The Color Run Recap

Did y’all have a great weekend? I was so sad to see it end.  Any weekend that’s filled with extra days off, food, family & friends, and running is alright in my opinion!  Friday I went to the gym (which was  ghost town thanks to everyone shopping) and got in 4 miles of Yassos at a 7:45 pace, 5 miles cycling to work the kinks out of my legs after the Yassos, and then I hit the upper body weight machines.  My arms and legs were spongy like jello.

Saturday, I met my running girls and we knocked out 10 miles.  Our training plan called for 9 but we have a 1/2 marathon in two weeks and I wanted to get at least one double digit run in.  Adding an extra mile may not have been the best idea.  I was having some knee pain pretty early into the run and then by the time we finished the 10 miles my foot was on fire.  For the remainder of the day I had a shooting pain in my foot any time I put pressure on it.  I’m hoping it’s not a precursor of things to come.

Ignore my jacked up toes…Have any of you had pain where I’m pointing?

Last weekend I had the pleasure of running The Color Run in New Orleans.  I registered for this ‘run’ (there really wasn’t much running going on) back in February and had been anxiously patiently biding my time for it to happen.  And happen, it did!  With this being such a fun run, I really wanted to embrace the spirit so I tutu’d it up with along with some funky glasses and one fishnet glove; my inner 80s diva had arrived.

To make it even better, Larissa from Zero to Twenty Six Point Two contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in running for Swiftwick socks.  Um, that decision took all of 3.5 seconds to make.  I have a pair of Swiftwick Vibe Ones that I use for running so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on their Performance 12s (compression socks) and tech shirt.  I loved the compression socks and the shirt was seriously buttery soft.  The Swiftwick gear was the perfect compliment to my outrageous outfit.

I ❤ tutus…..and Swiftwick….and paint!!

Before the run we (my two running girls and I) met up with Larissa to get some pictures for Swiftwick.  Mindy from Road Runner Girl was there; it’s so nice meeting other bloggers IRL!

Swiftwick girls. HOLLA!!!

After the pictures, we went ahead and got in line for the run to start.  In order to avoid congestion in the paint areas, they let the runners go in different waves.  I was in the 3rd wave and it took about 20 minutes before we crossed the starting line.

My running girls {before}

My favorite picture!
I have no idea who this guy is but he was awesome!

Only in NOLA would this not seem strange.

Waiting to start. Soooooo many people!

Finally, we were off to Oompa Loompa town! I had fully intended on running this event but it was so congested that I was only able to run it for a little bit before slowing to a jog and then finally to a walk.  But it was totally fine.  It was so much fun seeing people of all ages, shapes and sizes coming together to get their paint on!  One of the reasons I love events like this is because it’s a catalyst for many people to start their fitness journey.

There were 4 different color stations: orange, blue, yellow, pink and then one big finisher paint party at the end.  There was even a couple that got married on stage before the run and then went through The Color Run in their wedding attire.  So cute!

My color progression.

BLUE! My favorite color!!

After making our way through the 3.1 miles of color explosions, we crossed the finish line and followed the sound of LMFAO to the finisher’s party and joined the shindig.

After!!!

cheeeeeeeze

My fantastic package of biodegradable paint.
Is it just me or do I have a slight hint of smurf showing through?

Totally awesome finisher’s paint fest! I have a video on Youtube if you want to see it live.

I think my Swiftwick socks look even better with a bit of color, don’t you?

Question:  Have you ever done a fun run like this? I’ve heard of Ugly Sweater runs, Underwear Dashes, and Glow Runs. They all sound fun to me!

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100 Push Up Challenge

Thank you all so much for the encouragement and support from Friday’s post about my brother’s death.  It means more to me then you may ever know.  I had a blast over the weekend celebrating my brother’s life by getting splattered with paint at The Color Run in New Orleans.  I’ll have a full recap on it next week but here’s at least a bit of a teaser shot for you. 🙂

Looks fun, right? Well, it was!! I’m still finding random splotches of blue on me….

Onto the the heart of the post….If you are even a part time peruser of my blog than you know that it’s no secret I have basically 0% upper body strength.  And I’m not being modest; although, I wish I was.

As a runner, obviously, most of my energy is focused on my lower body but by doing this, I’m totally cheating myself out of the benefits that upper body strength can bring to the table.   Not only does have a svelte upper body look great but it also increases endurance in running.  Think about it this way, the faster and longer you can swing your arms while running, the faster and longer you can run.  During marathon training when I was doing 8 miles of speed work, I would feel every bit of those miles the next day in my traps and deltoids.

Now that I’ve started training for my second marathon, I want to make sure to address this deficiency.  And, I’m not going to lie, I kind of really want that svelte look I mentioned earlier.

I said svelte, not stacked, Arnold!

Several times throughout this past year I’ve gone to the gym and lifted weights only to find myself stopping after a few workouts for whatever excuse I could concoct.  I have the type of personality that responds really well to structure like training plans and challenges (like my no sugar detox which ends today) so when I found  100 Push Ups, I was pretty stoked.  Plus I can do it right in the comfort of my own home….in my PJs. They even have an app for your smart phone (their website’s pretty simplistic but the app is better).

