Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Triple Crown of Running!

The Triple Crown of Running is officially over. I can't believe all three legs are complete! My friend told me about these races back in November, and I remember saying I wasn't sure I'd be able to complete them since I was scared of injury. I'm happy to say I can eat my words! 

The Triple Crown of Running is a collection of 3 road races in Louisville, KY of varying lengths. Each race can be run on their own, but if you run all three you have discounted entry fees and get an extra finisher t-shirt. We all know runners love free t-shirts! All of the runs benefits the Crusade for Children which has received over a million dollars in donation from the race series since 2002. 

The 3 races are:

The Triple Crown of Running began back in 1984, but featured different races then the current 3. Back then it was the Rodes, the Run for the Arts 15k, and the Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon. In 2004, the Triple Crown removed the miniMarathon and replaced it with the Anthem 5k. 

Even though the race series does not include the mini marathon anymore, many runners (including myself) run the Triple Crown which leads to the mini a few weeks later. I have to say training for these 3 races really helped prepare me for my half marathon. Last year I tried training on my own for a half and failed. I got up to 7 miles and got injured. This year, I've run gotten the chance to run 10 miles at a race pace, and it felt pretty darn good.

Anthem 5k
My friend and I were counting down the days until this race. We both knew we could easily run a 5k and have done them before, so we were excited to have a chance to run a race together and mark the beginning of our half marathon training. I heard that this was one of the largest road races in KY, but I did not really appreciate it until I got to packet picket and saw that there was Bib numbers ranging from 0 to 9000... All road races I've run outside of cross country have been around 100 to 500 individuals. The logistics of almost 10,000 people parking alone seemed impossible. 

The day of the race I met up with my friend and her training group at the local YMCA. We got to park for free and walk together to the start line. It was a good idea meeting my friend away from the start line, especially after I realized that the start line was two blocks long. There would have been no way I would have found her! The weather was beyond perfect for the race. If I remember correctly, sunshine and 40 degrees. Perfect for leggings and a zip up, my favorite running gear. 

We weaseled our way into the crowd at the start line. I think we lined up near Witherspoon, which was a full block away from the start. It took us just about 10 minutes to actually walk to the start line. We were so pumped and ready to go though that we shot out of the start but quickly realized that we just started a game of frogger. Between slower paced runners, walkers, children, and strollers! the first two miles was a constant zigging in and out battle. I have the race etiquette that if you are going to be super slow or walk the race you shuffle on over to the side so that runners can easily pass. Apparently these people did not hear of this. Some walkers were even holding hands!! A few times I almost plowed into children or people who decided to just stop mid track. My friend and I lost each other within the first 10 minutes of the race unfortunately.And by mile 2 my frustration level was extremely high. I had wasted so much time and energy running side-to-side there was no way I was going to reach my time goal. 
 Race map courtesy of: http://anthem5k.com/course_info.php

According to my Nike + running application I ran the race in 28:34, but my official time is 28:57. Almost a half minute of side-to-side running! My mile break downs were: 
  • Mile 1: 8'49"
  • Mile 2: 9'30"
  • Mile 3: 9'24"

This is definitely not my fastest 5k, but it was for sure my most frustrated. The one really cool thing was they filmed the finish line and you can watch as you cross the finish line. Pretty nifty. 

Bottom line, would I run again? Probably yes, but I'll regret it afterwards because Ill remember how frustrated I was.
That's me in the bottom right corner in the blue jacket and pink shoes! Walking to the start line, all ready to go!

Rodes City 10k
This next race in the series came days after a very traumatic event occurred in my life. I hadn't run as much as I would have liked that week, but was ready to use this race to get some of my emotions channeled. I didn't get a chance to even look at the course map and luckily my friend's training coach picked up my packet (which had cookie butter in it!!). 

The race started downtown in front of the famous Brown Hotel and took us on a large, scenic loop around Cave Hill Cemetery (Colonel Sanders is buried there!) on Grinstead Dr and Lexington Rd and back downtown for a finish line almost in the same spot as the Anthem 5k's. Miles 2-5 were winding fast, rolling hills. It was a pretty run since the trees were beginning to bud and you could feel that spring was just around the corner. The weather was pretty similar to the first race, about 45F with a slight breeze.

