Experience Review: First-Time Yoga

As most runners know, cross-training is key to prevent injuries and keep things fresh. I’ve always been one who knows that but never heeds it. I barely have time to run let alone do something else that I don’t necessarily love as much as running, right?! But when I saw a stellar deal at Tula Yoga & Reiki Professionals, I knew I had to dive in.

I’ve never actually taken a group yoga class before, so I was wicked nervous beforehand. I’ve done some at-home yoga videos and the yoga options on SWORKIT, but nothing in person. I signed up for the one-and-a-half-hour session called the Power Of Yoga *All-Levels Vinyasa on a Thursday evening. Kudos to hubs for tackling dinner and bath duty!

I left about ten minutes early, since the studio is close to our house. I typically use the Google Maps app, so I plugged the address in, and off I went. I have zero sense of direction and am a timid driver, so when I recognized the area I was in, I was relieved. But as I made a left turn where the studio was (supposedly), I realized I was in a residential area, which made no sense to me.

I drove around and crossed a busy highway several times (white-knuckling the steering wheel), until I found a parking lot to stop in. I opened up Waze this time, and voila—I was about two minutes away. I had driven by a large, purple flag that said YOGA right on it, but I didn’t realize that’s where Tula was. Duh! And thank you, Waze. I apologize for all of the times I’ve said, “Oh, I don’t like Waze. I just use Google.” Curse you, Google Maps!

Finally, I pull in to Tula, all shaky and nervous—not exactly the way I wanted to start this journey. For some reason I was expecting a large studio, but Tula is located in a small house, and the room itself where they hold classes is tiny. I put my things in a cubby, and the instructor showed me how to sign in on a tablet. I felt the need to announce right away that this was my first time, hoping that she would give me the lay of the land. I set up my very old Weight Watchers yoga mat (don’t laugh) in the back of the room, and there were only six students total (including myself) attending the session. The guy in front of me jokingly said that I picked one heck of a class to start off with; I thought because of the length of the class perhaps.

We started off with a few simple poses, and I liked the fact that the instructor went around periodically throughout the room and gently corrected people’s poses. She did it very silently, so that (at least to me) no one felt intimidated or like they were doing something incorrectly. I do feel, however, that I definitely need a Yoga 101 type of course, which would help me with basic moves.

For example, I thought I was doing child’s pose correctly, until the instructor sat behind me and gently pushed my backside down way farther than I thought it could ever go! Who knew I should be going so deep into a pose?! I also noticed that when I did a warrior pose, my front foot was apparently not nearly as forward as it should have been.

At one point, the instructor showed me how to move my right hip, and I clearly realized that I have no idea how my body works. How do you move just one body part or part of a body part at a time?! And another time, the instructor massaged my neck, which felt amazing, but all I could think of in my head was, “Oh my GOD I’m so sweaty; please, you really don’t have to touch me!” I felt so bad for her haha.

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I took all of it in as a learning experience, and I hope I learn just as much at my second class tonight!

Here are a couple of hilarious observations:

  1. I had no idea how audibly people breathed during yoga!
  2. I sweat like a beast. I literally had to take my glasses off at one point because I couldn’t see. No one else appeared to sweat like I did, and it was NOT hot yoga, so I’m not sure what my problem is. You bet your bippy that I’m wearing a running headband tonight.
  3. During the cool down, people started snoring. The cool, lavender towel over my eyes was amazing, but I couldn’t slow down my thoughts; plus I kept wondering if the instructor would tell us when this part of the session was over or would people just get up and walk out? I was clueless.

xoxox,
Becky

 

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Race Recap: Fallen Heroes 5K 2018

I’d like to sum this race up in three words as I’m wont to do: geese, poop, humidity. We’ll get to that in a sec.

I know it’s nearly a month later, so I first want to apologize for not writing a race review for the Fallen Heroes 5K from May 24, 2018 until now! To say that work has been crazy is an understatement, and I kind of lost my mojo there for a bit. Oh, and we were at Walt Disney World for a week. That’ll take the oomph right outta ya.

