Back from BLEND!

Hi there!! I am glad/sad to be back from a totally awesome weekend at Blend Retreat. It. Was. Awesome. I met so many amazing bloggers, made some great friends, and got some fantastic swag. Seriously. I think my bag doubled in weight on the way home.

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Not pictured because I ate it: pop chips, beanitos, and dry soda. Good thing we had all those snacks because we were super active!! We had 2 boot camps, a crazy good hike and more. I’ll post a full recap soon, I can’t think right now, I’m still sleepy! I am so glad I have today off work. I’ll be traveling later this week for work, so I got to take an extra day. Win.

For breakfast today I did not feel like cooking at all (actually that means I didn’t want to do the dishes that follow cooking, just keeping it real). So I had a Core Power protein drink and some fruit.

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This morning I had the honey flavor which was so good. After the hike this weekend I had the vanilla one and it seriously tastes like melted ice cream. It would be fantastic blended up with some ice for a creamy treat!

I’m officially hooked on these, they are protein packed, not too sweet, and they don’t upset my stomach like a lot of protein drinks do (I’m thinking because it’s lactose free). The nutrition stats are great too, but a little higher in sugar than I’d like for a meal drink, but perfect for a post workout drink (which is what they’re made for). I haven’t seen these in stores around here so I hope I can find them! I’m already craving one :)

How was your weekend?

I’m Back!

Well hi there!! I bet you thought I had dropped off the face of the planet. I think I get the most sporadic blogger award ;) work has been nuts and it’s really hard to sit down and write a post when you have a puppy whose favorite perch is your chest. Seriously. She feels the need to be SO close to me that she will sometimes lay across my chest while we’re on the couch. And I let her because it makes me feel loved and her tummy is so warm! She also likes to perch on my shoulder and sit in the sunlight by the window, kind of like a cat.

 

Anywhoooo, since my half marathon I’ve done 2 races and 2 runs for a grand total of 12 miles. In 4 months. At first I was disappointed in myself and then scared that I might not like running anymore. It seriously took a ridiculous amount of effort to get myself out the door for those runs and all but ONE was done because I had committed to doing them with friends.

I was pretty sure that I was over running. Like an it’s not you it’s me type thing. The guilt set in, and then I was scared that if I did run, I would not be able to do it.

I finally got myself psyched to run the day before yesterday after work. I walked a bit with my husband and the pup to warm up, then I ran a loop that’s just shy of three miles. And includes a hill of death. I walked up that part but SERIOUSLY I wanted to die, I need to check on my garmin how much of an elevation change it is. My goal is to continue to do this loop a few times a week and eventually RUN up the hill of death without actually facing death.

Once I actually got out there, sans music, just me and my breathing, I was reminded how much I enjoy running! I had had a long busy day at work, but it all melted away. Also, because I am not training for anything, I simply ran until I felt like I needed a break, walked for a bit and then continued. But don’t confuse this with an easy workout, any time I wanted a break I would pick a spot in the distance and run HARD till I got there, then walked for less than a minute.

By the time I got home I was drenched in sweat and feeling really good about getting out there!

Bottom line, I like running, and I think I just needed a break after my half to remember that. So much of my training was completed because I felt that I HAD to not that I WANTED to. There’s no point in forcing yourself to do something you dread, so I am glad I took some time to step back.

Also, fun fact, yesterday was my two year anniversary!

Being the worst wife ever, I forgot that I had to go to the dance studio to help out, and like an idiot I forgot that the 1st was a Tuesday. Also, I steal the M&Ms out of his trail mix.

The One About Pacing and Fueling

Hiya! How to judge if you favorite blogger (me, duh) has a life: whether or not they blog on Saturday nights. Clearly you know where I stand.

I started my day off with 9.5 miles. NINE AND A HALF PEOPLE. That’s nuts. It was pretty steady, I and I only wanted to die for a little while, mainly when I stopped running. Seriously, what’s with that? One thing that did happen, I totally biffed it. Like, one second I was walking, the next I was on the ground swearing. I didn’t really get hurt, no blood, but I have some good bruises and scrapes. Win. New half marathon goal, don’t fall on your face. Surprisingly it was just because of some uneven sidewalk, not because of this:

(Seriously, no one will salt that sucker?)

