Friday, July 31, 2015

Beginner Blog: What is Conversation Pace?

Back in high school, my cross country coach used to tell us to go run at “conversation pace” all the time.  The term was also used often during the RRCA certification course I took last month saying that 75-80% of your weekly mileage should be done at conversation pace.  So what exactly does that mean?

Think about a normal run for you.  Are you breathing heavily and struggle to get any words out?  Or are you relaxed, breathing easy and feeling good?

Conversation pace is that relaxed, breathing easily, feeling good kind of run.  It’s the pace you can run and hold a conversation or even sing a song at submaximal effort.

Most runners tend run too hard, too often.  “If I am pushing myself to the limit every day, I will get faster in a race.  Right?”  Wrong.  High intensity running on an everyday basis will get you injured and/or burnt out very fast.   Don't get me wrong—it can also be difficult slowing yourself down but it will pay off in the long run.

What are some benefits of a conversation pace run?
·      Increase aerobic capacity
·      Increase and improve oxygen consumption
·      Improve fat metabolism
·      Improve stamina/endurance
·      Helps the body adapt to the stress of sustained running

Conversation pace runs are ideal for short runs, medium runs, long runs, recovery runs and group runs with friends.  I’m the friend that won’t stop talking on a group run or even during a race.  My dad on the other hand—not the funnest person to run with.  He barely says a word.  (I still love you, Daddo!)

How can you make sure you’re not pushing yourself too hard?  At various points during your run, do a little talk test.  If you can’t spit out a sentence or two, slow it down.  Walk a little if you have to.  Chances are you’re heart rate is too high and you have crossed over into that anaerobic training zone where lactic acid starts to build up and fatigue sets in quicker.

When is conversation pace not appropriate?  Speed work, hill workouts, tempo runs, or races where you can expect to step outside your comfort zone a little bit.

Running should be enjoyable.  If you are a newbie runner, you may feel like you are struggling but don’t make it any harder on yourself then it has to be.  Remember “conversation pace” and have fun out there!

Monday, July 27, 2015

I signed up for the Cape Cod Half!

What: Novo Nordisk Cape Cod Marathon Half

Where: Falmouth, MA

When: October 24, 2015

I’ve been looking for a fall half marathon that would fit in well in my #HouMarathon training and after eyeing the Cape Cod Half for a few weeks (maybe even months), I finally just signed up!

I won’t be using this as a goal race.  More of a fun way to get in 13 miles.  Who am I kidding?  No races are for “fun”—I’m just too darn competitive.  It will be a good check of my progress toward Houston and a good opportunity to practice pacing and race morning strategies.  Besides, I will probably be back in action the next day for the Cape Cod Marathon Relay with the CCR Flyers!

Destination races are my favorite kinds of races but I am looking forward to a fall flat half marathon on some of my favorite, familiar running roads!

Want to join me at the start line on October 24th?  You can sign up through their website.  Entry Fee is $65.00 through July 31; $75.00 through October 25 OR until the race sells out. 

Weekly Roundup 7.20-7.26

It was a good week!  3 of my 5 runs were done at a group run, 1 short run with Georgie, and 1 solo run.

My week started off at the 2nd ever Cape Cod Running Team group run through beautiful Osterville.  It was about 90 degrees at the start of our run and a major strugglefest but we did it!  Tuesday was Run Club and maybe not quite 90 degrees but almost equally as humid and heavy air.  I ran the 5 mile course with the guys then stuck around at the Lanes for a post-run Angry Orchard… yum!  Fast forward to Friday for another run with the Marathon Sports crew—this time Pub Run style with New Balance as a sponsor.  Pub Runs are awesome.  If you’ve never been to one, I highly suggest seeing if your local run group or running store hosts any.

Saturday was fun!  Georgie’s new backpack came in the mail so I took her out for a test run.  (We went with the Ruffwear Singletrak Pack!)  For the first few times, it’s just about her getting used to it so I had her carry my key and poop bags but in the future she will be able to carry up to 40oz. of water in collapsible water bottles along with treats and any other essentials.

