Favorite Hat: Found!

This morning I peeled myself out of bed, started rummaging around in my closet when I made a major discovery. I screamed & jumped up and down, YESSS! After a week of separation I found my sacred LIVESTRONG Bright Yellow Running hat.

This hat is my personal favorite for the technical aspects, but most importantly, it has been with me when I started my journey with running marathons. The thought of losing my trusty hat left me feeling panicked.

Foxy bought me the hat at Niketown in Boston prior to the 2008 ING NYC Marathon which I ran for LIVESTRONG foundation in honor of a recently deceased friend. I brought the hat with me to NYC & ran 26.2 miles in what was one of the most exciting days of my life.

The hat has been through the GOOD in…

Mile 24 in NYC! The hat was great for my spectators, who had no problem spotting me in that crowds of New York

Johnny Kelley Half Marathon, 2009 (Also Foxy’s First 5k)

Post Corporate Challenge 2009

And the BAD

Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon – Neon Shirt + Bright Yellow hat = Running outfit fail

Marine Corps Marathon, worst.race.ever

When the hat was lost I ordered a hot pink 26.2 Headsweats hat, I’m excited for this new addition, but nothing will ever compare to my love for my ratty, smelly & memory laden yellow LIVESTRONG hat.

 

Do you have a running accessory that you simply can’t part with regardless of how old & sweaty it might be?

Ibex Winter Warming Party

This past Thursday I attended the Ibex Boston Grand Opening “Winter Warming” party. The party was a huge hit and a great time had by all. I first heard about Ibex from my brother and sister in law, who live in VT and absolutely love the brand for all of their various outdoor adventures, running, hiking, skiing, you name it! So when I saw the grand opening event on facebook I immediately RSVP’ed!

Ally, Lizzy and Rob

The new Ibex Boston store is located at 303 Newbury street, a great location for such a fun outdoor brand! I loved checking out the awesome clothes and catching up with old friends and making new ones. I bumped into Rob from @Bostonoutdoor and introduced him to Lizzy @Foodtorunfor. In addition I met the legendary @Bostontweet and the uber-outgoing Sarah from @Boloco. In addition I got to see my friend Sarah and meet her future mother in law!

Packed house!

Ibex gave party goers a 20% discount off of merchandise as well as a chance to win a weekend at the Stowe Mountain Resort and a $500 Ibex shopping spree. Of course I signed up immediately and I am still waiting with bated breathe to hear who won! As if that wasn’t enough, they had delicious VT beers from Longtrail and Magic Hat breweries, spiked apple cider, pizza from American Flatbread and some delicious sweet treats!

Sarah and the store manager!

I miss you Lizzy!

The only downside to this party? It was so fun that I ended up not being able to try on any of their great work out gear! @Bostonoutdoor recommended that I try the Shak hoody (pictured above), apparently it’s great for cold weather running and skiing! I’ve heard awesome things about their yoga and running tights as well, so I will surely be returning!

Thank you to the whole Ibex Boston team for putting on an awesome event!

New Take On An Old Favorite: The Gel Nimbus 12

Last year I wrote a product review on my favorite pair of running shoes, and now I’m here to refresh that post with the new arrival of my Gel Nimbus 12’s. I bought them at Marathon Sports when I was picking up my number for the Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon. A note in a registration email noted that if I showed the team at Marathon Sports my bib # I would save 20%, woo! I’ve been toying for quite some time with the idea of buying two shoes and rotating them, so with the emergence of the coupon, I took the plunge.

When the woman helping me brought out the shoes, I was really happy that they were a different color than my previous countless pairs. I know it’s silly, but sometimes the little things make the difference! I personally love that moment when you put on a new pair of running shoes, you feel as though your feet are encased in pillows (I’m stealing this phrase from my boyfriend, who has been known to say this after taking off ski boots), besides, they have that wonderful new shoe smell :). After I walked around for a second the woman said to me, how do they feel?! I, of course, said fantastic. I noticed that she was holding back a little bit, and she finally said “those are actually a 9, not an 8.5” OH. “We’ve found that this model is running short and everyone has been sizing up.” I got nervous for a second because I’ve been wearing the same size running shoes for years, but I trusted the woman helping me and said, ok I’m in!

