Monday Mentionings: August 24

This past week, well, mostly the weekend, was a busy one! I’m going to share a bunch of pictures, and just give a sentence or two to explain each.

Last Monday evening I had a great run and weightlifting session after a visit with the chiropractor.Photo Aug 17, 8 06 59 PMTuesday ended with a 4+ mile killer track workout, followed by a killer rain shower 10 seconds after we finished our run.  Love running with these people.11944888_10100324630645153_1457556465_nThursday was a beautiful evening for a run, again, with some of my favorite people to run with.  Also, I’ve mastered the mid-run group selfie, and I’m pretty proud of my skillz.11903575_10100324630570303_1999578238_n11949714_10100324630650143_1024623076_nThursday night I picked Thayne and Kristen up from the airport, and our first stop was Oklahoma Joe’s for some delicious BBQ.  Thayne texted me countdowns for several days leading up to this meal.11896892_10100324630605233_2067075220_nFriday morning, Kristen and I got up WAY too early, in order to run with Amy before we went to Hays.  I’m sad it’s staying dark later, but we had to utilize my trusty headlamp for our 3 miles at 5:15am.11923072_10100324630580283_690683337_nI drank too much water before and after our run, and had to stop and pee twice on the way home.  Had to take a #reststopselfie with Kristen.11920358_10100324630565313_1174308725_nGot a pedicure with Mom and Kristen shortly after we got to Hays.11942244_10100324630585273_136296171_nHad to hug Shay puppy for several minutes before she stopped crying.  I miss Shay puppy every day.11940225_10100324630595253_1041028770_nPhoto Aug 21, 5 18 56 PMWe went to visit Grandma and Granddad, and meet their new baby boy, Tiger.  Side note, how fitting and adorable is it that his name was Tiger before they adopted him?  Granddad now has a kitty, and the kitty now has his Granddad.11948013_10100324630635173_2002480191_nFriday night, Mom gave us our new Sparkle visors, and we wore our matching Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas shirts and tried to take a picture to commemorate our little Vegas adventure. Kristen makes it impossible to take a picture.  We have signed up for the 5k and the Half Marathon in Vegas, which should make for a super fun long weekend in Vegas, while we “Run the Strip at Night!”11910861_10100324630625193_607930741_nOh, Gordon.  Such a dapper young man.11909801_10100324630610223_1038741301_nSaturday morning, we had a fun little run.11897204_10100324630640163_1789497653_nAva and I enjoyed our snowballs and some playground time while we watched Thayne play in the Hays High Alumni soccer game.11938192_10100324630545353_211207791_nPhoto Aug 22, 10 58 16 AMFollowed the game with a Q burger.11944645_10100324630555333_969639176_n-2Finally got to see Jasmine and get a Bubble Tea; I’ve missed her the last few visits to Hays.11923399_10100324630620203_1103244265_nSpent some more time with Grandma, Granddad, and Tiiger.11910671_10100324630590263_1719557987_nSunday morning, Mom and I ran a few miles.  Another perfect mid-run selfie.  It was actually pretty chilly this morning, it was gorgeous outside after the cold front came through Saturday night.11911432_10100324630600243_593421049_nGot the last mile done with Shay by our sides.  I love this pup. (awesome photo courtesy of Momma)11933046_10100324630575293_283786346_nPUPPY!Photo Aug 23, 10 15 21 AMIt’s always sad to leave home.11920357_10100324630630183_487903455_n11920287_10100324630655133_1029758478_nRealized that we never took any pictures with Dad.  He took pictures of us in our Vegas shirts and before we ran on Saturday, but we didn’t get any with him IN them.  So a Dillon’s photo shoot happened before we left town.11896972_10100324630550343_476935994_n-2Thayne was sleepy on the way back to KC Sunday afternoon.11911832_10100324630560323_1112326883_n-2I got back to my apartment just in time to watch the Royals come back and beat the Red Sox in the 9th inning.  Yay baseball!  It was an exciting last inning.  Jasper could hardly contain his excitement. He was happy to get some dinner and cuddles.  I missed him while I was gone for the weekend.  THANK YOU to Amy for checking in on him.Photo Aug 23, 6 55 07 PMAll in all, last week was a great week.  My heart is full after lots of family time, friend time, and some quality runs. I am currently at 79 miles for August, so I’m right on track to hit 100 or more by the end of the month.  Next weekend is the Dot to Dot 10k, which is the first 10k of the Heartland 30k series.

Have a great week, friends!

Successful Running Week

I’ve just finished week two of my half marathon training plan.  I’ve had two fantastic weeks of training, and I hope the next 20 weeks of training pass by just as successfully.

