Runner Tip: Compression Socks

Disclaimer: I received compression socks in exchange for this post and my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.

As a runner, I have found a love for compression socks, especially when they are bright and fun. While some people run while wearing them, I use them for recovery after long runs and on trips by car or plane. Each person needs to evaluate what level of compression they need and when they need to wear them for the best impact of inflammation reduction.

Related: 7 Foot Care Tips for Runners (see point number 4!)

This week I tested out graduated compression socks that went to my knees as well as runners (ankle socks) from Crazy Compression. With just 8 days until race day, I need to be taking care of these feet!

compression socks

My pro tip for the knee length socks? Get someone to help you put them on. I’m not the skinniest and I struggle to get knee-length compression socks on – to the point I usually pop my hip out. Ouch. These are tight (because they should be – they need to help with blood flow) and require me to roll them as small as they can be and work inch by inch up my foot.

It starts like this…

So close…

Once I get past the heel, I’m usually all set and can get them up my calf. The pair that I tried was LG/XL, perfect for a size 10, but was a bit tighter than expected on my calf. (This size shows it is to fit a 15-18″ calf, my calf is 16″.) Overall, I give the Vibrations (Pink & Gray) Compression Socks from Crazy Compression a 4 out of 5!

The runners were super comfortable and easy to slip on. They kept my feet feeling tight and comforted during and after a run. Moisture wicked and my feet felt supported everywhere they needed to. Overall, I give the Elite Running Socks from Crazy Compression a 4.5 out of 5 (because there was some bagginess at the ankles)!

Bonus! If you are running in a fall event and will be in costume, Crazy Compression has some AMAZING socks in their Halloween Collection. (I’m personally crushing on black and orange bats!)

Do you wear compression socks while running? What are your tips for runners?

To find out more about Crazy Compression, visit their website or check out their Facebook page.

 

Training Tuesday: Myrtle Beach Mini Week 14

I really needed to run this week and although (spoiler) I only got two runs in, it was such a good running week for me. Read on for an update on how things are going as I train for the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon on October 21, 2018. (This post contains affiliate links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you when you opt to buy through my links.)

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Training: Week 14 (September 30-October 6)

Have you ever felt in a daze where you don’t know what day it is? Welcome to how I spent the bulk of week 14. Between jetlag and bad news, I really am not sure how I made it to the weekend. Maybe it was runner’s high from last week’s awesome miles?

Monday 10/1: 5.05 miles, 11’49″/mile. The start of a new week, month, and quarter kicked off at a quiet office. I assumed the quiet was because we’d just wrapped our first user conference, but I’d find out a bit more as to why later in the week. By lunchtime I was more than ready to get out to Liberty > 16th Street Bridge > to go north on the trail and back. It was in the low 70s and everything felt right.

Miles 0-2.5 and 4-5 were sorta slow but felt right. Just after I turned around, a fast co-worker came up and spent a mile and a half talking with me before she went to catch another co-worker. That last mile back Liberty with the sun bearing down on my back was tough but still faster than the first half of this one. Not sure if I had tears at the end due to dust in my eye or for finally being back under 12-minute miles for more than a 5k.

Office selfie because I forgot to take a picture outside. 

Tuesday 10/2: CrossFit at the YMCA.  Even though it was an injury risk, I’ve missed my YFit Fam with all the travel and soccer I’ve been doing. We were sort of heavy on the shoulders and I definitely felt it after – for two days. Because of soreness in my left shoulder and chest (not the side I injured at Christmas), I had to take a break on Wednesday (and Thursday when I REALLY needed a run) to rest up those muscles and get back to it.

Friday 10/5: 11 miles, 12’07″/mile A run that I’ll probably remember for a long time. I started off super fast for me (in the mid-10’s) then reeled it back at the half-mile because I knew better. I was running off anger and sadness on this morning run and needed my energy. I’d also not really slept and didn’t eat before trying 11 miles. Oops.

At the two-mile mark, I started crying profusely and yelling. I don’t think anyone saw or heard, but I do not care.

These miles were pretty personal for me. I turned off my mapmyrun at 7 miles and just finished with my FitBit Versa‘s timer. There are so many issues in my mind about time, pace, and hearing it. That’s why I think that the 2018 Pittsburgh Half was so successful – I didn’t have music, I fried my Nike+ watch, I didn’t trust my Fitbit (it says I run 23-minute miles…) – I just ran. If I can do the same in Myrtle in less than two weeks, I’ll be just fine.

##

Stay tuned to see what the next weeks (two left!) bring or check out past posts from this training cycle.

Total Miles to Date:

July: 10 runs, 26.39 miles, 11’33″/mile

August: 14 runs, 48.96 miles, 11’17″/mile

September: 13 runs, 68.59 miles, 12’00″/mile

October: 2 runs, 16.06 miles, 12’01’/mile

++

Training Tuesday: Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Week 13 – Run Golden Gate Bridge!

This week of training included a huge win on my running bucket list. I was away for a work conference and I got the chance of a lifetime to run Golden Gate Bridge! I needed to do a ten-mile long run this week and would be on an airplane on my normal running day, so I made this one work in my favor. Read on for an update on how things are going as I train for the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon on October 21, 2018. (This post contains affiliate links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you when you opt to buy through my links.)

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Training: Week 13 (September 23-29)

On Monday, I boarded a plane bound for San Francisco and Dreamforce, which meant I wouldn’t get in my five miles but still had lots of time walking in airports and pacing waiting to get into my hotel.

Tuesday 9/25: Hotel Gym WOD – 1-mile treadmill at 11’10″/mile, bike for 4 miles, 0.5 miles elliptical, ab work.  I was staying on Nob Hill but needed to work out at 5 AM for a jam-packed day. When I realized the area wasn’t as safe as I’d have liked for an early morning five miles, I hit the gym. At first I had it to myself but then it started to get busy and I had to keep switching machines to allow others a chance to get their morning miles in, too.

