Monday, March 2, 2015

Seattle Hot Chocolate 5K

Hello lovely friends!

I just had a great weekend. Ran my first race of 2015, actually my first race since NOVEMBER!

Last year my Mom, Sister and I ran/walked the Hot Chocolate 5K together and made a girls weekend of it. We stayed in Seattle the night before, went to the expo, went to dinner and then the following day did a little running. We had such a good time that we decided to make it an annual thing.

Waiting for the hotel shuttle
So we registered for the HC 5K but my mom had surgery a few weeks ago, has a bulging disc (essentially she's a complete wreck) so it was up in the air as to if she would run with us. Turns out she wasn't up to running but wanted to spend the weekend with us anyway. We caught the ferry to Seattle Saturday afternoon and called for our shuttle. Well, turns out the shuttle from our hotel didn't come to the ferry terminal, it was out of their 1 mile radius. SERIOUSLY?! My mom had called and verified it was IN the radius that morning. Whatever. They told us they could pick us up at 1st and Madison. We didn't know where that was exactly but we just started walking. Going from the ferry dock to the Seattle Center is a lot of uphill. We had our luggage and the streets were packed so my mom wasn't really enjoying the stroll. Got a few blocks up and waited outside another hotel for our shuttle to come pick us up for real this time. Thank goodness it was a sunny day, we had a 20 minute wait. Once we got to our hotel (Hyatt at the Place) we checked in and headed a couple blocks up to the expo. HC gives out sweatshirts in their swag bags every year and this years zip up was AWESOME. So comfy! Beats last years by a mile....mainly because my mom and I are quite large chested and our boobs suffocated last year. NOT FUN.

Delicious Fooooood
After the expo we went back to the hotel to freshen up and then we headed out towards Westlake Center. We had a 6pm reservation at PF Changs and wanted to hit up Top Pot donut on the way. Mandie decided we could keep them in our purses and eat them as dessert later but I just carried them out in a big bag. What was the restaurant going to do, take them away? Unfortunately I set them on the booth at PF Changs and Mandie set her purse on them so they got kinda squished. Whoops. Anyway, PFC was DELISH. Honey chicken = SO GOOD. Crab Wontons = UH-MAZING. We also go Phad Thai and Mongolian beef and it was OUTSTANDING. Nothing bad here, ever.  We got a good laugh when the waiter delivered the Phad Thai and said "I recommend squeezing your baby lime on this dish" We looked at the lime and it was so tiny. He brought us a new plate on limes :) Their fortune cookies were also red and my mom said (not sure if she was serious) "Does this taste like red velvet". I almost died laughing. The people next to us probably thought we were insane. Then we shoved all the crumbs and loose noodles by my sisters plate so when the waiter took her food he had to whip out this little tool to scrape the food off the table. We laughed so hard. "That tool if for tables with kids!"

After dinner, and a short unproductive trip to Nordstrom Rack, we walked back to the Hyatt and climbed in bed. It was like 8:30pm. I introduced Mom and Mandie to 'Pit Bulls and Parolees' and then we went to sleep. Sort of. My mom was fascinated by the people walking the streets alone at 10pm. This one is not use to city life :)

The alarm went off at 5:45am, race start time was 6:45 and we only had a few blocks to walk. Saw lots of people rocking Ragnar gear- right on! I forgot how many people run this race, about 12,000. The starting line was packed and the lines for the port-a-potties were huge so I was glad that I didn't have to go. Less nerves before this race than normal. I ran without my Garmin and had no expectations of how this race was going to go since I've taken several months off from racing/ running. It was so nice to just enjoy the experience and take lots of pictures for scrapbooking (I'll have to do a separate post about my obsession with project life). Once the starting gun went off we still had to wait about 20 minutes until our corral made it to the start line. It was crowded but not terrible until you ran into the walkers who didn't get the memo about moving to the side. Nothing pisses me off more than a group of 3 or 4 people just cluelessly taking up a good chunk of roadway
doing their own thing as if 12,000 other people aren't trying to run a race too. We ran the downs, walked some of the ups with no particular plan other than running based on feel. Half way through there was a "sweet station" passing out chocolate chips so we grabbed a few and then took some pictures in front of the big inflatable hot cocoa mug along the course. I felt like the course went by faster than year than last year even though I was little more out of shape. Maybe it's because I knew what to expect, or because the weather was gorgeously sunny. It's not the most exciting course ever but it takes you from the Seattle Center down towards Pike Place and then back around. There is a tunnel right around the 2 mile mark that has the worst grade! A few blocks coming out of the tunnel a guy said "it's all downhill from here" and I shot back "are you lying?" Everyone around laughed. It went downhill for awhile and then there was on last rather steep hill. He was a liar. Finished the race, called mom to meet up and made our way towards the finishers area to collect our mug. Final time per their website was 40:43. Eh, not bad considering. A hell of a lot slower than my PR (26:43? I think) but I'm not where I was then and have to accept my current abilities.

