Weekly Workout Log – Oct. 25 – 31 + November Run Streak

Did October fly by, or what?! I am super happy about how this years racing season went. November is my month “off” from training. So, I’ll be doing something I’ve been wanting to do for over a year and just haven’t had the opportunity to do it….complete a run streak! 🙂 I’ll be running a minimum of a mile every day in the month of November. Training for my first race of 2016 won’t start until mid-December, so November seemed like the perfect time to complete the challenge. Anyone else going to participate?! 🙂 Join me!

Here’s what the last week of October looked like:

Sunday – Rest day. Leg muscles felt pretty good. Shins slightly sore from the hills, and my shoulders felt super sore from being so tense from running through all the mud at Saturday’s race. Spent some time foam rolling.

Monday – I gave myself an extra rest day to recover a bit more. Definitely experiencing some delayed soreness. Shins are more sore than yesterday. More foam rolling.

Tuesday – Another windy run! Ran 3.1 miles (9:26 pace). I had to stop TWICE to stretch though. My shins were on fire! Thanks Mackinac haha! 😉 Foam rolled and stretched after the run.

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I wore this cute new run Michigan shirt under my jacket. I got it at packet pick-up on Saturday. Love it! Notice my shoes…My brooks are still dirty and wet so I had to wear these. Someone on IG suggested I throw them in the washing machine with some old towels and then air dry with newspapers stuffed inside. So I did put them in there (without the inserts) and they didn’t really come clean. I tried my blue dawn / hydrogen peroxide / baking soda scrub on them too, which helped a lot. Just trying to dry them out now so I can hopefully wear them later this week.

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Wednesday – Biked 20 miles on the bike trainer. Farthest I’ve gone for an inside ride in a looong time! I was dripping by the time I was done. Did some foam rolling after too. Shins feel pretty good today!

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Thursday – Ran 4 miles (9:27 pace) on the treadmill to avoid the rain!

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Friday – Ran 5 miles for my 5 year old birthday girl! Notice I’m wearing my ‘muddin’ shoes :). They cleaned up pretty good actually. They look about the same as the second pair I have of this same shoe that I definitely didn’t go trail running in the rain in, so I’m pretty happy about that. I’m just going to keep a 5-6 mile “long” run base before ramping it up in December for the Disney Princess Half Marathon training. YAAAY! I cannot control my excitement about this race!! Busy weekend ahead, and lots of rain the forecast so I opted to get it in today.

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Saturday – Rest day. Happy Halloween!! Be safe, friends!

Bring on that November Run Streak! 🙂

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Product Review: Tiux Compression Socks + Comparison with Vitalsox and Zensah (UPDATED with ProCompression)

I was so excited when Steven from Tiux contacted me and offered a pair of their compression socks to try out. Tiux is pronounced tee-oo. It’s a Mien word that means to run/jump.

I was just getting up there in miles for my Great Turtle Half Marathon Trail Run training and it just seemed like the perfect time to try it out and write an honest review of their compression socks. I was only using compression socks for half-marathon distance or longer runs. As I was approaching that distance in training, I realized I could probably benefit from using compression in recovery as well. I knew they were supposed to be beneficial in recovery, but for whatever reason I never put another pair on after a long run.

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Besides Tiux, I own two pair of Vitalsox Graduated Compresson Performance Socks. I bought them after hunting for a pair of compression socks that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. I wanted them for long runs and long run recovery. They had good reviews, so I gave them a shot. They were my first pair of compression socks, so I had nothing to compare them to. I used them during my long runs for marathon training and during the race. I intended on wearing them following the race, but ended up not (and regretting that decision!). Since then, I have worn them after some longer training runs and feel my legs benefited from that.

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When I received the Tiux socks, I immediately went out for a 3 mile run in them. I wanted to get as many runs in them as possible, and of varying distances, so I got started right away to give the most educated review I could. I used them mostly for my long runs though. I was lucky and won a second pair of them, so I was able to use one for the run and the other for recovery. They were amazing! I used them after my 12-13 mile training runs and the next day I felt like I didn’t even run! It was incredible! My legs have always felt tired after running a distance like that without compression, so this was a wonderful feeling. I wore my neon yellow socks during the Great Turtle Half under my running tights, and then changed to the pink ones after the race. I kept them on the rest of the day and and once again my legs felt pretty good in the days following. My shins were a little sore from the hills (which happens whenever I do hills), but my legs didn’t feel “tired” like they have in the past. I could have easily run the next day, although I took a few days off as I generally do that after bigger races.

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Wearing Tiux compression socks post race on the way home.

