Lovin’/Not Lovin’ – Summer Edition

I realized the other day that I haven’t done one of these types of posts since the spring so now seemed like a good time to share some of my fave…and not fave…things at the moment.

Lovin’

Brooks hatBrooks Running Hat — I received this hat as part of an awesome #TrainingRockBox that Rock ‘n’ Roll and their sponsors sent out to all of the Rock’n’Blog team – and it’s become an instant fave. I don’t think this picture does the hat justice – it’s a cute mix of purples and blues and has great mesh venting on the sides and even a zipper pocket!

LarabarLarabar Apple Pie — Apples, nuts, spiced with a little cinnamon – what’s not to love? Especially in these little bites.

FitBit

 

FitBit Charge HR — I got a FitBit for my birthday and have been having a lot of fun playing with it these past couple of weeks. (I may do a full review after I’ve had a chance to wear it for a while.)

ZealotsSaucony Zealot ISOsBack in June I mentioned that I was going to give these shoes a try – and so far I’ve been really happy with them. As promised, the Zealot ISOs are light weight and have a similar ride to the Kinvara, but with much more cushioning – which my legs seem to appreciate lately.

Not Lovin’

Forerunner 10 — My Forerunner woes continue – It still seems to take forever to find a signal, and now it’s new glitch is the auto pause – it stays paused well after I’ve made it pass a traffic light…and the other day, it paused on its own. Needless to say, I’ve turned the function off. Back to customer support…

So tell me – what are you lovin’ lately?

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What’s in my fitness closet?

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I’m joining Pavement Runner and some other bloggers and peeling back the curtain to reveal madness that’s taking over my closet – my ever-growing running gear collection.

I took some time this weekend to pack up the winter gear (I don’t care what Mother Nature throws at us next, I’m done with running tights and my heavier layers!)

So what’s in my fitness closet now?

4 pairs of capri pants (2 Nike, 1 Lululemon and 1 Lucy)

5 running skirts from Brooks, Sport Skirts and Running Skirts

Love a good running skirt!

Love a good running skirt!

2 Compression shorts (Aspaeris & CW-X)

7 race shirts (these are the tech ones – I have no idea what’s become of the cotton ones!)

Too many tech shirts & Singlets from Brooks, Nike, Bia,  Tough ChikPearl Izumi, & C9  FitCloset_tops

4 sports bras (Champions & Handful)

5 Saucony shoes  (including the retired pair of Mirages I just use for kicking around in)

#FindYourStrong   #FindYourStrong

Hmmm I’m starting to feel like I’ve got a little bit of an addiction going here – especially when you take into account that this doesn’t include compression sleeves, arm warmers, hats/visors, jackets, etc!  🙂

What about you – do you find your fitness clothes are taking over your closet?

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Saucony Triumph 10 Review

I have made no secret of my love of Saucony shoes since I first attended a shoe clinic sponsored by Saucony back in March 2011. At that time, I started running in the Saucony Mirage and by last summer, the Kinvara 2s had found their way into my heart! Currently, I do most of my runs either in the Mirage 2 or Kinvara 3.

So you can imagine how psyched I was when the folks at Saucony sent me a pre-launch pair of the new Triumph 10! I’ve now had a chance to get a few runs in them and I’m happy to say without hesitation that Saucony did not disappoint!

What stood out for me right off the bat was just how much cushion these shoes provide without the weight (9.2 oz). I could see rotating these shoes in for my long runs where my legs would appreciate the extra cushion once I hit double digits. I’m a big fan of the sock-like fit of the interior – my foot felt like it was being held while still offering the flexibility in the midsole that I want in a neutral shoe. (You can review the tech sheet here).

If you’re looking for a neutral shoe with a cushioned ride, I’d recommend checking out the Triumph 10s which launch today. A big, big thanks to Saucony for letting me try them out!

Saucony provided the pair of the Triumph 10s to me as a FitFluential Ambassador for the purposes of a product review. All of the opinions expressed here, as always, are my own.

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Monday Morning in Bullet Points

It’s Monday, I haven’t had coffee and I started my morning in a school gym with 40 very energetic kids…it’s a bullets kind of morning!

