Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Aurorae Sport & Swim Towel Giveaway!

In October, a company called Aurorae approached me about offering a review and giveaway on this here blog for their "Sport & Swim Towel." Considering the crazy amounts of swimming I knew were coming my way, I was all in. I've already swam 15 miles this month! The Frogman 5K cometh...
Upon receiving my towel, I immediately took it to swim practice that night. I was skeptical, because a towel is a towel right? Well, sorta, but not really. I know that makes a lot of sense, but bear with me. This towel is actually pretty cool. I typically use towels that I've purchased from CVS or Walgreens while on my way to the beach. You, know, those $9.99 towels that feel soaking wet after you use them? This was NOT that kind of towel.
This Aurorae towel is one of those fancy, microfiber towels. It's great! I used it a few times to really see how I felt about it because I was still a towel-is-a-towel sort of person.

Suuuuuper cheeseball - but dry!
See how big that towel is? It's a great size and there really is something to that whole microfiber thing. It dried me off great and the towel itself didn't feel like a big, soppy washcloth after I used it. Plus, it feels the exact same amount of fluffy and absorbent after washing.

I used it after a run the next go round and it helped keep my car seat dry on the quick drive home post run. It's been my go-to towel as of late and I've even done a special load of laundry to ensure I have it for my next swim practice. It's finally getting cooler out and drying off quickly is a must!

How many ways can I post with a towel?
I admit I was a skeptic about this towel, but I really like it and I think it would be AMAZING for hot yoga. If I can ever get my butt back to a class...

Are you ready to win one of your own? Click on the rafflecopter below and hop to it. The giveaway will end on Monday, November 30, 2015.

*Giveaway ends Monday, November 30, 2015 at 11:59 PM EST. Open to Residents of the US only.  Prizes cannot be shipped to PO Boxes.  Winner will be selected by Rafflecopter and be notified by email. Winner have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. Please note that Discombobulated Running is not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes.  I have represented the sponsor with the expectation they will fulfill their prize and in a timely manner. I will contact the sponsor regarding your prize(s). The sponsor, in most cases, are shipping their items to you directly. I will make every effort to assist you obtaining your prize. If there is an issue with a sponsor, please notify the blog you won a prize from within 30 days for assistance, after that we may be unable to assist you.  The product provided for the review was free of charge from the company. The product offered for the giveaway is free of charge, no purchase necessary. My opinions are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation.  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google+ are in no way associated with this giveaway.  By providing your information in this form, you are providing your information to me and me alone.  I do not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of contacting the winner.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Support the Special Olympics - Jack Over Ice!

Dear Readers,
In case you all didn't know, I've become quite involved with the Special Olympics. As someone who spends a lot of "me" time in her life, I wanted to find a way to give back to the community and the Special Olympics holds, well, a special place in my heart. And the more I get involved, the more I love this organization.
My first time as a volunteer!
People often ask how the organization works so I'll explain. The Special Olympics is a nonprofit organization that was started in 1968. The Special Olympics is the world's largest sports organization for adults and children with intellectual disabilities. There are more than 4.5 million athletes in 170 countries, and millions of volunteers (like me) and supporters. In addition to the sports events, the Special Olympics helps spread awareness about the abilities of people with intellectual disabilities. In addition, it provides the athletes a with wide range of free health exams and care. And the very best part of all? It's 100% free for the athletes.
You know what this means, right? Fundraising.
While I LOVE volunteering at the games the most, I know that lots more help is needed in the fundraising department. I signed on to help with the annual fundraising event in Hillsborough County, Florida. It's called Jack Over Ice. It's a black jack tournament with food, drinks, entertainment, and a silent auction. It's going to be a fantastic event and I'd love to see you all there. It's December 4th at the Amalie Arena in Tampa and tickets are $75. (I think $75 is on the low end for a fancy pants charity event personally.)
Please come join us and support this wonderful organization that does so much for our community. And as a personal favor to little old me, please share this event! It's super close and these athletes are counting on us.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Rock N Roll Las Vegas 10K Race Report

