Monday, December 4, 2017

prAna is where it's at! #giftedprAna

I was sent a pair of Kara Jeans and the Rockaway Jacket as part of this campaign for prAna.  I was not required to give a positive review.  As always, all opinions expressed on my blog are 100% my own.  

On my (very short) list of must-have clothing, prAna is at the top.   Not only does prAna stand for amazing quality they are a company that prides themselves for their sustainability.   prAna's clothing line includes many pieces that are Fair Trade, recycled clothing, and hemp clothing.   That very fact that prAna is conscientious about the materials they use to create their gorgeous and amazingly comfortable clothing makes prAna a company I will always go to when I want to add more to my daily collection.   

In addition to the sustainability of prAna, they also make the most comfortable workout and day-wear clothing I've ever worn!    A little backstory for me, many of you know I'm a teacher.  I absolutely hated wearing "school clothes" to work.  I would long to wear leggings and dresses and anything running related I could.  But the problem was, I am not a PE teacher.    It doesn't really look professional to wear leggings and a hoodie - which is what I would prefer.  

Then I found prAna.  Specifically, the Kara Jean.   In my honest opinion, the best jeans ever made.  They come in a huge range of colors and prints.  What I lover about them is I can wear all of the colors, a comfy prAna top, add in some fun flats or boots and boom!  I look and feel great!   

I feel that if I can do yoga in a pair of jeans, then that company is doing something pretty freaking amazing.  prAna - you are amazing!       

I also feel that when I actually choose a pair of Kara jeans for a 9 hour drive from Pennsylvania to Maine, then prAna is doing something very right.   Before I would put on a pair of yoga pants or sweatpants for the ride.  But the Kara jeans are the perfect jeans for anyone with any body type.   Can you tell I freaking love them?   

I've loved my prAna tops very much over the years as well.   The newest addition, my Rockaway Jacket, tops them all.   Somedays I wear it as a top and somedays I wear it as a layering hoodie.  Either way, I'm winning at life when I wear this comfy and stylish, woman cut hoodie.   

To be honest, my classroom is freezing!  Not just in the winter.  But all year long.  When it's hot outside, the A/C nearly blasts me out of my room.  I'm the person who brings her down jacket to school on a super warm fall day because I know that A/C is going to freeze me!   The Rockaway Jacket not only looks a lot nicer than the down jacket, but it's amazingly comfortable and super cute.   Everyone needs one of these!  

Are you looking for the perfect gift for the guy or gal in your life?  Let me introduce you to prAna.  You’ve GOT to check out prAna’s holiday gifts for under $50 for women and men! If you are looking to get someone the best gift you could possibly give this season (or yourself - I won't tell!) - use my code CMRG17 for 15% off (non sale items) and free shipping until 12/15.  Don't wait!  This deal won't last forever.   Let's go shopping!   

Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Must-Have Sports Massager..... MYO Buddy

I received a MYOBuddy as part of a campaign with FitApproach.  All opinions in expressed in my blog are 100% my own.  

If you haven't started your holiday shopping, it's probably time to start now.   But better yet, if you haven't started your shopping, I have a the best gift idea for you!  This gift can be for ANYBODY!   

Young, old, man, woman - whomever, whatever!  It doesn't matter.   The MYOBuddy fits just right for everybody on your shopping list.    If you or someone you know suffers from chronic pain, then you need to get them a MYOBuddy.   If you know someone who suffers from insomnia or chronic stress, then they need a MYOBuddy!   Or what about the forever athlete?  Yep!  They need one!   

Living in a house full of runners, I can attest that all runners NEED MYOBuddy!   Ward and I brought the MYOBuddy along on our road trip to Pennsylvania over Thanksgiving.   After sitting in a car for over 9 hours, we were definitely right and sore.   Knowing we had a race to run on Thursday, I knew we needed to massage those tight muscles.  It felt heavenly to have a massage on the floor of my dad and Barb's house.  

MYOBuddy has 3 speeds, is heated, and offers a professional grade deep massage.   If you don't have somebody to give you the massage, you can actually massage yourself if you want to!  

There are many nights I sit here on the sofa, watching TV and massaging my quads and IT band.  It feels SO good.   It's like having my own personal masseuse living with me.  On call, whenever I need a good massage.  

If you use the code SPJEN by the end 12/4/17 -you will get $100 off this fabulous must have tool!  