After I bonded with my new shoes for a few days, I went on the Asics website and I saw this video about the new design, because I was curious to find out what elements caused the shoe to run short. After checking the website, it made me very happy that I sized up. It sounds like the little tweaks that they made to the shoe helped increase the cushioning and the shoe’s overall hold on the foot. It seems like a lot of technical aspects that I personally don’t understand, nor do I really care, but I’m happy that the knowledgeable staff at Marathon Sports had the experience and foresight to put me in a size larger. This just reaffirms my love for this fantastic running store, thank you Marathon Sports!

I’ve only run in them a few times, but so far, so good! Since Chicago Marathon training officially kicks off on June 7th, and my legs have been tight following the brutal Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon, I’ve been resting my legs and just doing cross training, so I haven’t gone on a run longer than 3.5 mile runs, but they feel fantastic! All in all, it feels great to have a new shoe, and I’m hoping that rotating the two pairs will help reduce the amount of times I have to replace them, as well as reduce injury. Fingers crossed!

The Asics Gel Nimbus 12 retails for $125 and is available in running stores near you. If you live in Boston, or happen to be visiting, check out Marathon Sports in Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Wellesley, Melrose and Norwell. They’re even on twitter @marathon_sports.

Say Good Bye to those Tight IT Bands: Welcome, Thera Roller!

I won’t bore you AGAIN with the details of my Marine Corps Marathon melt down, but I am writing today because it ended up helping me out! A few weeks ago Marathon Sports posted a tweet asking for everyone’s Best and Worst IT band stories. The incentive? The winner would receive a brand new Thera Roller! I immediately tweeted my MCM story to enter me in the running. Apparently not many other people wanted to fess up about their IT band problems, or maybe the man populating their twitter feed felt bad for me, because I won! A few days later I received a gigantic box in my office and low and behold, it was the Thera Roller!

Bonding with my Thera Roller in my office

As you can tell, I’m SUPER excited about winning the new, super fancy, and extremely Purple foam roller. I must admit the groves had me somewhat intimidated, yet excited at the same time! For those who aren’t familar with foam rollers, the benefits far out weight the temporary pain one must endure while using one. The benefits are similar to a deep tissue massage, alleviating pain and increasing flexibility. By rolling back and forth on an area that is sore, the roller works to target tense, tight muscles. The absolute best is when you find a sore or tight spot, to pause for a moment to ensure that it is receiving the most attention. The Thera Roller differs from standard foam rollers because the grooves only intensify the results from using the roller. This move makes me absolutely writhe in pain, but the final outcome is 100% worth it! When I put my running shoes on for a run ( no matter how long), I always feel as though the pain and suffering from the previous day’s run has been (nearly) completely erased. This is best to do on a regular basis in order to avoid any IT band pit falls while training or in my case, in the middle of a race!

Thank you to Marathon Sports for the Thera Roller! Now, I never have an excuse for any IT band problems in the future 🙂 If you live in Boston or, you are visiting town for a little race on April 19th be sure to check out Marathon Sports many Boston locations, as well as on Twitter @marathon_sports. It’s a great store with a FANTASTIC staff, I can’t say enough about them. For more information on how to use a foam roller to best address your own running or exercise injuries please check out this Runner’s World article.

Designing Noel’s Boston Marathon Race Shirt

It’s the end of February and the Boston Marathon is right around the corner! I always get excited around marathon time: I get goosebumps when I see the first Adidas out of home ads go up the month before the race. Then, once the race weekend arrives there is a certain excitement in the air: the runners start to filter into the city, everyone’s conversation circles around the Patriot’s day festivities. Then, eventually on race day I sit on the end of my couch watching TV coverage of the gun going off in Hopkinton, and then head down to Heartbreak Hill, or Beacon St to watch the race and then finally, congratulate runners on their fantastic achievement around Copley Sq. Couple that excitement with the fact that one of my best friends is running this prestigious race and I’m full on freaking out! I email my friend constantly telling her about how we’re going to have a pasta party, where we’re going to cheer her on, what we’re going to do afterwards, the list goes on! Thankfully, she’s a good sport and says that my excitement is helping her stay focused and keep her eyes on the prize.

