Misadventures with wine, weights, and running shoes.

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Marine Corps Historic Half - in Blue

Tuesday, May 26, 2015
About a year after I ran the Marine Corps Historic Half, I found myself up at a ridiculous hour heading to Virginia to do it again. At least this year, I knew going in that it would not be pretty.

My allergies and asthma were (still are) at an all time bad and the weather forecast called for a high around 80 with 100% humidity. That translates into running through hot thick soup while breathing through a straw.

Awesome, right?

At least I was prepared. I limited my meds to the ones that caused the least dehydration and had a hydration plan. Erring on the side of the super cautious, Cindy and I started hydrating with electrolytes about three days before the race. We were as ready as we were going to get.

Unlike last year, we were running with a purpose that didn't involve a PR. This year we chose to run with wear blue: run to remember®.

My first encounter with this organization was at the 2014 Marine Corps Marathon at what would be my most memorable and emotional mile of the race: the blue mile. Over the distance of one mile, photos of soldiers - hundreds of them - and their names are staged one after another along with members of the organization who are holding American flags and cheering runners.

photo credit: wear blue: run to remember
It was only a few photos in when I realized that this line of photos appeared to go on forever and the shear magnitude of what I was looking at unfolded before me. Freedom is not free and these Men and Women made the ultimate sacrifice for it. I then spent the remainder of the mile in tears and determined to finish the race.
"The mission of wear blue: run to remember is to build running communities that honor the service and sacrifice of the American military. wear blue seeks to (1) act as a support network, (2) serve as a living memorial, and (3) bridge the gap between military and civilian communities."
So like I was saying, up at a ridiculous hour to go run this race...or to drive to the race, take a nap in the car, and then go run the race.

Nap behind us, we were getting ready to head to the start when we heard, "hey blue!" Someone was talking to us. I was honestly, so taken aback her name escapes me, but she was talking to us. Assuming it was a fluke, we went about our way.

On our way to the starting line, people past us saying, "Good luck blue" and "Run strong blue." There was much more to this community that I had realized. The same occurred during the actual race. Others with wear blue would pass and we'd cheer each other on and offer a thumbs up or some motivational words.

In the final miles of the race, we encountered the blue mile again. Much like the Marine Corps Marathon, I was overcome with emotion. Just when I thought I had myself together, I reached the line of wear blue volunteers who one by one cheered us up the hill. "Go Blue" - "You've got this hill, Blue." - "Looking strong, Blue." - "Run with Honor, Blue."


...and just like that, I was a mess all over again.

In the final stretch of the race, the route was lined with spectators and over the cow bells and screams I heard "Go Blue."

Across the finish line and once reunited with Cindy, we grabbed a drink and then headed to the spectator area. We needed to give back so we spent a good hour cheering on other members of wear blue: run to remember.

Everyone's story is different much like everyone's reason for running is different but wear blue: run to remember unites us as a living memorial to the American Military. A visible reminder that freedom isn't free.

Learn more about wear blue: run to remember:
Love, Theresa.

Today We Run

Monday, May 25, 2015

Today we run. 

Not to train - but to honor our fallen.

We run for those who can't run. We run for the Sons and Daughters who didn't come home. We run for the Daddies and Mommies and the children that will miss them. We run for the favorite Uncles and Aunts who didn't get to go home to their doting Nieces and Nephews.

We run for the Husbands. We run for the Wives. We run for the Spouses that hold their memories close.

We run for the Brothers. We run for the Sisters. We run for the Siblings that go on each day with part of them missing.

We Run!

We run for all of those that made the Ultimate Sacrifice to preserve our Freedoms.

We run because Freedom isn't Free.

~ Theresa

Dedicated to the Men and Women of the American Military who sacrificed everything and the Families that they left behind. 

Memorial Day:Remembering the Fallen

Sunday, May 24, 2015
I woke up Friday morning to a facebook feed full of

"OMG. Three day weekend. Time to Par-tay."

and

"Wooo hooo...Memorial Day - Poolz open beeatches."

and I was annoyed.

