Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Girls on the Run 5k Recap

Girls on the Run 5k Atlanta, GA
Field: ~3000
Spectators: There are a few throughout the course with posters and lots of cheering. The student athletes from Georgia Tech were helping out at the race cheering the girls on.
Start/Finish: Georgia Tech Campus
Course: A moderately hilly loop course through Georgia Tech.
Schwag: T-shirt and the girls get medals
Other: There are a bunch of fun free items in the start/finish area including lots of food, musics, and free hairbands/ties from Goody as well as colored hair spray.
On Saturday I was lucky enough to be apart of my first Girls on the Run 5k. Being a huge supporter of what the program has to offer, I was very excited to experience one of their races. For those of you who don't know much about the program, here is a quick description from their website:
Girls on the Run combines training for a 5k (3.1 miles) event with healthy living education. We use exercise, positive reinforcement, and encouraging role models to help girls discover the confidence they need in those critical pre-teen years and beyond. Through interactive activities such as running, playing games and discussing important issues, participants learn how to celebrate being their unique and real selves.  
Programs are set up in area schools for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade girls that work on training, self esteem building activities, and team skills for a semester during the school year. Saturday's 5k was the culmination of all their work this semester and a celebration. For the 5k each girl needs a run buddy (parent or other cool adult) to run along with them, their team, and their coaches.  I was lucky enough to be asked to be a run buddy by my favorite 10 year old.
Seriously, when have you ever seen no lines at a race or event with kids including mostly females?
Best pre-race moment ever.
We arrived at the race bright and early on Saturday morning.  I was picking up my bib that morning, and we also needed to meet up with Run Buddy's team and coaches to get hers. Additionally, there are a bunch of things already set up pre-race, like the Goody hair station, that we had to visit. The hair accessory company Goody had a huge array of hair ties/barrettes/bands/etc. that the girls could pick from and a colored hair spraying station to give the girls a little more race flair.
Rocking the pink striped hair and new headband pre-race.
We spent the rest of the pre-race time checking out the fun outfits that other runners and teams were wearing.  Lots of tutus, knee socks and crazy hats to be seen. I had asked Run Buddy if she wanted to make tutus a few weeks before the race, but since this was her first GOTR 5k, I don't think she realized how common and fashionable they were until we got there.  Of course as soon as we got in the start corral she declared that we will make them for next time.
Gathering our team before heading to the start.
GOTR does a great job of making sure everyone feels included regardless of pace or experience. I thought I was a total rock star when I got bib number 1, but GOTR makes sure everyone feels that way by giving everyone bib number 1 (Side note: I still feel like a rock star). Additionally, the race corrals are not numbered or lettered, but given fun names like "Twinkletoes," "Greased Lightening," and "Road Runner". Wave are sent off every few minutes, so there is a constant stream of giggling girls and sweaty parents circling the course and very little emphasis is placed on the race clock (no chips, and the clock is used more to space out the waves at the start).
Coming up the last hill of the 5k.
I could tell pre-race that my Run Buddy seemed a bit nervous. This was only her second 5k (we had run one together a few years ago) and she had had a cold leading up to race day. We ended up walking a lot of the race, chatting with one of her teammates, and checking out the GA Tech campus. The Jayhawk was nice enough to meet use around a mile in to provide extra cheering and encouragement. Run Buddy has always been curious about my race medals, and she seemed excited to receive her first real race medal (adults unfortunately don't get one so I'm left admiring hers). 
The race bling.
Post race there are lots of refueling options from yogurt, bananas, and apples, to cookies, smoothies, and coconut water. T-shirts are handed out post race and everyone is encouraged to hang out and enjoy some music and the post race festivities.
The race shirt, Shwings, and the hair flair table.
Overall, GOTR does a great job of encouraging young girls to be active and helping them to develop self confidence. The 5k is a great celebration of this work and non-intimidating way to experience your first or second 5k (of course I did see a Boston Jacket there, but it wouldn't be a running event without one).

Ever run a 5k with a child? Is there a Girls on the run program in your area?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Training Recap 4/21-4/27

Monday: 3.5 miles easy on the treadmill. Legs strength training. Watching the Boston Marathon that morning (or rather listening to the audio cast at my desk) was truly inspirational and exhausting.  I never knew cheering could be that tiring.
Sporting my Boston pride!
Tuesday: 30 min on the bike, 9.6 miles.  Upper body strength training.

