Halloween Costumes for Runners

Halloween is fast approaching. I’ve scoured the web for the most hilarious running themed costumes this year.

Running Forrest Gump Costume

Running Forrest Gump $59.99

Runny Nose $34.99, How do you see through that thing?!

Adult Pair of Sneaker's Costume

Two costumes for the price of one, Pair of Sneakers $49.99

118118 Male Runner Costume  - Medium

And if you’ve never run a day in your life, you can purchase the “Male Runner Costume” which consists of the t-shirt and shorts for $17.22.

What are you going to be for Halloween this year?

 

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Visit Lex

Waiting just a bit longer for work to start. Last weekend, I decided it was time to take a trip! I set out East on I-64 toward Lexington, KY for a visit with a BFF from high school. I was so happy that two months ago she moved a bit closer to me for a job at the University of Kentucky.

On our first night together we ate at Palmers Fresh Grill. We started with calamari with peanut sauce. The fried banana peppers added a tangy twist. The dish paired well with my light beer, Cougar Bait, ordered mostly for the name. For my main dish I ordered the toothsome Oriental Mahi (is that term still PC?). Since I spent five long hours in the car, with a one hour time change, it was refreshing to be able to sit on the outside patio.

On Friday morning we took our time waking up. We set out on an hour long scenic trip to Maker’s Mark in the town of Loretto. The drive was certainly worth the visit to the beautiful distillery grounds decked in Chihuly art. (This is my first time looking up the artist… he wears an EYE PATCH.)

Our tour guide was enthusiastic, the tour was thorough, and the tasting was worth the wait.img_2910.jpg

After lunch at the on-site restaurant we headed back toward Lex. We tried visiting Four Roses but arrived 10 minutes before closing. This gave us only enough time to see the gift shop.

Later that evening we went downtown to meet with friends to play the escape room game “Mystery Mansion” at Breakout Lexington. Our party was made up of all first time players. The 60 minutes went by quickly. We broke out with about 6 minutes to spare. Our host said, “Wow. you guys were hard on yourselves.” We cheered ourselves back up with pizza and beer in a trendy outdoor spot.

The next day, we woke up a bit earlier to attend a lecture at the UK campus. I also got to tour some of the grounds. Our next stop was the downtown farmer’s market. Luckily, parking was just a few blocks away in an ideal spot where we could leave the car for the day. Pumpkins and squash of all kinds were abundant and peaked our appetite. We decided to have brunch at the nearby Village Idiot. Afterwards, we walked over the Mary Todd Lincoln house. Our tour guide, Tom, was a true Southern gentleman and very knowledgeable about the history and furnishings. He said he got to meet Sally Field when she was preparing for the 2012 movie, Lincoln.

Our next stop was the boutique shop Bella Rose. It was fun to browse but the clothing was wayyy out of our price range. Then it was time for something we could afford, ice cream. We went to Graeter’s where I ordered the mocha chip. It was quiet in town by this point since UK was playing a home football game. Our evening ended at El Rancho Tapatio. The Enchiladas Verde were tasty and served with sliced avocado on top.

This was my second time visiting Lexington. It was so fun to do a girls trip and there was plenty to keep us busy. Hopefully, I’ll be back because there is still more to explore.

 

 

A Time of Change

In the endurance sports routine, there is not often where you can immediately feel how a few days affect your athletic life for the foreseeable future.  Starting last Thursday and going through this Sunday is one of those periods!

Last week I made a decision that I will appreciate, hate, enjoy and regret between now and April.  I decided to register for Ironman Texas on April 28!


When I suffered my injury last September I was just weeks away from completing Ironman Louisville and have not felt comfortable signing up for another race until now. I always knew I would sign up for another race but I wanted to wait until I felt like I was prepared to do so, and I know that time is now!

One main reason why I know I am prepared for my Ironman journey to begin again is because for the last four months I have been training for the 40th Chicago Marathon this Sunday!  Although my training has not been my best, and I am definitely not aiming for a PR at the race, I know I am back and will be able to continue to build my strength through April.  When I cross that finish line on Sunday in Millenium Park I will complete one giant step towards my recovery.  The training has shown me how important a continuous training cycle is to race performance.

The training has shown me how important a continuous training cycle is for performance.  I have been continuously working towards this initial goal since my physical therapy started soon after my injury.  That training, even if it was just for recovery set up the base that I have continued to build on.  I know that going into my Ironman training this base will allow me to face the 140.6 miles in April with confidence.

