Saturday, March 26, 2016

Deep Thoughts While Running the Dallas Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon

I woke up at 5:45am on Sunday morning for the Dallas Rock 'n' Roll half marathon. It was the coldest day that Dallas had seen in 2016, but I put on my running shorts and prepared for the race.

I had VIP access thanks to my association with Rock 'n' Blog. One of the benefits of my VIP pass was free garage parking downtown Dallas, but they also had a toasty warm room in a nearby hotel with coffee and a light breakfast. It was really close to the start line, so I hung out in the warm room stuffing my face with bagels until I heard the first corral kicking off.

I ended up catching up from the back and never quite made it up to my correct corral, but I wasn't concerned. I knew once I crossed the start line, it wouldn't really matter.

I always get nervous before a race. It doesn't matter how many I run. Running 13 miles is hard, y'all. (I don't know why I said y'all. I live in Texas but I'm from Pennsylvania.)

I finally inched up to the start line and my shivering legs were off in the cold weather. The first couple of miles I had a really negative mindset, but I was warmed up (physically and mentally) by mile two. I started off intentionally very slow with hopes of conserving energy for the end of the race. Running a race is a physical challenge but it was my mind that was racing that morning in Dallas.

If I run a half marathon without my FitBit does it even count? 


Just as I was about to walk out the door, I remembered...MY FITBIT!?! It was on the charger since the night before and I was relieved that I didn't walk out the door without it. But then I was instantly crushed when I realized that for some unknown reason it was still not charged. I was off to run a half marathon without my FitBit and I was sort of devastated.

I had my TomTom for GPS tracking, but what about my Weekend Warrior challenge? What about my weekly steps? I would lose a good 30K steps that day (and in my weekly overall steps).

Get over it, I told myself. People have real problems. This is not a big deal. (But secretly it is a big giant deal. Wah.) I realized at this point that I don't own my FitBit, my FitBit owns me.

Can I still PR after 40?


After a disappointing performance in San Antonio (knee pain, hip pain, too much walking), I was determined to have a decent race and get my confidence back. There is this little voice in the back of my head that says "You are older now, your PR days are behind you." "You'll never be as fast as you were a few years ago." "Just face it, it's all downhill from here."

I know better. These are negative and limiting thoughts that do not serve me. Of course if I train properly I can do anything I want. The truth is my performance has suffered, but it is mainly because my half marathon training (specifically my long runs) hasn't been on point, but not because of my age. That's just an excuse.

Spoiler alert: while not a PR, I ended up running my fastest half marathon in a year. Take that negative thoughts!

Do I need to Join the (Running) Club?


I love running half marathons so much that I self-identify as a half marathon runner. I'm the girl who runs half marathons. I realized something about myself when I ran five half marathons in a year: That I don't particurarly love the training for half marathons. I love to run, it's the long distances of more than an hour by myself in my neighborhood that I start to dread week after week.

I did exactly three long runs leading up to this race. I ran 7.5, then 8, then 10. I skipped my long run the weekend before the race. I did a lot of maintenance runs, treadmill intervals and plenty of strength training. Maybe it's time to join (or start!) a running club. If I know that long run training is my weak link, I should work to fix it.


Who Knew Dallas Was So Hilly?


Seriously. Where did all these hills come from? Did they have the hills specially installed for the race? And the wind? And the cold? This was nothing like the Dallas in March I was used to. I am not complaining (OK, maybe a little) adversity only makes us stronger. Right?



Can a High Five From a Gorilla Make You Run Faster?


At mile ten I high-fived the Team Beef gorilla after climbing a pretty steep hill and then ran those final three miles fastest of the race. Coincidence? I think not.


When I rounded that final corner and crossed the finish line to collect my medal I felt surprisingly great. Those last few miles flew by. Despite the wind and cold I managed to run my strongest half marathon in 12 months. This race gave me the confidence that maybe a new PR could be in my future with a lot of hard work and dedicated training. Next up? San Diego Rock 'n' Roll half in June.



Are you planning on running a Rock 'n' Roll marathon race in 2016? Check out this post for a discount code to save $15 off the half marathon or marathon distance.


Did you see my Dallas Expo recap? Runners are Friends we Haven't Met Yet.


Do you have deep thoughts while running? Please share!



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Keep Running,

Lea

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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Runners are Friends We Haven't Met Yet

When I was a kid in the '80s my family used to gather around the TV on Friday nights to eat stove popped popcorn (because we didn't have a microwave yet) and watch the Dukes of Hazzard. (Just pretend like I just didn't age myself there.) I heard it first when the Uncle Jessie said it:

"Well, a stranger's just a friend we haven't met yet."

