Chin Up Giveaway Winners!

The winners are in for the Chin Up Apparel giveaway, and I’m so excited for them! They are… drumroll please…

Katie Petrick and Tamra Trousdale!

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Congratulations, ladies!! Check your email for instructions on how to claim your prize ūüôā

Thank you SO much to everyone who entered – I love being able to bring you guys fun contests like this and look forward to the next one. Happy Tuesday!

Everything’s Better at the Beach

This weekend the hubby and I made our 9th annual trip down to Long Beach Island, NJ, for a few nights of relaxation, seafood, claw games, and fun Рand even though it rained for most of the time, we still had one of our best trips yet!

We arrived¬†in the early afternoon¬†on Friday to a brisk 59 degrees and a light on-and-off drizzle, but we made the best of things by hanging out at Ron Jon’s Surf Shop and heading out to one of our favorite low-key restaurants before taking over the arcade for shoot-em-up video games, skee-ball, Donkey Kong, and claw machines!

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I won little Grumpy Cat on the first try!

The next day I woke up and decided to go for a run. I tried something different and took a gel (peanut butter flavored, my new fave!) about 20 minutes before I hit the pavement instead of during the run, and I think I’ve finally cracked the fueling code! It made a huge positive difference in my run and I look forward to trying it out at the Oakley Mini 10K this weekend.

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It was a perfect 55-ish and still drizzly but not enough to stop me¬†– I took off down one of the super-long, super-straight roads that go the entire length of the island and fell into a rhythm almost immediately. See the runner in the dark blue shirt and shorts in the distance on the left up there? I kept her about that far away from me for the first mile and found that her 11:15/mile pace was almost effortless for me! That was a huge shock, especially after all the wine (and ice cream!) I had the night before – hey, it’s vacation, I don’t deny myself the yummy stuff!

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I set out with the goal of doing 5 miles, so I¬†planned on going¬†out 2.5 then heading back. LBI is my favorite “destination¬†running” spots because the roads are as flat as you can possibly get and the area is so runner/biker/fitness-friendly that you can’t help but want to get out there with your people as often as possible. Even in¬†the miserable weather, the 2-3 other runners and bikers that passed by gave me big waves and hearty “Good morning!”‘s – I swear if it weren’t for our jobs, we’d move down there in a heartbeat!

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Everything’s alright down the shore – even a run in the rain ūüôā

Suddenly around mile 1.5, the skies opened up and unleashed a full-on monsoon! My unwitting pacer¬†slowed down slightly but I kept pace –¬†I hate passing people then seeing them pass me when I inevitably slow down later! So for about 10 minutes we ran through the rain, me about 15 feet behind her and both of us wiping buckets of water away from our eyes every few feet.¬†I was drenched in seconds, but I can’t lie – I felt pretty badass ūüėČ

I briefly considered turning around at mile 2 and calling it at 4 miles, but persisted. After 10 minutes, the soaking rain started to taper and my pacer slowed to a walk. That’s when I decided to keep going for my 2.5 miles and passed her, thanking her for pacing me as I did, to which she smiled widely and said “No problem!” I love that island.

From there I stayed steady for the next half mile and finally turned around at around mile 2.5, seeing that my pacer had vanished. I briefly worried that I would slow down without her, but I did just fine! At mile 3.5 I stopped briefly to adjust my BioSkin (both the brace and my capris were completely soaked through so a little slippage was expected!), and  the wet weather did cause my ACL to ache in general. But other than that I felt great all the way through mile 5 as I stopped right at our hotel and discovered what an absolutely stunning time I had posted!

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Seriously, I haven’t seen consistent, effortless numbers like that since before my ACL surgery, so this was a serious breakthrough. I haven’t been logging as many pavement miles as I feel like I should be, but my knees need a break and the¬†DeskCycle is evidently keeping my endurance up quite nicely! The only negative part about this run though? The completely solid, knotty rat’s nest that was my ponytail after an hour in the wind and rain:

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Ouch!

After 20 minutes of conditioner and painful combing, I managed to tame my mane and we headed out to the local Wine Festival, conveniently being held right down the road! I swear I didn’t plan it like that, it was just a happy coincidence!
IMG_6016The next day (yesterday), I woke up early and took off for a quick, watchless 2-miler to wake up and stretch out – the hotel bed was absolute¬†murder on my back. I also wanted to keep up the momentum from Saturday’s run, and had a great time! While I don’t think I was as fast (I can’t be sure), the beautiful sunny weather and gorgeous scenery made it perfect. After we packed up the car, we ended our¬†vacay¬†with a walk on the beach¬†and the most perfect ice bath ever:

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As I stood there letting the water freeze up my toes, I looked out at the waves and breathed in deeply a few times. Things have been a little hectic lately; and without getting into too much detail,¬†I got a bit of a wake up call a few weeks ago and realized that I had to refocus and re-prioritize what’s really important to me.

