Sunday, December 30, 2012

Lost in the Woods.

Today's run called for 14 miles. I was extremely anxious about this run because it's the longest distance I've done since my marathon last March.
I got a great amount of sleep and awoke to crazy, strong winds outside. It was COLD. As much as I wanted to stay inside and hope the wind calmed down, I knew that I had to man up and get it done so I could get home and have a nice day with my family.
I made the drive to Cedarville State Forest. I figured that a trail run would be easier, mentally and physically.
I had planned to do the 7 mile trail loop, come out for water, gel a quick stretch and do it once more.
Until I came across this....
Apparently my 7 mile loop had been washed out. :-\
I decided that I would just run to another trail and do that one. I really should have gone back to the trail head and looked at the map instead of running blindly in the woods, but my adrenaline had taken over. I ran, and ran, and ran....I ended up getting lost in those damn woods for almost 11 miles. By the time I emerged I was REALLY thirsty, but feeling pretty damn good.
I slammed half a bottle of water and half a Clif Bar and went back for more, this time taking care to look at the signs:-)

The trails weren't too technical. There were some seriously muddy spots and a few hills but nothing that made it too difficult. In fact, I only fell 3 times! In a 2 hour span, I take that as a win!

I guess the freezing cold wind had scared everybody else because for the entire two hours I ran I only saw one couple hiking. Of course it was when I had decided to pop a squat....haha!
I sported my Nike DriFit Hoodie, Brooks Running Tights, Under Armour Gloves and long sleeve shit and a winter running hat from Target.

I definitely enjoy running in the woods. The ground is easier on my body and I don't realize the hours passing by. I maintained an 8:22 pace and felt amazing. I even ended up running over half a mile extra.
One long run closer to my second marathon and a new PR!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Running Through Crazy Weather.

First and foremost, I hope that you and your family had as great of a Christmas as mine did.
Secondly, I've not been posting much recently because there wasn't much to talk about. The Wednesday before Christmas I finally went to the doctor and had that nagging cough checked it. As it turned out, I did have bronchitis so my running was put on hold for a couple of days.
While I have been running since that Friday, none of them have been absolutely fabulous. The treadmill runs went ok but when I hit the streets, my pace was around 8:45 most of the time, even when I felt like I was really going fast, not something that I was proud of.
While I can't be sure if it was the sickness still taking it's toll on my body or just having an "off" week, I can be sure that the recent weather has not been helping anything.
The past few weeks have brought 60 degree days, 30 degree days, wind gusts so strong I felt like I was not even moving at some points during my run, wet snow chunks that soaked my shoes and clothing, and sleet (which is something I refuse to try and run in). Either way, not resorting to a treadmill every single time has surely made me a more of a seasoned runner.
The only thing I can do is dress the best I can to combat the elements and keep those legs moving.
Some of my favorite cold weather running clothes are the Nike DriFit tights and zip-up that I have. Both are very lightweight but once you get moving, they really hold your body heat in while keeping you dry.
You can't really tell but there are snowflakes covering my legs and the ground is wet. Too bad there is nothing I can do to keep my feet dry. Once they got wet they were FREEZING. Nothing like pounding the concrete for an hour and a half with numb feet.
I really have a love/hate relationship with my surrounding neighborhoods.
There are hills EVERYWHERE. This is just one of the many that I have to climb.
Sometimes it really sucks because there are no leisurely routes, but I also love it because there are no leisurely routes. If I can get in a comfortable pace running these, when I meet a tough hill during a race it's going to be a piece of cake.
One day, when I'm a serious runner, I'll get a Garmin and I can see the elevation changes. For now, I'll just charge them blindly.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

You Gotta Keep Moving.

Monday = Cross Training.

This Monday, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. Nothing sounded fun to do for 60 minutes. So I decided to switch it up.

I started out with 15 minutes on the elliptical. Knowing that I only had 15 minutes to go really made me push myself. I did my usual routine, started at level 5 and turned it up each minute. 3 minutes forward, 2 backwards.

After I was done on the elliptical I walked over to the weights and did 20 leg lifts on the bench. I know that sounds easy, but my core is probably the weakest part of my body. I make sure to go really slow (especially lowering them) and keep my muscles contracted.

After abs, I did 30 speed squats without weights. Those bad boys will really work those glutes;-) Then I moved on to free weights (shoulder lifts with 10 lbs and bicep curls with 15 lbs).

**If you keep moving and take minimal breaks you will keep your heart rate up and work up an awesome sweat**

The next cardio machine I moved to was the bike, then the stair master (where my glutes continued to burn), then the row machine. I did 15 minutes on each and the same set of weights between them. By the time I was walking into the locker room I was beat.

Today I was supposed to run 3 miles. It didn't happen (this seems to be a common theme with me...) but I'm not mad or disappointed even a little bit. My baby girl came down with a nasty virus AND an ear infection. We were up all night and spent the day at her doctor's office and pharmacy. This poor thing has been on antibiotics all winter.....