This was another big race, apparently the 12th largest road race in the country! Weirdly enough I didn't feel that I did as much side-to-side running. I felt relaxed and had enough space most of the time to do my thang. After mile 2, I did end up losing my friend, but more so because I knew I needed to slow down a bit. 

My mile break downs were: 
  • Mile 1: 9'12"
  • Mile 2: 9'43"
  • Mile 3: 10'07"
  • Mile 4: 9'58"
  • Mile 5: 10'08"
  • Mile 6: 10'04"
I think it is pretty impressive of how consistent I was! I only mentally pace myself, I don't ever check my speed while I'm running. My Nike app tells me my pace each mile, but half the time I don't hear what she says since I'm so engrossed in my scenery or my music. Pretty impressive!

My official time ended up being 1:01:27 (Nike + stated 1:01:04). I wanted to finish in under an hour, but under the emotional circumstances I dealt with that week I was very happy with my time. I loved this race and cannot wait to run this course again next year. 

My friend and I after the race!

Papa Johns 10 Miler
I have run plenty of 5k and 10ks in the past, but I have never run a 10 miler. My friend and I trained with many long runs, but at this point in our training we had run at most 8 miles. Running 10 miles at a race pace? I was a little scared. 

The Papa Johns 10 Miler is famous for racing through Louisville's Iroquois Park, which contains one of the highest points in the city. Aka MASSIVE hills. I had never been to Iroquois Park so I knew I needed to train there at least once before the day of the race. I am so glad I did, because Iroquois Park turned out to be 3 miles of up and up and up and down and up, etc. I knew what I had to do and knew what kind of energy I needed to preserve for miles 2-6. 

This race is the only race in the leg that did not start downtown, so we weren't able to meet the training group at the Y and had to fend for ourselves. This meant traffic and getting to the start line a wee bit late. We ended up walking up to the start line 10 minutes after the race began. It was kind of nice since we didn't feel that initial push from the thousands of runners trying to funnel in. But it did mean we had to do some major zig zagging to get through all the runners who already started. I remember a few times I freaked out because someone would close in on me while I tried to run through a small gap. Once we got into the park I turned found my powersong (Lil Jon's Throw It Up, don't ask), downed a PowerBar GU Pack and put on my game face. I definitely slowed down a bit during the hills, but not a crazy amount. I felt good and loved racing down the hills and finding the momentum to keep powering up the next. Once we hit flat ground at Mile 8, I started to feel a lot of pain in my right knee and had a massive slow down. I still trucked through the end of the race and really enjoyed the last half mile, which lead us into Papa John's Cardinal Stadium where the finish line was at the 50 yard line on the football field. They had an announcer and the jumbo tron on making us feel like we were hot shots! It was pretty darn cool! 

My mile break downs were: 
  • Mile 1: 9'08"
  • Mile 2: 9'12"
  • Mile 3: 9'51"
  • Mile 4: 9'55"
  • Mile 5: 10'28"
  • Mile 6: 10'12"
  • Mile 7: 9'53"
  • Mile 8: 10'58"
  • Mile 9: 11'09"
  • Mile 10: 11'09"
This was my favorite of all the races. My official time was 1:43:01 (Nike + clocked me in at 1:41:55). I love racing in Iroquois Park and 10 miles was sort of fun! I felt so accomplished! I was only a 5k away from completing my goal of a half marathon!

Immediately after I finished I kept on walking, got a Gatorade and a banana, but I wasn't feeling anything. Of course there was rows and rows of Papa Johns pizza, but the smell of the food made me feel worse. A friend and I had made plans to grab lunch and go shopping after the race, I ended up bailing out after lunch because I was so sick. I spent the rest of the day, home in bed feeling like I had a hangover (nausea, chills, etc). I felt so sick and dehydrated all day! It took all week for me to get back to normal. I learned my lesson and this race helped me better physically prepare myself for the half marathon. 

The only race photo of my friend and I! This was taken seconds after the start, as why we were so chipper!

The last 100 yards. Powering through!

