Saturday, June 30, 2012

Foodie Pen Pals: June 2012

Hi, all! The end of June is here, and that means another Foodie Pen Pals post! This is my third month participating, I've gotten all sorts of yummy treats every month, and this month was no exception! Again, I give a huge thanks to Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean for starting this! (More details about the program are on her blog)

My box this month comes from Laura (site and link to be posted). Here's what came in the box:

  • A bag of Chupa Chups chocolate and strawberry lollipops. One word: YUM! =D
  • A jar of Peanut Butter and Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter. This has been a flavor I have been dying to try since I found out about it, and I can't wait to dig in!
  • S'Mores Cupcake Kit. I love s'mores and cupcakes, so I can't wait to bake these! (Too hot to do so now =P)
  • Torani Sugar Free Chocolate Flavoring Syrup. I can make my own chocolate coffee now! =D
  • Two LaraBars, one in the Jocalat variety and one in the Uber variety (apple turnover). I haven't heard of these, and they look good, so I can't wait to try them either!
  • Two Halo Bars, one S'Mores and one Honey Graham. Something else I never heard of, but loved them the moment I ate them. =)
  • A Chocolate Strawberry ThinkThin bar. No sugar and 15 grams of protein? Sounds like I'll be eating this for breakfast one day with some yogurt! =)
  • Apple Crumble granola. I've been into granola lately, so once my current one is gone, I'll be digging into this!
Overall, I'm very happy with this box and can't wait to get to eat everything!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

App Review: Nike Training Club

Disclaimer: I am NOT a certified trainer or fitness or medical professional. I am just a blogger sharing my opinion on an app which I use as a tool on my own fitness journey. I am also not affiliated with Nike nor was I asked/obligated to use this product. 

App: Nike Training Club
Cost: Free
Requirements: iPod touch, iPhone or iPad with iOS4 or above.

Through a recommendation on Twitter, I downloaded this app. I just recently started to use it, and it is awesome! Best part is it's a free app, but I think it would be worth paying a few dollars for.

The app itself has about 85 workouts, with different drills in each workout. There are four kinds of workouts: cardio drills, toning with light weights and intervals, strength training with heavier weights, and 15 minute workouts targeting specific areas of the body. The first three types have three levels (beginner, intermediate, advanced) and range in time from 30-45 minutes. The app suggests combining the 15 minutes workouts with 30 minutes of cardio "to maximize your workout."

I opened up the app, and decided to do the 15 minute Ab Buster workout. When I was in the workout, I love how it told me exactly how much time I had on each move, as well as left on the workout as a whole. It also gives you audio cues with tips on form as well as a few seconds warning when it was almost time to move on to the next move.

I also loved how I was able to get step-by step instructions (either through pictures and text or video) on how to do moves if I was unsure on how to do them. I did have to do this quite a bit, but it does help improve form during the workout.

The program also tracks how much time you spend working out, and you can unlock bonus content as you spend more time using the app.

You also don't need to be in the gym at all to use this. As long as you have weights, a medicine ball, and your device, you can workout just about anywhere. I found a mat to be helpful as well, since some of the moves (especially those in the ab workouts) are on the floor.

Anyway, here's the pros and cons (in my opinion) of this app:

  1. Workouts for any level, whether you're just starting or have been working out forever.
  2. There's not only a workout for any level, but also for any amount of time you have.
  3. Music control within the app. If you workout to music (like me), this is a must!
  4. Bonuses unlocked after every sixty minutes of working out.
  5. Audio cues throughout, with both form tips and when it was time to move on to the next move.
  6. No need for a gym! As long as you have your iPhone/iPad/iTouch and the appropriate equipment, you can workout!
  7. Easy to get step by step instructions on a move, either by video or picture/text.
  8. The app tells you how much time you have left on both the move and the workout overall.
  1. If you pause the workout, the music stops. This annoyed me because I would pause the app, and have to reset my music when I got started again.
  2. Separate download for bonus content. This actually makes sense, but I found it to be annoying, especially when I got seven bonus workouts when I first used the app.
  3. While it does give you a time cue when there's a few seconds left in a move, it's inconsistent. Sometimes it would be a thirty second warning, others it's only ten seconds.
  4. Only available if you have an iPod Touch/iPhone/iPad.
While this app has some things that are a bit of a pain, it is overall excellent. I have just started using it and have found it to be very useful. I can have a different workout every time I workout, plus it's user friendly. If you're looking for an app to get started or even to keep you from getting bored, and have an iPod touch/iPhone/iPad, then I would recommend this one.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