Once we got some more rest and pumped her full of ibuprofen and augmentin, we got some homework done....

She had to make an animal out of boxes. I am the LEAST creative person ever so this was really tough. It's a dalmatian.
Then I made some cookies to bring into her class tomorrow. I am going to help the kids make sleds using graham crackers, white frosting and candy. I'm always excited to see her at school!

 I used the recipe here, except I used the new White Chocolate Peppermint M&Ms. I'm not much of a peppermint fan for my sweets but you could put damn near anything in white chocolate and I am going to love it!
Let's hope that they are a hit!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Good Food, My Run - Not So Much.

Sunday morning I had 12 miles to do. I really wanted to kill this run. The past week I have not had much success. Saturday, I didn't even attempt my 6 miles. I got up early and went to eat breakfast with Santa and my baby girl.
He was the shortest Santa ever and baby girl was just as nervous as she looks. A big thank you to Ft. Belvoir Hospital for putting this cute event on!
After breakfast, the boy and I hit the mall and got a good amount of Christmas shopping done. SCORE. By the time we got home, it was pitch black outside (and only 5:30 PM, I hate that) so I opted to stay home and make my man some dinner and have some quality time.
 Sunday's run had to go well.
My boyfriend and I took our time getting up in the morning. By the time we got up and got the coffee maker going, it was 9:30 AM, and it felt great.
Since breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and I love cooking (especially for that man) I took my time and fueled up with some runny eggs, sausage, home fries and toast. Plus a couple cups of black coffee of course. Addicted:-)
After I let that mountain of food settle and kissed the boy goodbye I hit the path. I didn't take my phone with me, so I don't have pictures of the trail but you can see it here.
The trail is mostly dirt, some gravel, and some blacktop. It is a 4.7 mile loop, so between the 2 loops  I ran some of the streets within the park, sometimes a change of scenery makes a run all that much better.
It didn't really work this time.
While I didn't feel terrible, I wasn't on my game. My pace was about 8:40, which is not good for me. I typically try to run about 8:15 for my long runs. I was coughing quite a lot and wasn't feeling it.  I managed 11.5 miles and headed home...with a nasty blood blister under one of my toe nails. Clipping and draining it was really fun. (I'm kind of sick haha) Good running socks are seriously important.
At least my recovery meal cheered me up.

Kashi Berry Crumble Cereal, Sliced bananas and Justin's Maple Almond Butter. Topped with ice cold milk after the picture was taken. It's odd because I don't really like milk too much (I usually eat cereal dry) but sometimes, when I'm in a cereal mood, it's money.
I also took a picture of dinner, which was this bad boy, because it was the best salad I've had in a long time.

Spinach, red, orange and yellow pepper, onions, tomatoes, pine nuts and tuna. The tuna MADE IT. I mixed it up with a dab of mayo, mustard, relish, seasoning salt and garlic salt.
Wish I had another one tonight.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Running is NOT always fun.

This week has just not been my week. The days have been long and the motivation has been gone. I'm not even just talking about running. Being nice and putting on a smile seemed tough a couple times. I was straight up bitchy and there was no excuse for it. Sometimes this just happens...right? (Please tell me I'm not alone here)

I tried my best to snap out of it. I made myself stick to my training plan every single day, telling myself that all I needed was a good sweat fest.

Monday: Cross Training (45 minutes on the elliptical)
Tuesday: 3 miles + strength
Wednesday: 6 miles
Thursday: 3 miles + strength

Tuesday's strength training was no joke. I tore my quads up doing the lateral leg press (140 lbs, 15 reps, 4 sets) and this little kneel and twist move I learned from P90X that is basically a lunge-type move. I don't think they have ever been so sore. Looking at 6 miles for Wednesday seemed ridiculous. I forced my ass on the treadmill and cranked out 4, then turned the damn thing off. I had a public fight with myself right there on the treadmill. Going back and forth. Do I run, do I quit?? (I'm sure the people around me think I'm crazy....). Eventually I sucked it up and cranked out two more miles.

I tried to foam roll it out afterwards. Damn, that thing hurts. Wednesday night I waddled around my apartment like a 90 year grandma while my boyfriend laughed, but I'm still proud I stuck to it.

This is what is discouraging to many people who start running. It's not always sunshine and rainbows. I don't always get that high I'm chasing or feel strong and powerful. Sometimes, I feel physically and mentally defeated. I feel drained and worthless and like my legs are filled with legs.

These are the runs that make or break you.

As cliche as it is, nothing worth having comes easy.

If I can force myself to run while my mood is terrible and my legs are sore while walking, just imagine what I can do in a race? Just think about how much further I will be able to carry myself when I'm in a crowd of people fighting, with adrenaline pumping, fighting for a faster time than those around me.

The area that I didn't conquer today. My sweet tooth. The craving hit and it hit hard. All I wanted was a damn cookie.

I asked my daughter if we should make some tonight, and she happily agreed.

Now I have to find a way to get them all out of my house.....
Hey, at least I found motivation to do something!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Should You Run If You're Sick?