Well there you have it! My first experience with The Triple Crown of Running! I truly enjoyed participating in this race series and cannot wait to pick up my Series Finisher T-shirt. I have a feeling this race series will become a yearly event for me. I'm so glad my friend pressured me into doing it with her! We had a blast and it really helped us get in shape for the half marathon. I think part of the reason I was able to reach all my goals running-wise this spring is because I had these races to keep me on track. Next year I can work on crushing times and making some killer personal bests!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Birchbox: February 2013

It's interesting how some boxes seem like they will be awesome, but turn out meh...

Don't know what Birchbox is?
Birchbox is a monthly subscription service that delivers a little, heavenly box of premium beauty samples to your doorstep. Each month you will receive 4-5 samples (sometimes even full-sized products) and generally a goodie (energy booster, granola bar, etc). The samples range from make-up, polishes, skincare, body, hair, and fragrances. All from luxury, quality brands. Every month is a surprise, but the samples picked for you are based on a survey you fill out letting the gals know your style and skin-type. Birchbox costs just $10 a month, and your box will always be valued way above!
Click here to join Birchbox.

February 2013, Box #35
This month, Birchbox (like Ipsy) capitalized on all the big holiday events and put together a box that is worthy of the red carpet. Stating that even if we don't have a posse of pros, Birchbox has experts that will keep us red carpet ready.

Information Cards:

Jouer: Matte Moisture Tint in Linen
This SPF 15 oil-free tinted moisturizer blends in beautifully to even out skin and control shine.
Full Size: 1.7 oz ($38.00)
Size Received: 0.07 oz ($1.56)
Jouer has only ever popped up on my radar in birchboxes. First with their special Birchbox pink lip gloss and then with their Luminizing Moisture Tint. I absolutely love the Luminizing Moisture Tint. It is perfect coverage for the summer, adds a gorgeous pearlescent glow to your skin, and leaves my skin moisturized all day. The only problem is it is way too expensive! I currently use TheBalm's BalmShelter which sells for ~$20 for 2.15 oz, much better value. Either way I was excited to try the newest from Jouer. The matte version is oil-free version controls shine with titanium and zinc oxides and leaves skin velvety smooth. I tried this out and immediately knew it wasn't going to work well for me. My skin looked pasty, dry, pores and wrinkles amplified, and just completely flat. My combination skin did not enjoy it at all.

VasantiBrighten Up! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator
This exfoliating cleanser uses professional-grade (read: effective) microderm crystals and papaya enzymes to brighten skin. 
Full Size: 4.23 oz ($34.00)
Size Received: 0.7 oz ($5.63)
I adore receiving face scrubs. Years of acne and years of no solution, I'm always willing to try new products. This product is a dermatologist-grade scrub that brightens, exfoliates, and cleanses all in one treatment. It uses papaya enzymes to dissolve down dead skin cells, microderm exfoliating crystals to fade fine lines and acne scars, and aloe vera, coconut, and vitamins B and E to nourish and soothe skin. But it is safe for use on sensitive skin. This sounded like it was the jack pot for me. I started using it once a week and was in love. My skin felt so smooth and soft and visibly brighter. BUT! My skin broke out like crazy after a few weeks of using this. I was so embarrassed by how badly my skin looked. Even a coworker asked what was wrong with my skin... Too bad since it is certified vegan and well priced.

Juicy CoutureCouture La La
Roll out the red carpet for this new scent, a stunning mix of mandarin, red currant, lilly, and orange blossom. 
Full Size: 3.4 oz ($90.00)
Size Received: 0.05 oz ($1.32)
The third Viva la Juicy fragrance I've received in my Birchbox. This version of the perfume is a little rock and a little feminine. It has notes of sparkling fruits like mandarin, green apple, red currant, and florals like hyacinth, lily of the valley, peony, violet, orange flower, and a soft musk. I will admit it is a nice, sweet fragrance. I don't see how it is suposed to have a rock edge to it. The peony and lilly are very strong and sweet. But this is a perfect daytime fragrance or something for a younger girl. And like I noted in August, I cannot find a concrete answer on Elizabeth Arden fragrances' animal testing policy. If someone knows it, let me know!
Unsure if tested on animals.