Wednesday: 4.75 miles RunCommute home. The best thing I can say about this run is that it's over. It was supposed to be a 40 minute tempo run, but it turned into a 40 min run. I never felt in the grove and I was having an odd and painful side stitch every time I tried to push the pace. I decided early that tempoing was not going to happen, so I focused on getting home in one piece. I felt off the rest of the evening.

Thursday: 3.1 miles on the treadmill.  Progressive k's (each k was faster than the previous one). After the disappointment of Wednesday's RunCommute, I spent the first k just seeing how my body felt. Once I knew there were no lasting effects, I upped the pace each k to get some speedish work done this week.

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Girls on the Run 5k. Recap coming soon.
Sunday: 6.6 miles with some tempo work in the middle.  It was cool out and pretty much a perfect morning to run.  A lovely way to start the day.

How was your week?  Any big training moments or races?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Fuelin' Up Friday: Osmo Nutrition

Summers are hot here in Atlanta.  Yes, I realize they tend to be on the hotter side a lot of places, but Atlanta is the place that most concerns me at the moment. Every year when summer arrives, I think it can't be as bad as I remember it and then a week later, I'm wondering why I ever left the northeast (I believe it's called January).

You see, I am not a ladylike, southern belle. It's blatantly obvious in the summer that I'm 'not from around here'.  I sweat. A lot. Especially when running.  On top of that, many of my runs are in the afternoon, during rush hour, on my runcommute home.  It is not unusual for my run home to be in the 80s or 90s during the summer. Scientists even have a technical equation to describe it:
Trust me, I'm a scientist.
So in an effort to run my best and deal with the fact that I have a fairly high mileage summer on the books, I've begun to prepare for summer.  I've been trying out new electrolyte and salt replacement options, as well as evaluate hydration and fueling strategies in high heat. Lately, I've been trying out Osmo Nutrition.
I'll be honest, I wasn't familiar with their products at all.  I had't even heard of the company until one of my friends mentioned using their products and gave me a few packs to try.  I was intrigued and needed to learn more.  So I did what any self respecting athlete blogger would do: Googled them and started following their twitter feed.  Their site is heavy on the science (you know I love to get nerdy), so here is a breakdown of what I learned.

Osmo Nutrition's product line is based off the idea that women are not small men.  From a physiological standpoint, men and women are different. Our bodies show differences in how we utilize fuel, recover from exertion, and how hormones affect our hydration and physiological needs. These differences lead to changes in body temperature, sodium loss, muscle breakdown and repair, and recovery times.  All vital elements of endurance nutrition.
I like their tagline. At 5'9, I don't think I will ever qualify as a small man.
Though science has recognized these differences, traditional endurance nutrition has failed to address it. To account for this, Osmo has created separate product lines for men and women with what you are drinking being just as important as how much.  As a proud member of the XX gender I tried out their Active Hydration for Women on a few runs. I will try to get a hold of the men's version for the Jayhawk to try out this summer and review for all the fellas out there.

Taste: Active Hydration for Women comes in one flavor: Mango.  It is not a sweet mango, but more of a hardy, savory mango if that makes sense. To be honest, I wasn't huge on the flavor.  It was by no means a deal breaker, but I think it could take some getting use to. I think it tastes better cold.

Consistency: Dissolves easily in water without a gritty texture to it, but it's there (i.e. not a clear solution).

During Run: So far, so good.  I haven't had the chance to use it on an extremely hot day yet because we haven't had any, but I've felt very consistent on runs when I have used it.

After run: No issues.  I've been hungry and ready to fuel post run which is always important, but not always the norm for me.
Overall: I like that Osmo addresses the differences between women's and men's physiology and that women's physiological needs fluctuate with hormone levels.  Personally, I've seen a difference in my performance and how I feel when working out based on my hormone levels and I know many of my female running friends do as well.  I am curious to see if Osmo help minimize or even eliminates these fluctuations. I am slowly getting use to the Mango flavor (hopefully they will develop a second flavor like the have for the guys) and am really interested in trying out the Preload Hydration for Women before some of my hijinx this summer (specifically my first Ultra in August as well as the training for it).

Cost: $19.99 for a 40 serving tub, or $1.99 for single serving packs.

What do you think about nutrition formulated for specifically men or women?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

It's Ultra time.