Anyway, last year’s race seemed very similar to this year’s race. It was hot and humid, with the potential for rain showers. Since this is an evening race, I was rushing to get hubs and myself out the door, pick up the Almost Angry Kinder (AAK), and head about 45 minutes to New Castle, DE, for the race. Despite my nagging to speed walk to the start line, we arrived with plenty of time. For some reason my anxiety was sky-high, so I apologize to hubs for cattle prodding him and the AAK around. We said hi to our Uncle Paul (DJ at American Pie Entertainment) who was announcer/DJ for the race, and I tried to encourage the AAK to do the kids’ fun run, but she seemed too shy. She rocked the Thin Mint 5K kids’ run previously, so I thought she’d be excited for this one. I don’t know why it hurt my heart a little, but obviously I had to let it go, because I don’t want to push her in any direction that she doesn’t want to follow.

I brought my new Orange Mud handheld bottle with me, and I was also nervous about carrying it during my race, since I’ve never used a handheld before. Overall, I love it, but I did have to switch hands periodically because they got too hot/sweaty. Does that happen to anyone else?

It was nice not to have to stop at the water stop though. Normally I don’t really drink water for a 5K, but it was wicked humid out, and I knew my body needed the hydration. I of course drank some nuun during the day on race day as well to stay hydrated.

I’m very familiar with the race course itself, having run the race previously, but also having in-laws who live in New Castle, so I’ve been there many a time. The course brings you from St. Peter Church, down local side streets, through The Strand (a ritzy part of “Old New Castle”), and out to Battery Park and the walking path there. The path is narrow, but it has just enough room to fit two people across. I love looking at the scenery and water there.  The only thing I don’t enjoy is dodging geese poop all along the waterfront. Ew!

The course had one water stop just before the turnaround point, since this was an out-and-back course. I didn’t notice any porta-potties along the course, but I’ve never had a need for one during a 5K.

Here I am on the very left perhaps half a mile from the finish line. New Castle does an excellent job of making sure that runners are safe and not in harm’s way in traffic. The volunteers, police, EMTs, Good Will Fire Company, and so on were all very helpful and pleasant.

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It turns out that this race is TINY. It had 220 participants overall. Oh, that may have been why I won an age-group award (second in my age group) for running a 30:19. There were only 13 women in my age group—hah! I was supposed to receive a medal, but they were apparently lost, so I was told I’d receive one in the mail. I just sent a follow-up message today, so we’ll see!

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I think this race is run very well, there were plenty of bathroom options before the race, and the post-race food was excellent! They had pizza, wings, sports drink, water, and more. The only thing I did not see were soft pretzels, which made my tummy sad.

Here I am after the race. I of course repped Race Advisors and the Smyrna Clayton Running Club!

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April 2018 Miles . . . and Boston?

Goodbye, April! I nailed my mileage goal again this month with 80 miles. I’m so ecstatic! I ran two long-er runs (one on-my-own half marathon and a six-miler), but otherwise I ran slow and steady each day. I think that’s part of the reason why I keep going injury free. I love running, and I listen to my body.

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Speaking of listening . . . throughout this month while running, I’ve listened to the Hamilton soundtrack (duh), the Dear Evan Hansen soundtrack, the Running Lifestyle Show podcast, the Marathon Training Academy podcast, the Another Mother Runner podcast, the Tanis podcast, and more. I almost exclusively listen to podcasts while running, but while racing I tend to listen to soundtracks more so. What’s your favorite thing to listen to on a run?

I want to again give a huge hunka hunka shout out to my hubs, as well as a sweaty kiss and a hug to the Angry Almost Kinder (AAK). Without their love and support, I would not be doing this running thing. <cute sobs> Here’s the AAK’s preschool graduation picture (sorry for the picture of a picture taken using my dinosaur iPhone):

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Anywayyyyy, ever since this year’s Boston Marathon, I’ve been toying with the idea of running Boston for charity, preferably in 2019, because mama a’int gettin’ any younger! I know that charities open in September, which doesn’t seem like a ton of time to fundraise most likely $7.5K in roughly seven or eight months. I have my eye set on one or two charities that are close to my heart, so we’ll see what happens!

If you’ve run  Boston for charity in the past, I’d love to hear how you did it!

Product Review: Oatmega Protein Bars

I was talking to my fraternal twin sis (didn’t see that one coming, eh?) one or two Friday afternoons ago via GChat (I dislike living so far away!), and we were both saying how we needed to find better snack options during the work day.  Whether out of stress, avoidance, or hunger, I find that I’m always searching for something to munch on around 3 p.m. I also find on weekends that I get incredibly hangry if we’re out and about and I haven’t had something to eat in a few hours.