Also this week, I had a great experience with RoadId’s customer service department.  I ordered some new bands for my RoadId and ordered the wrong size.  They didn’t get my message before the order went through and just shipped me out another set of bands in the correct size at no charge.  Awesome company.  Everyone should own a RoadId.
[Related Post: Running Safety]

Other highlights:

·      I’m 24.5 percent up Mt. Everest in the Jacobs Ladder challenge!
·      My RRCA Certified Running Coach certificate came in the mail!

Upcoming events:

·      3 weeks until the Falmouth Road Race!

Monday 7.20.15
CCR Running Team Group Run! 4 miles (37:42)
17,625 steps

Tuesday 7.21.15
Taught spin class. The playlist: Troublemaker Spin Playlist
Marathon Sports Run Club! 5 miles (41:58)
19,714 steps

Wednesday 7.22.15
11,528 steps

Thursday 7.23.15
Long walk with G (~52 minutes)
6 minutes Jacobs Ladder #29035FEET
8 minutes Jacobs Ladder #29035FEET
Taught spin class. The playlist: Let’s Get Ready To Rumble Spin Playlist
Power Water
20,393 steps

Friday 7.24.15
Marathon Sports Pub Run! 3.2 miles (23:36)
18,087 steps

Saturday 7.25.15
1.5 miles with G (14:39)
4.5 miles (36:34)
Long walk with G, Mark & Linda to Smitty’s! (~40 minutes)
22,303 steps

Sunday 7.26.15
Taught spin class. The playlist: Fire Burning Spin Playlist
12,019 steps

This week’s mileage: 18 miles
July Totals: 60 miles
2015 Totals: 254 miles

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Fire Burning Spin Playlist

Beautiful Day - U2                                                        4:08  Warm up
Honey, I'm Good. - Andy Grammer                         3:19  Drills, pedal strokes
Break It Off feat. Sean Paul - Rihanna                    3:35  Build
Starships - Nicki Minaj                                               3:31  Rolling hills
Fire Burning - Sean Kingston                                   4:05  Build
Can't Hold Us - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis          4:18  Standing flat
Best Day Of My Life - American Authors               3:14  80-100
Summer Love - Justin Timberlake                          6:24  Jumps with build
Problem - Ariana Grande                                           3:14  Standing flat, faster at chorus 3x
Time of Our Lives - Pitbull & Ne-Yo                        3:49  80-100
Centuries - Fall Out Boy                                             3:48  Seated climb
Shut Up and Dance - WALK THE MOON                3:18  Standing climb
All Summer Long - Kid Rock                                     4:58  Cool down
Here Comes the Sun - The Beatles                          3:06  Stretch

Monday, July 20, 2015

Weekly Roundup 7.13-7.19

Did you see the women’s 1,500m at the Monaco Diamond League meet?!  Dibaba set a new WORLD RECORD in 3:50.07 & Shannon Rowbury broke the American record set back in 1983.  Amazing.  If you missed it, it’s worth a watch.

My week of running started at my return to the Marathon Sports Run Club.  I missed all of June due to my schedule at work but I’m back!  I planned to run easy with friends in the July evening's heat and humidity but I started out with Dave and when he stopped to wait at the turn, I ended up alone and continued on pace to a pretty quick 5 miles.

Later in the week the humidity dropped for a few days so I got it two runs with Georgie.  She did great!  Since then she developed some pretty nasty hotspots on her left hip and is back in the #stupidcone.

I also passed my American Red Cross first aid certification test.  The final piece to the puzzle to becoming an official certified run coach through the Road Runners Club of America!

Upcoming events:

·      4 weeks until the Falmouth Road Race!

Monday 7.13.15
10,110 steps

Tuesday 7.14.15
Taught spin class. The playlist: Gimme Three Steps Spin Playlist
Marathon Sports Run Club! 5 miles (38:13)
6 minutes Jacobs Ladder #29035FEET
21,428 steps

Wednesday 7.15.15
10,361 steps

Thursday 7.16.15
2 miles (16:20)
1 mile with G (9:13)
Taught spin class. The playlist: Somethin’ Bad Spin Playlist
Power Water
18,843 steps

Friday 7.17.15
4.5 miles (34:43)
1.5 miles with G (14:04)
18,985 steps

Saturday 7.18.15
4 miles (33:31)
18,027 steps

Sunday 7.19.15
Taught spin class. The playlist: The Heart of Rock & Roll Spin Playlist
9,259 steps

This week’s mileage: 18 miles
July Totals: 42 miles
2015 Totals: 236 miles

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Cape Cod Ice Cream Tour Stop #2: Sweet Caroline’s Ice Cream

Run Jen Run Loves Ice Cream

One of my favorite things to do in life is go out for ice cream.  Last year the Cape Cod Times ranked the Top 10 ice cream places on the Cape, which made me decide to start making my own list.  I didn’t get very far last year but my goal is to try and review as many as possible.  I have enlisted the help of some of my friends and I can’t wait to share with you my favorites (and least favorite) ice cream places on Cape Cod.

