Friday, December 27, 2013

Best Running Moments of 2013

It's Friday!  I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!  I have been busy enjoying time with the family, so posting has been lacking a little lately, but I figured I could make time for a quick Friday Five post with Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia!  The year is quickly coming to a close, so I thought an appropriate end to the 2013 Friday Fives would be a look back at some of my best running moments from 2013.

1. Running in San Diego.  I did the Runner's World Summer Running Streak and part of it was while I was on vacation in beautiful San Diego.  Going out there I wasn't sure how running would go.  I knew that we were going to be really busy, but they ended up being some of my best (and fastest) miles yet.  I loved running along the water with the amazing summer temperature.

2. Boordy Vineyards 5k.  I'm so excited that I found this 5k!  Charm City Run puts on a fantastic race and obviously it doesn't hurt that it ends with wine and a bread and cheese platter.  I had a great time running with one of my best friends and can't wait to go back next year!

3.  The Nike Women's Half Marathon.  I'm a little sad I chose to opt out in 2014 because I really loved this race.  In my opinion the course was amazing and what girl doesn't love getting Tiffany's handed to her by a guy dressed to the nines? While it was a little rough getting back into the game after not running for so long, this race helped remind me why I love running.

4.  Zooma Annapolis Kick Off Party.  Ok, this may sound weird, but I really enjoyed the kick off event they had at Charm City Run!  It was fun getting to meet some fellow runners and I had a great time chatting with the ladies during our group run.  The Panera bagels and coffee after we returned was a nice touch, too.  It made me really excited for the race and I am looking forward to doing it all again in 2014!

5. Zoo Zoom.  I loved that my nice friend chose to run this with me as part of my birthday celebration!  Although it was cold, I had a great time at the race and really enjoyed exploring the zoo after.  Since it was so cold it was ALMOST like we had the zoo to ourselves!

I had a fantastic year and am excited to see what 2014 brings!  Happy Friday!

Friday, December 20, 2013

No Dreadmills Here!

It's Friiiiiiday!  That means it's time to link up with some amazing bloggers for the Friday Five!  Make sure you check out the blogs of the fabulous Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia!

Because I am a pansy super safe and stay away from things like running in the dark by myself, I have had to spend lots of quality time with the 'mill since the days have started getting shorter.  To be honest, it doesn't really bother me.  I know there are a lot of people who DESPISE the treadmills, but here are a few things that get me through my workouts:

1. Listening to Wait, Wait! Don't Tell Me! Guys, this seriously makes my treadmill time fly by.  As embarrassing as it is laughing out loud and getting the funny looks from fellow gym goers, it really does make for an entertaining workout.  If NPR doesn't cut it for you, Runner's World recently posted an article about some other great podcasts (I'm going to have to check these out as well!).

2. Filling my playlist with music I love.  I don't listen to music often on my outside runs for safety reasons, so running with music is kind of exciting for me.  I think a lot of people would laugh at my workout songs, but they are the ones that I never get tired of listening to.   They may not all be "pump you up" songs, but they get me excited about my workouts.  Some of my favorites on it are:
  • Uncharted - Sara Bareilles
  • Feel So Close - Calvin Harris
  • So Good - B.o.B.
  • The Mixed Tape  - Jack's Mannequin
  • Play it Again - Luke Bryan
  • (Kissed You) Good Night - Gloriana
  • Switch - Will Smith (hehe)
  • My Life - Billy Joel
  • I Would Be Sad - Avett Brothers
You'll notice Reba did not make it on there.  She's been banned from my playlists after way too many impromptu concerts happened....oops.  

Definitely in the top 10 greatest moments of my life.

3. Playing with the Speed/Incline.  I hardly ever run at one speed when I'm on the 'mill.  I use my indoor workouts to push a little harder than I might outside.  Some of my favorites are the "Run at a 'Normal' Pace for 3 minutes, Push for 2 minutes" and the "Change Your Speed for Every New Song."  It keeps me from getting bored and makes sure I get an extra good workout in.  I think this has also helped me improve my speed outside!  I haven't done much with the inclines lately.  The treadmills at my little fitness center aren't the best and if you mess with the inclines too much they start acting a little weird.  On a happy note though, there are FINALLY notices on the two (of the three ugh) broken 'mills saying that they will be fixed in the next week or so YAY!  It has been a bit of a pain sharing one treadmill with the entire complex.