Enter Oatmega bars! When we were at Sam’s Club one Saturday recently, as I was trying to avoid the millionth sample, I spied these bars. Cue the heavenly glow shining down on this large box of goodness.

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Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all about free samples, but sometimes it’s like a flipped switch in my mind (especially on weekends) to go hog-wild if I indulge. I’m a very black-and-white/all-or-nothing type of person, so it’s best to just abstain.

The box came with two flavors—Chocolate Peanut and Chocolate Brownie. Anything with chocolate in it sings the song of my people, and I wasn’t disappointed! I’ve tried other protein bars that are too flaky, too chewy, or too much like Air Heads for my liking. Oatmega bars have just the right consistency without tasting like a mouthful of vitamins. I prefer the Chocolate Brownie to the Chocolate Peanut, but they’re both great. I now carry one or two in my purse (which is notoriously large for y’know, life) just in case I feel Hangry Becky coming on (much like the Hulk).

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I’m dying to try the Lemon Chia flavor and the Blueberry flavor.

Here’s my Amazon affiliate link if you’re interested in purchasing the 18-pack of Chocolate Peanut and Chocolate Brownie!

What’s your favorite?

xoxox,
Becky

Race Recap: Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay Thin Mint 5K 2018

I’m going to sum this race up in three words: Rain, cold, COOKIES. On Sunday, April 15, 2018, I ran the Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay Thin Mint 5K in Wilmington, DE.

I ran this race back in 2014 and had an awesome time! Here’s the race recap if you’re interested.

I had been keeping a side-eye on the weather the whole weekend, because I knew it was supposed to rain and come nowhere close to the over-eighty-degree weather of Saturday.

The location of the race also eluded me a bit, because the address was listed simply as “Lot E, Wilmington Riverfront”. Hubs knew in general where we were going, but without having a concrete address, it was confusing. Because of that, we left the house around 7:30 a.m. EST in hopes of getting there around 8:30 a.m. for a 9 a.m. start.

I registered the Angry Almost-Kinder (AAK) for the fun run, and I tried to hype her up beforehand. She had run one with me back in 2015, but this time I convinced her to run by herself. Kids’ fun runs are never long, and I knew she could cover the distance easily.

We didn’t hit any traffic going there, but when we pulled up to where I thought the race start was, there was no one around! We drove around the parking lot a bit, and I finally spied an ambulance and a couple of tables with volunteers—one of whom was my friend Suz! It was so good to see her, despite the weather and gloomy day. (Hi, Suz!!)

It was drizzling and SO COLD. I hopped out of the car while hubs and the AAK stayed warm inside to grab my race bib and my goodie bag. I love this race, because you receive a free box of Thin Mints! For a split second, I considered taking my goodies and going home, but I knew I wanted to get in some miles and that I could tough it out. I went back to the car for a few minutes to warm up, but the fun run started at 8:45 a.m., so we got out and trudged over to the starting line.

The AAK is typically the smallest/shorted in the lot, and that day was no exception. She ran as fast as her little legs could take her though, and I was wicked proud of her! One woman behind us said, “The little girl in the green jacket has great form!” And of course I yelled back, “That’s my daughter!” with a smile a mile wide. Here she is below in the green jacket and black/pink hat.

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After the fun run, hubs and the AAK went to a local coffee shop to stay warm while I ran. I stood at the starting line in my jacket and the AAK’s pink kid gloves. I’ve never raced in a jacket like this before, but there was no way I was going to run in that wind/cold without something. I looked over and I heard, “Becky?!” It was my friend Stephanie, whom I haven’t seen in forever! It was great to chat with her at the start of the race. Senator Tom Carper gave a speech and rallied the runners and walkers. I loved his line of (don’t quote me here), “I ran a 10K as a warm-up for this race. If I can do it, you can too!”

To give you an idea of how I felt, here’s a hilarious picture of me at the starting line with Bib 3125 on. Maybe I’m conducting a symphony? Or rockin’ out a killer drum solo?

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I told Stephanie that I’d be behind her the whole way, and that’s exactly how the race panned out. It was drizzling, so freakin’ windy, and downright cold. Hubs asked that I text him when I had about ten minutes to go so that they could meet me at the finish, so in my mind I was looking for the two-mile marker as my signal.

