Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Full Buff

Disclaimer: I received BuffUSA gear as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

Last month I tested out the Buff USA half buff and this month it was time to check out the full buff.  Unlike the half buff, I did not have a choice in color but if you decided to get one for yourself, you would have MANY different options.  Since the full buff comes in a bright "bibrave" orange color, that was the one given to all us Bibravepros to test out.  This actually was completely fine with me.  To be honest, I don't really have any running accessories that match my bibrave singlet or running shirt so it's nice to add a bit more orange to the mix so I don't look AS crazy out there ;-)

Anyway as soon as I opened the buff, I could feel a difference in the material.  It wasn't a bad thing, it was just different.  The full buff felt a little thicker than the half and wayyyy longer (obviously twice as long as the half).  If you check out the Buff USA site they show you 12 different ways to wear the full buff.  I'm not a huge fan of wearing it like a pirate or a hat but I do like how it looks on other people.  I prefer mine as a headband or on my wrist to wipe sweat.  While I don't dislike the full buff, I have to confess that I do love the half a lot more.  Sorry full buff!  I just found the full buff to be more cumbersome both on my head and on my wrist.  But as I said in my half buff review, the half was perfect because it's hot out and I don't want extra material even though it's breathable and all that jazz, it's still there.  That said, I know I will be thanking my lucky stars for the full buff come winter time.  Not so much as a headband or sweat wiper but as a buff over my face.  I even saw on the site how to configure it as a hood and over my face at the same time.  I know I will DEFINITELY be doing that on those freezing cold long runs.
before and after a tough #100miletraning run
freakin hot out there!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Phillies Baseball 101 -- August 25, 2015

I have yet to blog about anything that isn't running related so this will be a first.  You might be wondering "baseball?! what's that all about?"  Most people unless you are a family member or close friend, just think of me as crazy runner Amy but really I am crazy baseball Amy at least for most of my life.  Baseball is truly my first passion in life.  I loved it from the second I first held a ball in my hand which was probably the day I was born.  My dad is known by most people as Mr. Baseball.  He has played his whole life and he was good, and I mean really good.  He was all American in high school, recruited for the majors but went to St. Joe's University on baseball scholarship instead where apparently he discovered beer and that's why he didn't end up playing baseball for a living ;-)  After college he did play semi-pro in cape cod and the Pendel League.  In more recent history we were honored to watch him be inducted into the Hall of Fame at his high school and college.  Two of the years that he played at St. Joe's University were the only two years they have ever won a baseball title, no small accomplishment.
Game 5 of the 2008 World Series.  A night I will never forget!

As a little girl I went and watched him play and then eventually he transitioned over to being my coach.  He coached Cindy and I at all different levels of little league, ASA and high school softball.  He has an excellent knowledge of the game and is great at sharing this knowledge with his players.  I'm not just saying this because I'm his daughter.  Most of the teams he coached were extremely successfull including my sister's little league team who came in second at the Little League World Series.  People were still begging for him to coach after Cindy and I were done playing.  Cindy and I also always received compliments from other coaches and spectators of our games about how much we knew the game and truly understood the fundamentals.  A true testament to our dad.  Sometimes when you have a parent who is so into a sport and wants you to love that sport as much as they do, kids can end up hating it.  But that was never the case for us.  Cindy and I have always LOVED baseball and I know we always will.  I have clear memories of not only attending many Phillies games with my family, as my dad of course is a long time season ticket holder, but also watching night after night on tv even when they were at their worst.  We watched no matter what.  And the years I was not old enough to stay up until the end of the games, I would listen to Harry and Richie on the radio as I fell asleep.  Even as an adult there are many nights I have the game on tv.  And now the Spiecker baseball gene has trickled down to the next generation.  Niko not only loves to play but has become an avid Phillies phan as well.  He loves to sit, watch the games and talk baseball.  He knows all about counts, different pitches and positions.  He even requests to listen to the game on the radio in the car and knows what's going on!  It's awesome and I love it! 

Now with that background, I can move on to the purpose of my post.  This past Christmas my dad gave myself, Cindy and my mom the gift of attending Baseball 101.   I didn't really know what that was when he said that's what he got us.  As it turns out it's a women only event hosted by the Phillies at Citizen's Bank Park.  I wasn't sure what to expect going into it but anything that involves spending the day at the ballpark followed by a pre-game party with food and beer followed by the game is a great day to me. 

The three of us arrived to Citizen's Bank Park before the start time of 9:50.  We were greeted excitedly by some ball girls, given the tickets to that night's game and directed to the Diamond Club where a continental breakfast awaited us.  Scott Palmer was our host for the day.  After his warm welcome we were split into teams, we were  Team Asche,  and we went to various sessions.  Our first session was with the clubhouse manager, second was with the strength & conditioning coach followed by the team chef.  All three sessions were very upbeat, super informative and fun.  They were more than willing to share lots of information with us even some personal info about players and routines.  We really got a great sense of what a typical day at the ballpark is like for the players and staff.  On a side note, everyone was also very eager to talk about the Chase Utley trade that had just happened the week before.  It was so nice to hear their personal stories about him and that he truly was the great guy we all thought he was.  Yes, it's no secret I love Chase, but who doesn't?!!?! 
a player locker, he bought an Utley jersey and had him autograph it before he left

strength and conditioning coach
Where the players eat.  My kinda place!
the team cook

Labor Pains 12 hour

teamdedic !
I had heard about the Labor Pains ultra prior to deciding to sign up because I had seen on my social media that several running friends had signed up.  I really have no idea why but I looked at it and said "I have no desire to do this race at all"  Maybe because TARC is early October and silly me was thinking that a 12 hour would be way too much only a month before my first 100.  I realized this was grossly incorrect as I watched Emir train during the summer for Eastern States.  Obviously I knew training for a hundo takes LOTs of training miles but I guess I wasn't really fully realizing exactly how much it entailed.  After seeing week after week, how many miles coach Caleb was assigning Emir and then adding to it that I had dropped down at Velebit and then missed Sljeme, I was on the hunt for something else to do before TARC.  I had forgotten about Labor Pains but then it popped up on my search for something not too far from home that was end of August/Early Sept time frame.  I emailed Coach Caleb asking his thoughts and he immediately encouraged me to sign up.  He said it was perfect timing to do a long race before TARC and to practice fueling/hydration for the 100.  If coach says it's good to do a 12 hour the month before TARC, then obviously I'm going to do it ;-) 

Labor Pains takes place at Liederkranz in Reading, PA.   It's only about an hour away from our house. Given that Emir ran 80 miles at Eastern States not too long ago, he had no desire to do a 12 hour.  He also is not a fan of doing a loop a whole bunch of times.  Labor pains is a 5 mile loop course.  So since he wasn't running, we decided it would be a family event.  We arrived about 40 minutes before the 7:30 start.  Now having done this race once, I might try to get there earlier if I do it again just to get a prime tent spot.  In the end, we had a perfect spot but it was pretty much the ONLY spot left.  I was able to get my bib and swag super fast.  There were both indoor potties and port a potties available so taking care of business was quick and easy.  As I got myself ready, I said hi to a bunch of our friends who were there.  I really loved the whole setup at the race.  When you come back in from the course you run right through all the tents and people spectating, crewing and then threw the chute to the aid area which not only featured an amazing spread but cold showers ;-)