Friday, April 18, 2014

Skirt Sports Product Review

I am excited about this post! I have been for over a month but had to wait until the weather warmed up.

Skirt Sports, one of my favorite companies, asked me to wear and review part of their spring line.  They sent me a Gym Girl Ultra with drawcord and an Eclipse Tank.

Now you know if you are a regular reader, I LOVE the Gym Girl. I was interested to see how it worked with the drawcord.  This would be my first tank from Skirt Sports so I was really happy to try that on!

It arrived when it was very cold and snow was still on the ground.  I know I could of worn it on the treadmill, but where is the fun in that? So, I waited.

I kept in touch with my SS contact and made sure she knew I was just waiting for the right day.  Finally, the weather started to look promising.

(Just a little side note.  During our emails back and forth, I was asked if I wanted to work at the Skirt Sports booth at the Boston Marathon.  That was cool enough and then I found out that Katrine Switzer was also going to be at their booth. I am sad to say that our Easter plans keep me away from Boston and I will not be able to attend. To say I am disappointed is an understatement but my family has to come first.  She said she would keep me in mind for next time though!)

After checking the weather one more time, I laid out my clothes the night before and woke up to a most beautiful morning!  I got dressed and posted to FB, of course, that it was a running skirt kind of day.  Another great thing about this morning was that it was Monday.  I run with the girls on Monday's and it is usually our long run day.  We had nine miles planned for the day.

The skirt fit just like I knew it would.  Perfect around the waist for me and there was no need to adjust the drawcord.  The tank, wow, as soon as I put it on, I knew I would love it forever.  I really like that I could wear my own sports bra with it. I am really not a fan of built in bras.

Now I have to say, it was a little windy once I got to the beach, so I did have to start my run with a long sleeve tech shirt over the tank.

The skirt did not disappoint.  Shorts stayed in place and it moved with me nicely. Same for the tank.  It did not ride up. Stayed where it should and never once did I have to adjust my shirt or skirt.

I eventually took off the long sleeve and tied it around my waist. It was a wonderful feeling to have the sun on my arms and legs!

At this point, Mary was running behind me. She commented that she like the way the skirt looked as I was running.  It flowed nicely and was cute.  I loved that compliment!  The girls also liked the pattern on the back of the tank.

As I said earlier, we were running nine but we ended up at 10 miles for the day.  We all felt pretty good and it truly was a fun run.  My outfit was perfect, especially since it was such a warm day.

Bottom line, you will not be disappointed when you give this skirt and tank a try.  As soon as I put the tank on, it was comfortable and looked nice.  Same with the skirt. I totally see the benefits of the drawcord even though on this run I didn't have a need for it.  To be able to control the comfort of your skirt when running is a really great addition to the Gym Girl.

Some things that stayed the same with the Gym Girl are the two hidden pockets in the shorts. I can carry my inhaler, key, a GU and ID without any worries.  There is also a Sonic Music Port for the cord of your headphones.  This keeps it out of the way and your iPod can clip onto the pocket I just mentioned.

I also love the colors that they come in.  I was given a Shadow Heather skirt and an Azul tank.  The colors compliment each other nicely and the Shadow Heather also looks great with light blue, purple and pink.  You just can't go wrong.

I had a great time reviewing part of the Skirt Sports Spring line and I would like to thank them for the opportunity to do so.

Are you a skirt lover?  I hope you try these product and I would love to hear what you think.  

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Just A Few Things

Hi everyone!

I just thought I would update you on my arm.  I can now move it in all directions and can do all my normal actives but there is still some discomfort.  I was hoping to be in the pool by now and maybe just using the kick board but my PT did not think that was a good idea. The plan right now is to continue twice a week with PT and I am crossing my fingers that I will be back in the pool after Easter. If not, I am going to have to consider deferring my race until next year.  I am trying not to think about that though so say some prayers for me.

I have been running and getting on my bike but with the trainer still.

I ran eight miles yesterday with the girls and my half marathon is in four weeks. Feeling pretty good about it. I do have the Newport 10 Miler the week before my half and I am really looking forward to that. It is a beautiful course and it just makes you happy to run it.

I am in the market for new running shoes. I know I need a stability shoe and have been in Asics GT-2000's for quite some time now. It seems my foot has gotten wider, especially my right one and the narrow toe box of the 2000's is not working for me.  I am hoping to get out this week to check out some different shoes, but would love to hear your suggestions.  I have been reading reviews on different shoes and will defiantly try Saucony Omni 12's and Brooks Transcend.  What are your feet loving right now?

