Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Count down

10 days until 10-10-10, Wow!!!!!  Chicago Marathon here in come.  4 more training runs left. 

One more day to enter my giveaway!!


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wonder Wednesday

Why is it that even though I already have my run done for the day, if I see people out running I want to run?  While I was out doing errands today I saw 4 different people, in 4 different places running.   Why does that pump me up so much??  One of them even had a Dances with Dirt Technical shirt on,  I think I just put that on my bucket list.  Sounds like blast.  Any takers for a relay team? 

Managed my big whopping 3 mile run this morning.  1st mile I was really dragging but after that I was pumped by the music.  Now the show that was playing on my little TV screen was bit to be desired.  The TV on the treadmill is linked to the TV in our bedroom ( for whatever reason), so whatever channel that is on is what I have to watch.  Well, my husband must of fallen asleep watching PBS (which is good and all) but do you know what is playing at 6a on PBS "Between the Lions",  a cartoon.  Thank goodness it was only a 3 mile run,  or else I would of had to get of the treadmill run upstairs and change the channel. Good thing the local radio station was playing some pumping music at that time ( through my ear buds). 

Dont forget to enter my giveway , it ends Friday.    

Have a "Wonder full" Wednesday!!!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Taper Tuesday

This week starts the taper time, gearing up for the Chicago Marathon next weekend.  What?!? It is next weekend already???  Wow, this training time has just flown by.

Tapering is kind of weird.  You work so hard week in and week out, gradually increasing mileage, making our long runs longer.  Now I feel like we are just sitting still.    I have 20 miles of training left, over the next 2 weeks.  No double digit runs, weird.    Tomorrow I have 3 mile run,  I haven't run that distance by itself in a loooong time.    Sadly though, I think it is going to be hard.  What I have learned for myself, is that it takes a while for my body to get into gear, usually about 3 miles.  So this should be interesting.    How about you?  Does it take awhile to get into the groove?  

Also, as part of Marathon vibes, I joined into Running Divas 10/10/10 Virtual 10K.  I figure the last 10K (of my marathon on 10/10/10)  I will need as much motivation/ inspiration that I can get.  Best of luck to everyone in there 10K

Dont forget to enter my giveaway for an ALO bra.   it ends on Friday.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Park2Park Half Marathon recap

Schedule called for a 12 mile run, but B and I decided to run a ‘local’ half marathon (about an hour away) instead.   As you can tell I have a wonderful friend B, whom I have done all my long runs with, we figured out that this was going to be our last run together until the big day.  It is so nice to have a friend with a similar pace, and equal dedication to get you through the tough spots.  B and I left at 6a for the drive up to Holland.  We had to arrive a little early as we had not picked up or bibs /t-shirt yet.  We had a very uneventful drive on the way up.  We anticipated a long trip home, because at 6a they were setting up a classic car show in one of the towns that we had to drive through.    At the start line /package pickup area there wasn’t enough parking so we had to park down the road a ways and get shuttled in.  That was very nice.  We had to decide what to bring with us. The biggest question mark was to run with jackets or no jackets.  It was really chilly out at this time of the morning and super windy.  We both decided to bring our jackets and worse come to worse just tie them around our waist  (plus then this gave me a couple extra pockets for sport beans).    Bib pickup was very smooth and painless; we got our stuff and went directly to the bathroom.   Wanted to get that out of the way before the lines started.  They had nice gear check there, so B checked our bags with our long sleeve race shirts that we got. It was so nice that we got there early because we were in and out of gear check and the bathroom before any lines appeared.  We still had about 30 mins or so before the start of the race, so we hung out in the warm building.    The start of the race was right outside the door so we hung out for as long as we could.  With this being a smaller race, there were no pace groups (corrals) or anything.  At about 8:15 we headed outside thinking about hitting the bathrooms again, but after we saw the long lines at the both the bathroom indoors and the porta johns we both figured we were good to go. Good thing we saw the foresight and went earlier.      Here we go – 13.1 miles

Mile 1- 2.5   Before the start of the race B and I had been talking about how far we both have come in our ‘short’ running lives.  I joked and said if I trained hard maybe someday I could qualify for Boston, I would just need to shave off about a one min or so per mile (and hold that pace for 26.2 miles, sounds so easy).  Well mile one went by and B looked at her watch as said “Holy smokes we did that in 8:35, we Boston qualified for one mile”. I laughed but said ‘ Oh man, that is great but we better slow down’.  Amazing what a little ‘race mode’ does to your speed.  We slowed a little but not that much for the next few miles.    First water stop was at mile 2.5, they were slightly unprepared (didn’t have any cups ready) but with being a smaller race they were able to pour fairly fast.  There were some fun fans around this point; they were holding these big signs on poles.  The only things on the signs were faces of people.  They were bobbing them up and down trying to grab the attention of the racers whose faces they were.  That was pretty cool.   