Truthfully, this never resonated with me. As a child, let's just say I leaned towards caution. Stranger = danger. I was probably the most open to meeting new people in my 20s and then I comfortably slid into an introvert(ish) lifestyle in my 30s and beyond. It was never that I didn't like people, it was always more of an issue of hating small talk and craving a deeper connection. I have a fabulous husband and always have had one or two intimate friendships. It is all I ever needed. Adding superficial friendships never interested me.

Five years ago I started a running blog because I loved to write and I loved to run. My only readers were my husband (I had to twist his arm) and people in my bloodline. I didn't care. I knew nothing about SEO, I never thought for a second about how to grow my readership or build a following. It just never occurred to me. I just wrote, blissfully unaware of where all of this was going.

Back in 2012 I joined a couple of online fitness blogger communities like Sweat Pink and Fitfluential and started making online blogger friends. These were ladies that were just like me! They understood my passion for running (even if none of my real life friends did) and I leaned on them to navigate this whole blogging thing, which at the time was still relatively new to me.

Fast forward to 2016. Social media is becoming the new blogging and my network of online friends and runners has grown exponentially. When I travel to an out of town race, I love to meet up with my fellow runners and bloggers. I feel like I have friends in every city that I could think to travel. It's amazing to make an in-person connection with someone that you know online. You would think my preference for avoiding superficial relationships would have me shy away from these types of relationships, but the opposite is true. Why? Because paraphrasing the wise Uncle Jessie: Runners are friends we haven't met yet.



Now I am sure there are some jerky runners out there, but honestly, I don't think I've come across one in my running/blogging circles. The running community is largely welcoming, inclusive and supportive.

When you connect with people who share your life's passions, you are not meeting strangers, you are meeting friends. As a self proclaimed introvert, I have personally experienced this time and time again. I love making those connections with my runner friends from all over the country.

This weekend the Rock 'n' Roll half marathon was in my city, Dallas. I was so excited for a #werunsocial meet up at the expo on Saturday and hoped to meet up with some of my rock 'n' blog teammates too. We Run Social hosts meet ups at racing events all over the county. Everyone is welcome and I've been seeing their posts on social media for sometime now. I was excited to be a part of it.


I jumped in my car at 10:30am in Fort Worth to make the 30 mile trek to downtown Dallas to pick up my race packet and join the meet up planned for 11:30am. Well, Dallas traffic had other plans. What should have been a 40 minute drive turned into an hour and half because two lanes on the highway were closed due to an accident. Argh. I did a good job of not freaking out. While I felt my stress level rising, I reminded myself that while disappointing, missing a meet up was not the end of the world. Breathe.

It was noon by the time I made it to the convention center in Dallas. My patience was all used up and I paid $20 to park my car because I just couldn't drive around anymore. Breathe.

Things started to look up once I got inside. I took a few obligatory Dallas expo pictures (The guy who took this picture was balancing a large bag of popcorn and three young kids. It was actually quite impressive.)



I headed over to the Rock 'n' Roll marathon booth fully expecting to have missed all the fun. While I did miss the big meet up, I was thrilled to see a couple of faces that I recognized. It was fellow rock 'n' bloggers, Elizabeth from @TrainwithBain and Briana from @Matmilesmedals who I have connected with before at BlogFest in LA last year and in Las Vegas for the Rock 'n' roll marathon.


Then I met the lovely Letty from @fitaholicmom who by the way, was just the winner of my race essentials giveaway on Lea Genders Fitness and she was there wearing the cute Procompression socks she won from my giveaway. Cute, right?



Thanks to my running friends for making another race expo way more fun than just picking up a packet!


My next order of business was figuring out what to wear. We were expecting the coldest day Dallas has seen so far in 2016, go figure. Even though it seems like we skipped winter this year, Mother Nature likes to pop in every once in awhile to remind us the weather can (and will) change at the drop of a hat. We were expecting 40 degree temperatures at the start and a high of 50 for the day.

I ultimately decided on shorts and light weight long sleeve top, which I was sure would mean I'd be too cold at the start and too warm towards the end of the race.



Are you running any races soon? Have you ever met any of your running, social media or blogging friends in real life (IRL as the kids say)? Were you as surprised as me to have made genuine connections?