I also thought it would be fun to try out another brand that is a bit more expensive. My mom swears by Zensah compression, so I borrowed hers since we’re in the same size. But, I had an issue with the toe seam not being very comfortable. I didn’t have the opportunity to try these in recovery.

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Tiux Compression Socks:

The Good

  • The fabric is comfortable. Very smooth!
  • They make my calves feel supported.
  • They’re $35 a pair, which is a great price point for compression socks!
  • They wash up great!
  • They are labeled with an ‘L’ for left and ‘R’ for right on the big toe, which makes the fit around the toes perfect!
  • They reduced muscle fatigue when worn after a run

The Not So Good

  • Limited number of color/pattern choices.
  • The sizing chart might not be accurate. See “The Verdict” below for a suggestion.

Compare / Contrast

  • Zensah – toe seam felt weird during run, got slightly worn looking after several washes, thicker fabric than both Tiux and Vitalsox – $49.99/pair
  • Tiux – stays in place, perfect fit around toes, holds up after many washes, reduces muscle fatigue when worn for recovery, thinner fabric than Zensah and Vitalsox – $35/pair
  • Vitalsox – stays in place, ok fit around toes, holds up after many washes, reduces muscle fatigue when worn for recovery, slightly thicker fabric than Tiux – $35/pair
  • Updated: ProCompression topped this list of compression socks I’ve tried. They are the only compression socks I’ll wear now. All the good from the socks above, plus they don’t stretch out like Tiux seems to do after many wear/washes.

The Verdict:

Tiux are great compression socks, but they don’t last as long as ProCompression. If you’d like to try Tiux, I suggest contacting the company with your measurements and having them suggest a size. Had I gone off of the size chart alone, I would have ended up in a larger size than what was using and what worked for me before they got too stretched out. They have you measure the widest part of calf + ankle. Tiux are definitely one of the more comfortable brands I’ve used. I was surprised the Zensah slid down during the run because they felt slightly tighter (barely noticeable) than both Tiux and Vitalsox. I’m not sure if it truly is, or if it’s just a difference in fabric since I’d say they’re thicker than Tiux and Vitalsox.

Ready to ‘run, jump, go’? Here’s a coupon for 10% off Tiux compression socks that is good through December 31, 2015.

****2016 UPDATE: I finally gave ProCompression a try and I’m hooked! I’m sad I waited this long to try. They made marathon training recovery so smooth. I mostly used them post-run, but they’re great during a run as well. I had no issues getting my runs done and the muscle fatigue I expected was definitely reduced using them. And, an added bonus…lots of color/print choices! None of the brands I’ve tried have been “bad”, but I think ProCompression socks last longer (don’t get stretched out). PC often has great deals on their socks if you buy several pair at a time (in two of my orders, the socks were only $20 a pair!). You cannot beat that, especially for the quality! 💗


Disclaimer: Tiux sent me a free pair of the compression socks to try. I was not paid to write the review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Race Recap: The Great Turtle Trail Race – Half Marathon

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Just wrapped up the Trio Series races on Mackinac Island by completing the Great Turtle Trail Race (half marathon distance). There was also a 5.7 mile race and a race walking division for this race. The Trio Series included a 10k and an 8 mile race prior to this.

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Gear set out for race (I ended up not wearing the gloves and wore the race jacket over the tops I brought)

I was not prepared for all the hills in this race. Someone at our hotel during the 8 mile race weekend told me that it was pretty hilly. I thought, “It can’t be worse than Nashville!” Well…it’s definitely up there! Total elevation gain: 504 ft. That’s less gain than Nashville, but it still felt harder at times. The hills in Nashville are not short steep hills, they’re long sloping hills. The ones during this race were much shorter, but they were so steep! That gain might not seem bad to some, but it was a real challenge for me. It felt like I had no time to recover from them. Definitely one of the toughest races I’ve ever done.

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The 5.7 mile distance started at 11:30am and the half distance started at 11:45am. The routes were different, and we ended up running different directions on the same road at one point. My mom and I actually saw each other during the race because of that. It had kind of late start times, so I ended up eating my usual race day breakfast of gluten free toast and a banana twice before the race started. The two races had different starting spots. They were close enough though that we were able to see my family start the 5.7 distance and then head down to the start of the half. With such a late start time, we ended up just staying in Mackinaw City and taking the ferry over in the morning since we had much more time that we normally would.

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It wasn’t raining when it started, but it had rained earlier so the road had puddles that everyone was jumping at the start. The rain started around mile 2. Please note, I don’t normally wear the race shirt to the race. Isn’t that like wearing the bands shirt to their concert? haha But, knowing it was probably going to rain I decided to wear the race jacket for another layer.