Wednesday 9/25: 3.1 miles, 10’46″/mile Another early morning run, but this time I was meeting up with a bunch of runners in the Fit for Dreamforce challenge. We set out on the Embarcadero to do a 5k loop which included passing by AT&T Park. It was a glorious morning – I wore my Pittsburgh Marathon long sleeve and didn’t sweat too much – and amazing to watch the sun come up over the bay.

The days were incredibly busy with lots of steps, learning, eating, and networking. I am not going to the mental place of checking out the scale but I think my losses while doing intermittent fasting are probably a waste. Thing is? I had a really good time and ate fresh foods, gluten-free treats, and just spoiled myself a little more than usual. I knew what was up ahead!

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Training: Run Golden Gate Bridge

 

By the time the week ended, I was about 15 thousand steps shy of 100k and still needed to get my 10-mile run in. I’d done a little bit of research on how to run the Golden Gate Bridge but wasn’t 100% confident I’d actually have the guts or wits to do it.

Friday 9/28: 10 miles, 12’07″/mile.

My hotel was at the top of Nob Hill in San Francisco, so I decided to run from it to the Bay. That first mile was a super quick mile because it was all downhill. Once I got to the Bay I was stunned at the beauty of the day. We’d had temps in the 50’s all week but it was about 63 when I set out just before 4:00. Greg was keeping the kids awake until they heard how I did, so that put some pressure on me to stop staring at the bay and get toward that bridge!

Once you get to the Bay (or if you start near AT&T Park along the Embarcadero), you basically have a straight shot along the bay to the Golden Gate Bridge. It is incredibly simple, just keep following the sidewalk and the water and the signs like this:

run Golden Gate Bridge

But when you see this particular sign? Take the left. There was still a slope and I’m not sure what the right involved!

I’d started near Fisherman’s Wharf and got to run through a park by Fort Mason, saved a soccer ball from getting run over by a car, watched some people doing CrossFit at a Fitness station along the path, and saw tons of gorgeous boats in Yacht Harbor. After that, the path turned into a sandy surface and I had to slow things down. It was totally God’s way of telling me to enjoy what I was running past in Crissy Field.

At the end of the field, you come to Torpedo Wharf and the Warming Hut. There you will want to take some steps up to the Battery E Trail. I paused my run tracker and just enjoyed the beauty of the walk up the stairs because seriously, how gorgeous!

stairs to Battery E Trail

Once you’re to the top of the stairs, that path starts winding uphill and you pass the Welcome Center. Depending on the time of day, signs will guide you to which side of the bridge you’ll need to go on if you are a biker or pedestrian. As it was after 3 PM, I was sent to the Bayside but could taste the salt in my hair as it whipped into my mouth (the wind is no joke up there!).

The chance to run Golden Gate Bridge is something I totally recommend. I was in awe the entire 1.7 miles out and 1.7 miles back. There were some videos I made while running that I sent to Greg and the kids and a photo montage I posted on Instagram. There really are no words to describe it other than there was no doubt in my mind that God created all the beauty that was around me – even the tourists paying no attention as they walked in packs of five and six wide across the bridge (ha).

The remainder of my ten flew by as I headed back toward my hotel. I ended near Broderick Street which is the house the famed “Full House” house is on and decided “what’s another mile’s walk uphill to see it?”. I crawled at one point because it is so steep but I made it to the top and to see the house before sunset. Bucket list x2!

Full House San Francisco

##

Stay tuned to see what the next weeks (three left!) bring or check out past posts from this training cycle.

Total Miles to Date:

July: 10 runs, 26.39 miles, 11’33″/mile

August: 14 runs, 48.96 miles, 11’17″/mile

September: 13 runs, 68.59 miles, 12’00″/mile

++

Training Tuesday: Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Weeks 11-12

The past three weeks have been a COMPLETE WHIRLWIND. Training + mom life + work + travel, it’s been fun but exhausting. It is also time for an update on how things are going as I train for the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon on October 21, 2018. (This post contains affiliate links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you when you opt to buy through my links.)

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Training: Week 11 (September 9-15)

Have I mentioned that we have two kiddos in soccer, two age groups? Both have practice two times a week, so my weeknights have basically been spent by the soccer field. That’s put a slight hinder on my training in the evenings and of course, the weather was all kinds of warm to top it off.

Tuesday 9/11: 5.25 miles, 12’01″/mile.  All the bridges. Went out at lunchtime to tackle 16th Street Bridge to the trail to the 4oth Street Bridge (and I went all the way up which is essentially 0.25 mile up to the bridge then you keep climbing. Ouch.

I definitely needed my aminos to help with muscle soreness after that (and I recommend BPI Sports Aminos because not only do they have great flavors but they have Keto Aminos. Use code MRSWILLIS to save 20%!). I was doing intermittent fasting and felt so hungry during this run.

Wednesday 9/12 3.5 miles, 12’11″/mile I was extremely glad I had my Ripple Safety device on me. The trail was crazy quiet but then I encountered someone who scared me a bit. You’d think I’d have upped my pace, but it was HOT at lunch and this is just how it’s going to go this “summer”.

 

Saturday 9/15 8.02 miles, 12’11″/mile This run felt pretty good. It was cooler than the week before by a lot and there was no rain, yet I still couldn’t get it under 12-minute miles. I also apparently didn’t find it picture worthy.

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Training: Week Twelve (September 16-22)

Another crappy week from a personal standpoint that PRAISE GOD got turned around. Not to be all woe is me, but the Devil was out to get me and my family. I was set to speak at a women’s conference on Saturday so my week was crunched and of course, I was also prepping for an exam and going away for a week.

