Things I’m Loving Lately

Lately I really like lists [you should see my color-coded to-do list] and I’ve been pretty lazy about taking photos. So here’s a lovely list of things I’m loving lately without any photos. You’ve been warned. But at least I bolded the items, so you can pick and choose what you want to read. What can I say, I’m a giver.

Orangetheory Fitness – I’ve never been a huge fan of group exercise classes. Most of my experience is based on classes offered at my current gym, like Body Pump + RPM, where you have to sign up 30 minutes beforehand. There’s a very slim chance of me making it to the gym 30 minutes prior to a class, especially if it’s in the morning where I value sleep or after work when I don’t have a set “end time” to my day. The classes always felt overcrowded and the clientele was clique-y. Not really my thing. Needless to say, I never went out of my way to get there. Lora had been posting a lot about supplementing her running routine with Orangetheory Fitness so I reached out to pick her brain about the pros/cons. She sold me on it immediately and only a few days later I took advantage of their free class offer. I was HOOKED. Sixty minutes have never flown by so fast. I’ve been a member for three weeks now and each class is completely different. It forces me to do strength training but also lets me run – ahem, sprint – during the hour as well. Sprinting at a 15% incline is absolutely miserable but I’ve seen a ton of improvement in daily runs since incorporating OTF into my workout schedule. Your heart rate [as well as everyone else’s] is up on a giant screen for you to check periodically and make sure you’re pushing yourself enough. Every night walking out of there I want to die from feeling destroyed, but by the time I get home I’m pumped for the next class. You have to sign up for classes in advance and it forces me to leave work at a reasonable hour [this is subjective … I go to the 8pm class, so you do the math] to be able to attend. If you don’t cancel a class with enough notice, you’re charged for the class anyway. This is key in keeping me accountable. I have an Elite Membership which is 8 classes per month, however I want to use them. I’ve been doing Tuesday / Thursday classes religiously and it works great with my schedule. Worth every damn penny.

 

Heart Rate Training – Not going to lie, I’ve always been a slave to the Garmin. For some reason pace is super important to me and as much as I try that whole “running on feel” thing – it doesn’t happen. But once I started focusing on my heart rate in Orangetheory, I realized it would probably be in my best interest to use this on daily runs. I set up my Garmin to only show HR and I begrudgingly wear that damn strap every time I lace up my running shoes. I’ve noticed my pace drop now that I’m more aware of how hard I’m working. This is completely different than staring at my watch and either cursing my slow pace or talking myself out of a faster one. This takes the guessing game out of everything pace-related. I’m a big fan.

 

Saucony Running Shoes – It would be impossible to count on both hands the number of running shoes I’ve been through over the past few years. From Asics to Mizunos to Brooks to New Balance to Skechers, I’ve had [multiple] pairs of each. In 2014 I finally tried the Saucony Guide 7 and they were everything I needed in a running shoe. I added my trusted green SuperFeet inserts and they were perfect. PERFECT. The lower drop helped me adjust my running form and quit the dreaded heel-strike. When I needed a pair of shoes for trail running, I went to the Saucony Peregrine. When I needed a pair of shoes with a little more cushion for long runs, I went to the Saucony ISO Triumph. When I needed a pair of shoes light enough for sprints + strength training in OTF, I went to the Saucony Mirage. Seeing a pattern here?

 

Non-Running Shoes – For some reason, I’ve been really into shoes over the past few months. This could probably be attributed to the number of fashion bloggers I follow on Instagram, specifically Emily Ann Gemma. It’s likely I’ll never be able to afford a majority of the items she owns but the shoes? I can afford the shoes. My current favorite pair is the Steve Madden Keenia, an obnoxiously tall wedge which increases my height by five inches and are surprisingly comfortable. I wore them out for a night of gallivanting around the streets of downtown Austin and for once in my life didn’t feel like throwing them in the garbage by the time 2am rolled around. These come in a close second – they pretty much go with everything. I won’t link the rest of the pairs because… coughcoughjessicasimpsonclaudettecoughcough … the sheer amount of recent additions to my closet is borderline embarrassing. Just know they are ALL fabulous.

 

And most importantly, my friends + family – the last few months have been rough, to say the least. Some have likely heard the same stories time and time again [Mayra, I’m looking at you] but I appreciate everyone’s love and support as I navigate this bullshit disguised as “life”. No one has asked for too many details, judged too hard, or tried to push their own individual thoughts on me. They’ve let me vent and deal with things on my own terms. I’ve conquered many situations and fell apart at just as many, but with the support of those around me I’ve made it through in one piece. This whole damn situation is terrible, but I’ll be okay. Not right now, not tomorrow, and probably not next month – but eventually. It’ll happen. I just need to figure out what’s most important to me and prioritize things according to how they’ll affect my overall well-being moving forward. I am a strong believer in karma and have been focusing on paying it forward with random acts of kindness over the past several months. I try to focus on those who have reached out and contributed to help make me feel whole again. Things would be a lot worse if I shut the rest of the world out and pretended like everything was a-ok, so as much as I hate to break down – it’s good for me. I hate talking about feelings as much as the next person, but I forced myself to do it. I knew I had to be open with what I was dealing with and the most important people came out to give me a shoulder to lean on when I needed it. And I can’t thank them enough for that.