One of my goals for 2014 is to complete my first ultramarathon.  Though I've been pretty certain which race I want to run for about a year now, I hadn't got around to signing up.  But then it dawned on me:
You can't complete a race if you never sign up for it.

So I did!  Thank heavens it wasn't sold out because that would have been a huge bummer.  On August 31st I will be running my first 50k, the Snakebite 50k/50miler!
Oh the Irony. Snakes freak me out. Source
As you can imagine, I am pretty darn excited and totally nerding out on pulling together an ultra training plan, reading about ultras, etc.  The Jayhawk is already sick of hearing about it and it's only 4 months until race day!
Item #1 on the to do list: learn to identify venomous snakes. Source.
I volunteered at this race last year (I was the chatty one at Aid Station#4 under the bridge) and because of that, I get free entry into this year's race!  The trail running group that organizes the race, the Yeti trail runners, thanks volunteers with a free bib to one of their races. I had no idea about it when I signed up to volunteer and actually volunteered as fact finding mission for potentially running it this year.

So, get excited.  There is a lot of learning to do and you can be certain I will be sharing it all.

How are your goals for 2014 going? Have you ever run or thought about running an Ultra?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Liebster Award : Get to know EB

Big Thank You to David over at Captain Speedypants for nominating me for a Liebster award!  Basically, he created 10 questions for me to answer and then I pass it along. It's a fun little way to get to know your fellow bloggers.
If you don't know David, head on over and check out his blog. He is currently gearing up for his first road half marathon and is hoping to complete his first marathon this year. David's got a fun perspective and a great story about why he runs.

Now, without further ado, David's 10 questions for me.

1. Why did you start blogging?
 I started blogging way back in 2009 (Find my first post here), back before we had the convenience of smart phones and twitter!  I had recently moved to a new city where I knew no one and I had a very hectic schedule, so it was difficult to find new running buddies and meet members of the local running community.  My hope was that I could still feel apart of the running community through blogging.

2. What is your main goal for 2014?
Run my first ultra marathon.  I just signed up last week. Not sure what I was thinking signing up for one in August.
3. If you didn't have to worry about money, what would you spend your days doing?
Honestly, I think I would be a running coach or race director.  I've been an athlete since I learned to walk and I really enjoy sharing my passion with others. Honorable mention: Beer Chemist.
4. Do you prefer short and fast or long and slow? (I mean running race distances, you dirty minded people)
Hmm, that totally depends on the day. If the weather is nice, a long run can be perfect, but some days you need to go stomp it out for a fast one. So, both.  My answer is both.
5. Do you prefer working out in a gym or at home?
I prefer to run from where ever (work, home, the gym) to mix it up, but if we are talking strength training and stretching, I rather do it at the gym. Otherwise Mia Monster tries to join in and her downward dog is so much better than mine.
6. What sports, athletes, teams do you follow?
I'm a huge hockey fan (Go Bruins!) and I obviously follow running (mostly marathons and ultra distance). I also have a soft spot for Baseball.
7. Where did you grow up and what is that area known for?
Maine. Lobster and Hockey.
Portland Head light (actual photo, not a postcard).
8. Are you a dog or cat person, and why?
Dog. I love their perpetual happiness and optimism (except when the kibble is late, then they are all drama).
Mia Monster
9. What is you favorite food?
Wow, this might be the hardest question of all. I love food. I love to cook food, try new food, etc. But I have to go with my old standby, the doughnut.  Honorable mention to the grilled cheese. P.S. It's National Grilled Cheese Month! Go! Celebrate!
10. What makes you unique?
I love to experience and investigate different things especially if they are silly, odd, or fun. I've had a lot of experiences that might make me 'unique'. For example, once I thought it was a good idea to be in a competitive eating contest against Joey Chestnut (the guy who wins the Nathan's Hot dog contests every 4th of July). He beat me.
His eating skills are truly unique.
Since I know a lot of you have already done a Liebster Award post, here are a few quesetions for anyone to answer. Also feel free to link to your Liebster Award post below!
1. What is your favorite distance to run or race?
2. Did you play sports growing up? Which ones?
3. What is your top bucketlist running item?
4. If you could go for a run with anyone (alive or dead) who would it be and why?
5. What would be your idea of a perfect day?
Ok, now it's your turn! Pick a question or two from the list to answer!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Training Recap 4/14-4/20

Ok, I am starting to feel back in the training grove after the whole foot infection debacle. I've even gone so far as to put together several training plans. At once. In a mildly organized fashion. And I am successfully following them. Maybe that time off went to my head.
Spring has sprung in the ATL.