Started this week with my new shoes! Just a new version of my New Balances, but it sure made a difference. Is the tread wear on the right normal for retiring a shoe or should I give them more life?

Monday 9/17: 5 miles, 11’56″/mile. The new shoes and slightly cooler weather paid off on this one. I’m still in shorts and a tank top, but it’s starting to get more bearable for training because it is still crazy humid – I was soaked after this run. I ran to the girls’ school and met Greg at drop off and was so thankful he had water for me.

Wednesday 9/19: 3.5 miles, 11’43″/mile. This is the week of runs on my local trail, apparently. Flat is sorta what I needed in prep for what is to come. The picture from today had me holding up a five, oops, we’ll skip sharing that one.

Friday 9/21: 9.13 miles, 12’01″/mileStraight out the trail and back, I was pretty excited about the strength I had on this run. It was hot but I was prepared with water and Gatorade gels (goodbye, Keto). The trail was calming and peaceful, and I got to do this as an early lunch. It fueled me for the weekend and gave me time to think about my exam and the conference. I’m slacking on pictures but took one after my shower:

You’ll need to stay tuned for a special installment of “Training Tuesday” where I focus on week thirteen because it involves my Golden Gate Bridge running experience!

##

Stay tuned to see what the next weeks bring or check out past posts from this training cycle.

Total Miles to Date:

July: 10 runs, 26.39 miles, 11’33″/mile

August: 14 runs, 48.96 miles, 11’17″/mile

September: 13 runs, 68.59 miles, 12’00″/mile

++

Training Tuesday: Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Weeks 7-10

My heart is at the beach right now. I am praying for my family and friends that are there and for safety as they brace for Hurricane Florence. It is also time for an update on how things are going as I train for the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon on October 21, 2018. (This post does contain affiliate links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you when you opt to buy through my links.)

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Training: Week Seven (August 13-19)

It was back to the normal schedule this week in work and personal life. Hopefully, that shows in this training week!

Monday 8/13: 3.5 miles, 11’41″/mile.  An early morning pre-work run is my sweet spot. It is a great time to think but not think. My smile says it all, eh?

Tuesday 8/14 Nada. So much for being back at it. I had a busy day all around and missed CrossFit and yoga.

Wednesday 8/15 2.5 miles, 11’08″/mileTook advantage of the trail and really powered through this one.

Thursday 8/16 Crossfit. 10 rounds. This one was INTENSE.

Sunday 8/19 5.23 miles, 11’10:/mile With the clock ticking to get to church, I was running on a mission! The morning was peaceful, crowds were along the river (at sunrise!) for our local boat races. It was pretty much perfection.

I guess the changes I made in my personal schedule paid off. The next weeks, well…

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Training: Week Eight (August 20-26)

On a personal level, this week started off sucking. I refuse to sugarcoat it. Sunday night I had been asleep for 45 minutes when my dad called. He never calls late. He needed to get my mom to the ER and I could tell I needed to go along. They came all the way to Kittanning to get me to go with them to Butler. After lots of tests and most of the night in the ER, she was sent home with orders to keep following up with various doctors and a new round of meds. Retirement hasn’t played nicely with my mom and I think that’s part of why I want to be as fit as I can be. Please say some prayers for her healing over the next few weeks.

Monday 8/20: Rest. I got home at 4 AM and couldn’t sleep so fumbled through a work from home day and got to be part of the Twins’ first day of school. Photo because when did they grow up?!?!

I also learned how to make a Keto-friendly pumpkin spice latte right at home. Heavy whipping cream + pumpkin pie spice + a wee bit of Stevia that you whisk into your mug *before* you brew the coffee over it. The cream gets whippy and rises to the top. DELISH. You can get that whisk on Amazon (here) and change up your coffee game, too.

Tuesday 8/21: 4 miles, 11’16″/mile. Running in the rain is my favorite. I tossed the phone on the couch and hit the stopwatch on my FitBit and just ran and ran and ran. Okay, I didn’t start in the rain. The idea was that I was going to try to out run the rain. AccuWeather told me the rain would start at 12:38, but it started more like at 12:28 when I still had a mile to go. I really kicked this run in gear and I’m just gonna say it, it was my favorite run of this training cycle so far yes the bold is needed. Greg met me at the door with a towel and totally captured the drops of rain on my shoulder. Seriously loved this one.

View this post on Instagram

Another day amazed by what has been given to me. It's been a tough week, my body is off schedule and my brain is on overdrive. I missed writing a #trainingtuesday blog post but my spirit got some things it needed >> time with friends tonight at a Thirty-One party and a mid morning run in the rain. When my brain wasn't clicking as fast as I wanted and the forecast looked clear for 48 minutes, I blocked my calendar and put on my @fusionsportsusa #runningshorts & my @newbalance shoes and left the phone at home for a 4 mile run. 33 minutes in just before mile 3 and in the middle of a prayer for a calming to wash over me, the sky broke and it downpoured for my last mile. Just me and the voice of God out there on the #railstotrails splashing through puddles and get more soaked than I ever have been. It felt amazing and then I conquered the rest of my day. While everything wasn't just washed off my plate, God made it clear that He is in control and I don't need to put so much pressure on myself. □□□ 4 miles, 11'16"/mile #halfmarathontraining #runintherain #runnersofinstagram #myrtlebeachminimarathon #momswhorun #strongnotskinny #nikeplusrunclub #newbalancerunning #fusionsportsusa #fitbitversa #drenchedrunning #fitmomintheremaking #thisthriversjourney #embracemypace #irunthisbody

A post shared by Becky Willis (@mrsgregwillis) on

Wednesday 8/22: Date and packing. We went to the Pirates/Braves game and I packed up for a girls weekend. I still got in a ton of steps, including almost 1500 before I hit the bed at 1:00 AM Thursday morning. Vacation mode!