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Running in PA

Happy Hump Day everyone!   I'm finally feeling recovered from the whirlwind Thanksgiving Break we had.  I swear, the older I get, the longer it takes to mentally and physically recover from a long road trip!  

This year, we switched things up and make the trek to PA to celebrate Thanksgiving with my side of the family.   To sum it up - the entire trip was glorious.   It made me miss and long for my family even more.   Of course our trips are always so short, there is never enough time to squeeze in a trip with everyone and I always leave feeling guilty for not getting the chance to see everyone.  

Aside from the incredible time we had with family over the break, I had the chance to run with Ward 4 days in a row!   I don't usually get excited by this, because, well, the chance to run with him doesn't exactly happen a whole lot at home.   

I wanted to run part of the course for the Pie Gobbler 10k we were going to run on Thanksgiving.  The race started on City Island in Harrisburg and started out going over a metal walking bridge.   After I registered, I watched a video of the race.  I immediately felt sick to my stomach knowing I HAD to run over THAT bridge.   gulp.  Which led me to urge Ward to head down to the course and run over the bridge without a couple hundred people - so I could get over that fear.  

It was a crazy windy day along the Susquehanna River.... but running along the river was a great new experience for us.  We run along the Kennebec River in Maine.   But there was something about running along a river I used to look at all of the time as a kid thinking it was a biggest river ever!  
We managed to get in a nice shakeout of 4 miles in and got in a nice preview for the course.  

On Thanksgiving, Ward and I headed over to City Island early to get in a warm up run.  It was a bit cold, but nothing a Maine Girl can't handle!  

I had two goals going into the race.  Run the 10k under 50 minutes and run the last mile fastest.  I succeeded with both.   I forgot my Apple Watch charger in Maine and by Thursday it was dead.  Oh well.  I loaded a running app onto my phone and had to rely on waiting for the mile marker (or somewhere near them) to find out my pace (because I didn't want to mess with the phone while I was running.... it was nice an snug in my arm holder and that's where I wanted it to stay.    I only caught a couple  of my splits, so I didn't really know *how* I was doing.  It drove me crazy, but at the same time it felt liberating.  

I focused on running hard, pushing through, my breathing.  It all seemed to click for once.   When I was on my return trip and saw that walking bridge and knew it was time for a final push.... I went. for it.   But of course, there were TONS of obstacles with this final mile.  I mean, all of the 5k walkers.   I seriously had to should "runner on the left" at least a 100 times.   But in all, that was the only thing that drove me nuts.   

The rest of the course we awesome. Flat, flat, flat with the exception of 2 inclines.... and they were nothing.   And racing over the bridge?  So much fun!   

The result?  My fastest 10k in the last 5 or so years (not a PR) by at least 3 minutes.... with 47:49.  Woohoo!  I felt strong.... and felt like I could have pushed more.  Which is super exciting.  Perhaps I have the racing bug back?  Or I was just feeling spunky for being back in the state where I grew up.  

That 47:49 earned me a 1st place in my age group.  AND even better, none of the top 3 overall ladies were in the top three either... so this wasn't a "by default" age group winner prize either.  I'm pumped!  I have an engraved plate on the way and I cannot wait to share!  

Ward didn't have a shabby race either.   He actually snagged 3rd overall with a super solid race!  I bet his engraved plate will look better than mine. ;). 

Was our last day in Harrisburg.  I had been wanting to run more of the Green Belt my dad had been raving about.   Ward and I headed over to a section of it and got in a beautiful 6 miles full of brick homes and buildings on some windy trails.  It never really felt like we were running Harrisburg.   

It was our last day in Pennsylvania and we knew we had to get in a final run on the farmlands where my Aunt Vic and Uncle Snooze lived.   The rolling hills and pastures are among my top running places.   The views never disappoint and I while I am always whipped after running out at the farm, I feel exhilarated.   

Then like that, our time in Pennsylvania was over and we're back to reality.  But running in Maine isn't all too bad.  I actually pretty much love living here and love running here.   

Did you travel over the break?   Get in any awesome runs?  

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Must-Haves with Joules Athletics

I received four items of clothes from Joules Athletics to review as part of my affiliation with FitApproach.  All opinions expressed are my own.  

