Monday, January 26, 2015

Marathon #2 - Training Week 4

If nothing else, you know you can count on one thing from me:  brutal honesty.  Given that, there is one word to describe my training (well the running part, anyway) this week:  Frustrating.

That's not to say that my runs weren't good, because for the most part they were.  My training was frustrating due to all the technological/other problems that decided to pop up this week.  I guess I should be happy they popped up early in the training cycle instead of later on when I'm much more stressed in general, but it still sucks.

Monday:  Workout A of my strength training plan. I am happy to report the pushups are getting smoother again (and believe it or not I credit the yoga challenge for helping with this)!   Then I did #30DaysofYoga day 18.

Tuesday:  Here's where the issues started.  First of all, my laundry wasn't dry so I had to wear my "last resort" bra that I really don't like for running.  It's great for everything else, but just doesn't feel right while running.  So I spent some of my run being annoyed by that.  My run was planned to be 8 miles, with the last part being 10x100m strides.  I went to the South Side and did my loop over the bridges.  Sometime during the first few miles my hrm started acting funny.  It happens sometimes and usually shifting it a little to get it to pick up some sweat for conductivity does the trick.  Not this time.  I kept having to pull myself back because I was running too fast on the easy part.  When I finally got in a groove I totally zoned out and missed the start of my strides! lol  So I had to tack on an additional half mile to get them all done.  All issues aside, I was pretty freaking stoked to have my pace dip down into the 6:20s without a lot of effort and while feeling good!
After my run I did #30DaysofYoga day 19!

Wednesday:  I headed to North Park to do my 5 mile recovery run around the lake.  It was pretty snowy, but that is just fine for a slow recovery run. Again, after the first mile my hrm was just not giving me accurate readings and starting to jump all over the place.  So, I flipped the hr numbers off and instead just went by pace/avg pace to try to put myself around an 11:00 mile, which is where my recovery runs have been.  It was tough - really tough - but I came out at 10:58 average so I didn't do too bad.
Later that day I did Workout B of my strength training plan.  It went well - even those split squats.  #30DaysofYoga Day 20 rounded out my day.

Thursday:  10 miles at general aerobic pace on the schedule.  I went to the North Shore, craving a bit of a break from rolling north park, especially with my hrm not working well.  This was where I finally decided I needed to order a new soft strap when I got home.  I'd already replaced the transmitter battery and obviously that wasn't the fix.  Anyway, I had to do what I did the day before and try to pace myself without heart rate info.  Since my recent easy runs have all been around the 10:00 mark, I set that as my goal and did my best to keep a steady pace around there.  The trail was slushy but really not bad at all and I came in at 9:55 average.  A little fast, but I didn't feel too bad.  I also wore my new shoes on this run.  What a perfect way to break them in!
Sticking with the 14 until Brooks can make the 15 pretty.

#30DaysofYoga day 21 finished off my workouts.

Friday:  Another dose of brutal honesty -  I was a hungover mess Friday morning.  Thursday was my husband's birthday and we partied pretty hard.  So I was thankful that this was my rest day and doing #30DaysofYoga Day 22 really helped me recharge and feel better.

Saturday:  4 mile recovery run on the snowy North Shore Trail.  With my hrm officially dead my husband gave me his to try out.  I just could not get it to work very well for me so again I was left to my own pacing.  I came in at 10:50 - faster than I wanted/should have ran with a 15 miler the next day.  I was pretty frustrated with things by this point and honestly scared of attempting a 15 mile run the next day without my hrm telling me to slow down/speed up.  I spent the rest of the day trying to talk myself down and came to the conclusion that hey - I trained for a marathon before without a hrm for a 15 miler, obviously I'm capable of doing it again.
The #30DaysofYoga video for day 23 was shorter than the previous few days and was a welcome break.