4. Being able to wear shorts and a t shirt.  Sometimes I really just hate getting all bundled up.  I'm not a girl who loves the cold and I appreciate that the gym lets me not worry about 17 layers for a quick run.  I also like that my water is in the cup holder ready when I'm ready.

5. I usually don't pay much attention to the TVs at the gym, but I know a lot of people do.  Some of my fellow gym goers bring their ipads in and set them up to catch up on shows.  I kinda prefer just listening to my music, but every once in while I get caught up in a show (i.e. that time Curious George was running a race...and let's be real, Judge Judy can be pretty funny sometimes).  

Any other great tips to beat treadmill boredom?  I know nothing beats a gorgeous run outside but sometimes we have to work with what we've got.  Happy running!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Week 7 Updates

This last week has gone by incredibly fast, which actually surprises me because usually when I'm excited about things time drags.  I checked off all my runs for the week and came to a total of 17.5 miles (a little over 105 for the training plan overall!).

Tuesday: I ended up having a surprise day off (the only good thing about snow in my opinion) and decided to take advantage of the extra time to get my run in.  I went to the gym twice and both times the treadmill was taken.  On the way back and forth I noticed that the sidewalk and road weren't really slippery, they were more just slushy, so I figured I may as well stop wasting time and bundle up for an outdoor run.  Not gonna lie, it was a pretty slow go (I was a little overly cautious....I actually promised myself that if I slipped and busted my butt I was allowed to just go home).  I ended up covering 4.5 miles and decided that was good enough for me!  When I got home I did the "Sculpted Arms" workout on the Nike Training Club app.  Mannnn it makes my arms burn every time!

Wednesday: No real exercise except walking with the pup a pretty good amount.  Just had to include it because it was SARA BAREILLES DAY!  The concert was amazing (I didn't take pics because let's be real, who has actually ever taken a great concert pic?  They are rare.) and I have a huge new appreciation for Matt Nathanson.  That guy is hilarious!  If you ever have a chance to see him I highly recommend it.

Maddux says that he's funny, too. :-)

Thursday: I did the "Leaner Legs" workout on the Nike Training Club app (I adjust the exercises a little).  Out of courtesy for my downstairs neighbors I make the jumping squats into just normal squats.  I meant to do more, but man I was tired.  I think the added strength training in my days has really helped my running.  I've felt a lot stronger and have gotten faster woohoo!    

Friday: I heard we were supposed to have terrible weather on Saturday (plus, I had a holiday party and I tend to take a ridiculous amount of time to get moving sometimes), so I decided I would try to get my workout out of the way in case there was another long wait for the treadmill.  I lucked out and ended up being the only person in our fitness center and got 5 quick miles done.  It felt really great and I was happy to have a weekend run checked off.

Sunday: I went out to one of my favorite trails for my 8 mile run.  My legs felt a little sluggish for the first three miles, but my pace was surprisingly pretty good (Garmin found its satellites yay!).  I stopped for a quick stretch and then the rest of the run felt pretty good.  I ate three Pro Bar Bolt energy chews I had left over to make sure I wouldn't have any crazy stomach issues during my run and ended up finishing my run in 1 hr and 14 minutes.  I was excited that I maintained a low 9 pace for the majority of the run and am hoping I can keep it up as I continue adding miles.  A half marathon PR may just be in reach!

I'm going to have to plan ahead a little to make sure this week's runs go smoothly since it's going to be a little crazy with the upcoming holidays, but I'm feeling great about training so far!  Happy running!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday Five: My Favorite Cold Weather Gear

This week has FLOWN by (snow, concert, and running, oh my!) and I'm back linking up with Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia for the Friday Five!  Not gonna lie, I love lists so this works out pretty well.  A lot of people are posting their favorite cold weather gear lately, and since we've gotten SNOW multiple times this past week I figured I may as well jump on the band wagon.

1. My Brooks pullover with thumb holes.  For those days when you just need an extra layer.  I also love that it has some reflective pieces on it.  I'm a big fan of avoiding getting hit by a car.

2. My wrist pocket.  While I recently discovered that one of my pairs of winter running pants has a "pocket" (it's really just a slit....I'm too nervous to actually put my key in there because there's no zipper or anything), most of them just don't have anywhere to store a key.  I have my trusty running belt, but when I literally just need a place to hold my key this thing is great.  I also like that it's a lot less noticeable than my belt.  Sometimes it takes me a while to adjust running with the belt, but I don't even notice my pocket is on at all.

There was no non-creepy way to photograph this actually on.  