The Holiday Season is approaching faster than ever.  Can you believe it that next Thursday is Thanksgiving already?   Where has the time gone?   

What immediately drew me to Joules Athletics, was the moto: 

 I can.  I will.  Watch me.

If you are shopping for a special someone in your life who loves athletic wear whether they are working out, shopping, running errands, or just hanging out.  Joules Athletics has a huge assortment of beautiful clothing made for real people.  You can read more about how Joules Athletics came to be here.  

Stacy Vest 
It's time for cozy clothes that keep you warm, look great and move with you.  The Stacy Vest is longer than a regular vest, has a higher neck, has rouching on back for a nice fitted look.  I love the pop of purple on the front as well.  It stands out as a fun new, versatile vest that has already gotten a lot of wear.  

Kristen Top
Hanging out at home on a dreary rainy (or soon to come snowy) day, is made better with the pop of colors of my Stacy Vest and my Kristen Top

And damn I look good waiting for my chiropractic adjustment!   The Kristen Top has zippers on both sides to unzip for a looser look or feel and runs a bit longer.  It's a slim fitting, sweatshirt-like top that I wear to the chiropractor, to yoga, and just simply when I want to look good and feel good.  

Felicia Legging
And it pairs beautifully with my Felicia Leggings.  They are long and soft with a wide waist band for a flattering look.  I'm 5'6" and have loads of extra length to the bottom of these leggings.  I love the look.   These leggings will get you through your day from yoga to running to chilling out on a Sunday afternoon watching football.  Or whatever you choose to do!  

Stacey Capris 
Let's talk about the basic, but not-so-basic, black capris but with a the slightest rouching to add a certain flair to them.  Like the Felicia Leggings, these capris are incredibly soft and comfortable with the wide waistband.  The mid-calf height and rouching make the Stacy Capris stand out as a spunky pair of capris you cannot live without.   For the lady in your life, who needs a little twist on black capris, these are the ones you need to get!  

A girly touch, yet badass to get you through a kettlebell workout.   Yeah, you need them.  

What are you waiting for?  Head over to Joules Athletics and pick something out for yourself and your shopping list and save 15% with the code "sweatpinkroules".   Joules Athletics has something for almost everyone -  tweens, men and women.  Check it out!   Then tell me what you plan on buying!  

Monday, October 9, 2017

B.A.A. Half {race recap}

The B.A.A. Half has been on my radar for few years.   I decided earlier this year that this year was going to be the year of the half marathon. So I put my name in the lottery.  I had planned on mastering the half this year, so why not run a race I've been wanting to do?  

Just before I found out I was running the B.A.A. Half, I had applied to be a Maine Marathon ambassador.   I honestly didn't think I had a chance at getting that cool opportunity.  Little did I know that one day I would find out I was doing the B.A.A. Half and shortly after that I would find out I was an ambassador for the Maine Marathon.     I probably should have looked at the dates for each of them, but really, would I have changed my mind?  Absolutely NOT!    So, now I was running two half marathons in back-to-back weekends!   

This weekend we decided to not drag the kids all over the place for another weekend, which meant this was just a Jen & Ward trip.    Being the overly wild couple we are, we checked into the hotel around 7:30, and were asleep by 8:30pm.  We are crazy like that.   

The hotel was only 3.5 miles from Franklin Zoo, and after a lot of stressing and polling everyone I knew about the best race morning way to get there, we decided to just drive there and park where we could.  I was so surprised we found a great parking spot less than a mile from the start!   As soon as we got there, I check my bag and headed out to the porta potty line, with Ward by my side, on his bike.    When I got into line, I had 20 minutes until the start.   

And when I came out of the porta potty, I had a minute until the start.  With nearly 7000 runners, I wasn't going to win (ha!!!) so I didn't feel the need to be in the front, but I didn't want to be in the back either.   So after I gave Ward a kiss, I headed for somewhere in the middle of the pack.   He told me he would see me around mile 3 and I couldn't wait to see him there! 

As I neared the starting line, I started to get excited.   But I also felt hot already.  It was already 70F with 80% humidity (or at least that what my Apple Watch told me).    I told myself I wasn't going to let the head or humidity get to me, and was going to have a fun day no matter what.   

And with that, I went out like I normally start out a race.  Feeling confident.  Feeling happy.  Dodging walkers, left and right.  

