Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday Five 2.0 - Things I'd Buy Again

Today's Friday Five 2.0 topic should be called "things I do buy again over and over and over" because once I find something that works for me, I stick with it!
Shoes: You all know how I went through the hardest time finding new shoes once my first "buy them over and over" style changed too drastically for me to continue wearing them. My new repeats are the Brooks Ravenna 7. I just ordered my second pair and I can't wait to break them in! If the 8s change significantly I'm going to be really pissed.
I can't wait for these babies to be delivered this weekend!
Accessory: I probably own six or seven different running belts, but once I found the FlipBelt, I haven't look back. It's the only belt I ever wear now, and I wear it on 90% of my runs. Within two months of buying my first, I bought two more because...why not!
These are so comfortable and spacious. They never ride up. The water bottles that fit in them are comfortable. I don't know why I waited so long to try them!
Headphones: I haven't had to buy new headphones since getting my Jaybird Bluebuds X, but if they were to break and I needed new bluetooth headphones, these would be it. They fit so perfectly, have great battery life, stay in my ears, deliver great sound...I just love them!
I just learned these are discontinued which is so sad because they're the best!
I've had them for so long (since 2013) I can't even find the post I wrote when I first got them, but they're still in perfect condition. Matt even dropped his in the bottom of a lake once, and when he found them they still worked!

Socks: I have so many Pro Compression socks it's a little embarrassing. I won't run in anything other than my PC Runners or Marathon Elite socks, and I love the sleeves for recovery; I bought some Feetures on a whim once and hate them. I literally never wear them.
In my sock drawer, I have a special bucket of Pro Compression socks. I think maybe they need to take over the main drawer and the bucket can hold the socks I never wear.
Clothes: I think I own the Lioness skirt in almost every print it comes in! It's my favorite skirt. Those pockets! Those pleats! Those prints! I will buy it again...and again...and again.
Aren't they pretty?! I can't wait for the winter prints to be released.
Reviewing this, I think maybe I have a shopping problem! But I'm definitely brand-loyal once I find something that works for me, so it doesn't surprise me that I tend to hoard running stuff that I love. I mean, who doesn't?!

What are some of your repeat purchases?

ABK

Thursday, December 1, 2016

My Other Sport (#tbt & TOL!)

Today, I'm thinking out loud about my other sport: volleyball.

I am really not a naturally athletic person. When I was younger, I was much more into indoor hobbies. I loved to write and read. I liked to draw. I took singing lessons and went to drama camp during summer when my friends went to sports camp.

But when we moved to Florida, my mom wanted me to meet people, so she encouraged me to sign up for volleyball. In 8th grade, everyone made the middle school team, but I immediately realized I loved it and had a little bit of natural talent.
My JV team; I think I was a sophomore here. Can you spot me?
Varsity players had much cooler uniforms, as you see here. This was junior or senior year.
I played all four years for my high school, attended summer camps, and joined a traveling team. I even played for the local junior Maccabiah Games one year. (I wish I had a picture of that!)

I was never talented enough to play in college, so I settled for intramural and played with my sorority.
Playing some intramural volleyball with my colleagues for our inter-school tournament for teachers.
For awhile after college, there were no opportunities for me to play volleyball. I took up running in grad school, and then started teaching. That first year, I co-coached the girls team with another teacher. When that teacher moved out of state the next year, I took over.

I've coached our team ever since.

I love watching the students play; they are so enthusiastic and have such a good time. They really learn to depend on each other, support each other, and gain confidence in their own place on the court and within the team. Running is a great sport, but I really believe team sports (especially those that include a bench) are one of the best ways to teach life lessons.
Our girls (in red and blue) playing a fantastic game while I nervously pace on the sidelines.
I've developed some habits from my high school coach; I never sit during games, instead choosing to pace outside the court and shout instructions and encouragement. My coach used to eat an entire tin of Altoids when he got nervous; the smell of Altoids still makes me think of him!

So  far this year our record is 2-1 with one more regular season game and then playoffs. Some of my girls have been on the team since 6th grade, and for the last three years or so I've had returning players. It gives me a chance to have a different kind of mentoring relationship than with teaching, and this year especially - because I have no students of my own - I especially appreciate being about to coach them.

I love running, but volleyball was the first sport I ever played, and the first that showed me I could be athletic if I wanted to try. It will always be a special favorite of mine.

Do you play a sport besides running?
What was the first team you belonged to?
Do you consider yourself a natural athlete?

ABK

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Time for Training

So, as you know, I talked Elizabeth into running the A1A half marathon with me, and that means we're officially training! We're actually a few weeks into it, but I wanted us to have our flow underway before I wrote too much about it.
Want to run in gorgeous February weather along the beach with me and Elizabeth and Kristina?! Don't forget you can get a 15% discount by using ALI at checkout!
We put together a plan that I think will work for a first time half-marathoner; it's the running plan I used when I finally trained properly for a half. We run four miles three times during the week, always including the bridge. (We don't do special speed work or repeats; we just make sure our four miles includes the bridge twice.) Our long run is always done easy on a flat route. Then, we fit cross-training into our schedule a couple times a week and give ourselves a rest day.
Someone asked about our bridge's specs. It's about .9 miles from end-to-end and the elevation is +16 feet.
We're both in the honeymoon phase of feeling really excited and ready to totally nail this plan.

Ask me how I feel in a few more weeks.

After capping my runs at 10 miles (and usually going 8 or 9), seeing 13-15 mile runs on my calendar is a bit daunting. The first few long runs haven't been mentally easy; a big part of me hasn't been motivated to run that far, and I've had to rearrange my mindset so I can be mentally ready for running long again!
Yes, this. If I'm being honest, while mentally running long has been daunting, but physically it hasn't been that difficult. Yet.
I guess this means my year of short distance is mostly over. Still, I think I've successfully rekindled my appreciation for 5ks and plan to run them more often; this half doesn't have to change everything!

Anyway, we have our plan totally mapped out. We've planned a 15-miler because Elizabeth really wants to "beat" her brother's longest distance (a half) and 15 sounds like a "good distance" to her. That means it will be the farthest I've ever run during half training; I'm interested to see the results.
We sketched out our long runs one day during lunch. Elizabeth said her students' reactions to the mileage were hilarious.
We don't have any time goals, although I think realistically we could come in around 2:20 without much trouble; we plan to run the entire race together and just have fun. It's hard to race and talk, so chances are we'll keep a nice, conservative pace...

Then again, seeing Elizabeth's paces lately, we may gun for a PR. Who knows! I know I'm "helping" her train for her first half, but really I'm just helping her run through her boredom. She's more than capable of running a half without my guidance! I'm just along for the ride.

Are you training for anything right now?
Do you like to create your own training plans?
Have you ever mentored/trained a running buddy in a distance that's new to them?

ABK