3. My knuckle lights.  While not technically "cold weather" they definitely come in handy with the shorter days.  These suckers really light the way.  They don't slide around which is awesome and you can set them to low, bright, or blinking.  (Also good for walks with the dog so you don't step in anything terrible that the neighbors failed to pick up...)

4. My Hot Chocolate 15k windbreaker.  To be honest, this race left a lot to be desired, but this windbreaker has been incredible.  I wore it the other day when I ran out in the snow to keep the rest of my layers dry and it did just the trick.  I also love that the pockets have zippers.  Next to all my ZOOMA gear (and of course my beloved Tiffany's necklace) I think this is probably the best piece of race swag I've ever gotten.

I tried to give it a sassy pose so you guys would be distracted from the clump of dog hair .

5. Gloves and fleece headband.  I don't know what I would do without my headband.  My nice friend was holding it for me (don't know why I wasn't wearing it?) before the Zoo Zoom and when I couldn't find him before the race I had a mini panic because my ears were SO cold.  Luckily we found each other before the start and my ears were nice and toasty in no time.  Being a cold hater, I somehow managed to only incorporate one into my winter workout gear, but have requested an extra for Christmas so that it won't get quite so gross in between washes.

Corgi ear approved.

Any other things winter running requires? (Other than a treadmill and hot chocolate? ;-) )  Happy Friday!

**For anyone who's curious (or hatin'), I was not compensated in any way to say nice things about these products.  I just really love them.**

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Training Plan Update: It's Official

I am all signed up for my half marathon!  It's a little before schedule (I'm just now entering week 7 and the plan was to do a solid 8 weeks of training), but then I saw this tweet:

Yep.  They got me.

Not really sure why I panicked as much as I did but I immediately sent a text to my sister and nice friend that was something to the effect of "AHHHH MY RACE IS SELLING OUT!!!!!!"  Both of them calmly replied that I should register and that it was better to sign up earlier than I thought than not be able to do it at all.  It turns out that it's probably better that I signed up now because the majority of the hotels close to the start/finish (they are in slightly different spots) were already booked up.  I have enough anxiety on race morning without stressing over how I'm going to get there!

The first 6 weeks of training have gone really well.  I've been running 3 days a week and trying to get some cross training in.  Overall I have logged 92 miles.  I had a week or two that was kind of rough, but I'm finding that my runs have been feeling a lot stronger as time has been going by.  I haven't missed a training run yet and have been pretty flexible with my running.  I've been trying to plan ahead so that I can get my runs done without being stressed out.  I switched my 7 mile week with my 4 mile week after realizing the trail my nice friend and I had chosen was going to be a bit more of a challenge than we had originally anticipated.  I've just been relaxed with how things have been going (which is rare).

Not the same park, but the same idea. Think lots of climbing and sliding.
It's good that I didn't bring my camera because I definitely fell haha!

I think the biggest thing that's helped this time around is that on the official plan two of my three runs are on Saturday and Sunday.  I like knowing that I only have to do one run during the work week.  If it happens that I can get more done during the work week, that's cool.  If not, it's fine.  This also means that I only have one run that I pretty much have to do on the treadmill.  I think this is partly good because I tend to run faster on the 'mill which can't be a bad thing when training!

So far my longest run has been 7 miles.  My nice friend ran with me so I had some company which was nice!  We saw a corgi on the run which put a huge smile on my race.  It was definitely the boost I needed to make it up the hill.  Apparently it doesn't take much to make me happy on a run.  I was a little bummed because my Garmin never found satellites so I had to just had to go by the time I figured I could get 7 done in.  It's fine, but since I felt so strong I was curious to see my pace for each mile!

Maddux says no way was that corgi cuter than he is.

This week I have 8 miles on the calendar and then my plan starts alternating between long runs and half mile repeats.  I like this because it mixes it up and the chances of getting burnt out on long runs greatly diminish.

Here we go!  Training is officially official and I could not be more excited!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Friday Five: Lovin' December

I don't know if it's because I didn't get to spend Thanksgiving with my family and am super excited to see them for Christmas or if my grinch like heart has grown three size, but for whatever reason I am crazy in the holiday spirit this year.  Here are five of the things I am LOVING this December in spirit of Mar's Friday Five Link Up:

1. My runs.  Ok, so I've only done two runs this December so far, but I've been really excited about running lately.  I've also been doing slightly better with cross training woo.

2. SARA BARELLIAS.  I get to see her on Wednesday and could not be more excited!  I saw her in Cleveland with my brother and sister a couple of summers ago and had so much fun.  I've been jamming to her for weeks now in preparation.

