Saturday, August 25, 2012

New Challenge

I am going to have to get the mental piece of my running together pronto.  It was my first week back working and it was exhausting.  I decided ahead of time that my running days would turn from Tuesday and Thursday to Wednesday and Friday.  Maddux is alone longer than I would like while I'm at work, but his dog walker (who is AMAZING) comes twice a week so I don't feel quite as guilty.

Don't leave me!

So far the work week has been really productive.  On Tuesday we did a team building scavenger hunt around DC.  Our group is really competitive so my team was basically running around the city to make it to each location.  I think that counts as a workout.    

When I got home on Wednesday I was exhausted and wasn't feeling super great.  After our fun day in DC, sitting in meetings for a couple of hours was really tough.  All I wanted to do was lie down, but Maddux gets his walk ASAP when I get home.  His 'roid rage is still in effect (though not as bad as before) so he did not want any part of cuddling on the couch with me and relaxing.  Eventually, I got myself out the door for my run.  I told myself that I only had to make it 30 minutes and then I could come home and nap.  Guess what?  That was the best run I've had in a really long time.  It was warm, but there was a nice breeze.  I ran my entire 45 minutes without having to stop once, which is a HUGE accomplishment for outdoor runs these days.  

I'm not sure how my Nike+ is calibrated right now, but it said I was incredibly slow.   According to it I was running about 11 minute miles.  Regardless if that is true or not, I don't even care.  It felt so good and I was really, really happy with how well it went.  I even did my arm routine after!

Friday was a different story.  An impromptu meeting came up about a situation that needed immediate attention and I got home much later than I would have liked.  I felt bad about leaving Maddux again and have vowed to make up my run today.  Sometimes life is a balancing act.  I recently read a post from Runner's Kitchen that put things in perspective for me.  Basically, she pointed out that nobody is making us run or sign up for races and if training means sacrificing other parts of our life it's because we chose to make it a big part of our life.  On the other hand, when I signed up to bring Maddux into my family it was not so that he would sit in an empty apartment all day by himself.  

I am much too cute to leave.

So those are my thoughts for the day.  Today's plan is to restock my wine rack fridge and run my 45 minute run.  Tomorrow is speed work!  Woo!  

Happy weekend! :-)

Monday, August 20, 2012

So Long Sweet Summer

Remember this sweet girl?

Oh hey, Bama!

She got adopted this weekend!  I'm so, so happy for her and her "fur"ever home.  I'm glad she found someone who is willing to help her through her shyness and give her the love she deserves.

Saturday I spent a little time in the gym on the elliptical.  I decided to venture a little off my normal routine to shake things up a bit and chose to do the interval workout option on the machine.  It basically was 2 minutes at level 7, 2 minutes at level 10, switch and do 2 minutes backwards at level 7, 2 minutes at level 10, repeat until you are panting and sweating way too hard for a 32 minute workout.  Got it? :-)

After, I came home and did a few arm exercises: 15 push ups, 15 tricep kickbacks, 15 bicep curls, 15 overhead tricep raises, repeat 3x.  Yay cross training!

This weekend was the Lucky Dog Animal Rescue's happy hour fundraiser at a local bar.  My nice friend agreed to go with me and enjoy $4 Dogfish Head drafts while I played with a sweet puppy.  I love my boy way too much to share my full time attention, but luckily she was adopted this weekend, too.

Love that face.

It was a beautiful day, so we decided to walk the 2.5 miles to our next stop.  My friend had gotten a Groupon for RFD a while back, and we had been meaning to use it.  Since my summer is officially over (insert mad tears here), it seemed like an ideal time to go.  I was excited to see a veggie sandwich with goat cheese and pumpkin beer on the menu!  The pumpkin beer tasted more like pumpkin pie juice, but if some pumpkin beer is out it means that Dogfish Punkin' Ale is soon to follow.

Sunday I lazed around for a really long time.  I made Julie's peanut butter pancakes using Peanut Butter Company's White Chocolate Wonderful peanut butter.  They didn't stick around long enough for a photo op.  Yum!  By the time I finally got around to my run it was getting late.  Honestly, I was super cranky about summer ending and all I wanted to do was cuddle with my pup.  I had every intention of running outside, but the skies looked ominous and it was getting darker.  So, you probably guessed, I took it to the treadmill.  Again.  Next long run I promise I am doing outside.  It might be because it is a race weekend, but you take what you get sometimes.