Monday: 3.1 miles, legs strength training
ABS: Plank, Side knees, Flutterkicks

Tuesday: 3.1 miles, easy on the mill.
ABS: Plank, Bicycle crunches, lunges

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 3.9 miles. Speedish style work.  I was battling a little wind, but I tried to complete my speed work in the middle anyway.  Ended up in 32 minutes flat and I worked for every second of that run.
ABS: Plank, Bicycle crunches, lunges

Friday: 3.1 on the treadmill. Upper body weights as well.
ABS: Supermans, side planks, lunges

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Ended up resting again. It was a stunning day in Atlanta and I just got busy enjoying it and didn't get a chance to run.

Another recap from our Ragnar team is up:
How was your week?  Anyone attempting to follow Marathon Monday from work?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Training Recap 4/7-4/13

Monday: Foam rolling and stretching. My ankles needed another day of recovery after the trail running.
ABS: planks, sideknees, lunges

Tuesday: 3.1 miles on the treadmill, foam roller.
ABS: Supermans, side knees, Flutterkicks

Wednesday: 4.1 mile Tempo runcommute home.  This was the first time I actively tried to do a tempo run.  My run home starts with 1 mile of significant hills, so I took it slow and used it as a warm up.  At the top, I gradually increased speed until I was running the last part at 7:30 pace.  Finished with a few more hills on the way home for a total of 35:09 (8:34/mile).
ABS: Bird dogs, side knees, lunges

Thursday: Rest.
ABS: Plank, sideknees, flutterkicks

Friday: 3.1 easy miles on the mill.
ABS: Supermans, side planks, bridges

Saturday: 4 miles easy with a friend! Yes, I didn't run alone.  A friend from work asks me occasionally to join her on Saturday runs and since she was willing to not start at 7am, we had a nice run starting at 9am.  I have to admit, our days of Saturday sleeping in are numbered.  Summer is coming.
ABS: Planks, bicycle kicks, Bridges

Sunday: Foam rolling
ABS: Bird dogs, Bicycle crunches, lunges
Thanks for all the feedback on my Ragnar Trails recap. If you'd like to read some of my teammates opinions, here are a few that are up:
Victor, winner of my Chocolate Island Boost Contest, wrote me a note this week:
"I tried some of the island boost last weekend on an 8 miler and I really liked it. I am going to take a couple more this weekend on my Sweetwater 50K. Here is the best thing about it. It is liquid and oh my gosh that is such a good break from the gels. There are times when I just cringe and the thought of squishing down a gel, but this is easy, just a squirt and it's down!"
For those of you unfamiliar with the Sweetwater 50k (which would be anyone outside the Georgia Ultrarunning community), it's a technical 50k complete with a hardcore, chest-high water crossing.  Check it out and then head over to Twitter and send Victor a big congrats for finishing!
Sweetwater 50k course profile. Source
Link of the week:  Runner's World had a great article this week about preventing common running injuries.  It went through some simple strength training exercises and different stride elements to focus on.  Worth a read!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ragnar Trails Atlanta Recap

Ragnar Trails Atlanta, April 4+5, Conyers GA
Field: ~1100 runners
Spectators: None on the course because it was a trail race, but lots of other runner's cheering in the transition zone.
Start/Finish: Georgia International Horse Park, Site of the 1996 Olympic Equestrian and Mountain Biking events.
Course: 3 different trail loops including fields, granite slabs, streams, and lots of roots!
Schwag: Long sleeve tech tee and all the Nuun you can drink.
Other: Teams camped out over night in the field adjacent to the start/finish area.  There were bands, a bonfire, and s'mores. You could demo Salomon trail shoes during your runs, and just enjoy the fun of having that many runners together!

