Friday, October 31, 2014

friday five: halloween

Happy Friday, my friends! Per usual, I am linking up with the lovely ladies of DC: Courtney at Eat Pray Run DCCynthia at You Signed up for What?, and Mar at Mar on the Run, as I do every Friday. This week's theme is "Halloween", so I'll just talk a bit about what I like (or dislike) about the holiday along with this time of year in general...

1. Halloween/costume races. I ran the Monster Dash 5K last Saturday. I loved seeing all of the costumes! Plus, at the aid stations there was trick-or-treating aka we got some candy :)

2. Fall weather. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned my love of fall weather before, but Halloween usually means fall weather is in full swing. Some years, it even means winter is close (or has already shown itself). Luckily, fall has been around for most of October. There have been a few warmer days, even getting into the 70s and 80s, but October weather this year in Chicago has been near perfect, in my opinion. 

3. Darker days. Daylight Savings ends on Sunday, which means it will be a little lighter out earlier in the day than it currently is, but night time will fall on us even earlier. I have a hard time with leaving work and it being dark out. With the cooler temps and dark night hours, I'll be spending more time at the gym during the week and trying to get my long runs in on the weekend outside, even if it's cold.

4. Candy. I know this shouldn't be in my top 5, but I love candy, especially the fruity, chewy kind (Starburst, Twizzlers, Swedish Fish). I'm always happy when we have leftovers after trick-or-treating ends. I like that it's the small pieces, so it's easier to take one to work as a snack and eat them in moderation.

5. Trick-or-treaters. I love getting home in time to see the last of the trick-or-treaters. Seeing the adorable costumes the kids in the neighborhood are wearing is so fun. I especially love it when they're extra creative. When our first dog was a puppy, she was able to fit into a large dog sized costume that was a monkey. She looked a bit more like a bear unless the banana was nearby, but it was so adorable. Now, her and her sister are too big for even the largest dog sized costumes. I always think about trying to make something for them, or just get the kind that could strap around their bellies, but I forget about it until it's too late. Maybe an adult sized costume would work ;)

What do you enjoy about Halloween, or this time of year? 

Thanks to CourtneyCynthia, and Mar for hosting! Make sure to check out their "Friday Five" posts (direct links above in first paragraph) and link up if you are joining in on the fun (and if you aren't – how come?!). Don't forget to read/comment on some of the other link ups :) 

Also, in case you missed it, here are my posts from the week:

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

the weekly chase #30

On Tuesdays I join the Weekly Chase link up with Mindy from Road Runner Girl – thanks for hosting, Mindy! Below is a recap of how the goals from last week went over, and my new goals for this week. (Whoa, am I already on Weekly Chase #30? Seems like just yesterday that I started linking up with Mindy.)

Weekly goals for October 20–26; recap

Goal #1 - Daily goals – 
A: Log and stay under calorie goals. 
B: Drink 48 ounces of water.
C: Eat healthier snacks/meals. 
D. Hit 10,000 steps per day via Fitbit.
Um... this was a VERY bad week on all counts. Time to step it up this week—I'm getting serious about these goals again.

Goal #2 - Continue Dopey training - this week has two 45 min runs and 5 miles on Saturday.
I did one short run and a 5 mile on Saturday.

Goal #3 - Roll with the stick/foam roll, stretch, and ice daily.
I did some rolling, but did not ice like I should have. 

Goal #4 - Cross train at least two days.
Yes. Got in some walking and a very short bit of cycling.

Weekly goals for October 27–November 2

Goal #1 - Daily goals – 
A: Log and stay under calorie goals. 
B: Drink 48 ounces of water.
C: Eat healthier snacks/meals. 
D. Hit 10,000 steps per day via Fitbit.

Goal #2 - Continue Dopey training - this week has two 45 min runs and 5 miles on Saturday.

Goal #3 - Roll with the stick/foam roll, stretch, and ice daily.

Goal #4 - Cross train at least two days.

Goal #5 - Drink less pop - I am aiming for a weekly count of only 4 (I usually have one a day, so that would cut back on 3... baby steps).

