features:

  • Breathable air mesh upper increases airflow during long runs
  • TPU tongue weld improves lockdown support <–I thought the tongue was weird at first, but it works.
  • Sock-like fit hugs the arch to allow toes to spread during movement <– THE BEST!
  • Fresh Foam midsole features a one-piece construction to delivers ultra-plush cushioning
  • Full ground contact outsole improves traction and flexibility

And it’s Specs:

  • Shoe type: Neutral
  • Heel-to-toe drop: 6mm
  • Weight: Women: 6.3oz, Men: 7.5 oz <– Holy cow, this shoe is so light!!
  • Price: $99.99

Running Competitor voted this the Best Road Shoe of 2015 — and I can definitely see why.

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I am the best photographer ever. Also – why is that vein in my wrist so big?

I DID have to buy a Men’s shoe because they didn’t have size 11s in the store (just another perk of having gigantic feet!) BUT that didn’t change my perspective of the shoe AT ALL (Bonus: I wanted black anyways).

When I first put the shoes on I actually thought – “Wow, that’s a tight fit.” I actually had to check that it was truly New Balance. After about a quarter of a mile in them though – they loosened up slightly. They really DO have a sock-like fit, bit it didn’t feel as stiff and constricting. That said, if you have normal-to-wide feet though, I recommend looking into a different width.

The foam part of the shoe felt weird to me at first. It makes the shoe SO light, it’s almost scary. However, they manipulated the shoe to include incredible arch coverage, so it doesn’t necessarily feel like you are running on foam. Now, I don’t know if I could run a full marathon in this shoe (not that I’ll be doing THAT any time soon), but I could definitely run in these for a half.

So…HELLO new running shoes!


Have I mentioned that I have gigantic feet?

The ONLY tough part about this shoe was that it was RIDICULOUSLY hard for me to find! I checked out Academy of Sports and Sport Authority before ONLY finding the Men’s shoe at Dick’s. However, Amazon, Road Runner Sports, and Running Warehouse all have them online — and bonus they have them in really fun colors. I’m pretty sure I need this pair:

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Have you worn the Zante? What did you think?

What color would you pick?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my very own! If the shoes sucked, I promise I would let you know.

Switching Shoes {A Continuation of the Mizuno Saucony Shoe Story Saga}

So, a while ago I bought and RAVED ABOUT Mizuno Wave Rider 17s.

SOAWESOME

I loved them. I PR’d in them. They were my jam. They made my feet happy!

1:54:14 (unofficial) #bestdamnpr @bestdamnrace

And then I started marathon training.

hot

ugh

tiredhurts

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Not only was I running more, A LOT more, I was running more in higher temps. You don’t have to be a genius to realize that in Florida, in the middle of the summer, that shit gets HOT and it tends to destroy things.

This did not make my shoes happy.

Or my feet.

And, especially, my knees.

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My shoes seemed to start wearing early (with less than under 150 miles). I thought, “eh, I’m sure this is normal.”

I kept running. I kept increasing my mileage.

A few weeks ago I reached a weird breaking point and I started wondering why the runs after my 20-miler felt hard. At first, I chalked it up to training just feeling tough because I was adding more mileage and feeling tired. Except, I actually took a cut week, so that didn’t make sense. Then my knees started hurting. And my feet — oh my poor feet were KILLING me. I would just wake up in the middle of the night with them aching.

Then I remembered to check out the outer soles of my shoes.

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A-ha! Parts of my heel and toe were missing – and there was a lot of mid-section wear as well.

I was sad.

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Then I calculated my mileage (I started wearing my shoes at the end of May — I had JUST hit the 2-month mark and maybe 250, if that). W.T.F???

Maybe I’m spoiled, but I’ve never burned through shoes THAT fast before. I felt like I had been cheated, especially because I really LIKED the shoes. The kicker — I didn’t even RACE in those shoes.

So, I did what every person would do when they are angry at a brand for reducing the quality of their product… I found another one.

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Meet my new shoes — Saucony Ride 7s.

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I did a lot of research on these things. I needed shoes that could carry me through the next 100+ miles of training and 26.2 miles on October 12th (OMG, THE MARATHON IS IN 6 WEEKS).

My verdict, so far, is that they run a little shorter than the Wave Riders – so I have to half-size up. BUT, I don’t feel like an old lady after I run. In fact I had one of my best long runs in MONTHS last weekend.

14-miler

They are the weirdest shoes in the best way possible – if that makes any sense. They are cushy, but not too cushy. They are light (around 8.5-9oz), but feel substantial. The outer sole is solid and from all of the 90878291 reviews I read – really hold up. I wear custom orthotics, so I can’t talk about the inner sole – but the one time I ran in them without my inserts, they were comfy and didn’t bother my ankle.

