Thursday, July 24, 2014

Back in the Game

Long time no talk.

I just got busy. You know how it is. Full time job, part time job, kids, home, family, etc. Recently, I have felt exhausted. Perhaps drained is a better way to describe it.

Seeing as though I've been feeling so drained, I've been going back and forth in my head over whether or not I want to train for a Fall marathon. Hell, not if I want to, more like if I can. I almost feel like I shouldn't because I don't feel as though I have 100% to put into it right now, but I'm a stubborn bitch and I've decided to go for it, naturally :-)

I love structure in my running plans....not in my weights. I only follow those for a couple weeks.....but definitely in my running.

I think the first week started out pretty good! Not fabulous, but definitely made me feel like I had a good base since I handled the volume relatively easily.

I am following Hal Higdon's Intermediate Plan (I always use his plans to train for any races......they just work really well for me). This week I had:

Monday: Stationary Bike - 30 minutes + 20 minutes strength
Tuesday: 3 mile run + 20 minutes strength
Wednesday: 5 mile run
Friday: REST (I thought about taking a free yoga class, but I decided to walk to Sweet Green instead. Totally worth it.
Saturday: 4.5 mile run (this was supposed to be 5 miles but I underestimated my course, and when I passed my car at mile 4.5 I was hot, tired, and wanted to stop. So I did)
Sunday: 8 mile run

Sunday's  run was by far my favorite run of the week. Instead of running through the streets of DC or the Indian Head Rail Trail, I took a trip to Cederville State Park (I've actually been there before....) and did a trail run. But first, I had to fuel up.


I am totally obsessed with this breakfast right now. Sunbutter, chia seeds, cinnamon and banana on whole wheat toast.


As much as trail races scare the crap out of me (I'm super clumsy and will for sure eat it if I'm racing) I really think I need to consider them. 8 miles, at around a 9 minute pace, and it was probably my easiest run of the week. I was pumped, engaged, and ready to go.

My only regret was not bringing water with me. I don't know what the hell I was thinking. I did a 7 mile loop once, then went back in for 1/2 a mile and came back out. I ran into a spicket around mile 4, I credit my good mood the entire time to this thing.  Water = a good run. That's common sense......I just hate carrying it because I'm a bit whiney/dramatic at times.


Then around mile 6, the bridge was out. Aw crap. It's may fault (again), I saw signs but I ignored them. My white PureCadence, not so white anymore....(who the hell buys white shoes anyways. Note to self)


Although it's been crazy humid, I survived! and actually felt excited about this training. 


It feels good to be back in the game.



Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Run for the Dream Williamsburg Half Marathon

Ho-ly crap. How in the hell is it already June? Somebody please slow 2014 down. 

This year, I started off the month of June by doing a half marathon.

Before I begin my recap, I want to thank Flat Out Events for inviting me to come and run. It was much appreciated. 

The half marathon was in Williamsburg, VA. The drive took almost 3 hours and was beautiful.


Our first stop was the expo at the Visitor Center. It was pretty small, but had some cool gear. Plus, we got a shirt AND a pair of Swiftwick ankle socks when we picked up our bib. SCORE.

We stayed in the Governor's Inn. Ehh. I can't really say too much about the hotel. I got it on Priceline for $70 and, well, we got what we paid for. It was a very basic hotel room, not dirty or anything, just not super nice.

The race started at 7 AM. Usually, I'm not too excited for an early start, but since it was over 80 degrees that day, I gladly took it. 

I fueled up with the continental breakfast.


I usually take my oatmeal with goat's or almond milk, but they didn't have any so I just did instant maple brown sugar oatmeal with half a chopped banana and a drizzle of honey. Super sweet and super yummy. 

with a cup of black coffee and a hard boiled egg.

The hotel provided us with a free shuttle to the race start. Logistically, everything seemed to go pretty smoothly. I showed up 20 minutes until the start. Just enough time to use the bathroom and line up.


The race, especially compared to the Marine Corp Half Marathon I did last weekend, was pretty small. It only had 1463 runners. 

The course was really enjoyable! We ran through historic Williamsburg, did a few miles in the woods (Which I didn't know was coming but really enjoyed!) and ended up at the campus of William and Mary.

The course was pretty damn flat until we hit mile 8. Then the hills just kept rolling. Or at least it felt like that. I couldn't find an elevation chart online. 

There were plenty of volunteers and water stops. This is always good! 

The post race bash was a lot of fun, too!

The had bbq sandwiches (I actually found this weird an unappetizing....maybe that's just me though), nature valley granola bars, oranges, and bananas. 