Annoyed because too many people take for granted the freedoms that we have and neglect the real meaning of Memorial day...

and no, it isn't cook outs and thanking every soldier you see for their service.

So here is a reminder.
A photo posted by Andrea πŸ‘£ (@rothertmomma) on


and another one



and this one

A photo posted by Andres Jaime (@andresmarioj) on


here's another



and another



and this one



this one too

A photo posted by Ash (@ssgt_hubbard) on


one more


So while I am not saying you shouldn't enjoy your time at the pool or your big cook out, what I am saying is to remember to take a moment to give thanks for those that made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve your freedom.



Friday Favorites: Zipfizz Health Energy Drink

Friday, May 22, 2015

I across stumbled Zipfizz several years back while wandering the aisles of Costco one weekend. They were giving out samples of Citrus flavor in a 16oz bottle of water and, like all free samples, I happily accepted. I remember the taste was okay, but by the time I left the store, I had enough energy that I contemplated cleaning my entire house when I got home.

With that, an addict a fan was born.

Their website touts their main product as
“a healthy and great tasting energy drink-mix powder that delivers a powerful charge of micronutrients to the body's fuel system. It contains no ephedra or other artificial stimulants. Most people experience an immediate, revitalizing burst of energy after taking Zipfizz.”
It was no joke. Even better, you got the effects without bouncing off the walls and crashing into a huddled mess like you get from energy drinks. The energy you get from Zipfizz is from vitamins and natural sources of caffeine. It also contains electrolytes that you lose during your workout. What it doesn’t contain is a ton of sugar; there is NONE.

Tons of bang for your buck in a little tiny tube!


That's one of the unique features of Zipfizz; their packaging. It comes in small plastic tube containers making it easy to stash in your car, gym bag, purse, desk drawer etc. You can easily pour into any water bottle. Just remember, it does have a “fizz” to it, so you need to take a sip out of the bottle before adding so it doesn’t bubble up and overflow. Then you are left putting your mouth on the opening, causing you to inhale a lot of powder so it doesn’t go everywhere (not like that has EVER happened…well, maybe). The recommended amount of water is 16-20 oz., but I personally put it in at least a liter to get my needed water intake in.

Zipfizz comes in five original flavors: (Grape, Orange Soda, Pink Lemonade, Berry and Citrus) and 4 special edition flavors (Fruit Punch, Orange Cream, Lemon Iced Tea and Blue Raspberry)

My favorite flavors are Orange, Blue Raspberry, Fruit Punch, and Grape.

So whether you use this for your workout or a pick me up, it is a great way to get your vitamins and daily water intake in one step.

For more information:


Enjoy!

CrossFit: Stepping outside of one box, and into another

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

CrossFit: the response, to which, tends to be a spectrum ranging from an exuberant love of anything related to it (all hail the CULT-TURE of CrossFit) to a visceral disdain and fear of the sport. I can honestly say I was closer to the later.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love lifting. Theresa and I both have a competitive streak. We know equal amounts of people from both camps. Occasionally we would discuss trying CrossFit, joking that we would try to not laugh too hard at each other when we ended up featured on Gym Fails. We never pursued it though.

Opportunity knocked in the form of a Facebook post from Bob, a friend and the owner of CrossFit Glen Burnie. He was looking for Yoga Instructors and the idea sparked my interest. I have known Bob and his wife, Margaret, for ten plus years. We worked together at Gold’s gym, staying in touch when he left to open his business.

I contacted him, setting up a time to see what this whole CrossFit thing was about; if this was somewhere I would want to teach yoga. Knowing someone, especially the owner, helped remove a bit of the angst I was feeling going into an unknown experience. For someone that constantly touts taking a leap outside of your comfort zone, I needed to put words into action.

I have only seen the inside of two crossfit boxes; one in Florida and this one. While both have their own flavor, they were similar. Big, no frills open spaces. Pro military/first responders. Lots of equipment, stacks of bars, bumper plates, kettle bells, giant tires and a masochistic looking jungle gym with rings and bars in the center.

