Running with Deena Kastor

ASICS Getting Fit For the Holiday Party

Okay so correction, I am running and Deena Kastor is doing her jogging pace…

Yes, the other day I got to do one of the pretty much coolest things I could think of. Run a fun 5K with America’s all star runner Deena Kastor…

Last week Asics hosted a party in their spankin’ new story on Newbury and they invited Deena Kastor and me to it, cause you know I’m as cool as Deena.

Deena just shattered the masters half marathon record as the 41-year-old clocked in a 1:09:36 to finish third at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon. She is also the American Record Holder in the marathon (2:19.36) and half marathon (1:07.34). And the list goes on and on.

The night started with a 5K around Back Bay, starting from 328 Newbury (Asics’ store) going up Mass Ave to the Charles, down the Charles to the Arlington bridge with a little dip into the gardens and return up the Commonwealth Ave Mall. Not my typical route that I take, but I liked it!

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(Dan, I tried to take a photo of you & Deena running but that was about as good as a broken Iphone can do)

I’m not quite sure what pace we ran but I would say somewhere between 8:30-9 minute miles that seemed to keep everyone engaged. I didn’t wear a watch and I was already sweating profusely from running to get to the event in time, so my normal pacing clock was all out of whack and in a different pace zone. I really need to start adding events to my calender 15 minutes earlier to make up for lack of timeliness!

On the run we chatted a little about marathons and running and how the most memorable races are the tough ones that you battle and grind your way through.

After the run we regrouped back in the ASICS store with a nice Boloco spread.

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Me and Deena, being BFFs

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I am still glowing red from my four minute mile adventure earlier.

After parting with Deena and letting others make friends, I went to get my feet analyzed.

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Basically they put these sensor stickers on me and I stuck one foot at a time into this machine (one of 18 in all of Massachusetts) that I think measured my foot from every dimension possible and basically told me I have two different feet.

After the getting my feet measured, I ran on a treadmill for about 20 seconds in neutral shoes.

The consensus is that I over pronate on one foot and under another. What that means? The guy wasn’t sure… but I am a unique butterfly for sure. Maybe my fear of injury again is making me run a little funny?

After realizing this must be the reason reason why I will never be epic (I blame my freak of nature feet), the Q & A of the evening started where Deena answered all sorts of questions from the audience.

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She’s been with the ASICS brand for over 14 years and pretty much sees herself running through her 90s and ever. I forget the exact numbers but she mentioned how she went from running 120+ mile weeks in her younger days to 70-80 miles now. And rather than focus on one workout, she tries to get in three solid workouts from mile repeats, to a tempo run and a long run all within her training week.  To be honest, I expected Deena to be very intense after seeing her in the Spirit of the Marathon movie, but she was super easy going and very personable and relatable despite the fact that she can run circles around me while I run my pace. Or maybe it was the fact that she said post races she refuels with a bottle of wine and a chocolate bar. I think that was a joke, but I took it to heart.

After the Q&A, ASICS showcased it’s current line with a fashion show.

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I myself ended up walking away with some stellar new winter gear and lucky for me, I didn’t have to wait long to test it out. It snowed most of Sunday afternoon and since there was no way I was going to run long on a treadmill (since I’m pretty sure that was the cause of my injury), only thing left to to do was zip up and run out.

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Thermo Windblocker Jacket ($125) that has become one of my favorite items and a new pair of tights Thermopolis LT Tight ($60). The tights are soft and have minimal compression which is something I personally look for in tights. Compression tights and extra seam lines make me feel very uncomfortable so I prefer yoga style tights.

ASICS is currently running (no pun intended) a buy one get one free on their website, so if you’re looking for some winter gear, check it out.

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QOTD – Have you ever met an elite runner?

Top 10 Gifts For Runners under $20

So yes, this  is pretty last minute, but I keep getting the question, so I figured I would share what I have advised. Also, I’m sure many like myself are probably doing 75% of their shopping the week of Christmas because they spent all the time leading up to it shopping for themselves. Or maybe it’s just me. It’s just so much easier! I tried to keep these gifts under $20 or so because lets face it, we’re all on a budget and if we want to splurge just buy more things!

As always, I fully support shopping at your local store for all these, but I’m using Amazon links to keep it easy and these are in no particular order

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10. A running log – The Complete Runner’s Day-by-Day Log 2015 Calendar is my favorite as most road runners love their numbers, their tracking, and while I am very electronic, there’s always something nice about a handwritten log when you’re training for specific races. $9.48

9. Socks... seriously, they will never get old, and you can’t ever have too many. Every year I get a new favorite brand and the WrightSock Women’s Coolmesh II Lo is currently mine. They usually range $11-13 per pair. At the time I am writing this Amazon says they are $9 for 2 pack of Neon Yellow which is a great price or a glitch in the system.

