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.

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She’s Going for Speed

Morning! I hope you are all doing well. My husband got up to go swimming this morning, so I had to get up to take care of the pup (if one person gets up, she is up) at about 5:30 a.m. Gross. It’s no fun doing this when you don’t have something to show for it (like going to the gym or traveling somewhere). But this little love makes it worth it 🙂

So can I rant really quickly? I have quite a few pet peeves, but one of the biggest is when I am at work and people call me for something and act like it should be the MOST important thing ever. My voicemail CLEARLY states “if this is an urgent matter that need immediate attention…” and I leave instructions about how to transfer to my boss or to the operator. Fact: scheduling a tour is NOT one of those times. Especially when you’ve had more than a week to do so, and didn’t bother to contact me. So basically something that really should have been super simple is now complicated and people are leaving messages for my out-of-town boss, making it seem like I am not around to do my job. NOT THE CASE. Sorry, it really grinds my gears!

Deep breath.

Moving on. So as many of you know, I’ve been somewhat lost when it comes to running motivation since completing my half marathon. The thought of running long distances sounds awful. I’ve done some 5Ks, even set a new PR. When I was getting towards the end of that race, I realized I had a lot left in my tank! I had been training at such a slow and steady rate in order to complete long distances that I wasn’t pushing my pace at all.

And I really want to be faster! I feel like I am more of a short distance person, and while I am so proud of myself for completing my half marathon, I am not sure I am going to want to do another one (anytime soon at least). But I do want to be fast! At the 5K when I really started to book it, my Garmin said I was doing about an 8:30 minute mile. That’s pretty much lightning speed for me! And guess what. I didn’t die.

Here are some running faster tips I’ve found:

  • The single component that most improves pace in races, is a weekly speed session. At the track, start with 4 to 6 x 400. Increase the number of 400s every week by two more until, 10 days before the race, the final workout is: 14 x 400. Each 400 (one lap around a track) should be run eight seconds faster than you want to average per quarter mile. For example, if you wanted to run eight minutes per mile, your quarter-mile race pace would need to be two minutes. The workout pace per lap should in this case be 1 minute, 52 seconds. Walk for half a lap between the 400s. (source)
  • Breaking through to a personal best requires discomfort. Once a week, redefine your comfort zone by getting uncomfortable. Hill work, fartlek runs, speed work, running with a group or taking your run a little farther are all ways to create challenge and change in your running. With proper challenge, you’ll find improved fitness and strength that help you achieve your running goal. (source)  

So here is my plan, I want to get back into running more (I haven’t actually run by myself since before the race haha sad) preferably three times a week. One speed workout, one easy run (I have a course that involves me walking up a KILLER hill), and either a tempo or long run. I really want to use my Garmin for speed workouts, I know it’s capable of doing so, but I haven’t gotten that far into the user’s manual.

What do you prefer to focus on, speed or distance?

So You Ran a Half Marathon…

Morning friends! I hope you are doing great! Our puppy was content in her crate from 11 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. winning!! She is SO good. She was up for about an hour, and about 3 minutes ago she just curled up on her bed and went to sleep. I can’t believe how good she is at such a young age. I promise that this isn’t going to turn into a LOOK AT MY NEW PUPPY blog, but she is already a huge part of our lives, and I can’t wait to share her antics with you 🙂

As you know, for months all of my health and fitness decisions have been focused on one thing: my half marathon. But since completing my goal, I’m feeling a little lost, what to do next?! A part of me is looking forward to not feeling like I have to run, but I also don’t want to lose what I’ve worked so hard for.

I really think that my training tipping point, so to speak, was breaking past that 5-mile mark. I feel like it took me SO LONG to get to the point that I could run 5 miles, but once I got there, it was easier and easier to tack on the miles. (Note: I’m not saying that anything was EASY about the process, it’s all relative.) So, falling back below that 5 mile mark is not going to happen. I want to run at least twice a week to not lose what I’ve worked so hard for, and have at least one of the runs be at least 5 miles.

As for other races in my future, I’m not sure. I am doing a 5 or 10K with friends on St. Patrick’s Day, and I was considering doing the Salt Lake City Half Marathon in April, but I read yesterday, that that race might not happen. I’ve been thinking a lot about all of this over the past two weeks, and then something dawned on me.

I have run at least one race each month, since October.

October: Beat the Heat 5K

November: Thanksgiving Turkey Trot (5K)

December: Jingle Bell 5K and the New Year’s Revolution Run (10K)

January: Tinker Bell Half Marathon 

February: Sweetheart 5K 

And I already have a 5 or 10K in my sights for next month, and there are races all over the place throughout the summer, so I am kind of thinking about seeing if I can do a race every month for a year! The hardest part would be finding races throughout the winter, which I’ve already taken care of, so this is totally doable!

I also really, really want to start dancing again. I’ve found a few studios nearby and I also found a new bar method studio that I thought would be fun to try.

Have any of you felt that way after reaching a goal? Just kind of lost afterwards? 

Weekend and Race Recap

Hello friends! I just wanted to take a quick moment to apologize for my inconsistency with the blog lately, but don’t take it personally, it’s been pretty much the same with most aspects of my life in the last few weeks.  I’m just feeling unmotivated in general. As I’ve written before, sometimes you have to snap yourself out of a funk before it gets any worse, so that’s my plan!

This past weekend was a lot of fun, my husband had two friends from out of town staying with us. I don’t think that our Wii has ever been on for as long as it was in those3 days. Seriously. I think it was off for less time than it was on haha. We also went to a nickel arcade and played a bunch of different pinball machines, something I don’t think I’ve ever done. It was fun!