Thursday 8/22: 3.1 miles, 11’29″/mileAfter seven hours in the car and with a stomach full of a Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte with Heavy Cream #ketolife, I met up with the Williamsburg Winery Run Club and did a 5K through the Winery property. It was gloriously humid and bug-free. There weren’t medals to commemorate as this is a free weekly run club, but I was happy with my time after sitting so long. The next few days included indulging in pizza, beer, and pretzels (none of which were gluten-free and I felt the pain) and learning that I can’t eat like that and keep training like I am…

Saturday 8/24: 5.0 miles, 11’29″/mile. I think the only reason my pace was three seconds a mile faster than Thursday was that I was motivated to get back to the resort where Missy was waiting for me so we could go swimming. Truth be told, Mollie was very much on my mind and I re-activated my Ripple safety because there I was, awake with the sun in a town I didn’t know and running 2.5 miles away from my resort. A bit scary, but I did it! I did pause with about .6 mile to go and snap a picture just outside of Colonial Williamsburg for the memories. Awkward and sweaty but whatever.

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Training: Week Nine (August 27-September 2)

Let all the things crumble. I started to sabbotage my training diet and just spiraled from there. Not even buying new running shoes (my shoe of choice is the New Balance 880v7) motivated me. Truths? Between what I ate last week and what spiraled this week, I gained ten pounds. You can see it in my face as these pics progress. Ugh.

Monday 8/27: 2.5 miles, 11’06″/mile. The only reason this run was “fast” was because I forced myself on the treadmill. It was awful and I was supposed to do four but only got 2.5. I made up the other on the bike but I was crying ugly tears there in the YMCA. Gross.

Tuesday 8/28: Yoga. I thought another day at the mat would help, but all I could do was think about how much further I want to be with my fitness journey. It was not aligned with my intention!

Wednesday 8/29: 3.1 miles, 11’45″/mile. And the demise of my amazing (for me) pace begins. Even trying to be creative with my selfie, you can tell the weight is there. You can see how humid it was before 8 AM. Just rough.

 

Thursday 8/30: CrossFit. I’m not sure why I am smiling in this picture because I slacked off on laundry all week and wore the same shirt (yeah, I’ll say it) and this one was all arms and my shoulder was not happy. I guess the smile is all part of something bigger I am struggling with – the front that I am okay when I am not. (More on that later, hold me accountable.)

Saturday 9/2: 6 miles, 11’57″/mile. Greg’s sister came for a quick visit, so she stayed with the kids while Greg and I headed to the trail for a “run together” before it got too humid. I can complain a lot about this run and frankly I will so you see what I am dealing with. Greg is fast. Like if he could run a full at 30-40 seconds per mile slower than he runs, he’d be a Boston qualifier fast. So we planned a route on the trail that had my anxiety up but worked so we would start together then he’d pass me after my 2 miles and again just before he finished and I headed out to start my 3.5 miles. That fast. That part  worked, but it put me headed toward the bear part of the trail and alone for a long time. Add to it, it was hot as all get out early in the day so we carried bottles of water. Even with my Fusion Sports running shorts with the pockets I had to hold the water and it distracted me (being in the pockets knocked my hips out of alignment). But regardless, the run was done. He’d be waiting about 30 minutes for me and posed like this so I humored him and did it too.

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Training: Week Ten (September 3-8)

Monday 9/3: 7.0 miles biking. We took the girls on a bike ride because Evan had a sleepover and the humidity was way too high to run.

Tuesday 9/4: 4.06 miles, 12’04″/mile. I tried to get out before the humidity but it didn’t work. The heat in Pittsburgh was real. This was a run from my office to the Point and back before the sun was fully up. I struggled, but think it was because of those 10 pounds + I started Intermittent Fasting so that I can try to drop more before the Half. This was a fasted run on day two of my 16:8 cycle. The legs didn’t love it.

Wednesday 9/5: Early morning CrossFit. This class loves running and jump ropes and situps. I was glad it was a Partner WOD because if it was for my own PB, I would not have cared. My goal was to run as much as my partner and that I did. And why the assault on my arms again?!?!

Thursday 9/6: 3.0 miles, 12’37″/mile. Ouchy. It was so hot. The sun had just come up and it was day four of IF. I literally had to pull my legs up a few times to move forward. I really struggled but when I stepped on the scale and saw a 2.6-pound loss in two days…it was worth it. I’m still working on what IF and Fasted Running needs to be to me – more on that when I do.

Saturday 9/8: 7.0 miles, 11’57/mile. Same exact pace as last Saturday but add a mile and I was ecstatic. After logging the paces I had been, I was down. A lot of negative talk in my head and I figured a 13-minute mile run was ahead. Add to it, I slept in thinking that the rain would hold off and I could get some sleep. Nope. This was seven extremely soggy miles but it was glorious because there was no humidity, I was even a bit chilly! This one included some sloppy sandy sections of the trail, hills, and four miles that were under the average pace for the whole run. I really couldn’t ask for more after the training going how it did the past few weeks!

As I enter week eleven, I’ll spoil and say things aren’t off to an amazing start, but I am lowering my expectations for Myrtle Beach. As long as I get to run it, that’s huge. Two Half Marathons in a year! But my biggest thing now is praying for my family and friends there and their safety. Please join me in that!

##

Stay tuned to see what the next 10 weeks bring or check out past posts from this training cycle.

