Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cleaning water bottles

I have a lot of water bottles. I have an old Camelbak water bottle, generation 1, that I've had since college. It's been a very trusty travel companion, but recently found a home in my husband's trunk. I have a newer Camelbak bottle with a filter, that is usually in one of my duffel bags. I love the straws, and the bite cap. I also have a classic purple Nalgene bottle that I got when I visited my college as a senior in high school. Best college gift ever. I also have several plastic water bottles with the screw off lids. These ones are definitely the hardest to clean.

I've read a lot of ways to clean these bottles, and the lids. I try to keep them dry, rotating them out during the week and drying them in between. I put them in the dishwasher. Sometimes they still get that funky smell in the cap, though. Here's my latest, and most successful, cleaning method:
I used distilled white vinegar and hot water, about 1:4 ratio, and let it soak for about 2 or 3 hours. I used a scrub brush to scrub out the inside of the caps, particularly inside where stuff can grow. Then I let the caps sit in vinegar and water in a small dish for a few hours, and scrubbed again after they soaked. I rinsed everything out thoroughly with hot water, and let it air dry overnight.

The result? Fresh as a daisy. For a water bottle.

I hear that using efferdent tabs or hydrogen peroxide can work as well, especially if you use any sort of flavoring in your water bottles. I don't; if I want flavor, I usually just put it in a disposable plastic bottle that I reuse once or twice then throw away, just so I won't have to worry about the germs and cleaning it out.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Race shirts!

My dear husband asked me why I wear race t shirts all the time. The answer is easy: 1) I ran the race. I'm wearing the shirt to remind everyone since apparently wearing medals is not socially acceptable. 2) they account for a majority of my casual wardrobe.

I like the wide variety of shirts I have in my collection, but sometimes I wonder, what makes a great race shirt? Let's break down the options:

long sleeve or short sleeve: I think any race between October and March should have a long sleeve shirt. It just makes sense.

cotton or technical fabric: There seems to be a wide range of different kinds of technical fabric, and cotton is always pretty consistent. I like races that give you the option of paying an upcharge to get a technical shirt, or just sticking with the cotton design. Note: technical shirts should NEVER be white. Unless it's made of Underarmour Coldgear fabric.

THEY'RE ALL SEE THROUGH!
gender-specific cute or standard: For the most part, I prefer gender-specific cut shirts. Standard cuts are usually too big for me, but sometimes a women's small fits oddly. I have one shirt from a triathlon that is sort of cut like the Underarmour fitted women's shirts, but in a different fabric, so it just looks like a weird V in the front. I think the shirts Disney uses are the best example of how to do gender-specific shirts.

v-neck or crew neck: This is a toss up. Most gender-specific shirts have a v-neck for women, but either works for me.

Logos: My least-worn race shirt was from the 2010 Augusta Half Marathon, which was also my first real, timed half marathon. It's the one up there with a weird jack-o-lantern on it. I hate halloween. Logos should always have a date though :p

My top shirt right now is the long sleeve, Navy blue technical shirt from the Richmond Marathon, partly because that's my current brag, and partly because it fits perfectly.

What are your favorite shirts?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Coming up in April!!

It looks like April is going to be pretty great! I have the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run the first weekend in April, along with a trip to DC for the Cherry Blossom Festival. 

After that, I'm doing the Dirty Girl in Atlanta with some people from work. This is a a 5k girls only mud run. 

The weekend after that is the Happy Pace 5k for Girls on the Run of the CSRA. I love volunteering with this organization!

Also, it looks like I will be doing the Rock N' Roll San Diego! I haven't decided if I'll register for the half or full or half relay, since I'll be there with my husband, but I'll keep you updated! I'm pretty excited about this!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Bring Your Best: Georgia Half Marathon 2013 Recap

Race morning!
After just a few hours of sleep, I woke up at 6am and decided to go for it. There's always the sag wagon, and I just wanted to go out there and do what I could. I put on my capris and a purple shirt, grabbed my race belt, and gently pulled on my running shoes. It was about a 14 minute walk from the Sheraton to Centennial Park.

Getting to the starting corrals was a mess. There were people with "Ask me" shirts stationed around the park, who were pointing in the right direction, but the corrals were all gated areas on the road on one side of the park. The sidewalks around the corrals were packed with people trying to get into the corrals, even though there didn't seem to be any open entrances into the corrals, and there were family and spectators pushing both ways around the corrals. When the first wave went off and I still hadn't gotten close to my corral, I just crawled through the gates and joined the moving people. I put in my headphones and went with the flow.

