My Summer Long Run Uniform

I made a pledge at the start of the year to not purchase any items of clothing for all of 2017 (with a few exceptions).  At this point in the game, I hadn’t signed up to run a marathon yet, so I made a few more exceptions once I was enlisted in this endeavor and had miles of training in front of me.  I wore two particular articles of clothing for every long run and during the race.  They were perfect and I have no complaints about either item of clothing.  Since I loved them so much, I want to tell you about each piece.  I will definitely be buying a second pair of each once my purchasing ban is lifted and I start summer training again next year.

The Perfect Running Bra

It does exist and it is made by Lululemon.  I have squeezed myself into sports bra after sports bra but this is the one y’all: The Enlite Bra.

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Summer long run uniform

I’m lucky in that I don’t have to contend too much with my girls and their bounce or weight when I run.  And I’d honestly never really thought twice about a good sports bra, until I wore this one.   It made the days I wore other sports bras seem restrictive and uncomfortable.

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Full coverage on the front and no bouncing!

I love the Enlite because it has individual cups for each gal.  Turns out I don’t really love having them smooshed into a uni-boob.  I also love that it hooks in the back in addition to the usual elasticity of sports clothing because that helped eliminate some of the bounce that happens when running (again, I don’t have much to contend with here, but I did notice).  The criss-crossed straps in the back also helped me feel tucked in and tight.  The best part though was probably the fabric.  It is SO soft.  And there’s something magical about it that doesn’t collect sweat (and man were there some sweaty days in July gearing up for that race).  I remember wearing a different bra on a humid night run of way less than half the distance of some of those morning long runs and I had to wring it out it got so soaked in sweat.  I never had to wring out the Enlite, because of the magic fabric.

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Enlite Bra + mid thigh tights = perfect running combo

The Perfect Running Bottoms

When I first started running, I wasn’t too picky about the kind of clothing I had on.  I didn’t know any better.  It only took one run over 5 miles to learn that shorts are not a good option for my legs for that many miles.  No thigh gap there.  So for years, I’ve run in mid-length tights all through the summer months for runs over 5 miles.  When the temps started to climb in Oklahoma on this marathon training cycle, I knew I needed a different plan.

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I spy a phone tucked into a side pocket

I bought my favorite pair of running bottoms to date.  They are the mid-thigh tight shorts that remind me of biker shorts.  They’re amazing for a few reasons:

  1. They are way cooler (as in temps) than tights just a few inches longer.
  2. They are way more comfortable than traditional shorts and I can wear them for miles and miles without a concern of chafing.
  3. THEY HAVE SIDE POCKETS

I’ve written about my love for side pockets before but I’ll reiterate again.  As a digital runner who uses her phone for music, run tracking and instagramming on the run, side pockets changed the game for me.  There is less sweat there than at the normal small-of-the-back pocket and the bounce from the large device is minimal when it’s snug against your leg.  There’s also plenty of room for hours of snacks and mid-run essentials like salt tablets and Aleve.  I’ll never buy pants or shorts intended for running without side pockets again.  Ever.

Unfortunately this version of the shorts is no longer in production but I’ll let you know when something similar is available for purchase.   I’ll definitely be buying another pair when they come back around!

 

 

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The Greatest Adventure

I wrote this post for our StudiOne blog right after the race but I never shared it here.  I’m not sure how much crossover there is between my two worlds but I wanted to re-share it here because I think there’s an important message about believing in yourself in my story.   Mine is specifically running, but yours could be anything else.  Job, school, relationships.  Put in the work and see what happens before you sell yourself short.  You just might believe you can do it (I’ll be trying again next year!).

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Whose idea was this anyway?

Last weekend, StudiOne instructor Michelle and I traveled to the west coast to run in our Jack and Jill Marathon.  We’d been training for 16 weeks in hopes of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.  I, Sprenkel, was originally planning to accompany Michelle on her BQ attempt and check off the half marathon distance of my 21st state.  But, on the day we registered back in February, the half was already sold out.  So I committed to the full, but only reluctantly.  I, Sprenkel, who after my last marathon in 2013 called my dad to make him promise to never let me sign up for another one, was game to run 26.2 miles again (never say never, eh?) but was not interested in the work or idea of qualifying for Boston.  Well, ok the idea of it because what runner isn’t?  But I am a half marathoner, a recent 5k racer and never in my 10 years of running would I have considered myself strong enough to qualify for Boston.  Never.  (This is important, are you getting it?)