#gbconquer


Cullen broke squat clean thrusters into five manageable pieces, later putting them together in one fluid move. You pick up the bar, throw it up to your collarbone in a squat, then press the bar over your head as you stand up. We used PVC pipe to practice for 15 minutes as he walked around, tweaking our form. Once he was satisfied, we were then given five to ten minutes to figure out what weight we would use. The top weight for females with this exercise was 105 pounds. Since I had never done this before, I went with a conservative weight of 65. My fear was that I would either rip my arms out of their sockets or drop the bar on my head. My goal was to avoid both scenarios.

Next, Cullen demonstrated the first part of the WOD; box jump-overs and toes to bar.

I have a love hate relationship with box jumps. I’m pretty good at jumping, but fear face planting, loosing teeth, or skinning my shins. For those reasons, I chose a medium height box.

For Toes to Bar, you hang from a bar by your hands and then raise your legs to bring your toes up to the bar. You can swing up, but you want to come down under control. He shows us a couple times and the alternate knee tuck.

I thought these exercises were something I did ten million times as a kid; this shouldn't be too bad.

And just when I thought I was getting the hang of the Double-Under - SMACK right across my rear; serving me a slice of humble pie. Toes to Bar was no different. I am sure I looked pretty pathetic trying to figure out why my legs wouldn’t move that way, I managed to get two under extreme effort and a lot of cursing. I decided I would need scale this to complete it. I couldn’t help but giggle about a comment Theresa made to when I told her toes to bar, “if the bar is on the floor, I’m golden, other than that, forget it”.

Instruction and warm-up done, we prepared for the actual WOD. Five box jump-over, ten toes to bar (or knees up for me) AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) for five minutes. With the timer set, we set up our boxes next to the jungle gym. With a “Go” we started.

Instagram photo by CrossFit Glen Burnie * May 13, 2015 at 2:24pm UTC


I got four and a half rounds in before the timer went off. One girl face planted the jump and another guy actually did miss the box, gaining him a golf ball sized knot and bloody shin, which Bob and the trainer addressed quickly.

We had three minutes rest before doing the squat clean thrusters: AMRAP three min. You could rest when needed. In this, I finished completing a total of 22. It was intense. My heart rate rose up as high as any moderate to high intensity cardio. Then we were done.

Wow! Eleven minutes from start to finish of the actual workout. Slightly breathless, I was surprised at how I could feel the work out already. My arms were still attached to my body, no concussions or missing teeth: goal met.

After class, Bob and I talked a bit about cross fit and how Yoga could help many of the members with mobility and injury prevention. Then we parted ways. Bob said he’d get back to me regarding the job.

I left with not only a slightly changed view of CrossFit, but a very humbled view of my own abilities. I was always told that these workouts are what you make of them; they will also pull out your weaknesses and smack you with them like the jump rope.

Use that information to improve or not, the choice is up to you. I start next month.


Check out CrossFit Glen Burnie:


Love, Cindy

Friday Favorite: Genepro Protein Powder

Friday, May 15, 2015
I am relatively stubborn when it comes to products I know and love and my protein powder happens to be one of those things. As much as I love it though, it isn't exactly convenient to use outside of home. Yes, I'm one of those people that prefers her protein powder blended with almond or coconut milk and ideally with a frozen banana and some almond butter. Yep, not convenient at all.

When my friend and fellow gym rat, Leslie, told me about Musclegen Research Genepro Protein Powder and how it can be blended with any beverage or sprinkled on food, I had to give it a shot.