This weeks training went almost exactly as it was planned. I logged 34 miles, and was shooting for 35, so I'll take that as a win. (I lost one mile on Saturdays 6 miler due to GI issues :-/)

I'll admit though, today's 11 miler almost didn't happen. Friday and Saturday night I got very little rest due to a nasty cough that started on Thursday and has gotten progressively worse. I woke up this morning, and had no intention of running, I could hardly breathe as it was. I was coughing nonstop and coughing up phlegm, although it was clear so I took that as a good sign.

I woke up, drank my coffee, took a hot shower, and chugged water and started to feel like things were getting better. Around 2 PM I asked the boy if I should go and do my run. I really love to put this man in a tough spot. He knew that I would feel like crap if I didn't do it but that if I did and crashed and burned during the run it might be worse. He replied with "how about you just go do 4 or 5 miles and see how you feel?".

I decided that he was right. Any run was better than none. I didn't have a fever, I didn't have aches, or stomach issues. In fact, when I'm feeling like this a run usually helps me feel better. So I head out.

The first 3 miles kicked my ass. I could get my breathing, I couldn't get my stride, mentally, I just wasn't in the game. I ran 4.5 miles and decided to run into a Dairy Queen a grab a cup of water and stretch really quick. At this point, I had two choices. I could turn around and go from where I came and log 9 miles, or I could keep the way I was head and shoot for the full 11. If you're going to do 9 miles, what's 2 more??

At 7.5 miles I decided that a gel would probably be a good idea. I had only had a couple of eggs and toast at 8 AM, not enough fuel for an 11 miler at 2 PM. I brought one of the Hammer Gels a friend had given me (Guess I knew I was going to go for the full run!) so I decided to give it a try.

I never really enjoy a gel. They never taste good and the texture really weirds me out. I can't stomach an entire one either. It's just too much gross. Once I get past the gross factor of them though, they really do the job! I ate about half of it and it was a life saver.

I finished with 10.5 miles. I maintained an 8:22 pace and I felt great when I finished.

I truly think that if I am on the verge of catching a cold, a run really helps me feel better. I researched it before writing this post and the common consensus is "if it's above the neck it's ok to run". While mine is in my chest a little bit, I think the decision about whether or not to run is common sense.....If you feel like you're going to die, don't run. It's not worth it. If you don't feel horrible, give it a try and really listen to your body.

I'm glad I put in the effort this weekend.

While I wasn't running, I was busy getting my family in the holiday spirit.

Kaitlyn and I decorated the little Charlie Brown tree for my apartment.

The boy got a real tree that we decorated for his house.

The kids painted pictures and themselves....

beat up my boyfriend.....

played in boxes.....

and decorated Christmas cookies.
Absolutely amazing weekend with awesome people. I am sad today is Sunday.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Marathon Training - Week 4

I have a confession to make. I have fell victim to the current obsession that is the 50 Shades of Grey Trilogy. It's not something I'm proud to admit, but it's why I haven't posted recently. My thoughts on the book.....not too much of a fan. I have to say, I'm really over the "and they all lived happily ever after" endings on movies and books. Things don't really happen like that.

The "scenes" though, well damn. Some are INTENSE.

I digress. This Monday started out week 4 of my marathon training. Where has the past month gone?? This past weekend was a bust. My allergies were kicking my ass (why is it 65 degrees in DC in December?) so much that Sunday morning I woke up and had to use my daughter's asthma inhaler because of the wheezing....Like a turd, I tried to run Sunday afternoon. Fail. I was set out to do 6 miles, called it quits at after 5 because I just wasn't in it.

Given my crappy weekend fitness-wise, I woke up on Monday morning ready to show my body's whose boss. My training plan called for cross-training, but since I put zero effort in this weekend and it's still early in my training I decided to try those 6 miles again.

I was weary heading outside because of my performance the day before but how can I run inside when the weather is like this?? I hit the streets of DC and decided to try a new path. I just kept going and going straight until I was forced to turn left, since I have gotten lost running in the city before. Before I knew it I was 3 miles in.....and realizing the neighborhood around me was not the best. Oops!! Needless to say I hit the gas and got the hell out of dodge. Still, a great run.

Tuesday was 3 miles, which I hurried up to get done on the treadmill and hit the weights. I am determined to keep up with my strength training during marathon training. (You can check out my Daily Mile page to see the circuits I've been doing) While I'm no expert at weights, I usually pick 3 or 4 moves that I know how to do with proper form, do them for 12-15 reps, and repeat the circuit 3 or 4 times. I usually take a break in the middle and at the end to stretch.

Today, Wednesday, called for another 6 miler. I really should have gone outside to do it but I just had to get it in and get it done because I had an appointment to donate blood today. They were 6 gloriously sweaty miles at an 8:10 pace.....although the nurse did have a few choice words for me about an intense workout before donating blood because she thought I'd be dehydrated. Although this wasn't the case because I am always a crazy water drinker, now I know.