Somewhere between the time of signing up and starting our official training, I’d been convinced by two women that I could at least train like I wanted to qualify.  One of them was Michelle, who was begging for a training partner, and also believed in me before I did.  The other was Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to register and run in the infamous 1967 Boston Marathon.  I listened to her speak in April and this line brought me to tears, “We are very good at underestimating what we’re capable of.”  That settled it.  I flew home to Michelle and we started training the very next week.  Who am I to stand in my own way?

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Lots of miles on Brookside

The first half of training went really, exceptionally well.  Our schedules matched so we were able to run most of our training days together.  The weather was great, we were hitting our paces and the grudge of weeks and miles of training hadn’t set in yet.  Then more than halfway through, our schedules changed, the weather turned nasty and the long miles dragged on.  I was making bets left and right to help me eat right and get the last of my miles in.  But we dug in and got the training done.

Going into the race, we were both unsure of what to actually expect.  Michelle scoped out the course that was most likely to get us a fast time, which is why we hauled ass across the US to run.  The 40 degree temperature difference would certainly work in our favor and so would the downhill.  But still, that doubt lingered that we could hit the low 8:00 paces because we hadn’t been in the Tulsa heat and humidity.  I almost tossed in the BQ towel before the race even started.

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Shakeout run on the sound

We had a beautiful first full day in Seattle that we spent carefully eating and touring around.  We went for a shakeout run on the river at noon time and barely broke a sweat.  It was heaven.  There was a lot of chatter about our race strategy to keep us from going out too fast.  I definitely couldn’t pull one of my 5k race starts where I bolt out of the gate – too many miles for that.  We made sure to stock up on fuel for during the race (my Aunt Annie’s fruit snacks) and a blanket for the start line since we would be waiting around for an hour.  We tried to go to bed early but our nerves kept us up later than we would have liked.  Luckily we were running on more than 12 hours of sleep from the previous night.

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Marathon morning

Race day came at 3am on Sunday.  We got dressed in our layers and put our glide on all the proper seams.  There are so many sequential things important in this time period.  We had to leave by 3:45 am to make it to our 4:30 bus on time.  After we were dressed and made sure we had all the watches, headphones, playlists, snacks and pills (salt and Aleve) we would need, we made our breakfast of steel cut oats and ran out the door.

I stayed surprisingly calm throughout the whole morning.  I get more nervous for 5ks than I did for this.  I was calm on the bus, although I did get a little annoyed at all the race chatter going on on the bus.  At that point, you’ve done everything you can to get ready for the race and I didn’t want to hear any more what if this happens or what if that happens?  I stayed calm as we huddled under our blanket waiting for the start.  Even stayed calm on the walk to the start line and the quick hop into the bushes for one last bathroom break (hey it happens, and you don’t want to have to stop on the course if you’re going for time).  Before I knew it, we were off, and I was still calm.

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Headlamps for the tunnel

It felt so good to be running.  The mountains were incredible, the temperature was perfect and I had my best running pal by my side.  Without a definite plan still, I just wanted to run by feel and keep a mindful approach to my breath and effort levels.  About half a mile in we hit the famous Snoqualmie tunnel.  For about 2.5 miles of disorienting darkness, we paced behind the 3:35 pace man.  It was quiet except for the steps of runners, and occasional drip drip of water in puddles and the steady breathing of a dozen people around me.  I didn’t have any signal in the tunnel so had no music in my ears.

At mile 3 we popped out the other side and I was so happy to be able to see the whole ground beneath me.  I shed my top long sleeve layer and tossed the headlamps into the bucket.  Soon after, a flood of my Motigo messages for miles 1-3 came all at once.  Michelle and I laughed out loud in excitement of the familiar voices.

For a good amount of miles after the tunnel, we ran together, comfortably and steadily.  The scenery was indescribable and I wished often that I wasn’t racing so I could have stopped to take pictures.  We were surrounded by beautiful green trees, an expansive blue sky above us and the green landscape was dotted with bright, colorful flowers beside the trail.  Somewhere in those middle miles, I looked at Michelle and said, “I think we can make it.”

