Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fits Do Race (Pre)views: The Urban Wildland Half Marathon

Hi all!

Thank you for all the love on Matilda's Guide to Minneapolis- apparently you guys love dogs! You're not coming here for Fitness, Fashion, and Fitness Fashion- you're coming here for a daily dose of vizsla!

Now that I know, I'll try to post plenty of pictures of this face more often...


She forgot to mention that she also loves the Apple store in Uptown- dog friendly!

Anyways, I'm checking in to let you know that I'm running the Urban Wildland Half Marathon this Saturday, or "Urban" as its known within my run club.

Are you running Urban?  Sure am!

In fact, my sister is coming to visit to run it with me! She has a time goal in mind, and my plan is to pace her to achieve that goal. I haven't ever paced anyone before, but I am excited to do it.

I have run Urban twice- 2010 and 2011. Year 2010 was the year that the bibs were biodegradable into seeds that you were supposed to plant (it's a very "green" race). Unfortunately it rained during the race, so the bib basically disintegrated while we ran- so much for that idea...

Then,  year 2011 was a super humid August morning, and I had a pretty awful race. With that said, Urban Wildland is a really well-run and pretty (and flat) half marathon that I enjoy, as long as the weather cooperates.  The race starts at 7:00, and the forecast for this Saturday says low 60's at at the starting time, so that seems promising.

The race is held in Richfield in the Woodland Nature Center, and the course is well supported with plenty of support stops and a varied terrain.

From the website, "Both courses begin and end in Vets Park, behind the Ice Arena (636 E 66th St), cover very flat terrain, and pass through shaded residential neighborhoods, past neighborhood park, and through three natural areas: Wood Lake, Richfield Lake, and Vets Park.  The half marathon course is certified by the USATF." 

A large group from my running club, the Calhoun Beach Running Club will be racing Urban to see where they are in their training for a fall full marathon. A lot of half marathon PR's have been set on this course, and I'm really excited to (fingers crossed) help my sister set one too!

Online registration is closed, but you can still register on Friday at packet pickup if you're interested, and there's a 5k too if that's more your cup of tea. 

Will I see you there? Are you running "Urban" this weekend?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Fitting Remarks: Matilda the Vizsla's Guide To Minneapolis

I absolutely loved The Daily Tay's Guide to Chicago from the point of view of her vizsla, Harlow.  I shared it with Matilda, and she thought she should share a post to offer her own guide to Minneapolis. 

I mean, I have my Minneapolis Summer Bucket List, which is great and all. But if you're visiting the Twin Cities, you should definitely refer to Matilda's recommendations of the top places to visit and things to see in Minneapolis!

Hi! My name is Matilda Sloan, and I'm 5 years old. I am easily excitable, and I'm excited to share with you my guide to Minneapolis!

Without further adieu, let me count down from 11 the best places to visit in Minneapolis.

#11: Pampered Pooch Playground. 
If you are visiting Minneapolis, I really recommend an overnight stay at the PPP.  Luxurious is the best word to describe this hotel, let me tell you. Some of my bestest friends are here. You can book a private suite or stay in the party room, both are great.

I stay here for slumber parties sometimes or just for kicks for the day when my parents have a lot going on after work.  Let's just say that everybody who is anybody goes to the Pampered Pooch Playground while in Minneapolis.

#10: The Airport Dog Park
The airport dog park is one of the best dog parks in the city. It's not fenced in, so don't get too excited chasing a rogue bunny. Bring your own poo bags and be sure to "carry out" afterwards as there are no garbage cans here.

#9: Go for a Run Around the Lakes!
You really can't beat the running trails in Minneapolis. Best way to see the city.

P.S. I'm a good runner. That's me with my dad. He's a good runner too.
If you come visit, we can go for a run around Lake Harriet or Lake Calhoun. I'll let you set the pace.

#8: Get On a Paddleboard
I don't like to swim, but I LOVE to be on top of the water. Put me on a boat or a paddleboard, and I'm happy. Fortunately for me, Minneapolis is the city of lakes, so lots of options for being on a boat. You should definitely go paddleboarding during your visit.
I'm on a boat, y'all!

#7: Chuck and Don's
O.M.G. Have you been to Chuck and Don's Pet Store? It. Is. Awesome. It's full of treats and toys and friendly people who like to pet me. I always get a treat here and I almost always walk out with a new toy. You definitely want to put Chuck and Don's on your must-see list for a Minneapolis visit.

#6: "The Illegal."
This is another dog park, but I can't tell you where it is, as it's top secret. It's not an official dog park, but it's close to my house and I have lots of friends here. I recommend you check out this place during your visit, though I can't tell you where it is....