Sunday: 3 loops around the North Park lake.  I wore a hrm anyway just in case (read "wishful thinking") it decided to work.  It was obviously still caput in the early miles that I pretty much took off out of the boathouse running at race pace because my watch was having a GPS fart in addition.  :-\  I got myself settled in a bit by the end of the first loop (I was running faster than I should have but really did feel good at this point) and then I remembered reading about how some people have an easier time getting a hrm to read with the transmitter tweaked to the side a bit.  So I yanked the strap over and whaddayaknow - something happened and it picked up reading right where it should have for how I was running.  So the second loop I happily ran as usual and I felt great.  Then the third loop happened.  I felt good the first mile and a half to two miles and then I just fell apart.  Those early too fast too hard miles were starting to catch up with me and I just got tired.  By 13 miles it felt like work to keep my heart rate up where it should be.  I did let my pace fall off a little for 1 mile and then I kicked it in gear and finished where I should.  My average pace was 9:04, and it really should have been around 9:15.  I know 11 secs per mile doesn't sound like a whole lot of difference, but over the course of many miles it really is and takes its toll.  But, the run got done, I don't feel too terrible (a bit more tired and achy than previous long runs) and I can move on.
#30DaysofYoga Day 24 felt amazing.  I sometimes moan and groan about "having" to do it when I'm tired after a run but it feels so good (and probably helps a lot!).

Total Miles Ran:  42.6
Total Running Workouts:  5 - 1 easy with strides, 1 easy, 2 recovery, 1 long
Total Strength Workouts: 2
Total Yoga Workouts:  2

Nutrition this week:  Aside from Thursday night's birthday party (pizza, cake, cookies, and ice cream) and booze binge this was a great week.  One thing I am coming to terms with again is the fact that I need to make sure I'm eating enough.  I dropped 5 lbs again and am literally .1 from being underweight again.  Not good.  So my focus this week is going to be on calorie and nutritionally dense foods.  I always find that more difficult when increasing carbs for marathon training.  I burn carbs off like wildfire.  It's that whole metabolism thing.

On to week 5!  This is actually my last "working week" of this endurance building cycle before a recovery week.  Here's to getting it done so I can enjoy some rest!  My new hrm strap is supposed to be here by Thursday so hopefully I can run effectively until then.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Week with FitBit

I wanted to wait until I got a solid week of use out of the FitBit before I made any judgments on it.  The week of January 12-January 18 was my first "full" week of use.  I wore the FitBit nearly 24 hours a day during this time period.

Black FitBit Flex, Small Wristband.

I say nearly because even though it says it is water resistant and can be worn in the shower I've read other reviews that contradict that statement and honestly I don't like wearing things in the shower other than my piercings and the ring my grandmother gave me before she died (just keepin' it real here).  So I utilize the time I'm in the shower to charge it.  Then after my shower and dressing and primping (haha) I put it back on.  I've never had a problem with a low battery, so for me, this method is perfect.

Here are my thoughts on this little contraption.  All opinions are my own.  As you know I was gifted this FitBit through the Pittsburgh Marathon, but I'm not being paid or swayed (nice rhyme, eh?) one way or the other.

First of all, it's a cool little pedometer.  It tracks your steps and as a baseline encourages you to get the standard recommended 10,000 steps per day.  When you get to that goal you are rewarded with some vibrations and dancing lights.  Much different from the old pedometers from back in the day that you could hear clicking and just had a little readout that sometimes worked, sometimes didn't.

As for wear, it feels like wearing one of those rubber charity bracelets - you know, like the old school yellow Livestrong ones.  Most of the time I don't notice it, but sometimes when it's fumbling around (especially with certain shirts) it drives me batty.  I have very petite wrists and even the smallest size band is way big on me.  But not so much that I'm willing to take it off, so there's that.  I definitely don't notice it at night.

One huge plus is the integration with MyFitnessPal.  I use MFP every day, so being able to connect the two is freaking awesome.  Together they measure my activity level and calorie input and output.  I also like on the FitBit app for iPhone how easy it is to track water intake.  They even have a simple icon for a standard 16.9 oz bottle of water that you can click and tap "Log It" and it gets added to your total.

