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!