TIGICatwalk Session Series Transforming Dry Shampoo
Master stylists always have this oil-busting dry shampoo in their kit. It leaves behind a tousled, piecey finish.
Full Size: 5.2 oz ($19.95)
Size Received: 2.0 oz ($7.67)
Dry Shampoos are a gift from the gods. I used to use baby powder on those second...or third day hair days while in college. Cheap, effective, but messy and made my hair chalky. I will always try out new dry shampoos that will prove to be a better option. TIGI's animal cruelty status is a bit iffy. The website says that it is cruelty-free but some sources say they do test when necessary by law. So I'll leave it up to you to decide. Either way, I won't be buying this dry shampoo. I sprayed it into my hair and instantly felt icky. My hair just looked chalky and felt awful and teased. It felt heavier and couldn't be styled. It was awful! So far the best dry shampoo I've tried was Freeman's Instant Dry Shampoo through Beauty Army back in February 2012 (post can be found here). I really should buy that again...
Unsure if tested on animals.

Ghiradelli: Milk Chocolate with Caramel Filling
You deserve a little sweetness. Try Gihradelli's Milk & Caramel Square solo or experiment - s'mores or baked into a cookie. who says you can't riff on decadence?. 
Full Size: 10 squares ($4.99)
Size Received: 1 square ($0.50)
It really frustrates me that Birchbox has included so much chocolate in their boxes in the past year. I'm not the only one who doesn't eat milk. So many people have milk allergies, you'd think they'd think about that...

Total value of my February 2013 Birchbox:$16.68
Not my favorite month. I actually decided this month that I didn't want to subscribe again, but then they automatically resubscribed me for the year and I decided what the hell. Birchbox is such a hit or miss, but many of my all-time favorites right now were things I received in my Birchbox.

What do you think of my February Birchbox? How does it compare to yours? Let me know in the comments below!
If you don't get Birchbox, click here to join

Ipsy: February 2013

I love how early Ipsy is delivered! I normally don't even get the email tracking until after I get my Ipsy! Kind of a nice surprise!

Don't know what Ipsy is? Ipsy is a once a month beauty subscription service that delivers premium beauty samples to your door. The creator of Ipsy, Michelle Phan, is a YouTube beauty expert that wants to share her favorite items with the world. The bags are delivered in the cutest reusable beauty bags. Once you join you will take a beauty/preference quiz that will help the girls choose the best products for you. The products range from beauty, skincare, hair, body, nails, and more. Every month you should also expect to receive full-sized products. Ipsy costs $10 a month, and your bag will always be valued above!
Click here to join Ipsy.

February 2013, Red Carpet Ready
Ipsy is really delivering on their themes. Birchbox had a similar theme this month, but it really didn't seem to relate really well to the products they sent out. Whereas everything in this Ipsy bag is related to va va voom eyes. Im not the fondest on the bag, lacquer black is so plain and boring. I don't think I'll reuse it, it looks too cheap to even try and use it to go out. But I was so impressed with the size of all the samples this month. Each item is about half the full size or larger! Pretty darn good.

Information Card:

Coastal ScentsShadow Palette in Gold Quad
These miniature-sized samples contain four hand-selected shades by ipsy, making it easy to create a variety of looks. Wear these pressed powders dry or wet for a more intense, dramatic look.
Full Size: 4 - 0.16 oz ($7.96)
Size Received: 4 - 0.07 oz ($3.48)
This brand has been on my radar for awhile, but I've never been interested in buying anything from them. They generally market massively large palettes with 101 colors, which I don't really use. I'm simple when it comes to my eyeshadow, I don't like to wear 4 colors in one day. Maybe I'm boring? I received the Gold Quad shadow palette which has browns and yellow hues. These colors are actually really exciting though. They are multi-dimensional and really pair well together. The colors are Dark Goldenrod (iridescent, metallic gold), Sunbeam (a pale, matte yellow), Golden Globe (iridescent, liquid gold), and Dark Golden Olive (black-olive, with gold shimmer). The colors are on par with what I like to wear. But I have to say the formula of these guys are not that great. They crumble when you use a brush to apply and the fall-out while applying was insane. I had to restart my entire face because I got the dark color all over. I was not a happy camper. I would recommend only using these Coastal Scents shadows with a wet brush. They were highly pigmented though! And lasted all night long, so for the price they have a lot going for them.

