GIVEAWAY: Run the Ruth’s Chris Newport Half Marathon

It’s been a while since I’ve hosted a good old fashioned giveaway, so let’s do this thing!

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If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that I’m a huge fan of the Run Newport Races up in Jersey City, NJ. It started when I ran the 10K back in 2017. Not only did I have a blast, but I set a new PR on their fast, flat course.

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When they asked me to join them as a Blog Partner again for the Half Marathon later that year, I jumped at the opportunity to use it as a training run for the NYC Marathon and fell in love with my new favorite half marathon course.

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Seriously, the half may not be my favorite distance, but with the scenery you get during the Ruth’s Chris Newport Half Marathon, it didn’t feel like 13.1 miles. You run through twisty city streets and really good crowds, get a nice boost when you run through Liberty State Park for basically all of miles 5-10, and finish in the heart of Jersey City – where they have a sweet post-race party going on pretty much all day afterwards. Add super-easy parking and race morning logistics to the list and you’ll see why it’s my favorite race series ever.

Unfortunately, thanks to an unholy combination of injury and bad timing, I was unable to run the 10K earlier this year, and will not be risking injury again by attempting 13.1 later this month, having only run a max of 5 miles in the past 8 months.

And that makes me sad.

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BUT!

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My misfortune is your GOOD fortune, because I now have a FREE ENTRY to the Ruth’s Chris Newport Half Marathon that I’m giving away! All you have to do is ENTER HERE by 12AM on 9/6 – and the best part is you can earn a bunch of entries by doing different things like following me on Instagram, Twitter, and leaving a comment here on the blog.

So don’t miss out on your chance to run this fantastic race, enter now and we can compare course notes after the race!!

Back to Training and Lumo Run Review

I officially kicked off training for the Rock n Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon (my fall goal race) earlier this month, and I’m following roughly the same plan I used for the NJ Half Marathon where I set my current half PR. The addition of a few more 9+ mile runs during that training cycle (5 or 6 vs my usual 3 or 4) made a huge difference and helped me clinch that 15 minute PR, so I’m hoping to see similar results this time. Well, maybe not another 15 minute PR, but you know what I mean 😉 With 6 weeks to race day I’m already up to 9 mile long runs, and my pace is still pretty on par with where I was back in May, so yay for that.

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Training began uneventfully with 3-4 mile runs twice during the week and a long run on the weekend, and I was super stoked to try out a new training tool: Lumo Run.

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A little sensor you clip onto the back of your waistband, Lumo Run isn’t just a tracker; it’s a tiny trainer that observes five key metrics during your run to help you improve your running form through real time audio feedback via an app on your phone.

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Full disclosure: the folks at Lumo Run sent me this sensor to test it out in exchange for my honest opinion, but I will say that I was interested in a tool like this even before they reached out to me. I don’t have the luxury of being able to work with a personal running coach, so this little tool is the next best thing.

To start, it had me run a 10 minute calibration run to see what my form and mechanics looked like, so I went out for a 5K with a friend on a hot sticky night after work.

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During the first 10 minutes we covered .87 miles while the pleasant trainer voice (Australian?) coached me to keep my posture straight and told me I was doing great. Once the calibration run was done, however, the real work began. And this woman made us WORK.

The first thing she suggested I work on is cadence, meaning the number of times my foot strikes the ground in a minute. My steps per minute were around 156 during my calibration run, so Lumo had me work on getting up to 163 SPM. To help us stay on track I played a song with a beat of about 168 BMP and the Lumo Run trainer immediately saw that we were hitting our goal. A happy little chime sounded, with the voice explaining that I’d hear the chime when I was successful. In addition to checking my cadence, the trainer also offered reminders to keep my posture straight, and announced my pace and time at the half mile and mile marks. You can change the settings on how often you hear feedback, which is a nice feature.

Once the song ended, we almost immediately slowed down without realizing it and were treated to a sad trombone “womp womp” and the instructor telling us that we weren’t meeting our cadence goal. After 2 miles of chugging along at this new rhythm, we were shredded – but ultimately we hit our goal. To help me improve my cadence after the run, it offered some post-run exercises, complete with explanations and videos too. Very helpful.

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One of the exercises to help me work on “Bounce”

After that run, I wanted to run again to keep improving. So I took it out a few days later and quickly learned just how hard this thing was going to make me work.

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Hello, little Lumo Run!

At the beginning of the run, the trainer announced my new goal was now 172 SPM. But, I turned on some music with a faster beat and set out from my house up the crazy hills of my neighborhood. And there was my first mistake. Up a small hill: Womp-womp. Flat: Ding ding! Yay! Up another larger hill: Womp-womp. Dammit! Finally after a mile of struggling to avoid the sad trombone of failure, I stopped at a red light and discovered the one minor thing I don’t like about Lumo (and can’t figure out if it’s a setting I haven’t discovered or what): even though I “paused” my run on the app, it automatically ended my run after about a minute of waiting! It was frustrating: now that the run was “over”, it marked me as not meeting my goal even though I wanted to keep working towards it, and even if I restarted, my distance and other stats would restart at 0. Overall not a dealbreaker, but kind of irritating.

Because I was now obsessed with nailing a full workout at 172 SPM the whole time, I had to take it out for another run last night – and while it was a struggle, I did it!

Even though I stacked the deck by running on an almost entirely flat course, it was still hard as anything to maintain that cadence without hearing the womp womp. A few times I even cursed out loud at the sound because I was so sure I’d been nailing the goal but wasn’t!