We are finally having some nice weather and spring flowers are blooming.  It has been so nice to wake up and see the sun shining. In fact, I was way over dressed for yesterdays run.  I will be better prepared for Wednesday and Thursday's run.  Has spring finally appeared in your neck of the woods?

I am also still patiently waiting for my Bia Sport Watch to get here.  Are you a backer? Did you get yours yet?  I would love to hear what you think about it.  I have heard mostly good things so far and the few problems that were mentioned have already been fixed. I hope I love it!

Oh, and I just wanted to share this picture with you in case you didn't see it. This is the finish line of the Ocean's Run Half Marathon. Mary is in the blue and our four kids, plus Elaine's kids are running into the finish with us.  It was such a great moment and this picture is now my favorite!

Ok, I think that is it for now.  Would love to know what you are training for and how it is going.  Let me know in the comments.  Have a good one!

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Not So Minor Setback

I am pissed!

So angry I have cried.

On Wednesday, last week, I arranged to have my first swim lesson.  On Thursday, I went to the pool to get my face in the water and just continue to get used to it until said lesson.

I had a fantastic swim/workout.  I used the board, the buoy, swam freestyle and back stroke.  I was  feeling great!  Somewhere around my sixteenth lap I was swimming freestyle and when I was lifting my arm I felt an awful twist in the upper part of my arm/shoulder.  I made it out of the pool and home fine, but knew I was hurt. By that evening, I couldn't move very well.
You think!

Friday night was the worst. I was up all night.  There wasn't one position that was comfortable and the pain was continuous.  Somewhere around 5:30 am, I finally fell asleep on my sofa.  At 9 am. the kids came down and woke me up. Oh shoot, guess Gracie is missing basketball since it starts at 9.

Saturday was also George's first Pinewood Derby. I did not want to miss it, so I popped a couple ibuprofen, did my best to get dressed and let's not even talk about my hair.

Mr. RWM and George had to be there for the car inspection, so Gracie and I had a little extra time before we had to leave. That was a good thing, since moving my right arm was just not happening.  Did I mention I am right handed?

Since this was George's first Pinewood Derby, I did not think we would be there very long.  It's not that I didn't have faith in him and his car, I was just thinking the kids with more experience would do a little better.  I was wrong.

George's car came in second place! We were all just so excited and we took him out to celebrate.  He choose Moe's for lunch, his new favorite place.  I did my best to sit with everyone and talk but I couldn't even bring a fork to my mouth.  I was on the verge of tears and decided that I needed to go to the emergency room.  So that is what we did.

X-rays were taken. I was swollen at this point all the way down to my fingers.  I left in a sling with three prescriptions.

Bottom line, I have a strain/sprain in my shoulder.  Makes sense. I was using parts of my body that I don't usually use and I over did it that day.  The fact that I am lacking in basic swimming techniques did not help me either.

Why didn't I just wait to have my lesson?  I wish I could do it over but I can't. What do I do now? Well, as of today I am in Physical Therapy, again!  Six weeks is what the doctor said, I am hoping for four but I won't push myself too soon.  I am going to do everything I can to get back in the pool and continue training for the Rhode Warrior. I am not counting myself out yet!

The plan is PT twice a week.  She will do an electrical treatment, massage and give me exercises to strengthen those muscles.  No swimming. No weights, as least not on the right side.

I can still run and bike as long as I am comfortable so that is what I will do.  I will get in that pool and I will swim a mile.  I just hope it is by the time August 24th comes around.

I am already feeling better and can move my arm more than I could a few days ago. Mentally, I am a bit of a mess though.  That may be my biggest challenge with this one.  I will do my best to stay strong and to do what I can with the tools that I have.  I will get better and as of right now, I plan to be at the starting line of the Rhode Warrior.  Any advice you can offer, I would love to hear.

On a positive note, I would like to congratulate George on such an awesome pinewood derby car. Mr. RWM was adamant that he do most of the work himself.  We can truly say that beside two cuts with the table saw, George did it all! We are so very proud of him.
Love that smile!
And for those of you who haven't seen this yet, I was interviewed by Adam Bate of the Lifestyle Accountability Show last week for their daily podcast. It aired today.  I am episode 151.

I was a little nervous and said a few stupid things which may make you laugh, but for the most part I am very happy with it.  I hope you enjoy it too.  One correction, obviously, my 70.3 is August and not April.

Ok, well, let me know what you think of the podcast and please give me any shoulder recovery advice you may have.

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Shamrocks and Spartans

So sorry that my recap of the Shamrock Shuffle 5k is coming out so late.  I have no real excuse unless you let me use training for 70.3.  LOL

Number and race shirt pickup at the Y and I was in and out in no time at all.  Great t-shirt again.