Overall this is a super fun race if you just want to enjoy the experience. I really love that we turn it into a girls weekend. I don't know if I would want to travel over the morning of for a 6:45 start time, but plenty of people do it from my neck of the woods. The 15K had a super cool medal this year which was a new feature, so maybe next year I will do that. We'll depends on how mom is doing because her participation is important to me too. First race of 2015 in the book and I'm re-motivated. Can't wait for my next one!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Hi, remember me? Probably not it's been so long! HA!

Ok so really quickly, where did I go? My home computer bit the dust (kinda), it's super frustrating for me to type on a tablet, and my work computer wasn't allowing me to access (I only tried during lunch I swear! :P) so I gave up fighting technology and quit blogging.

But I'm back!

It's lunchtime and I decided to check this website and viola all the stars are aligned.

How to even catch up. Oh man. Ok, so I got super fat in 2014. I gained 45 lbs between winter 2013 and winter 2014. Stress, serious lack of time to work out, lazy eating habits, sleeping problems, and injuries brought the pounds on QUICK! Anyone who has ever struggled with an eating disorder knows how mental "the game" of losing/keeping weight off is and I totally lost last year. I wanted to start 2015 off on a fresh slate but I'm still battling the desire to binge eat (OH GOD CHEESE!) and my husband and I work opposite shifts. I rush  home from work so he can sleep while I'm trying to make dinner, do chores, spend time with our littles (almost 4 and 6 now, can you believe it?!) and while YES I could technically work out in the living room and drench my living room in a pile of sweat I've been lucky to do so once a week. I became a Beachbody coach in Feb 2013. I'm the worst one in the world. I have a ton of their programs and love them, I really do they are amazing, but I love so many different activities I've never finished a full 60 or 90 day program as intended. I have boxes of shakeology, and again know that it works, but drink a few per month. I'm often running out the door in the morning without time to make or drink a shake, and in the evening I'm starving and wanting to stuff my face. Things I realize; these are EXCUSES and I should do better. So I haven't been actively selling because I don't feel like a very good advertisement. I'm a little embarrassed by my lack of control. I did SO WELL for 7 years despite pregnancies. GET WITH IT MARISSA! (<--my own little pep talk).

What else has been going on.....hmm...The most exciting thing ever happened to me. I got selected as a Ragnar Relay Ambassador! Let me explain why this is so exciting. RAGNAR IS THE BEST RACE EVER. Have you run a Ragnar? If you haven't make that a resolution for 2015 right this second. I can help you get started. It turns a solo sport into a team even that will make memories to last a lifetime.

That's all for now. Just wanted to say hi and I'm excited to get back into the world of blogging!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fitness Headband Review

I am so excited to write this post. I've been looking forward to it because I am a huge fan of fitness headbands and wear one every single time I workout! I've tried MANY different kinds and I can't wait to my experiences with you so you can make more informed decisions when shopping for your own headbands. 

I'm just going to jump right in. Goody headbands. You know the elastic ones you can get from Walmart, Target, Walgreens etc. I used these for several years before I started experiencing with other brands and learning what was out there. These aren't TERRIBLE, but they definitely fall on the bottom on my list. You can get a pack of several bands in multiple colors for fairly cheap so they are good on a budget or for someone who just kind of dabbles in exercise from time to time and doesn't want to commit to spending more on a hairband. I find that the diameter of these bands tend to vary, I purchased some that seemed too loose to actually hold my hair back, and others were so tight they were uncomfortable enough to give me a headache. It's a gamble, but again very affordable and a good starting place. 