It’s National Ice Cream Day and time for the second stop on my Cape Cod Ice Cream Tour as I am searching to find anything that can top Somerset Creamery.  Sweet Caroline’s Ice Cream may not compare but it is near the top of my list.  My mom loves going there because they have Milky Way ice cream—her favorite!  It’s only a short drive from my house and a midpoint between my house and the Dubovsky household so we make several trips there each summer.

The Short Summary
Lots of choices, pretty good ice cream.

177 Route 130, Sandwich

“Named in honor of our daughter, Caroline, who was turning “Sweet Sixteen” that year, our mission was and continues to be to provide delicious, premium ice cream at a fair price in a beautiful setting to the neighborhoods surrounding us in Forestdale, South Sandwich and beyond.

Our commitment to excellence is exemplified in the hormone-free milk that is used to make our ice cream at the 300 year old dairy farm where it is produced just north of Boston. We use only the freshest of fruit toppings, home-made whip cream, and homemade baked goods for our desserts, providing that secret ingredient - love! Visit us and the smell of freshly baked waffle cones will drive you wild! Enjoy your ice cream on our professionally landscaped grounds and gardens which continue to make Sweet Caroline's Ice Cream a favorite family destination and a Cape and Islands Best of 2009 medalist!” (From the Sweet Caroline’s website:

My Order
Small Cookie Dough in a dish with rainbow sprinkles.  Good ice cream, moderate amount of cookie dough chunks but still no Somerset Creamery.  I like my ice cream a little bit creamier.  Bonus points: The rainbow sprinkles are pink and lime green!

Sweet Caroline’s offers a wide range of flavors of homemade ice cream.  All the classics plus flavors: Maine Black Bear, Green Monster, Cake Batter, Death by Chocolate, Rocky Road, Milky Way (my mom’s favorite!), and many more.  They also have soft serve (they make fusions which are their version of Dairy Queen’s popular Blizzards), frozen yogurt, sherbet, and sorbet.

The website mentions the smell of “freshly baked waffle cones” but I have never noticed.  If I don’t see them making the cones or can’t smell fresh cones, I typically don’t order waffle cones.  Have you tried one there?  Do you like them?  Are they fresh?  I already mentioned earlier, I love the rainbow sprinkles!

One negative.  I don’t like places that don’t offer medium as a size option!  For homemade ice cream they have kiddie, small, and large.  Soft serve comes small, medium, and large.

Cash only.  ATM inside.

Decent size parking lot.  A little narrow and can be hard to get out of your spot if it’s really crowded.  Like any ice cream place on Cape Cod, you can expect lines at their busy times (weekends after dinner).  The line is a little unorganized and customers order at one window, pick up on the side.  Often times more people waiting for their order than people waiting in line.  Not sure it’s the best system but it’s been like that as long as I’ve been going there.

Nice area for outdoor seating.  Lots of picnic tables and benches with pretty landscaping.  If you go with my (almost!) 3 year old friend Landon, expect to walk the “choo choo tracks” in the cobblestone!

What Others Have Said
“This is our favorite place to get ice cream with the family.  They have great flavors.  Almond Joy is really good.  I get it way too often!” ~Nathan

“I like that it actually tastes like you’re eating ice cream instead of eating a crap load of corn syrup.” ~Sarah

“The strawberry is nice and cold.” ~Landon, turning 3 years old this month

Run Jen Run gives Sweet Caroline's Ice Cream 4 out of 5 cones!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Weekly Roundup 7.6-7.12

What a week!  I feel like only had time to eat, sleep and work—8.5 hours of overtime to be exact!  (mo' $$ = happy Jen)  I subbed one of Eric’s spin classes making it 4 classes this week.