When we got to the mile 15 water stop, I knew some of the toughest miles were ahead of us.  I was still feeling strong so I kept a pretty good pace.  I have to walk through the water stops or I’ll swallow too much air, but I tried to move as quickly as I could.  Working for the next mile marker and Motigo message with every step.  The water tables were about two miles apart and by 17 I didn’t have Michelle in my sights anymore when I looked back over my shoulder.  We’d made an agreement that we would stay together as long as we could, but then if one of us needed to push on, to leave the other.

There’s a famous quote in the running world: “The first half of the marathon is 20 miles, the second half is the last 6.2”.  And y’all is there truth to that.  When I hit mile 20, I was still moving along at goal pace but then it’s like all at once all your systems start to shut down.  Knees, feet and ankles were aching.  Soon the shoulders joined in the party.  I felt like I was going as fast as I could but I also knew I had slowed down.  But I kept moving.  Keep moving for the cheers!  I was always excited to see who would be there to greet me at the next mile.   And I even got a little miffed on a few miles when I knew there were certain people aware of the difficulty of those miles (18 and 20).

Those final six miles passed so slowly and at this point, after the 3:35 pacer passed me, I had no expectation of hitting a qualifying time.  But I was still so so amazed at my own run.  The last mile was the hardest: Motigo had no option for cheers at mile 26 (something I plan to speak to them about), a man on the sidelines cheering shouted out, “Just under 500 yards to go” and I spent at least 500 yards trying to figure out how far that is in meters, and still had no finish line in sight, and my shoulders were aching so much.  I’d developed a calf cramp that had modified my gait a little bit and was pretty much shuffling along the trail.  Then I saw it.  And perked up a bit.  Despite all the pain, I still felt surprisingly strong so I put on my best sprint and crossed the finish line.

I took my medal and two bottles of water before trotting back to find Michelle.  She finished strong, not far behind me.  We both hobbled around gathering up snacks and our start line bags.  We called or texted our biggest fans with our times and limped over to the shuttle bus.  Michelle couldn’t feel her legs and I had such a bad cramp in my shoulder that I couldn’t move my left arm.

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We did it!

Looking back, a week later, I don’t remember any sadness or disappointment from either of us.  During the race I was reminded so powerfully of the magic of running, and especially the magic of a well-trained for marathon.  They’re not always enjoyable, and not every step of Jack and Jill was bliss.  But, for most of those 26.2 miles, I felt fearless, strong and capable.  I thought back on training struggles, days I wanted to give up, and doubts I had in myself.  I remembered years ago when running used to be a punishment to myself for overeating or indulging in delicious food.  And I celebrated that now running is a tool I use to feel strong and able.  I listened with so much love in my heart to my messages from friends and family, near and far.  I was overwhelmed with gratitude and humility that so many people would take time out of their days to cheer for me (Motigo founder reached out to me to tell me I set the record for cheers in a single race <3).

Before the race, I thought of one of my favorite quotes, “Maybe it won’t work out, but maybe seeing if it will is the greatest adventure ever.”  I was at peace at that starting line that even if we missed it, I grew as a runner in that training cycle.  My perception of myself and my capabilities completely shifted.  I never missed a track workout. I completed long runs in the 80+ degrees of the Tulsa summer, while friends were in town and before vacations.  I ran on treadmills on cruise ships.  I said no to brunch and dinner plans, donuts and ice cream for 16 weeks.  And oh man, did Michelle and I adventure through the city streets and weather of Oklahoma.  But I grew.  I stretched.  I pushed.  Michelle gave me the nudge I needed to at least think about it, and then the support I needed to get through it.  Kathrine gave me the push to commit to trying.  And I gave myself permission to fly.  I can’t wait to go back and get that BQ!

Don’t stand in your own way y’all.  We are our biggest critics, doubters and obstacles.  If you need a nudge, or a support team like I had, myself, Teresa and the students and teachers at StudiOne can help you.  It’s fall racing season in Tulsa – pick an October or November race and see what you can do!

 

Sprenk’s Favorite Things: Side Pockets

How did Friday get here again already?  How is it almost February?  Sometimes I laugh that after 30 years of dealing with the passing of time, I still get caught up in how fast it always seems to go.  Friday means I get to share a favorite thing with you!