Plus they had Shocktop (and Michelob Ultra) which is a better quality beer than you usually see at races.


We sat out in the sun, listened to music, had a couple of beers, and enjoyed ourselves before heading home.

The only things I wasn't too keen on was:
1) It didn't stop and start at the same location. I can't comment on how the shuttles ran because Joe came to the finish so I didn't ride it back, but typically I don't enjoy being shuttled. 
2) The GUs were handed out at mile 10. Personally, I fueled at mile 4 and 8. I think mile 10 is too little to late. 
3) During the last mile, I rounded a corner and saw the chute with spectators and thought that was it. I started busting out my sprint, just to round another corner and see that I was now in a stadium and still had to do one lap around.....with hundreds of people watching. Boo. I felt wronged. Haha.

All-in-all though, I really enjoyed this race and I'd love to come back and run it!

My time for the race was 1:53:25, which gave me an average pace of 8:39. Although it wasn't a PR, I was really happy with this race. My goal was to run strong and consistent, unlike the Love Rox Half Marathon I did in February where I was ALL over the place, and I accomplished this. Almost every single mile was in the 8:30s, even the hilly ones. I didn't start to feel like I was drained until the very last mile. The only thing I would try to work on was the fact that my last mile was my slowest. That's never how you want to end.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Marine Corp Half Marathon 2014

This race recap is long over due, but I think this is a really good race so  I am going to do one anyways. 

Last Sunday, I made the trip to Fredericksburg, VA and ran in the Marine Corp Half Marathon. 

This race holds a special place in my heart. 

It was the first half marathon I'd ever ran. 

My twin sister and I have ran it together for the past 5 years. Unfortunately, she moved to Charleston, WV this past winter and couldn't be there:-(

This is the race that I broke my foot itwo years ago.


This year, I decided not to race. A friend in my office asked me to pace her and help her beat the two hour mark. 

As much as I love racing, taking it easy (for me) and enjoying the experience is pretty great, too.


This race is ALWAYS a good time. The expo is big. The race is organized reallllly well, has plenty of volunteers, and always starts on time. 


You start and finish at the same place, too. I really like this.  Shuttles sucks.


 This picture is of the Marines walking in the final runner. They were singing and marching with him the entire way. It literally brought some people to tears.

 You can just feel the patriotism around you. The commodore. The passion. 


While there is a KILLER hill at the end (the incline on your treadmill would be set at 12 to mimic that hill) and it's a little busier than I like my races, it's one I'll do every year. 


Friday, May 16, 2014

Running Sans Watch.


    The other day, I was getting ready to go for my run, walked outside, and could feel the air. 

You know what I'm talking about. That heavy, muggy, humid feeling that makes you not want to run.



I knew I didn't want to skip it though. I mean, summers in the DMV aren't know for their fresh, crisp heat. It's humidity allllll the way. So I may as well get used to it. 


I drove to my running trail before noticing that something else didn't quite feel right. 

I accidentally wore my lifting shoes! Fail! I had them on earlier to walk my daughter to the bus stop and totally forget. 

Hell if I was turning around though. It's annoying enough I have to drive somewhere to go run. Damn country back roads. 


I decided I needed to do it a bit different today.

I took off my GPS and just ran. Dun Dun Dun.


My runners can empathize with how damn hard that is to do. We are competitive little bitches with ourselves. Almost 100% of the time. 


The run felt GREAT! Hot and sweaty and a great chance to get out there in the sun. 

Without killing myself over numbers. 

Then, of course, I ate. 

Romaine Lettuce, Orange, Yellow, and Green Peppers, Dried Cranberries, Goat Cheese, Sunflower Seeds, and Chicken Apple Sausage.

a deliciously salty salad. 

My goat cheese addiction is still going strong. 

Do you ever run naked? (sans GPS)

Is it humid where you are?

What's your favorite salad combo?



Saturday, May 10, 2014

My First HOT Run of the Year

Hey there! How are things going? 

I cannot believe it's the weekend already. Let's hop right into things shall we? First and foremost, the winner of the race entry for the Williamsburg Half Marathon is RunningWithSass! Congratulations!!

Man. As much as everybody was bitching about the cold weather staying here forever, I'm certainly not too happy that summer is here and it's only mid-May. 

Thursday morning was a bit rough for me, so I decided to wait to run during work. 

But first, a volunteer organization was at our work serving steak lunches for free. Even though I'm not a huge fan of steak, this girl doesn't turn down free. 


So I had about 2/3 of a steak and the ice cream. 

and then I realized it was 78 degrees.