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Here comes the rain! You can see the 5.7 mile runners heading the other direction here.

The first few miles were along the paved perimeter of the island. Then you make a turn into the woods. The path footing changed, but most of it was just a sloppy mess because of the rain. During the race I heard someone say, “Isn’t it funny how we were all dodging the rain puddles at the beginning, and now we have no choice but to run straight through the mud?” haha! My parents said they were just about out of the woods portion of the 5.7 mille run when the rain started, so the half marathoners got the worst of the mud. Although I was focusing on the footing, I was able to enjoy the pretty scenery. Here’s my before and after race shoes:

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I didn’t take many pictures during the race because the course was so technical. I had fears of falling, especially after I heard a guy say, “This is where I fell last year.” Eeeek! It didn’t rain last year either haha! So thus my fears being high as it was slick out there. This isn’t a great picture, but it was pure mud!

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There was water stations about every 2.5 miles. I took a Honey Stinger energy gel at the 3rd water station knowing my energy was being zapped on the hills. I was so happy when we had reached the downhill portion that led to the paved road around the perimeter of the island. Finally out of the mud!

Yeeesssss! Relief is coming with just two more miles to go!

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The finish line was in the grass, and the area was lined with so many cheering people. It felt so amazing to finish with my family cheering for me :). Official finish time (and PR!): 2:18:31 (pace 10:33). I can’t remember how long it rained, but it did stop for a period of time. It was raining again at the finish though! Click the video screen shot below to view a video on YouTube of me finishing. TURN YOUR SOUND OFF or turn the volume down. My dad is cheering very loudly :).

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Video of me finishing the race!

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The gigantic Trio Series medal + the cute Great Turtle medal (which opens like a locket and says “2015 Finisher” on the inside).

My parents stayed on the island, so we were able to go back to their hotel and get cleaned up after the race before heading back to the ferry dock. It felt so good to put dry clothes on. I put on my second pair of Tiux compression socks to wear the rest of the day.

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We went out to eat at Nonna Lisa’s in Mackinac City like we always do, and then headed back home. Despite the weather, and it being such a quick trip, I had a good time! Will I do this race again? Probably not. But, I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to do all 3 island races this year. My husband and family are so supportive of me and I am so grateful!

Stay tuned, as I’ll be posting my review in the next day or two of the Tiux compression socks that I wore during the race and after for recovery. It’ll include a comparison with 2 other compression sock brands.

Anyone have suggestions for getting my shoes cleaned? I rinsed off the bottoms and took a cold wet rag and got off all the dirt I could, and then let them sit out in the sun. What’s the best way to get them looking cleaner now? I was thinking of trying a dawn/peroxide/baking soda scrub, letting them sit for a little while and then rinse and let them dry out again. But, I thought I’d ask and see if any other trail runners have used other successful cleaning methods. 🙂

Weekly Workout Log – Oct. 18 – 24

Race week!

Sunday – Rest day.

Monday – Ran 4 miles (9:28 pace). It was soooo windy! I mean like, these gusts of wind are so strong I hope I don’t fall over kind of strong ha! Good news, I made it :).

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Tuesday – Biked 14  miles on the trainer.

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Wednesday – Ran 3.1 miles (9:12 pace). Last shortie before the race! I’m excited to say the least :). Also very happy I didn’t have to wear layers even going as early as I did. Very pleasant temps!
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Thursday – Ended up taking a rest day today. Today was supposed to be yoga day, but I got a lot done around the house after I got home from my daughter’s field trip that morning.

Friday – Rest day – headed up to Mackinac Island.

Saturday – Ran ‘The Great Turtle Half Marathon Trail Run’ on Mackinac Island in the rain and mud! (PR of 2:18:31, 10:33 pace) Race 3 of 3 on the island for the year! Race recap coming soon!

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Weekly Workout Log – Oct. 11 – 17

Week 12 is in the books! How is my half marathon THIS week already?! Training went by so fast, even though it was longer than normal! Generally it wouldn’t take me 13 weeks to train for a half, but I had a few races in there that bumped my long runs off a week. So, it ended up being a bit longer. Here’s what this past weeks training consisted of:

Sunday – Rest day. We had another appointment with our kitchen designer since our floor plan for the new house has changed. It’s so exciting going over all these details!

Monday – Ran 3.1 miles (9:26 pace).

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Tuesday – Biked 15 miles + 20 minutes of weights and squats.