We passed the one-mile marker, and I felt like I was going at a decent pace without too much effort. I didn’t have my Nike+ Run Club app on (per usual during races now), so I just ran by feel. I wasn’t trying to give it my all, and I felt great throughout the race. (Read: In my head I wasn’t spouting curse words or thinking I was going to keel over and die.)

Overall, the course was extremely flat and fairly well-marked. There was a race in the same location a couple weeks before, so we were advised to watch out for cones with arrows for this race and to ignore any other signage on the ground. At one part, we ran right along the river on a wooden boardwalk where I almost bit it due to not paying enough attention to the transition. Points for not falling!

As an aside, I give major kudos to the volunteers and supports that day, because no one had any business being out in that weather! Everyone was so upbeat and friendly!

I kept plodding along, hoping to see a two-mile maker. At one point, I saw a HUGE MOUNTAIN, oh, wait, we’re in Delaware. OK, teeny-tiny hill coming up. The volunteer at the top of the hill was awesome and announced, “There’s a half-mile decline!” which of course I took advantage of. If you’ve ever read a race recap of mine, I dislike hills with passion, so of course I cursed a little bit under my breath. Flat and fast my ***! But really, it was just a tiny hill and nothing I couldn’t endure.

Still no two-mile marker in sight, and the next mile marker I saw was a small, yellow, three-mile marker cone. I literally raised my hands in a “what the?!” pose as I passed it. I yelled out more to myself than anyone else around, “Is that really the three-mile marker?!” So much for giving hubs a heads up!

As I sprinted toward the finish line, I knew I had come in at just about 30 minutes (30:28 to be exact), and I congratulated Stephanie on coming in just a bit before me. It turns out that we both won second place in our age groups! I’ve never placed before in my age group, so I was super excited. Granted, I’m in a different age bracket now, and there weren’t that many people there, but I’ll take it!

Here are Stephanie and I with our medals with my wind-swept, soaked hair:

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I was soaked to the bone but happy as a clam! Go us!

And can you guess what I did that night? I ate nearly the entire box of Thin Mints! (OK, I may have shared with hubs and the AAK, but the box was gone that night.)

The course is gorgeous, relatively flat, and the race support was wonderful! I’ll definitely be back again next year.

I also want to say thank you to Race Advisors, PlowOn Gum, and the nuun community, as well as Shelby, Lucy, and John’ya! I wouldn’t be anywhere without your love and support.

xoxo,
Becky

 

 

March 2018 Miles

As I chase my goal of running 1,000 miles in 2018, I’m trying to keep things in perspective and realistic, because, well . . . life happens! I started the year out strong by running 84 miles in January. February was abysmal at 35 miles, so I’m very proud to report that I redeemed myself and ran 85 miles in March.

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Honestly, I accomplished that by not running any long runs at all! That wasn’t really my intention, but I’m kind of astonished that anyone could run that many miles in a month without going over six miles tops per run.

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Granted, 85 miles isn’t extraordinary for some runners, but for someone with a full-time job and a busy after-hours schedule, it can be tough sometimes. So how did I do it?

  1. Schedule your runs.
    I’m thankful that I work remotely, so I run primarily during my lunch breaks. It gives me just enough time to hop on the treadmill and shower. My co-workers giggle at me when my meeting reminder pops up with, “Run, Becky, run!” when I’m screen sharing during a Google Hangout. But it really does keep me on track!
  2. Make yourself a priority.
    I’m always torn about slotting in “me time”, because the Angry Almost-Kinder isn’t going to be this young forever. I think that’s why I haven’t been doing long runs on weekends (oh, and then there’s the weather factor). But I do know that if I don’t run, I’m not on my A game, so I make it a priority in my life.
  3. Cut yourself some slack.
    No one is perfect. NO ONE. Yes, I’m doing a run streak, but if I only have a mile in me one day, then that’s all I’ll do.
  4. Find your support system.
    I love online running communities, so I adore the awesome inspiration that I see from groups like the #BadAssLadyGang, The Running Lifestyle Show , and the Nuunbassadors group.

I hope these pointers help you reach your goals too!

xoxo,
Becky

Race Recap: atTAcK Addiction 5K 2018

I ran the atTAcK Addiction 5K on March 3, 2018, which was a day before my 36th birthday. I love running this race, because typically we have cake and ice cream to celebrate my birthday at my in-laws who live in town afterward, so I have something to look forward to after racing!