  • Saturday’s 12 miler was my last double digit run before the Chilly Half Marathon. Just 3 weeks to go!
  • I did go and check out the race route yesterday…let’s just say, sometimes ignorance is bliss! The good news is the course winds through some lovely neighborhoods in the picturesque town of Newton, MA. The bad news…I’ll be rolling through the hills once again.  Could someone please remind me to check the course elevation before registering for another half 🙂

  • I’ll be running the Canton Fall Classic on Sunday. This is a great local race that I’ve run the last couple of years. I haven’t run a 5k since the Jingle Bell Run last December and I haven’t “raced” a 5k since this race last year when I PR’d! This race is always a good time so I can’t wait!
Saucony Triumph 10
  • These lovelies showed up on my doorstep at the end of last week – Yes those are the new Saucony Triumph 10s (due out in November)! It took great restraint to not deviate from my training plan and go run in them immediately! But I’m off to take them for a spin now….review to come!
Happy Monday!
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Running Pop Quiz

Christine over at Big Dream Runner posted this quiz and invited others to play along. And this seems like more fun than brooding over my struggle through 11 miles this weekend thanks to an ITB flare up…so here goes:
 
1. FUEL: Shot Bloks, GU, Energy Chews, Candy or Other?
I’m actually still trying to figure out what works best for me. Of late I’ve been using either GU or GU Chomps on my long runs, but I’m still playing with the  timing of when to take them.

2. Race Length: 5k, 10k, 1/2 Marathon, Marathon, Ultra or Other?
I love the 1/2 marathon distance! I would like to run more 10ks because I think they’re such a great mix of speed and endurance, but as I’ve mentioned before I feel like races in this distance are getting harder to find around here.

3. Workout Bottoms: Skirts, Running Shorts, Capris, Pants or Other?
Usually I’m either in a running skirt or capris unless it’s ridiculously cold out!

4. Sports Drink: Gatorade, Powerade, Cytomax, you stick to water when you run or Other?
Water or Nuun – everything else seems to upset my stomach.

5. Running Temperatures: HEAT or COLD?
Cold!! I’ve made no secret of the fact that running in the heat and I are not friends!

6. Running Shoe Brands: Saucony, Mizuno, Nike, Brookes, Asics or Other?
Since discovering Saucony Mirage and Kinvara, my closet has been dominated by Saucony!

7. Pre-race meal: Oatmeal, Bagel, Banana, Eggs, Cereal or Other?
 I try to keep this consistent with my long runs, so of late it’s a Honey Stringer Waffle and half a banana.

8. Rest Days: 1x per week, 2x per week, never ever ever or Other?
2x per week — I like to book-end my long runs with rest days.

9. Music: Have to have it or go without it?
I went through a long stretch without music, which I talked about here. And while I try to get some runs in without, I definitely prefer to run with music.

10. #1 reason for running: stress-relief, endorphins, you love to race, so you can eat all the cupcakes you want, weight-loss, love running for social reasons or Other?
I run for lots of reasons, but sanity/”me time”/stress relief would be high on my list!

 So how would you answer any of these questions?
 
 

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Brooks PureConnects product review

I was so excited when these shoes arrived. I loved their look and so wanted to love them on the run.

Source: Brooks website

The minute I put them on the first thing I was struck by was the feel of the high arch support. I’m not really sure why Brooks thought that design element was necessary. While it didn’t hurt, I didn’t like that it was so noticeable just putting the shoes on and walking around my kitchen.

The Connects are definitely a narrow shoe. I didn’t find them tight, but they are a much closer fit after wearing both the Saucony Mirage and Kinvara 2s. The sole is narrow so I felt like my foot was spilling over a bit. I did like the snug heel fit and the fact that they are feather light!

I tried the Connects on the road, track and treadmill – but the only time I really enjoyed running in them was when I was on the track.Why the track? Perhaps the surface…I’m not really sure. I was on the fence about them after each run, but then on my final try I started to feel serious foot discomfort. Back in the box they went and off I went to the Brooks website for a chat with one of their reps. The recommendation this time? The PureFlows. Since I had originally ordered these shoes from Road Runner Sports, my next call was to them…again the recommendation was the Flows. So the Connects are on their way back and the Flows should be here tomorrow.

I plan to wait until after Saturday’s half before I try the Flows out – the Kinvaras will be my “go to” shoe once again. I’ll be curious to see if the PureFlows are a better match for me.

Do you try new shoes? Or are you loyal to one brand/model?

*(I purchased the Brooks PureConnects and all opinions expressed here are solely my own.

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Friday Five

  1.  I’m wondering what happened to the lovely fall-like temps we had here in New England just a week ago. Oppressive humidity has returned and it is sucking the life out of my “speedwork.”
  2. I’m in the final days of trying to get ready for the family’s first trip to Disney World – my head is spinning from the daily emails from the lovely Disney folks reminding us of all the activities/shows/etc. we have to choose from, advice from friends on the “must dos,” and thinking of all that needs to get done before we get on the plane!
  3. My last two long runs have been 10-milers and I’ve got 11 on tap for Sunday. I’ve really been enjoying my long runs and lovin’ how I’m feeling when I’m done. A turning point? 
  4. I’ve started using my Kinvaras for more than just track work and am amazed at how different the foot feel is vs. the Mirages. I think this slow and steady transition to a minimalist shoe has been the best approach for me – eventually I’d like to be running in the Kinvaras for long runs as well, but I think I’m going to wait until after Philly’s done.
  5. Looking forward to a fairly quiet weekend – just the usual kids sports and family running around. After another crazy busy week, I’m craving some down time.
 Have a Great Weekend!
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    Trackwork and Shoe Questions

    It was pouring rain when I woke up yesterday so I decided to switch up my workouts and do an easy 3 and strength training yesterday and save the track work for this morning. (It’s funny I don’t mind running on the road in the rain, but I find the track gets a little too slick).

