Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Marine Corp Half Marathon

Last Sunday I ran the Marine Corp Half Marathon in Fredericksburg, VA. I was ecstatic! At the Health and Fitness Expo I got a 25% off coupon to VA Runner. I needed new shoes for my marathon training (scheduled to start in July) so I went and got a new pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12. Then I decided to skip over to the Sports Authority (because the one near me closed a while ago) and I was in heaven!!! Their clearance section was AWESOME! I got a Nike Hat, Nike Dri-Fit Running Shorts, New Balance tank, Under Armour Bra and ADIDAS bra....and they were all only $10-$15 a piece!

Still high from my shopping trip I stopped at Subway to grab a Turkey Sandwich and went to spend the night at my twin's house....where I made my staple pre-run breakfast of whole wheat pancakes so they'd be ready in the morning..... I was in bed early and ready to conquer it!

The race started at 7AM. My sister and I got there and meet up with her friend around 6:30.

My twin Becca and her friend Adam

We had just enough time for a small warm-up, stretch and stop at the bathrooms before we lined up. When the race started I felt amazing.
I am loving my tan line

 My goal was an 8:00 min pace the entire race. The first three miles flew by and I was hitting my miles in a little under 8:00.....However, right after the 3rd mile I got the worst pain I have ever felt while running. It felt like somebody was stabbing me in the ball of my left foot and wiggling that knife around! Absolutely excruciating. For the next 1/2 a mile the shooting and stabbing pain just got worse and worse. I pulled over to the sidelines and went to take my shoe off. I was done. Then my brain decided that quitting was not an option. I had never given up while running and wasn't going to start now. About mile 5 the pain actually subsided a bit. I tend to think this is because I lost feeling in my foot. I finished the race with a time of 1:55:51. 

**Looking back, as upset as I was with that time I still beat last year's time by 4 minutes....and a male in my office who ran. The other one only beat me by one minute!!**

After the race I took my shoe off and saw that the brusing had already set in......I was going to post the picture of the immediate bruising and swelling but it's really disgusting! (Not the injury as much as my feet!)

I just wanted to go home. I was physically and mentally defeated during that race. The negative thoughts never left my head and every mile just drug on and on.......

My foot is not so well. I cannot bear any weight on the ball of my foot or move my last three toes. The bruising has lightened significantly and it, along with the swelling, have moved to my toes. I went to the doctor yesterday and she sent me to the ER for x-rays (lets reallllllly hope those come back today) and promptly put me in this very fashionable boot.

I painted my nails just to feel a little better wearing it.

Have you ever experienced an injury like this? or any other one during a race??

If you're not mentally focused do you have problems with your workout? How do you fix it?

Friday, May 18, 2012

My First Food Truck Experience

I don't have too much to talk about work-out wise. I did a quick 2 mile run yesterday followed by 40 minutes of swimming.

The pinnacle of my day was lunch time! Washington, DC has an obsession with Food Trucks. They have trackers and twitter and all sorts of resources to tell them what trucks will be where at at what time. I have worked in DC for almost a year now and have abstained from the craze. I bring my lunch every day. It just doesn't make sense to me to spend a ton of money on highly processed, startchy, fatty foods. Yesterday was an exception. After much pressure from my coworkers, and research to find the best one, I set out. I choose Stix.!/eatstix

It did NOT dissapoint.  See the beauty below:

I got the Stix Pax - with the the chicken, cucumbers and pineapple!


My coworker got one too!

Utensils are overrated.

When I thought about eating it....

When I couldnt hold out any longer....right before the attack.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Runs Shorter Than 3 Miles Suck - Tapering

 I wasn't looking forward to my taper week before the Marine Corp Half Marathon. Runs that are shorter than 3 miles kind of get to me. The 3 mile mark is where I usually really get into my runs. My strides and breathing match up and I feel like I just want to go and go and obviously a week of tapering before a half marathon is not my idea of a good time.

Monday I took as a total rest day. No running. No cross-training.