The run was ok.  Like I said, I was ridiculously grumpy the first 5 miles.  I was in this mental slump with a totally negative attitude.  I'm actually really ashamed because normally I manage to pull it together a little more.  After 5 miles I took a Clif Shot Blok.  I tried the cherry ones this time and they were just as delicious as the strawberry.  My legs finally loosened up a little and then took another Shot Blok at mile 7.5.  I wanted to experiment cutting back a little bit to see how it would affect my body, which was probably dumb seeing how awesome I felt after my 11.5 run when I nailed it.  I felt great until mile 8 when I started having awesome tummy troubles.  After a quick break, I managed to power through and ended up with 10 miles in 1:34:32.  At the end of the run I took another Shot Blok and drank some G2 when I got home.

Despite my mental blahs, I'm actually pretty proud of my time.  It was a little faster than last time and my last mile felt really strong.  I need to build up my confidence so I can take it outside and power through.  Luckily I'll have a friend to run with on my next long run.

I had to work today, so I need to go spend some time with my sweet pup.  I missed him way too much today.  Working is hard!  Happy Monday!

Friday, August 17, 2012

No More Vet Visits!

At least for a while, we are done with our vet appointments.  As much as I love them, I never wanted to get to see them as often as we have lately!  Yesterday I had all these grand plans of cross training and cleaning, but I ended up getting a call a little after 10 saying that I could pick Maddux up.

My sweet baboo :-)

Needless to say, I didn't want my little dog out of my sight the rest of the day so not much got accomplished except a lot of reading and a Pretty Little Liars marathon.

Today, I dropped Maddux off and anticipating another early call made my way to the trail to get my run out of the way.  No excuses!  I really don't know what's going on with my outdoor runs.  Maybe it's my mentality.  I have had a lot on my mind, and haven't been as excited about running as I would like the past couple days.  Parts of my run felt REALLY good.  Other parts felt really rough.  I kept cramping up (I blame the oatmeal and iced coffee not long before...oops) so I took a few walk breaks, but once I started back up again felt much stronger.

I tried out my new running belt today!  It took a little bit to get used to it, but I think it's going to work well for races and longer runs.  While I don't normally take pictures during my runs, I did find something that made me smile and I felt it was photo worthy.

The cow was my favorite, but the Phi Mu in me  had to include the lion.

Today the trail had a lot going on.  A high school cross country team was practicing (they looked SO young! Or maybe I am just old..), a man was mowing next to the trail in a tie (what?!), and a girl was walking and totally absorbed in a book.  How do you walk and read?  I can't even do it on the treadmill so I can't imagine how someone could do it outside!  Overall, I ran 4.56 in 45:28 according to my Nike+.  Slow and steady wins (or at least finishes?) the race, right?

Time to kick off my last official weekend of summer.  Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Keeping Busy

This morning has been a little hard for me.  I dropped Maddux off for his next to last heart worm treatment and now I have to find something to do to fill the day until I can pick my boy up this evening.    He was so funny when we got to the vet.  We got there a few minutes early before they were officially open, so he stood at the door wagging his tail and even scratched at the door.  Then, he sat politely until they opened the door.  I know that they will take good care of him (obviously, he LOVES his vet), but my apartment feels so lonely without my favorite guy with me.

Yesterday I was busy running errands and just wasn't motivated to run outside.  It was so cloudy and ugly out, and I just wasn't feeling my run.  I hopped on the treadmill, and although it started out ok, my stomach really started to hurt around mile 2.  I toughed it out until I got to 2.5 miles, and then took a quick bathroom break (I know, TMI).  I still felt a little iffy after I started back up and told myself that I only had to finish up the best that I could and tried to relax a little while being very thankful I chose the treadmill after all.  In the end, I finished up semi strong and ended up running 5 miles in 46:19.

Today my quads are feeling a little tight.  I'm planning on giving my apartment a solid cleaning while the pup is out and trying to decide what cross training I want to do.  I have a few interval workouts I've been wanting to try out, but I'm not sure that alternating between running and walking is really considered cross training and will let my muscles recover a little.  Since I have a long (long, really long maybe I'm being dramatic) run coming up this weekend I want to try to give the legs as much help as I can.  

On a random note, ZOOMA has a cool give away on their website.  They are giving out a Bani Band, which is a super cute running head band.  I haven't personally tried them out, but am definitely considering buying a sequined one.  Honestly, I sweat so much that I tend to stick to darker running clothes, and I think it would be nice to have a pop of color/fun on my runs.  They could also be a cute stocking's never too early to start thinking about the holidays ;-)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Return to the Blog

I think Maddux is feeling a little sad today.