Mile 3- 5  These miles were through a wooded area that was only about a block from Lake Michigan.  For those of you not from the Great Lakes Region, imagine running next the ocean.  The nice fall crisp air was making the run fairly easy.  You could smell wood burning fires coming from near by houses.  It was so peaceful and serene.    B checked her watch at the 4 mile mark and we were at 36min , which is still way to fast.  This would have been fine if the half marathon was our final goal.  But really this was supposed to be a training run not a race.  But we continued on at this pace, we were feeling too good. 

Mile 5-7  These couple of miles were a little hairy. We made the turn onto a fairly busy road (or at least it seemed to be).  They didn’t have a path blocked off or anything for the runners so there were cars still going in both directions.  Every couple of blocks you would see signs that said ‘ Beware runners on the road’.    So, for these couple of miles you had to be really focused not only on your running but the cars coming at you and the road kill that seemed to pop up on the road.   

Mile 8-  Oh man, this mile was crazy.   Up to this point it was windy but the trees and houses were blocking a lot of the wind coming off the lake.  It was still rough but tolerable.  This mile, was a different story.  The 8th mile took us through the beach access parking lot.  Which on most days would be fantastic; water and sand to your left, empty parking lot to your right, nice little breeze- priceless.  Today, different story, 50 degrees out and 20 mph winds yields a hard run.   First half of the mile into the wind, then you turn and the wind is picking up the sand and throwing it at you.  Of course, we all have shorts on so the pelting of sand against your legs feels oh so great.  Where do they have the photographer for the race?  Right here, taking pictures of every one getting sand blasted.  Cant wait to see those pictures, our facial expressions will be just wonderful. On a normal day this would have been great; sun, beach, water.   At this point, with the wind and sand, I had to have a mental conversation with myself.  ‘ This is a training run, not a real half marathon, even though I am in the middle of a race.  I don’t want to go all out and get injured with Chicago being only 2 weeks away’.  I slowly started to back out of race mode and back into training mode, which is where I should have been all along.  But as we all know this is easier said than done.   B left me at this point, and continued running strong, it was a race right?   I could see her about an 1/8 to ¼ mile in front of me

Mile 9-11  Since I was now focusing on training I started to run/walk, even though I do not plan on doing that in the marathon. I knew that I flew out the first 7 miles way above my marathon pace and just didn’t want to get hurt.  The wind was still pretty strong along this part of the route.  The water station at 9.5 had some bananas, so I grabbed one of those and then continued on.  I normally don’t eat real food on races, but it had been a long time since breakfast.   I figured, go with the ‘real supplement’ instead of the sports beans I had in my pocket.   

Mile 11 –12   Made the last turn before the before the finish line.  The spectators were yelling ‘Your almost there’.  I jokingly said to the guy running next to me ‘ I really don’t like hearing that unless I have .1 to go’; he said ‘No kidding’.   

Mile 13  Even though  I knew this was the last mile, I was still run /walking it.  Just didn’t want to hurt myself with all the wind (now if this was the marathon, I would be going all out).  All I wanted to see was 2:15 or less (as that is what I ran my last 13 mile training run in).    I was running next to a guy that seemed to be struggling, I told him      ’Doing good only one more mile to go, you’ve got this’.  He said ‘ Yeah, I keep telling myself slow and steady wins the race’.  When he said that all of a sudden I started to worry, how slow was I going?  Did I mess my training up?  Did I really dog this race?  My real goal for the race was 2:10, which would have been holding a 10 min/ per mile pace.  Imagine my huge surprise when I made the final turn and saw the clock.  I still had the .1 to go, but the clock said 2:05:50.  WHAT, seriously!?!?!   I almost started crying right then and there.  I gave everything I had and flew over the finish.  My official chip time was 2:05:44.  CRAZY!!!!!  I was so excited.   I would of never ever dreamt of that.  B crossed in 1:59:21.      I joked with B and said  ‘How am I going to even explain this one, I ran hard for the first 7, ran/ walked for the last 6 and still managed to pull off a 2:05:44.  I am still in awe.  The only bummer of the race was no medal or ribbon for the trophy case.  They gave us 13.1 stickers; but both B and I commented that we ran for the medal.  In a weird sort of way the sticker still means the same thing.  I can imagine the future conservation;  “Hey, B remember the race where got a sticker”.  Oh well, it was still a lot of fun.  I would definitely run that one again.  Wow, what will Chicago bring?????
We turned the wrong way getting out of Holland then got stuck due to the Classic Car Show but made it home.  I flew in side, took the fastest shower possible and headed directly up to my daughters soccer game.  I caught the last half of her game.  I missed my son’s game but made my daughters.   Since I wasn’t sure if I was going to make either of their games (mom guilt here) I printed out pictures of soccer balls and left them on the kitchen table wishing them both luck.  They really loved that!!!!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