How about you – what are your goals for the week?

Monday, October 27, 2014

week in review: october 20–26

Dopey Challenge Training: Week 17

Monday, October 20: rest day

Tuesday, October 21: unscheduled rest day

Wednesday, October 22: 30 minute walk

Thursday, October 23unscheduled rest day

Friday, October 24rest day

Saturday, October 253.2 miles at Monster Dash 5k, 2.04 miles right afterwards to = 5.24 miles for the day (30/60 run/walk intervals)

Sunday, October 262.41 miles (treadmill - 60/60 run/walk intervals), 5 minutes on stationary bike; 20 minute walk with the dogs

Weekly mileage:  7.65 miles
Total mileage for Dopey Challenge Training: 263.7 miles

Oh boy, not a great week in terms of training. I skipped a day of running - eeks! Let's just say I was pretty exhausted all week, still battling allergies and a minor cold. I'm still not feeling great this week, but I do plan on sticking to my training schedule, which is intense — two 45 minute runs on Tuesday and Thursday, 8.5 mile walk on Saturday, and 20 miles on Sunday. Since I have my gym membership, I'll also take a stab at some cross training there – I'd really like to try the row machine, but need a little help to make sure I'm doing it right. 

I had a busy calendar this past week with only two days after work being home; the rest of the week I would get home and would be off for dinner and/or drinks immediately, and by the time I got home it was past bedtime. I'm pooped! I really need to stop planning so many meet ups and rest one of these days ;)

On Saturday I ran the Monster Dash 5k with my mom in Chicago. It was a gorgeous day for a run, even a bit warm if you can believe it! Since I needed 5 miles for the day, after finishing the race and grabbing our medals, water, and snacks, we hit the lakefront path again for 2 more miles. You can read my BibRave review here. Later in the day, I went to Boo at the Zoo with my brother, sister-in-law, nephew, and husband. After that, the hubs and I were off to a friend's birthday party.

I tried to put a BibRave tattoo on my hand...
it didn't work out too well haha.

Monster Dash medal, BibRave orange tank, and
my first time wearing a Sparkle Athletic skirt :) 

For the first time in weeks, I was able to sleep in on a Sunday – I went to bed without setting an alarm, and it felt amazing to just wake up when I wanted, and then be lazy around the house for a bit. Around noon I hit up the gym and ran on the treadmill while watching the Bears game, and then tried a stationary bike. The bike was one of the lower ones with a back, and I did not like it much. I think I just feel awkward because when I'm more used to the standard sit up bikes. I'll try one of those next time.

Tried out my Flipbelt at the gym - worked great!
Full review to come after more testing is done.

After the gym the hubs and I took the dogs for a walk, I returned a library book, we hit up a local brewery for a drink to finish watching the Bears game, and then that night we went to a friends house for dinner and a game night with some of my college friends. It was a blast! Now it's time to get serious about eating right, staying on task with my training schedule, and hydrating for the weekend!!

As a side note, ENERGYbits is running a promotion right now called BITS for BIBS: 

To celebrate your success and commitment to a lifestyle of running and working hard to achieve your fitness goals, the ENERGYbits team would like to congratulate you with some fun swag and a chance to brag!

All you need to do is:

1. Email Emily Pettengill epettengill at a photo of one or more of your 2014 race bibs and your twitter handle.

2. In the subject line of the email put “BITS for BIBS”.

3. Immediately (or within 48 hours of emailing Emily), place your next order on Remember to use code HeatherRuns for a 25% discount!!

4. The ENERGYbits team will include a SWAG Bag (value $50.00) when they receive your order.

5. They will post your bib photo on a promotion card and Tweet it!

Don’t delay! This promotion will only run for a few weeks!
[Please Note: they can only send one SWAG Bag per person. Thanks!]

Look What’s in Your BITS for BIBS SWAG Bag!


How was your week? Did training go well? Any races over the weekend? What are your recovery tools/tips?

P.S. Make sure to review your race(s) on, and join us for #BibChat tomorrow night at 8pm CT.