On Saturday I ran a 5k with my friend Kassie. We ran the Thanksgiving race together, but this time we ran the whole thing together, and she beat her last 5K time by EIGHT MINUTES (we finished in 39:14, only 3 walking breaks). She is seriously a rock star, she keeps saying that she couldn’t have done it without me, but really, I wasn’t carrying her or anything, she did it on her own two feet, literally. We had so much fun talking and running, it was great. We also got these sweet medals.

I am not going to do a full recap because it was organized just like the Thanksgiving race, and was the exact same course. I do wish that they would reverse the course so that it didn’t have the slight uphill on the second half, but it’s still fairly flat. I felt fantastic running, it was my first real run since the half, and because it was so low key and I truly enjoyed myself, it reminded me WHY I run. Something I think I really needed.

On Sunday we played some more Wii (shocker, I know) then went ice skating. This was the third time I’ve been ice skating in my entire life, and the last time I went was about 4 years ago (in Salt Lake City) and it consisted of my husband pushing me around the rink. Haha. The first few laps on Sunday went the same way, but then I was determined to go on my own a bit.

My husband gave me some pointers, and I was off! I started feeling fairly confident and was having a blast going around and around. I even talked to a woman who was taking the adult beginning figure skating classes, which sound like so much fun. I skated for a few hours, fall free, and was really feeling good.

I think that if you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you already know what happened next. A fall of epic proportions. The toe pic on my left foot accidentally dug into the ice, and I flew forward, and I belly flopped on the ice. The majority of the impact was on the right front side of my ribs (if I had had implants, one would have for sure exploded lol), and I am pretty sure I got some whiplash. I had the wind knocked out of me, and I called it a day. Luckily I was able to hold my head up, otherwise I would have smashed my face onto the ice, which would have been awful , but maybe I would have gotten that nose job I’ve secretly always wanted?  

This my friends, is why I decided to wait until after my half to dabble in any type of winter sport. I’m ridiculously clumsy.

How was your weekend? Are you clumsy? I certainly am, and I am not the person who falls and hops back up unscratched, I am the person who is constantly hurting myself, it’s like some invisible person has decided to spend the rest of their life pushing me down haha. I’ve had so many people tell me they don’t understand how I could be a dancer, and be so clumsy… I say everyone has a set amount of falls in their life, and I just get mine out of the way before I have to perform, that way I don’t fall onstage 😉

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 🙂 

PDR and Recovery Tips

Helloooooooo!!! How is it going? I hope that your weekend was fantastic 🙂 mine has felt ridiculously short. Hate it when that happens!

I pushed my long run back a day because it was snowing (finally) yesterday, and yeah, I just don’t see that happening. Today was cold and sunny for the most part, which made for great running weather! Except for the snow falling from the trees on my face. I could have done without that. It was gorgeous though!

I met up with my usual long run buddies, but I felt like crap. Or they are both super fast. Or a combo of both. I couldn’t keep up their light-speed pace today, and I wasn’t feeling great, so I just settled into a pace I knew I could maintain and took a good amount of scheduled walking breaks.

I accomplished a new distance record and somehow got to 8 whole miles!! Even though I was slower than I wanted, I did it.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading up on different recovery techniques since I want to make sure that I am doing all that I can to keep my legs fresh and I thought that I would give you an update on how they are working!

  • Stretching, foam rolling, tennis ball massages, etc. This has been great, and I can always tell when I am neglecting it. Like today, I KNEW I should have stretched more yesterday after my 3 miles and 30 minutes on the bike. I usually do the following sequence: Simple hamstring stretch, downward facing dog, upward facing dog, pigeon pose (both with my torso up and lying on my front leg), IT band rolling with the foam roller, glute rolling or tennis ball massage, tennis ball massage on my calfs, then calf and quad stretches (standing). I feel amazing afterwards!
  • Icy Hot and Tiger Balm I don’t use these every day, but sometimes it just feels so amazing. I definitely do NOT use them with my Zensah compression sleeves, which leads me to..
  • Zensah Compression Sleeves These. Are. Amazing. While they claimed on twitter to not be magic, I don’t believe them.
    I picked these up at 50% off at Salt Lake Running Co. before my 10K. I slept in them that night, and I was SHOCKED when I woke up. I didn’t realize that I literally used to limp out of bed every morning because of the pain I would feel in my shin and calfs. Until I didn’t feel the pain and there was no reason to limp. I’ve been sleeping in them almost every night when I run, and I can feel such a huge difference. They are magical, but not a miracle. I still need to stretch and massage, but they have made such a huge difference, I don’t know if I could have made it this far without them.
  • Icing/Ice Baths Especially since it’s cold outside, it’s been a huge effort to continue icing, even though I instantly feel better when I do. I have been reading so many good things about ice baths, I decided to take the plunge today. Mainly because I have a plethora of ice outside my door. Thank you snow! I added 5 BIG bowls of snow to cold water and sat on down. Wow. It was intense, but it got easier quickly, and I managed to stick out the 15 minutes. I still feel cold, but I am hoping it will be worth it. I will be sure to update you on the results. If I can feel like I can walk without dying tomorrow, I will count it as a success.
  • Nutrition It’s really important to make sure to fuel well after your run. We have gotten into the habit of hitting up a coffee shop after our run, and on most days I get a latte or something, mainly for the protein content. Then I eat. I know that this is an aspect I need to work on, but it’s kind of trial and error.

Do you have any recovery techniques? What is your favorite way to recover? Tell me about a fitness goal you recently accomplished 🙂