Ah, home sweet home. Nothing like a trip to Las Vegas to make you really appreciate your quiet home life. As much as I LOVE sin city, it sure is nice to be back to that humidity I love to complain about.
I'd be remiss as a blogger to not mention how deeply saddened I was to learn of the events that transpired in Paris as we were touching down in Vegas on Friday. My heart and prayers go out to victims and their families.
Friday and Saturday
Now on a lighter note, we did have a really good time in Las Vegas. After arriving on Friday and settling in to our hotel, Bally's, we met friends for dinner and then headed to what I call "Sad Vegas" to zip line. Two things: Bally's, while not one of the high end hotels of Vegas was PERFECT for the race with quick access to the monorail. I highly recommend staying there if you are planning to run Rock N Roll Vegas next year. The second thing is that Sad Vegas is really just old Vegas and it's quite an experience. Think: lots of interesting folks who are there for the cheap booze and even cheaper gambling. I ain't hating, it's just really different than the newer parts of the strip. And, the zip lining is a must do.
On Saturday morning, I met up with Lisa from Run Fast Mama and another friend, Stacie, from the Century Club for a little shake out run. The Century Club is an online group that encourages each other to reach 100 miles every month. I was recently added by my new friend Beth that I met at the Cocoa Beach Half. The running community is so crazy connected that Lisa and I realized we have quite a few friends in common already!
Me, Stacie, & Lisa
After the shake out run, I ate a super large crazy buffet breakfast and then putzed around the hotel as the S.O. slept off his late night of poker playing. We then headed to the expo to grab our bibs. As far as expos go, I think the Rock N Roll Vegas expo is fantastic. It's got everything you need (or want!). I bought a pair of Brooks running shorts that I'm currently in love with. (I wore them for the race on Sunday.)
We left the expo, showered and changed back at the hotel then headed to dinner with friends at the Linq. The Linq is a newer hotel with a shopping area and it's really nice. I recommend that too! After dinner we headed to Planet Hollywood to see the one and only...Britney Spears.
I felt it was my duty to see Miss Spears while in Vegas because I wasn't sure how much longer she'd be performing. (As it turns out, she'll be there two more years.) I knew that if we didn't go see her, I would be sad and have a rare case of FOMO. Sadly, Britney was underwhelming. I'm fairly certain she sang one note and lip sync'd the rest. I didn't like that the big screens weren't showing her so I could only guess that I was actually seeing Britney way down on the stage and not just a really good impersonator. Ha ha. I will say she danced her derriere off and at least I can say I saw Britney in Vegas.
Sunday - Race Day
Finally, on Sunday, race day, there was a lot of resting. I learned my lesson last year and tried to do very little on Sunday before the 4 PM 10K race start. The S.O. went to watch some football while I read, grabbed a lite lunch, and napped until we headed down to catch the monorail at 2:30 PM.
The 10K start lacked much of the fanfare that the half and full marathoners receive but since this was the first year for the 10K that's understandable. We didn't get to see Kid Rock which was sucky but that's what you get for running the smaller race I suppose. I knew this race was a lot smaller when I was assigned to corral one!
I did a mile warm up and then lined up with the 50 minute pacer and he and I chatted for a few before the race got started. He was really nice and I marveled at some of the folks starting right at the line. I do believe that some of these folks were not assigned to corral one and gave zero effs. They may have actually just gotten lost on the way to a casino. But, hey, that's Vegas!
The horn sounded and I ran right next to the 50 minute pacer for the first mile. He said he was a little fast as we hit mile one with a 7:53. He was aiming for 8:03's, but I felt really, really good. I had surged a bit in front of him and the pack by mile two and then I just kept going. Miles one until about the two and a quarter mark were slightly downhill, hence my initial pep. The rest of the race is a slight uphill. So yeah, uphill in the wind on the way back. Ouch.
The first three miles went by very quickly and I took advantage of the tailwind because I knew once we turned it was going to get tough. There were very strong gusts that came intermittently in both directions but the turn around was brutal toward the finish.
I can tell this photo is toward the end of the race because that's when it got very dark out. I never gave up during this race and even with the wind I was determined to beat my current PR of 50:24. I even told the S.O. and Coach Jon before we got to Vegas that I was going to PR. Granted, my 10K PR isn't as fast as my other PR's but I'll take what I can get!
I started really feeling my lungs and legs around mile five and told myself to hang on. I told myself that I wanted to keep hurting and to embrace the suck. And trust me, it felt like suck at this point. Ha!
As soon as I saw the finish line I knew I could beat my PR. I really wanted to go sub 50 and crossed the line just in front of the 50 minute pacer. We high fived and then I saw the S.O. waiting for me. He didn't really race the 10K as he hasn't been feeling so hot since his string of PR insanity.
My finish time was 50:07, a 17 second PR! Good enough for 4th in an age group of 616 women. That's the best I've placed in a Rock N Roll I believe. Color me happy!
Happy finishers!
Just in time to see the fountains of the Bellagio after finishing.
The S.O. and I had a fantastic trip to Vegas and will probably end up there again next year. We have become fans of the Rock N Roll series and while they are the 800 pound gorilla, they do put on a great race.
Half & Full Marathoners on the strip.
 Even with the cold wind and light rain, I'd recommend Rock N Roll Las Vegas, and hell travelling for a 10K is worth it. There really isn't anything quite like running the strip at night.

Thanks for reading and as a reminder, go hug your loved ones.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Runner I am Right Now

Ever since my ironman, which was over a year ago now, I've been chasing the runner I was. I see those PR's I have posted back from 2011 and 2012 and think...oof.

After almost every race since then I've lamented how I used to be so much faster. And I keep going after races with those times in the back of mind. 
I'm training hard and working on building back that confidence and ignorant bliss of just enjoying the run. I've done more strength training this year than I have in the last five. I'm focused on having a great swim at the Tampa Bay Frogman 5K. And I look back at past months to see what I can do better this month.
I'm doing a lot to build myself up as an athlete physically. However, what I'm not doing, that I could and should be doing, is celebrating and embracing the runner that I am right now.
"I'm so good at being positive for other people but I tend to struggle being positive for myself." Runladylike's Jesica said this the other day and I one hundred percent understood what she meant. I do it too.

I love encouraging others and helping others but I find it difficult to celebrate my own achievements sometimes. And I am so very hard on myself. Even small achievements like getting in a solid workout after work or making healthier food choices aren't given any credit. I don't give myself props for nearly enough of the things that I do well.
During recent training runs I have been seeing glimmers of my former running self and it's great, but instead of being happy, I tend to dwell on the times I "used" to be able to run. The whole thing is really a waste of energy and is helping exactly no one.
The runner that I am right now, right this very moment is no slouch. Sure I'm not setting blazing new PR's, but I'm still working hard and doing my best. And it's all relative, fast to me, may be slow as hell to you. And vice versa.
I know that if I were talking to a friend in the same boat, I would tell her - You. Are. Awesome. You're working at it and it's OK. It's a fantastic lifestyle that you focus on and want to be better at but you can only do your very best and that is more than enough.

The runner I am right now is pretty kick ass and I am happy to celebrate me. I invite you to do the same. Celebrate the runner you are right now and look forward to celebrating the runner you will be tomorrow.