-Runner

The couple that spins together…

stays together?! Haha, yes, Runner and I are that couple at the gym. Just last weekend we attended a two hour indoor spinning class called Cycle120. We also enjoy the 45 minute version on Thursday mornings at 6:15 am.

I have to say that I really enjoy getting to go to the gym with a friend, even if he is really competitive and kicks my butt! He’s usually one of only a few guys in the class. Girls usually dominate group fitness classes and this one is no exception. However, this year Runner has encouraged some of his classmates to come out which has made the class even more fun.

Our classroom is in a re-purposed racquetball court. There are only 24 bikes so in order to attend the class you have to pre-register online. Some instructors are more popular than others, and their classes fill up fast. Our favorite instructor motivates us with her ripped muscles and motivational speaking  – “You are here this morning because you are a high achiever.” I mean, who wouldn’t want to wake up to that ego boost?!

I enjoy the class because you can choose your own intensity. Yes, the bike seats are uncomfortable and sometimes you feel like you might die.  But, its easy to get lost in the music and just focus on yourself.  I usually make it about 10 miles in 45 minutes. I find that I have trouble getting my resistance up very high but I know with each workout my legs are getting stronger.

Finishing the workout by 7 am is a huge perk and we never have any guilt stopping by Dunkin Donuts on the way home.

 

A New Fitness Goal

Bride here with some new letters after my name! Yes, I am newly graduated and awaiting the start of gainful employment. This also means I have a load of free time. Ahh what were my hobbies again?

Well, I decided to give running another try. Remembering that I enjoyed the 10K distance while training for my first and only half marathon, I decided to go for the St. Louis Rock ‘n’ Roll  10K on October 15. Runner is going to be a pacer and is training a friend for the half event, so I figured it would be fun to participate. Runner and I have always enjoyed Rock ‘n’ Roll races (Virginia Beach x 3). When I found out that the band Fastball would be playing the post-race concert, that sealed the deal!

I turned to the internet to find a training plan. I am following Hal Higdon’s novice 10K training plan. I’m in week 3 now and it has been going well. The last time I ran an official 10K was on Valentine’s Day in 2015 (brr it was cold!). You can find a nice recap here. My time was 1 hour and 17 minutes. My goal with the upcoming race is to smash this time. I think I can!

I’m cross-training with swimming and indoor cycling. So, I may be working myself up to attempt another indoor tri… baby steps, people!

My First Open Water Swim

Last Sunday, I participated in my first open water swim. The event was called “Swim the Sun” and it was hosted by US Masters Swimming.

Early early Sunday morning (4:45am!) a group of five of us from the Saluki Masters Swim Club departed Carbondale. We had a 2 hour drive west toward Lake Sunnen in Potosi, Missouri. We were off to a rough start because of the thunder and lightening, however, we were determined that the event wouldn’t be canceled on us.

While the weather did in fact clear up, the sun did not want to shine on us! On the car ride I sipped coffee and ate a Cliff bar. We made it to our destination around 7:15 am. The event was held at the beautiful YMCA Trout Lodge.

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I was a bit nervous before the start. I did not practice swimming in a lake ahead of time (smh, I know!). The course was set up as a triangular 1-mile course, marked by three large inflatable cone-shaped buoys. There were lifeguards in kayaks scattered among the lake as well. My coach gave me great advice on sighting and I felt excited to swim.

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I chose the two mile option, which meant I would go around twice. There were some swimmers there who chose to swim up to 4 miles. The start was from treading water that left in waves every 15 minutes based on distance. My group entered the water just before 8:30 am. We walked into the water from a beach with about 3 minutes to spare. The temperature of the water was 80 degrees. Since the air temp was only in the 70s, it felt good!

My first thought was that this was less scary than I expected. The water was deep and there wasn’t much to look at under the water. As I rounded the first buoy I felt confident. The conditions were awesome – barely any current and great visibility. I felt like I was pushing myself to keep up a good pace. I was glad that I wore my Garmin Vivofit as a watch and measure of my distance. At times I felt like I wasn’t taking the straightest route, especially when I looked over at other swimmers. But, following coach’s orders, I didn’t let that lead me astray. There was only one time that I got freaked out and that was when a piece of seaweed floated over my shoulder, lol.  It took me 1 hour and 5 minutes to complete the 2 mile swim.

After the swim, we were treated to a lunch at the lodge’s cafeteria. Fried chicken and mashed potatoes never tasted so good! It was a great experience and I’d love do another open water swim again soon.