Tomorrow calls for 3 easy miles, then I plan to hit the weights hard!! I love doing that the day before a scheduled rest day because I can tell myself it's ok to rest since I'm sore:-)

If all goes to plan, and it will, I will end up with 35 miles logged this week. Pretty excited about getting those numbers back up there!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner and Flexibilty

This past week has gone by WAY to fast. I got in some great runs, some time with my wonderful boyfriend and daughter, some relaxing, some family time and, of course, lots of eating.

My workouts these week didn't go exactly as planned. I think it is very important to be flexible when you're committing to something as time consuming as 4 months of marathon training. Some days you simply won't be able to run due to the weather, work and family obligations, etc. Some days your body will beg for you to take an unscheduled day off. (This is very important to listen to!! Take it from somebody who has pushed out miles and miles on a fatigued body. You will not gain physical advantages and the chances are you will end up injured. Your body knows what it's talking about)

This past weeks training schedule:
Monday: Cross Training (This didn't actually happen)
Tuesday: 3 mile run (This didn't actually happen)
Wednesday: 5 mile run
Thursday: 3 mile run (This turned into 5.5 miles)
Friday: Rest (This turned into Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred)
Saturday: 5 mile run
Sunday: 9 mile run

Like I said, I made some adjustments.  Monday I had to put in some extra hours at work. Tuesday, my man came home from GA. He had been there for 5 weeks. Obviously, I had more on my mind then getting my 3 mile run in;-)

I decided to make up for that run on Thursday morning. Plus nothing sounds better than a post-run appetite for Thanksgiving Dinner. Speaking of Thanksgiving Dinner. ......

Look at the turkey! My first time hosting Thanksgiving, my first time cooking a turkey, and the first time my boyfriend's family and mine both came to the same event. Needless to say, I was pretty damn nervous.....
But I cooked the hell out of that thing.
PS - I know the crispy skin (which I smothered in butter pre-roasting) is the worst part for you but that first piece cut with juicy white meat and crispy skin....well it's my favorite thing to eat at Thanksgiving.

As you can see, we had quite the spread. My contributions were the appetizers, Buffalo Chicken Dip and Spinach Dip, the turkey, butternut squash gratin (first time having a savory butternut squash. It was really good), mashed potatoes (I used cream cheese and LOTS of butter in them), green bean casserole, glazed carrots and corn.

All the lovely desserts. Contributed by family. That turtle pumpkin cheesecake on the left was the absolute best cheesecake I've ever had. I usually don't even like cheesecake. This stuff was amazing. Kudos to my sister for that one. Same goes with the chocolate pecan pie from my mom. Delicious.
To continue the family themed weekend, we decided to go to New Jersey and visit my Nana on Sunday. Leaving at 9 AM, with 9 miles on the plan, made for an early wake up call. My alarm went off at 5:45 that morning. As I drank my coffee I looked up the weather, only to discover it was 27 degrees out. Holy crap. I think I would have been better not knowing. Even though it was cold and dark, I bundled up and headed out.
Best life choice.
There is a difference in listening to your body when it's needed and coming up with excuses not to run. Sometimes you just need to man up.

I cranked out 9 miles, watching the sun rise, and chasing a runner's high the entire time. I got so caught up I even ran an extra mile:-)
10 miles at a 8:07ish pace before most people get out of bed. Not bad at all. I threw on some CEP compression sleeves, grabbed a bag of dry cereal, coffee and a banana and hit the road.

We had a great time:-)
Another big thing. I decided to get a wig. I finally decided that it was something I want to do. This Alopecia Areata seems like it's here for the long haul. As much as I'd love to have the "I don't give a shit what you think, I'm bald and I'm beautiful" attitude, I just don't. I've accepted the disease, but sometimes I just want to do my hair, put on my heels and make up, and feel like a woman.
So I made the plunge. The flexibility in training also applies to life.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Burke Lake Park = One Great Run

My favorite thing about marathon training is easily is the long runs. I love long runs. I love zoning out and just going. Physically seeing the distance that I have covered. Knowing that I'm strong enough, physically and mentally, to endure over an hour of constant running. It's exhilarating.

I always do my long runs on Sunday. Last Sunday, my daughter was off visiting her grandparents, so I had no time constraints. I decided to mix it up a bit and head out to Burke Lake. Burke Lake is a wonderful park located in Fairfax, VA. It offers a "fitness trail" which outlines the perimeter of the lake, clocking in at a little less than 5 miles.
I did 8 miles in the dirt path and felt amazing. What a difference soft ground makes on these rickety hips of mine:-)

I even got a good 20 minutes of stretching in while taking in the beautiful view. As difficult as it is to run here (40 minutes round trip, plus $8 for parking) it really is worth it because of the ease on my body and the mental health benefits I get from being able to take it all in and forget the hecticness that is my life. I love my crazy, busy life but recently I feel like it's been catching up with me.