Speaking of swearing, shortly after my spill (after I stopped crying, I seriously couldn’t stop) I was going through the intersection and may have made an inappropriate gesture to a gentleman in a Fiat. The light was green, the walking man said walk, he was turning left, and MADE EYE CONTACT with me, sped up, and almost hit me. I get that I need to be defensive and take care of myself not to get hit, but when I have the right of way by every sense, don’t mess with me.

OK, moving on. I wanted to talk about fueling and pacing, but I’m noticing that they tend to be fairly connected, without the proper fuel, your pacing can be messed up.

I think I am getting a lot better at going out at a comfortable pace, something I know I can maintain, and pushing myself not to walk as much. I would LOVE to work more on negative splits, but right now I just have it in me to finish. I think that the key is to use your perceived level of intensity as your own judge, not your actual pace.

As for fueling, I think that that helped me pace better because I spread out my calories more. I had a larabar and coffee before I left the house, which did NOT last long, but it was the first time in a while, I didn’t feel like I was going to throw up the first few miles. The problem, I got hungry by mile five. Luckily I had 3 shot bloks with me, which helped a lot. I took one at mile 3, 5, and 7.5. I really think it helped because I wasn’t having any stomach issues, and I could maintain my pace with the fuel I was taking in.

How do you pace yourself on your runs? Do you take in calories while you run? Shot bloks and water seem to be working for me, so I am going to keep it going :) 

Tips for Working Out at Home

Evening! I hope that you had a great Tuesday. Mine was busy. The whole time I was at work was go go go, until I left, an hour after I was scheduled to. It was a great day though, but I know I didn’t have enough to drink because I have a killer headache now. My glasses are on and I am hydrating, and hopefully I will be good to go before bed :)

For about the past three months, I’ve been mainly working out at home. I felt like once I got really into running, it wasn’t worth the money I was spending since I wanted to do the majority of my workouts outside. Once I invested in the ChaLEAN Extreme workout DVDs, I loved it even more because I could get in a great strength workout at home, without a lot of equipment.

Working out at home is definitely a double edged sword, on one hand you don’t have to drive anywhere, nor do you have to spend a lot of money on a gym membership. But on the other hand, [I think] you need a lot more discipline.

So, in the spirit of the New Year, I thought I would share some of my at-home workout tips:

  • You don’t need fancy equipment. I have two resistance tubes (the ones with the handles, you can REALLY up the intensity and get a great burn in, trust me), 5 lb. hand weights, a resistance band, and a good yoga matt. I didn’t buy them all at once either, I accumulated them over the years. Jump ropes are fantastic. I should get one.
  • Dress up for the gym. Wear workout clothes and shoes, not pjs and slippers. Your body will feel better for it, and your mind will be more into it. Shoes give you a stable foundation which is vital for injury prevention (for me anyways, everyone is different and I am no expert).
  • Take the time to schedule in your workout. This is huge because the couch is RIGHT THERE. Don’t say (as I often do) “I will just workout sometime after work.” Nope, not going to happen. Take the time to schedule in your workout, and in my opinion, the earlier the better, when possible.
  • Organize your space. We live in a cozy little house, and I don’t have a huge living room, nor a room I can dedicate all to fitness (just WAIT until we get a house with a sun room, it’s going to be awesome). A messy house is a HUGE distraction for me, and I find it a lot harder to focus on my workouts when I have clutter distracting me.
  • Make your gear accessable. This is another big deal, don’t hide it away in a closet or in the entertainment center. Out of site out of mind, right?
  • Make a schedule and make it visible. My training schedule is up on the fridge, but even if you aren’t training for something in particular, take some time each month to map out your workouts and make a plan. That way you don’t have to think about what to do once you’re ready to workout, it’s already ready to go.
  • Minimize excuses. Get dinner in the oven, tell the kids to play quietly in their rooms, ask the husband to give you some time alone, whatever works for you so that you won’t become distracted and cut your workout short. But on the other hand, if you DO get distracted, COME BACK. It’s better to take a 20 minute break to deal with something and come back than to just let the rest of your workout go.
  • Get DVDs. Want workout DVDs for free? Hit up the library. Most larger city or county libraries will let you order from other branches and pick up wherever is most convenient for you. Check out their website! But don’t rely on DVDs, you can also find great free workouts online, just poke around.
  • Incorporate some quiet time into your workout. This is something that I LOVE to do before the day starts. For me it really sets the tone for my day. After your workout, just sit, stand, stretch, or whatever, and take a moment to feel how great your body feels after working out.