Meat and dairy before a HOT run? Suuuuuper idea, right? Determined, I left anyways. Not feeling to confident about my decision.

This beautiful little oasis saved my life though. (One good thing about running in DC is there are quite a few water fountains around)


DC water has never tasted so good!
(Check the new Brooks PureCadence 3 in the picture! I traded in the Transcends.....they just weren't working for me)


To my surprise though, the run totally rocked! I ran 5 strong, hot, sweaty miles and felt great. 

It's about time I switched my fuel from healthy grains to ice cream:-)

What is your best pre-race meal?
I have been doing dates recently. Delicious, quick energy.

Is it getting hot where you are?
It's going to be 91 degrees on Monday!




Wednesday, April 30, 2014

New Items for Me and a FREE Race Entry for YOU!

Some of my favorite blog posts to read are ones that turn me on to new products, so I thought I'd do one of those today. 

1. Almond Milk Yogurt. I'm really excited to try these tomorrow! I was recently told to go off dairy made from cow's milk (by a nutritionist I am seeing for my Alopecia Areata......that'll be reserved for another post though). While it didn't bother me too much, I really do miss the occasional greek yogurt. I've seen these at the store, but they are a bit pricey for me, so until today I haven't tried them. 


2. Food Life Gluten Free Rice Millet Bread. I LOVE RUNNY EGGS AND TOAST. Let me just say that. If I could only have bread with one thing for the rest of my life, I'd toast that shit up and put a runny egg on it (with jam and hot sauce of course). This better be good. 


3. Applegate Organics Organic Turkey Burgers. Just a spur of the moment buy. I'm always looking for quick and easy ways to get some quality protein. 


4. Meyenberg Low Fat Goat's Milk. Goat's milk was reallllly hard to get used to. I think I was being a kid and the thought of it kind of made me nauseated, but it really grew on me. I don't typically go for "low-fat" foods but I thought it might be a little less rich than Whole Goat's Milk, so I'd give it a try.


5. Salted Caramel GU. I almost made innappropriate sounds when I saw this new GU flavor at the check out of the Sports Authority. Let it be known that I would eat just about anything that has salted caramel on it. I am planning on a double digit run this Sunday and can't wait to bring this with me!


6. Under Armour Women's Training Socks. I have been getting some SERIOUS blisters recently. I've never had particularly attractive feet, but they've recently took a change for the worse when I bought new shoes. The new shoes feel great and cost me a pretty penny, so they aren't going anywhere. Enter new socks. Hopefully I'll finish my next long run without a disgusting, blood filled blister sticking out of the side of my foot.

 

and now I have something for you!

I was recently contacted about participating in the Williamsburg Half Marathon. After looking at the website (http://www.runforachievabledream.com/) I couldn't help but sign up! Historic Williamsburg is sure to deliver a beautiful, scenic race, and the money raised benefits a more than worthy cause. 

and I have a FREE race entry for one of my readers. 

To enter: Simply leave a comment and tell me what new item you're trying these days! I will pick a winner on Friday, May 9.



Thursday, April 24, 2014

Leg Day.

Hey, Hey! How goes it? 

I've been meaning to post for weeks now, but things around here have been SO busy. 

Obviously, since we last spoke, I've been running. 

I recently switched my running to the mornings and I have been loving it! There isn't a better way to start the day.


Plus, Pennsylvania Avenue/Capitol Hill is usually packed with runners, so I'm not alone!


Isn't it so beautiful and peaceful before the sun comes up? 

Also on my workout agenda these days? Weights. Usually I am a high rep, low weight circuit kinda girl. For almost two weeks though, I've been putting that personal trainer certification to work and focusing on making some strength gains. 

8-12 reps, 3-5 sets of every move. 

I thought I'd share the leg workout that I put together that's made me hurt SO good. (Seriously, I'm really damn sore for 2-3 days.)

Squats - 85 lbs
Bosu Ball Squats - 20
Lunges - 40 lbs 

Deadlifts - 85 lbs
Jumping Lunges - 12
Plie Squats - 50 lbs

Bulgarian Squats - 30 lbs
Box Jumps 
Step up to balance - 30 lbs

I'm only on 3 sets of each at the moment and that is PLENTY enough for me. Sitting down or climbing stairs ain't feeling so good these days. 

Do you have a good leg workout?

Try mine and give me some feedback?

Are you a morning runner?




Sunday, March 23, 2014

I Signed Up

Guess what I did?