Weekly Workouts: 8/6-8/12

Last week’s workouts were kind of all over the place, so hopefully this week will go as planned. Still trying to figure out the best way to get in both cross and strength training. Should I pair them together? What do you think?

Here’s what’s on my plate this week:

Monday, August 6

XT and/or P90X Back & Biceps

Tuesday, August 7

4 x 800 (4:37)

Wednesday, August 8

XT and/or P90X Chest / Shoulders / Tri

Thursday, August 9

5 mile tempo, 3 @ 10:03

Friday, August 10

Rest 

Saturday, August 11

12 mile run

Sunday, August 12

Rest

Weekly Workouts: 7/30-8/5

Here we go … Philly Marathon Training, week one!

Monday, July 30

P90X Back / Biceps / Abs RPM

Tuesday, July 31

3 x 1600m @ 9:29   2.5 mile run

Wednesday, August 1

P90X Chest / Shoulders / Triceps / Abs

Thursday, August 2

4 mile tempo, 2 @ 10:03 4 miles @ 10:35 overall

Friday, August 3

Rest 

Saturday, August 4 

10 mile run

Sunday, August 5

Rest 10 mile run

Weekly Workouts: 7/23-7/29

Well, this is it: the last week of freedom before Philly Marathon training “officially” begins! Hoping to keep the intensity moderate, as to launch into Week 1 fired up and ready to go.

Monday, July 23

P90X Back / Biceps / Abs

 

 

Tuesday, July 24

 

4 mile run

 

Wednesday, July 25

 

P90X Chest / Shoulders / Triceps / Abs

 

Thursday, July 26

 

4 mile run

 

Friday, July 27

 

Rest

 

Saturday, July 28

 

8 mile run

 

Sunday, July 29

Rest

Impromptu Speedwork

Last night we had P90X Chest / Shoulders / Triceps / Abs on deck.

P90X Disc 9 - Chest Shoulders Triceps

This workout was NO EFFING JOKE. Recovery week caused my strength to take a serious hit. Two weeks ago when I did side tri-rises I cranked out 25 the first round, 30 the second. Last night I barely eeked out 15. Don’t even get me started on one-arm or two-twitch speed pushups. My arms were TOAST halfway through!

I also had that issue of the missed run to deal with. Very rarely do I run back-to-back days because my shin splints almost always make an unwelcomed appearance.  Brad and I made a pact early on that if we completely missed/skipped a workout, we would forfeit our cheat meal for the week. Soooo, I moved our run from Tuesday to Wednesday night.

After P90X, Brad’s calves were super tight and despite telling me he’d be fine on the run, I was nervous he’d get injured.  I decided to fly solo for the miles and left him at home with the P90X Stretch DVD to loosen up his hard-as-rocks calves. It was dark by the time I left the house so rather than run outside, it was time to hit the hamster wheel.

Initially the game plan was to do 2 miles, slow and steady. When with Brad {completely new to running} we use 3:1 intervals. Which is fine, but ideally I’d like to run without any breaks at all. So that was my ultimate goal.

After a ten minute warmup, I bumped the speed up to 5.4. It was a comfortable, easy pace to maintain. Exactly what I wanted.

As I neared the 8oom mark, I had a brilliant idea: I could do speedwork! I kept the speed & recovery paces slower than I’d usually use since I’m running again tonight, but it still felt great to let the legs {slowly} fly!

  • 800m @ 5.4
  • 400m @ 6.0
  • 400m @ 5.4
  • 400m @ 6.0
  • 400m @ 5.4
  • 400m @ 6.0
  • 400m @ 7.0

Once it hit 2 miles, I slowed the treadmill to 4.0 and upped the incline to 4.0. Two miles, done and done, hit my goal.

Except…

I still felt like I could go a little further. Run a little longer. Fly a little faster. So at 2.25, I continued running:

  • 400m @ 4.0
  • 400m @ 6.0
  • 400m @ 5.4
  • 400m @ 7.0

Finished with 3 miles in 32:55. I’m a little disappointed I didn’t just go for three from the get-go – overall pace would have definitely been better. BUT! Technically I shouldn’t have even been running at all yesterday, let alone speedwork, so I’ll take it.