I'd heard a lot about how hilly the Georgia course in Atlanta is, so I was prepared for the worst. It never got to be the worst, though. There were about 5 good hills, that were really noticeable, but they were definitely manageable. I took advantage of the downhill to relax, and I could tell everyone else did as well. The rest of the course was gorgeous, lots of great things to look at including beautiful architecture.

Course support was really fantastic! There were water and powerade stations about every other mile, and two food stations on the half marathon course. One had jelly beans, and one had m&ms! I took water for the first half, had a peppermint stick gel around mile 6, and powerade after that. I also pinned an extra vicodin to my pants, which I took with water at mile 4.

At every mile, I checked in right at about 10 minutes. I was really surprised at how consistent I was, since I tried to slow down to feel my foot every now and then. The slower I went, though, the more I could feel the wrapping around my toe, so I just kept going. I just enjoyed running by everyone who was out there cheering, and I felt so lucky to be there. Not only am I home with my husband and friends, but I get to run through Atlanta without stopping and truly enjoy it. Runs like this really make me regret all the days I hated running, or stopped early, because I really am lucky.

Even though my original plan was to stop when I needed to and take the sag wagon, I didn't need to  stop once. I didn't push myself, but I could have, so I know my next race will be great. The last mile had signs every quarter mile, and a lot of people cheering us on. Crossing the finish line felt great, but I was almost sad it was over. I guess this means more full marathons are in my future ;) The finish chute wasn't too crowded, and I went through and got my finisher's medal, a bottle of water, a bottle of chocolate milk, WHICH WAS AMAZING, a heat blanket, and then finisher's photos right before the exit. I wish the photo backgrounds were outside the finish chute area, since it kind of clogged up the exit and I like taking goofy pictures with people after rather than just the professional ones. After all this, we had to walk all the way across Centennial Park to the food tent to hand over the food ticket from our race bib to get a Publix bag filled with a banana, nutrigrain bar, fruit, cookies, and nuts. I didn't eat any of this there, just my water and chocolate milk.

My bib and finisher's medal
In the middle of the park was the family reunion area, with giant signs with letters on it to make it easier to find people. I waited by the H sign for Kevin to come find me, since apparently he didn't leave the hotel until he got my finisher notice on his phone. After he brought my flip flops, I went to the med tent to get a bag of ice for my knees and have my toe re-wrapped. On the other side of the park there were other tents and a large stage where they had a concert scheduled, but we didn't stick around to watch it. I think extra things like concerts are a waste and just add to the race fees. For the Rock N Roll races, I can understand, but having a concert on a Sunday morning in dowtown Atlanta, on St. Patrick's Day, but with no beer, I don't really see the point. It just seemed like a waste of money and energy.

After getting my toe wrapped, Kevin and I walked back to the hotel and stopped in the club lounge for a bagel and some fresh fruit. I LOVE blueberry bagels with strawberry cream cheese, with more chocolate milk. After a quick shower I packed up, and we went to Oriental Pearl for some delicious dim sum. There aren't any good Chinese restaurants near Augusta, so we take advantage of this whenever we're out of town.

After his first half marathon, Kevin now knows what it feels like after a race, so he drove home while I slept in the car. My foot was definitely feeling pretty rough when I got home, so I popped some more pills and have been elevating it ever since. When I woke up this morning, it was particularly swollen and still bleeding a little. Definitely time to take it easy.

Overall, I would definitely do this race again. It was well organized and planned, despite the starting corrals mess, and it was a great course. It may not have been the best choice for my foot, but I survived, and I don't regret it at all. Now I can get ready for the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run in a few weeks, and wait to hear back from all these law schools!

Georgia Half Marathon: Getting there

Saturday morning I planned on getting to the race expo early, before the St. Patrick's Day Parade in downtown Atlanta. Getting my husband out of bed that early and getting us packed was another matter, though. We pulled into the GWCC parking garage after 11, and headed in to the Expo.

Since we were instructed to park in the Red Garage, and the expo was waay on the other side of the expo center, there was a bit of walking and several escalators and elevators to get there. Also, even with the coupon, parking was $8, just for the expo!

Once in the expo, there was a huge Publix display set up right in front, with a ton of samples and things to try. We went straight through and to packet pickup in the back of the expo space. There was no one in line when we were there, so I picked up my bag and t shirt and hit the rest of the expo.