First a little about Genepro Genetic-Tri Protein Peptide (From their website)
"The combination of the Tri-Protein and the way it is processed along with the addition of protease enzymes, allows for the equivalent of a 30gram serving of protein with only a 1 TBSP serving size. With the small granule nature of this protein, it allows the powder to mix almost instantly in any beverage (hot or cold). It is flavorless and odorless and does not change the consistency of the beverage. Coffee, juice, soda or any item you may be drinking, can now be your source of the most complex and complete protein. This electrophoresis process allows us to remove bacteria and impurities in the base protein for immediate absorption into the system and bypasses the intestinal digestive system by 94%. Compare this to Whey Isolate that has an absorption rate of only 31%, making Genepro three times more effective than any other protein on the market. Genepro is ideal for individuals with gluten sensitivity, lactose intolerance, diabetics and bariatric patients. Because of this immediate absorption your body peaks with a surge of insulin 10 times more anabolic than Testosterone. This will also trigger your thyroid from a molecular level to match the surge of insulin causing your body to be in a full anabolic and fat burning state, while supplying the muscles with the world's most complete and usable protein. This combination feeds the muscles and aids in the repair and the building of new muscle at a record rate. The evolution of performance supplementation is here and it goes by the name of Genepro."
 The moment I read that one tablespoon yielded 30 grams of protein that could be mixed in ANY BEVERAGE hot or cold. I was sold. Such a small portion size makes this incredibly portable as well as convenient to use.
I just love the tiny little scoop!!! 

But how was it? 

Mixed in my morning cup of coffee with a splash of cream and a little stevia, I saw no difference in taste. It also blended well in my gluten free pancake recipe without altering the flavor or texture of the pancakes. I have also mixed it in my vitamin drink and aside from making it cloudy, I didn't notice any change in flavor. Black iced coffee was a bit different however, changing the color slightly as well as the flavor but not so much that I disliked it.

Most importantly, the whey based protein caused no gastric distress unlike some of the other proteins I've used in the past. Another win, in my book.

All in all, it is a new staple and I'm already on my second bag and keep finding new ways to incorporate it into my diet.

Check them out. 

Genepro is available online here. A 30 serving container is $41.99.
Follow them on facebook here.
Follow them on twitter here.

Love, Theresa

2015 Frederick Running Festival - Nut Job Challenge

Monday, May 11, 2015
The Frederick Running Festival, now in its 13th year, is comprised of four races: The Twilight 5k and Kids Fun Run - both held on a Saturday evening - and a half marathon or two person team relay on Sunday.

For those runners looking to go the extra mile - or three point one miles - you can run the 5k on Saturday AND the half marathon on Sunday. This challenge is affectionately known as the "Nut Job." Registering for the challenge gets you two race premiums and, upon completion, two medals - one for the half marathon and one for the challenge.

Of the two race premiums, the 5k shirt is my favorite. It is a cotton feel short sleeve in purple. The half marathon shirt is okay but the temperatures made a long sleeve shirt a little less than desirable.


This was my second year running the combined event (2014 Recap HERE) and Cindy's first. Being Ambassadors with PlowOn, we were thrilled to be running as a part of their team and made the most of our roles by joining them in the booth at the expo as well as at the finish festival.

PlowOn's own, Matt Dell, showing everyone just how short we are.

The Twilight 5k

Earning its name with its 6:00pm race start, the Twilight 5k starts and ends on the horse track at the Frederick Fair Grounds. The course is pretty much an out and back with some easy hills thrown in. Last year I loved the course.

This year I spent 3.1 miles silently complaining to myself that there was no shade.

Beginning twenty minutes before the race, as we stood assembled at the starting line awaiting the send off, the sun began to beat down on us. What started out as a cool evening turned into blazing hot and uncomfortable. By the time the race began, grumbles could be heard across the crowd about the temperature and everyone was glad to be moving. Cindy, myself, and our band of merry runners were glad to be getting this out of the way.

The Good:
  • Late start time so you could hit packet pick-up and then run the race.
  • Under normal circumstances, the course isn't terrible. 
The Not So Good:
  • Packet pickup could have been expedited if the "smart phone" sign outside of the area also provided a QR code for runners to use to pull up their information.
  • Organizers posted the "Race Start" directional sign for the HALF MARATHON out early causing some confusion as to where the 5k started. 
  • IT WAS HOT!!! 
  • I'm pretty sure that Cindy and I inhaled half the race track between the start and finish of the race. 
The Half Marathon

Since I was driving, I stuck to my usual plan of arrive early, get the good parking, and nap in the car. Which we did. As far as I'm concerned, this should have been the VIP parking area because as a runner, this is a beautiful view.
In all seriousness, my one big tip about the Sunday morning half is arrive BY 5am to get good parking as well as avoid road closures and rerouting. Then take a nap in the car. That is exactly what we did.