8.  The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances – We all love the Oatmeal, because how could you not love internet comics about cats and running. $10.74

7. A Cookbook – Most runners love eating and with that cooking eventually is required. The SkinnyTaste Cookbook is one of my favorites that came out this year. $17.55

6. Fuel – Every runner has their favorite type of fuel they use. Just sneak in a conversation about what works for them and they’ll give it away without a second thought. If not get them a sample of different types. They will probably run $1.50 to $3 each.

5. A race entry – Of course the price will vary based on event and this can get a little risky so I would either confirm the race with the runner first, or make your own type of this card is good for one race of your picking. Runners love races. All distance. A 5k will run you about $15-$35.

4. Body Back Company Foot Roller Large and Porcupine Massage Ball – A friend gave me one of these balls for my first marathon and I pretty much don’t leave for a runcation without it now. Feels great after a long day of sightseeing too. $9.95

3. RoadID – I think every runner should have one of these. I’m sometimes forget to wear mine, but I try to take it on every run with me cause god forbid you know.

2. Running Ornament – Cause tis the season you know.

1. Salt Tab Electrolytes – A little similar to fuel but usually used in addition. Your local running store or even REI will sell smaller packs. The one on amazon is 100 count and lasts for well over a year for me personally but I’m sure others runners use less or more.

If you’re looking for more suggestions, check out my list from last year. It has some repeats but includes a few more ideas. All are under $20 as well.

Share your suggestions if I missed anything good. What’s on your wish list? 

Getting Over Rock & Blog Rejection

So last night many running bloggers around the world or maybe just US opened up their email and either got great news

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or my news

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And I have to confess…

I got really upset.

I love running, aside from cats, it’s my favorite thing in the world.

And while I may not be the greatest writer, photographer, and that advance of a recipe writer, the one thing I’m great at is getting excited about running, inspiring others and talking my face on in regards to marathons and running. So of course the rejection kinda hit a nerve that has not been hit in a while. The older I get, the tougher I get, but every once in a while I can still get sensitive.

Then I went to bed, okay correction, drank a glass of wine and then went to bed. I slept on it and got over myself.

I realized that this rejection is actually for the best. As far as running goes, the races and events I love participating in are local. Large national level events are not my thing. In fact, while running Rock N Roll New Orleans, I thought to myself that this might be my last Rock N Roll event. I find them impersonal, cookie cutter and only appeal is that it’s in destinations I want to visit. I hate running in packed courses. Running with 30,000 other runners is not appealing to me personally. While I love running Boston and I plan on running it for as many years as the BAA accepts me in, it is pretty much the only large scale marathon that I ever wanted to repeat. The races that tend to stick with more are the smaller Adirondack, or Vermont City ones. The race directors are generally local to the area, the pricing is more fair and reasonable and has more local flavor as you go place to place.

So yes, while I would have loved to run in Rock n Roll Denver & Vegas marathons, it’s not at the top of my marathon bucket list. I’m happy for my friends who got accepted and am excited for their 2015 races. However, it’s time to start knocking out more of the 50 states and hitting up my bucket list.

So here I am, making a virtual toast to staying true to myself and not trying to be anything else. This is my hobby, this is my passion, and I should stay true to myself and run to the beat of my own running path and no one else’s.

And no, needless to say, I am not adding myself to the wait-list or applying next year.

What’s your favorite marathon? I’m looking specifically for things not on in the North East so I can knock out more states. Currently I got Fargo and maybe Chicago. 

GNC PurEdge & Acai Protein Bowls

This post is sponsored by GNC PurEdge, as always for better or worse all opinions are my own.

The indulgent holiday season gives way to many New Years resolutions for health and fitness. Yup, it’s that time of year when I reevaluate my fitness and decide I don’t nearly get enough strength workouts in my life. Works well enough for a bit but slowly realizing that decreasing muscle mass is probably not that best for long term effects or avoiding injury and being healthy and strong.

However, unlike the prior years, I’ve decided not to wait until the “new year” to start and have even joined a gym with classes! So when GNC offered to let me try some of their GNC PUREDGE products into my wellness routine, I decided this is the perfect time. The line has set the new standard for quality whole-food-based nutrition without sacrificing the delicious taste or performance benefits you need for active lifestyle and a hectic holiday season.