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Wednesday – Ran 4 miles (9:18 pace) through a park and around a school campus. I’m the biggest baby when it comes to cold temperatures. I mean, yes…I am tough because I have run double digit mile runs in sub-zero temperatures. BUT, that doesn’t mean I embrace it. I love running, so to reach my current goal I get out there and run even if it means dreading the initial shock to the body. It’s that ‘dig deep’ mantra that I have to repeat to just get up and do it! You’ll never regret a run :). Even in the upper 40’s today, I procrastinated around the house for about 2 hours before I finally got out the door haha! The sun DID show her beautiful face towards the end which made it so worth it! 🙂
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Thursday – Yoga for 1 hour.  I used my “Yoga Bible” book and went through several poses and spent a bit of time focusing on arm pressure balance and fallen angel as these are two poses that I’ve gotten close with but I’m still not there. I did get off the ground for a second in arm balance though! Showing some signs of improvement, which is always exciting!

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Friday – Ran 8 miles (9:38 pace). I was so busy getting ready to leave for the weekend that I just decided to go knock out this ‘taper’ long run on the treadmill.

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Saturday – Rest day. Spent the day celebrating my daughter’s 5th birthday a little early with a trip to Chicago to visit the American Girl Place store to pick out a doll. Of course we had to indulge in some delicious pizza while visiting. Props to Giordano’s for offering a gluten free pizza! It wasn’t your traditional deep dish, but I’ll take what I can get. I basically ate my weight in pizza there haha! I got the GF “super veggie” and loved it! It had mushrooms, green peppers, onions, broccoli (yes…I swear it was actually good!), black olives, artichokes, and spinach on it. Oh my gosh…can I go back now?! Thankful our hotel room had a refrigerator for all the leftovers, although they didn’t make it past dinner time ;).

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That ends “taper” week. On to race week!!!

Momentum Jewelry Ambassador

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I’m so excited to have the opportunity to represent Momentum Jewelry as an ambassador! I’m the girl that’s got a list a mile long of all the inspiring wraps, foot notes, necklaces, etc. that I want to own. There is just something so special about how wearing one of their products can lift your mood, remind you that you’re strong, and remind you that you can do anything you set your mind to. I love their positive and inspiring message. I’m so honored to have the chance to represent them for the next few months.

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If you haven’t heard of Momentum Jewelry, I encourage you to check out their website. They offer an array of products that are perfect for any fitness buff. They even have some non-fitness type quotes on their wraps. My favorite non-fitness quote is their “love & gratitude” wrap. The colors they offer for the wraps are beautiful! You’re bound to find one that you love. You can order extra wrap colors if you can’t seem to narrow it down. They also offer a custom text option, so you can have your wrap say whatever you’d like. It doesn’t get much better than that! 🙂

Do you own one of Momentum’s products? What did you buy? What’s your favorite quote they offer for the wraps?

What to Do With Old Race Shirts

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I’ve mentioned before that my family has been going up to Mackinac Island for the 8 Mile race (and occasionally the Lilac & Great Turtle) for many many years. My grandpa made a comment at dinner when we were there for the Lilac race that he has so many race shirts that he doesn’t even wear. If you’ve been racing for a while you probably have some shirts you don’t wear anymore, right?! I know I do! Then it hit me! I was so excited…I had the *perfect* Christmas gift for my sentimental grandpa. A few months prior to this, I saw a picture on Instagram of someone holding up a blanket made of t-shirts by Project Repat. I bookmarked the company’s website so I’d remember it for the future, figuring I’d eventually use their services. I’m so glad I did because he loves personal gifts and treasures things that bring back memories. My mom makes him a photo book every year filled with with pictures from the races we do together, trips to the cabin, holiday parties, etc. I asked him if he would care if I took his race t-shirts he doesn’t wear anymore and repurposed them for him for a Christmas gift. He agreed :). I can share this here because he just uses the computer for email and video chatting with family.

Here’s what I did to have the blanket made:

  1. I went to www.projectrepat.com and ordered the blanket. I had 16 shirts to work with, so I chose the “lap size”. They walk you through the process and you pick the color of fleece for the backing.
  2. I laid out the shirts in chronological order and took a photo. If you don’t care about the order, you can just let Project Repat decide for you. (NOTE: they now charge a fee if you’d like them to follow a certain order)
  3. Printed the photo of the layout.
  4. Printed the email from Project Repat that stated to mail it in with the shirts.
  5. Boxed up the shirts and papers & mailed them in. It cost me about $19 to mail in the 16 XL shirts. I could have saved some money and cut the back of the shirt off, so the package would have weighed less. But, the time savings won and I just sent them in as is.

They sent me an email letting me know they received the shirts, and about 2 weeks later I had the package in my mailbox. Pretty good turn around! I love the white shirt (non-race shirt) he decided to throw in there with a quote. “The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.” Oh so true!