I signed up for the Marine Corp Half Marathon.  I said that I was going to focus on racing shorter distances for a while, but I just can't say "no:. This race holds a special place in my heart. It was the first half marathon I ever did, I always run it with my twin sister (who actually got me into running. Too bad she'll be in WV this year), I broke my foot in it, it's something I do every year for the past 6 years. Even last year, when I wasn't running too much (stress fractures) I still ran the first few miles and the last couple miles with my twin because it's what we do. 

So when my friend asked if I would pace her, I jumped at the opportunity and I signed up.

In preparation for the race, her and I have been getting into the city WAY too early to get some runs in.

This week we had a particularly fun workout at Nationals Stadium.



Nothing like a few stairs to wake your ass up on a cold morning. Great way to mix things up too! We ran a mile (some of it in 6 inches of snow!), did the stairs 10x as fast as we could, ran another mile, 10x more on the stairs, then finished up. Came out to 3.25 miles, which typically isn't too challenging.....but with some stairs added in, makes for a damn good workout.

I'm excited to help a friend progress in her running. I'm definitely getting something out of it too though. Not like anybody has to twist my arm to run.

Plus, a week full of challenging workouts means a nice, relaxing Friday night.


Hope you had a great weekend!



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

All Over the Place

I am alllll over the place these days. 
 
Last we spoke I was going to focus on strength training and some speed work.
 
Well, if there is something I haven't told you, it's that I SUCK when it comes to sticking to a plan when it comes to anything but running. Periodization with my weights? Should I? of course. Do I? Never ever.
 
Hell, I don't even end up doing the weight routine I've written down and hour before I go to the gym.

What can I say, I'm spontaneous:-D
 
At least I've been doing strength work though! All of them have been circuit workouts (I'm a huge fan) with mostly higher reps, lighter weights.....These are what keep me engaged.
 
My Nike Training Club App has gotten A LOT of use (It's by far my favorite fitness app!) and I've been doing circuit routines that I teach in my circuit classes.
 
This week though, I realized something. I won't know if I've improved my short distance game because I don't have a point to reference it to. The plan (until I decide to change it haha) was to do a 5K and do another one 6 weeks from then and compare my times.
 
So this weekend, on a whim, I ran a Shamrock 5K! It was fun! Definitely not the most organized race I've done, but a first place medal pretty much makes you forget about that:-D



 
The goal now? To run another the last weekend in April and show that I'm improving!

Hopefully I don't stray......
 
Food:
I always have to end talking about food. I love it too much not to make it an integral part of my blog.

Butternut squash w/tomato sauce and ground beef

**Funny story behind this one actually. I asked my boyfriend to throw my spaghetti squash in the oven while I was out running errands. I came home and started on the meat sauce.....when the timer went off and I opened the door, I realized he doesn't know what a spaghetti squash is. So we had butternut. haha**

Carrot Cake M&Ms. 

Best Seasonal Candy EVER. Seriously. One bag. Two days. Can't buy those again.

Roasted brussel sprouts, quinoa, and chicken/steak kabob

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Love Rox Half Marathon & A Sweet Treat

 Sunday was the day I've been working towards for the past 3 months. 

The Love Rox 1/2 Marathon in Richmond, VA.


As you can see from the lack of people at the start line, it wasn't a very big race. 

I lined up with the other 500 runners at 10 AM.......anxious to PR. 

and while I did PR...


It definitely wasn't what I was looking for. 

My loose goal was to run around 8:00-8:10 miles. My main goal was to race hard, and race strong. 

and I don't really feel like I did either. 

I made the rookie mistake of going out too fast.....and falling apart on the hills toward the ends. 

At least I can take three things from this:
1. I need to do hill work.....like yesterday. When I do get back to a regular running schedule, hill repeats are a must. 
2. I need to learn how to pace my damn myself. (My first 3 miles were off by about a minute. Shitty. )
3. I need to do more strength training. My hips were really starting to feel it the last few miles. 

I've decided to take a couple of weeks off of running (If I can make it.....I'm on Day 3 and I've already found myself thinking about when I'm going to run this weekend) and really focus on strength. 

Today's workout was one I've shared before, but seriously kicks my ass.....along with my quads, hamstrings, etc. 


I warmed up with a brisk walk on the treadmill for 15 minutes, then I did it ONCE. Yes, ONCE. "Repeat 2-3 times"? HA. That wasn't happening. 

(I do really love the tech shirt I got from Sunday's race. Fits really nicely and it's long sleeve, which I always need more of)

Just one more thing to work towards though:-)

I got a little creative with my post-workout snack.


Into the blender went:
3 frozen bananas
1 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
1 TBSP honey
1 Scoop Sun Warrior Vanilla Protein Powder
1/2 a cup of milk (Just enough to get it all moving)

Makes 3 servings. 