We've had an incredibly busy past couple weeks filled with amazing family and friends and now that summer is officially winding down and we're back to our quiet life, I think he's a little lonely.

If I explained EVERYTHING that has been happening lately, we would be here forever, but basically, this has been a summer of reunions.

I kicked it off with a quick visit to my old college town on my way to a good friend's wedding.  I got to go to my favorite Mexican restaurant and was lucky enough to get to meet up with my best friend and my roomie through all four years of college and her boyfriend, who is a really great guy.

The chip is the real star of this photo.
Although this visit was much quicker than I would have liked, it was great to see them.  It's nice to know that lots of time can go in between visits, but it feels like nothing has changed when we are together.  I was surprised to see how much my school has changed in the few years since I have been gone!  The building I spent the majority of my time in was completely gone!  I might have to make a longer trip soon so I can really explore. 

I finished off the trip by celebrating Jack and Lindsay's wedding with a lot of good friends.  The happy couple's wedding was gorgeous, and I think everybody had a great time dancing the night away.  I was actually a little sore the next day!  My dancing shoes definitely need to make it out more often ;-)

A reception is not complete without a steering wheel.

When I got back from the wedding, Maddux and I rushed off to Pittsburgh to celebrate my dad's birthday.  What better way to celebrate than with a Pirate's win and a Church beer?  I managed to get a couple of workouts in while at my parents' house.  On Tuesday, we went to a park with our pups for a picnic and my dad and I played frisbee with my sister's dog, Barley.  We also decided to practice our Olympic gymnast skills by using a tree as a vault and balance beam.  I'm sure fellow park goers were very impressed with our skills.  

See ya in Rio, Olympics!
After our intense frisbee game, I did my elliptical interval workout, except I only lasted for 30 minutes.  The intensity of my parents' elliptical is crazy tough!  I think I grossed my family out with how incredibly sweaty I was after that short of a workout.  Wednesday night, I ran 3 miles on the hills in the neighborhood.  I was surprised at how good I felt.  The hills didn't seem as bad as they sometimes can.

On Thursday my sister and I said goodbye to my parents and she came back with me to help me out a little before I have to get back to work.  We were lucky enough to get to see our brother's wonderful girlfriend and her sister, a good friend from high school and his son, and my cousin and her new husband!  In between all the eating and festivities I managed to squeeze a run in (I did 30 minutes with some intervals thrown in), but I really just focused on enjoying time with my company and soaking up the last few days of summer.  I figured spending time with people I don't get to see too often was more important than sticking exactly to my training plan.  I made up my intervals today and after a .25 mile warm up did 8 half mile repeats with three minutes of walking in between each.  At first, they felt really tough, but after about 5 of them I finally managed to get into a groove and was able to push myself.  Funny how I can feel a lot stronger at the end that I can at the beginning.  I covered 4.25 miles in 35:58.  Not too shabby :-)

I'm off the rest of the day to finish my book so I can start a new one! I just bought the book Gone Girl (No joke, I was #672 on my library's waiting list for it!!) and can't wait to lie by the pool the next couple days with it!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Long Runs + Snack Packs

Did ya hear the news?

Yesterday was National IPA Day!  Did you celebrate?  Beer = Carbs.  Carb Loading = Energy for Long Run.

Flying Dog's Snake Dog IPA for me!

I'm pretty sure I have cracked the code that equals long run success.  Spoiler Alert: It was not the beer (I don't think).  Remember that time when I ran 10 miles and then got really sick?

Yeah.  That was no fun.  Today, I ran 11.5 miles and I have now been officially done for just about 2 hours and I still feel great.  The secret?

These babies:

I actually had the strawberry ones today.  I figured they would taste less like cough syrup than the cherry ones and therefore give me a better first impression.  My opinion?  They were a little softer/chewier than I expected, but honestly they reminded me a lot of the gummy fruit snacks I ate as a kid minus the fun shapes.  Just a thought Clif, but perhaps you should make some shaped like Disney princesses?  Please?

Today was all about the mental games.  I took it to the treadmill, which was actually smart distance wise because my Nike+ was more than a mile off!  Probably need to do a calibration run sooner than later..

I packed a small bag to take to the gym with me.  The treadmill probably thought Christmas had come early as I unloaded my belongings into the cup holders (ipod, water bottle, Clif Shot Bloks, sweat towel..).