 

City Review: Having fun in the Big D! (May 20, 2017)

Day two of our recent vacation began the focal point of our trip.  We woke up on May 20, 2017 in Texas, the state that we would be remaining in for the next four days.  Our first stop in Texas was the Big D, a city that neither of us had been to before.

Stop 1: Dealey Plaza
After driving to Dallas from Texarkana we pulled up to possibly the most (in)famous plaza in America.  Although there was a line for us to purchase our tickets, the line moved quickly and we were able to get into the museum after less than 30 minutes.

The museum included an audio tour that you had followed through the museum that included being able to look out the window next to where Lee Harvey Oswald made the infamous shots (picture to the left).

After visiting the museum we went for a quick walk around the plaza including visiting the infamous grassy knoll, the location that Zapruder was standing when he shot his famous film of the assassination and looking at the white “X” that marked the location of the President at the moment of each shot.  It was great to be able to walk around a place that almost every American has seen hundreds of times on film that has had such an effect on the world we live in today.

Stop #2: Globe Life Park & AT&T Stadium
After grabbing a quick lunch, and driving around SMU campus, we headed out to Fort Worth for a can’t miss appointment (discussed below).  On the way to Fort Worth we stopped by to look at both Globe Life Park (home stadium to the Texas Rangers) and AT&T Stadium (home of the Dallas Cowboys).  We didn’t take a tour or anything and it was a quick visit but I saw enough to know that I have to come back for a game at each stadium.  The Rangers’ stadium was a beautiful brick facade that had a great photo opportunity outside of it that Bride could not pass up.

AT&T Stadium is just a parking lot away from Globe Life Park and there is a mixed use development being built to connect the two stadiums that will add a lot of life to the pre and post games at each stadium.  AT&T park is well known for its size but I never really believed that the stadium could not be as big as the reports.  But I was wrong, the stadium is the largest stadium I have ever seen.  After we left we got back on the interstate and headed west and AT&T Stadium dominates the skyline and is visible for miles down the road.  It is truly impressive from the outside.

Stop 3: Fort Worth Stockyards
The last stop of the day was Fort Worth.  Bride was super excited to see the Longhorns walk back to their pens at the end of the day.  The stockyards are a step back in time to when each day thousands of steers would leave the stockyards for locations to the north including Kansas, Missouri and eventually Chicago.

Walking around the stockyards you realize what a big operation they were at one point with multiple train tracks ending at the stockyards that were used for trains that would be loaded up daily with steers.  Walking the longhorns is just a small sample of how busy these few blocks were for decades.  Lastly, the longhorns are HUGE! The pictures cannot due justice to how big each one is.

 

Dallas/Fort Worth as a Running/Cycling City:
As I was driving around Dallas I did see quite a few bike lanes, but I did not see many running paths or parks in the downtown areas or around SMU.  Although there was a small river near the stadiums that had a path widing around it.  Fort Worth, on the other hand, had a large park on the river in their downtown that included a great running path.  I think that both cities would be great for running but no path that I saw, or read about really had the distance that you would want for a great cycling path.

Next Stop: Austin!

-Runner

City Review: Little Rock Arkansas: A Great Way to Start a Great Trip (May 19, 2017)

Friday, May 19: Little Rock Arkansas is not high on many people’s list of places to visit. It wasn’t on mine either as we left for our week long vacation but I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed my time in the city.

On the way:

Leaving Bright and Early!

We left early in the morning (around 5:30 am) to make sure that we got there with plenty of time to explore the city.  The drive was an easy one with no traffic since we did not go through any large cities (we only skirted Memphis) and we arrived in Little Rock before 11 am so we missed any morning commute traffic.

First Stop: Clinton Presidential Library


We decided to make one step before we had lunch.  That stop was the Clinton Presidential Library & Museum.  We had only been to the Lincoln Library in Springfield, IL so we did not know what to expect to find at the museum. The museum was two stories and in the first story, there was a replica of the cabinet room and a long corridor that was arranged based on the years of the presidency.  Each year had its own panel in the center with sections based on topics surrounding them.

Mitra sitting in the President’s Cabinet chair

On the second floor there glassed in sections that held many of the gifts that President Clinton was given during his 8 years in office.  Also, Bride’s favorite part of the museum was the last thing that we got to look at.  There was a life-size replica of the Clinton Oval Office in the museum that we were able to walk through and take pictures in.  This room not only was impressive because it was the oval office but reading about all the symbolism found in the items that are located throughout the office. Overall the museum was a great experience, and some of the artifacts are priceless pieces of American history.