House of Blues in Cleveland. Ready for the show!

3. Starbucks red cups.  I know.  But guys, seriously, don't peppermint mochas just taste better when they are in the red cup? ;-)

4. Comfortable things on dark days.  Now that it's getting dark so early I love curling up with fuzzy socks on, a book, and having yummy smelling candles lit.  Not to mention soups and hot chocolate.

Technically it's a fall scent. But technically, it's still fall.

5. I GET TO SEE MY FAMILY!  So soon.  I've had so much fun picking out and wrapping their gifts.  I can't wait to just hang out.

I hope everyone's December is off to a great start! It's shaping up to be a great month to end the year.

Monday, December 2, 2013

2013 Resolution Progress

Can you believe it's already December?  I figured I should probably do a check in on my resolutions while I still have a few weeks to get it together.  It's not over 'til it's over!

Here's a look back at my 2013 goals:

  • Run Two Half Marathons. Check!  Although painfully slow, I ran both the Nike Women's Half Marathon and the Crawlin' Crab Half.  

  • Run Three Different Race Lengths.  Check again!  I ran a couple of half marathons, some 5ks, a 10k, and an 8k.

  • Try 3 New Recipes.  I did this one really fast (it might take me a while to remember what I made, but I did it, I swear!).  My mom gave me a crock pot cookbook for Christmas last year and I tried several recipes from it.  I also conquered two from my Pinterest board which may as well count for 10 a piece.  Seriously, who ever actually makes anything they pin? 
Stuffed peppers mmmm.  Should prob makes these again soon.

  • Teach Maddux a New Trick.  Maddux actually ended up going to a tricks workshop and we had a lot of fun.  He learned how to wave goodbye and how to jump through a hoola hoop.  
Backyard agility fun!
  • Volunteer with Lucky Dog at Least Three Times.  I'm really embarrassed to say this has only happened once this year.  There's no excuse, I just need to prioritize my time.  I'll definitely have to look to see if I can squeeze the last two in before the end of the year! 
  • Try a New Form of Exercise.  I went to several spin and body pump classes and LOVED them!  I will definitely be investing in a temporary membership next summer, too!  
  • Go Somewhere New. Maddux and I checked out a couple of new parks from our Doggin' Maryland book.  I also went to Annapolis for the first time this year!

  •  Go on Vacation.  I went to beautiful San Diego and had the best time!  I can't wait to go back one day!

2013 has been an incredible year!  I have a good feeling about the last few weeks of the year!  

Monday, November 25, 2013

Birthday Race Recap

The past few years I have lived in the DC area there has been a race that falls right around my birthday.   I loved this race because it was close by, had Georgetown cupcakes at the end, and last year they even had mimosas.  It was like they knew it was my birthday and planned the race just for me.  This year I kept looking and it never showed up on the calendar.  Then I learned that my beloved Pacers running store was closing (they were one of the sponsors, so I suspect it had something to do with the race not being held).

My birthday race last year.  Now that I think about it,
I wore almost the exact same thing this year. Talk about consistent.

I was really bummed until another race caught my eye--the Zoom at the Zoo 8k at the Maryland Zoo.  I've always wanted to do a run at a zoo--I'm OBSESSED with zoos and make a point to go if there's one near me in my travels.  My nice friend agreed to run the race with me as part of my birthday present and before I knew it, race day was here.

Even though I have officially completed four weeks of my half marathon training plan, I feel like my runs lately have been a little crappy.  I haven't quite gotten into the running groove yet even though I've consistently been doing around 5 mile runs.  My goal was to just relax and enjoy the race--no reason not to have a good time at my birthday celebration!

When we got to the zoo it was 25 degrees.  I layered up in my favorite long sleeve Under Armour tech shirt, my Brooks pullover, and a zip up hoodie.  Getting our race numbers, shirts, and chips was fast and easy and I really like my race shirt.  They had a dark blue for men and a light blue for women.  I'm a big fan of shirts that actually fit well!  Waiting for the race was ridiculously chilly, but once we started I warmed up and didn't really notice the cold.  The first part of the race was a little crowded but opened up a little once we got to the nearby park.  The first two miles felt like they went by quickly and  they had a water stop right before the 2 mile mark.  Right before mile 4 there was a monster of a hill and I was so glad that they had put a water stop at the end so I could catch my breath a little!  We kept hearing people talking about the big hill at mile 4, and man were they right!  Much to my dismay there was another little hill around the bend from the water stop, but I managed to haul myself up without too much trouble.