HALF MARATHON PR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just a quick update (details to come tomorrow)-  ran the Park 2 Park Half Marathon.  It was a great run.   Goal time of 2:10   and crossed that finish line at 2:05:44   YIPEEEEEE. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

ALO Product Review and Giveaway

I had the opportunity to test some new clothing.  ALO (Air.Land. Ocean) graciously sent me a sports bra and a pair of running shorts.

Per ALO’s website:  Our team has created a collection of performance clothing named for the elements that we live within : Air, Land and Ocean.  Each carefully designed piece was created to perform with you while promoting a life style and well being.     Through the use of recycled and minimal impact materials, ALO creates high performance active wear that delivers superb function, fit and style.  With environmentally mindful design and production processes, our men's and women's collections utilize eco-friendly performance fabrics that provide outstanding comfort and results.  
ALO’ s Vision statement is : Produce high quality lifestyle wear through processes that mitigate our carbon footprint by utilizing reclaimed and recycled materials, maintain a sustainable office environment and most impact fully pass this knowledge along to our customers so they can make easy green decisions.  Any act of “ Green- ness” is helpful to our planet.      To see how ALO is making the world a ‘greener place’ check out their Define your Green Page

If you want to see an incredible video watch the ALO 2010 Fall Holiday Photo shoot here.  

I will use my same criteria for this review as I have done in the past
1) Fit according to size
2) Material
3) Chafing/ Rubbing Issues
4) Clothing riding up or falling down
5) Ability to get off of body after strenuous workout
6) Price Comparability
7) Accessory Capable
8) Compared to ‘favorite item of mine’

I had the opportunity to try out their High Impact Color Block  Workout Bra and a pair of Running Shorts

1) Fit according to size -  I ordered a size Medium, according to their size chart, for both the top and bottom.  The top fit perfect.  The shorts seemed a little baggy, but I think it may be the style, ‘Relaxed’.  Overall they fit great, you will see later it doesn't effect performance.  If you prefer a loose style this would be a good choice.  

2) Material -  The Color Block Workout  Bra is made of  92% Polyester 8% Spandex.  The shorts have Shell 1 which is 100% polyester and then the liner which is 96% polyester and 5% Spandex.  Not sure what it is about these materials, but both of these items have to be lined dried ( which most of the gear does not). 

3) Chafing/ Rubbing Issues-  Happy to report that I had absolutely no issues with either of these products in this area.  I put 35 miles on them both, with most of that being in a 20 mile run.  No chafing/ rubbing at all!!   A strange thing did happen on my first test run in these shorts.  The black color of the shorts actually rubbed off onto my skin. Then again they bled onto my other running gear when I tossed it in the laundry.    I should have known better than to throw a brand new pair of black shorts in with other clothes.   It didn't cross my mind, since none of my other running gear has ever had that problem.  The die that bled on my skin came off easily in the shower.   I soaked the rest of my gear for couple days and rewashed; all the die was gone there too.   I told ALO about this issue and they said ‘ That is definitely not the norm and I hope it wasn't to much of an inconvenience’.  Ever since that one incident this has not been a problem. 

4) Clothing riding up or falling down- Really no issues in this department either.  The shorts rode up just a teeny tiny bit on the 20 mile run, but that wasn't until about mile 18.   Even then it was very negligible.    That may not of even been the shorts, it could of just been me sweating .  

5) Ability to get off of body after a strenuous workout-  Both of these items I could get off very easily, even after a 20 miler.  

6) Price Comparable-   The Color Block Workout Bra retails for $36 and the Running Shorts for $38 .  By checking other stores I frequent for running gear, the ALO bra is very comparable.   Checking out Road Runner Sports (where most of my running shorts are from),  ALO is a little more expensive. With that being said, I like the comfort of these shorts more than most of my other shorts.  In my opinion worth the few extra dollars.

