Race Review: The Brooklyn Fair 5k

I love a fair! Particularly if it’s a good, old fashioned country fair. Last weekend, I had the opportunity to participate in a 5k road race as part of the longest-runnning fair in Connecticut. How perfect! A 5k, fair food, and livestock.

I signed up for the fair late, but early enough to get the early bird pricing. It was a great bargain – the race and fair were just under $20. We showed up on race morning and were ushered into a dirt parking lot. We were a little surprised to have to pay for parking. Another $5 cash allowed us entry into the parking area. Immediately across the street was a very long line, the line for pre-registered runners.

Brooklyn 5kAfter waiting some time in the line, we got our t-shirts (a surprise since we didn’t expect them having signed up so late), our fair entry wristbands, and race numbers. The t-shirts are attractive – yellow with a cowboy and some cattle printed on the shirt. We milled around the fair until the race start. The race began about five minutes late. This was, in part, due to the long lines at packet pick up.

The race exited the fairgrounds and moved to country roads. The course was really lovely. The race was run primarily along country roads with rolling hills and pastoral scenes. After about two miles on country roads, the race moved towards the fair. We entered the fair and wound through the fairgrounds. Turns were tight and the course on the fairground was  confusing. We made many, many turns and wound all around. It wasn’t my favorite part of the course and I lost a lot of time making all the turns. The course ended right in front of the bandstand. It was great to have the crowd support and the big bandstand feel. It’s worth note that this course was a fast course and a competitive group, but there were lots of walkers and walkers were welcomed. The race was professionally timed by The Last Mile Timing.

Brooklyn Fair Bandstand

After the race, we enjoyed the fair. This was a proper country fair, with livestock, canning and flower arranging, and critters of all kinds. The fair was good fun! We enjoyed the country fair.

Brooklyn livestock

Brooklyn cows

Plus, there was fair food! What’s not to love.

Fair food

All in all, I enjoyed the Brooklyn Fair 5k. It was a great course, and most of my group got PRs. We enjoyed the fair and had a great day!

 

Gear Review: Newton Energy

I’ve tried Newtons several times, but I couldn’t get used the to lugs. I could feel them while I was running. While I liked the extra cushioning, I just couldn’t get used to the feeling of something underfoot. It felt like something stuck to the bottom of my shoe. Enter the Newton Energy.

No cooler

Newton shoes use the underfoot lugs to provide proprioceptive feedback. This improves form by subtly reminding you to land in a more mechanically correct form – on the ball of your foot. Unfortunately, the technology that made the lugs fabulous also made the Newtons the most expensive on the market. The Newton Energy is a great change, making it more accessible to runners thanks to its $120 price point. The Energy makes the action-rection technology accessible.

I was skeptical, but I decided to give the Energy a try. I loved it!

The shoe features five smaller lugs that are filled with a semi-hollow rubber. The lugs help to evenly distribute weight along the shoe and foot and promote neutral running. I love the feel of the lugs underfoot. I can’t feel the individual lugs, but I can feel the increased cushioning in my forefoot. As a forefoot striker and neutral runner, the Energy offers me more support just where I need it. The cushioning feels supportive and wonderfully cushy. It is a great feeling. The Newton Energy is a great fit  for me. So far, the durability has been great. I don’t have many miles on them, but Newtons emphasize their stellar durability thanks to their actual rubber construction. The mesh upper has great breathability. I’ve worn my Energy shoes on long, hot runs, and found them to be comfortable. They keep my feet cool and the mesh expands and stays comfortable on my foot. I’m prone to blisters and I stay blister-free in the Newton Energy. All in all, I love the Newton Energy! I encourage all runners to give it a try. I imagine that forefoot strikers will find it particularly comfortable with a smooth, cushy ride.

A side note – I wanted to take a picture of myself in the Newton Energy shoes for this post. My friend took this picture after a long run. It’s terrifying. But, I’m posting it. This is what a real runner looks like. I have on one calf sleeve, I’m sweaty, my hair is disheveled, and I have a blob of energy gel spilled on my shirt. I am a runner.

A real (scary) runner

Details for my outfit, above: Lulelemon Run Swiftly Short Sleeve top, Lululemon Turbo Run Shorts (no longer made, but the closest fit today is the Groovy Run Short), Zensah compression calf sleeve, Newton Energy shoes.