Do you workout at home? Do you have any fancy equipment? I know I say it about 100 times a day, but I would love a treadmill for the wintertime, with an iPad stand haha. Or a spin bike in front of the TV, why not be productive while watching 200 episodes in a row of 30 Rock and How I Met Your Mother and Felicity

Making Resolutions

Happy Friday!! I decided somewhat last minute to take today off, for a few reasons. One, I was feeling a little fried, and I saw on my pay stub that I have nearly 80 hours of PTO, and I had finished all my work for the week. Win. I slept in, now I am sipping coffee and blogging, and it’s amazing.

Pretty much everywhere you look in blogland, you see 2012 recaps, or super detailed resolutions for the bloggers, which really got me thinking about how I am fairly on the fence about the whole resolutions thing, and here is why: If you really want to make a change, why wait until a certain date on the calendar says to?

But, on the other hand, the end of the year makes a great excuse to look at where you were a year ago, where you are now, and use the turning of the calendar to refocus on getting what you want out of life.

This year, I am taking the time to set a few goals for the year, but at the same time, I am not doing anything drastic, just because it’s 2012. Maybe that’s why a lot of resolutions are failed or forgotten, some of it is forced by the calendar, and people aren’t 100% behind themselves. (Don’t get me wrong though, I think that a lot of people also have great resolutions and excel at them, it’s different for everyone.)

So this year I’ve decided to set some goals I would like to achieve. Nothing drastic or dramatic, but things I really want to accomplish.

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1. Run a half marathon. This will be a fast one to nock out, since it’s 4 weeks away. After my first, I will see if maybe I want to run another one, the Salt Lake City half sounds like fun!

2. Reach my goal weight of 140 lbs by my 25th birthday (Aug. 31).

3. Vamp up the blog. The last few months have been great, and now that I feel like I’ve found my groove, I just want to keep going.

4. Get back into dance.

5. Set up, and stick to, a budget with the husband so we can move towards a new car and a house :)

6. Apply to get my masters in strategic communications from the University of Utah (once I’ve been in Utah for a year so I can get the resident’s rate).

So here is the kicker, it’s one thing to set goals, but you need to create a plan for success. 

1. I feel like I am already half way through the half marathon goal, so that one is already set. IF I decide to do the second one, I am going to look into a longer training plan, that includes more cross training. If I decide not too, I am still going to continue running. Let’s face it, I am hooked.

2. So this is a three parter, but ultimately it boils down to consistency. One, to broaden my fitness horizons with new workouts, new challenges, and continually pushing myself physically. Two, eat a balanced, healthy diet with the goal of weight loss in mind. No crash diets or detoxes or quick fixes, they don’t work. Three, get into the game mentally. I have a tendency to ebb ad flow when it comes to my weight loss focus, and that’s not going to help any.

3. I have some exciting plans for this, but I think I’d rather keep it as a surprise for you.

4. I miss it SO MUCH! I found a few studios I want to try in the area. Time to bust out my leotards and ballet shoes. This is something I’ve been putting off because I feel “too big” to go back to dance. But really, at 400+ calories an hour, what better way to get toned?

5. It’s just something good to do every year to keep things on track.

6. This is something I’ve been toying with for a while, and I think it’s a great time to do it.

I am sure that other things will come up, but I think that this is a great place to start :)

How do you approach the new year? 

Uncharted Territory

Good afternoon! I hope you are having a lovely day so far. I have been a busy bee and didn’t realize how late it was. I just finished a larabar and some tea, it was the perfect afternoon pick-me-up before my 4 mile (easy) run I have on the books today.

Speaking of mileage, I am officially in unchartd territory. I’ve talked a little about my history with running, but I’ve never run father than 4 miles at one time. Until last week.

(The first 7 and 5 had a few miles of scheduled walking. From Daily Mile) but my 5 mile long run is the farthest I’ve ever run. In. My. Life. Pretty crazy to think about! Especially since I am just over a third of the way there.

I know this sounds silly, but it never really dawned on me that I would be running this far. I mean, I knew I would be running, but I never realized how much. Suddenly, I see that after today, I’ve run farther than 100 miles since I started training. If you had told me that a year ago, I would have thought you were nuts.

I realized today that there was really only two ways I could think of this. One, I could become scared and uncertain because I have crossed the line into the unknown. OR, I can realize that I have accomplished more than I ever thought possible and I am going to continue to soar.

I chose the latter.

