July/August Chicago Training Check-In

Hey there, hope you all had a good weekend!

Mine was (unsurprisingly) filled with running. Marathon training is basically taking over at this point, but I’m ok with it. 🙂

Here’s how my mileage shaped up for the month of July:

 

Chicago Marathon TrainingThe week of 38 miles included a work trip to California for 5 days. I’m pretty happy I managed to get that much running in while on the road. The plan is to keep me in the 40 miles/week range for a while and I’ll probably peak around 50-55 miles in early September.

Another big plus – I MET MY FUNDRAISING GOAL!I was fairly confident I would be able to raise $1500 (the minimum I was required to hit for Team Paws), but I was still a little nervous and I didn’t want to cut it too close to the deadline in mid-September. I’m glad that this is one less thing I have to worry about now!

One thing I AM slightly worried about has been the tightness that popped up in my right hamstring just over a week ago. The week that I was in California, I had been doing some goblet squats after my run and felt a weird twinge in my left hamstring. I immediately backed off and decided to do my long run that weekend at a nice easy pace with no speedwork just to play it safe. That went fine. A few days later, I was feeling 100% back to normal and did a relatively tough speedwork session. I didn’t have any pain throughout the session, but then running that evening with some friends, it felt tight and weird.

Now, a few GOOD things about this since I am becoming a bit of an expert on hamstring pulls. Last year, I had done something similar where I tweaked my hammy doing strength work and then full-on pulled it later in the week during a tough speed session. In that instance, the pain was immediate and I knew I had done something terrible. Even running my easy, slow pace was pretty painful. This time around, there was no acute, ‘Oh sh*t’ moment. I think I was probably compensating for my left hamstring during the speedwork, even though I thought it was completely recovered. That, coupled with a boost in mileage after traveling, seems to have mildly irritated my right hamstring. Mind you – the right hamstring is the side I pulled badly last year, and is in general, my weak side.

I discussed all of this with my coach and we’ve cut out speedwork for a couple weeks until it calms down. Thankfully, I don’t feel it AT ALL running easy, so I’ve been able to keep my mileage up and focus on my good ol’ hamstring rehab exercises.

I’m slightly annoyed with myself BUT I also do feel from my previous experience that this is a truly minor bump in the road. My number 1 goal for Chicago is to get to the starting line healthy. Any time goals I have are second to that.

Couple of other random training things I am going to throw into this mish-mosh of a blog post –

  • At a friend’s suggestion, I took my Team Paws singlet to a tailor to get altered. Before, there was a lot of extra fabric and bagginess under the armpits and I was very concerned about chafing. I got it back early last week and it fits like a dream now. I’ve tested it on a few runs and no chafing whatsoever. **If you’re running a marathon for charity and not super thrilled with the fit of the singlet, I highly recommend taking it to a tailor. I can’t even tell mine was altered and now I’m confident that it will do the job for 26.2 miles come October.**
  • I picked up a fresh pair of sneakers the other day! I went with the On Clouds again. I’m a big fan of this shoe. It’s a lightweight, neutral trainer with a 5 mm heel-toe drop. It’s a little funny looking, but the pods on the sole of the shoe give it just the right amount of cushion. I love it as a training shoe for the Nike Vaporfly 4%s. Those don’t hold up for a ton of mileage so I’m reserving my pair for very important races (like Chicago).

On Running - Cloud

On Running

I think that about sums up my training for the time-being! I’m excited to continue to build in August and get back to my speed sessions soon.

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inBody Recovery Spa Review

*Disclosure: My mom and I received free treatments at inBody Recovery Spa in exchange for posting a review. All opinions posted are based on our experience and are my honest opinions. Thanks for your support!

Hello there!

As I mentioned in my last post, my mom and I recently got to test out some treatments at a new recovery spa in Arlington, Mass. Since I’m in the midst of heavy duty marathon training, I was super excited to try it!

A little background – inBody Relaxation Spa was founded by sisters Christine and Valerie as a way to promote a natural healing approach in the greater Boston area. Christine had been dealing with allergies and inflammation for years with no relief from prescription medicines. Only when she began incorporating holistic methods into her regimen, did she begin to experience relief from her symptoms. I’ve always been fascinated by entrepreneurship and I was so impressed to see two sisters running this awesome business that they are clearly passionate about!