I decided the best way to conquer this run was to break it into more manageable chunks.  I started by doing a 4.5 mile chunk and then stopped to eat 2 bloks.  Then, I did another 4.5 mile chunk and ate 2 more bloks.  This is going to sound ridiculous, but I kind of bribed myself with them.  Only 2 more miles and then you get a snack!  I should probably be embarrassed that that was running through my mind.

By the time I finished my second set of 4.5 miles, I only had 2.5 left.  The verdict?  I felt pretty awesome the first 9 miles.  I kept the incline at .5 and varied my speed between 6.0-6.1.  The last 2 miles felt really tough, but by the time I got to that last .5 I somehow mustered up some more energy and finished strong.  I ran 11.5 miles total in 1:50:43.  Sorry, no picture proof today.  It would have required three different pictures and then letting you do the math. ;-)

After my run, I had a few swigs of G2 and propped my feet up against the wall while I talked to my mom on the phone.  I laughed because I could hear the mail man singing Kanye's "Mercy."  I wonder if he knew he was singing out loud?

Now I am going to continue to lounge and will probably eat about 3 more bowls of macaroni and cheese before the day is up.

Happy weekend!  

A Smile for Your Weekend :-)  Thanks, Baby Bro!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Why REI Doesn't Want Me as a Member

This week has been very relaxed.  I had to adjust my running schedule because I have some fun things going on this weekend that probably aren't going to allow time for running in between without me feeling super rushed.  Since I am on summer vacation I see no problems with moving things around.

Monday I took my run to a nearby trail.  I started my run at 8:30!  Probably a record for the summer.  I felt decent for the first 31 minutes of my run, which was exciting seeing that the outdoor runs have not exactly been anything to brag about lately.  After those glorious 31 minutes, my legs started getting pretty heavy, but I was really proud of my mental stamina.  I pushed through quite a few times when it would have been super easy to take a walk break.  My Nike+ said I covered about 4.25 in a little over 45 minutes.  That needs some work..

Yesterday, I did my cross training on the elliptical with the same work out as last week.  I actually haven't done much cross training until this past week, so right now the elliptical is still working out ok for me.  After the gym, I got to have a date night to see the new Bat Man movie.  I really liked it!  The story moved along quickly and there was some definite eye candy in it ;-)

Maddux may not have been my date, but I got some quality cuddle time in last night with my favorite boy :)

This morning Maddux was the perfect alarm pup, but when we went out for our morning walk it was raining pretty hard.  I took this as my cue to get back in bed.

Maddux didn't mind some extra snoozin' either.
By the time I woke up again, I decided I may as well lounge a little and enjoy some coffee and real breakfast before running on the treadmill.  I didn't get out the door for my run until almost 11:30!  So much for practicing running earlier.  It turned out to be a good decision, because it really boosted my confidence after having some less than stellar runs.  I ran a little over 5 miles and hit my 5 mile mark at 45:43 which is the fastest I've done it in a LONG time.  Yay running!  As much as I hate to say it, I am leaning towards doing my 11.5 miles on the treadmill...

But Mom, what about on Race Day?  You can't use a treadmill then!
I know it's taking the "easy" way out, if you can even call running 11.5 miles easy.  If you can, please tell me your secret.  I'm thinking it will be best for now and I can practice using my water and fuel (Cliff Shot Blocks!) one time before taking it outside.  I know...

Now, on to my REI story.  You may recall that I ordered a snazzy running belt a couple of weeks ago.  Needless to say, that company let me down.  I won't get into that too much, but basically they were quite rude and weren't even going to notify me as to why my order was cancelled (even though I got an email saying it had shipped!  Weird.).  Anyway, I decided to go with a company I knew and order a new one. 

I had the belt shipped to REI because there's one really close to my house (who knew?) and I saved like 8 bucks on shipping.  As I waited in line, the cashier was going on and on trying to convince this guy to become a member (apparently there are millions of perks).  When it was my turn, he just got my order and hardly said two words to me.  

Maybe he knew this was in the box and couldn't bear the thought of having its owner in his secret club.  OR MAYBE, he saw my log cabin t-shirt and assumed I was the president of the club.  Or something.
Yes, I promise not to wear it up that high, I just wanted to make sure it got in the picture.  You may not believe it, but my phone fit really easily and there was enough room for me to add other good stuff, too, like my car key or some shot blocks.  I haven't actually run in it yet, but I have a good feeling about it.

That's all the news from today!  Keep your fingers crossed for a good long run on Friday! :)