Every so often there’s an innovation to something standard that is so brilliantly simple, you wonder why the hell it took so long for it to catch on.  The main development I’m sharing today is the SIDE POCKET.

Pockets on workout pants have evolved over the years.  Some were just big enough for keys, some on the front elastic band with no zipper, some on the back sacrum area with a zipper (painful for crunch work, and damaging to your phone), eventually they grew bigger to hold music devices and phones, and then finally, someone thought to put a big pocket on the side of the upper leg.

My first pair of pants with this perk were hot pink All the Right Places crop from Lululemon.  I bought them because they were pink, and realized later on my first run in them that this pocket was gold.

This year, my favorite tights for doing circuit workouts in also have a side pocket.  It’s great because I’m working out by myself most of the time and want to have headphones in.  Since I do floor work, I don’t want to smash my phone in my back pocket so I slip it into the side pocket of these tights.  These Tight Stuff tights deserve their own favorite things day I love them so much.

Finally, when I run now, I mostly always choose my full length leggings because they’re the only real cold weather running tights I have with this feature.  Before I owned pants with a lateral pocket, I would just carry my phone in my hand (to avoid the sweaty back pocket).  I never realized how burdensome that is!  It’s so freeing to stick it in that leg pocket and still have the headphones be long enough to reach my ears.

Besides being handy for my phone on runs and during workouts, they’re also at the perfect location for me to just walk around with my hands in my pockets – a joy I didn’t even know existed!

It’s hard now for me to buy pants without this side pocket functionality.  Yoga specific pants would be ok, since I’m not usually needing to carry a phone with me for those, but otherwise, from now on running and studio pants will be filtered by the option of the side pocket or not.

Do you love the side pocket?   How do you do music during your runs and workouts?

Workout Wednesday: Runner’s Dozen

Hi friends!  How’s your week going?  I’m feeling strong and on top of workouts and this Whole 30 eating plan we’re doing at the Studio.  I’m sure grumpy and tired days are ahead but it’s so great when energy, time and productivity seem abundant.

Case in point – I’ve filmed a workout video for you from my stack!  This week I chose one that is not my own creation.  I’ve actually looked to see who compiled these moves but I can’t find a true creator.  I’ve seen this workout referenced in my Believe Training Journal, on several running blogs and I’ve used it (not as much as I should) on and off for years.

The Runner’s Dozen

This workout is for anyone and requires no equipment.  It’s targeted to runners because the moves help develop core strength (core is glutes and shoulders too, not just abs) in a way that is functional to running.

There are 12 moves, to be performed in the order listed below:

  1. 60 bicycle abs (total)
  2. 20 pushups to side planks (total pushups)
  3. 30 marching bridges (total marches)
  4. Ab scissors – 30 horizontal, 30 vertical (total each direction)
  5. 60 second elbow plank
  6. 30 fire hydrants (total)
  7. 10 side plank leg raises
  8. 30 bird dogs (total, one side at a time)
  9. 15 V-ups
  10. Knee tucks (5 outside, 5 middle, 5 across – per leg)
  11. 10 second hold + 5 pulses flute balance (front, side, back)
  12. 10 pushups, rest, 9 pushups, rest……down to 1.

That’s it!  One time through takes 10-15 minutes so this could be done after a short run, or on its own as a maintenance day or strength day.  The link to the video is here, and the moves are performed in the order listed above.  It is not a real-time video, but sped up and not of the correct reps.  It’s meant to show form and modifications (pushups, side planks).  Good luck, and let me know if you try it!

Workout of the Week: Fit Camp

In all of my house tidy-ing efforts, I came across (or brought all together really) pages and pages of old workout routines.  I’ve been teaching for over six years now and have stacks upon stacks of magazine workouts and original workouts.   Themed class plans like Bosu, TRX and Spinning.  Core classes and yoga flows.  I’m not sure why I saved them all, and still not really sure what to do with them all either.

It’s like an antiquated (and nightmarish) Pinterest system.