I came home and had a great recovery meal. One whole egg and one egg white, scrambled and put on top of toast with avocado and cholula and an apple with almond butter. Gotta love all those healthy fats:-)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Marathon Training: Week One

Despite last weekends antics, Monday morning I started marathon training feeling pretty confident. I am beyond excited to see what I can push my body to do. My last marathon goal was 4 hours. I crossed the finish line in 4:01:57! Soooooo close.
I am running the Rock and Roll, Washington D.C. Marathon again this year (it's the one I ran last year). I really enjoyed the race last year, it was well run and very organized. I also want to beat myself on the same marathon course. Many people told me that I was silly to pick Rock and Roll DC as my first marathon to ever run. They said the course was much harder than surrounding marathons. So yes, I could probably go and run a flat course and stop my time from last year, but where is the fun in that.
I am going to go to this marathon and kill last years time because I am stronger, I am smarter, and I am ready to kick some ass.
My goal this year: 3 hours and 45 minutes
My training plan is below. Courtesy of Hal Higdon

I am really a big fan of Hal Higdon and his training programs. He has a lot of details along with his plans. Where you should be, physically, to begin training. How you should cross train. How fast your runs should be depending on what time you're shooting for, etc.

This week has gone by without any major issues (ha. Only 17 more "issue free" weeks to go). For cross training I did the elliptical for an hour. That is pretty much my go-to method of cross training, although I'd really love to get some spin classes in there. My right leg/hip has been a bit tight...I've been trying to make sure I am adequately strength training and stretching to make sure I don't aggravate it.....

The last issue. I am running to fast. For my goal I would need to run 8:45 miles the entire time. Right now, I'm running between 7:50-8:25. Even yesterday, during my terrible 5 miler (I just couldn't get in my groove), which was supposed to be a "pace" run I was running 8:25.

I'm torn because I don't want to injure myself, but I also don't want to not run to my potential. I'm thinking maybe make my goal pace 8:20 per mile instead.....but I'll need a couple more solid weeks of training under my belt before I do that.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

An Impromtu Half Marathon and Poor Pre-Race Rituals

Let me preface this post by saying that this is not the way you should race. At all. If you want to be successful at running and racing you don't act like this.

My twin sister, Rebecca, asked me earlier in the week if I would run an 8K with her in Richmond this weekend. At first I was hesitant because I had promised by legs a break this week since I raced hard this past Sunday. However, it's rare that we get to do something like this together so I told her that I would, but we'd make sure that we went nice and easy and simply enjoyed the race.

Friday night I arrived at her house around 9:00 PM. I wasn't particularly sleepy so I decided to enjoy a couple of cold ones a stay up another hour or so. By the time I was getting ready to call it a night my brother came home from work. It's not often that we get to catch up so we had a couple drinks and caught up....then my sister got home.....then the pizza and cards came out....before we knew it the time was 2:30 AM, not too far from our 5 AM departure.

We woke up and got ready as fast as we could. By the time we headed out the door, we were cutting it pretty close. The pizza and beer sat in my stomach like a brick. I made myself eat a small banana, but that was all I wanted. I figured that'd be sufficient fuel for a 5 miler.

We didn't make it to the race on time. Surprise, Surprise. So we decided that we'd just run the half marathon starting 30 minutes after the 8K! (I swear, it seemed like a totally awesome, fun idea at the time). We headed to the start and made it just in time for the gun to go off, no warm-up, no stretching.

Seconds before we the race started. We look tired.

Since we decided to just go out and have fun, I opted not to put my iPod on. This is the first time in a race that I've done this. It was really nice actually. I enjoyed people watching, talking to my sister, and listening to other's running around me. I made it sans tunes until Mile 8 when I started to get bored.

Dehydrated from my antics the night before, I anxiously awaited every single water station. I made sure to walk through them, drink slow and drink a lot. This seemed to work well for me, especially since I wasn't hauling any sort of ass that morning, but we all know what issues this could cause.

Around mile 6 of the race my legs started to get heavy. I was cursing myself for only eating a banana pre race and not having any gels on me. A mile or so later, I saw a gel station and ran anxiously toward it. ....not a fan of ANY chocolate gels. My options were limited and I knew I needed a pick up so I opened it up and tried some. I can only describe it as a warm chocolate milkshake sliding down my throat. Seriously not good. I drank some water with it and we continued on our way.

We took lots of breaks for pictures. :-)

That gel worked wonders. I had a burst of energy and wanted to pound the remainder of the race out. We had a good pace...until I felt my stomach get angry at me for last night's greasy, dairy-filled indulgence and the warm chocolate I just put on top of that. I found myself running, searching for relief (sorry if this makes you uncomfortable but I have never met a runner who hasn't had a case of the runner's trots and hell, everybody poops). The pain...oh goodness.

I didn't see any porta pottys, so the first open establishment was it., A damn laundry mat. (Totally random they were open...) The owners were very nice and let me use their restroom.....I could have kissed them. They practicly saved my life. at least my pride.