Total Miles to Date:

July: 10 runs, 26.39 miles, 11’33″/mile

August: 14 runs, 48.96 miles, 11’17″/mile

September: 5 runs, 25.32 miles, 12’04″/mile

++

Training Tuesday: Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Weeks 1-6

Surely you didn’t think the running stopped after my “incident” with a bear on the trail, did you? Nope, it’s time to start up my weekly training posts again and this time I’m diving into my preparation for the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon on October 21, 2018.

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon: The Details

First, you notice that guy in the picture with me? We are doing this thing together! Greg is returning to his hometown to run his first ever half marathon. This will be number four for me. I promise you I didn’t have to drug him to get him to say yes to registering…and it just might lead to him joining me on May 5 for Pittsburgh…we’ll see. Probably good to note that as of right now he’ll be finishing about 50 minutes ahead of me, but that’s fine with me!

This 13.1 mile race (a half marathon) will be on Sunday, October 21 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We started our 16-week training plan on July 2 and have occasionally trained together. I’m a bit behind on sharing the journey, so let’s hop to it!

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Training: Week One (July 2-8)

Oh boy. It started off bad. We got home on July 1 from our family holiday picnic and had no air conditioning…for three and a half weeks. Neither of us ran until July 5, so the first week was basically a bust.

Thursday 7/5: 2.25 miles, 12’09″/mile. I was feeling the effects of no a/c and eating a tub of strawberry shortcake (aka my feelings). Slugh.

Friday 7/6: Crossfit WOD in 27:37 This one had a lot of running. I sweated a lot. Why is it so hot at 5 am?!?!

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Training: Week Two (July 9-15)

I can’t even tell you what but my Monday run didn’t happen either, so I had to do two runs back-to-back this week. You think I’d get with the program!

Tuesday 7/10: 2.01 miles, 10’42″/mile. Traffic made me miss running outside so I forced a treadmill run and crushed it. Pretty happy with this one.

Wednesday 7/11: 2.0 miles, 10’38″/mile. It was our anniversary, so Greg and I went to the Y before going to Fogo de Chao to eat all the meat. Having my husband beside me on a treadmill pushes me out of the hamster wheel my mind is known to go to!

Thursday 7/12: Crossfit WOD. Hit the time cap but still pretty proud I was able to get as far as I did.

Saturday 7/14: 3.0 miles, 12’03″/mile. That treadmill needs to be my friend more often. When I hit the trail, I struggled. It was humid and I felt alone. I was even pushing because I had a church event to get to. Struggle bus, but still 1 second faster than my PR for the half. Save racing for race day?

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Training: Week Three (July 16-22)

This week was pretty tough. I was going away for my Thirty-One Conference at was super pumped up and I was testing out SilverSport clothing; however, I struggled because of outdoor running and a small injury.

Monday 7/16: 3.0 miles, 12’08″/mile. This was a run at home with some trail, some hills, and running by the river. I was pretty happy afterward, even with the slower pace.

Wednesday 7/18: 2.0 miles, 11’41″/mile. Running before work is one of my favorite things to do, but not when I turn too fast and roll an ankle. I hobbled through the rest of the day and was quite excited to get to the chiropractor and get it adjusted. Even though I felt good after, I was definitely treading lightly from then out for the next week.

Saturday 7/21: Recumbent Bike. I was at conference staying at a 3-star hotel and the area wasn’t great. I got almost 20K steps in on Saturday and Sunday but wasn’t impressed with the fitness center in my hotel. Glad I’ve done this a few times before and know the next few weeks are much more crucial for me.

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Training: Week Four (July 23-29)

The pace is kicking it up! We finally have our A/C back and I think I’ve hit my groove.

Tuesday 7/24: 3.0 miles, 11’29″/mile. Only felt like quitting this treadmill run four times, all in the first mile. I slowed it down compared to other treadmill runs because the ankle was still tender, but still did work. Glad to have my running buddy beside me, too!

Thursday 7/26: 2.0 miles, 11’18″/mile. Proving myself out on the trail! I totally can do this.

Saturday 7/28: 4.0 miles, 11’20/mile. My future’s so bright, I have to wear shades!

No, really. I love this pair of shades from Tierra Sunglasses and am excited to pass a deal on them over to YOU! Look for more info on my engagement with them as an ambassador, but you can save $5 off a pair of running or regular sunglasses when you use code MRSGREGWILLIS5OFF here.

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Training: Week Five (July 30-August 5)

Have you noticed I haven’t been doing as much Crossfit? Well, as much as I love it, I’m being super cautious not to get another injury so have really scaled it back. Let’s see how that went this week.

Monday 7/30: 3.1 miles, 11’37″/mile. Another work morning run and the ankle was feeling amazing!

Tuesday 7/31: Yoga at the YMCA. I was so happy to get back to the mat! It felt, in many ways, like nothing had changed. I’m going to be doing more yoga this training cycle because I miss the stretch.

Wednesday 8/1: 2.02 miles, 10’32”. Another run with the hubby on the treadmill.

Thursday 8/2: DOUBLE DAY 4.7 miles on a bike. Went for a bike ride at work on the Healthy Ride Pittsburgh Bikes. Counting this because my bum was super sore the next day and I burned a ton of fat calories. Crossfit WOD. This one hurt like you know what. I was a slowpoke and it was only a 22-minute AMRAP. But…it was my first 4-day-in-a-row training week of this cycle and I can tell.

Saturday 8/4: 4.5 miles, 11’30″/mile. Just me, the trail, and peace. It was 97% humidity and I was soaked. Really ideal training for Myrtle, though!

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon Training: Week Six (August 6-12)

An interesting week! I was at a work internal training in downtown Pittsburgh and stayed three nights. That meant I got to run with my boss, our CEO, and some other co-workers. Really cool experience, especially since I needed the push. (Check out my Instagram for a few photos from this week.)