I’m hopeful. Which is a good thing since I just ordered another pair that will (if all goes well) be my Chicago Marathon Shoes, next month.

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Imagine these shoes with a TON of names written on them. Can’t wait!

TL;DR version… the running shoe love story saga continues because companies keep changing designs and quality. Or they just like to piss me off and keep things interesting (verdict is still out).

Will I switch back to Mizunos when I’m running half marathons?? Will I try Brooks again? Will Saucony become MY SHOE? Only time will tell.

Shoe love/hate… Which brand has disappointed you the most?? Which brand did you not expect to love/wear?

#RunWithMe

It’s hard to believe, but I started running 4 years ago. L was E’s age and *shocker* she wasn’t sleeping through the night. I was tired and struggling to squeeze in exercise. I wanted to find a workout that required as little prep time as possible , including driving to and from the gym – and I knew I could run. I couldn’t necessarily run FAR, but I knew my body could handle at least 5-6 miles. Around that time, Paula mentioned to me that she was signing up to run Disney’s Inaugural Wine and Dine Half. There was food AND wine after a half? Sign me up! The rest is history… or at the very least documented on this blog.

Why am I reminding you of this? Tribesports asked me to spread the word about their awesome #RunWithMe campaign. They are trying to spread their LOVE and grow their brand.

I picked 5 pictures that I thought represented what running means to me – and they turned it into a gif.

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So obviously to ME running means sweaty selfies, PR bell kissing, the Garmin, Jazz Hands, and the Running BFF.

They can also do the same for you. Check out their page – it has instructions on it explaining how anyone can have their own #RunWithMe story made up. While’ll you’re there —  take a quick survey about the companies newest clothing products that are going to be hitting their website soon (2-in-1 shorts for men and sports bras for women).

And this just isn’t a post about creating gifs! Tribesports was also kind enough to send me a pair of their new 2-in-1 shorts and Performance Tech Tee to test out.

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While I haven’t worn the 2-in-1 shorts yet, I really LOVED their Tee. It was crazy lightweight, breathed in the right places, and was the perfect length. I actually wish they had this tee in multiple colors (maybe some orange, pink, and purple? :)).

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I felt compelled to pose like this. At least you can see that the shirt doesn’t ride even when you look stupid.

They would be PERFECT for my summer marathon training (I know I keep bringing it up, what seriously what as I thinking training in the middle of the summer in Florida??).

In five words, what does running mean to you? Even if you don’t run, I bet you can find five words to describe it.

**In full disclosure, Tribesports created the GIF and sent me their products, but the opinions and stupid poses are my very own.**

Zensah Compression Socks + Giveaway

Disclosure: Zensah provided me with a free pair of their Argyle Compression socks for this review. However, all opinions and observations are my own.

Woot! It’s my Friday!

It’s really been a hectic week for me and instead of getting better at this whole “getting out the door” business – I think I’m getting worse.

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Seriously woman. Get your act together.

But those complaints are for another post…. What was I saying?

A few weeks ago, Zensah contacted me about doing a review and giveaway for their Argyle socks

My high school self squeeeeed at this because back in the day – I LOVED argyle. Seriously, I had like 20 pairs of argyle socks. I still might have a small collection…

Unfortunately, the color combination that I originally wanted was out in my size (I have large feet, this is a common theme) so instead of the super cute pink socks…

PinkZensah

I got the almost equally as cute blue and green socks.

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Resting and recovering from a 4 mile run. Yes, 4 miles requires recovering these days.

So my review…

Well, the socks fit. So that’s a good start. I have compression sleeves from Zensah that are too short, so we’re making progress. As for the compression part — well, they’re not my favorite. However, I was wearing them post run for recovery and I like a thicker more supportive sock to well… compress.

They might be better to run in, but truthfully when it’s 90 degrees outside with 110% humidity – I’m wearing as little as possible – so I haven’t tested them out in those conditions. They ARE more lightweight than Pro Compression (still my go-to socks), which is a plus if you want to run outside and only need light support.

Another difference between the socks I’ve tested is that the sock portion of the Zensah are really thick. This is a feature that I really LIKE, but I like running with thicker socks on, so I think it’s a personal preference.

So my verdict? The socks are really cute, but lower on the “compression” side of things. If you are looking for something fashionable and lightweight to run in – these might worth trying out. If you are looking for a sock to recover in – these might not be your cup of tea. Anyone else have this same experience?

The good news is that, Zensah has offered to give one of you lucky (US Citizen) readers a pair of socks as well. Just leave me a comment telling me what color argyle socks you want and follow Zensah either on Facebook or on Twitter (added extra bonus points that I assume increase your chances if you tweet about the giveaway or follow me on FB/Twitter).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So go forth and enter… I’ll pick the winner on Monday!

Disclosure: Zensah provided me with a free pair of their Argyle Compression socks for this review. However, all opinions and observations are my own.