My mom and I visited the spa during the afternoon on a weekday when it wasn’t busy. The space is BEAUTIFUL.

It’s such a relaxing environment and Valerie did a great job walking us through the various treatments they offer – cryotherapy, float therapy, infrared sauna, salt sauna, and chromotherapy. I had heard of cryotherapy before and was interested to try it, even though I was a little nervous about the whole freezing your body thing.

Cryotherapy ReviewFor those who don’t know, cryotherapy consists of dropping the temperature in a standing chamber to between -160 and -184 degrees Fahrenheit using nitrogen vapor. The good news is that you only need to stand in those temps for 3 minutes! Supposedly, this has comparable anti-inflammatory powers to that of a 30 minute ice bath. Given that I was in the middle of a 45 mile week at the time, my legs had been feeling a little tight and achy and I needed some anti-inflammatory magic!

inBody Spa ReviewI don’t look thrilled, but it really wasn’t too bad. It was uncomfortable but so is foam rolling and that takes WAY longer! 😉 Valerie walked me through the treatment and was counting down the time which also helped a lot.

After literally freezing myself, the sauna sounded AMAZING. My mom and I decided to try the infrared sauna.

infrared sauna, inBodyThe infrared saunas don’t get as hot as traditional saunas, but at 100-150 degrees, it still felt nice and toasty. There was also soothing music that played the whole 45 minutes we were in the sauna which made it a little more relaxing than other saunas I have tried in the past. My mom and I had fun playing with the chromotherapy in the infrared sauna – supposedly, the different wavelengths of light can have different healing effects on your body.

inBody, Arlington Mass ReviewTesting out that purple wavelength. 🙂

Overall, it was a really fun afternoon and my mom and I had a blast! I would definitely be interested in adding the cryotherapy as part of my regular recovery routine during marathon training, as I felt pretty darn good on my runs in the days following the treatments. If you’re local to the Boston area, I highly recommend trying out some of the treatments over at inBody!

Have you ever tried cryotherapy before? Would you be willing to give it a try? I hate the cold and I survived!

 


Boco Gear Review

Disclaimer: I received a BOCO Gear hat to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Hey there!

I know you are all still waiting on a recap of the Philly Half Marathon (life got a little busy between Thanksgiving and work), but it is coming. Promise. Today, I wanted to share a product review with you!

Back in September, I received a BOCO Gear Run Hat through my Bibrave ambassadorship.

Boco Gear Hat Review

At first, I wasn’t sure that I loved the style as it has a pretty flat brim. However, I have to say that it’s grown on me. It’s also pretty flexible so you can kind of bend it a bit to give it a little more of a traditional curve. It also looks great at a jaunty angle, as demonstrated above. 🙂

I also love how lightweight this hat is. It’s made of a tech material that is wicking and breathes very well. Ideal for those hot end-of-summer long runs! Another HUGE plus for this hat is that it’s machine washable. So many of my running hats get disgusting because I wear them everyday and I can never get them fully clean. I always run with a hat to help keep the hair out of my eyes so being able to quickly wash this hat after a sweaty run is a big perk. No more gross salty sweat lines!

The back also has an adjustable strap so it was very simple to get the fit just right.

Boco Gear ReviewI loved rocking the Run Hat around Halloween. The Bibrave orange was so perfect for the season!

If you’re a runner who swears by hats to help keep the sun/sweat/hair out of your eyes (like me), then I definitely recommend giving Boco Gear a try.

Boco Gear is also dog-approved for what it counts. Brady very much enjoyed the opportunity to model my Run Hat.

You can check out the rest of Boco Gear’s products at Bocogear.com and on social- @BocoGear on Twitter and Instagram.

Have a great week!

 


Strength Training & Running: Rep Fitness Equipment Review

Disclaimer: I received a free set of free weights and kettlebell from Rep Fitness Equipment in exchange for an open and honest review. Thanks! Hello again! Today, I wanted to press pause on all of the running and speedwork talk and switch gears for a minute to talk about strength training.

Rep Fitness EquipmentMy first experience with strength training was with forced lifting sessions in my high school gym when I was doing indoor and outdoor track.