My newest obsession is designing a great race T-Shirt for my friend. She recently found out that she got into University of Florida’s MBA program, so I’m thinking of a Gator orange and blue scheme.

Here are my current thoughts, let me know what you think:

  • Gator orange shirt with blue lettering
  • BIG bold lettering for her name on the front of the shirt
  • Boston Marathon 2010, somewhere on the back
  • Perhaps an east coast map with a route line from Florida (where she’s from) to Boston
  • And some fun phrase/ or song lyric (TBD)

I still need to bring the idea to my graphic designer friends to see what they can come up with, but this is a start!

Can you tell I’m excited?!

Kim’s New Workout Plan

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So I might not be Kayne West, but after a long break I feel that it’s time to wip my butt back into shape. Sure, after a marathon it’s always normal to take a little break from working out. I was burnt out, my body body is broken down and truth be told, I desperately wanted to be able to engage in all those social activities I shelved during the four months of marathon training. This year was no exception. After a painful marathon filled with breathing issues and a nagging knee injury, I was more than happy to hang up my shoes for a few weeks. During that time I spent time on the elliptical, doing crunches and stretching, going to yoga classes and dabbling in some light weight training. Granted, if a social engagement or a TV show that piqued my interest came up, I would forgo the gym in favor of relaxation. I gave my body time to recover and now the itch has returned. Now I’m relaxed, focused and ready to get back into total body shape, not just running. In order to really hold myself to training, I’m publishing my “New Workout Plan”

Looking ahead to Chicago 2010, I’m focusing on the following:
1. Core Strength:I had a swim coach in high school that used to drill the importance of core strength into our heads on a daily basis. She used to tell us that literally every movement we made in the water could be improved if we strengthened our core. I do have to agree, but it’s not strictly limited to superficial ab muscles, but rather stabilizer muscles.
My Solution: Attending a weekly bootcamp class at my gym which consists of circuit training in the following areas, jumping rope, squats, lunges, abs, balance exercises. I’m also going to regularly work on lifting weights and try muscle conditioning classes.

2. Stretching: This is probably my greatest regret going into MCM 2009, not stretching enough and skipping my weekly yoga routine. When I was training for the NYC marathon making the decision to attend one yoga class a week was the best training decision I have ever made. It provided me with great stretching and strengthening routine I couldn’t do by utilizing any other type of activity. I also loved how it toned my body better than swimming, running or any other type of cardio could do for me
My Solution: Attending at least one yoga class a week, if not two as well as trying my hand at Pilates.

3. SPEED: Another frustrating aspect of morphing into a marathoner is the loss of your speed. Granted, I have never possessed fast twitch muscles, but I used to be able to grunt through a 50 free style and multiple 5K’s in a respectable time. I’m going to look back to my old “grunt my way through” attitude and hope that it helps me start quickly and finish strong.
Solution: At least One Speed work out a week, as well as at least one shorter “Pace” run.

So as it stands Here’s my schedule:

Monday: 3-5 mile pace run, crunch series, as well as at least 5 different weight machines/free weights
Tuesday: Bootcamp class over lunch and after work “in office” yoga
Wednesday: Slower run (recovery from all those quats) plus Crunch series, and Weight lifting
Thursday: Muscle Conditioning and a speed work run
Friday: Off
Saturday: Longer run outside, possibly weight lifting
Sunday: Yoga or an off day

I know it seems ambitious, but I think I need to do this to myself to readjust, refocus and get back in the game, LITERALLY!

Sprint Your Halls Off: Hill Holliday Edition

My company was lucky enough to be challenged by the Puma Running team in the “Sprint Your Halls Off” challenge. A crew of 18 brave Hill Holliday employees took to the halls of 53 State St to fearlessly defend the HHCC identity. Though we fell short of the blazing fast defending Google, we held our own. Quick Question PUMA, are there points for style while completing a Dunkin’ Run?