#5: Beer With Your Buddy
I haven't been to a Beer With Your Buddy event in a year or two, but they are really cool. If you visit Minneapolis, you need to put Beer With Your Buddy on your agenda. These events are usually held at the Nomad Pub  and if you're a dog, you get to play off-leash the whole time! Also, the Nomad Pub is across the street from Palmer's Bar, which Esquire rated one of the best bars in America.

#4: Clancey's Meats
I'm not sure if I'm technically allowed to go to Clancey's Meats  but sometimes I sneak in and they give me small bits of hamburger.  But for the record, let's say that I wait outside and my parents buy the freshest meat in the city! I also like Coffee & Tea Ltd nearby as they always welcome me with open arms (and a treat or two!) Be sure to make a stop at Clancey's when you come to Minneapolis.

#3: A Visit to the Tin Fish lady.
Now, as a human, you might visit Tin Fish during your visit to Minneapolis for their tasty fish tacos or conch fritters, but me? I like Tin Fish for Tin Fish lady.

She is probably one of my favorite people in Minneapolis. Sometimes I go running with my mom and we don't stop to say hi to Tin Fish lady and it makes me really sad..I keep turning back to see if maybe Tin Fish lady is coming for me. She's the best. She gives me treats and she has a special whistle that I like.

#2: The #2 best place  to visit in Minneapolis is...this bench.

A really cool place to visit in Minneapolis is this bench in our backyard.

Our backyard isn't very big (come on, we live in the city!) but you should still stop by to see this bench. I really like this bench, and I bet you would too. You can watch all the squirrels, and monitor any strange coming down the alley.

...and the last but definitely not least, my best/most favorite/must-see place to visit in Minneapolis is:

#1: Under a warm blanket.
If you visit Minneapolis at any other time other than the short three months that we are above freezing temps, you probably will want to be under a blanket during your visit.

Me too. I have a really nice green one that we can share if you'd like.  It's a really popular place to visit in Minneapolis.

So there you have it! Matilda's Top 11 Places to Visit in Minneapolis. She hopes to see you soon!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Weekly Recap: A Killer Kettlebell Workout and Goodbye to July...

Can you believe July is coming to an end? This summer is going too quickly. Don't get me wrong, there's lot of fun stuff to look forward to in August, but I am still sad that this was our last July weekend.

We packed a lot into our Saturday, with a long run in the heat, a work party at a lake in New Prague, and a housewarming party for one of our run club friends.  Today has definitely been a lot more low-key, with lots of errands and work around the house. But enough on that, let me fill you in the past week at the Right Fits!

What's happening in fashion?
JCrew had a "swim & short" sale going on online, so I picked up THESE shorts that I saw on "Classy Girls Wear Pearls" (<-- I love everything she wears!)  
Such a fun pattern, and I think I ended up only paying just $30. I wore them for a work party on Saturday- perfect for an afternoon of sun and social.

What's happening in Fitness Fashion?
BIC bands are what is happening in fitness fashion. An oldie, but a goodie. I basically live in these things most of the time, and always have one on when running. 

What's happening in Fitness this week?
Monday: Crazy HOT day. I ran 5.5 miles easy by myself rather than do the hill workout with the club (Looking to incorporate hills into your workout? Be sure to check out THIS POST!)
Tuesday: Hill workout in the AM with some gals. Managed about 3.5 repeats for about 7.5 miles total.
Wednesday: Torchlight 5k (with about 2.25 mile warmup)
Thursday: 1 hour kettle bell strength class at Balance Fitness *see below for workout details
Friday: Easy 4 mile run with Matilda

Saturday: 16 mile long run with the CBRC Man, oh, man was it humid for this run! I think a lot of us struggled yesterday in the heat and humidity, and unfortunately, not all of the water pumps in the city are working yet. We had one volunteer support stop around mile 7.5, but honestly, it wasn't enough for such a hot day, and I was pretty beat up after this run.

Sunday: 1 hour barre class at The Barre- I met Susie and Penny at The Barre in Wayzata (same owners as The Barre Edina where I usually go). The Wayzata studio is gorgeous, with a view of Lake Minnetonka while you lift, tone, burn! It was a really great class with instructor Jaclyn.

Summary: 5 days of running, 1 barre class, 1 strength day

Since a lot of run club members were at the Torchlight 5k on Wednesday, the instructor for the Calhoun Beach Club strength conditioning class skipped this week's workout. Instead, I got in a strength workout by heading back to Balance Fitness for Sarah's class. It was a solid workout, where we did the following:

That's about it from me from the Right Fits! I hope you all had a wonderful last weekend in July. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Fits Do Race Reviews: The 2014 Torchlight 5k

Last Wednesday evening, I ran the Torchlight 5k. Seriously guys, I have been running this race forever. I think this was my 8th or 9th year. But it’s so fun! Past reviews of this race can be found HERE (2013) and HERE (2012). 