Yesterday I woke up early to test out my new yoga DVDS. I had done a quick 25 minute segment of PM yoga before bed the night and wasn't sure how I felt about it. These yoga DVDs are NOT the Jillian Michael's Yoga Meltdown I am used to. They focus more on controlling breathing, stretching and elongating than they do burning calories or raising your heartbeat.......I'm not sure how I'm going to like these ones. Perhaps I should not have gone with the "beginners" yoga dvd box set, but with my lack of balance I thought I was doing the right thing. The dvds I got are Yoga for Beginners Boxed Set (Yoga for Stress Relief / AM-PM Yoga for Beginners / Essential Yoga for Inflexible People)".
I usually get my runs in during work but with the amount of times I have to leave early for doctor's appointments this week.......I feel like I'm pushing it a bit..... so I left work today, without running, feeling EXHAUSTED. Everything on my body felt sore and tight and I knew I needed a run.

Luckily, I had time after my doctor's appointment and before getting my daughter to fit in a quick 3.5 miles. It wasn't my best run (I'm not sure if it's a great idea to go running right after having blood drawn......but I'm stubborn) but I was glad to have gotten it done. After I finished my run, I changed into my swimsuit, scooped up Kaitlyn and we headed to the pool. I decided that I was going to start swimming during her class. There is an extra lane open right next to it, so it kind of worked out perfectly. Let me tell you what, 45 minutes was MORE than enough. Swimming is not joke. It is an entirely different technique and uses completely different muscles. I am excited to start adding it to my routine twice a week.

By the time baby girl and I got home we were hungry girls! Dinner was spinach salad and whole wheat noodles tossed with basil pesto and chicken. hmmmm.....

Only 2 short "pace" miles today.......which means only 16 minutes of running?? This tapering better be worth it......

Monday, May 14, 2012

CEP Compression Sleeves

I decided to treat myself to some CEP Compression Sleeves. They were moderately priced and the studies done on compression socks really intrigued me. I decided to purchase the sleeves (this way I didn't have to wash them after EVERY run....gross. I know. But honest.).

So I wore them for my 12-miler yesterday! Now, I can't say whether or not the sleeves actually helped to be honest, but I did have a GREAT run. I ended up running 11.6 miles in 1:34:10, which is a pace of 8:10 per mile. My goal for the Marine Corp Half Marathon is 1:45:00.....which is extremely feasible at this point.
The more I read about the compression sleeves, the more I discover that people tend to think they are more beneficial to wear AFTER a long run, for recovery purposes. I only had them on about 30 minutes after my run, so I will have to try that out next time. I am only slightly sore today. It is my rest day though and I usually feel very stiff on those days.

Here are some of the other reviews I read:

Next time I run with them on (which will probably be my half marathon as I am really using them for long distance runs) I will keep them on that afternoon as well, and let you know.

PS - I also got a new set of Yoga DVD's in the mail. Excited to try those in the AM:-)

Friday, May 11, 2012

In the House for the Day

So I am home today. My poor little girl came down with a fever last night. Being stuck in the house all days means a few things are going to happen:
1. The entire house will be spotless
2. An enormous amount of food will be baked
3. A few different workout DVDs will be done

First things first, breakfast. My all time favorite meal of the day. My favorite thing about days I don't have to go to work are getting up and cooking a delicious breakfast for my favorite people.

Today's breakfast consisted of whole wheat oatmeal pancakes (I stole the recipe from my sister lol) topped with strawberries, 2 scrambled egg whites and turkey bacon. All topped with syrup. hmmmm:-)

With three cups of black coffee of course.....I really need to cut back on that. One thing at a time.

Seeing as it's only 9:00 AM (I hate that I get up early even when I don't have to work....) I have a lot more that I can do. Luckily, my awesome sister just got me a few books for our birthdays (Twins! yeah!) so I'll be trying out a couple of new things.

I am especially excited about this book because the recipes come from actual runners, not just people who tell them what they should eat! I am all out of homemade granola bars so I think I'm going to try the one in this book out.

First and foremost, time to do some Yoga and Insanity Cardio Recovery. Today is actually my rest day, which I really needed because my legs are sooooo tired, so it worked out well.

What do you guys do for your favorite homemade breakfast??