Another cool thing to see is the sleep tracker.  I've been interested in this for a while (my primary reason for wanting one of these, btw).  So far it pretty much confirms that it takes me around 10 minutes of flopping around to settle in and get to sleep and that my dear Calloway cat has a habit of waking me up at night or at least putting me in the "restless" state several times.  But, I'm also shocked that I do have more periods of deep sleep than I thought.  I thought I was a light sleeper, but besides the cat having me up and down, the data doesn't reflect that.  What it does reflect, and I'm really guilty of this, is that I need to get more sleep in general... especially as these marathon training weeks get longer/harder.  I need to get my tail in bed earlier and stop sitting up all night catching up on cheesy TV on the DVR.  Consider my wrist thoroughly slapped.

The online Dashboard is cool to see as well.  It's pretty much a larger version of the iPhone app.  You can see where you stand with friends if you choose to go the social route, you can set up meal plans, see various data from steps taken to floors climbed to how many "active minutes" you've had.  You even earn little motivational badges for milestones and goals achieved.  You can be as social or a reclusive as you want and set things up however you like them.

There are unfortunately some downers, though.

It hasn't proven to be completely accurate for me in terms of distance traveled, which leads me to believe that it is also inaccurate in terms of total steps taken.  That's unfortunate considering that at the very base of it all, this is a pedometer with some cool frills.

Here is my weekly email with my stats:

Yes, Friday is my Least Active Day... it's my rest day!  I don't think that warrants a frownie face, though.  Rest is essential to overall health & fitness!

Now as an average person looking at the numbers I wouldn't be too concerned, but as a someone who uses GPS technology to track running and other activities I see where things aren't right.  Last Sunday's long run was 14 miles on both my GPS watch and iPhone app I use for backup (Endomondo, if you're wondering), yet according to the FitBit my best day (Sunday) only tracked 12.78 miles TOTAL, including all the other steps I took that day outside the long run.  Definitely not correct.

Even today, the app claims I'm only at 5.48 miles at this moment and just over 10k steps.  But I ran 5 miles this morning (North Park lake loop) and I'm pretty positive I've "traveled" more than half a mile extra in walking/other movement today.

So, if you're a stickler for precise details, this might annoy you.  I believe that my step count is much more than the fitbit wants to reflect if the mileage is that far off.  And if I were in one of those uber serious competitions for steps or whatever I'd be ticked if I only got credit for 12 miles of a 14 mile run! lol

All in all the Fitbit is a fun gadget and I'm having a ball playing with it.  If you're someone who is just getting into being active and you like to set and smash daily goals and get a list going with your friends or coworkers and especially if you use MyFitnessPal, I'd highly recommend the FitBit Flex.

If you're a more seasoned exerciser and have a GPS tracker of some form, a heart rate monitor to calculate your calorie burn, etc you might not get a whole lot of use out of this and you might add some additional stress and frustration by the discrepancies.  BUT - if you are willing to just have fun tinkering with it as I am, and you are possibly interested to see if your jerk of a cat wakes you up at night like a newborn baby, then go for it! ;-)

I'm going to keep on wearing it for a while, but I can't promise I won't get sick of it at some point.

Do you have a Fitbit?  Do you find it accurate?  Does your pet disturb your sleep?  If you want to add me on Fitbit, go ahead!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Marathon #2 - Training Week 3

Well the weather was kinder to us this week, aside from some residual ice on various local trails which thankfully melted away for the most part by the end of the week.  The temps were even warm enough to take a layer or two of gear off a couple of days.  Gotta love that in January!

Monday:  Workout B of my strength training plan - single leg hip thrusts, upright rows, bulgarian split squats, military press, good mornings, weighted side steps, planks with feet elevated and kettlebell side bends.  Oof... those split squats are a challenge.  I followed it up with #30DaysofYoga day 11 which included lots of poses and movement to stretch out the hips - perfect for the day after a long run.

Tuesday:  I had a 10 miler on the schedule and I was really feeling North park again.  So that's where I headed and had a nice and easy time of 2 lake loops.  Later that day I did my yoga (day 12) and it was a short and sweet practice that included tree pose, which is one of my favorites.