The weather was originally supposed to be 45. I was not happy to see that it was going to be more like 30.  No my best idea, but I didn't change my race outfit.

I added a long sleeve shirt and left with my jacket and gloves.

This race is only a few miles down the road, so it was nice to not have to get up and leave the house too early in the morning.  There was 9 am start.

I was meeting my friend Sally and her friend Chelsea.  Sally is a walker who is training to walk the Blessing in July. This was her first race.

I stayed in the car as long as possible, eventually getting out to use the PP and stretch.  My buddy Michael was also running and I was so happy to see him and snap a picture.

I have to be honest, I was freezing.  My legs felt the worst.  I wished I had a real hat.  We walked down to the start together.  I wished Sally and Chelsea a good race and told them I would be waiting for them at the finish.

I was so happy to start running and to start warming up. I was so thankful for my jacket and gloves.
However, before I finished the first mile, my feet, calves and shins were bothering me. I can't say I was in pain, just very uncomfortable.  The only thing that was different was that I was wearing compression socks.

Now, I love my compression socks for recovery but I have never run in them. The socks had shamrocks on them, so I wanted them to go with my outfit.  I never dreamed they would bother me so much.  By mile three, people were passing me and I wanted to rip my socks off.

When I saw the school and the finish line, I also saw Mike who was running towards me.  He had finished in 22:xx  He ran me in with a strong finish.  My time was 34:27.

I got my water and waited for Chelsea and Sally.  Chelsea came in first and I wasn't even ready with my camera. Sorry Chelsea!  I was ready for Sally though. She came in smiling and she looked great!

From there we went to the after party at Gillian's for our free beer and food.  We were able to get our beer but after about a half hour of trying to get a waitress to order food, we left.  That bummed me out because our meal last year after this race was great!  None the less, it was a great way to spend my Sunday morning.

Now on to some Spartan news.

I have been asked to read and review a synopsis of Joe DeSena's new book, Spartan Up!  For those of you who don't know, Joe is the founder of the Spartan Race Series.

I love this partnership that I have with Spartan, even though I have not done one of their races. Yet.  My readers who have won entries from this blog have had so much fun, you can't help but want to do one.

The twenty page synopsis was fun and full of info about each chapter.  I can't wait to read the full edition.  Joe is a man who clearly means business. He is a no holds barred, strong and determined man who knows how to get things done!  This book is going to answer all your Spartan questions. Everything you ever wanted to know but were afraid to ask.

You can "meet" Joe here in this video.  Cool dude, right? I am really looking forward to learning more about Joe and how he got to where he is now and how he got the Spartan Race so successful.

Now, how do you get this book?  Well, the book will be released May 13 and you can preorder a copy here.  Let me know what you think once you have read it.

I have some other news, but it will have to be a post by itself.  Look for that in a few days.

Till then, Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Monday, March 10, 2014

OR 13.1

Yesterday I ran the Ocean's Run Half Marathon put on by TriMom Productions.

This was my third year and it did not disappoint!

Saturday was packet pick up at Camire's in Wakefield. I got there just a little after 12 and so did a few of my friends who were running with me.  This is super easy pick up, just check off your name, get your number and then head into the store for your shirt. However, this year, we had a choice of a long sleeve tech shirt or pull over fleece jacket! This was a no brainer for me. I have plenty of tech shirts and love to run in them, but how often do you get a fleece jacket! It is so soft and comfy and I will be sporting it until it is too warm here in RI.

A good group of friends were picking up at the same time and it was so fun to chat with them. It was a 50 degree day and I think we were all just so happy to be outside.

Leading up to the race, I got a cold that really slowed me down. I had a sore throat, and really bad headache.  I am usually a good sleeper but was up most of the night.  I remember looking at the clock at 5am and thinking, "wow, my headache is finally gone."  I fell asleep after that and my alarm went off at 6:45.

I got up right away.  I knew if I laid there too long, I was not going to move.  I gave myself an hour before I had to pick up Elaine.

It seemed chillier than I had expected and went back and forth with whether or not I should change into longer pants.  I was wearing capris.  After some weather watching, I stuck to what I had on and left.

Parking was easy and as soon as I was out of the truck, Michael was there with a big hug and hello. The last time I saw him was October!

We chatted a few minutes and then headed to the bus.  Waiting for the bus, I was wishing I had long pants on. "Oh no" was all I could think.

Once we got to the race start, we saw Michelle and Beth right away.  It was so nice to see more familiar faces.

I used the potty, stretched, ate a banana and had some water.  Finally my crew was all together and we snapped a couple pics.