Now, lighter on my feet (haha!) we were ready to finish the race (what an amazinly awesome down hill finish) and had a great time. This may be the first race that I run and just didn't care what my time was (and honestly had no clue the entire time). My sister and I had a ton of fun. We stopped to stretch, drink water, take pictures, and catch some great sight seeing.

Despite my stomach being in knots the remainer of the day and a toe nail that's decided it no longer wants to be attached I'm glad I did the race. However, next time I'll prepare just a tad bit better.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Recovering from Racing and Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred

Personally, I think the hardest thing about racing is proper recovery. It’s hard. We just went out there and pushed our body to the limit. We trained for months, put everything we had into less than an hour of work, kicked some serious ass, and want to keep the momentum going. We want to go sweat more. We want to race. We want to run….FAST.

Despite all these feelings, we’ve been told to do no such thing. While the exact number of days you should rest vary from article to article, and depend on factors such as running experience, length of the race, age, etc., it’s a common consensus that you need to take it easy for a while.

Here is a chart from Running Times ( that breaks it down for you.
This means that I can’t do anything with high intensity for 9 days….

I’m sure this sounds crazy to non-runners, but NOT running is more difficult (mentally and physically) than forcing ourselves to go run.

To keep myself from jamming a pencil threw my eye and going stir crazy I’ve decided to continue to workout, just not intensely and nothing involving running. For this reason, I borrowed a copy of Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred from a coworker.


I started on Level 2 for the sole reason I’m a cocky SOB and wanted to make sure I felt something. Let me tell you what. I did. The workout is pretty awesome, especially for only 20 minutes! Really now, who doesn’t have 20 minutes extra a day?? Jillian follows interval training to get you sweating . You do 3 minutes of strength training (weights, push-ups, etc.), followed by 2 minutes of cardio, followed by 1 minute of abs. You do 3 different circuits.

I am most definitely going to go and buy a copy of this workout DVD (and probably a few more of her DVDs as well). I plan to do one workout in the AM and one in the PM for the next week. This is perfect for a day you can’t get to the gym, or get outside to run, or are just crunched for time. Because, as we’ve all heard, ANYTHING IS BETTER THAN NOTHING.

While I won’t be doing the entire 30 day shred consecutively (because marathon training is starting on Monday!! YAY!!) I will be incorporating this into my fitness regime and using it as fillers for days I don’t have time to do weights after my long run at work.

Any workout videos you’d recommend? What are your favorites?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

ANS 7th Annual 5K/10K Run Walk - My Review

In order to prepare for my first 10K, competitive one at least, I rested up on Saturday, took a light walk with my daughter and stretched. I got to bed early (got an extra hour of sleep due to daylight savings) and woke up bright and early at 6:30 to get ready.
2 cups of coffee and a bowl of oatmeal and I was ready to go!
Seeing as though this was a very small race (held in Southern MD) I wasn't sure what to expect. I showed up 40 minutes before the 8:30 start time, grabbed my number and went inside to warm up. After a few runs around the gym and some stretching, I hit the bathroom and was ready to go. The gun went off at exactly 8:30.
I have to say, I was very disappointed with the course. Firstly, there were no cones. Nothing to block the cars speeding by at 55 miles an hour. We were running on a small shoulder. Not the most comforting feeling. Especially since I was in the front of the pack. No crowds to draw attention for the drivers.....
The course was also VERY hilly. I guess I cannot complain about this factor too much, but during my run I was cursing it with a bunch of four letter words.
Third, and most importantly, the course was poorly marked. Shortly after I passed the 5 mile marker I got geared up and put a little pep in my step. Then I came to an intersection with no sign! One sign on my left was marked for the 5K, so I choose that one thinking that the races might meet up. Almost half a mile after the turn a man in a truck pulled up beside me to let me know I was going to wrong way. I was super peeved. I bust a quick 180 and as I passed the intersection again I saw the crowd catching up....Only one man passed me due to that potentially fatal mistake.
I finished in about 51:40. (The official time hasn't been released).

While I'm irritated that I missed my goal of 50 minutes, I'm excited that I know that I can make it since I ran over 7 miles in 51:40! And I still got 1st place for females!
My first time with a medal that reads "1st" place. Kaitlyn and I were ecstatic! I had a great time!
I'm currenty relaxing on the couch with a Blue Moon Winter Abbey Ale watching Sex and the City reruns. Perfect way to celebrate!

Friday, November 2, 2012

How and When to Taper?