Knowing full well that we were in no way at 100% for this race - hey...we had only ran Blue Ridge two weeks prior, were not acclimated to the high temps, and were fighting allergies - we opted to just run the race comfortably. We planted ourselves in conservative pacing locations (I should have gone even more conservative). In fact, my running buddy, Amy, and I both laughed about setting out to complete PWs (Personal Worsts) in this distance.

Between allergies and the temperatures going up even faster than expected, Cindy and I both had less than stellar performances and we were not alone. Along the route, a number of people got sick. I ended up cranking up my head phones so I wouldn't hear.

What can I say; I am a sympathy puker.

Stellar performance or not...we still got two cool new medals to add to our walls.


The Good:
  • Early arrival = great parking
  • Two finishers medals when you come across the finish line. 
  • Great finishers festival - they even solved the beer issues from the year before
  • Relaxed starting area with pacers
The Not So Good:
  • Once you were in the finishers festival, locating water was difficult unless you wanted to beg your way back towards the finish line or buy some - that's kind of messed up.
  • IT WAS HOT!!
  • I think we snorted the other 50% of the track. 
  • A male guard near the festival exit was down right rude and took himself way too seriously. 
Final thoughts:

While the premise behind the race is cute and the event is fun, neither of us are certain that we'd run this race series again. There are other races that we'd like to knock off our bucket list in the coming years.

Friday Favorite: Brooks Running

Friday, May 1, 2015
In October, I ran the Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) for the first time. Not only did I want to add the “People’s Marathon” to my bucket list, but I also wanted one of the coveted MCM Brooks racing jackets I had seen other runners wear. This Army Wife hates to admit it, but Marines have a style that is the envy of all military services.

When I got to the expo, I was thrilled about this year’s color and the look of the jacket. It was a must have. I have always been a fan of their running gear. Their Infinity Compression Shorts have been my go-to shorts for a few years.

Sadly, a month after the race the weather became too cold to wear the jacket. I packed away my beloved running jacket away until more favorable weather returned.

Fast forward to March and warmer spring weather! I head out to the store wearing my favorite MCM jacket and realize that I had a good 2 inch seam separation in my right sleeve.


I was devastated! I happen to be online chatting with my partner in crime, Theresa, when I discovered it and I shared my heartbreak. I barely got to wear it! She replied, "hey, give them a call, they have a great reputation for customer service."

I had my doubts. It’s been nearly five months since I bought my jacket, and had little faith in online customer service in general. Despite that, I took my sole sisters advice, contacted a Brooks' customer service representative via an online chat. She sent me a link to fill out a form and said they "will see what they can do”.  Still leery, I fill out the form, attach a picture of the damage and sent it on its way at 10:00 am, March 16th. I then received an automated message saying they got my message and someone will get back to me. I honestly don’t expect to hear from them any time soon as I formulate how I was going to repair my jacket. To my surprise, I got a response at 1:14 PM telling me that they are sending me a replacement and I should get it in 5-7 days. 

Wow! Thank you! (My actual response). They replied immediately saying you’re welcome, included a tracking number and told me there was a surprise headed my way.

Five days later I receive a package in the mail. Not only did they replace my damaged jacket, but they sent me an ADDITIONAL JACKET!!


Wow! I now have one to wear and one to run IN! From call to replacement of what was damaged was a total of FIVE DAYS. I emailed them, thanking them, to which they replied promptly saying they were glad I was happy. 

The company’s customer service and willingness to stand behind their products is more than enough reason to keep Brooks Running as one of my favorite running companies.

Love, Cindy