Bag drop was the last thing I did. The sun was coming out and I was feeling warmer.  I decide to not wear my jacket and hoped for the best.

We all lined up together, but once the gun went off, Elaine, Jenn and Stephanie took off at a faster pace then Mary, Susie and I.

The start of the race was a little chilly and I was happy I kept my gloves.  There are a couple of hills in mile one and two, but nothing killer.

There is a water stop at every mile on this course and my friend MB was at the first one. It was nice to see a friendly face.

This is also a turn around, so we were able to see the leaders and our speedier friends pass us by.  I really loved that!

At about mile 3, we saw Beth. She was a flagger and telling us to turn right. Again, so awesome to see friends on the course.

We were all feeling pretty good, but I should of used the potty one more time before we started to run.  Mary was feeling the same way.  Bummer...

Susie, is Mary's sister and I was meeting her for the first time. It was so nice to get to know her.  She has been a runner for 35 years and this was her first half marathon. It was Mary's first too.  To my surprise, I learned that they both put their names into the NYC marathon lottery. If they get in, it will be their first marathons. I got so excited about the news and I am really hoping they both get in!

We were moving at a pretty easy pace.  My legs were feeling a little heavy, and I think my cold and lack of sleep was catching up to me.  Somewhere between miles five and six, Mary and I stopped to use the PP.  I hated that we had to do this. Susie said she was going to keep moving. We said we would catch up.  The next time we saw her was at the finish line.  She rocked her first half marathon!

This course is beautiful and the weather was perfect. I was so happy that I stuck with my original outfit. I was not cold or too warm.  It was nice to not have layers or a heavy hat.  This race is so well supported that you don't even need to bring stuff with you.

Water at every mile and starting at mile six, snacks, gels, and gatorade. On top of that, the wonderful people of NBX were riding around on bikes with baskets full of water and gels.  You want for nothing on this course and that is a beautiful thing.

Somewhere in mile nine, I was hitting a wall.  In mile ten, I wanted a ride home.  I have to thank Mary for keeping me going. She was a star out there and I am so happy I have her to run with.  Mile eleven, I knew I was going to make it and I found my groove again.  Soon after that, Mary said, "Is that Jenn up ahead?'  Wow, it was and I suggested we catch her.

Yeah, that didn't happen.

We were both so happy to see the cones and flagger turning us onto the grass and into the finish.  Up ahead of us, we saw our husbands and kids, plus a few friends who finished before us. My Gracie was jumping up and down and then ran out towards me. I grabbed her hand, then George was next to us. I heard so much noise behind us and knew at least one of Mary's kids was with her. We crossed the finish line and I turned around to see that all the kids had followed us into the finish!  It was like a mini Rocky Run and it was one of the best moments ever!

I have to say, that I cannot wait until the professional pictures come out.  Beth and Susie said they had chills and teared up watching us run in.  Those will be pics to buy for sure!

Tell me this doesn't get you every time!

So, I did not have any real goals for this race. Coming off an injury, I basically trained to finish. I was pretty sure I could do it between 2:15 and 2:30.  At the Newport Half, I ended up with a new PR of 2:29:15.  I am happy to say we ran in with a time of 2:27:31 which is a 2:24 PR for me. (someone check my math)  I am happy with this time considering I wasn't really on top of my game.  I am also so proud of Mary. She did a great job and I think she really enjoyed her first half marathon.  It was a thrill to run it with her!

Overall, this was a great race. It was my first half marathon three years ago and still my most favorite. The bar is set high with this one and not too many people can compete with it.  I will be back next year for sure!

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Short and Sweet

I am not a great swimmer. In fact, I am not even good at it.

I am so bad at swimming, that I actually hurt my back. That's right, the sport people use to rehab their injuries, I found a way to get hurt doing.
Sure it can't! LOL

Ok, so I know what I did wrong and I know what I have to do.  Thursday, I get back in the pool with the support of Bethany and MB, who are also training for the Rhode Warrior.

This unexpected back pain, did not help with running last week. In fact, I only ran once and I missed my last long run before the Ocean's Half this coming Sunday.

I have to admit that I feel a bit undertrained, but I know I can finish and finish I will. I am feeling so much better and I am sure I will continue to feel good.

I am really looking forward to the race.  I have quite a few friends running it and two friends volunteered to be on the course.  I love seeing friends out there. It really helps with motivation and just the all around fun of running in a race.

Weather as of right now is not too bad. Last I checked the temperature is going to be about 38 and sunny. The girls and I have been running in some very cold temps and we survived five miles yesterday when it was only 21. Thirty-eight will be like a heat wave!