PixiFlawless & Poreless Primer
The Pixi Flawless & Poreless primer creates a beautiful no-shine finish for flawless, long-lasting makeup application. This shine controlling, oil-free primer smooths out fine lines and hydrates while making pores instantly disappear. It is the perfect skin primer for all complexions and all skin types.
Full Size: 1.0 oz ($29.00)
Size Received: 0.5 oz ($14.50)
Pixi always gets me every time I go into Target. I see the aisle and my little eyes light up. Then I see the price and I slowly back away. This is a face primer that helps smooth out fine lines and reduce pore size while hydrating and creating a flawless foundation for makeup. It contains shea butter and silicas, but also stearyl alcohol and salicylic acid. So it provides moisture and hydrates, but also contains ingredients that dry out my face? Maybe they balance each other out just right. It also contains something called squalane, which is similar to argan oil, in that it is a miracle moisturizer. Squalane used to be obtained from shark livers, so I have to verify Pixi sources from a vegetable source before I try it out. I'm interested to try it since my acne dries out my face so badly, that a shea butter primer may be the answer I need. The reviews seem to say, you either love it or hate. So once I get the a-okay that it is vegan, I'll try it out and report back!
Cruelty-free! (unsure if vegan, yet)

Pop BeautySmokey Lash Kapow Mascara
This lash-POP-ing mascara makes lashes plump, long and lusciously flirty! Smudge proof formula adds volume while curling lashes up and out for a look that truly POPs your peepers! 
Full Size: 0.25 oz ($18.50)
Size Received: 0.17 oz ($12.58)
We all know I am obsessed with blinc. I have two different blinc mascaras that I use for different occasions. But I'll always take a mascara sample to take on vacation or to have in my car makeup kit. This mascara is a lengthening without clumping. It also has vitamin E and other nutrients to help protect and nourish. This mascara is safe for even the most sensitive eyes and for contact wearers. I haven't tried it yet, but when I do I'll let you all know what I think.

MicaBeautyGel Eyeliner in Black
Define eyes and apply eyeliner like a pro with the MicaBeauty Gel Eyeliner! This smooth, highly pigmented gel eyeliner glides over the lid evenly and dries quickly for a long-wearing, smudge-proof finish. Comes in 5 other highly pigmented shades. 
Full Size: 0.18 oz ($35.00)
Size Received: 0.05 oz ?? ($9.72)
Gel Eyeliners are not my favorite. It's a lot of work to me. I'm so used to pencils and pen type application of eyeliners that don't require a brush and a precise, even hand. But we received the nice eyeliner brush from Soho in our January Ipsy bag, so I figured I'd try the eyeliner out. It applied super dark and glided on very smoothly. I had a thick, sexy liner in under a minute. It did dry quickly, but I don't think I would call it smudge-proof. Throughout the day I would have a few smudges. And there is no way I would wear this if I knew I was being active. But it is the perfect eyeliner for going out on the town like a diva. I don't think we received a full-size, but I really have no idea how much we did get, so I'll er on the side of caution. Just fyi, it does contain beeswax, so it is not completely vegan.
Cruelty-free! (product not vegan)

Lash CardThe Lash Card
Apply your mascara perfectly with the Lash Card! Say goodbye to smudging, clumping, and messy mascara application. The Lash Card has two curves on each side that fit a variety of eye shapes, making it easy to get those hard-to-reach lashes. 
Full Size: 10 Lash Cards ($4.99)
Size Received: 4 Lash Cards ($1.99)
These re-usable lash cards are to help protect your skin while you apply mascara. I don't have a problem applying mascara on my top lashes, but it is a bit hard to get at my teeny bottom lashes without getting mascara all over. These cards can be reused about 10x each. But I could see just washing one over and over and not wasting a ton of cash.

Total Value of my February 2013 Ipsy bag$42.27
Another awesome month. I love how precise this theme was! Glamorous, eye make-up! And its nice that the previous months products (like the brush) work so well with this month's. Still not regretting re-subscribing. And almost wonder if Ipsy is better than Birchbox now. Except, I still love Birchbox Points!

What do you think of the February Ipsy bag? What was your favorite item? Let me know in the comments below! If you dont get Ipsy and are interested, click here to join!
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