This Sunday is the big race. The 10K that I have spent the last two months preparing for.  All those training runs come down to how you perform in less than an hour of time. I am sure you can tell, I’m freaking out just a little bit.
The cause of this minor “freak out”. My last week of running hasn’t been exactly what I expected. I only had 2 runs this week. A 5 miler on Tuesday and 5 x 400 @ 5K pace on Wednesday (4.5 miles total). I wasn’t able to get in my last tempo run or long run this weekend. My daughter got sick, then got pink eye, my sister needed help moving, Hurricane Sandy kept us inside. Now I know that these things happen. Almost any running article that you read says “be flexible”, but I can’t help it. I am hard on myself. I want better results so I push myself to get them.
So today my training plan says “REST”. I am supposed to be tapering.  I find this difficult seeing as though today is an ideal day for me to workout……To make up on mind on what to do I took to the  internet. While there are varying views about the benefits of tapering, the majority of people lean towards it.
But then my mind said “I think if you take Friday AND Saturday off you’re going to over-taper..”. Again, I went to the internet and got conflicting results.
I’ve made up my mind. I’m going to the gym today. I am not an elite runner who has been running 60+ mile weeks, I’ve only had two runs this week.  I’m going to go and get on the elliptical for a bit and then walk on the treadmill for a bit, then spend a good amount of time stretching, focusing on my pesky calf and hips.
What would you do if you were in my situation?? Are you for tapering?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Girl Who Baked Everything

A love a good 4 day weekend, especially when it is not expected. Due to Hurricane Sandy, school and work were canceled for Monday and Tuesday. Do you know what I spent the past 4 days doing.....not exactly running. The name of this blog should be changed to Pumpkin Junkie.
Saturday I was supposed to do a 50 minute tempo run. Every single family member ended up being busy though, and I couldn't find a sitter. I decided this meant that I should simply not stress, and spend some quality time with my daughter. We had a guest coming over for dinner. Remember the "pumpkin craze" I talked about in my last post...
I started with a huge crock pot of pumpkin chili and a batch of pumpkin cornbread muffins.
Paired with a Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale. It was perfection.

For dessert I made these Pumpkin Pie Biscotti with a cream cheese drizzle. A little bit of a mix between a biscotti and a scone. Pretty damn good.
I also made this Pumpkin Cheesecake which I brought over to my friends for her birthday. While I didn't get to taste it I'm told it was amazing!

And since I'm that crazy.....Pumpkin Pancakes for dinner the next morning:-) I made them with Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Mix.
My training called for an 8 mile run on Sunday. I ate those delicious pancakes, got suited up, and was stopped in my tracks when I noticed how disgusting my daughter's bright red eye looked. A couple of hours in-line at the CVS Minute Clinic confirmed she had pink eye.
Seeing as though that's contagious for 24 hours, I wouldn't be dropping her at any body's house on Monday either.
I did manage to get a nice 5 miler in this morning. I tried to take it nice and easy, which was a lot easier with all the puddles and piles of leaves and debris that Hurricane Sandy left in my way.
After running, I continued my madness in the kitchen. I'll show you pictures tomorrow but I have to say from this one that today's creations put everything else to shame.

I caught him over the sink, frosting utensil in one hand, measuring cup with batter in the other, taking alternate licks.
The finished product was even better.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Halloween Fun

Thursday after work it was time for some Halloween festivities. Every year my family gets together and we carve pumpkins and decorate sugar cookies.
My sister decided to get all fancy pants on us an got a pumpkin carving kit. My little girl picked the ghost template.

We pulled the guts and got down to business.
Unfortunately, after we started the pumpkin I walked away to do the dishes and Kaitlyn got a bit carried away with her design. I returned to a pumpkin with a huge circle cut out of it. Poor thing. Looks like we have a huge pumpkin to bake up and we'll have to get her another one.
That's why you stick with the standard triangle eyes and mouth.....

My brother's children playing in the bathroom. Nice.

My sister helped the other kids. This pumpkin also ended up with a big hole and no design.....I think it was a carving failure for the night.
At least the cookies tasted good:-)
Friday's workout only called for 3 miles. I knew that I wanted to take it slow because I was pretty damn sore from Thursday's Pyramid Workout. I hopped on the treadmill and all of a sudden the crazy, competitive came out in me. 3 miles in 23:40. Not actually as slow as I should be running.
After running I headed to the weight room and decided to focus on my arms and core. I started with a move that I used to do when I was doing P90X. I can't for the life of me remember which video or what it's called but it's awesome. You get a weight (I used 10 lbs) and you kneel on one leg (kind of like you're tying your shoe) and you come up and turn and lift the weight over your head (hold the dumbbell with one hand on each end). Doesn't sound like too much but your core will definitely feel it by the end.
I used the same 10 lb weight to do standing bent over rows and triceps. 3 sets of 15 for each move. Lots of stretching between sets. Done and done.
PS - Pictures of our mud run got posted. I come from Jewish roots so you're only going to see the proofs....

My baby totally rocked it.
I am as cold and as I look.
Hope you're enjoying your weekend!! I'm on a bit of a pumpkin craze.....You'll see the results:-)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Bargaining with My Calf

Monday called for a break from running. My knees and calves were sore
from my busy, busy running weekend so I played it safe and took my
little butt right over to the elliptical. It was a good 40 minute
workout. Nothing too intense but sweat-inducing, endorphin-releasing
just the same. After the cardio I took to my ankle weight circuit. Going
into marathon training I'm trying to make sure I do it at least once a

Tuesday I laced up my Asics and hit the treadmill for a nice 6 miler. I
seriously felt amazing. Something is to be said about sweat dripping
down your calves and shins. You're definitely doing something right.