My run on Saturday was ROUGH!  I procrastinated all morning with housework and at 10:30am decided it would be a good idea to head out for my long run.  If I didn’t get much running in during the week, at least I shouldn’t skip my long run.  Right?  Wrong.  I was about 3 hours late and it was HOT!  The humidity was relatively low and I ran in shady areas but that didn’t matter.  Stupid Jen, it’s July! 

By the time I got out the door it was about 10:45am.  My plan was to do 8 miles.  I had to start taking walk breaks around mile 5.5 and by 6.5 I decided 7 was going to be my max as I started experiencing early signs of heat exhaustion with cool skin and goosebumps.

The only thing that kept me going after 5.5 miles was a) the fact that I was about 2 miles from home and b) an old man yelled to me “I wish I had your energy!”  I laughed but man was I suffering.

When I got back I replenished my fluids and hung out on the porch with my US Weekly while Georgie quietly pushed a rock around the backyard.  My Strawberry Watermelon Gu Recovery Brew never tasted so good.

Post-run dip in the pool with G
On another note, I spend some of my Saturday researching backpacks for Georgie.  Does anyone have any suggestions?  I want her to carry water, treats, my keys etc. when we head out for a run but also not too bulky and lightweight for all weather conditions.  Georgie is a working dog and I think this will help make her run/walks more enjoyable.   

I’m also looking to invest in a hands-free leash.  Been looking at the Stunt Puppy Stunt Runner.  Thoughts?  Experience with a hands-free leash?  My pup is powerful—I’m wondering if she would pull me off my feet?

Upcoming events:

·      5 weeks until the Falmouth Road Race!

Monday 7.6.15
Taught spin class
10,300 steps

Tuesday 7.7.15
Taught spin class. The playlist: Lose Control Spin Playlist
12,619 steps

Wednesday 7.8.15
10,633 steps

Thursday 7.9.15
Taught spin class. The playlist: Jumpin’, Jumpin’ Spin Playlist
Power Water
13,566 steps

Friday 7.10.15
8,480 steps

Saturday 7.11.15
Today I celebrated my one year anniversary as a homeowner!
7 miles (57:36)
22,536 steps

Sunday 7.12.15
3 miles (22:44)
Taught spin class
15,807 steps

This week’s mileage: 10 miles
July Totals: 24 miles
2015 Totals: 218 miles

Monday, July 6, 2015

Weekly Roundup 6.29-7.5

I passed my test!  I am officially a Certified Running Coach through the Road Runners Club of America!  (Well I have to get a First Aid Certification first because apparently CPR & AED isn’t enough…)  I learned so much about types of runners, creating training plans, running form, and overall coaching and I can’t wait to share my knowledge with you!  If you’re interested in taking your running to the “Another Level,” you can book with me through CoachUp.  I work with runners of all levels and abilities.  Whether you are a beginner looking to get started running or at the intermediate level hoping to improve your times or tackle new distances, I can help you reach your goals!
Link to my CoachUp page here:

This week I also got my second set of blood work results back and yup, I have extremely low iron.  I picked up some vitamins and supplements on my way home from work on Wednesday and kicked off the iron party with a big old cheeseburger on the new grill.

Upcoming events:

·      7 weeks until the Falmouth Road Race!

Monday 6.29.15
Happy Birthday to my lil’ G! She turned ONE today!
First CCR Running Team Group Run! 4 miles run/walk (42:00)
20,702 steps

Tuesday 6.30.15
Taught spin class
5 minutes Jacobs Ladder #29035FEET
10,210 steps

Wednesday 7.1.15
3 miles (23:32)
5 minutes Jacobs Ladder #29035FEET
17,277 steps

Thursday 7.2.15
Taught spin class. The playlist: Party in the U.S.A. Spin Playlist
Power Water
5 minutes Jacobs Ladder #29035FEET
12 minutes Jacobs Ladder #29035FEET
11,677 steps

Friday 7.3.15
Trotted 1 mile with G (10:21)
4 miles (31:47)
19,303 steps

Saturday 7.4.15
Happy 4th of July!
6 miles with Lindi Lou on the bike (47:40)
19,983 steps

Sunday 7.5.15
Taught spin class
10,273 steps

This week’s mileage: 18 miles
June Totals: 45 miles
July Totals: 14 miles
2015 Totals: 208 miles