The Torchlight 5k is a unique event that I would definitely recommend for all types of runners. It’s pretty rare to find a race on a weeknight, and its fun that the race draws a lot of fans. Yes, it’s true that the spectators are lining the course because of the Aquatennial Festival parade that occurs immediately after the 5k, but they are still there cheering for us!

The race has really grown over the past few years. Its now over 6,000 runners and is chip-timed and part of the USATF team racing circuit.

From the race website,
"Whether you are a dedicated runner or just someone who jogs from the couch to the fridge, the Torchlight 5K is the fun run for everyone! Grab your family, friends and running shoes because the Torchlight 5K is the one run that starts with a bang and ends with a brew. That's right, our legendary post-race party features musical entertainment and complimentary refreshments. It's the party of the year that just happens to start with a run!”

Registration/Packet Pickup:
Be sure to pick up your race packet ahead of time at any one of the many stores that offer it. Do NOT wait until race day, as the line for packet pickup is really long. You will still have to be carded at the start line to get a wristband for beers at the finish (though there was also a stand at the finish line for bracelets too if you can’t handle the line at the start)

Don’t even get me started on what was my biggest blonde moment in race registration history… Apparently I registered months ago before the USATF team was set up online. Well, I must have registered, but I didn’t think that I did- I thought that I never clicked “register” because our team wasn’t available online yet. Then, when our CBRC team was set up, I ended up registering again…Then, many weeks later, Dustin received his bib and shirt in the mail and I thought, well why didn’t I get mine? I must not have registered…so I registered AGAIN. 

So yes, I was registered THREE times. Smart, Jess, smart…Fortunately, I was able to work with someone at Lifetime Fitness (the primary sponsor of the race) to get reimbursed for 1 of the 3 registrations, but I still ended up with two bibs and two shirts.

Oddly, for one of my registrations, I received a cotton tee and for the other I received a dri-fit shirt. They must have run out of one of the options and switched over to a different option?? 
Anyways, just be sure to register early so you can get your packet in the mail and don’t have to wait in line. You also get your name on your bib and an extra beer ticket. Register early- just not three times!

The Course/Weather:
The Torchlight 5k is always HOT, but this past Wednesday wasn’t too bad. I think it was in the low-80’s and not that humid.  A group of the girls met at St. Anthony Main to get in a 2.25 mile warm-up to the Basilica. (It was also a good idea to park our cars near the finish line, otherwise, we would have to walk all the way back to the start after the race)

The 5k starts near the Basilica of Saint Mary and then follows the Aquatennial's Torchlight Parade route, ending at Father Hennepin Park for a post-race party. There were two water stops on the course, which was pretty nice for a short 3.1 mile race. The start area was a pretty crazy; with over 6,000 runners there, it was a little stressful. The bathroom lines were a bit disorganized- no clear lines, but just a mass of people waiting and quietly getting annoying with people they thought were cutting in line…Minnesotans are just too nice- we never would say anything, right?

After finally getting through the bathroom line, we then pushed our way to the start. I would have been more stressed about getting caught in the back of the pack at the start, but fortunately, I was running as part of our run club’s USATF racing team. We were able to cut right in the front in a separate start. Awesome...except that everyone around us was incredibly fast, and USATF rules go by gun time, not chip time, so everyone was pushing their way up. No one was afraid to toe the line at this one! I was a little worried that I would be pushed over when the gun went off, ha! But seriously, some of those guys were running under 15 minutes! So impressive…

The rest of the course winds through downtown and into the St. Anthony Main area. It's really a beautiful little course that shows off the city quite well.

Finish Line:
Be careful on the last turn onto St. Anthony Main at the finish line, as you will be running on cobblestone. The finish line was hot and crowded, but they did have a wide assortment of goodies- water, “Aspire” drink (I’m seeing this at a lot of races?), salted nut rolls, rice krispie treats, and POPSICLES (So good!)

A flat, fast race!
I ran 13 seconds faster than the week before at the Esprit de She. The Esprit de She had some rolling hills, whereas the Torchlight was pretty flat. My official time was 22:46 (pace of 7:20). Of course, I went out too fast and my first mile was 7:08, and then I couldn’t hold that for the last two miles. I’m happy with my performance…but really happy for Dustin, who broke 19 minutes with a time of 18:52!

As long as you aren’t stuck in the back of the masses of runners, you could definitely have a really strong race here.