Any good cookbooks and/or recipes you'd reccomend?

What are your favorite workout DVDs?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Long Weekend :-)

This past weekend was a 5 day one for me! My boyfriend and I went up to Vermont to visit his family and friends. It was really fabulous. I got a couple of great runs in! I just LOVE runs where I have tons of scenery to look at and have no idea where I'm going and how many miles it is. Both days I got a 6.5 - 7 mile run and felt like I could have gone for another hour:-)

The day after we got back I had the morning to myself and got back on the streets of Dale City. I ran 6.5 VERY hilly miles. The weather was about 70 with light rain and it was PERFECT! (who doesn't love running in the rain?). Yesterday was back to my regular routine. I hit the gym during my lunch break and got 5 miles done in 40:07 then did some stretching and light weights.

So as it turns out I am the ONLY one in my family who works a regular Monday through Friday job. For this reason, we celebrated Mother's Day last night. We took my mother to Ariana Afghan ( It was absolutely awesome! I LOVE ethnic food!! I started off with sauteed pumpkin (PS - Pumpkin is my FAVORITE food). It was slightly sweet with a hint of heat drizzled with yogurt sauce. Perfect. For my meal I got the Chicken Kabobs, which came with a mound of brown rice, perfectly grilled and seasoned chicken, spinach and a never ending pile of naan bread for the table. We finished off with dessert...which consisted of a Red Velvet Cake that I baked (and my SIL decorated)

a Cinnamon, Apple and Almond Torte that my brother and his girlfriend baked, and totally nailed!

By the time we left that restaurant the food baby in my tummy had grown to monstorous porportions. I'll just consider it carb-loading for today's run! I'm only supposed to do 3 miles (and I did my yoga this morning)....but I see myself wanting just a bit more:-)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Insanity - Cardio Recovery! Thoughts?

So I woke up at my regular 4:15 AM this morning (a tad bit sore from yesterday's pace run) and popped in my Insanity - Cardio Recovery DVD.

My running has been excelling so much recently that I'm worried that I'm going to, as I've done in the past, not put enough time and effort into strengthing and stretching. So I alternate between the Jillian Michael's Yoga Meltdown and Insanity Cardio Recovery DVDs in the morning.  Not to mention the AWESOME burn that comes with this video and the awesome feeling of accomplishment I got from making it through the entire squat and lunge sequence.

I have yet to perfect standing on one leg with my arms and other leg straight out.....but these things take time:-)

Personally, I LOVE this DVD. I do have to agree with a few other bloggers though (
 . There is no actual "recovery" going on! That is not why I do it. I do it to incorporate other things besides cardio into my workout. To stretch and strengthen and just to give myself a little "something" first thing in the morning.

Any other runners have DVDs that they like to incorporate into their weekly workout?

What do you think of Insanity Cardio Recovery?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What to Eat as a Runner

So I tend to find that one of the hardest things about working out is the relationship I develop with food.

I know that, as a runner, I have to give my body the nourishment it demands. If I don't then it will not give me the performance that I demand. Plain and Simple. I know that quality matters over quantity. However, when do you give in? How much do you eat? what do you eat? There is A LOT of information out there. Varying opinions flood the internet.

I have been on a weight loss plateau for about 2 years. I will gain 10 back, lose 10, gain 10, lose 10....but always end up the same base weight. That is until the marathon training that I actually finished. I lost 13 lbs total during my marathon training (and have mananged to keep them all off - although I fluctuate a couple of pounds of course). Despite the obvious running my ass off. (I followed Hal Higdon's Novice Program). I did a few other things:

1. I gave up sweets. The final two months of training at least. - This is SERIOUS for me. My office is flooded with them.  A handful of jelly beans here, a piece of cake there, a couple mini-candy bars next. They add up. I have a LOVE for sweet things. However, I have found that it is true what they say. The more you avoid them, the less you crave them. (and the less of a tolerance I have for them now. Since finishing marathon training I have indulged but my pieces are about half the size I would've taken before this).