    Well it was absolutely beautiful this morning and I couldn’t wait to get to the track. I was surprised at just how many people were already there when I pulled into the parking lot! I’m very lucky that our local high school has a high quality track, and people were definitely taking advantage of it this morning. This was my first run in the Saucony Kinvaras I won from SUAR‘s giveaway a couple of weeks ago – I wasn’t sure how my legs were going to hold up so I also brought along the Mirages I’ve been running in regularly, just in case.

    On tap today, 3 x 1600s with 800 jogs with a target pace of 10:15.  After warming up, I hit the first interval right on target at 10:14. I felt really good so I decided to see if I could do each of the next two a little faster. I did the 2nd interval in 10:04 and the 3rd in 9:54 – mission accomplished!

    I liked running in the Kinvara, though I think for now I will use them only for speedwork. My calves and feet still need to get stronger before I start putting more miles in them – perhaps sometime in the fall I’ll try them on some easy, recovery runs. For now I’m happy to continue to use the Mirage for most of my runs. I had been alternating between the Brooks Adrenalines and the Mirages, using the Adrenalines for my longer runs. But of late I was feeling a little discomfort in my left knee towards in the latter half of my runs, so just out of curiosity I started using the Mirage for all my runs and have had no problems. I’m now running exclusively in the Mirage and plan on using them for the race.

    So I’m wondering if the difference in the heal-to-toe ratio between the two shoes was causing the discomfort? What do you think? Do you use different shoes depending on the workout?

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    Fun in the mail

    I love getting new stuff in the mail!

    So first the UPS man showed up with ….more new shoes! I know I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion how much I’m loving my Saucony Mirage. I started rotating these shoes into my runs in March and have steadily increased my miles in them – I even ran the half in them! I’d been thinking that once I put a fair amount of miles on them I’d look to add the Saucony Kinvara into the mix – one more step on the minimalism path.

    Well, lucky me, Beth at Shut Up and Run recently hosted a giveaway with Online Shoes.com for a pair of Saucony Running Shoes – and  I won! So yeah it’s not hard to see where this is going…I selected the Kinvara! To say I’m excited to have these shoes to add to the mix is an understatement! Big thanks to Beth for the giveaway and to Online Shoes for getting them to me so quickly!

    Then, the folks at McDavid USA sent me a pair of their new True Compression Leg Sleeves to try out! I’ve already used them for recovery after my 8-miler yesterday and will try running in them this week. Stay tuned for a full review and giveaway!
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    It was a pretty good training week last week, but I did end up missing one of my easy runs. On tap for this week:

    Monday — Rest day. I’ll be spending part of the day at my oldest’s school picnic and then my youngest is having a friend over so I’m not sure how much rest will actually take place!

    Tuesday — Tempo run (5)

    Wednesday — Easy run (2) and strength training

    Thursday — Yoga

    Friday — Long run (8)

    Saturday — weekly Pilates class

    Sunday — Easy (3 or 4). If I make my schedule work, I might try a group run. I always run solo, so running with a group might be a nice change.

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    May Rewind and Giveaway Winner

    Good things for the month:
    • Completed my first half marathon – ‘nuf said!
    • Logged my highest total ever of 74 miles.
    • My love affair with my Saucony Mirages continues – rotating them with my Brooks Adrenaline has worked well to make the transition easier. Even used them for my race!
    • Discovered the benefits of KT Tape!
    • Hosted my first giveaway!
    • 98 of you now follow this little journey of mine — welcome to the new followers — and to all, as always thank you for the support!

    Things I could do without:
    • My ongoing annoyance with Mother Nature – we had one of the coldest and wettest Mays on record in NE. That is of course until my race weekend!
    • Return of my left leg/knee issues in the final week of training.

    On the decks for June:
    • Start training for the Providence Rock’n’Roll Half!
    • Get real about my strength training – more on this to come.
    • Log more than 80 miles

    And speaking of my first giveaway….the winner of the copy of Running on Empty is lucky #5 — Kittee at Running Half Crazy! Congrats Kittee – shoot me an email at runningwithattitude (at) yahoo (dot) com and I’ll get the book off to you.

    Have a Great Weekend!

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