2 Generations Running. Long Jump.

Possibly my favorite throwback pic of all time.

It was a tiny little room crammed with machines that was always PACKED when the track team shuffled in to do our workouts. I was not a fan. It always seemed relatively pointless and boring. I didn’t see how any of it was going to make me faster on the track. Running hill repeats made sense to me, as painful as those were. Calf raises and squats? Sure didn’t seem like those were doing much.

I’m pretty sure I rushed through the exercises (probably with horrible form) so that I could get out of practice early. Needless to say, when I got back into running on my own in college, weight training was never part of the agenda. I’d happily run my miles, shower, and take off for class – no stretching or pre-hab of any kind.

Fast forward a few years, and I started working with my coach, Mary the genius behind Lift Run Perform. Mary has always preached to me the importance behind strength training for injury prevention in running. The fact is, all of us have imbalances in our bodies. All of the pounding we put on our bodies by running high mileage adds up and often leads to problems down the road.

My most recent injuries are a testament to just how true this is. First with the Achilles tendonitis – probably the result of imbalances in my calf muscles. Now my physical therapist has me doing all these variations of heel raises to work on creating truly bullet-proof calves. And I can already tell it’s working – my tendonitis is essentially gone (after lingering for MONTHS.)

Fast Half Marathon Race Recap

Eeked out a small half marathon PR… and a case of Achilles tendonitis.

Then there was the hamstring strain. This one was pretty unfortunate in that I was actually trying to work on strengthening my hamstrings when I hurt myself. I was doing some hamstring curls with an exercise ball when I felt the muscle tweak and immediately stopped. A few days later, doing speedwork in the Rock n Roll Montreal Half, it gave way, turning into a very painful strain.

It’s becoming very clear to me that to train at the level that I want to, I HAVE to put in some work outside of running miles. That’s why I was so excited when Rep Fitness reached out to me. I have slowly been working on building my own little home gym so that I have no excuse to skip strength training. I love the free weights and kettlebell they sent me. I opted for 10 lb weights – versatile enough to use on a variety of different exercises and a 25-lb kettlebell (which strangely enough I’ve started referring to as Big Bertha in my head.)

Rep Fitness EquipmentOther equipment that I highly recommend for a home gym:

  • Exercise mat
  • Set of lower weight dumbbells (you’d be surprised at how hard some exercises can be only using 5 lbs!)
  • Resistance bands

rep fitness equipment

As my hammie recovers, I’m looking forward to using my kettlebell in some deadlifts and squats to really get to work on strengthening my hamstrings and preventing future strains. With the addition of my new free weights, I’ve already gotten back into doing some of my favorite Fitnessblender videos – Tank Top Arms Round 1 and Round 2.

I think it’s important to remember you don’t need to have an expensive gym membership to be able to strength train (especially if you are the type of person who has difficulty motivating yourself to get out the door and actually go to the gym). Choose a few key pieces of equipment and utilize resources on the internet (TRUSTED RESOURCESnot just any old website) to learn about correct form and various exercises.

Do you strength train? What’s been your worst running injury?


The Best Podcasts for Runners

Hello and happy Wednesday!

Today, I wanted to share with you all some of the running podcasts that I have been listening to lately (and absolutely loving). Podcasts have really been blowing up in popularity recently and I am so happy that there are so many about running! I almost always listen to podcasts during my morning commute and have also really been enjoying listening to them on easy runs lately. I used to be strictly music for running, but that can get a little boring on easy days so podcasts have been awesome for mixing things up.

The Best Podcasts for Runners | 2 Generations Running

1. The Bibrave Podcast! by Tim Murphy and Julia Montag

Bibrave PodcastThis is one I’ve mentioned on the blog before, but it’s worth repeating since it’s so darn entertaining. Cohosts Tim and Julia do a great job balancing the topics of their own running adventures with conversations about other happenings in the running world. They also interview interesting guests, like the race director of the Boston Marathon, Dave McGillivray, Bart Yasso, and their own running coach Matt Flaherty. Honestly, this podcast feels like a conversation you would have with your running buddy while out on the road.