Most of the zoo part of the run was around the service areas, so it was a nice path, but you didn't run by many animals.  The parts that did go by the animals were a little disappointing because it was so cold and not many were out!  We did get to run by a couple of cheetahs which made me really happy (yay animal sightings!) and we joked that they were going to release them to make us "earn our spots" like our race shirts said!

As we rounded a corner around mile 4.5 there were volunteers cheering (THANK YOU!!! for standing out in the cold!  The volunteers were troopers and it was so nice to have their support!) and telling us that there was one last uphill and then we were done.  Not gonna lie, that last hill about did me in.  I had it in my mind that the worst of the hills were over and it would be smooth sailing from there.  I felt every last step of the race and can't say it was my strongest finish ever.  The race ended up going a little long (4.99 according to my Garmin), but I'm not really one to care about distances being exact since I'm the true definition of a run for fun kind of girl.

After we finished we got a chilly (yet delicious) muffin from Corner Bakery and then went back to the car to warm up a little before layering up some more to explore the zoo.  Part of the race entry included a pass to the zoo for the day and we didn't want to pass up a chance to see the animals just because of the cold!  We ended up having a great day together (and probably stayed in the indoor exhibits much longer than we would have on a warmer day!).

Do the animals that were out and about surprise you? :)

I'm definitely looking forward to running in the race in future years!  Thanks again to the Maryland Zoo for a great event!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Rugged Maniac DC Recap

So it's been a few weeks since the race, but it didn't feel right to not give the Rugged Maniac 5k a recap since all my other races have gotten one!  Let me just start by saying that after doing the Run Amuck a few years ago I really didn't have any desire to do another mud/obstacle race.  It was ok and I had fun, but let's be real.  I'm not really good at things that involve athletic ability, strength, or balance.  It's fine, it's just not my forte.  When my nice friend asked me to sign up (his work was making a team) I felt that I should because he's always been so supportive of my running.  I was really nervous leading up to the race because I wasn't sure if I would have anyone to run with (he's way faster and competitive) and after looking at the obstacles on the website I had this sense of impending doom.

I will say that whoever is behind the Rugged Maniac Twitter account is a lot of fun.  Anytime I posted something about it they would reply with a humorous answer.  I'm a sucker for races that interact with me.  Their light hearted responses made me feel a little better and I figured I would just kinda go with the flow and hope for the best.  (Another perk that I guess goes along with their social media is that all photos that are taken during the race are free to download--pretty sweet for a girl trying to blog her recap, right?)

The beer was worth hauling my own butt over the walls. 

We arrived at the race site plenty early (we were in the 10:30 wave so we didn't have to leave insanely early!) and the check in was one of the most efficient I had ever seen.  We got our race packets and checked a bag and still had a lot of time to look around, hang out with his coworkers, and watch other racers finish some of the obstacles.  We had the most gorgeous day for a race (sunny and in the low 60s) which was definitely encouraging.  The last mud run I did it was cloudy and in the 40s which was not so fun!

When it was finally time to head to the start I found a wall blocking the area.  I had a mini panic and made my nice friend wait until I got over in case I needed a boost.  Luckily I made it with only mild embarrassment (hauling this butt over walls is no easy feat) and we proceeded to wait for the starting horn.  There was all this intense,  loud music, which I think was supposed to pump you up but only made me a little more nervous.  When the obstacle before the race even starts almost gets you, you know you're in trouble!!

While we were waiting for the start, a few of the girls in the group and I got to talking and we decided we would stick together and make it through.  I ended up only running with one of the other girls for the majority of the race, but towards the end we met up with some of the other girls in the group.  It was definitely more fun having the support of a group!  The girl I ran with was INCREDIBLE.  She helped me through so many of the obstacles (literally holding my hand or waiting for me to switch over to the other side of walls--I'm ok climbing up, but switching is the WORST).

A lot of the obstacles were walls (some I literally just kind of threw my body at and hoped the momentum would make me fall over to the other side haha!), there were some mud mounds and mud pits you had to run through/over, some trenches to jump over, some mud pits where you had to crawl under barbed wire, a beam over 3 feet of water you had to balance across (hence the hand holding), some fire you had to jump over (not as scary as it sounds), and probably the worst part was this dark, narrow, underground tunnel you had to maneuver through.

This girl literally walked backwards to keep me from falling.  She is awesome.
Thanks, Rugged Maniac for the pic!