Maybe I am not as fast as I hope to be, or I am not as slim as I want to be, or one thing or another. But I can’t focus on that. I can focus on listening to body and pushing myself to my limits, and beyond. That’s the ONLY way accomplish something amazing.

I’d love to hear new accomplishments you are proud of, they don’t need to be any kind of fitness or running related! Share something you are excited about, don’t be shy! Take a minute to brag about yourself, I know you deserve it :)

Holiday Fun Runs

Hi friends! I hope everything is going great and you enjoyed your looooong weekend. I sure did! I could get used to it. I still have some company, but it’s definitely a lot less stress now that the holidays are over. We had some festive fun, including heading to Temple Square to see the beautiful lights.

I had a fun time with my husband’s family, and I am happy to say, people took to heart when I said I need running things. (Need is a relative word, I know, but sometimes it’s hard to convince the husband I need ANOTHER running top.)

My parents and my parents-in-law got me some cool weather running tops from luluemon athletica (the one from my parent’s is the purple Stride Jacket that has been featured a LOT recently on the blog), including the run: your heart out pullover:

I especially love the little pullovers for your hands. The fabric is a little nicer than the classic luon (at least for cold weather), it’s even cozier, something I didn’t think was possible.

So guess what else I got?

A GARMIN!! It’s the Forerunner 110 with heartrate monitor (I haven’t used that part yet though) I LOVE it! It’s amazing, I no longer need to carry my silly phone that get’s creative sometimes and seriously messes up my routes.

We had a fantastic holiday of food and fun, and I am happy to report that I kept up with ALL my mileage! I have yet to miss a workout since I officially started my half marathon plan, although two were cut short. Last week I did almost 21 (!!!) miles! I didn’t think I would ever do that.

 

Overtraining Signs

So yesterday’s workout was a huge and epic fail. I went to the gym to get my walk/run/walk on on the treadmill, and it wasn’t all that bad at first. I was looking forward to it hurting my shins less and being able to control my pace. The first two miles of walking were fine, then I started running. OUCH. So much ouch. I just felt like my legs were so heavy and ugh, it was not great. Then my husband told me that he wasn’t feeling well and would wait for me downstairs, but I still had 2 more miles to do.

As he was walking away, I looked back, tripped, my arm caught on my headphone cord, my iPhone flew off the treadmill, and the back completely shattered. I am so glad I just bought that $34 case when it did NOTHING to protect my phone. I should be happy that I didn’t fall and fly off the treadmill, but I’m not. (Also, one of these days I need to do a post about my weird fear of falling off the treadmill haha.)

It still seems to be working, but I am just so annoyed. At this point I just left, I was too mad. Maybe not the best idea, but I would most likely have lost my temper, not the best thing to do in a crowded gym.

Yesterday I was feeling really odd, super tired, sluggish, and at one point dizzy. I was ravenous for anything containing carbs, and was hungry about every two hours. All symptoms that I am coming down with something (for me anyways) something that just can’t happen right now, and something I know can be a sign of overtraining.

This article from Runner’s World (aka my Bible) has some good info about over training, as well as includes a handy quiz to help you determine your overtraining. I took the test and I am at a 12, and 15 means you may be overtraining, as does this feeling of my legs feeling heavy. Something I’ve been dealing with the past few days. Something to keep an eye on, and use as an excuse to nap more. Sorry boss, I need to take a 3 hour lunch break so that I can go nap.   

I think I know why my legs are so tired, I did a BUNCH of leg work on my weight training day last week. I think I just shot them to heck, and then I tried to continue my running. Smart self.

So, no more lunges, squats or things like in the amount I did them last week. I am going to focus my strength training on my upper body and abs as well as working on things like my shins and my inner and outer thighs, and stretching.

I think the real key here is to listen to your body, and find the balance between pushing yourself past your limit in a good way, and pushing it to the point that you are injured or sick, something I think that all athletes struggle with as some point.

Have you found that balance? What works for you? Runners, do you do leg exercises? Or is it too much? Nonrunners, what exercise is your FAVORITE?

Again, being proactive about training instead of reactive is one of the best things you can do, and remember, I have zero medical qualifications. I may work in a hospital, but I majored in PR :)

Training Update: Week 1

Holy cow, one week down, seven to go until my half marathon!

This week was GREAT! I felt like I was challenged and pushing myself without feeling like I was going to keel over and die. OK, I kind of felt like that on Monday because I was so unprepared for the cold, but other than that, things are going well.