Friday, October 24, 2014

friday five: reasons to run

Happy Friday, my friends! Per usual, I am linking up with the lovely ladies of DC: Courtney at Eat Pray Run DCCynthia at You Signed up for What?, and Mar at Mar on the Run, as I do every Friday. This week's theme is "Five Reasons to Run". 

In January, I will be tackling my first marathon... after also running a 5k, 10k, and half marathon in the three days prior. Yes, I am taking on the Dopey Challenge – if you didn't know already haha... I talk about it often enough ;) Training is already in full swing, and I've gotten up to 17 miles. Here are some of the reasons why I decided to register for the Dopey Challenge.

1. To challenge myself. I honestly never planned on running a marathon. That wasn't in my agenda when I started running and racing. However, as I've gotten more involved with the running community, I felt so inspired by everyone else that has completed one, that I wanted to challenge myself and run across that finish line. I never thought I'd be able to run 13 miles, let alone 26.2. I've been happy with training so far. It'll be quite the challenge for me, waking up early for four consecutive days, and running those four races. I cannot wait to put myself to the test. Crazy? Maybe, but I love it.

2. All the medals. For the Dopey Challenge you not only get a medal for the four races, you also get one for the Goofy Challenge (the half and full), as well as the Dopey Challenge medal. Whooo! As a competitive Irish Dancer for many, many, many years, I grew accustomed to working really hard, and in the end, getting an awesome prize for placing. I love getting something for my hard work at the finish line. I'm competing against myself, rather than others. Always trying to better my best, and I feel that's all I can do. All runners have different back stories, and I am impressed by everyone, but I don't judge my running versus others, because it just makes me sad haha.

3. It's at Disney World. I mean, if you're going to run a marathon, I feel like Disney World is one of the best options (especially for a first one!). I'm hoping all of the excitement, sights, and sounds will help keep my mind off of the miles and pain.

4. A new sense of accomplishment. Finishing 5k, 10k, and half marathons have given me such a feeling of accomplishment. No matter my finish time, I worked hard and carried myself across the finish lines. I can't wait to (hopefully) cross that finish line in January and have an amazing feeling of completing 26.2 miles. I'll probably cry.

5. Learn new things about myself. Running in general has taught me a lot about myself. I realize how resilient, tough, and strong I actually am... things I wouldn't really notice otherwise. I am grateful my body is allowing me to run and to train for a marathon, and I love the quiet long runs by myself – it gives me time to think, reflect on life in general, and push my limits.

Have you run a marathon? Any tips for me? I could use all the help I can get. 

What are some of your reasons to run?

Thanks to CourtneyCynthia, and Mar for hosting! Make sure to check out their "Friday Five" posts (direct links above in first paragraph) and link up if you are joining in on the fun (and if you aren't – how come?!). Don't forget to read/comment on some of the other link ups :) 

Also, in case you missed it, here are my posts from the week:
Week in Review
Weekly Chase #29
Zensah Ultra Compression Leg Sleeves Review

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

zensah ultra compression leg sleeves review

First off, I'd like to thank BibRave and Zensah for being so kind as to provide me with the sleeves to try out.*

A lovely rep from Zensah contacted me about what size and color Ultra Compression Leg Sleeves I would like. I loved the hot pink, but decided to mix it up with a neon green pair. They also came in black, white, yellow, red, heather grey, navy, and electric blue–plenty of great options! When you buy the Ultras, they come as a pair, which means you get two sleeves. I was super excited to try out the Ultras and to see if I noticed a difference (I did!). I'm a huge fan of sleeves over socks, so was really happy these were sleeves.

Size chart.

As far as sizing, they give you a range for each size using height and calf size. My height and calf size give me a different size (my calves are larger than my height would suggest haha). Calf size should be used as the primary determinant. Height is listed for those who do not know their calf size, but I would suggest measuring your calf to determine your size rather than using height.

A package from Zensah arrived at my door about a week after my order. I was so excited! I opened it up and there were my green beauties, along with a handwritten note from the Zensah rep – great touch and very thoughtful!