If you’re wondering why I would rather do push ups instead of targeted weight training at the gym, the answer is simple: push ups are one of the most effective upper body exercises you can do.  Pushups work numerous muscle groups simultaneously and you’re already equipped with everything you need to do them – no fancy gym equipment required!

All the muscle groups worked by pushups.
Source

The 100 Push Up Challenge is a 6 week program that is supposed to take about 30 minutes a week.  30 minutes…I think I can handle that.  It starts with an initial assessment and then works on increasing the amount of push ups you can do.  I was only able to do 10 ‘good form’ pushups so that’s my starting point.  Meh, there’s only one way to go and that’s up, right? Realistically, do I believe that I’ll be able to bang out 100 push ups at the end of 6 weeks? No.  But, if I can even get to 50 consecutive push ups, I’ll be completely satisfied.

I started the challenge last week and let me tell you, my arms have never felt like jello this much!  Saturday was the end of week one and I had to do 42 good-form pushups.  Yowza!  At least the program has you do a rep/rest pattern. To give you an idea, the break down of Saturday’s program went like this: 8 pushups/rest 120 second, 10 pushups/rest, 7 pushups/rest, 7 pushups/rest, and finally 10 pushups….Done, son.  I’ll give updates on my progress periodically over the next 6 weeks and hopefully I’ll have a great before and after picture to share. So here’s the before picture….GULP!

No filter used; just a bad self-timer. Can you spot the photo bomber?

Question:  Do you do any weights workouts to compliment your lifestyle?

Celebrating Life

First things first, time to announce my Vega Energizing Smoothing winner.  Congratulations JenniferLynn I will be contacting you shortly for shipping details.

Now that I have that out of the way, I want to talk about today.  Today used to be just plain ol’ November 16th, nothing fancy to it, no reason to pay it any special attention until 7 years ago.  On this day, November 16, 2005, my family found out that my brother had been killed in Iraq. Instantly, November 16th became a day that I would never forget.

I still remember every single detail about when and how I found out, what time of day it was, even what the weather was like outside.  It’s fascinating to me how our brains lock in certain details and keep them forever.  I will probably be able to recall the same vivid details when I’m 80.  Some day I’ll share them, but this post isn’t the right time.

Roger had been killed with several other Marines while searching farm houses for terrorists as part of Operation Steel Curtain.  They came under gunfire and a terribly fierce battle erupted that altered the lives of countless people.  My brother was awarded a Bronze Star Medal for his heroism.  I encourage you to read the short citation from his Bronze Star; it gives you some idea of what happened that day.

This is from the memorial in Iraq. So many lives lost in a period of 3 days.

From Roger’s funeral; just a few days after Thanksgiving.

Each year on this day I stop by and visit my brother and say hi to him from my Mom and Dad since they live too far away and can’t.  I drop off flowers and give him an update on what’s going on.  I try not to play the ‘what if’ game but, inevitably, I’m going to lose and sometime today I’ll find myself wondering ‘what if’ he was still here or some variation of that scenario.

While this is a very sad day by all means, I try not to let the past dictate my happiness.  I choose to celebrate life instead of pine over death.  I choose to remember my brother and all the silly/dangerous/ridiculous things we did together as kids.  All the fights we got into.  All the advice he passed on to me.  His infectious grin.

And tomorrow, I choose to be a kid again.  I will run carefree through the streets of New Orleans in a tutu while strangers throw powdered paint at me.  (Sounds like fun, right?)  When I signed up for The Color Run last February I knew that it would fall this weekend and I thought it would be a wonderful way to celebrate life.  Roger was a fun guy and I can imagine him having a blast throwing paint at random people.

Everyone deals with grief differently.  It’s ok to be sad, angry, numb, confused, whatever.  But it’s important to remember that it’s also ok to be happy.  Nothing says that you’re bound to sadness; it’s a choice that’s made and I choose happiness.  I choose to cast my excess baggage on God and let him carry the burden for me.  After all, his shoulders are much more broad than mine.

The first year after Roger was killed I dreaded today like the plague.  I didn’t know what to expect or how I would  react.  Over the years, I’ve realized that if I make a conscious effort to address that this day (or other significant days like his birthday) are going to be emotionally charged, I have a much better chance of it not affecting me.  It’s the times I’m not prepared that really catch me off guard and knock me on my butt.  Trust me, I have plenty of spontaneous pity-parties during the year but today, and this weekend, will not be one of them.

To say I’m excited about The Color Run tomorrow would be an understatement.  I have been talking about this race since before I even knew it was coming to New Orleans.  There’s just something about finishing a race looking like an Oompa Loompa that really appeals to me.  I have all of my neon gear and I’m ready to go get pelted with paint! I know Roger would have liked that.

I miss my brother dearly and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him, the other families that lost their hero, and also the men that were survived.  I honestly think today is much harder for those Marines that survived and I pray for peace of mind for them.