After a half mile cooldown walk, I left the gym just before 10pm. Not sure I’ve ever been at the gym that late – can’t say I minded it though! Had my choice of treadmill (with Big Bang Theory on repeat), the AC was pumping, and it was nice to let the treadmill do the work for me pace-wise.

Where do you prefer to do your speedwork: treadmill or track?

Finishing Strong

Oh hey December, where did you come from? Seriously, this year FLEW by!

december-2011

With the end of 2011 looming on the horizon, I need to set some goals to finish out the year on a high note.

1. MOVE 5x per week. Run 3x, Spin/Elliptical 2x – NO EXCUSES!

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2. Attend Thursday night yoga. I used to take this class every week. It was the perfect way to unwind from the work week. Savasana clears my mind and relaxes me.

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3. Drink more H2O. In the summer I have no problem drinking 72 ounces of water per day. Once the temperature dips in the fall/winter, I struggle to stay hydrated. I’d much rather drink a hot cup of {dehydrating caffeine} coffee.

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4. Limit caffeine consumption. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to quit coffee but I certainly would like to decrease the amount I drink. I’m going to start swapping out my weekday morning cup of joe for a chamomile or green tea. Coffee will be reserved for a weekend treat.

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5. Get adequate sleep This goes hand in hand with number 3. The more coffee I consume, the worse off I am when it comes time to hit the hay. Tossing and turning for over an hour before falling asleep just isn’t working for me. Less caffeine = better sleep quality.

6. Eat breakfast regularly I easily lose track of time in the morning at work and before I know it lunch is rolling around. I need to make a habit of walking into work and eating right away. I’m going to set a recurring appointment in Outlook as a reminder.

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7. Take my vitamins. Need I say more?

8. Set aside more time for writing. I’ve been working on my novel quite a bit lately and would like to keep that up. In the month of November I hit publish on fifteen blog posts, and would like to hit at least that many in December as well.

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9. Surround myself with POSITIVE people.

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10. Enjoy the holiday season. This will be the first Christmas Brad and I actually spend together. Crazy, right? Unfortunately neither of us will be able to see our families this year, but at least we will have each other 🙂

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All photos via Pinterest

Have you set any goals for the month of December?

One step at a time

I took this evening off from the gym. It was glorious. There is something about a well deserved rest day after a tough run that I really enjoy. I iced my finicky shins and rested my tired legs yesterday, but there was one thing I forgot to do: spend some quality time with my foam roller.

foam-roller

When I awoke this morning, my calves were happily tucked inside their compression sleeves but my quads were neglected and pissed. They hadn’t received nearly enough love yesterday and continued to remind me of that fact all. day. long. I spent some time with Mr. Red after work today, and have another session scheduled before bed.

On the weekly workout goals front, the best way for me to be held accountable is to sing them loud for all to hear:

buddy-the-elf

Too soon for Christmas references? No such thing! Apparently Macy’s has the same thought process – they already had their decorations up this weekend when I was there.

Anyway, here’s my workout plan for the week:

Monday

Rest Day

Tuesday

3 mile run + Austin Trash Run

Wednesday

XT (elliptical or bike)

Thursday

3 mile run + Yoga

Friday

XT or Rest Day

Saturday

8 mile run

Sunday

XT + IM 70.3 Austin volunteering

Proper tapering? I think so. I’ll recap my progress on Sunday evening.

Is it weird that I’m already thinking about training for a second marathon? I know the first will be tough, but I’m most worried because it’s uncharted territory. I won’t bat an eye or think twice about registering for a half marathon because I’ve completed five. I was even registered for my second before I ran my first. I know the distance, and I know I can finish successfully. I feel like once I cover 26.2, it will feel a tiny bit less daunting. It’s still a marathon after all.

I’ve got my eye on a spring marathon and I’m contemplating throwing my name into the lottery for ING NYC. The only thing drawback to New York is training in the Texas summer again. Ugh. But that race is definitely on my to-do list.

Of course, I still have another goal to accomplish before then: smashing my half marathon PR.

One step at a time.

Confessions: Part Deux

It’s been awhile since my last confessions post, and Michelle’s post yesterday inspired me, so I bring you: part deux!

I am terrible at quitting things.

  • Quitting drinking (had to, while I quit smoking – clearly NOT a long term goal), quitting smoking, quitting coffee. It doesn’t matter what the vice is – I will inevitably be terrible at kicking it. I eliminated coffee back in May, ramped up my workouts, and I had more energy than I had seen in a LONG time. I fell asleep at reasonable hours and was able to get up early with ease. I must quit (or scale way back, at the very least) again. I MUST. 

I haven’t cut/colored my hair since March 4th.