Don't be fooled, I did skip the very tallest walls.  My shoes were a muddy, slippery mess, and since I had done every other wall leading up to them I didn't feel the need to prove something anymore.  I hate heights with a passion and I figured there was no need to stress myself out over something that I was doing simply for fun.  There were a couple of walls that made me really nervous, but the race had volunteers to help you and make sure you didn't fall.  As a girl that has about 0 coordination I really appreciated this!  The steeper parts of the mud pits and tubes you had to crawl up had ropes you could hold on to haul yourself up.  If I ever do another one of these I am definitely investing in some spandex capris.  The gravel at the bottom of the mud pit hurt SO bad and my shorts may have ridden up more than anyone appreciated in certain parts of the race.  Oops.

The end of the race was a lot of fun.  You had to climb up a wall and then up a rope ladder/wall and then you got to slide down a huge water slide into a pit of muddy water.  My nice friend got a nice muddy hug before we headed to the hoses to rinse off.  I thought they would be more crowded, but we walked right up to the make shift showers.  The race did a great job of organizing how many people would be in each wave because nothing ever felt too crowded.  I only had to wait a minute or two at a few of the obstacles, but most of them I was able to just go right through.  After rinsing off the best that we could and changing in the big tents they had available we got to enjoy our post race beer.  I was happy to see Harpoon was the brewery and enjoyed the Oktoberfest and IPA they had available (one free beer came with your race entry and all others were 5 dollars).  They had plenty of food and I "shared" a sandwich with my nice friend.  Being a Rugged Maniac is hard work!

So much fun!

The rest of the day was pretty much spent icing and sleeping on the couch.  I was so incredibly sore for the few days after the race and a few weeks later my huge bruises are just now starting to fade.  I think more graceful people probably didn't look quite as rough as I did after, but apparently my approach to obstacles was on the more painful side!


Thanks to the Rugged Maniac race series for a great race!  While I probably won't be gracing the event as a participant again (two "adventure" runs is plenty for this girl), I was overall very happy with the event and had a great morning!  Congratulations to all of you BA finishers!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Training Plan Updates

As I mentioned in my last post, I started a training plan a few weeks ago.  When I ran the Disney Tower of Terror 10 Miler and the Crawlin' Crab Half a year ago I followed one of the training plans on the Run Disney website.  While I'm sure there was probably a run or two that didn't go exactly to plan, I felt really strong throughout both races.  They were just really good and solid and I felt proud at the end knowing that I had done my best.

Yay running!

Since the Inaugural Crawlin' Crab, I have completed two half marathons.  Neither were anything to brag about.  Yes, I finished and that's an accomplishment, but I knew I could do so much more.  Because race fees can be insanely expensive, I decided that before I register for the next one I am going to put in two months of a training plan.  If I am sticking to the plan and it's starting to feel good, I will register.  If I miss runs and am not giving it my all then I will wait until I can find it in myself to really commit.

Right now I am ending the third week and things have been going really well.  Most of my runs have taken place outside (although I'm debating how many treadmill runs I should aim for...more on this later) and so far I have put in over 37 miles which is a good start.  I don't want to rush and do too much too fast and get hurt.  My longest run so far has been 6 miles, and while it was MISERABLE, it got done. (Just a side note, pretty much every other run has felt great.)

I'm trying to be smart and get some cross training in there, too, but I figure if I'm at least hitting all my runs I'll be in good shape.  Right now I'm loving the Nike Training Club App because of the 15 minute targeted workouts.  They are good ones, too!  My arms are so sore right now from last night's workout!

You guys know that I have weird guilt over leaving Maddux, but I've done my best to remedy this by planning my runs accordingly.  Right now I put two of my runs on the weekend and the third can be completed any time during the week.  There are a few weeks where I had to adjust based on my personal schedule, but knowing I just have one run I have to finish after work makes it a lot easier (especially now that it gets dark so early!).  I'm also trying to put myself first for one of the weekend days and Maddux first on the other day.  For example, last week I went out and did my run and then took Maddux on his long walk of the day and then the next day I took Maddux to a park first and then did my run.  Gotta make sure I don't neglect the pup!

Perfect day to explore a new trail with my boy!

I think the fact that I made my schedule as flexible as possible and that I worked around some stuff I already knew I had planned that I'll be in pretty good shape.  I just don't know if I have another disappointing race in me right now.  Obviously there's no telling how I'll feel in a few weeks, but if I still want it as bad then as I do now I think I'm going to have an amazing race.