Here is what I did:
Monday: walk 2 miles, run 1 mile, walk 2 miles.
Tuesday: 2 weights circuits
Wednesday: 1 mile easy run + abs
Thursday: REST
Friday: same as Monday
Saturday: REST (I swapped Saturday and Sunday, I was a little hung over haha, woops!)
Sunday: 2 mile “long” run

I felt great the first few days, then I started to feel a little sluggish. Yesterday my legs felt like lead and that I couldn’t lift them high enough to run. My average pace was SO slow compared to the beginning of the week, I don’t really know what happened. Oh wait. Three glasses of wine happened and I am not 21 anymore you say? Well FINE.

What I want to work on: My overall energy level. I think it may have been the crazy stressful week I had last week, but I was dragging. I also want to work on pacing and pushing myself. An “easy” one mile should not be me going out and pushing it and having a new mile PR. But on the other hand, walking should not consist of sauntering, I should be speed walking!

I also need to plan out my routes better and possibly get a gym membership. For example, I have 6 miles to do tonight, and I honestly don’t see that happening outside. I am going to run out of daylight for sure and I just don’t feel comfortable running alone in the dark. I am also not good at visualizing what 6 miles is on foot (or anyway for that matter). I did this huge loop on Friday only to discover that it was barely 4 miles.

All in all, I think it was a super successful week! On one hand I am feeling apprehensive about the entire half marathon and that I might not be ready in time. But on the other hand, I know I’ve done all I can to set myself up for success by having an ironed out training plan, a mapped out meal plan, and a positive attitude and determination.  All I need to do is stick to the plan and it will all work out for the best.

Baby, it’s Cold Outside

Morning! I woke up to an exciting text from my brother, they were at the hospital having a baby! About an hour later, I got the “it’s a boy!” text. My sister-in-law is pretty much a rock star. I am a little bummed that I won’t get to see him for almost a month (it’s times like these I regret moving away from my family), but I am so excited that this little dude is in the world! Welcome buddy :)

So something crazy has happened in Utah. Fall is officially over. Well not “officially” but weather-wise, it’s long gone. Yesterday I was getting ready to head home at 4, and I realized I had 5 miles to do (2 miles walking, 1 mile running, 2 miles walking), and after some quick math, I realized that I would NOT have enough time to complete said workout in the daylight.

So I decided to walk home (1.53 miles), change, and head out of the rest of my workout. (I now bring extra shoes to work for my shins, I am bringing the sporty to business casual.) Too bad when I got home I could NOT find my long running tights. I have multiple pairs, couldn’t find ONE. So I grabbed capris, a tech shirt, my favorite Lululemon Stride Jacket, and a hat. From the waist up, I was nice and toasty.

From the waist down, not so much. I am using Rock Tape on my shin, and of course I bought bright pink, and I was practically matching the tape! My legs felt like lead they were so cold, it was hard to complete my workout. I just kept telling myself it was like icing my shins while running.

Finishing my workout was ROUGH and it didn’t help that my neighborhood is basically one giant hill, and I ran UP. I was having a really hard time physically and mentally I felt so slow and cold, that I was stopping constantly, the only thing that kept me going was that the faster I went, the faster it was done. Maybe that’s why I averaged about a 13 minute mile even with lots of walking. I know that a lot of it was just being uncomfortable and cold, and that was my fault for being unprepared, but I think I am going to at least have to start layering my bottoms, or get my gym membership back so that I at least have an option for when it’s so cold.

I mean, I know I am a California girl, but really, it was in the 20s or less for the entire day. That’s cold people. So cold that this person’s fountain froze! FROZE!

It took me hours to warm up afterwards. I changed into warm sweats, stood in front of the heating vent, and drank hot tea, and I was so cold that if I got up off the couch I could feel where I was sitting because that part of the couch was so much colder than the rest.

One redeeming quality of the night was my amazing dinner.

I needed something warm and yummy fast, so I had one egg + 2 egg whites, ½ cup of black beans, spinach, goat cheese, and enchilada sauce. I am calling them enchilada eggs and they were amazing. Too bad I am out of spinach, otherwise I would make them every night this week. Maybe I still will, but with broccoli.

So friends, is it cold where you are? How cold is too cold for you to venture outside for exercise? Do you like breakfast food? It’s my favorite, breakfast for dinner is a weekly thing around here :)