7) Accessory Capable- The bra has nothing ( which most bras dont).  The shorts do offer a key pocket that lays between the liner and you ( where most of my shorts have the key pocket).    I don't use the key pockets for keys that is where I hold my MP3 player.  One gear pocket is the minimum I will accept in a pair of shorts.

8) Compared to ‘favorite item of mine’ -  ALO , is the on the top of my list for sports bras right now.  You are the first company that I found that does not chafe under the bra line. Number 1 in my book.  Plus, you are the first ‘color’ workout bra that I have owned,  a very nice thing for variety.  Very nice bra,  it could be worn on its own for a workout, but I am just not that kind of girl.  The shorts are very comfortable,  I would put them right up near the top too.  I would of like to see a gear pocket, in addition to the key pocket.  Moving the key pocket between the liner and shorts would be even better.  Besides that, great shorts.  I would rank them around 2 or 3 out of the 6 pair I own.

Overall great products,  the only downside for me is that the items have to be lined dried. This really is not a big deal considering they are wicking material and they dry real fast.  With 4 kids in my house time is of a virtue.   A big thanks to the ALO team for giving me this opportunity to review your gear.  Head on over to ALO to get some new workout gear.   While you are there input the discount code of " Bloglove2010"  for some savings on your order.

**  Disclaimer:   I was not paid to do this review, this is just my opinion. **

Give A Way-  Here is the part where you get to have fun.  ALO has so kindly offered to give a way, to one of my lucky readers, the same Color Block Bra  ( AWESOME).  

There are many ways to enter the give-way ( do each entry separately)
2) Visit and “Like” your favorite item (by clicking on the like icon and comment
4) Become a follower of my blog , or if you already are let me know.
5)  Become a member of ‘Christa’s Fitness Challenge on Facebook
6) Announce about my giveaway on your blog

This giveaway ends October 1st at 6pm EST.  Winner will be chosen using  Only open to US residents.  

Thank you!!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hump Day Hello

Wow, is it Wednesday already.  Where is this week going?   Just wanted to give you a heads ups up to come back on Friday for my Air. Land. Ocean  Product review and also my first giveaway ( of an Air. Land. Ocean product)

See you then!!


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

2010 Chicago Marathon Rap

One of my flellow Chicago Marathon diary writters, Andrew Spector , made this awesome song about running the Chicago Marathon ( I am sure though it can be used for any marathon on 10-10-10)

So emotional and motivational.  Its OUR TIME~~~

Chicago Marathon Rap

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Crazy gardening, 20 miler recap, shout out to Kelly and more.

Still running at 16 of 20 miles
Holy Moly, has it been a week since my last post.  Wow, time just flew by.  This week was just crazy.   If you want to get a detailed recap on my entire monster week of running (40 miles, the most I have ever ran) , click here to go to my Chicago Marathon Blog.   

B and I still smiles at mile 16

My 20 mile run was awesome!!! My first ever!!! Yes, last year I did run a marathon but wasnt able to complete the full training for it due to injury.  This was one of the most fun runs; a big thanks to my friend B for running with me and to some great friends who helped us along the way.   Taper time starts now, hoping that my body doesnt revolt; have a Half Marathon on par for next weekend (looking for my new PR).  I just cant believe that the Chicago Marathon is 21 days away!!!!

 Another week full of gardening and processing.  Last week I was so excited when I found the bottom of the 21 gallon tote that was full of tomatoes.  Well, guess what came home with my husband on Tuesday;  

3/4 of the way full of tomatoes
Green Peppers

More Green Peppers
This whole week in between marathon training and running my kids to and from activites I have made 30 jars of spaghetti sauce.  Now up- Salsa making, just have to run to the store and grab some onions.  We tried planting those last year and had no success.    The weather is starting to get really cold here at night, down in the 40's  (well at least for the Fall), so I am hoping we can get the rest of the harvest off before it goes bad. 
Our few colored peppers

Kelly, over at Secrets of a Running Mom, had a asked a question a few weeks back on "Food not ruling this house', and I responded telling her about little 'secret's that I do and shared a few recipes with her.  How awesome, because now she is sharing some of my favorite recipes with all of you (1 at a time though).  Thank you so much !!!    Congrats Kelly on finishing the Air Force Marathon- WAY TO GO!!!!!