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Random Thoughts Wednesday

So I've had a lot of things I've wanted to talk about, but I haven't really had time to do each one justice. I figured I'd get a quick list down and then expand on them later. First up....

Falling back and getting an extra hour of sleep was great, but now can we spring forward? Seriously guys, running in the dark is not an option for this girl.  Call me chicken, but I just don't feel like it's the safest option.  Treadmill it is on week nights!  Woo!

Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me is the best way way to endure the treadmill.  It lasts just about the time it takes me to run 5 miles and keeps me laughing and entertained, PLUS it keeps me up to date on news headlines.  I literally almost fell off the treadmill because I was laughing so hard last night.  Pretty sure my fellow gym members think I'm the weirdest chick alive.

The gym kind of annoys me sometimes. I prefer running outside (especially now that I'm getting braver and conquering my long runs outside!) and since I use the small fitness center and not a real gym it comes with problems that bigger gyms don't have.  Last night a mom brought in her kid.  I get that it's hard to workout when you're worrying about a small child, but he screamed and cried and pitched a royal fit for SO long before the mom took him outside.  Also, only one treadmill works.  It's annoying, but hey, what can we do.

After one use, I'm already in love with the Nike Training Club App.  My abs were burning last night!  I love how it plays your music and counts down for you.  Plus, it has step by step on how to do each move and even videos if you still don't get it after reading.

The Women's Nike Half Marathon lottery is open!  I LOVED this race last year even though I hadn't trained at all.  Initially I swore I was only going to do it once (the price tag is pretty steep), but it was such a great experience that I quickly changed my mind.  This year there's all this drama concerning the Tiffany's finisher necklace (go read the Nike Facebook page if you want a good laugh.  There are some heated debates about whether or not the necklace is a good reason to run).  Not gonna lie, all of that nonsense is kind of turning me off to the race.  Getting that blue box at the end was really fun (and probably the only way this girl is getting it!) and I just can't spend that kind of money when there are so many other great races out there, ya know?  As of right now I'm not planning on entering, but I have a couple of weeks to change my mind!

I have my eye on another race.   I KNOW I swore off longer distances, but what can I say, I'm still in need of a great half.  I started a training plan last week (more on that later) and I decided if I stick to it and am making progress after week 8 then I will sign up for the race.  So far it's been really good!

I'm ready for my bruises from the Rugged Maniac to go away.  I'll have a full recap later on.  It was a fun day, but man do I look like I lost a fight.

STARBUCKS RED CUPS ARE HERE!  Peppermint mocha.  'Nuff said.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Relaxing Fall Weekend

This weekend has been the perfect balance of relaxing and productive.  On Saturday I had to get some stuff with my car taken care of so I got up early in hopes to beat the lines.  It ended up being super quick and I made it to Panera to pick up some bagels (including my beloved Pink Ribbon Bagel...only a few days left of it this year!) and home in less than an hour.

Every fall Saturday should start with Pumpkin Pie bagels and coffee in the San Diego Zoo mug.

I still feel like I'm trying to get my life back together after traveling and I did some much needed deep cleaning of my apartment when I got home.  I always feel better knowing my apartment is nice and neat!  Maddux and I got in a nice, long walk around our neighborhood and some quality napping time before I hit the road for my run.  As I was getting out of my car at the park, I noticed that someone had put a huge scratch on the hood of my car!  I was beyond angry (it certainly doesn't look like an accident) and ended up taking it out on my run.  It felt good to burn off some frustration and my run was significantly faster than most of them have been lately!  At least something good came from it I guess!

When I got home and opened my mail I found a package from my college roommate waiting for me.  Inside was the sweetest card and pictures asking me to be her bridesmaid!  I can't wait to be a part of her special day!  Definitely a great way to lift my mood.  She's marrying an amazing guy who lived across from us our sophomore year of college and I couldn't be happier for them!  (He's also an amazing cook.  He used to make us "family dinner" in college.  Major points there!)

Today has been a perfectly lazy day.  My nice friend and I went to a comedy show that was a little later than this girl is used to staying up last night so I spent most of the day sleeping in.  We carved our pumpkin and I'm starting to get really excited for Halloween!  It's always been one of my favorite holidays and I love getting in the spirit.