Fitness Fashion:
On to the fitness fashion part of this post! I have started to venture into the “spandex” territory for running shorts. I always thought my booty/thighs were too big for these to work for me, but I actually like the way they fit. No chafing, which is huge. They also look kind of “hardcore” so I like to wear them for races! 

I have two pair of the Saucony Bullet Tight Short (find them HERE ) which have a zippered pocket in the back, and a lining on the inside of the legs that helps prevent them from riding up.

We bought new Calhoun Beach Running Club singlets this year. They are an Asics performance singlet. The logo was designed by graphic designer Kelli Fox (member of our run club). I like the design, but I have to be honest that I don’t love the fit of the actual singlet. Its just not very flattering (loose in the wrong places, high-necked, and short in the body) and I don’t like the color red that much. Sorry!  

Anyways, I paired the whole get-up with my CBRC BIC band (there are still a few left ladies if you want one!) and my Brooks Ravennas and my Garmin 210.

Post-race Party!
The biggest draw for the Torchlight 5k is definitely the post-race party. Complete with a pop cover band, the music gave it even more of a party vibe...oh, and you could get your photo taken in a little photo booth.

Every participant receives three coupons for a Miller Lite (IMHO, better than the Michelob Ultras of years past!) A fine pilsner indeed!

Personally, I think I prefer the smaller 5k’s like the Brian Kraft on Memorial Day, but I still highly recommend the Torchlight. It’s a summer tradition that I will continue to do every year!

Run Hot, Party Cool!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer Bucket List: A Day at the Pizza Farm...

I checked another item off of my summer bucket list on Sunday- a day at a pizza farm! 

It was really a fun day, so I'll share the experience with you primarily with lots of pictures.

Kelly, Dustin, and I drove the hour to Northfield, Minnesota to Red Barn Pizza Farm. They are open for pizzas every third Sunday of the month and every Wednesday evening. Northfield is a bit of a hike from Minneapolis, so we didn't think we'd ever be able to make it on a Wednesday. Instead we marked our calendars for the third Sunday of the month, and made plans to head there around 11 am last Sunday. 

From their website: "Wednesdays and every third Sunday only, this sweet, pesticide-free working farm in south central Minnesota invites guests to enjoy pizza—pizza made in the farm's new Italian oven, pizza topped with greens grown right there in the adjoining farm fields. 10063 E. 110th St., Northfield507-664-0304redbarnfarmofnorthfield.com"

This farm was so much fun...and it was fun for us- 3 adults.  I imagine it would be even more fun for kids and families! 

There were animals to pet...like these friendly horses!

...and chickens too!

The pizza farm is "BYOB"- bring your own beverages. It's also bring your own plates, napkins, cups, and you need to take your garbage with you when you leave.

We brought a few chairs and a blanket  as well.
There were a few picnic tables at the farm, but most people had found a place to set up in the shade.

There was a cute general store where you could purchase
 house-made items like salsa, pickled beets, cookies, and more.

We took some time wandering around the gardens and admiring all the vegetables- 
vegetables that would soon be on our pizza!

You order your pizzas right by the big oven. 

The wait for a pizza was about 45 minutes, so plan accordingly.

The pizzas were around $25 each. They were 16 inches, and one pizza could definitely feed a group of three, but we decided to order two just so we could try a few different options (and bring home leftovers). All the vegetables and sauce are made right on the farm. Very tasty!

Other people had brought bean bags (corn hole?) and footballs to toss around. Kids were playing with hoola hoops and enjoying the gorgeous summer day.

By the time our pizzas were ready, we were pretty hungry! Both pizzas were really tasty.

The "red barn" on the pizza farm appeared to be a unique location for a wedding or party. It was somewhat set up inside with tables and chairs. Maybe there was a wedding the night before? Such a fun place for one!

I would definitely recommend checking out Red Barn Pizza Farm.
It was such a great way to enjoy the summer! I hope we have the time to go again, maybe with even more friends!

Have you ever been to a pizza farm?

Fitting Remarks: All About Hill Workouts!

Hill repeats are an excellent way for runners to build strength and improve their speed.

Hills make us better runners. Hills are our friends!

I know that I blamed my poor performance at the Flying Pig marathon on the hills (and the heat), but I also can't avoid every interesting marathon just because of a few hills. The hillier marathons are usually the most beautiful, so doing hill workouts to prepare is a must. Yet hill workouts aren’t just for hilly marathons. You can reap the rewards of hill training when you run on the flats as well. Hill training will make you a better runner overall!

With that said, our run club incorporates hill workouts into our marathon training plan, and it’s on the schedule for people training for hilly marathons like Flying Pig or pancake-flat races like Chicago.