Monday, I was supposed to have a tempo run, but I knew the weather was going to get really cold and I wanted to have an easy run on the last nice day before the temperature plummeted.  My legs felt tired and heavy, but I pushed through and had a great run at dusk.  Notice my little green blinky light I clipped on my SPIbelt.  3.5 miles.

Photo Nov 10, 5 40 43 PMThe very next day, since I was off work for Veteran’s Day, I bought a headlamp.   I tested it out and played with it for a while, but ended up not needing it for my tempo run since I ran during the day.  The first half of the tempo run felt good, and it wasn’t really until I turned around to head back home that I realized I had a slight tail wind, and of course, that resulted in a headwind, a very cold North headwind, on the way home.  I struggled to maintain my pace for the tempo, and it ended up dropping about 8 seconds per mile, but I considered the run a win.  I didn’t stop, and I pushed as hard as I could, and ultimately I was happy with my performance.  4.1 miles.

Photo Nov 11, 2 35 02 PM

Wednesday night, it was COLD! My entire run was after dark, and it took about a mile to really warm up!  On the plus side, my headlamp and cold gear pants/shirt performed wonderfully.  I was lucky enough to win a pair of New Balance cold gear tights from attending a Ladies Night at my favorite running club, KC Running Co. a few weeks ago, and wore them for the first time this week.  I also had a cold gear top, an layered with a wind breaker, gloves, hat, and ear muffs.  I was a bit chilly for the first mile or so, but once I did warm up, it was a nice little run.  3.5 miles.

Photo Nov 12, 6 02 13 PM

Thursday night was KCRC Groupie Run night.  Last week and this week, I ran with a new friend at the Groupie Run, and the last two weeks, we’ve run farther than the supported distance of 3 miles.  It was very cold, and my new friend tried out some Mizuno cold weather gear, that she ended up liking. I chose not to try out the gear, because I had already bundled up and didn’t want to undress and redress before the run!  4.1 miles.

Photo Nov 13, 7 15 19 PM

Photo Nov 13, 9 27 31 PM

Friday was an off day, and I wore my Feetures compression sleeves all day long, and my calves really appreciated them.  I can tell I’ve been running more than I had been the last few weeks, but my body isn’t screaming at me to stop, it’s just getting used to the increased mileage.

Saturday, I decided to do my “long” run instead of doing it on Sunday.  At this point, early in my training plan, my “long run” is only about a mile or so longer than my ‘regular” runs… but it will eventually build up to 12 miles.  I debated with myself during the first half of the run on Saturday, trying to convince myself I should just do the long run so I could relax and do an easy run on Sunday.  It was cold out, and  snowing lightly, but there wasn’t much wind, and the roads weren’t slippery.  Once I warmed up (after a mile or so), it was a pretty nice run, and I was ultimately really glad I did the longer distance.  4.25 miles.

Photo Nov 15, 12 13 49 PM

Sunday, a nice easy recovery run.  I’ve run in the cold all week, and decided to run at the gym on the treadmill.  I also was washing clothes and all my cold gear was in the washer.  I think my lungs appreciated the warmer climate, and it was nice to not wear so many layers.  It was also nice to really sweat a lot… I sweat a lot no matter where I run, or when, or how far, but in the cold, I don’t sweat quite as much.  It did feel good to be dripping wet with sweat after a run, it was very cleansing.   3.55 miles.

Photo Nov 16, 4 51 21 PM

I ended the week strong, and hope my runs continue to be mentally and physically rewarding.  I know that winter, cold, dark running is mentally challenging, as well as physically, and I am thankful the first couple weeks of runs have felt so good.

I ended the week with 23 miles.  My highest mileage week ever has been 27.7 miles.  That was back in March, about five weeks before my first half marathon, at my “peak” for that cycle.  I’m only 5 miles short of my peak for that training cycle, and I feel very confident with the progress I’ve made since that first half marathon over six months ago.  I am confident that I can safely increase my mileage and confident that I can build to the point where I can successfully run 13.1 miles and reach my ultimate goal of not walking the Rock the Parkway half marathon.  I have 21 weeks yet to prepare, and if my first two weeks are any indication of how this training cycle will go, I will indeed ROCK the Rock the Parkway!

Can you tell the difference between training cycles? Do you feel stronger each cycle, constantly increasing your fitness?  How many miles do you run each week while training for a half marathon?

Black Diamond Head Lamp

When the time changed at the beginning of November, running after work became running in the dark after work.  I love running outside, and though I know I will have to (and have had to) run on the treadmill due to frigid temperatures, I prefer to run outside.  I desperately want to be seen while I run, and decided to light myself up like a Christmas tree!