The course was so much fun!  I loved running through the Emerald Necklace.   Only a few times did I really feel like I was running in the city.   Most of the time we were running along the parks.  There were hills.  But they weren't horrible.  The humidity was horrible.  But the course was not! 

The first 5 miles I felt great.   Well, mostly.  I was drenched in sweat.  I was getting dizzy from time to time.  But it wasn't horrible.   And then BAM!   I seriously hit the wall.  But this wall hurt so bad.  I was dizzy.  So dizzy.  I didn't know what was up.  I had been drinking my SOS and hitting the water stops.   By mile 10 I had to walk.    I wasn't crushing any PRs today, I just needed to finish.  So I walked.  A lot.    The dizziness stopped.  So I started running again.  Well, slogging.   And then I felt dizzy again.  So I walked again.    

I didn't realize that we were going to run THROUGH the Franklin Zoo, and when we started to enter it, I did get a bit excited!     When I saw some people peel off to the side, I looked to see where they were heading.   A lady said "get your selfie with the giraffe!  They weren't out last year!"  So I did!  It  took a few minutes to defog my phone - through the sweat and drizzle the screen was foggy and I everything I was wearing was soaked with sweat, so I just took the fuzzy, foggy selfie and called it good.  

Finally it started to rain.   I usually love running in the rain.  But this time I was a little pissed.  I mean, where was this rain when I needed it at during mile 1 - 12?  It was a little drizzle and I was already soaked with sweat, so really it just rinsed away some of the sweat.  Right?    

an accidental pic but I kind a like it!  

As I came around the curve to enter White's Stadium I caught a glimpse of Ward off to the side.  And before I knew it, I was on the track, heading toward the finish line.   

After I finished, I walked through the long line to get my kick ass medal had a few photos taken and then had to take a selfie with my medal.   

Ward tried calling me a few times but my soaked phone kept cutting out and when it worked, it sounded like he was underwater.   I thought the iPhone 7 was water resistant?   It didn't rain that hard. 

Finally I found him.  I got my BAA shirt, picked up my bag and headed to the car.   Thankfully we made it to the car just in time before it really started raining.    I took a few minutes to strip out of my soaked clothing, use a shower wipe to clean up a bit and put on some dry clothes.   All that time I held back my tears from such a horrible race time and just feeling awful.   

I looked happy to finish!
 And see those pockets on my Spandits! hold my cell phone?  

We went to the Shake Shack on Newbury Street for lunch.  By that point, the tears started to roll.   I felt like a complete failure.  I was so upset with myself and my finishing time.  I told Ward that I felt like something was really wrong with me.  That I was dizzy for most of the race.   The great guy that he is, reminded me about how bad the bronchitis hit me this time.    A good friend then reminded me that "it is only running" and she was right.  It is only running.  There are more important things to worry about.  So, I sipped on my black and white shake (by the way, is freaking amazing) and thought about the good things I have in my life.  

But you know what?  Thinking back.  I was dehydrated.  I didn't realize it but it took me hours to finally pee.  Seriously.  We were at Trader Joes in Portland.   That's a long time.  Especially for me.  Who has to pee every hour or so.  

And another thing.  I finished two half marathons in two weeks.  That's a pretty big deal for me.  I've never challenged myself like that before.  I know my race times were not very fast at all.  But I did it!   

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Maine (1/2) Marathon Race Recap *2017*

There are runs where everything clicks and all is perfect.  Either you crush you run and hit all of the paces you aimed at.  Or the weather is simply perfect, and you don't care about your pace, and just take in the fresh air and gorgeous views.    Then there are some runs when everything goes wrong.  Your breathing is off, or the weather is absolute crap.  Or you set out to hit specific paces and come no where near them!  

post half marathon, easy run, smiles in my new awesome race shirt

Learning to embrace each run for what they are, and accept that even though that run sucked the big one, you had the opportunity to run.  Not everyone has that chance.  Not everyone has the ability to lace up their shoes and get out the door.  

selfies mid race with Allyn!

When I think about the Maine Marathon course, a feeling of "home" comes to mind.  This course is where it all began.  Well, at least my love for half marathons!  

Scott rocks!  Post race happy faces.  