Second Stop: Lunch

From the Clinton library, we walked downtown to the River Market District and had lunch at the covered food hall located in the district.  The hall had multiple stands and restaurants, similar to the standard mall food court.  Although this one had a variety of small and diverse stalls to choose from.  You could eat from a different stall every day and could come back every day for over a  week or two without eating from the same place twice.

Third Stop: Arkansas Capitols

Little Rock has some similarities to Springfield, IL.  It has been the state capital for a long time and with that distinction comes the fact that there has been more than one capitol building in the city.  In Little Rock, the old capitol is in the downtown district right on the river.  The old capitol is open and is free for anyone to walk around and look at the displays throughout the building.  The displays include the history of the building, an overview of every Arkansas governor as well as a new display focused on the first ladies of Arkansas including dresses from the first ladies, including Hilary Clinton.

Last Stop: Big Dam Bridge & Little Rock’s Running Path

Northwest of Little Rock is Big Dam Bridge.  The bridge is the longest bridge in the country designed only for pedestrians and cyclists.  According to the plaques at the beginning of the bridge, this was the only bridge ever designed to be added to a dam.  All other bridges that span dams were designed as part of the dam structure but when this dam was built it was not meant to have a bridge over the dam.

Little Rock’s Riverfront Running/Cycling Path

*I am planning a larger, more in-depth post of this path later*

The bridge is a focal point of a 16-mile run/bike path that spans both sides of the Arkansas river.  The path connects Big Dam Bridge to a bridge near the Clinton Presidential Library.  The path is really developed and you can tell that Little Rock, as a city, is committed to making this path part of its community.  The path connects the Riverfront outdoor amphitheater, the Clinton Presidential Library, the Big Dam Bridge, Junction Bridge (pictured to the left behind Bride) and everything in between.  I am looking forward to coming back to Little Rock someday and spending some quality time pounding the pavement on the riverfront trail.

Overall, Little Rock has plenty of stuff to keep you busy for a long weekend or even a little longer.  It has a great mix of history, modern entertainment, and a great path to workout on.

Look for another post on our next city later this week!

-Runner

Vacation Posts Begin

Currently, I am in the middle of a 12 state 10-day vacation.  This vacation will include visits to Little Rock, AR, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and Houston, TX as well as Panama City Beach and Ginny Springs in Florida before coming back home during the memorial day weekend.

In the next few days, I will begin posting the first in a series of reviews of the cities that we are visiting.  These reviews will not only hit on the attractions that each city has to offer but will also have pieces on the running/cycling trails that each city has and my opinion on how good each city is in welcoming runners, cyclists, and triathletes.

Little Rock and the beginning of my vacation will be the focus of tomorrow’s test.

-Runner

Back at It!

I heard the pop.  The sound that makes everything move more slowly.  I heard that sound and knew before I hit the ground that everything was going to change.

On Wednesday, September 7, 2016, my athletic life changed quickly.  I was playing a soccer game with my law school soccer team when an innocent play for a header turned into a trip to the emergency room that night and 8 months of recovery since.  That pop was my patella dislocating and relocating due to the impact of my fall

That pop was my patella dislocating and relocating due to the impact of my fall.  It caused a Medial Patellofemoral Ligament (MPFL) tear and pieces of cartilage to break off.  I got surgery on Halloween and was in physical therapy since before the surgery occurred.  I cannot speak highly enough of the team that has helped me recover in the last 8 months, but now the hard work begins.

Despite physical therapy and all the work I have done so far, I am still not as strong as I was on September 6, 2016, but I am well on my way to be not only as strong but stronger than I was before my injury.  The assurance that I will grow to be stronger than before my injury has allowed me to once again look forward to my next athletic challenge.

THE NEXT CHALLENGE
Although this is a new challenge it is one that is familiar to me.  Before my injury, I was working to finish Ironman Louisville that was less than a month after my infamous soccer match.  My new challenge seeks to update and complete this unfinished goal.

I plan on competing in Ironman Texas next April!  Ironman has not announced the exact date yet for the 2018 race but, assuming it is on the same weekend as it was this year, I am just 48 weeks away from finally becoming an Ironman!

I am nervous to train through the winter for a race but this race will symbolize more than just triumphing over my injury.  Just a few weeks after this race I will graduate law school, signifying a new chapter in my life.  I see this event as culminating not only a long term athletic goal but also an educational goal that I have worked so hard to accomplish.

Before that race, I have a million steps that I will need to take but they will all be taken with one goal in mind…to become an Ironman!  More coming later!

-Runner