Please watch the video below, I’m lucky to work at a kickass company that let’s us take an hour of our day to run around and then celebrate with a beer. I was at the office until 8pm that night, but it was 100% worth it. All of the participants and spectators had a blast and got to know one another.

Thanks to Johnny Won for making it happen–you rock!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SDLcNK8LoM]

The Flickr feed and recap

Cheers!

Boston Marathon Fever

This past Monday was the 113th Running of the Boston Marathon. I can’t think of a more inspiring day in Boston! Below are some of the pictures I snapped from volunteering at the LIVESTRONG booth at the marathon Expo as well as some race pictures in Kenmore Sq.

Enjoy!
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LIVESTRONG Grassroots coordinator Colleen Wilson with fellow LIVESTRONG Volunteers and Runner

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Very cool wall sponsored by ADIDAS where every runner could put their picture at their favorite, or least favorite part of the race.
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The most famous (and hated) hill in marathon history
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US Men’s Favorite Ryan Hall signing autographs in the Marathon Sports/ASICS booth at the Expo. On Monday placed 3rd coming in at a swift 2:09:40.

Now…some RACE PICS!
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Kenmore Square was CRAZY from people cheering marathoners and Red Sox game attendees
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Best sign EVER.
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A close runner up to the best sign ever.

Now that I’m so fired up, all I have to do is attempt to qualify!! Easier said than done. I’m excited to see what the next year holds for running…

Stuff We Like: ASICS Gel Nimbus #10

With 70 degree temperatures hitting Boston for the first time since September, what better time to post a running shoe review?
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My favorite and now, stand by running shoe is the ACICS Gel Nimbus. The shoe has been so popular that it is now in it’s 10th version. I personally love this shoe so much that I will probably die with them on my feet.

I haven’t always been an “endless runner”, but I have been a die hard ASICS brand loyalist since I first started seriously running road races five years ago. I love the narrow fit and perfect cushioning. As a size A width, I gravitate towards ASICS due to their traditionally narrow fit. I never need to go down a size and suffer tightness in the toe box-rock on. Best of all, the constuction of the shoe is so sound, that I never mind myself developing shin splints or a pesky case of Plantar Fasciitis. That is, unless I get lazy and fail to replace shoes-but that is neither here nor there!

The Gel Nimbus is The flagship running shoe in ASICS cushioning category. It has been a longtime favorite is built and won praise from health and fitness pros and novices alike. According to the ASICS company web site, the show is built on a wide platform, making for exceptional comfort and stability. Features enhanced upper fit with our proprietary asymmetrical lacing design, while cozy Solyte® Midsole material provides a plush road feel. Whatever you say ASICS. If the Nimbus fits, I run!

Read more about the Gel Nimbus 10 at www.Asicsamerica.com

Twitter+ Nike+=Twiike

The other day I checked my email to see the usual suspects: a sale alert at Gilt Group, a Boston event alert, a facebook notification and of course, an email detailing some new twitter followers. As I went through deciding who to follow, I noticed that one name stood out from the others: Twiike (Twitter and Nike+.) I immediately followed back and over the next few days I watched the runs pour in to my twitter feed- pretty cool stuff!
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Nike+ has been touted as the ultimate product partnership and interactive campaign. The emergence of the twitter feed for your runs is just another step in the integrated marketing process. Allowing Nike+ users in the twitter community to engage in this user centric environment only furthers the conversation of the Nike and Apple brands. But, will this actually work? A couple things I’m interested in tracking: Does this has the staying power of the actual Nike+ device? How can this Twitter application go further? I can see this application morphing into a community of people all training for the same race and then going head to head on training runs and sharing training tips.

I have personally clicked on specific Nike+ users to follow them and track their everyday runs as well as their tweets concerning races they have registered for etc. This only further expands my circle of fellow runners in the social media sphere, which is a niche I always want to expand. I encourage everyone to try it out, it’s pretty cool stuff. If you have any thoughts or suggestions for other running or fitness applications please comment on this blog or tweet me @swimmyimy.

Happy running!