Monday 8/6: 3.5 miles, 11’13″/mile. Ran to the Point then over the Fort Duquesne Bridge and back under the Convention Center. It was steamy and another 97% humidity morning but I totally earned sitting the rest of the day.

Tuesday 8/7: 2.0 miles, 11’09″/mile. This should have been a yoga or Crossfit day, but I give in to peer pressure and ran with the group again. I knew when to turn around and am glad I did. The next days would have been even tougher if I hadn’t. Returned to the hotel gym to do some quick lifting.

Wednesday 8/8: 2.89 miles, 10’47″/mile. Another fast-paced group run. We went up some stairs at the Point and I felt it about a mile later trying to go back up through the Convention Center. Had to stop and gain my momentum back. As this was supposed to be 2, I’m okay that I didn’t quite hit three miles.

Thursday 8/9: Crossfit WOD. Again, struggled through four days in a row.

Saturday 8/11: 4.5 miles, 11’16″/mile Truth, this one felt just right. It was humid but I just set my mind to a fast solo run and I did it!

 

##

Stay tuned to see what the next 10 weeks bring!

Total Miles to Date: 

July: 10 runs, 26.39 miles, 11’33″/mile

August: 7 runs, 22.92 miles, 11’14″/mile

++

Pittsburgh Event: Check out SilverSport at One Whirl Yoga Fest

This post contains information and products provided to me by SilverSport. All opinions are 100% my own. 

Pittsburgh! You know how much our local fitness community means to me and this week that puffy heart got even bigger. Do you recognize the name Franco Harris? Of course you do. He’s founded SilverSport®, a Pittsburgh-based local fitness brand. SilverSport is going to be present at this weekend’s One Whirl Yoga Fest and they’ve asked me to tell you a little bit about the event and their brand. Saying I am thrilled is putting it mildly, friends.

Check out SilverSport at One Whirl Yoga Fest

This event (happening Saturday, July 14 from 6AM-4PM and Sunday, July 15 from 7AM-1PM) has been on my radar for years but babies and blog conferences and Thirty-One events always got in the way of me actually making it to Point State Park. 2018 is their seventh annual event and it includes “yoga classes, vendor demonstrations, workshops, and good vibes”. More details on the event are below.

What you must know is that SilverSport is going to be there and will be featuring their line of odor-free, antimicrobial products at their booth and they will have some exclusive giveaways. For those of us in the fitness world, having these types of products is key – they bring us more protection in the sweaty studios and gyms and make us more comfortable around our #fitfam.

If you get a chance to make it to Yoga Fest, please stop by the SilverSport booth and tell them that I said so! You won’t regret it, I’m wearing one of their tanks as I type this up and I can’t tell that I did a WOD in it 4 hours ago. Trust me!

Details on One Whirl Yoga Fest

WHEN: Saturday, July 14 from 6AM-4PM and Sunday, July 15 from 7AM-1PM

WHERE: Point State Park, 601 Commonwealth Pl, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

COST: $35 for general admission tickets (covers all sessions both days) and kids 12 and under are free

SOCIAL: Facebook Event

About SilverSport

I’m such a geek in general, but hearing the science behind this Pittsburgh local fitness brand during a week when I am fighting a virus (that very well could have come from my shared use of gym equipment) made me super geek out. Here’s what their official press release has to say about the brand:

Silversport® is a Pittsburgh-based corporation  founded by NFL Hall of Fame & Former Steeler Franco Harris and consumer products expert Thomas Davis, with one goal in mind: ‘To keep sports clean’.

All SilverSport® products use nano-scale silver, Silverclean® Technology that provides continuous odor free and antimicrobial performance to all of our products. The silver used is EPA registered and OEKO-TEX™ approved, and proudly made in the U.S.A. Silversport® provides products to our nation’s military, as well as in the medical, Fitness and Fashion Industries. Silver Sport was named Inc. Magazine’s “Next Big Idea,” and one of Entrepreneur’s  “Strokes of Genius” . SilverSport® has been featured in over 30 media outlets including The Doctors, Fox and Friends, New York 1 TV, Women’s Health, Shape, Men’s Journal, Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, Self.com, Pilates Style, Muscle & Body, and was awarded a 2011 Fit Bottom Girls “Fittie Award”. SilverSport® products are available for purchase online at www.silversport.com

And then there’s taking my word for it. You’re going to be seeing a lot more of SilverSport in my Instagram feed and here on the blog. We’re partnering up to help bring awareness to their line, starting with their super soft tank top that I am wearing tonight. Here’s just a spoiler for you – it has the most adorable pocket I’ve ever seen a shirt have – and another – it is super soft and didn’t get drenched in my YFit sweat tonight. I’m swooning up here.

SilverSport

Tell me – what do you think you’ll love most about this new line? Is it that it is Pittsburgh based, founded by Franco, super sciencey, or something else? 

Medal Monday: RGSYMCA 10K

Last Saturday I ran the Richard G Snyder YMCA 10K. This event benefited their MAD Program and I was happy to participate because they are doing really good things on the trail behind our house and in our community.

This race checked a few things off my running bucket list, let’s start with the craziest, shall we?

My First “Last Minute Decision” Race

While I knew the race had been coming up, I was tossing around whether or not I’d do it. Even though it’s small, I still don’t think I love the 5k distance so I didn’t want to do that. And the Half, well, that was just definitely a no since it would start at 9 AM and was out and back and I’d definitely be the last to finish (likely with a DNF).

Just before I went to bed (less than 10 hours before start time), my mind was made up. With under 25 runners, the 10K seemed like a good plan.

My First Race in Kittanning

When I woke up, I realized that I’ve never run a race in the town I call home. This race would be the first and it sure was for a good cause. While it wasn’t my first Armstrong County race (I finished last in a Ford City 5k 2 years ago), this one was going to be special.