The Case of the Missing Cooler

Last week, I couldn’t make my usual long run, so I arranged with a friend to run mid-week. We agreed to meet at her house, then run down to a popular trail. The trail we selected is a state-run, mulit-county trail that is hugely popular with cyclists, runners, and walkers. In anticipation of our long run, I put a cooler with water, my inhaler, a few gels, and a towel at the trail head. I routinely leave a cooler as a water drop on runs longer than 10 miles. I hate to carry a ton of water and I generally have to drink so much that I can’t carry enough reasonably. I’ve left a water drop hundreds of times. I’ve left my trusty cheap cooler on the side of roads across the state. It’s been buried in bushes, left on rocks, and stuck in trees. My cooler has been a trusty companion for me and my running buddies for a long time.

We ran past my cooler on the way into the trail. Eight miles later, we passed the water drop spot. My trusty blue cooler was GONE.

No cooler

No cooler = no water. I was shocked. I just couldn’t believe the not only would someone steal my cheap, old cooler, but that someone would take a cooler that had my inhaler, water, and running supplies in it. Every time I pass a cooler on a trail, a bottle of water in the woods, or a shirt tossed in a tree, I know immediately what it is. It’s someone’s drop. Some bicyclist, runner, or walker has left those supplies. I told everyone I knew about the theft. I was shocked. My phone number was  on the cooler (along with some purple hearts and a little sketch – my theft deterrent) and when a day passed without contact, I assumed that someone had actually stolen my $8 cooler.

Imagine my shock when late the next day, someone called me. He had my cooler. This “helpful” guy told me that he “found” it and knew I would be missing it, given that it had my inhaler and cold water in it. Well, not missing it too much since it took him more than 24 hours to contact me. Sigh. As happy as I was to have my cooler returned, I was dismayed that someone would move a cooler full of supplies.

That’s when I realized – runners are weird. It was entirely possible that he had taken my cooler trying to be helpful. Maybe everyone doesn’t know what a cooler on the trail means.  Huh. I guess we are a strange bunch after all.

Cooking for One

My husband works long hours so it’s often just me for dinner. That’s great if I want to microwave something frozen, but that plan doesn’t fit in with my desire to eat clean and monitor my nutrition. Eating right each meal is important to me, but it is sometimes difficult to make a healthy meal for one. Compound the complexity of cooking for one with my crazy schedule – there isn’t much that can be made in the two minutes before hungry deteriorates into starving, angry mess.

Enter the Lekue Steam Case. This thing is one of the best inventions ever!

Lekue

The Lekue Steam Case comes in a variety of shapes and sizes – a tray (pictured above), a large case, a pot, a large pot, an omelette case, and small cups. Each case has a specific use. I bought the omelette case and the steam tray for 1-2 people. I love it.

The steam case makes it possible for foods to be cooked in their own juice or steam, enhancing the flavors and preserving nutrients. Safe for microwave or oven use, the steam case cooks food with steam at around 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The case is specially shaped the allow the steam to circulate for faster cooking. The case has a small tray in the bottom to keep food elevated and liquids at the bottom. The tray can be removed for more “stew-like” results.

These unique features make it possible to cook just about anything in record time. Using the Steam Tray, chicken breasts straight from the freezer cook in about 5 minutes. Steak, turkey, and sausages cook in about two minutes. I’m serious. You can go from starving to eating in less than five minutes. The Lekue company has a cookbook associated with the steam cases. I have it and it has simple, tasty recipes that feature a variety of meats and vegetables. So far, I’ve made chicken with artichokes, braised beef, and an assortment of other healthy, fresh meals. I’ve discovered that I can put just about any combination of vegetables and proteins in the case, add some EVOO or balsamic vinegar,  cook for five minutes, and eat a clean, fresh meal.

I also have the omelette pan and it’s fantastic. I can throw in two eggs, any combination of vegetables and toppings, cook for two minutes (seriously! Two minutes!) and enjoy a fresh omelette any time. It’s revolutionized my breakfasts.

Follow a clean diet? Hooked on the paleo lifestyle? The Lekue system is perfect for you. It’s well worth the investment and will make cooking clean meals simple!

What’s SUP?

As a running coach, I often stress the benefits of cross training. Cross training is a great way to build strength and endurance and prevent injury. In the summer, I love stand up paddleboarding. I confess – am a SUP addict.

SUP

Stand up paddling is a great way to build core strength and improve balance – perfect for runners! I love being on the water and paddling around peaceful ponds. I also enjoy SUP racing for some cardio. Recently, I competed in a Bic One Design race. It was a great test of my paddling ability, particularly my handling. I learned just how quickly it’s possible to paddle the boards. I got a great cardio workout and had fun playing in the water after the race.

SUP race

I enjoy paddling in the ocean, surfing small waves. I have tried SUP fitness (what a great core workout) and SUP yoga. I love it all! Most of all, I love being on the water. There is something wonderfully peaceful about being able to paddle in small ponds, past lily pads and sunken trees, rocks and fish. It’s a beautiful way to cross train.