2. I’ll have Another by Lindsey Hein

I'll have Another Podcast | Best Podcasts for RunnersLindsey focuses on interviews with inspiring female role models in the running world (although they are really less interview-ish and more funny/conversational in tone). She has spoken with many running bloggers I follow and it has been so fun to learn more about them through this format since I am used to just reading about what they are up to on their blogs or Instagrams. I can finally put a voice to the face of these bloggers whose words I’ve been reading online for ages! She’s also a Bachelor fan which means I’m pretty sure we’d be best friends.

The Bachelor gifOr on ABC.

3. Human Race by Runners World

Human Race Podcast | Best Podcasts for RunnersSo Runners World started putting out two podcasts in 2016 – SCORE! Human Race focuses on telling in-depth human interest stories in the world of running. They’ve done stories on a blind runner and his guide, going back all the way to tell the story of how he became blind to how he got started running races (this podcast was episode 11, Bright Eyes, and was one of my favorites). These episodes tend to range from 20-40 minutes, perfect for a short run.

4. Diz Runs by Denny Krahe

Diz Runs Podcast | 2 Generations RunningI discovered this podcast about a month or two ago after seeing on social media that my running coach had been interviewed on it. It’s hosted by Denny Krahe, aka Diz. Each interview starts with Diz asking his guests, “What’s your favorite distance to race and why?” –> some of the answers get pretty interesting! I love when ultra-runners talk about loving the 50k distance because it’s “so short“. LOL. He’s also interviewed a huge variety of guests so you’re bound to find a runner you’re interested in learning more about. This podcast already has over 300 episodes so it’s perfect for digging around to find an old (but new to you) episode when you’ve listened to all your other subscribed podcasts already.

5. How Was Your Run Today? by Bryan Gould and Peter Villa

How Was your Run today podcast | Best podcasts for runnersThese guys are SO FUNNY. I first discovered this podcast after they did an interview with the head coach of my running club. Recently, they did a series of podcasts chronicling Bryan’s training and race at the Millinocket Marathon in the Katahdin region of Maine. It should also be mentioned that this race takes place in DECEMBER. In Maine. Needless to say, they had some hilarious commentary on the race. They also record their podcast in the Cambridge/Boston area so it feels like a hometown podcast and I actually know some of the places and running routes they mention.

6. The Runners World Podcast

Runners World PodcastOne of my absolute favorites and I’m not just saying that because I was on it. 🙂 The episodes tend to be pretty long-format, ranging from 50 minutes to an hour and 10 minutes. Usually the bulk of the episode will focus on an interview or discussion (for instance, they did a round table discussion with a small group of female Runners World writers covering the topic of harassment of female runners). They’ve interviewed so many interesting guests from Dean Karnazes to comedian Liz Miele to my favorite buddy Meb Keflezighi. The last 5 minutes or so is called The Kick and they discuss current happenings in the world of running. When the podcast first came out, I was worried it would just feel like a rehashing of articles I had already read in the magazine, but it hasn’t been like that. Sometimes there’s a little overlap, but most of the episodes have been unique to the podcast.

 

So there you go! Next time you head out for a few easy miles, tune into one of these podcasts for a fun, fresh conversation about running. Then, come back and tell me which one is your favorite in the comments. 🙂

Are you a strict music listener on runs? Do you have any other running podcasts to recommend? 


New Balance Vazee 2090 Review

It’s been a while since I’ve done a shoe review on the blog, but thanks to Strava and the Back Half Challenge, I have a cool, new pair to tell you about.

img_1779I have never worn New Balance shoes before, but I wasn’t going to say no to a free pair! Not having much experience with the brand, I turned to their website and focused on picking out a speed shoe. I like the cushioning of the Saucony Kinvara for my distance runs so I wanted to pick something different. Enter the New Balance Vazee 2090.

New Balance Vazee 2090 ReviewAt $150, they are a pricey shoe, but given that New Balance was treating me to a free pair, I obviously didn’t mind. 😉

According to New Balance,  the shoe is “…Powered by Nitrogen-infused N2 foam and REVlite cushioning, this women’s running shoe delivers a light and responsive ride mile after mile.” It weighs in at 8 oz. It has a 6 mm drop (the Kinvara has a 4 mm drop for reference).