Wednesday: This was the first week of adding a 5th run to the training plan.  Today called for a 4 mile recovery run which I ran on the South side trail.  It was a little icy and I had to just shuffle through in a couple of spots, but given that it was just a recovery run I didn't care.
I also did Workout C - weighted hip thrusts with a pause at the top, chest supported rows, parallel squats, incline press, back extensions on the stability ball, clamshells, reverse crunches and planks.
I followed it up with #30DaysofYoga Day 13.  It was my longest day of working out in a while and I was tired!

Thursday:  So the plan for the day called for a tempo run.  Something I'm being more liberal with this training cycle than the last is playing around with my faster paces until I find my niche again.  When I trained for MCM I pretty much just based everything off my performance from last year's Pittsburgh Half even though it wasn't my best.  I did this for the sake of not pushing myself too hard, too fast and just focusing on going the distance.  Well, I'm at the point where I'm done playing around so I chose a much harder training plan and I'm also trying to train closer to my "old" normal intensity because I feel like I'm there.  I'm also leaning on my heart rate monitor and using that as a checkpoint to see where my pacing lies.  I've worn my hrm for every single run thus far this cycle.
Anyway, back to Thursday's training... The workout called for a 2 mile easy warmup, 4 mile tempo run, and 2 mile cooldown back to aerobic range.  I ended up crushing the tempo at 7:25 average pace and during this hit a 5K time of 23:06 - which is only about a minute off my 5K PR.. That really shouldn't be all "ooooh, ahhh", but I wasn't going all out (because this was a tempo run in the middle of an 8 mile total run), and I didn't feel like I was going too hard at all.  No aches, pains, puking, nada.  I felt no residual effects the next day, either.  So, to me, that's telling me that I probably could at least run close to my 5k standard if I tried.  Which means I (and others I've talked with) are right that I can push myself a bit harder than I've been.  But - let's suffice it to say for now that I had a great tempo run. :)
Maybe zebra print makes me faster...

Thankfully, the #30DaysofYoga practice was short and sweet and as usual, just what I needed.

Friday:  Rest day, but I still did my yoga.  Today was day 15 of #30DaysofYoga.  Halfway already!  The practice focused on Half Moon Pose, which I am not up to par with, but I did my best and found my peace with it.

Saturday:  4 more recovery miles on the North Shore Trail.  Most of the ice was gone, but there were still some tricky spots here and there.  My pace was a bit faster for this run, but I was using my heart rate monitor and ran at the exact heart rate as before.  It still amuses me how the body responds on different days.
The yoga video of the day was super short and sweet (just 14 minutes) but one thing I'm learning to love about yoga is that it doesn't have to be long and drawn out every single day.  It can be just some simple movements and being one with your breath and calm.

Sunday:  14 miles at steady long run intensity.  I headed to North Park again because I wanted to train on the hill and it was convenient for my husband to drop me off and get some things done nearby.  The weather was really odd (cold to drizzly to icy to sunny to warm again all over the course of 2+ hours), but I made it through.  You have to be ready for whatever race day throws at you!  I started off doing the JASR course again, not cutting through the tennis courts just like before and then added a little out & back to make up the mileage.  For the most part, it was an easy run, although admittedly I started getting tired at the end.  But, that said, I did negative split the last 3 miles all within heart rate range, not going over so I'm pretty proud of that.
Unlike the short practice on Saturday, this #30DaysofYoga practice was pretty long.  I held off doing it for a little while after my run (hey, I was tired) but then I just got in a "get it over with" mood.  I wasn't on the mat more than a few moments before I had a kid and two cats join me and my mood was lifted.  It was a great practice too - lots of twists and stretches which are my favorites.
No, the bottom isn't a yoga pose, but who can resist kitty kisses?

Total Miles Ran: 40.3
Total Running Workouts:  5 - 1 easy, 2 recovery, 1 tempo, 1 long
Total Strength Workouts:  2
Total Yoga Workouts:  7 - still at it!