Me and my sister- I'm rocking the Sweatyband

The next band I tried was a Sweatyband. I purchased a personalized one from a local running group and upon the first use I immediately preferred it to the Goody headbands. For awhile every time I ran I was in this same headband. The Sweatybands hold very well. They have a velvet interior, like all the rest of the bands I will review, and did not squeeze my head. Their website offers a good variety of patterns, colors, sayings etc so there is something for everyone. They even have sport specific bands (i.e. soccer, baseball). They are not specifically adjustable but have an elastic strap on the back to fit the average head. The only cons for me is that there are so many options on their webpage that it's somewhat of a daunting task to search through all the different styles and decide where you want to spend your $. The price seems pretty average, about $15 a band. They do offer a 6 pack option where you essentially buy in bulk and save $1 per band. Also, they are pretty thick (1") which is a little wider than I personally like, but they do hold the hair back really well, so it's just a matter of personal preference and may not be an issue for you at all. Overall I do recommend these because they work.

Post-Run with a BondiBand
I seemed to hear about BondiBands all over the place so I decided to purchase one.  Once I got to their website I saw they had a deal, buy 5 for $35 so of course I decided to take advantage of it and get the most for my money. These bands are affordable at $8/band on average. They have lots of different colors, sayings and even some Ragnar specific hands which are pretty darn cool, we all know I'm a huge fan of Ragnar! With that said these bands are pretty darn wide. So wide in fact that I only actually wear them in the winter when my ears need a layer to keep them warm. I know people who tuck the fabric behind their ears and wear them year-round but I just feel like there are better options out there so I probably won't be purchasing any more of these, 5 is enough to have in my collection. They are made of a comfortable lycra fabric though, sweat wicking and like I said good for in the winter, and they do allow you to be sassy....I have one that says "Tough Mother" ;). 

My 2 yr old rocking a BaniBand
I purchased my first 2 BaniBands at the See Jane Run Kids Race this Summer. These have an adjustable strap on the back on them, and a velvet interior so I thought they were perfect race accessories for my girls. They adjust down perfectly to fit even my 2 year old, and of course can fit me :) I haven't used these much simply because of the adjustable feature (laziness) and I found another brand I can just pull on, but I have no complaints about these bands. The few times I have used them they stayed snug and didn't adjust mid-activity (like bra straps slip!). They have patterned bands, glitter bands and then the sequined bands which are the ones I own. These are averaged priced at $15 and looking at their website I just noticed they have come out with a new braided style I'm actually excited to check out (you hear me BaniBand?!). They also offer three options for widths, skinny, medium and wide. So this brand gets a thumbs up from me. 

My friend Tabatha and I in our $6 bands

My Hood to Coast team got together and purchased some of these bulk. They are a decent band for the price. They also have a velvet lining. I've found that the wider band seems to stay on my head better and require less adjusting than the "Double Diva" band I purchased from them. All of their bands are $6-$8 and they have a line of glitter and sequined headbands that look practically identical to the BaniBands. I have not however seen them in person. These bands are also adjustable and I have not had any problems with them slipping during wear. They have some cute novelty bands like "Mustache" and sparkly rhinestone bands. I'm kind of interested in trying out their 360 degree stretch bands and for sure a reasonable price $8 you can't really lose if it lives up to the other bands I've tried from this company. Not my overall favorite, but a good option on a budget. 

Drum Roll Please....

My Sparkly Soul far!
My favorite. I'm starting to build a sparkly soul collection! Ok, cons first because then I will start raving about these. Sparkly Soul has less options than all the brands I've reviewed so far with the excpetion of Goody. Sparkly Soul only has sparkly or satin bands. There are no bands with sayings, patterns etc. It's just sparkles, sparkles, sparkles. With that being said they do have a good selection of colors and I'm hoping they continue to come out with more (I'd love to see coral and sunny yellow!).  Only other con is the price, these are the most expensive coming in at $17 for the 5/8'' band, which is my preferred width, and $15 for the 3/8" skinnies. I love that these are easy to slip on and off with no adjusting required. They fit me great and also kind of fit my 4 year old daughter. They are a little big and do require adjusting from time to time on her smaller head, but they don't immediately slip off and she has worn them in kids races several times. These bands are so comfortable I wear them while working out, cleaning the house, and I just bought a plain black satin that looks nice enough to wear to work and still look professional. I also really appreciate how fast sparkly soul ships out their orders. I always get an order confirmation right away and if I order a week day they always ship out the next morning. I ordered Columbus Day (Monday) and got the headbands in the mail from NY on Friday for the flat rate of $3.99. They also seem durable. I got my first sparkly soul in June and wore it constantly for a few weeks until I ordered another headband and have continued to wear it on and off since and it hasn't stretched out or lost any sparkle. These are easy to wash by hand, just hang to dry as I do with all my bands.