I think next time I'll get a chocolate protein powder and add a bit more of that, but it'd be delicious as a "healthier" dessert. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Ankle Weight Routine to Strengthen Those Hips (& Booty!)

 Snow, snow everywhere. 

I think I'm going stir crazy. 

Wednesday was my usual speedwork, which meant I was inside on the treadmill. This week I had 10x400. I did a mile warm-up, then ran the 400s at a 7:19 minute mile pace. My recovery jogs were done at a 9:10 pace. Total = 6 miles @ 8:21 pace. 

I'm not positive why, but this workout especially left my legs fried. Wednesday night I kept getting cramps in my feet and my calves. (Has this ever happened to you? Was I dehydrated? More sodium/potassium? stretching?)

Good thing Thursday called for an easy 3 miler (also completed on the treadmill due to the dumping of snow we received.) After my run, I decided to do an ankle weight routine that I used to complete while in Physical Therapy for my hips a few years ago. I used a 7.5 lb weight. I did 4 sets of 15 reps on each side of my leg:


To make the workout more total-body I also did a set of 10 push ups between each 2 sets for a total of 40.

My little station at home.

It's been a day and a half since that and my obliques are still sore! You really don't realize how much you use your core in every move you do! 

Please make sure I do these hip strengtheners more often! 

and when I'm trying to make sure I do an easy run I put on some very chill jams....


Pandora introduced me to Matt Kearney. I'm digging him....

 and my dinner that night. 


Seriously, I am obsessed with adding dried cranberries and sunflower seeds to my salads these days. I have it a few times a week. The salad dressing is a Pomegrante Vinaigrette. SO good together. 

I've got a short pace run to get done today (The race is 8 days away! It's all downhill from here!) but I've got quite a few clients this morning, so I'll have to try and squeeze it in this afternoon. 

I hope you had a great Valentines Day!

Mini Red Velvet Cupcakes I made for my daughter's class, but school was cancelled due to snow.....Gotta find somebody to eat them.

Monday, February 10, 2014

My Perfect Pre-Long Run Dinner and Breakfast.

I think I finally found my pre-race meal. If you're a runner, you know how serious this is to us! I had energy during my run, but I didn't feel too full. No GI issues. No cramping. Nothing. Just one smooth long run.

I'm getting ahead of myself though, let's start with my runs for the week:
Monday: Weights for 40 minutes
Tuesday: 5 miles @ 8:30 pace (+ 20 minutes weight training)
Wednesday: 5.3 miles @ 8;29 (Tempo run. Start at 6.5, going to 8.0, and coming back down gradually)
Thursday: 3 miles @ 8:30 pace + 30 minutes weight training
Friday: REST
Saturday: 5 miles at 8:34 + 20 minutes weight training
Sunday: 13.2 miles at 8:38. 

As I've been saying, I was really trying to up my carbohydrate intake recently and see how it effected my running. 

Greek Yogurt, sliced banana and homemade granola.

Implusive buy at Trader Joes. 

Two Whole Wheat Muffins, 2 scrambled egg and a sliced apple (with a shit ton of cinnamon)

Quaker oatmeal squares, raisans, peanut butter, shredded coconut, and tons of cinnamon.

Those are just a few of my favorite things.

Seriously, going heavy on carbs is a hard job, but somebody has got to do it:-) 

Back to the running....

Saturday night, I decided to top of my glycogen levels with a bowl of whole wheat spaghetti and homemade meatballs. 

Sunday morning I tried my honey whole wheat pancakes again. 


This time, I added a sprinkle of pecans into them while they were cooking. Healthy fats for the win! I ate them 2 hours before my run (instead of 3 like last week) and felt fully energized. 

I started off more conservatively than the week before too. 

Not exactly negative splits, but at least I kept it easy. 

Then I started to pick it up a bit. 


Nasty hill during mile 6, what are you going to do.......except maybe hill work. which will be something I do after this race.....

At miles 4.5 and 8.25 I took my Roctane GU. I don't want to commit to them after only one use but I definitely felt better this week using the Roctane than last week using the regular GUs. 

I was surprised but I liked the Blueberry Pomegrante much more than the Orange Vanilla.

I'm going to contribute those GUs to my last three miles.


All in all, this training run helped me feel much more confident for my race (in 12 days!). I wasn't exhausted when I finished, which is a great sign. 

I'm not going to commit to a pace, but my goal is to run a STRONG race and PR. (This shouldn't be hard since my last half marathon I PRed running on a broken foot for most of the race).

Just to end this post with a chuckle.