In short, Lumo Run is a ridiculously good motivator. I’ve only run with it a handful of times and worked on ONE metric with it, so I’ve still got a ways to go. But with a tool that’s so clear and immediate with its feedback, for the first time I’m actually looking forward to putting in the work because I know it’ll pay off. It’s like having a tiny trainer in my ear at every step, and the results are right there in my run.

And in addition to having this really cool tool, Lumo is also currently hosting the #ThisIsMyCoach Instagram contest: simply submit a photo or video of your coach using the hashtag #ThisIsMyCoach explaining why they are an inspiration, and you could win a grand prize VIP trip for two to the Kona Ironman Championships! For more info, visit their site and be sure to enter by 5pm PST on September 1 for your chance to win. 

Have you ever used a training tool like this before? What do you think? What’s your current cadence (and if it’s over 172, HOW??)

What’s Up?

I don’t know about you, but lately the weeks are just flying by here! I feel like once we hit May, every weekend has been filled with traveling, working out like crazy, weddings, parties, BBQs, and general craziness with no clear end in sight. Last weekend we had legitimately nothing on the calendar and freaked out: I swore I had to be forgetting something! But it was nice to relax for about 2.4 hours before swinging right back into things.

Let’s take a look at some highlights from the past month or two and get caught up, shall we?

We have a winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered last week’s Mermaid Club Giveaway – I love being able to give you guys cool stuff 🙂 And now, drumroll please…. our winner is Michelle B!

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Check your email, girl, I’ve sent you the deets on how to get your goods 🙂

I’m Tri-ing (Again)

After two polar opposite experiences at the Jersey Girl and One More Tri sprint triathlons last year, I wasn’t itching to burst back onto the triathlon scene anytime soon. But I’m highly suggestible, and when my coworker said she wanted to do her first sprint tri and I mentioned the Jersey Girl as the best one for beginners, before I knew what was happening I was registered for it again.

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I don’t know how it happened, I swear!

I’m honestly really excited – all the tri training I did last summer had a HUGE impact on my endurance and speed as a runner once I got back into a single sport come the fall, so I’m pretty stoked to have all that cross training to look forward to.

I unofficially started training a few weeks ago by incorporating biking and swimming into my weekly workouts, and as of next week I’ll start doing brick workouts to get back into the swing of biking then running. I also continue to bump up my strength training to get stronger overall, which I hope will pay off in the long run.

My friend got married (and we had a vacation too)!

On June 10th, my friend (and sometimes running/racing buddy) Tina married her sweetheart Justin in LBI and we had the honor of celebrating with them and a bunch of our wild and crazy friends!

This crew is the best – they’re the most loyal, drama-free people I know, and they REALLY know how to party, so it’s always a good time. And to keep the good times rolling after the wedding, we stuck around in LBI for the weekend and fully embraced the island life. We go down there every year and have adopted it as our second home, so it’s always a nice relaxing getaway.

I won a Kylo Ren doll at a carnival stand on the first spin (!!) and Mike got to test out his Captain chops, then the morning we left we headed over to Barnegat to climb the lighthouse like we do every year – my knees were aching after but it was worth it!

I’m still running happy

While I haven’t been the best at keeping you all up to date on my running adventures here, if you’ve been following along with me on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, you can attest to the fact that I’m still running, and almost all of those miles are indeed happy!

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I even discovered a new trail – right in my hometown! It’s not so much of a trail as it as a nature preserve, and I was the only runner on it the day I went (aside from a family of fishermen and women on the opposite side of the lake), but it was so cool. I spent an afternoon on my own, exploring the ins and outs of this new area, snapping pics as I went.

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I even got to nail my first solo jumping picture!

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In addition to solo exploration, I connected with Mere again for some bright, beautiful miles down at the canal near my office too!

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Running happy together 🙂

There’s been a few other exciting events – namely, an awesome 5K I helped my company take part in, which I’ll recap later this week – but other than that it’s quiet and I like it that way!

How about you: now that summer is here, how’s your training going? Do anything good the past few months? Share!

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 🙂

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!

It’s Photo Contest Time!

Some of you may or may not know, but I’m involved with an awesome group of inspirational folks called The Mermaid Club, and a part of my role in the organization deals with spreading the word about the club and helping to inspire others to Live Life and Make Waves in whatever fitness-related adventures they go on. And today I got to start a new project that I’m so excited about: the Mermaid Spotlight 2015 Photo Contest!

The Mermaid Club is all about living life and making waves, and 2015 is going to be a pretty epic year if we do say so ourselves. To get everyone excited about what’s in store, we’re opening up this contest and we hope you’ll join in. It’s simple: Send us your best inspirational, motivational, funny, or otherwise awesome photo of you living life and making waves: pounding the pavement, in the water, on a bike, or wherever! – for a chance to be featured in our new Mermaid Spotlight series and to win some fun gear, too! Here’s the fine print:

  • Pictures must include your badass self and The Mermaid Club logo or slogan (Live Life, Make Waves) in some way. Be creative! Collages, quotes, drawings, typography, we want to see it all!
  • Each photo will count as one entry, but we encourage you to submit as many different photos as you want.
  • You can post your photos to our Facebook page, Twitter, and/or Instagram – just be sure to use the hashtag #MermaidSpotlight2015 to ensure your pic is seen by our judges.
  • All entries may be used in future posts on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds, with full credit to the original poster. If you’re so inclined, feel free to include a watermark or your name (or Twitter or IG handle) in the photo somewhere too!
  • At the contest’s end, the top 5 winning photos will be posted on our Facebook Page, along with instructions for winners on how to claim their awesome gear – and I’ll be following up with you for your Mermaid Spotlight “interview” via email, too!

We’ll be sharing our favorite entries as we find them throughout the month, so what are you waiting for? Get snapping, and submit your picture by February 28th for your chance to win!