New Balance Vazee 2090 ReviewI’ll admit – one of the big draws of these shoes for me was their design. I liked the patriotic red and blue, and they also have subtle gold stars along the toe. Remind me to save these shoes for a 4th of July race!

One of the other unique features of the Vazee 2090 is its “midfoot saddle”. This is the red to blue gradient section in the middle.

New Balance Vazee 2090 ReviewIn most of the other sneakers I have worn, the upper has wrapped all the way from the toe around the heel. With the Vazee 2090, the saddle is a separate piece, allowing it to wrap more snugly around the midfoot. I liked the cozy fit, and felt like it held my foot very securely especially during speedwork.

Vazee 2090 Review | 2 Generations RunningThe toebox is pretty roomy – a big bonus for me with my history of black toenails. While I seem to be able to get by with a 10 in some running sneakers, I opted for the 10.5 with this pair, not wanting them to be too tight and this was definitely the right choice. They fit like a dream.

New Balance Vazee 2090The ride of the Vazee 2090 is very different than my Kinvaras. They are not the bouncy, cushioned shoe I prefer for higher mileage. But for speedwork, they deliver a perfect, responsive ride. Would I wear these for a marathon? No, but a 5k? Yes, definitely.

Design: A

Fit: A+

Price: C 

Ride: B+ (good for speedwork, but I wouldn’t want to run double-digit mileage in these shoes).

Do you have a shoe you reserve for speedwork? Ever run in New Balance before? 


Kukimbe: Just Swipe Right

Hey all!

As you may have gathered from reading my blog over the years, I really love running – and racing, in particular. I spend a decent amount of time hunting for my next race. Generally this involves logging onto websites like Running in the USA or Halfmarathons.net. Then, I look on Google Maps to check out driving distance. And then I look for reviews and race recaps on other running blogs to really vet an option.

It’s a long process.

But if I’m going to drop $50-$100 on a race, I want to make sure it’s going to be worth it.

And I can pretty much forget about trying to do this all on my phone. These websites are not mobile-friendly and it just gets confusing trying to access the information I need all on the small screen of my iPhone. I ran into this issue recently looking for some of the 5ks I signed up, including the Boston River Run. Eventually I just got frustrated and gave up.

Kukimbe ReviewIf I had been using Kukimbe when I was looking for 5ks, the Boston River Run would have been presented as a possible option just like this.

I was pretty excited when the folks over at Kukimbe reached out to me, telling me about the new app they have designed to help runners find races! Kukimbe means ‘Runner’ in Kenyan, and personally, I think it’s the app we runners have all been waiting for. There are already a thousand different apps for tracking your running/training. FINALLY, there is an app that helps you actually find and register for your goal race!

Kukimbe Review | 2 Generations Running

It works kind of like a dating app (as strange as that sounds). It uses geo-location to find local races and then presents them to the user, one at a time. Swipe right for ‘Yes’, swipe left for ‘No’. The races that you swipe right are then bookmarked for you in the app. You can go back to the races you are interested in, and follow a link which takes you right to the Registration page for that race. It is so easy to use and a really fun way to browse around and discover new races in your area. I probably had a little bit too much fun swiping left and right for races. 😉

Kukimbe Review | 2 Generations RunningLove my new Kukimbe shirt!

The app also has a ‘Feed’ similar to your Facebook feed, where they publish running-related articles, blog posts, and updates on the registration deadlines for major races. In the ‘Podium’ section, you can select from categories like ‘Women’s Apparel’, ‘Men’s Footwear’, or ‘Holiday Gift Guide’. You can then browse around items in each category. With Christmas coming up fast, the gift guide might just come in handy for thinking up a different type of present for the athletic/outdoorsy-type person!

One feature I’m particularly excited about with Kukimbe is the ability for users to accumulate points, which can then be redeemed for race registrations or discounts on merchandise within the app. This feature has not been fully developed yet as the app is still very new, but I think it has the potential to be really fun as well as a cost-saver on all the race registrations! The app is free in iTunes and Google Play, so I highly recommend downloading it and playing around.Runners World Classic Review 2016How can you NOT love racing when it comes with all this swag??

Which do you prefer – running or RACING? I would pick a race over a workout any day of the week.

Are you picky about the races you sign up for?

Are you as stoked as I am about this app?