Monday night was the Calhoun Beach Running Club's first hill workout of the fall marathon training season.  Even in a stereotypical flat city like Minneapolis, we are able to find a hill to do repeats on!

Our workout hill is a 1/2 mile hill on Kenwood Parkway. (I wrote about it in this POST from a few months ago as well. Our hill goes right by Mary Tyler Moore's TV House.) 

The hill that you choose to train on might be longer or steeper than ours, but the basic idea of doing a hill repeat should be the same.  Generally, the idea is that you will run up the hill fast/hard, and then you recover by jogging down super easy. This type of hill workouts is fantastic for improving VO2 max and increasing muscle strength. In fact, I have read that hill repeats are basically a form of strength training:

“The forceful contractions caused by the lifting of the hips, glutes and quads when you’re running up the hill utilizes the same principle mechanics as many plyometric exercises. Also, because these long hill repeats are often very intense, they are a great VO2 max workout. The muscle groups you use to overcome hills are virtually the same as those you use for sprinting, so hill work enhances your speed. This strengthening effect is supplemented by the fact that hill workouts help increase both the frequency and length of your stride -- you get even faster. As a final added bonus, hill training also strengthens the muscles around your knees, helping to reduce knee injuries." source

Here are some tips and training ideas for your hill training.

Always warm-up!
We do an easy jog for about two miles to the base of the hill. You should get 10-15 minutes of slow jogging in to warm up the body before you arrive at the bottom of your hill.

Focus on form.
Don't stare at your feet. Instead try to focus on the ground about ahead of you.

Push Yourself!
Run up the hill at your 5K "effort" pace. You'll want to try to push yourself hard up the hill, keeping a consistent effort up the hill but then take it really easy on the downhill. When you reach the top of your hill, you should be feeling the burn…Turn around and recover by easy jogging or down the hill.

When should I start hill training?
Ideally, you shouldn't start incorporating hill training until you have 4-6 weeks of solid base training under your belt. We are in week 5 of the Twin Cities/Chicago training, so it’s a good time in their schedule for a hill workout. Unfortunately, since our marathon (the OBX marathon) is not until November, Dustin and I are technically just starting our OBX training. However, we are both experienced runners. I think a few extra weeks of training can't hurt us.

How often should I do hill training?
Most sources I found said no more than once a week.

How many repeats should I do?
Your number of repeats depends on your experience and fitness level. Our training schedule always offers a range. Monday night's range was 3-6 repeats. We max out during training with 8 repeats. If you are new to running, I would recommend the lower end of the range, but if you are an experienced marathoner who has been hitting all of the miles so far in training, then go for the higher end of the range.

Most coaches and experienced runners would agree that training on hills is a great idea for any marathon runner.

What about you? Do you train specifically on hills? Or are all your routes already hilly?

Weekly Recap: Esprit de She, Sunrise Yoga, and Some New Athleta Gear

Happy Tuesday friends!

Are you surviving this heat? It's pretty stifling...I decided to skip the hill workout with my run club last night due to the heat, and I just ran easy on my own, with lots of water/walk breaks. Then, a few of the girls and I met up this morning at the early hour of 5:15 am to make up the hill workout. I will share more about that in a "All About Hill Workouts" post, but first let me fill you in on what's happening in Fitness, Fashion, and Fitness Fashion last week!

What's happening in fitness?
Monday: 1 hour barre class at The Barre,, 7 miles with the Calhoun Beach Running Club
Tuesday: 7 miles with the Calhoun Beach Running Club, with three 8 minute tempo intervals
Wednesday: 1 hour barre class at The Barre, 1 hour strength conditioning for runners at the Calhoun Beach Club
Thursday: Sunrise yoga with Luminous Yoga (read all about it HERE), Esprit de She 5k race with 3 mile warmup
Friday: Complete rest!
Saturday: 14 mile long run
Sunday: 4 mile run with Dustin and Matilda, then an awesome time at the Red Barn Pizza Farm <-- stay tuned for a post on that item that I crossed off my summer bucket list!

Summary: 5 days of running, 1 complete rest day, 2 barre classes, 1 strength day

What's happening in fashion?
I wore this maxi dress (find it HERE) to dinner on Saturday at Piccolo. Its kind of a unique take on the standard maxi, with a "T" back style that I liked.

What's happening in fitness fashion?
I posted on Sunday about some new Athleta gear that I am loving- the forerunner tank and the pulse short. Check out that post HERE

That's all I have for now. I hope you are staying cool during this heat wave!

Have you been to a pizza farm? 
How are you staying cool during these crazy hot temps??