  • Clearly that whole ombre look is coming to me for free, but unintentionally. Holy rats nest. Hair maintenance frequently gets overlooked because I RARELY (as in, once every 3 months) do my hair. My mornings are all about the ‘wake up & go’ mentality. I wash it everyday after the gym, and it’s naturally curly. Blowdrying & straightening would be a serious waste of time, since I’d ruin it with sweat less than 24 hours later. Does my hair need some TLC? Hell yes. Do I want to put out the cash for it? Hell no.

I haven’t ran since last Tuesday.

  • Yup, my shin pain has returned. I’m not sure when it happened, since I was fine post-13 miles on 8/20. But when I tried to make it through my 4 miler two days later, I had to stop at 3 and even that was a struggle. I skipped my Thursday tempo run, Sunday long run, and Tuesday speedwork session. I’ve been filling those days with RPM, which may be my new favorite workout.

photo source

  • Low-impact and you can give it every last ounce of energy you’ve got, leaving on an incredible endorphin high. I felt euphoric on my way home Tuesday night. Kind of how I feel after consuming an entire bottle of wine.

I am having doubts about next month’s marathon.

  • This feeds off the previous confession: injury. I’m trying to take off as many days as possible to heal, without setting myself back endurance-wise. Since the calendar switched over to September today, I’m less than 60 days out from my first 26.2 and I am feeling nervous, anxious, excited, worried. What if I can’t make a comeback? To make it through two months of training and have to come to a screeching halt and defer to 2012 is heartbreaking. I suppose only time will tell.

I bought another pair of running shoes.

  • I announced this on Twitter last week, with a desperate plea for an intervention. Twittervention?  Turns out I’m not the only one with a shoe problem. Anyway, yes, I invested in yet another pair of Brooks.
    photo source
  • I have a 30-day window to return them if they don’t make my shins feel like a million bucks. And just to clarify: I didn’t buy them just because I wanted a new pair. I bought them because my shins suck and I need a pair to make them happy and allow me to run a marathon next month.

What do you need to get off your chest today? Confess!

A mess of topics

I skipped my 3 mile run tonight, and I’m glad I did. I used to feel guilty when I missed a workout. This afternoon at work I wasn’t in the mood to hit the gym, and rather than force myself into going – I accepted it and moved on. Yes, I would have felt better after a run (how often do you regret working out? Never!) but when my body is saying no, I’ve finally learned how to listen.

Yesterday I brought a giant bag of clothes and two pairs of running shoes to Plato’s Closet to sell.

platos

I heard one of the girls behind the counter remark to a coworker that the clothes were “so nice” and “so dressy” as if that were a bad thing. Noted: only bring in crappy clothes from now on, Plato’s doesn’t care about quality. Retail value for what they ending up buying: $40 dress, $50 shirt, and $175 combined for the two pairs of shoes. Cash they handed me for said items? $15. Fifteen dollars. I was less than pleased, but hey, it’s better than $0.

Tonight after work, in lieu of my run, I headed to Half Price Books with my lofty winnings from Plato’s. This bookstore is evil. Thankfully I already had a book in mind and put my blinders on the second I walked in the front door. I am now the owner of this:

body-for-life

I’ve hit a serious wall on my weight loss journey. I’ve been counting calories, I drink 70-80 ounces of water a day, I quit coffee, I quit Starbucks’ pastries, I quit fast food. I run, I crosstrain, I strength train, I bike, sometimes I do two-a-days. I’m running out of ways to shed the pounds. I contemplated trying Paleo, since several bloggers have been having great success with it. However, I’m not willing to give up greek yogurt, cheese, and a laundry list of other must-avoid foods. A life without goat cheese is a life I don’t want to live.

Therefore, I’m giving Body for Life a shot. I haven’t exactly nailed down how I’ll intertwine marathon training in with the workouts described in the book, but I’ll figure it out. I need something to give my diet and body a kick start. The plan runs for 12 weeks but if I achieve my goals, I foresee it being a lifestyle I’d like to continue. I’ll be starting on Monday after grocery shopping over the weekend.

Tomorrow I’m working from home because I have a court date at 2pm, and I’d prefer not to make my hour-long commute if I don’t have to. I’m attempting to fight a Failure to have a Texas Driver’s License ticket. (I hadn’t switched it over because I rode the train to work everyday, leaving the house at 6am and getting home at 6:15pm, which is before the DL office opens and after it closes). Apparently if you have a valid, unexpired license from another state, this warrants a $260 ticket. However, if you are driving around with an expired Texas license, or NO LICENSE AT ALL, you can simply go get a license and pay $10, and the ticket goes away. I switched my license over to Texas 4 days after I got the ticket, but I still have to shell out $300. So I’m headed to court to fight it. Pointless? Probably. But I’m going to give it a shot anyway. Wish me luck!

Have you ever sold your clothes at Plato’s Closet? On eBay? On your blog (like SkinnyRunner does from time to time)?

Have you ever fought a ticket and won?