Monday, January 27, 2014

The Indoor Marathon Relay Race Recap

The Indoor Marathon Relay was one of the first races I did after I started running - just three months after my first run! It was really tough but I remember feeling so excited after it was over. The event has remained a favorite of mine ever since.

This year, I raced under the Oiselle name, and it was truly the best year yet. My teammates (Sheila, Kim and Melissa) and I decided to run two laps (a little more than a half mile) at a time throughout the race, which turned out to be the perfect strategy. We were able to maintain a fast pace and also had less down time between turns so our legs stayed fresher throughout the race.

My best workout before the race was at the Pettit (where the race is held) and I did 10 two-lap repeats at goal race pace with three minute recoveries. It was a tough workout but definitely boosted my confidence going into the race. I knew if I could survive that workout, I would do fine at the race when I would get more than triple the recovery between laps.

At the race, I expected my first and eighth times running to be the most brutal since those were the hardest repeats during my workout. But to my surprise, although there were laps that felt hard, none felt as hard as the workout ones. I think the longer recoveries really helped!

Here are my team's results:

Time: 2:57:24
Pace: 6:47
Place: 2nd All-Female Team

Kim, Melissa, Me and Sheila

Three Oiselle birds!

I am so proud of how my team performed. We were not sure going in how we would fare given Sheila was recovering from the swine flu and Melissa is pregnant. Kim really stepped up and seriously flew around the track. That girl has an amazing stride - we all admired her gazelle-like running style!

And we couldn't have done it without our lovely team manager, Sara. She tracked our miles, helped us with the timing chip bracelet and always had encouraging words to say as we ran past. Alex also came to support our team after running the half marathon event in the morning and Kim's adorable daughter and husband came to watch us as well. We had the best spectators!

Wearing our new medals!

I'm sure I'll do this race again next year and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes running with friends. A good time is guaranteed :)

My questions for you:
  • Have you ever participated in a relay race? If so, what was your experience?
  • What did you do over the weekend?

Hope you're all surviving the big chill part 2!

- ST

Friday, January 17, 2014

Getting Fit at the YMCA!

A new year means new beginnings, which makes it the perfect time to try out a new gym!

I'll continue to go to Gold's Gym, but I'll also be hitting the Milwaukee YMCA a few times a week. I joined earlier this week and have already used the downtown facility's indoor track (6 laps = 1 mile) a few times. I also checked out the weight room and another studio that happens to have all my favorite equipment - fitness balls, BOSU balls, weight plates, dumbbells, etc. Perfect!

I'm super excited to try out the many classes that are offered throughout the week. It's been awhile since I've done group fitness classes, but I think they are a great addition to any training plan. They're an excellent way to learn new exercises to incorporate into your own workouts and also a fun way to meet fellow fitness enthusiasts!

Here are the classes I'll likely try first:
  • Y-Fuse - A class featuring ports-inspired drills
  • Y-Blitz - A sports-style cross training class
  • Absolution - A class focused on building core strength
  • Y-Kettle Bell Interval Circuit - A kettle bell workout mixed with high-intensity cardio intervals

This is just what I need to kick start my training this year :)

Tell me:
  • Are you trying anything new or doing anything different this year when it comes to training?
  • Do you take any group fitness classes? If so, what do you like/dislike about them?

If you go to the YMCA, let's meet for a class sometime soon!

- ST

*Disclosure: I was given a free membership to the YMCA Milwaukee in exchange for blogging, tweeting and general social media posts about my experience. All opinions are my own.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Core Power Review + Giveaway!

After a tough workout or long run, one of the best things you can do for yourself is eat a post-workout recovery snack. Doing so will help you recover better and faster so you're ready to go when it's time for your next run.

In my opinion, a protein shake is a perfect snack. It's so convenient and it's an especially good choice if you're the type of runner who does not stomach solid food well immediately after a run. Plus, a recovery shake will also help you rehydrate while also feeding your muscles!

Naturally, I was thrilled to get the opportunity to review Core Power - a high-protein muscle recovery drink that is the official protein drink of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. The shakes are made from fresh, low-fat, lactose-free milk and real honey. 

Core Power sent me a few shakes to try: Vanilla, Chocolate and Banana. All three were delicious - none of that chalky, chemical-like taste that plagues some recovery shakes!

I really love how easy it is to pack one of these shakes into my gym bag and then having it ready to go after my workout. All I had to do was open the bottle and voila - nutrition within the optimal post-run recovery window.

 Enjoying a Core Power shake after last weekend's long run!

So here's the fun part: Core Power is offering one Eat. Host. Run. Style. reader a Fit Kit to help them recover right and achieve their fitness goals this year. The Fit Kit contains Core Power shakes, a gym bag, fitness ball, water bottle, yoga mat and towel. 

Want to win? Enter the giveaway below! I'll pick a winner on Sunday, January 19 and contact the winner* on Monday, January 20. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Happy Monday!

- ST

*The winner will have 48 hours to claim his or her prize. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Getting Fit for the Marathon Relay

Over the weekend, I met up with two of my Oiselle teammates, Kim and Sheila, for a workout at the Pettit indoor track. The three of us are running the upcoming Indoor Marathon Relay Race together and wanted to meet to get used to running on the track and also discuss strategy.

 Running + Brunch = A perfect combo! Photo by Sheila

It was very apparent to me during the workout that I haven't been doing enough quality speedwork lately. Last week, I did a mini speedwork session, including 1 mile @6:53 pace, a half mile @6:49 pace and a quarter mile @6:40 pace. Since I felt okay during the workout, I thought I was in decent shape going into the weekend workout. 

Wrong. My two-lap repeats on Saturday felt way harder than they should have, and I was pretty happy when Sheila said she was ready to go to brunch after just an hour of running laps. 

Since the race is only a few weeks away, I need to buckle down and start running workouts like it's my job. Fortunately, I tend to get fit quickly so I think (fingers crossed) a few weeks of workouts should do the trick. 

Here's this week's training plan:

Monday: 6 miles @easy pace + striders; strength training
Tuesday: 6 miles, inc. 20 min @half marathon pace; strength training
Wednesday: 4 miles @easy pace; strength training
Thursday: 6 miles, inc. eight half-mile repeats
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday: 10 miles @easy pace
Sunday: Rest Day

Total: 32 miles

As nice as it was to have a few extra days off over the holidays, I'm happy to be back on a normal schedule :)

Your turn! Tell me:
  1. What does your training plan look like this week?
  2. Have you been doing speedwork lately? If so, what workouts have you done recently?
  3. Are you participating in any of the upcoming Indoor marathon weekend events?

With the sub-zero temps in MKE this week, an indoor race sounds pretty good!

- ST