There were the usual race expo booths with shoes, gels, and everything else. Some things that stood out: the Disney booth! We got to gander at the cool Disney medals (including the Princess one that looked just like ours ;) ), and I decided I want to the Disney Land half next year! There was also marathontours, a company that does travel tours to some really great races, such as Paris, Tokyo, and China, for marathons. The Publix "booth" was also great, plus we got a ton of samples and 2 jars of Biscoff spread!  Apparently it goes on everything. They also had "bam bam" sticks for everyone cheering, and cowbells. Everything fit in the great swag bag, which Kevin has already started claiming for his own use:

I also stopped and tried to take a picture with one of the standup displays there, but Kevin wasn't in a standing still mood. There was nowhere to take pictures after the race, so at least I have this one:

After the expo, which was a little over an hour, we headed out of Atlanta and up to the Suwanee America Craft Beer Festival. Kevin likes beer, and so does his friend who was meeting us there, so that was the one thing that kept him happy for the weekend while I focused on the race. It was sunny, so I ended up with some burn lines, and my foot started throbbing, but it was overall a good time.

Back to Atlanta, and we checked in to the Sheraton downtown. I chose this one because it was reasonably priced, and still close to the race start. I booked a club-level room, partly so Kevin would have somewhere to go for free internet, and partly because they were offering an extra 1000 SPG points. I still love how the Sheraton lobby always smell, but I was in a pretty bad mood after being outside all day and walking everywhere. It didn't help that we self-parked, so we ended up dragging our bags across the parking garage, through the side lobby to the main lobby, then back to the side lobby, up the elevator, and waaay down the hall to the very last room. Perfect. The room was pretty tight, but good enough for a night.

After grabbing some water and snacks in the club lounge, we picked up some friends and headed to the Ruth's Chris in Buckhead. It was Buckhead Restaurant Week, and I let Kevin pick dinner. I got stuffed chicken, which was ridiculously salty, but the bread pudding dessert was awesome.

That night back at the hotel, I changed the wrapping on my toe, took a vicodin, and fell asleep. Around midnight, I woke up and my toe was. killing. me. All the circulation flooding through my toe felt like pins and needles plus a hammer while ripping the nail off and bruising. I was up for about an hour, convinced that I would never be able to run in the morning. After the medicine finally kicked in, though, I fell asleep, and waited to see how I feel in the morning.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Joy!

Saturday night, I seriously had to consider whether or not I should, or could, run the Georgia Half Marathon Sunday morning. I decided to take my pain meds, go for it, and jump on the sag wagon if needed. As I was getting ready to leave the hotel room, Kevin reminded me to not be a hero! This is just one race, and finishing in pain wouldn't prove anything.

However, I'm so glad I did it! I finished with exactly a 10:00/mile average pace, 2:11 overall time. The entire time I was just so happy to be running in such great weather, through such a great city. All the volunteers were great, and there was great course support.

I'll do a full race recap, but here's my medal!
I'll definitely be resting my foot, keeping it elevated, and letting it heal. But I'm definitely glad I decided to "rise to the challenge"!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Setback, or improvement?

So, after trimming my nails very short like I usually do the other week following the Disney Princess Half, my big toe started hurting and swelling up. I thought it would go away after a few days, so I just carried on with what I was planning. After almost 10 days though, it was getting worse, more swollen and painful, and I was worried that maybe I had infected my cuticle or something else gross. When I went to the doctor, though, the nurse took one look at it and asked how I was walking without pain meds. The doctor informed that it was just a really weird ingrown toenail with a lot of granular tissue around it.What a relief? 

His solution was to cut it out as soon as possible, despite my upcoming race. He took off almost half of my big toe nail,gave me a bottle of hydrocodeine for pain as needed, and said no running for 2 weeks. Also, a really nice open toe black shoe made of Styrofoam. Sweet. 

I have to say, the numbing shot he gave me in my foot is without a doubt the most painful shot I've ever had. It felt like he was ripping the flesh off the bone. I made the mistake of watching, and saw him wiggling this needle around inside my toe and forcing a lot of liquid into it. EEEW. Here's my foot now, properly elevated and only mildly throbbing:
The back of that bandage is actually pretty bloody.

So, to run or not to run this weekend? I'm going to the expo tomorrow to pick up my bib, and I'll guess we'll see how it feels after that! It's a 15-minute-mile pace, so maybe I can do alright. If not, I'll have no problem jumping on the sag wagon.

Anyone else headed to Atlanta this weekend?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Week Summary

I was feeling pretty sluggish this week, and couldn't quite figure out why until I woke up Friday and Saturday with a swollen throat. I knew I needed to do some hills, though, to get ready for the Georgia half marathon next weekend.