Hubs, the Angry Toddler (or the AT, whom will now be known as the Angry Kinder soon), and I plotted to leave the house by no later than 7:15 a.m. that morning, since it takes us about 45 minutes to get to New Castle from where we live. Typically I don’t eat before a race, but I made sure to pack lots of snacks (for the AT) and coffee (for the adults) for the drive. The AT was in happy spirits, and I was just grateful that we got out the door in time! The atTAcK Addiction 5K web site said that all individuals picking up their bibs should do so by 8:30 a.m., which seemed a little early to me. I typically pick up my bib on race day unless it’s for a larger race or a full marathon, so I figured as long as I got there about 15 minutes before the race, I’d be fine.

That morning was frigid. I’d like to think that I’m cut from hearty New England cloth, but man oh man was it cold. I begrudgingly suggested that hubs and the AT stay outside while I ran inside the gym to grab my bib, since the crowd was too large to fight with a stroller. (Side note: We don’t typically use a stroller anymore, but I was concerned with getting to the start line on time, and we parked a few blocks away, so I popped the AT in a stroller so that we could move more quickly. Plus it was so cold that I figured the quicker we got the AT inside, the better.)

The line for runners who had already registered was extremely small, so I got through the bib line in all of two minutes tops. Kudos to the volunteers for their well-oiled machine! Then I went back outside, but I couldn’t find hubs or the AT anywhere. As I stood hugging the side of the building to protect myself from the wind, I oogled at the crowds and teams gathered outside. I’d say around 80 percent of participants were not runners, which really goes to show what a great cause this race is for. Usually only us crazy runners would brave the wind and cold like this!

Here I am at the start of the race—of course I had to represent the awesome PlowOn Gum, and I tried to rep Race Advisors, but it was too cold for just a running headband!

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The race started just after 9 a.m., and I tried to situate myself at the very front of the pack. As you all are well aware, I’m not a fast runner, but I knew that since the majority of participants were walkers, that I’d want to get ahead of majority. Before we took off, I heard someone say that the wind would be at our backs most of the time. Spoiler alert: He lied!

Here I am at the start of the race cheesing it up for the photographer:

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I don’t normally even wear gloves or a hat for a 5K, but the wind was so brutal that I was wicked grateful to have what I did. I didn’t turn my Nike+ Run Club app on in the #NoWatchMe spirit of Tina Muir, but it felt like I was running in slow motion because I was so cold and the wind was whipping.

I knew the route well, because I’ve raced in New Castle numerous times, and the course brings runners around a residential/historical section called The Strand, through Old New Castle (the downtown area), out toward Battery Park, and along part of the trail in Battery Park.

I kept chugging along at what felt like a slower-than-normal pace, and my SOL Republic Shadow wireless headphones kept flap-flap-flappin’ behind me. They were a gift from hubs one year, and I desperately needed a new pair of headphones then, but I definitely need to get a different model/type—at least for racing. When I wasn’t trying to shield myself from the wind, I was literally holding my headphones with one hand so that they’d stay in place. It was extremely annoying, and if anyone has recommendations for headphones that stay in your ears and don’t have a lot of movement to them, I’m all ears! (Get it?!)

At a little after 2 miles, I hit a mental road block and stopped to walk for about 30 seconds or so. Physically I know I could’ve pushed harder, but once you stop to walk, it’s hard to get going again. I pulled off my gloves and hat, because I was overheating too. I kicked myself afterward for walking because of my chip time. If only I hadn’t walked, I would’ve come in under 29 minutes! But it was neat to come in 18th in my age group!

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Hubs and the AT met me at the finish line, as I grabbed a few bottles of water and gave them the usual hugs and kisses. The AT never wants a smooch because, “Mommy, you’re sweaty!”

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We went inside the gym to scope out the post-race food, which consisted of delicious soft pretzels, donuts, bananas, and more. I was really impressed with the amount and variety of the selection.

But what I was really looking forward to was my post-race cake!

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I would most definitely recommend this race to all, and I’ll surely be back next year!

For more information about the atTAcK Addiction organization, please head over to the Facebook page. And if you’d like to donate to my Team Miles for Smiles group through the Snowdrop Foundation, please go here.