On an ending note.  Not sure if this is a deal at your house or not, but I was out shopping for razors ( one of the wonderful joys of being a women) and came across Bic Soleil Shimmer razors,  nothing fancy about them ,BUT they came with a free pair of Ear Buds.  I don't know about you, but I go through a lot of Ear Buds in my training.  So go check your local store and see if they have the same deal.  I found mine at Meijer.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!!! Catch up with you soon.   I am going to try and enjoy my taper weeks here before 10-10-10.   How does your body handle tapering? 


Sunday, September 12, 2010

About Me

Just updated the about me section, if you want to get a peak on how I got to where I am today. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Another week down ( and more)

Sorry, it has been a week since my last post but it has just been crazy busy around here.
Last week I ran the most miles that I have ever ran before (36) , but I see higher mileage weeks in my future.  If you want to see a detail breakdown on how I got my runs in last week, click here  ( my Chicago marathon diary entry).  I am already 2 runs into this week ( 13 miles down,  19 miles to go).  

 My friend (B) and I on our 18 mile run ( I am in orange)

School started here yesterday, 3 out of my 4 are in school this year.  Now starts the jockeying around of my running schedule.  The summer made the running so much easier.  Now I have to time my runs around bus stop pick ups/ drop offs, open houses, soccer practices, etc....  Sadly, the best time to run is very, very early in the morning.  My alarm went off today at 4:20am,  I hit the snooze and layed there trying to convnice myself that there was some way that I could continue sleeping and do the run later.  There was no option, I HAD TO GET UP.  Ran 9 miles on the treadmill, flew up the stairs, turned the coffee pot on, jumped in the shower ( had exactly 10 minutes before my girls got up for school).  Got it done-  the life of a mom!!!!

Harvesting still.  All the tomatoes that were pictured in my last post have been cut and up either processed or awaiting processing.  11.5 jars of pizza sauce have been made.  We have lots of tomaotes cut up awaiting to made into some fresh and canned salsa ( we just have to get the peppers and onions.)


On Monday, my husband went out to our garden and returned with these tomatoes. 

Let me tell you a 21 gallon tote full of tomatoes is alot of tomatoes.  Tomorrow starts processing round 2- more pizza sauce , finish up salsa and some spaghetti sauce.    This is not all of the tomatoes, my husband says there are more .  Hopefully, the weather doesnt decide to get to cold or our crop is going to stop. 
I also canned up 8 jars of grape jelly. 

So, now that school started, Is getting your runs in harder?  Do you have shuffle around your times of running?    

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Healthy Eating

As fellow bloggers have been discussing trying to eat healthy to help our running / fitness.  I thought I would talk a little about our garden harvest this summer.   For the past 3 years, we have had  what we call a 'community garden', it really isn't for the whole community but really just for 3 family's ( ours and 2 others).  Our goal every year is to plant enough vegetables to yield us enough product for the year.    Not sure what happened this year but our garden went crazy.  Ya, we planted a little more this year but holy cow.  When we came home from our vacation this summer we didn't even have time to unpack, we had to get the vegetables out of the garden or they would of gone bad.    So far this is what we have yielded for just our house ( I have no idea how much stuff the other two families have, but if I had to guess, I would guess close to the same amount)
61 bags of 2 cup portions of shredded zucchini
65 bags of 1 cup portions of pureed zucchini
33 bags of 1 cup portions  of pureed yellow squash
7 gallon size bags of broccoli
130 cut up zucchini medallions (breaded ) for future frying
40 cucumbers
85 pint size jars of canned green beans

We have had a few weeks break while the next harvest turned.  But now it is tomato season. My husband came home on Monday with this

Not quite ripe yet

Almost ripe
Almost  Almost ripe

  These tomatoes are sitting in brown paper bags ripening up fast.       

My husband informed me that he will be coming up tomorrow with just as many, if not more tomatoes.  Yummy. I see lots of salsa, spaghetti sauce and pizza sauce making in our future.  

This is what is left of our zucchini and squash. Trying to get creative on what to make with it. 


We also have grape vines down our driveway that are about at peak.  So I will have to start picking those off to make some Grape juice and jelly.

Love the healthy food.       Even though I will admit that it does take time to make homemade stuff, but  it is so worth it.!!  I know exactly what is in it-  there is no High Fructose Corn Syrup in any of my stuff!!!!

Happy Healthy Eating everyone-  .  Trying to gear up for the 5 mile run I have to get in today.