Sorry for the lack of posts for February.  Things should pick up now that race season is upon us, plus, I bet I will have a lot to say when I officially start training for the Rhode Warrior.

I have something fun and exciting happening on Friday, but I will give you more details about that after it all goes down.

I will do a race recap late Sunday, so look for that on Monday.

Till then,

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Next Big Step

Hi everyone!

Where have I been you ask?  Well, I don't really have a good excuse for not blogging, but I have been here and everything is good! I post more frequently on FB, so if you have not liked my page yet, head on over and you won't miss anything!

Ok, so, where to begin? Well, I am in training for my first half marathon of the year, The Ocean's Run. I love this race so much! It was my first half marathon, the course is beautiful and it is so well run.  This year, I have a lot of friends running it, and I know we will all have a great time.

If you have the March edition of Runner's World, you may have seen it highlighted in the Calendar section. It was just so exciting to see this little race in RI featured in RW!  If you are local, you should definitely check it out!

Training for the Ocean's Run started out slow but is improving.  I am up to 8 miles and feeling really good.  My PF and heel spur are not really bothering me and I am hoping it stays that way. I am still going to PT, stretching like crazy, foam rolling, icing, rolling with a golf ball and sleeping with the Strassburg Sock.  That sock just screams sexy!

Now on to the big news.

A few weeks ago, Trimom Productions, who puts on the Ocean's Run and so many other cool races, had a contest on their FB page to name their next big race. They wanted the name to have "lots of local flavor" and the prize would be a free entry into the new race. However, the distance was not known yet to us.

It didn't take long for me to come up with the name Rhode Warrior (half, tri, dualaton, 5k) whatever it was going to be.  I was inspired by Mr. RWM's service to our Country and all of our service men and women. He is retired now but served for 25 years.  He flew the C-130's out of Quonset and on the side of their planes, our state is painted with the words Rhode Warriors across it.  It is a tough name that I think says it all!

The names were narrowed down to eight and then the voting began.  Friends, there were some really good ones and I did not think I had a chance.  Two days before the official announcement, I got an email saying I had won!

I was excited and then my nerves kicked in. What did I just win?  I emailed back asking, knowing it was a secret.  She responded right away with, HALF IRONMAN DISTANCE TRIATHLON!!!  It was not written in all caps, but that is how I saw it. The date, August 24, 2014.

I stood up and then sat back down. My hands started to shake and I was not sure what to say.  Mr. RWM and the kids were home.  It took me a minute to say to them, "I just won and entry into a half ironman."  Mr. RWM, who was walking out the back door said,  "Great, you can do it."  Just like that, calm, with no worries in his voice.

Honestly though, that is all I really needed. Having the support of my family is how I got through the marathon. They need to be on board just as much as you. I will, once again, be out for hours getting in my training. I will fall behind on things like laundry and dusting. Oh, who am I kidding, that wasn't my strong point anyway, but you all know what I mean.

I started to get excited again, but if you have been reading this blog for awhile, you know I have a fear of the water and drowning.  Now, these are irrational fears. Nothing ever happened to me to make me scared, I think I just didn't swim well and stopped.  It has been so long since I swam, I can't even tell you when it was.

Once the announcement was made, I started to tell people and asking questions. I have SO many!  The swim, of course, is my big concern, but my friend Bethany said she would work with me. She has taught swim at the Y and has a few tri's under her belt.  I was thrilled!

I am so happy to say that after our first session, I gained a whole new confidence. I did not sink and after a few minutes of panic, I put my head under the water.  It only took once to realize, I would be ok.  I was safe and I could do it again.  Before I actually swam, I used a board and made it to the other end of the pool.  I know this isn't much for most, but I got teary because I thought it was something that I could not do.

My big struggle is the breathing.  I have a long road ahead of me, but I want it! I want to finish this race and I will work my ass off to get to that finish line.

Trimom is also a great resource. They offer swim and bike clinics. I will take advantage of those as well.

A few friends have already registered, including Bethany, so we will be able to do some of the training together.  Also, there is a beginner swim start which will be the last wave. This is great and will definitely help this completely newbie triathlete.

So I am up for any and all advice.  Still looking at training plans and have not officially chosen one. I would love to hear your suggestions.

I know some of you may think this is a crazy jump, but with the support, proper training and my passion, I know I can do it.  It wasn't too long ago that three miles was impossible.  We all know where that led.

Ok, so here we go, the road to Triathlete began last week.  I would love to hear your thoughts on training plans, gear and your own personal experience.  Feel free to post here or on my FB page.

Let's do this!!!

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole