Sunday, September 19, 2010

Back in the Saddle again

I headed out to Silver Comet this weekend eager to try out my new hydration pack on a long bike ride, and good thing I had it!  It turned out to be mid-90s for most of my ride.  The trees along the trail helped to keep it shady, but in the sun, it was hot, hot, hot.
My Chariot.
My hydration pack came in super handy!  I ended up riding two 15 mile loops, and with 2L of water in my pack and gatorade in my bottles, I never had to stop to refill.  The water actually stayed pretty cool in the pack, so that helped keep me from melting.  I had a great ride and enjoyed the day.  Sadly, the batteries in my bike computer died about 1/2 mile in, but since I have used the trail for many a long run, I knew enough landmarks along the way to judge my mileage.

My new hydration pack is great!  It fit nice and snug without chaffing or sliding around.  In fact, I never noticed it during my ride, which is the way gear should be.  I was able to fit my camera, cell phone, keys, and 4 different types of fuel (I need options) in the pocket with plenty of space to spare! Overall it served its purpose.  I came with tired legs and clear pee.

How was everyone's weekend?  Any excitement to report?
Hope you had a good weekend!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fuelin' up Friday: New Gear and reader question!

This weekend I'm planning a long bike ride and I can think of no better way to try out my new gear!  Now, no one guessed what it was (or really no one tried to guess), but I hinted it had to do with my favorite topic: Fuel!  As I mentioned last week, CSN stores gave me the opportunity to review a piece of gear for them and its a new High Sierra Soaker 70 hydration pack!
Just think of all the fuel it can hold! 
I've used a fuel belt in the past for my long runs, but I've been dreaming of getting a hydration pack for long bike rides, hikes, and any runs with my furry roommate.  I am super excited about this one because not only can it hold 2L of water (I drink a lot of water), but there is a pouch for my snacks (and also roommates snacks when she comes along)!  No more fuel in the sports bra!  Ok, who am I kidding?! There will always be fuel in the sports bra, but at least I have a new place to stash my keys, camera, and cellphone.  The pack also has a mesh flap to hold your bike helmet when not in use.
So handy!
That's right, no more walking around like a dork with my helmet on when I ride my bike places! Stay tuned for a full review on Monday!

And now a quick fuel question from AJH over at Age Groups Rock. She too has been dealing with injury rehab, so stop on over, give her a shout out, and enjoy her lovely photos of VT!
Q: Do you use Gu? I have been trying to figure out how not to make that messy. I am a klutz and have trouble opening it on the run and it is sticky too. 
 A: I don't use Gu brand because I have trouble with the consistency (too thick), but I do use powergels (a little more liquidy i.e. messy). I too am a huge klutz and usually end-up with gel on my hands, face, shirt, and, upon occasion, pig-tails.  I've kind of accepted that messy is just part of my fueling process (sorry, that's not much help).  I've had trouble opening them as well esp when they have been riding around in my sweaty sports bra for an hour. I've found that nicking the side of the 'neck' part of the package just a little (not enough for the gel to actually come out or you will have a HUGE mess in your sportsbra after a few miles, trust me!) makes them worlds easier to open come fuelin' time.  It give you just enough leverage to rip it open. Hope that helps, and thanks for the questions!

Good luck on your weekend adventures!
Anyone have big plans this weekend?
Happy weekend to all!

Monday, September 13, 2010

and it's good for 6!

This weekend I decided to try out the ol' IT band with a little longer run.  Up till this point in my IT band recovery I hadn't attempted any run longer that 5k, but with a successful brick workout last week, I was eager to see what it could do.  I headed back out to Silver Comet on Saturday, with visions of 6 miles in my head.

Though it wasn't pretty or fast, I managed to complete the 6 without any major IT band pain!  However, my fitness, or lack there of, really showed.  I was dragging for the last two miles, but happy as can be when I finished it. I had a few minor aches and pains afterwards, but nothing worse than expected.  I kept it light on Sunday with some dog walking and strength training.
Still smiles after struggling through 6!

High point: long run success!  6 miles in the books.

Low point: Dragging my behind through those last two miles!  It was only 4 months ago when I could drag my behind through 20 miles.  Hopefully those days return!

I'm definitely at the point where I need to add in extra cross training to bring my fitness up to snuff, and continue on with the strength training.

How was everyone's weekend?  Any training successes/struggles to report?
Happy Monday!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Fuelin' up Friday

Last weekend during my brick workout, I decided to mix it up a little for my transition fuel. Instead of using a 'traditional' exercise food, I tried fruit leather (or fruit strips or roll-ups, whatever you want to call them). I keep a stash of them in my desk at work for a quick pick me ups, so I thought it might be worth trying on the go. In addition to being portable, they contains carbs, sodium, and potassium (though not nearly in the quantities found in energy gels) and many brands are all natural.

Good: I had no trouble taking it down! I went with Ripened Raspberry and it was yummy! I did not have any tummy trouble or barfy feelings during my run. I did drink water, but that was more due to being a bit thirsty at the end of my bike ride. No trouble with the package, and its a perfect snack size.

Not as good: I could definitely see it be a sticky mess on a hot day or if carried in a sports bra, but given the fact I ate it without trouble, I may be willing to deal with that. Also, some brands have a high fiber content, so I need to be careful when purchasing or consuming on long runs!

Overall: I thinks it another good option for short and mid-length runs, as well as bike rides. They are a possibility for long runs, it would just depend how many I would need to eat!

Happy Friday and enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Coming soon: New gear review!

I'm sure that many of you who circulate around the blog world are familiar with CSN stores, and I've been lucky enough to have the opportunity to review a piece of gear for them! For those of you who don't know, CSN stores has over 200 online stores where you can find everything from coffee tables to exercise equipment (including foam rollers for pesky IT bands) to pet supplies for the good dog in your life (jury is still out if dear roommate is a good dog). Pretty much everything can be found at CSN stores. Check it out!

Now I don't want to give away all the details (anticipation is good for you), but the piece of gear I get to review has to do with one of my favorite topics! Any guesses? No, not Howl-o-ween costumes, though they always make me laugh.
I think my monster would look great in this one! (Credit)
No, not school supplies either. I finished up grad school in May. Other guesses? None?
I guess you'll have to wait till next week to find out!

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Brick by brick

As I continue to chug away at Operation regain my fitness, I've got some good news to report!

Last week I managed runs on back to back days (I know, its the little things at this point) with no pain or soreness! The first day I ran a nice 3 miler and felt fairly strong throughout. On the second day, I headed out to Silver Comet trail for a nice Brick workout. I decided to go with sprint tri distances to make sure I didn't overdo it and headed out for 12 delightful miles on my bike, followed by a nice 5k run. I love riding my bike out at comet because the trail just goes on and on (it goes all the way to Alabama, but I don't go quite that far yet) and it doesn't feel like the city at all. The weather was great and the trail was abuzz with athletes of all types making the most of it. Overall, it was one of my best training days since the IT band injury and I am really hopeful to start adding on a little mileage on my run this weekend. The baby-steps method seems to be working pretty well and I am very happy with my progress. I've continued to stretch and do some targeted strength training.

I think I have to give a little shout-out to my old friend Mother Nature for providing me with an entire weekend of temps in the 80's! It was even in the 60's when I started my bike ride on Saturday! This northerner thought it was Festivus in September. Needless to say, I think Mother Nature and I have made up.

Hope you all are having a good week!
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