George Sheehan Classic (Red Bank, NJ)

Looking back on this race, even though it just ended two hours ago, I think George Sheehan's words say it all. (BTW, this was the back of the race shirt I got.)

I found out about this race four weeks ago, when I ran the Spring Into Summer 5K. I took a card with the website, and gave myself a few days to think about it.

Three days later, I had signed up for what would be my third race in a seven week span.

This race turned out to be a different experience than the first two. For one, I wasn't going crazy picking up my bib/timing chip and shirt on race day (Bib was sent about two weeks ago, and I got my shirt yesterday.)

It was also huge! My first race had a few hundred, the second was slightly more, and this one was anticipated to have close to 2500 runners! (I'll have more on that part later in the post.)

Everything this morning was in routine. I woke up at my usual race day time (6:30), ate my Cherrios and skim milk, checked Twitter and Facebook, and I left an hour later. 

I got into Red Bank about a half hour before the start. It was a lot of mingling in the general area of the start until race time (8:30). Everyone was kind of scattered until we lined up for the start, which was PACKED. This was how close I was to the start line (indicated by the checkered flag, which I circled in yellow)...

...and this is how far back it goes. 

Well, I can't say exactly how far back, but you get the idea.

Among the usual pre-race speeches, they announced that we would be running over Tower Hill. I just thought to myself, "Okay..." (More on that later).

Next thing I knew it, the national anthem was sung, and we were off! My third 5K was under way!

Well, after about 20 seconds. There were so many people that I had to walk to the timing mat. That's right, walk. A lot of people had the same idea, and very few started running until after crossing that mat.

Mile 1 was fast, and even with a walk break or two, I felt strong. I clocked in at 10:30, according to my watch (I think the clock time was 11:15-11:20, but I was going with my watch). I walked through a water station (part of my cup went on me =/), then kept running.

Mile 2 was a little slower, but I still felt strong, clocking in at 22:00 (clock time of 23 something; this mile was a bit of a blur, honestly). Just after that water stop, here came Tower Hill.

I was not anticipating the hill at all, and ended up walking up the hill. Although, I wasn't the only one who did this. It was steep, but it felt shorter than I thought.

After I went up, I pretty much came sprinting down, almost rolling. I ended up slowing down after a bit, since I knew flat road was coming up again.

It was at this point where I knew a PR wasn't possible. The hill slowed me down considerably, and took a lot out of me. 

Anyway, after a few more minutes, the race came back on to Broad Street, and the finish line was in sight. I ended up sprinting into the finish (with Chris Brown's "Yeah 3x" playing before I had to take off my headphones). Clock time was 36:44, but my official time was 35:51.04, just less than a minute slower than my PR. 

I kind of have mixed emotions about it, since I was going for a PR, but I didn't anticipate running the hill, which I might have known about if I checked out the course beforehand (which I didn't get the chance to do), so I'll take it and be proud of it. 

Looking back, I think I'm more upset over not getting a medal (which the registration form said all finishers would get), since they ran out just before I finished. At first, I was upset because I ran too slow to get one, but I got over that kind of quickly. I did have a good, strong race and enjoyed the experience.

Of course, there was the usual post-race spread of food. Foccacia sandwiches, chips, bagels, and probably more. I did get a cup of mango yogurt, but that was still a struggle to eat. I found out I'm one of those runners who can't eat for a few hours after a race.

I think I'm taking a few weeks of of running, since there's no races around here until September, and I kind of want a break. I guarantee this is not the end of my racing journey by a long shot!

Thank you for the love and support again! It means a lot to me!