I was a bit nervous that the ultras would be too tight and bother me, but they fit like a glove. Even though I get a size larger than my height so that they fit my calves, I don't notice them being too long, which I know is a fear for some. Luckily, I'm not too short, so the length isn't an issue.

Zensah regular compression leg sleeves - worn on my 15 & 17 mile run.

If you're a runner, especially longer distances, then you probably know all about compression sleeves. I bought my first pair of compression sleeves (also Zensah) back in March of 2012 I believe. I was still pretty new to the running game, but had heard great things about them and gave them a shot. I have also tried out another brand of compression sleeves, but have to admit that Zensah is my favorite. I love the material and feel of the sleeves, and I can get them on easy enough, but still feel the compression. You can read more about the science of compression here, and go here to read what makes Zensah different.

Recovery mode after 17 miles.

I generally don't wear them when running, but often I sleep in them the night before and after a run, or right after I shower after a long run. However, I've been upping my mileage while training for Dopey, and wear the regular sleeves for the 15+ long runs, coming home and showering, and then putting on the Ultras for recovery. I thought for sure I would be extremely sore after my 15 and 17 mile runs recently (I had never run that far before), but I woke up feeling very little pain in my calves. I attribute that the the magical powers of Zensah.

You may wonder what the difference is between the regular and the ultra: The Ultra Compression Leg Sleeves were designed for those seeking a tighter fitting compression sleeve as compared to our original Zensah Compression Leg Sleeves. Those new to compression may prefer the original Zensah Compression Leg Sleeves, as they provide a snug fit and comfort for hours.

To wash them, I put them in a laundry bag, cold water, delicate spin cycle in the washing machine, and then I hang to dry (they say they can be delicate machine dries). So far, they haven't lost their compression abilities (which I wouldn't expect for a while). They have washing info, replacement time frame, etc in their FAQ section of the website.

Replacement depends on usage – "Just like a pair of running shoes, the life of Zensah leg sleeves and compression socks varies with the amount of miles you put on them. Based on typical usage, you should expect them to last about 6–8 months. It's recommended that if it has been 6 months since your last pair of new leg sleeves or socks, you should order a new pair to ensure you are receiving the optimal amount of compression."

A bit more information from Zensah website: 

"Zensah Ultra Compression Leg Sleeves give athletes a tighter fit in the calves and shins to increase performance and decrease muscle recovery time by stimulating blood flow while stabilizing the muscles to help prevent injury. Sold as a pair - i.e. two sleeve per purchase.

Key Features and Specs:

  • Higher level of compression for maximum blood flow
  • Shin and calf support
  • Muscle stabilization to help prevent injuries
  • Increased muscle response and performance
  • Decreased muscle recovery time
  • Moisture wicking and antimicrobial
  • Made of 82% Polyamide, 18% Elastane
About the Product
Zensah's Ultra Compression Leg Sleeves were created to give athletes a higher level of compression. Whether for runners, cyclists, or basketball players, the Zensah Ultra Compression Leg Sleeves provide athletes with increased performance and decreased recovery time.

Made in Italy of innovative Zensah fabric (a blend of Polyamide and Elastine), the Zensah Ultra Compression Leg Sleeves are designed to last.

Using the Ultra Compression Leg Sleeves for running helps to prevent the micro-tears of the muscle. Athletes are also able to use the Ultra Compression Leg Sleeves for cycling, as the footless design ensures they fit perfect with the today's most popular cycling shoes."

They cost $44.99, which is a reasonable price for recovery! Especially if you wear them as much as I do... I really get my money's worth :) You can go here to purchase online (or put them on your Christmas wish list, I'm adding them to mine haha), or go here to look for a store where they are sold. 

Follow Zensah:
Twitter (currently running a giveaway!)

PS Here's a chart to help you decide between compression socks or sleeves.

Interested in what the other Pros have to say? Check out these reviews:

*Though I was provided with the Zensah Ultra Compression Leg Sleeves through the BibRave Ambassador Program, I was not compensated in any other way and all thoughts and opinions are my own, as always.