Abby, Elizabeth, Sarah, Jesica, Laura, Katie, Me, Lisa
Over the weekend I was lucky enough to be apart of a great team of ladies at Ragnar Trails Atlanta. Our team, Electrolits, was sponsored by Nuun Hydration and organized by the really lovely Elizabeth over at Running for Bling. I knew going into the race that there were some seriously fast ladies on the team and my fitness wasn't optimal after my foot infection in March (read: I was pretty nervous!).  I kept my goals realistic: Run consistently, finish each leg strong, and have fun (which wasn't hard to do at all).
Team Electrolit relaxing before the start.
Our team consisted of 8 runners and I was runner #5. Being that most of us wouldn't be running for a few hours after our team started, we spent the time helping set up camp, cheering for our runners as they transitioned between loops, and getting to know our teammates. I had previously 'met' several of them on social media, but it was the first time we got to meet face to face and it was awesome to finally meet them (spoiler alert: they are all great)!
Abby leading us off!
Leg 1
My first leg was the yellow loop, a 4.8 mile route full of many switchbacks and short climbs.  The terrain was packed dirt with lots of roots, challenging but not overly technical.  I started out around 6:45pm and tried to push the pace on the lead out to the climbing part of the trail. It seemed like the first half of the run just kept finding way to climb up, continually criss-crossing a hill side.  At one point I even remember checking my garmin thinking I had to have easily gone 2+ miles and was more than a little nervous to find that I had barely gone 1.8.  I had a lot of trouble getting into a solid rhythm during this run because the constant switchbacks were breaking up any sort of momentum.  By about half way through the run I began to feel more comfortable on the trail and began to pick up the pace. I kicked it into the finish, and was even treated to a beautiful rainbow as I closed in my final half mile.
Time: ~49
Not quite a pot of gold, but tents of sweaty runners are nice too. (Source).
Leg 2
My second leg started at around 2am on Saturday.  I was lucky to have the least technical trail as my night run because who knows how many times I would have fallen if it wasn't!  The 3.8 green loop was a mix of soft sand, packed dirt, and roots with a lot fewer switch backs and climbs than the yellow loop.  Being out on the trails at night is much darker than the roads.  Without a good headlamp it would be very difficult to get any sort of speed going.  Even with my new high powered headlamp, I was more cautious than I would have been in the day light. Given my clumsy nature, I was a bit worried about taking a nasty spill while descending in the dark. I did my best, but came in a little slower than I hoped. I think if I had know the trail a little better, I would have been able to push more. Things to remember before the next one!
The morning was beautiful! (source)
Leg 3
My last loop started around 8:30 on Saturday morning.  After watching a pretty fabulous sunrise, I was off for the longest and most technical trail of the three. I really liked this trail as it was the most interesting with a mix of fields, gravel roads, granite slabs, and hard packed dirt along a pond.  I only wish my legs had been more rested so I could have enjoyed the actual running part a little more. I was dragging. About 3 miles into the run, I tripped and took a little spill going down a hill. Though I was startled by the fall, I suffered nothing worse than a few scrapes and bruises. Overall, I was pretty excited that I only fell once during a weekend of trail running! I finished the loop with the little energy I had left, and was happy to have done my part to help the team.
Time: ~1:14
Finishing up my 3rd leg. Source
Handing off the bib to Jesica; Lisa and Abby enjoying s'mores for breakfast.
Team Electrolits finished in 20:54 which in the preliminary results has us as the first place overall Women's Team! Woowoo!
All cleaned up and sporting my new shirt. The trail Ragnars have wooden/leather medals.
Overall, I loved this event.  I even liked it more than the road Ragnars that I have done.  For a first year event, it was very well run with few hiccups or issues. There is a lot more time between legs to relax and hangout with the other runners, instead of worrying about driving the van and figuring out where to go. I had a great time and would love to do another one in the future!
Katie leading us into the finish in style!
Huge Thank You to Nuun Hydration for sponsoring Team Electrolit and keeping us well hydrated throughout the race.  And another huge Thank you to my teammates for being so friendly and making me feel so welcome!
Showing off our new flair post race!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Training Recap Week of 3/31-4/6

Monday: 3.1 miles on the treadmill. It wasn't very quick, but it happened.  And as I bonus, I got to watch opening day while I was running. Win-win.

Tuesday: 3.5 mile Runcommute home.  It was the first hot one of the year (80+ degrees). Struggle, but done.
ABS: plank, flutterkicks, and side knees.