My First 10K Race

I’d volunteered at this race last year, so I knew not to show up super early; however, I wanted to be ready. After arriving about 45 minutes before we started, I realized I was there way too early. Since the crowd was small, there weren’t many people around and I got that imposter feeling as I watched others warming up while I sat on the ground and sipped a water. But this was my first 10K race (not distance) and whether or not I’d place didn’t matter anymore. I am not an imposter, I’m a runner!

Just before the start, I saw my CrossFit instructor and a friend from CrossFit, both were doing the 5k and pushing toddlers in strollers. Goodness, my friends are beasts (both made the turn for the 5K before me)! Seeing them helped motivate me, but because I knew I had a longer distance and am by nature a slower runner, I knew I couldn’t push too hard.

I started out with my earbuds in and fought with them the whole route. The trail is super quiet, especially when 95% of the other runners are way out ahead of you. I get distracted by my own breathing, so music was a must. Unfortunately, I’ve been testing another pair of buds and these just weren’t working like I wanted them to (more on that in another post!).

The first 1.5 miles (to the 5k turnaround and first water stop) flew by. I logged an 11’08” mile which was incredible – I haven’t run like that in years. But I knew it was too fast to keep up the next five so I got the thought of negative splits out of my mind and kept on pushing forward.

While it’s a good race for a good organization, I really didn’t love the styrofoam cups of water and had to come to a complete stop at every water station (I got three with the out and back of the 10k). I also felt quite alone out there after that first turn until I inched closer to the 3.1 miles where my fellow 10K racers were coming back. Everyone gave each other “good jobs” as they turned and it was again motivating.

After I made the turn, I started to slow down. I’d seen plenty of women go by and I knew they were all in the 30-39 age group so placing wasn’t an option anymore. At that point, I was just happy to look down at my average pace (under my Half Marathon pace) and not feel like I was sweating to death.

…or maybe I WAS sweating hard!

I Didn’t Hear You Either

After my second water stop, I started to get a little delusional. I’ve been doing Whole30 and hadn’t raced with this diet before, so my nutrition and fuel were basically non-existent. My fingers were swelling (a sign that I’m dehydrating and/or my sugar is dropping) and I was a little mentally bummed.

That’s when I heard growling. There I was, on the trail alone and I knew that the Ham Radio operators were a ways away. I put my head down and turned the music up (silly girl) and pushed harder.

I might have continued being delusional, but at the end of the race my pastor asked if I heard or saw the bear. A bear was hit along the road and its mama was on the loose and angry!?!?! I told my co-workers this and one of them sent me this as a way to commemorate this run:

My First 10K Place Medal

The last mile flew by, back on super familiar turf and knowing my family was waiting. I kicked it in finished in 1:15. While the Nike+ app says I did 6.3 miles (11’54”), the official time was 12’09”. I decided to stick around and watch the medal ceremony and I’m glad I did!

Those ladies who passed me have some good health and genes – some of them were in the 40-49 and 50-59 age groups – and I ended up getting 3rd place for the 30-39 females. I was shocked and proud – I did it!

What’s next? At this point, I’m not actively training but focusing on trimming down and muscling up. July 2 will be 16 weeks until the Myrtle Beach Mini / 18 weeks to EQT 10-Miler, so I’ll be back in a normal running plan again. Perhaps throughout that I’ll throw in races as they fit my plan, but right now that’s the main goal – a lighter and faster fall!

Marathon Monday: Week 16 of 16

Where did SIXTEEN weeks of Half Marathon Training go?!?!? It has been an incredible journey, capped off with everything I accomplished on Sunday. I’ll spoil it and tell you that Sunday was incredible, but today’s post is just going to focus on my final six days of training/taper. The Half deserves a whole post itself! Read on to hear about my Half Marathon Training, Week 16! // This post may contain affiliate links.

If you’d like to read more about my previous experiences, check them out here!

Marathon Monday: Week 16 of 16 (Half Marathon Training)

Monday 4/30: 3 miles, 12’22” per mile- This run didn’t start out too tough, which completely surprised me. If you’ll remember from last week’s post, I got sick. My allergies kicked it in high gear on Friday then attacked my sinuses. I was battling a horrible sinus infection and seriously considering how I’d run the Half six days later.

So a taper training run that stayed pretty much in line with my training of recent made me pretty happy. Mile three back to the office was a bit of a struggle, but I did it and even pulled off a negative split from mile 2.

Wednesday 5/2 – 2 miles, 11’55” – Two days of medicine in me, I put the kids on the bus and headed up to the Trail for one more easy run. I didn’t listen to my pace and just ran. The weather was perfect, eh, maybe a little sunny. It was in the low 50s and I gave this run a “let’s do this for fun” attitude.

Even being sick, I amazed myself again. A 12’02” mile one without checking pace and then an 11’47”. That’s another 15-second negative split for the week!

Friday 5/4: Marathon Expo
I spent the entire day dedicated to Marathon Prep. Between packet/bib pickup, dinner finalization for Saturday, and answering logistics questions, I put in a busy day. I needed some time to myself to explore the Expo, so after work, I returned. My timing was incredible…

First, at the Brag Swag, Inc. booth, I bumped into Chelsea. I haven’t seen her in person since PodCamp 2011, I think! We’ve been following each other’s running journeys on the blogs/Twitter/Instagram for years. She is super inspiring and really passionate about making the running community here in Pittsburgh a family feel. Oh, and I had to buy myself a shirt…do you blame me?

Oddly enough, just after I passed my previous employer’s *unmanned* booth, I ran into my old boss! It was nice to see him and his family and get a chance to catch up a little. Hoping his half went well!