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It’s a hard lesson to learn (especially when you’re a stubborn Polack like me) but this weekend was just what I needed, and those few moments of peace were the cherry on top. And as if I needed any more proof that was the case, a little waterlogged ladybug landed on my toe in the water as I stood there!

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Don’t worry – I saved him and left him on a wooden dune fence to finish drying out ūüôā

So that was my weekend – how was yours? Did you have any running adventures, or do you have any planned in the future? How do you find a proper balance between life, work, and family? Have you ever experienced the ponytail from hell after a messy run like that? Tell me everything!

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Happy National Running Day!

It’s June 3rd – that means it’s the biggest holiday in the running world (besides Marathon Monday): National Running Day!

I kicked off my day with a 2.5 mile run around town this morning before work, and while I know I’ve said that morning workouts are the worst (for me), I actually had a good time. I’ve decided to use the limited time I have during my morning runs to focus on speed bursts and hills because I have a hard time working them into my longer runs and never feel like doing them at the end of the day.

IMG_5888So I took off from home at around 6:30AM and set off right up the big hill around the corner, powering up without stopping. My newest playlist was bumping and I feeling fantastic thanks to these folks – have you ever heard of Matt & Kim? Highly motivating running tunes right here!

I coasted down into the main part of town and loved all the smiles I got from people waiting for the bus, walking their dogs, getting their morning coffee – while it was overcast and humid, this was the first morning that hasn’t been filled with torrential rain and miserable chilliness, so I think everyone was just in a better mood in general, which I don’t mind!

IMG_5886I’m always smiling anyway.

I nailed my first mile in about 10:40, which I was stoked about, but I think I may have pushed too hard because once I got to mile 1.5 I started to develop a throbbing headache. Does this happen to you guys? I think it might have something to do with the effort I’m putting in, or maybe I’m not warmed up properly? It mostly happens when it’s cold outside or after I’ve pushed hard in a run, and feels almost like an ice cream headache. I’ve tried taking off my headband, taking my earbuds out, and massaging my temples when it hits, thinking that maybe something is too tight, but that never helps. It’s weird and quite annoying, especially when I’m in a groove like I was this morning!

I spent the next half mile walking and jogging without music to calm the headache, and it mildly subsided enough for me to push through the last half mile to get home, with a respectable time of 2.5 miles in 28:17! Even with the walk breaks and hills, the speedwork evened out my pace to 11:18 per mile, which I’m pretty psyched about! While I haven’t been logging as many running miles as I used to during half marathon training, the 45-60 minutes per day I spend on the DeskCycle seem to have really made an impact on my endurance (plus my knees feel great)!

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When I got home and sat down and rehydrated, it took about 10-15 minutes for the headache to totally subside, but once it was gone it was like nothing had ever happened! Now I’m really looking forward to logging a few more miles in the coming days, and running long this weekend in prep for next week’s 10K in Central Park.

How about you? How are you celebrating National Running Day? No matter how you celebrate, make it a good one!

Chin Up Apparel Review & Giveaway!

I’ve been a big fan of Chin Up Apparel for a while now – my obsession first began with the tanks I found in Kohls and Target:
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They also have a bunch of wine-related running gear, like the “Will Run for Wine” tank I ran my last race in (even if it was covered by a race bib):

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I even discovered that with a little ingenuity, you can get some more “outside the gym” mileage out their gear like I did with the Zen Elephant racerback tank I got direct from their site:

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While it’s slightly different from the other pieces I own (the straps are thinner & it’s a Woman’s fit as opposed to Juniors), the quality is still super high like I’ve come to expect from Chin Up. The slouchy fabric was perfect for working out outside: not too thick and loose enough to give me room to breathe, but not so thin that it’s see-through or feels cheap. Just the opposite – the softness and richness of the fabric really stands out. And because the print doesn’t scream “I’m working out!” it was able to turn it into a fun little date-night outfit too:

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But enough of all that – why not get one of your own? Enter now for your chance to win a tank top of your choice courtesy of Chin Up Apparel! Contest ends on Tuesday, 6/9, and you can earn entries in a number of different ways – and the best part about this giveaway is that there will be TWO winners! – so go ahead and enter now, today could be your lucky day!