Wednesday: Celebrated National Walking Day with this chicka.
ABS: Superman, Bicycle crunches, Bridges
And this is why it's Awesome April.
Thursday: Ragnar Trail Atlanta prep.
ABS: Plank, Flutterkicks, Side Knees
Got to keep the ladies of Team Electrolit fueled!
Friday: 4.8 miles on the Trails for my first Leg of Ragnar Trail Atlanta
ABS: Plank, Flutterkicks, Side knees

Saturday: 3.8 and 6.7 on the trails for my 2nd and 3rd legs of Ragnar Trail Atlanta. Full Recap coming!
ABS: Superman, Bicycle Crunches, Bridges

Sunday: Rest
ABS: Plank, Bicycle Crunches, Bridges
Refueling in Style.
How was your week? Any training or racing milestones?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Ragnar Trails Atlanta Preview

This weekend is the first Ragnar Trails Atlanta, and I am pretty darn excited to be involved.  I've previously run two Ragnars, Upstate NY (it's now called Adirondacks) and Northwest passage. I did both of those with the same team of 5 other crazy folks spending 24+ hours in a van together (the first time being nuts enough to do it in only a mini-van), and, yes, we are still on speaking terms.
Nothing like a team pre-race plank stack to get you excited to spend the next 36 hours in a van together.
This one is going to be a lot different! Not only have I never met any of my teammates in person, but instead of spending the entire race in a van, we will be camping out overnight with all the other teams. The event is a great chance to explore more of the Atlanta trails and get to know a new part of the amazing Atlanta running community. The whole thing is basically like a giant trail runner summer camp (or at least that is what I am telling myself). There are live bands, a bonfire, group yoga, and even smores!  I bet smores will go great with a Chocolate Island Boost! There is only one thing that is causing me not to be over the moon excited for the event.

Hrm.  Not ideal camping weather to put it nicely. In all honesty, I'm a little worried they might delay the start or alter the event. But since it's Awesome April, I am sure it will all work out!

So here's how the whole thing works. Every team consists of 8 runners, each of who will run 3 different legs of the relay. There are 3 different trail loops of varying distances (3+, 4+, and 6+ miles, each runner will run each loop once) and in between legs, runners hang out at the campsites enjoying music, yoga, fueling up, and resting for their next run.  Unlike the road Ragnars that I've done (all were on an Ultra squad), I will actually have time to enjoy some of the non-running parts, there will be a lot more time to socialize with other teams, and get into trouble make new friends as no one has to worry about driving the van or getting van sick (not that I ever did that)!
Big Thank You to Nuun Hydration for sponsoring our team and keeping us hydrated.  I am sure I will need a little Nuun Energy to get me through the night! Feel free to follow Team #Electrolit on instagram or twitter throughout the weekend for updates on our progress!

Have you ever done a Ragnar?  Do you like team relay events?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

ABSolutely Awesome April

April is exactly 30 days long, so I figured it was the perfect month to give myself (and anyone who would like to join me) a 30 day challenge. After thinking long and hard, I came up with this:
Clearly, I missed my calling as a graphic designer.
Since I had already declared April as Awesome, I decided to take it a step further and call it ABSolutely Awesome.  For the next 30 days, I am challenging myself to do daily core work! (I realize that the core is more than just ABS, but Core work Awesome April just didn't have the same ring to it.)  After the mini-break I took from running in March because of my foot infection, I feel like I lost some core strength.  With this challenge, I hope regain some core strength and build on it to have a stronger core heading into my next training cycle.
Here is the plan for anyone who wants to join me.  I've designed a simple workout that should take no more than 10-15 minutes and requires no equipment. I'm keeping it simple because we are more likely to complete a challenge if it's easy something that's not going take a huge change to start. I want there to be no excuses for missing a core workout!

I've created 3 groups of exercises with the goal of completing one exercise from each group everyday (i.e. 3 total a day).  Feel free to mention any other exercises I may have missed in the comments and I would be happy to add them. The more options, the less likely we are to get bored with the challenge! Every 10 days, the intensity of the exercises should increase with either additional reps for things like bicycle crunches or longer times for things like planks. I'm going to track my daily exercises in my weekly workout recaps to keep myself accountable.  Feel free to join me! I don't have any fun prizes to give out for those who join me, but I'll give out some high-fives and shout outs!

Here are a couple of good resources:
Core Yoga for Runners from Runner's World
Core workout from Fitness Blender
Side Ab exercises from Livestrong
Core Performance

What are you favorite core exercises?  How often do you focus on core strengthening?
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