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Things to make note of:

  • They give you 90 days to mail in the shirts, so if you won’t have all the shirts you need for it in that window of time hold off on ordering.
  • If the shirt has something printed on the backside too, Project Repat asks that you cut along the outside edge of the shirt so you can send in the one side of the shirt you’d like in the blanket.
  • If you want both sides then you still have to cut the shirt edge and include both sides in the box so there is no question as to what is to be included.
  • They have a video they want you to watch before mailing in the shirts that shows you exactly how to cut them. They do not want you to cut the shirts into the squares.
  • They accept t-shirts made out of all types of fabric. So no worries if you have some ‘technical’ / ‘wicking’ race shirts you’d like to use. They’ll work just fine!
  • They often have discount codes, so look for them before ordering & make sure you’re on their email list to be notified of special offers.
  • When I ordered mine, there was a date in mid-September that they said the shirts had to be in by in order to be guaranteed by Christmas. They were very quick with shipping, but just a warning if you want to do this as a gift you’ll have to do a bit of planning ahead to be on the safe side.
  • The stitching along the front side looked great, but the stitching on the backside was a little messy in spots but nothing too bad. Overall, I am happy with the blanket!

Here’s a picture of the stitching on the backside. It’s kind of difficult to see in the picture.

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There are other companies out there that do this same sort of thing, but I found Project Repat to have the best prices and it was a quick and easy process. You could obviously do this yourself if you had a sewing machine, but it’s just so much easier going this route! I have a stack of shirts in my closet right now that I’m saving for my own race shirt blanket, but I’m going to need a few more. I guess I better register for a few more races now ;).

Have you turned your shirts into a blanket or repurposed them another way?

Weekly Workout Log – Sept. 27 – Oct. 3

This was my 10th week of half-marathon training.

Sunday – Rest day.

Monday – Biked 11 miles. Took it easy for pace and enjoyed what is probably one of the last warm outdoor biking opportunities we’ll have for the year.

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Tuesday – Ran 4 miles (9:06 pace) going in and out of the rain! It was just sprinkling out though, so not bad at all :).
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After going back to my local running store today to dig a little deeper into my shoe options, we came to the conclusion that there literally are ZERO shoes out there that will work for my feet that are a neutral and come in a 2E width. My feet are happy in my Brooks Adrenalines even though they’re stability shoes. I just figured maybe it was part of my recurring ITB issues being in the ‘wrong’ type of shoe. But we determined it’s probably just a strength issue I have to work on (which really isn’t news to me). However, they were super helpful in providing a great series of exercises to do a couple times a week. So, I’ll be working that Myrtl routine into the mix now. Hopefully that’ll help me out!

Wednesday – 10 min. going through the Myrtl routine for hip/glute strengthening + 20 minutes of lower body weights and squats + 20 minutes of yoga + 30 minute walk with my dog.

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I *finally* got up in forearm stand! Wohooo!! Lots more improvements to be made, but I am so pumped I finally have the strength to hold myself up in that position.

Thursday – Unplanned rest day. Sometimes you just need some extra rest. No lie, my hamstrings feel like shredded brisket today. To make matters more humorous, I tried to foam roll my legs and then realized my arms are just about as bad haha! Poor planning on my part doing inversions + leg curls and extensions on the same day and the day before I was supposed to run, but at least I had fun yesterday! 😉 On the plus side, I got caught up with household chores!

Friday – Rest day. Still sore, but feeling a little better. 10-12 min. of going through the Myrtle routine and a whole lot of rest.

Saturday – Ran 12 miles. Chilly & windy morning run!

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This was a challenging run. I thought the temperatures would bother me more since this is the coldest it’s been yet this season. It really wasn’t too bad though. With all the layers I had on, I was actually pretty comfortable. I took off my gloves toward the end for a little while. I wore my Nike Thermal Tech running gloves, TekGear fleece jacket, my new Mizuno Breathe Thermo Seamless Half-zip (courtesy of the gift card I won through Gazelle Sports), and long sleeve wicking shirt underneath it all. I always wear more layers than my mom, and probably most people haha! I’m the girl that’s cold all the time ;).

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I was pretty exhausted when I finished and decided I’d just lay in the grass for a minute haha! Considering the wind, few hills I did, and my sore hamstrings, I’m a-ok with this one. I stopped back at my car at mile 6 for my Honey Stinger energy gel + some Nuun to wash it down.IMAG6785That ends week 10. Three weeks until race day! As far as weekend long runs go, I’m planning a 13.1 mile run next weekend, then my “taper” run of 8, then it’ll be RACE DAY!! 🙂