Next up was finding pacers. I visited the NuGo pace booth to confirm my sad puppy that there wasn’t a pacer between 2:30 and 2:45. My heart felt like anything below a 2:44 was realistic the way I was still feeling stuffy, but I knew I couldn’t go with the 2:45 pacer. (They were doing run/walk and since I don’t train like that, I would have done poorly for me.)

I decided I should find the SCRR booth and see if anyone knew if anyone would be doing around a 12:30 (that 2:44) that was running and if I could meet the 2:30 pacer just to see who I needed to make sure I stayed behind.

By doing that, I ran into Carla who paced the kickoff training run that had me realizing I had a potential to do around a 12’12” in the first place. I was excited to find out she was pacing the 13’00″/mile for the 5k and decided it would be best to run with her group the next day and see if anyone there was aiming for a time like mine. Huge relief.

Before I left, I got to thank Coach Betsy who helped with my taper plan and encouraged me on that 10-mile run in 76 degrees. If she hadn’t set my expectations for that day, I might have fallen apart after pulling the pace I did that day (12’55”).

Then it was off to home to “rest”…or take care of the four kids and pack everything for the next day. We’d run as a family – me the 5k, Greg and the Bigs the Kids’ Mile, Ava to the Chic-Fil-A Cow, and Isla away from the Chic-Fil-A Cow.

Our Flat Family!

Saturday 5/5: 3.125 miles, 12’50” – I used this run to get all the nerves out. I’d been warned I might not be too smart to do this then do the 13.1 the next day, but it was so tempting to get the extra shirt, glass, and two medals as part of the Steel Challenge. The jury is out whether or not I’ll do it again next year…

First up, I met up with We Run Social and took a photo with a bunch of other social media addicted runners (swipe through Steffany’s Instagram post to see the group). It was great to meet some of the bloggers/IG superstars I’ve been following in real life.

Next, I needed to find my pace group and get this race going. I was so excited to get the nerves out that I must not have stepped on the chip reader at the start. My Nike+ app says we did 3.3 and the announcer says we did 3.125, so I’m going with the announcer’s mileage and basing my time off that – we kept it a little “fast” but super comfortable. Frankly, it felt too easy to me and I wasn’t sure if I should run ahead. Good thing Carla is smart about this and said all the right things to make me remember to hold it back today for tomorrow’s big race.

During the race, I realized why this might not have been a good idea. There were people out there going for their personal glory, which I get it. I used to be a short distance runner. But this wasn’t about a time for me. It was about getting the nerves out. There were so many runners out there that were either running their first “big” race or really wanted to beat a clock. Add that to a bunch of potholes and my feeling that I was going super easy and I could have easily gotten hurt.

And crossing the bridge into the city? All the tears. This city has my heart.

Other than not having an official time that matches what I do and not really trusting what the distance of the run was, this one felt amazing and was exactly what I needed – fun!

After my race, the kids and Greg tackled the one mile at a 9’14” pace! I’m so proud of my ‘lil runners.

 

And with that, my training for the 2018 Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon – UPMC Health Plan Half Marathon is finished. For the spoiler, follow me on Instagram or else wait until I get the time to put words “to paper” to tell you how amazing Sunday felt.

Total Training Miles of This Cycle: 196 miles
April totals: 72.82 miles, 12’21” pace
March totals: 59.06 miles, 12’24” pace
February totals: 38.41 miles, 12’06” pace

January totals: 20.63 miles, 12’40” pace

++

Marathon Monday: Week 15 of 16

It is the final stretch! Spoiler alert – I am sick. A nasty sinus infection has taken residence in my head, so week 16 is not off to a great start. Hopefully, the medicines get to working and I can feel about 90% myself by late this week. Sigh…read on to hear about my Half Marathon Training, Week 15! // This post may contain affiliate links.

If you’d like to read more about my previous experiences, check them out here!

Marathon Monday: Week 15 of 16 (Half Marathon Training)

Monday 4/23: 4 miles, 12’17” per mile- Hello, sun! I actually questioned wearing the double tank top, but figured I’d be a little modest on my lunch break. Afterall, I was debuting my ghostly white legs in my Happy Puppies running shorts (I got the Mandy and listened to their size guide and perfection).

My loop was a simple one, across 16th Street Bridge, to the Trail, and down almost to PNC Park and back. Everything felt pretty perfect about this one.

Wednesday 4/25 – 3.19 miles, 11’31” – Next year, I run with people to train. That’s going to take dropping a few more pounds and running a few more miles, but I know I can pull it off. This one was a warm one again. Greg and I took the twins out – he pushed the double stroller like a beast – and I talked the whole time. That proves that I should be pushing myself more. Our last mile was just over 11 minutes/mile. Welcome back, early 2014 Becky. Welcome back.

Friday 4/27: 6.28 miles, 11’57” – Well, the warm weather decided to stick around for all three of my workouts (runs) this week. I couldn’t stop smiling on this one, that pace! As of the end of this run, I decided I want to push myself to run with the 12’00” group (if there is one) and aim for a sub 2:40 half. I know I can, I just have to be healthy enough for race day.

So about that intensity decreasing. Sigh. I tried. I really did. Praying for strength – today’s run is done (not as good as any of last week’s but not that bad either, considering I can’t breathe and have a numb jaw and cheekbones). That leaves 2 miles then the 5k on Saturday. Next time you hear from me, it might just be Medal Monday instead! 😉

Follow me on Instagram to see how this week goes!

Total Training Miles of This Cycle: 190.92 miles | 5.1 miles remaining
April totals: 72.82 miles, 12’21” pace
March totals: 59.06 miles, 12’24” pace
February totals: 38.41 miles, 12’06” pace

January totals: 20.63 miles, 12’40” pace

++