Wednesday I woke up and my body was telling me to take a day. Good thing
too because I had a dentist appointment at 1:30. Who knew that getting
one little cavity filled would be so uncomfortable. That needle they put
into my jaw was massive and painful. I went home and crashed into what
can noly be described as a small coma. Me and medications do not mix.
Seriously, I have the lowest tolerance for least I
have a high tolerance for wine, right? When in pain, simply

Annnnnyways, I digress. I headed over to the gym today, eager to conquer
my 4 miles on the treadmill. I cranked up some Eve (anybody else love
this chick? I know it's a bit old school of me but I seriously LOVE her
music) and hopped on the treadmill. I was in the perfect mindset
today...funny how rest days can do that to you. I knocked out 4 miles in
31:28. Done and done. Then I headed into the weight room for a bit of
self inflicted pain.

Helllllloooo pyramid workout. I stole inspiration from Julie at Peanut
Butter Fingers. Here is what my workout looked like:

Mountain Climbers
Weighted Lunges (20 lbs - each leg)
Jumping Jacks
Weighted Squats (50 lbs)
60 second plank
Kettleball Swing (25 lbs)
Tricep Press (90 lbs)

You start with 10 of each, then move to 9 of each....etc, etc. The first
time I did it I went to 5 and was seriously sore a couple of days later.
Today I only got to 7, due to time constraints. I forced myself to do
some stretching. I do believe I officially have a calf strain. It is
very tight and sore after I run, not during. I found some exercises
online to stretch/strengthen....I promise that once this 10K race is
over I'll take it easy. (**This is what I keep saying to myself in my
head. My race is November 4 and marathon training starts November 12. 8
solid days with NO RUNNING. I promise...)

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Rogue Runner and The Color Run - My Review

Once again, it’s been a week since I’ve posted. That’s because I’m just too busy having fun!

This past week’s workout:
Monday: 3 miles + Strength
Tuesday: 3.6 miles + Yoga class
Wednesday: 10 x 400 @ 5K pace (7 miles total plus warm up and cool down)
Thursday: 5.5 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 7 mile training run + 10K Mud Run
Sunday: 5K Color Run

This put me at about 36 miles of running this week! That is the highest weekly mileage that I’ve had in at least 6 months. Yay!!

For Wednesday’s speed workout I tried something a little different. Instead of just standing/walking and catching my breath between 400s I decided to run a recovery 400 at a much slower pace. This proved to be pretty damn hard compared to what I was doing. I ran the 400s between 1:37 and 1:45 (about a 6:50 mile pace), the recovery laps at about a 9:00 minute per mile pace……wow. Let’s just say the cool down run back to my apartment did not have anything resembling speed.

Rogue Runner: I’ve definitely done my fair share of mud runs. I’ve done the infamous Tough Mudder in GA (13 miles of craziness!), a 5 mile one in VA Beach (which was more like a sand run. Holy crap that is hard), the 5K Warrior Dash in MD and Run Amuck on Quantico Marine Corp Base. I have to say, this one is not on the top of my list. I will give Rogue Runner a tad bit of leeway. This was their first time putting on a mud run, so hopefully they learn from their mistakes.

Here is the course:
Here's what I suggest they fix:

1. There were very few water stops. About ½ way through people on four wheelers started to come by with cases of bottled water……
2. The lines for obstacles were anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour. Serious backup. Standing around for an hour is NOT fun. They should have had smaller waves staggered better.
3. The course was not properly marked. At one point we were told by somebody who finished that we were going the wrong way and had missed a couple miles of obstacles, yet the volunteers were the ones who told us where to go. Not cool.
4. Obstacles were poorly placed. At the end of inclined monkey bars you had to drop about 5 feet to the ground, which was a HUGE flat rock. My boyfriend went down the mud slid on his stomach (really just a tarp with a hose on it) and hit a huge rock! He has a huge abrasion on his oblique along with a lot of bruising and swelling.
5. The after-party was lame. The medals were just sitting in a big pile. Nobody to put them on you. Hell, they weren’t even taken out of the plastic. There was no post-race bagels or bananas, nothing buy greasy BBQ you had to pay way too much for.
Here is my wonderful boyfriend who rocked it.
The Color Run, DC: This run, on the other hand, seemed to be pretty well organized. It was also held in the National Harbor in Maryland which is just gorgeous.
It was very packed.
Do you see how far that crowd goes back! I couldn't even see the end.
Packed runs are pretty common, especially in this area, the issue was that a lot of those people were non-runners, which is fine, but they had no running etiquette. If you’re walking, please move to the side. If you have to stop, please move to the side….The only real complaint I had was the color itself. It’s just a dyed cornstarch powder that people threw at you. Resulting in a big POOF of color that you had to close your eyes (especially with my contacts) to run through and try not to take any deep breaths……
.I don’t know what I was expecting but it was a bit more than that. I’m glad to have done one but won’t be signing up to do it again.

All in all a very fun, active, packed weekend:-)