2. I gave up alcohol. Another big one. I enjoy beer (and red wine occasionally).  But they are empty calories. Plain and simple. A few beers a couple nights a week can seriously pack the pounds on. Plus, they are dehydrating. Not only are they a diuretic but if you're drinking them you're obviously not drinking water. Hydration is key to long distance running. It does not matter how much I've trained. If I'm dehydated than my muscles will not perform.

3. I gave up diet soda. Another HUGE feat for me. I loved diet soda. I would drink 2-3 of them a day, even more if I went out to eat. (Ever notice how much MORE you drink when using a straw...anyways.) I knew that there were tons of articles about their cons but I was hooked. If I had a sweet craving or just wanted the refreshing bubbles.....they were fabulous. I had to see what difference they made though. I stopped craving them after a while.....and extra carbs and sweets as well. I am confident that all those artificle ingredients are bad for you.

4. I began focusing on "real" food. I found this website: That changed my outlook on things. My diet was already good in my eyes. For the past couple of years I had been free of all white carbs, drinks with calories, fast food and red meat. I ate a large amount of diet foods though. I used margarine. I bought "reduced-fat" and "fat free" items, particularly in the dairy department. I love granola bars and protein bars, anything Kashi, etc. What was I actually putting into my body though? Tons of ingredients artificially made that I cannot even pronounce? So I'm slowly changing that. (I still have a few things that I need to focus on bread....but I'm doing MUCH better). I started using their "5-ingredient rule" and making my own granola bars, tortillas, etc. If I do indulge in sweets now then they have to be homemade. This article will completly change your outlook:

My goal is to not become obsessive. I have been in the past. I used to count every single calorie I ate and compare it to how much exercise I did that day religiously! The problem with that is, again, the quality over quantity and the fact that these "gadgets" that we love are not always accurate. People often get nowhere with calorie counters. It is easy to miss things (like calorie-rich drinks and/or condiments). Exercise machines are known for over calculating how many calories you've burned. Calorie estimates do not take into account your body type. People with more muscle mass need more calories because they have a higher metabolism.

For all of these reasons I will listen to my body....honestly. I will feed it when it asks for it, even if I think I've eaten too much. I will feed it with natural, wholesome, nutritious food....90% of the time. I will not beat it up for the other 10%:-)

Playing Catch Up with You

So let's catch you up to speed!

For the past couple of years I have been an avid runner. However, never THAT good at it. (I started it as a method to lose weight after my daughter Kaitlyn was born in 2006. It worked by the way. I have lost over 100 lbs to date!). I had run a few 5Ks, 5 milers, and half marathons but could never seem to make it to the marathon. I attempted twice and was sidelined both times. This changed this past summer! I set my sights on the Rock and Roll Marathon in DC on March 17, 2012. Something just seemed to click. I finally had it! I shot for my first marathon to be under 4 hours. I ended up getting 4:01:57 (ahhhh! SO CLOSE!). However, I am officially hooked!

So what I am training for right now is the Marine Corp Half Marathon on May 20, 2012. I have ran it every year for the past 3 years (with my twin sister, Becca!) but this year I am particularly excited.  Last years goal was 2 hours and I completed it in about 1:55:00. This year I am shooting for 1:45:00. I know that this is ambitious (thats an 8:00 mile pace for 13.1 miles!!) but I am ready! 

Today's run is a 5-mile pace run. It's supposed to be VERY crappy outside today so I have decided to do this on the treadmill. We'll see how it goes. :-)

UPDATE - My workout today was:
  •  30 min of yoga this morning (Jillian Michael's Yoga Meltdown)
  •  5 miles on the treadmill in 39:35 (that is a pace of 7:55 per mile)
  •  20 minutes of weights (4 sets of 12 reps for my tricep and bicep)
  • 10 minutes of stretching

Officially a Blogger

So this is officially my first blog post ever! (Admittedly, I'm really nervous about it! What if nobody wants to read my random thoughts......). However, I have been recently HOOKED on a few other running blogs the past few weeks and decided to give it a try.

You'll mostly see posts about working out (running in particular!), my crazy family and friends or random tangents I decide to share with you. Hope that you enjoy:-)