I have several small clip on lights, and a couple reflective strap bracelets with lights, but really was needing something to alert traffic, and after reading several headlamp reviews online, I settled on the Black Diamond Revolt headlamp.  I found it on sale at REI, and paid for it myself.  I am not being compensated in any way for this review, the opinions that follow are my own.  Many of the headlamps are for hiking, biking, mountain climbing, running, trail running, so some of the options that are available for this headlamp are not particularly useful for me, but they are available if I ever decide to hike or mountain climb!

Photo Nov 11, 2 13 56 PM

I chose this headlamp for main 3 reasons:

1.  Rechargable batteries with USB power cord.  This headlamp runs on 3 AAA batteries, which were included in the packaging.  It can also run on 3 rechargeable AAA batteries, which were also included, along with a USB charging cord.  The batteries run for between 70 hours (on high) to up to 300 hours (low beam or dual red lights).  I plan on using the rechargeable batteries exclusively.  There is a handy battery power indicator on the side, which gives me plenty of time to finish the run and plug it in to charge.

2.  Price.  (I did find this headlamp on sale.  Retail $59.95, on sale for $29.95 as a 2013 close out piece)  Price was a big consideration for me.  There are headlamps for sale as cheap as $10, and as expensive as $500.  Now I do run outdoors after dark, but I’m not hiking on trails in the middle of the night, and I’m almost always going to be in the neighborhoods around my home.  I didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg on a really expensive headlamp with all the bells and whistles.  It’s just not what I need! I also didn’t want to get a worthless headlamp for next to nothing, that doesn’t do the job I need.  For my needs, $20-40 was about what I wanted to spend, and for that price, I was able to find a durable headlamp with rechargeable batteries that puts out enough lumens and beam distance for traffic to see me, and for me to see the road ahead of me.

3.  Over 100 lumens, with over 70 meters of beam distance.  At 110 lumens, this headlamp is right in the middle of the spectrum available.  The lowest number lumens in headlamps are about 15-30 lumens, and the highest amount of lumens, and the most expensive, have around 500-600 lumens.  The 70 meter beam distance means I can be seen from almost a football field’s length.  Since my running is in neighborhoods near my home, on relatively slow streets, I feel 70 meters (over 200 feet) is adequate and probably more than what I really need, especially since the average car traveling at 55 miles per hour (way over the speed limit of the neighborhoods I run in) is 160 feet. For safety’s sake, I know I can be seen!

Photo Nov 11, 2 41 17 PM

The headlamp itself is fairly light, coming in at 3.4 ounces with the batteries.  It isn’t real bulky either, it has a stretchy strap that is easy on/easy off, and didn’t pull my hair, didn’t slip down on my head, and wasn’t too tight.  I’ve worn it for 3 runs, and it’s stayed put and been comfortable.  It hasn’t bounced or slipped.  I love that the headlamp is adjustable in the angle of the light.  There are 4 positions, you can click it straight forward all the way down to pointing directly in front of me on the ground.  I kept mine pointed forward, the idea being that it is more important for cars to see me than for me to see the ground right in front of me.

I can definitely tell a difference in the way people see me and react in their cars.  Without the headlamp, but still wearing my flashing clip on lights, vehicles would move over, and sometimes they would flash their bright lights on to see what exactly I was, with my flashing lights.  But with my headlamp, I could tell a marked increase in vehicles moving over for me earlier.  I could also see the road in front of me, to ensure there were no potholes, tree limbs, etc in my path.

Photo Nov 11, 2 34 21 PM

I tried out both the center large light and the two smaller lights on the side.  I preferred the light given off by the two lights on the side (the right picture).  I found that the light was more spread out, like a flood light.  The center light alone was more of a spot light type light, and I could see further with it, but it was not as widespread.

I also tried out the strobe light, which was turned on by pressing the power button 3 times.  I am positive a strobe light would allow traffic to see me earlier due to the blinking, but I could not see as well, and felt safer being able to see consistently.

There are also two small red light next to the outside two white lights, that can be turned on for safety.  The white lights can be dimmed by holding down on the power button.  This feature would be useful for a campsite or hiking… which doesn’t really help me, but maybe someday I’ll go on a hike and need my headlamp.

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Overall, I’m pleased with my headlamp.  For my after dark running during the cold winter months, it will do quite nicely.  I can be seen from a safe distance for vehicles to stop in time if necessary.  Also, with me being able to see, I have plenty of time to move out of the way if I need to, and also the ability to see any obstacles in the road in front of me.  The battery life and rechargeable batteries are a huge benefits for me, as is the minimal weight, the comfortableness of the strap, and the price.

I would recommend this headlamp to someone in the market.  The bottom line is that you have to find the right combination of beam distance, price, and power life.  I’m happy to answer any further questions if you have them, but I am pleased with my headlamp, and I think it will be a great addition to my running safety

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Jasper also approves.  Do you use a headlamp when you run? What were the most important features?  If you’re in the market, what kind are you thinking of getting?