My oldest daughter and I in SparklySoul!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Just had to explain to my husband....

Just had to explain to my husband that reading my blog feed and salivating over others running experiences is serious shit! I have been catching up on my blog roll from bloggers I love to stalk follow and this computer keeps freezing, SO FRUSTRATING!

Now that that's off my chest I kind of want to fill everyone in on what I have, and have not, been up to lately. My mileage for the month of September increased slightly from the previous two months, but so far October I've been back in the slumps. As of this afternoon I've logged 14 miles this month. Picture me twirling my finger, rolling my eyes and yelling "Whoopie!" Half of it has been laziness mixed with a hectic schedule...the other half is this calf issue I've been fighting...

I went to a chiropractor specializing in sports rehabilitation yesterday. I felt like a big 'ol complainer filling out the forms. I listed EVERYTHING that bothers me even if it wasn't relating to my main concern. I'm glad I did because the Dr. spent over an hour stretching, cracking, pushing and pulling me back into sorts. I was right when I guessed that my posterior tibial tendon was flaring up again. Apparently it's tight on both sides but the right is the only one that bothers me when running and going up stairs/hills. It starts off as a dull ache and then by the end of a run my whole calf is burning and just feels tired. REALLY tired. After she addressed that with some active release method she pulled my leg back into place? I guess my hip, knee and ankle weren't aligned properly...I'm breaking down and all outta whack...good to know :( After the lower body stuff she worked on my right arm. For as long as I can remember typing for a long period of time, playing net sports, carrying heavy objects causes pain in my right forearm. I call it muscle pain but she told me that there are 4 places in the arm where nerves can be pinched...I was the lucky owner of all 4 of those places pinching! She started getting into those muscles and wowza it hurt. I didn't know if I was going to make it through the whole exercise but I was excited to see how it felt when she was done. It felt a little better but of course it will take a few treatments to be "normal". I don't think I know what that feels like for my right arm. It's ALWAYS been this way for as long as I can remember. 

Picture from today- I need a new jacket so badly. All my pics are in this one! LOL
I ditched my friends this morning on our long run due to heavy legs and a fear of getting out there and feeling miserable and slow. I know just logging the miles is all that counts but I hate that I'm slower (and fatter) than this spring/summer and as my friends get faster it's getting harder and harder for me to catch up. Every run seems to be at 90% max effort and I just can't maintain that for 8 milers right now. Anyway I ran 2 miles today, it was kind of hilly so my calf hurt. Pace wise I stayed at a 9:40 avg so it wasn't bad but just felt hard to maintain it. Hard to imagine that not even a year ago I ran a whole half marathon at a 9:35 pace. Whew. Got to get back to that. 

P.S. I volunteered at the Poulsbo Marathon last Sunday and got to hand out medals at the finish line. So much fun. Go volunteer at a local race, if you run races you NEED to give back! ;)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

An Overdue HTC Finale!!!

Oh my gosh it's been a whole month since HTC ended. It DESERVES a good final re-cap and my mind is already starting to get fuzzy. When I think of HTC I think first and foremost of my second leg (which I've already re-capped) and then the finish line party. But I have to at least touch on the in between happenings. My final leg was the shortest of all three (it's a good way to end a relay by the way!), and again I was running under the hot sun. You would think that I'd be energized by the thought of this being the final leg but I wasn't, I was exhausted. It's also bittersweet; so while it's a breath of fresh air to pass off to the next runner it's sad to know that the experience is wrapping up.

Before Dorothy took off for the FINAL leg of HTC 2013
HTC threw a finish line party like I had never seen before. Rock N Roll probably comes in as a second, but it's had to compete with the beauty of a party on the beach of Seaside, Oregon. If I ever run HTC again I will make sure to change out of my running shoes before crossing the finish line- they got sooo much sand in them and I was jealous of the team mates in sandals.

I'm all the way on the left- Crossing the finish line together.

Proud HTC finisher

HTC was an amazing experience. One any runner should have on their bucket list. I don't know if I will ever have the opportunity to run it again, the stars seemed to just align this year, and I am so glad that they did :)