After our pumpkin carving, Maddux and I headed to the park to get in a walk and enjoy the gorgeous day. As we approached our car at the end of our walk we saw a deer standing right next to the car!  Maddux definitely gave the deer a vicious look, but the deer didn't seemed fazed at all and after lazily glancing in Maddux's direction went back to eating its grass.  I think it hurt Maddux's pride a little ;-)

I hope everyone has had a wonderfully relaxing weekend!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Getting Back into a Routine

My days of crazy travel are over! (for now.)   On Monday I got back from visiting Georgia for my childhood best friend's wedding (and a quick trip to see my brother who graciously housed Maddux for the weekend!).  While I had a blast hanging with my little bro and seeing my beautiful best friend tie the knot, it was nice to know that I had some days of normalcy ahead.  No obligations, nothing to train for. Sometimes this old lady just can't handle all the excitement!

Reunited after a way too long separation!

I promised myself when I got back that I would finally start a real workout routine and make an effort to eat healthier.  Yes, I had been running in prep for my half marathon, but my overall fitness level has just been kind of blah.  I haven't felt like my normal, healthy self.

Guys, seriously, I am so weird.  Once I finally didn't have to run, it's all I really wanted to do.  I got in three runs this week (two sets of intervals and one relaxed run where I totally got lost in my thoughts) and two sessions of a 15 minute total body workout followed by 30 minutes of intervals on the elliptical.  Embarrassingly enough, I've been really sore this whole past week.  I guess cross training has it's place after all ;-)

This weekend was amazing and I finally felt recharged.  Maddux and I enjoyed a long walk at our favorite park on Sunday.  It's finally starting to feel like fall and the changing leaves made our walk so pretty!

This picture doesn't do it justice. 
I even tried out a couple of recipes that have been hanging out on my Pinterest board for at least a year. While the spinach feta turkey burger recipe wasn't my ultimate favorite, the tortellini vegetable soup turned out pretty good and was a quick, easy alternative to my normal soup recipe!

I'm thinking some good fall relaxing is just what I need.  Happy Monday!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Blog the Change: Cool Dog, School Dog

**Somehow I missed the October 15 Blog the Change, BUT since this post has actually been typed up and ready to go since the July date, I'll go ahead with it.  Let's be real, any chance I get to talk about my pup make me happy.  Right now I'm working on just enjoying my workouts again and finding a new post-race routine so this came at the right time!

Before getting Maddux I never really considered taking a dog to training classes.  I just kind of figured I could look up what I needed to know online and work with him at home.  My sister got a border collie mix several months before I got Maddux and the next think I knew she was at classes all the time trying to figure out her dog.  She seemed to really enjoy going to classes with Barley and their relationship definitely improved.  When I saw them they just seemed really in sync.

Once I brought Maddux home I really didn't know what to do with him.  He seemed like a chill enough guy and I thought I'd hit the jack pot and would just need to love him, play with him, and feed him.  Easy enough, right?  Then we took a walk and came across other dogs.  All of a sudden my sweet, chill guy turned into a rabid honey badger.  Ok, not quite, but he was barking his head off, walking backwards so he could stare the other dog down, and lunging.  Not only was I kind of embarrassed (a dog who walks backwards?  Come on now.), but I was scared that someone might think that my sweet as can be dog was not a nice dog.  I didn't want anyone to get the wrong idea about him and then potentially causing trouble for him down the road.

After talking a lot to my sister, I decided that I should sign him up for a reactive dog course.  Honestly, it was probably the best decision I could have made for my dog.  The class taught me so much and while Maddux still has his moments, I feel much more confident walking him when other dogs are around.  The class was just as much for me as it was for him.  Since then I've been to two other classes with Maddux as well as some workshops.  The classes taught me how to really get to know my dog so that I can help him though his anxious moments as well as prevent him from getting into bad situations. They stress the importance of advocating for your dog.  We even practiced telling people, "No, you can't pet my dog," and "My dog needs space," so that we would be more comfortable telling people in real life situations.

The classes were a lot of fun and I really enjoyed them and looked forward to having that special time with my pup.  He loved them, too, and you can tell how much he loves to learn and work while we are at the training center.  I am so proud of how far my pup has come!  I'm definitely keeping my eyes open for more opportunities so we can keep going on the right track.

I wish more people would take the time to train their dogs.  It strengthens the relationship between you and your dog so much and eases tension.  I used to get so stressed when Maddux would do his barking routine because I just didn't understand how to deal with it.  Now we can usually prevent those situations by using some simple commands and our walks are much more pleasant.  I think a lot of people's problems with their dogs come from not understanding or not knowing what to do.  Training can help you and your dog through it.

So let your dog be a cool dog, school dog and look up some local classes.  You won't regret it.