The GNC PUREDGE line of whole-food-based supplements is formulated to help active, on-the-go adults perform at their personal best. The nature-based product line includes:
– GNC PUREDGE Complete Protein powdered formula
– GNC PUREDGE Complete Protein bars
– GNC PUREDGE Energy powdered formula
– GNC PUREDGE Complete Amino powdered formula

These products contain:

  • No Gluten
  • No GMO-Added ingredients
  • No Preservatives
  • No Wheat, Soy, Fish or Egg
  • No Sugar Alcohols
  • No Banned Substances
  • No Artificial Flavors colors or sweeteners

I tried all four and here’s my verdict….

The protein is great.  Although I mostly used it after workouts, it works well as a smoothie snack. It mixed well with water or milk depending on how lazy I am being. 

 The Daily Energy is pretty much a preworkout powder that I mixed with water. Helps on those days when I don’t have my coffee because the line was too long at Flour.

 The amino acids however are my favorite. I have this paranoia that all my running pretty much eats away at any strength I built. And since running is what makes me happy, I’m not cutting back. These amino acids provide essential aminos and muscle-support nutrients to deliver cellular energy and muscle recovery. Based on my complete non expert analysis, combined with the protein powder, it works great.

Eating just plain powders can be a bit dull so I am always trying to find more palatable ways of enjoying them. So my latest addiction have been Acai bowls and I decided to see if I could add the protein powder to them so make them a little more filling as a meal versus a dessert.

Acai Protein Bowls

Prep/Make time about 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 frozen acai smoothie packs (The only place around me that sells these is wholefoods)
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup coconut water
  • 1 Banana cut in half
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh blueberries or berry mix
  • 2 scoops of GNC PUREDGE Complete Protein powdered formula – Chocolate
  • Homemade or prepackage garnola of your choice – I used Renola from Larabar

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Instructions

  1. First blend together the acai smoothie packs, GNC PUREDGE Powder, almond milk, coconut water, half banana and frozen fruit. I add almond milk first and add coconut water as I need more liquid to keep it as thick as possible. The goal is to make something I can eat in a bowl with a spoon and not a straw.
  2. After your acai is thick, frosty and blended, spoon it out into a bowl.
  3. Top it! Add the toppings in the recipe or add whatever you’d like! I used the other half of the banana and granola. I so put a few frozen blueberries in the mix. Unfortunately getting fresh (affordable) berries is a little hard in December in Boston so I kept this one simple.

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P.S. not that it matters, but the berries I used were from when Tony and family picked enough blueberries to equal our weight in Maine. We froze them and every time I use them I get extra happy. 

Where to purchase GNC PUREDGE
Products are available nationwide in GNC stores and at www.GNC.com. You can visit the store locator online at the GNC website.

Thanksgiving – and lets be frank

I really hate being cliche and while I’m not angel enough to think about how lucky I am every day, I do think about it every once in a while outside of Thanksgiving. So no, I don’t think we need to do our annual recap of why we’er thankful! Just know that I am.

Instead, I treasure the four day weekend us 9-5 cube dwellers get so rarely! Some of it was spent with family, but I have a confession to make. A lot of might have been spent watching Gilmore Girls. I am mid season three, that’s how productive I’ve been…

But in between I did read a book 😉

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It only took me 10 years, but I finally finished Da Vinci Code and while I thought it was great at points, I felt disappointed by the ultimate conclusion.

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Actually thanksgiving was great! We had enough pies to eat per capita at the party

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And the actual meal was pretty awesome too, even if I do at times worry about the conditions of the slaughtered turkeys.

After Thanksgiving, I set my alarm for 5AM… yes, I don’t really participate in Black Friday crazies, unless it involves social media.

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Well the above was totally worth it! Assembly Row, the new outlets near my house had an Instagram contest every hour starting 5AM. Post a photo of something you see at the outlets and it could be yours. I’ve been stopping and drooling at the Le Creuset outlet pretty much since it opened!

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Even Tony and Jack are thrilled. look at Jack’s thrilled face.

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I also stopped by the Banana outlet and got this sweater that I’ve been living in ever since. it’s the warmest thing I’ve owned in a while. Who needs heat, when you got this this!

But don’t worry, we supported some local business too!

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Checked out Tooba in Melrose, cause you know 5AM slopping needs refueling.

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And while Jack didn’t get anything new; he has rediscovered his winter palace and heated bed… Winter has truly came.
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And we got another member of the household. Ninja pro!  My magic bullet knock-off is on it’s dying breath so it was time for an upgrade. And now we get to live off Acai bowls.

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And the best part of the weekend?

I went for a run!

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FOUR miles! In no pain! I don’t think I’m fully ready to get back to running, but it’s giving me hope!

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Slumbrew is thinking of hosting monthly 5K runs in 2015, so I went to it out on Sunday.

FOUR MILES!!!!

There is joy in the world again.