Monday: 3 mile run with 2 large hills, plus Chisel 360 class
Tuesday: PRT movement drills (there is no explaining this)
Wednesday: 3 mile run with a large hill (Willard hill, fyi)
Thursday: REST
Friday: 1000m swim after work
Saturday: REST
Sunday: 18 holes of golf

So, that's TWO new things this past week: Chisel 360 and golf.

Chisel 360 is a class I went to with a friend, and it was about 60 minutes long. It involved the Step360 trainer, which is a step trainer with two air chambers underneath, to create a little bit of instability. Working that, plus some weights and gliders, created a pretty good class. Nothing too challenging, but different for me.

I went golfing today for the first time ever, despite having lived here in Augusta, GA, for a few years. It wasn't as bad as it could have been, since our foursome played best ball rather than take 10 hours, and I didn't even get bored.

My goal for this week is to get at least one good bike ride in, and mostly feel out my legs to make sure I'm ready for Atlanta next Sunday.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Charming

While doing some laundry on this lazy Saturday morning, I decided to finally put together my latest charm bracelet. 

Let me just start with saying, I love charm bracelets. I love little tiny things that look like real things, but actually represent something awesome, but only I know what that is for sure. I love looking at a bracelet and remembering all the stories. I still prefer the traditional, dangly, 3d charms, but the Pandora bracelets and Italian link charms are pretty cool too. I currently have three personal charm bracelets, a few vintage ones I've found on ebay and in vintage stores that were just too pretty to pass up, and started my fourth this morning. 

Here's how it looks so far:

From left to right:
 
- Running shoe/26.2 charm: for the Richmond Marathon, obviously. I got this one online from Treasured Charms. I ordered another one to put on another bracelet, too (see below). 
- Alamo post card charm: I picked up this one from the Alamo in San Antonio on my work trip. It's a charm of a postcard! Two of my favourite things!
- Statue of Liberty: this one is from a trip to NYC I took in February with my aunt and sister. I like how the loop is in the back, not on Lady Liberty's head
- Disney Princess Half Marathon charm: I took this off the charm necklace I bought at Disney. The original charm necklace looked like this:
I just took the logo charm off the necklace and added it to my bracelet. The little crown charm says 2009-2013.
- Captain's bars: I pinned Captain in the Army a few months ago, so of course I needed a charm for that. I have LT bars on my other bracelet. 

I also am looking for an appropriate charm to celebrate being selected for the Army's FLEP program, passing the LSAT, and applying to law schools. Plus, I have the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler coming up! 

One of my other bracelets I call Kevin's bracelet, because it's all charms that we bought together, he bought for me, or that remind me of him. Since we ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon together, I ordered this charm for his bracelet:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/treasuredcharms
It's pink! I love how delicate it is, and it's not just another 13.1 charm. Definitely adds a little more color. 

In the meantime, this weekend has been for laundry (you know you're a runner when: your laundry consists of one load of whites and two loads of gym clothes. that's all.). I was wondering why I was feeling a bit sluggish all week, and woke up this morning with a swollen throat and stuffed up nose. Hopefully all the tea I've been drinking will nip this in the bud so I can get on with my "taper" week before Atlanta next weekend. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Week Recap: Recovering


This week I wanted to focus on recovery and getting ready for the Georgia Half Marathon in another 2 weeks. Even though I didn't really "race" the Disney Princess Half, it was still 13.1 miles, so my legs were pretty tired. I've moved to a different unit on Fort Gordon, with a different schedule and PT plan, so this was my week:

Monday: 3 mile run around Barton field (could definitely feel my knees and IT band)
Tuesday: light gym day
Wednesday: 3.4 mile run with 10 lb vest (NOT my idea at all)
Thursday: rest
Friday: Gym day: 30 minute bike, 30 minute lower body
Saturday: 30 minute yoga shred
Sunday: 7 mile run with 100-stride sprints for the last 2.5 miles

Overall, it was definitely a good week to rest, but I'll be ready for some good swims next week, and maybe a long bike ride. I also need to add in some more hills, since I hear the Georgia course in Atlanta is pretty hilly.

My husband, however, could barely walk Monday morning. I have introduced him to ice, foam rolling, and Natalie, my massage therapist. Hopefully he will learn :)

Also, Skirt Sports is having their big sale! Check them out! I love the marathon chick skirt, and the arm warmers!