After giving it some thought for a few weeks, I decided I’d like to film each workout at the studio and save it.  Maybe I’ll hyper lapse it.  Maybe I’ll just demo the moves and write the workout in text.  How cool would it be to have an archive of all of these workouts?  And I plan to share one per week right here.  Y’all are about to slowly get a library of different kinds of workouts for FREE!  You can thank me later (once I’ve followed through).

Today’s workout is a very recent creation of mine.  We just started another Fit Camp at StudiOne and this is an example of one of the circuits from the first week of the workout.  Fit Camp workouts are a combination of strength training and fat burning intensity levels.  They’re tough as nails but so worth it.  Give this one a try:

12 3-pulse weighted squats

12 push ups

12 step ups per leg

12 plank jacks

Set a timer for 8 minutes and complete those 4 moves as many times as you can in that timespan!  The Fit Camp workouts have 2 additional circuits included in them.

Here is a link to an instructional video of each move!  To see more of that fabulous(ly awkward) footage, you can sign up for an at home version of either the 8-week or 12-week plan.  Just leave a comment!

 

 

 

Week 3 in Review

Tuesdays are track days, Thursdays are tempo runs and Sundays are long runs on my current running plan.  Save a few miles on the tempo run, I managed to get the first two runs in before my trip this week.  I almost always bring running shoes on vacations with me because I think it’s a fun way to tour a new city, and spend some time with my favorite people.  I realized while I was packing in a frenzy with 30 minutes until we needed to leave for the airport that my running shoes were at the studio where Teresa was in the middle of a class.

There was no way to get them so I just decided I would try to buy them somewhere in Tahoe or Reno.  I tried, I really did, calling around to local running stores asking if they had my favorite Saucony Kinvaras in size 10.  No one in South Lake Tahoe did.  By the time we got to today, my long run day, we were all headed out of town earlier than anticipated to avoid the flooding that was coming through.  Chap and I headed back to Reno since it was pouring and there wasn’t much to do in Tahoe.  I made hime stop at a Dick’s Sporting Goods for me so I could try one more time to get the shoes to stay on track (lol, running pun).  Well they only had a size 9.5 or 11.

Frustrated but not deterred, I made my way down to our hotel gym in my Adidas trainers and decided I would do a warmup mile and then some sprints.  I didn’t want to do the entire 5 on the treadmill (for boredom’s sake, for one) since these shoes aren’t what my delicate feet are used to for runs.  Instead I did a one mile warmup and 15 rounds of 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off sprinting.  And since I was in a little bit of a mood from leaving family and the upcoming end to a vacation, I practiced some handstands.  Can’t stay upset when you’re playing upside down.

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I’m particularly proud this week of my cold weather run on Thursday, my living room workout with Shelby in Tahoe and the treadmill run today.  There will be weeks where everything goes exactly as I plan, and there will be weeks like this where life, weather, forgetfulness get in the way and I make due with the best I can.  Bring it on week 4!

Celebrating Two

I made it for a second day in a row on my training plan!  I’m not a believer in running every day.  I am also no longer a believer in “more miles are good miles”.  My training includes three hard runs a week with maybe one additional run for just a little stress relief or because the weather is nice.

So today wasn’t a running day.  But, I still like to have a designated workout or task I can complete for my training.  This morning after my first client, I completed an arm circuit geared toward helping me build pull-up muscles.  (Full disclosure, I tried to get up and get this workout in before I trained with him, but I’m just not adjusted to the early early mornings yet.)

Here is the circuit:

  • 3 sets of 10 scapular pulls.  Hang at the bottom of the pull up and pull the shoulder blades together.  That’s it.  This is a small movement but will train that initial pull of the motion.
  • 3 sets of 10 reverse flyes.  Nothing special here, just working on developing the rhomboids and other upper back muscles.
  • 3 sets of 5 assisted pull-ups.  Right now I’m using a green band to help pull me up.  I’ll keep scaling down in bands until I don’t need them anymore.  Hopefully before I turn 30 😉

Then, just because I needed to get a good sweat in, I did 15 x 30 seconds fast, 30 seconds slow on the treadmill.  Did I say I didn’t run today?  I guess I did, but I count this differently in my mind.

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Also celebrating 2 years today with Chap.  What the heck? I can’t remember anything I was committed to for that long.  Does college count?  Never would have thought “beast mode baby, Sprenkeled” would have turned into this.   Here’s to two more!

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