In 2010, I ran my first half marathon on the Maine Marathon course.  I remember it was an absolutely perfect day.  A typical October morning in Maine.  Chilly in the morning, crisp cool air throughout the day, and the sun shining.   When I finished the race that day, I made the decision that I would be completing the full marathon the following year.  

so old.... but way back in 2010 we did it!  we finished out 1st half!

And that I did.  However, it wasn't perfect conditions like I had experienced the year before.  It was cold and wet.  It poured almost the entire time.  But I didn't care.  The day was perfect.  I completed that marathon and I was now a marathoner.   

a year later, I completed the full, in the rain, with tears rolling down my cheeks with
the cutest boy cheering me on!  

The following year, I ran along with my sister-in-law, Jill, and friend, Carrie, as they took on the 26.2 milestone.  Again, it poured.    

Fast forward to last spring.  I decided I wanted to focus on the half distance.  I have been lacking speed in a big way lately and wanted to take a break from running marathons.  In talking with my coach, we decided that half's were the way to go.  'Half the distance, twice the fun!'    I decided that I was going to train my butt off and kick butt at the half marathon and push to a new PR (which would be a sub 1:44).   

flat jen was ready!

Sometime around mid-August, I came down with bronchitis.  Again.   This time it didn't go away as quickly as I wanted.  That jerk stuck around and annoyed the crap out of me (and is STILL annoying the crap out of me).  Some runs are perfect and I can breathe.  Other runs, I get in a half mile and I have to stop and cough my lungs up and then take a few moments to regain the ability to breathe.  It's frustrating and scary.   (I am waiting to see my asthma specialist.... I've had an appointment made like forever ago)   And then I sprained my ankle.  That set me back again.   BUT, in the midst of all that, I was not going to give up on the Maine half.   I knew the PR probably wasn't in the cards, but a strong run could still be a possibility.   

loved their Maine theme!  

So, when I rolled out of bed at 5AM on Sunday morning, my breathing felt pretty darn good.    The weather forecast looked amazing.  I was excited and ready to go.  In talking with Amy, she suggested I check in with myself at mile 3 and if I felt good, then go for it.  Check in again around 5/6, and if I was still feeling it, then run hard to the end.  If not, put on the breaks and enjoy the run.  

Yes, I forgot to tell you why we had this game plan.  The following weekend I was going to be running the BAA Half Marathon.  

I set out around an 8:18ish pace and felt amazing.   Then it crept down to 8:08, then 8:00.   I was feeling really good.   Then I ran an 8:05, then 8:19, then BOOM!  The wheels came off.  Just like that.   I didn't feel sick or bad.  My breathing didn't feel amazing, but it wasn't horrible either.  I'm not sure what was going on, but I embraced whatever it was and put the breaks.  Actually I decided I would just stop and chat with some friends on the side.  

From that point, I decided I was definitely in the run very easy and enjoy the moment I was in.  And I did.  I decided it was a good idea to do some snaps while I ran on the bridge.  Then I walked a few times, looking behind me for my friends Gretchen and Carrie.  But I couldn't find them, so I kept running along.  When I came up to the Runaways tent with only a little more than a mile left, I stopped again, took a selfie with the rockstar, Sarah, and then continued on my way.  

Sarah is a rockstar! 

As I came around the last bend along Baxter, I remembered the feelings I had before when I came around the curve.  The feeling of pride and excitement, seeing families and friends of so many runners there to cheer them on.   Remembering that 6 years ago, I completed my first marathon here and 7 years ago, I completed my first half marathon here.  

David Colby, from Maine Running Photos, is amazing!  
Thank you for the photos! 

And then, just like that I was finished, with a time of 1:58.  Way slower than I had expected, but seriously happy that I listened to whatever my body was telling me and slowed down to enjoy the day and the race that I love so much.  

a gorgeous day for a race! 

What I've taken away from Sunday's race is that I want to enjoy running for as long as I possibly can. If that means I'm as slow as mud, then so be it.  At least I'll be running.   If my time is fast, awesome. If it's not, oh well!  

this girl has been an amazing friend!  I love going to races with her.  

This doesn't mean I'm going to give up on racing.  I'm going to keep on working hard.   Maybe someday I'll crush that PR again.  Or maybe I won't. 

A proud Maine Marathon ambassador right here sporting all of the Maine Marathon  gear!   

BUT, I will tell you, that I will definitely be lining up at the starting line for the Maine Half again, and again.  This course means the world to me.