If you are running an rock 'n' roll marathon series races in 2016, you can use my discount code to save $15 off the marathon or half marathon distances at www.runrocknroll.com (some restrictions apply).


Stay tuned for my Dallas rock 'n' roll half marathon race recap (after I get some sleep)!

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Keep Running,

Lea

Does your running partner have four legs

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Saturday, March 12, 2016

Orange Creamsicle High Protein Smoothie and Giveaway

I love being a Premier Protein trainer ambassador because it gives me plenty of opportunities to experiment with new protein shake smoothie ideas. I have a tendency to make the same shakes over and over again (hello chocolate and peanut butter) but I love trying new flavor combinations.

This month's high protein orange creamsicle shake is so delicious! I love that this recipe is made from only simple easy to find ingredients.

30-60 minutes after a hard workout, I always refuel with protein and carbs. With 30+ grams of protein, this delicious, easy to prepare recipe is the perfect post workout drink.


The Recipe


1 frozen banana (I cut up a fresh banana in slices and put it in the freezer. It's easier to blend after it is frozen when it's already in smaller pieces)
1 peeled orange
1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1 scoop of vanilla Premier Protein powder

Mix all ingredients in a blender and add just enough water (or milk/almond milk) so it blends easily.


My orange creamsicle smoothie turned out so great that the neighbor dog jumped the fence to sniff it out.


The Giveaway

Premier protein is generously offering a tub of Premier Protein vanilla whey powder to one of my lucky readers. All you have to do is fill out the form below to enter to win. There are many ways to earn extra entries, but it only takes one entry to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway






GIVEAWAY RULES:  
Contest runs 3/13/16-3/20/2016
No purchase necessary
Open to US residents 18 years of age or older
Must have a shipping address in the US
Winner will notified via email and will have three business days to claim prize
If original winner does not claim prize within three business days an alternate winner will be selected
Winner will be drawn randomly from all registered contestants in the US
Prize will ship within 30 days on contest end
Prize will ship directly from Premier Protein

Good luck!


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Keep Running,

Lea

Does your running partner have four legs

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Saturday, March 5, 2016

Rock 'n' Blog 2016 Race Schedule and Discount Code

I am thrilled to be on the Rock 'n' Roll marathon's Rock 'n' Blog team for the 2nd year. It is truly an honor to run and promote their races. The trifecta of my life's passions are running, blogging and rock 'n' roll, so this race series and the rock 'n' blog team is such a great fit for me and this blog.

The great thing for you is that since I am member of the 2016 Rock 'n' Blog team I get a discount code that I can share with you! Use my code "LEAGENDERS" on www.runrocknroll.com when you register and you can save $15 off most of the marathon and half marathon distances (some restrictions do apply).


Dallas

Since the Big D is my home, it makes sense that my first race of the year is in Dallas. The Dallas course is relatively flat and fast. I often talk about how I love the race-cation, but there is nothing like exploring your own city on foot. Last year when I ran Dallas, I rediscovered my love of the half marathon and the love is still going strong.

Dallas 2015


San Diego

We love San Diego. We got married in 2005 on the beach in La Jolla. We always say when we get rich, we are packing our bags and moving there (don't hold your breath), so I jumped at the chance to run a race in one of my favorite cities. Last time we were in San Diego everyone was complaining about the heat, but to us Texans it felt cool and wonderful. I imagine there will be perfect race day conditions.

This is where we got married. We go there every year or so and take a picture.



Las Vegas

Ah, Las Vegas. I've been unfortunate that up until last year I was only able to visit Las Vegas for work, which meant I never saw much outside of conference rooms and convention centers. My luck started to turn last year when my sister and her husband moved to Vegas. A race that was on my wish list for years finally became a reality. Now I have the perfect excuse to run the rock 'n' roll Las Vegas half marathon every year. The half marathon was the ideal way to see the Las Vegas strip at night. In case you needed more convincing (you don't), here are three reasons to run the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas strip at night. 






San Antonio

San Antonio is just a Texas road trip away, so it makes perfect sense to hit the road for a weekend get away to run this fun course. This year will be my third year running San Antonio. I had a tough race on a beautiful course last year so I am looking forward to redeeming myself in 2016!



What about you? What races do you have planned this year? I'm not sure I am done with my race schedule, I may have a few more cities up my sleeve.

Be sure to check out runrocknroll.com to see all the tour stops for 2016 and use my discount code "LEAGENDERS" to save $15. Will I see you at any of my race cities?


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Keep Running,

Lea

Does your running partner have four legs

Ways to (legally) stalk me:




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