Nutrition this week:  I had a pretty great week, honestly.  Lots of fresh veggies and fruit, no dinners or lunches out, and macros calculated daily.  Two notable treats:  A Whole Foods cookie the other day and a bowl of frozen yogurt last night.  I'm really starting to hit a point after my long runs where I'm hungry the whole day but I don't know what to eat and nothing sounds good.  I need to go back through my MCM logs and see what I did for the RUNchies.  It's only going to get worse from here.  haha.

Bring on week 4!

Friday, January 16, 2015

#30DaysOfYoga - The Halfway Point

Today is day 15 of #30DaysofYoga with Yoga with Adriene!  Can't believe it!

This has been a fantastic learning experience so far for me in both body and mind.  Officially the longest stretch I've even done any kind of yoga, one thing I realize is that I've always given up on it too soon.  Adriene is constantly saying "Find What Feels Good". She's encouraging different options for poses, so you can stay in the moment and with the breath and not worry about twisting yourself into some crazy pose and focusing on how uncomfortable you are.  In my past experiences with yoga, I've always felt that if I'm not spot on with the instructor or the other people then I'm doing it wrong.  I'd never realized that I could put my knee down there or my arms/hand differently there or -gasp- I can even take a break if I need to and stay in extended Child's pose or head out early to shavasana if that's what I need.  So previously, I'd gotten very frustrated with yoga practices and have only touched upon it when I felt like I needed a stretch.

Something that really stuck with me is the phrase "You are the Yoga".  Your body is right where it needs to be at this time and space in your practice.  By becoming aware of your breath and actively letting go of other distractions you can really allow your body to do what it wants and needs to do.  Yoga isn't about mirroring a specific pose or causing yourself discomfort in the name of flexibility but an awareness of self.  This isn't always easy, but it does have great benefits when you allow yourself to find what feels good.  I also appreciate Adriene's encouragement to find movement in the poses - you don't need to be stiff as a board in Downward Dog or plank or any other pose for long periods of time.  I enjoy being able to "give a little love to the places that need it today", as she says.

I wouldn't say that I'm 100% with everything or that I'm even really good at yoga.  But, that being said, in the thought of "you are where you need to be" is there even a such thing as being "good" at yoga?  If it's a personal practice then you're always doing it right... right?

In just 15 days:
1. I have become noticeably more flexible.  I even commented to my husband yesterday that this is allowing me to go deeper into my standard running stretch routine I do after every run... which therefore helps my running!
2. My mind is more clear.  By letting myself have these moments every day to discard the bad and focus on breathing in some good I've been able to mentally process some things easier than usual.
3.  A lot of my standard aches and fatigue that come with starting a new training plan are gone.
4.  By practicing the breathing I do on the mat elsewhere I've been able to calm myself in situations where I'd go flying off the handle otherwise.
5.  I've come to look forward to the yoga as a part of my day to day.  Even in the middle of a hard run I tell myself that once I'm done with this I can get home and work it out on the mat.  It's motivating!

There are more positive things, but those are the top 5 I'll list today.  I'm really excited to see what the second half of this journey has in store.




Monday, January 12, 2015

Marathon #2 Training Week 2

Anyone who has been living in this general area of the world knows one thing:  It has been a messed up week for running.  The weather was ridiculous - snow, well below freezing windchills, etc.  Even our hometown marathon and local running groups cancelled their runs.  Your choices were to either take the runs indoors (seemed to be the most popular choice), skip them completely (I don't fault people who chose this either), or do what I did:  just suck it up and get the damn miles in.  I don't know that I will always go balls to the wall and choose to tough it out, but I was having a particularly mentally strong week and I wanted to run with it while it lasted.  Pun very intended.

Monday:  Last day of Phase 2 of my Strong Curves-esque program.  Workout C: pausing hip thrusts, reverse grip rows, goblet squats, close grip dumbbell presses, kettlebell swings, weighted side steps, straight leg full sit ups, russian twists.
Monday was also day 4 of #30DaysofYoga.  I've really been loving this program but want to make a separate post about it and the things I've come to learn and realize about myself and yoga in general.

Tuesday:  The plan called for an 8 mile easy run with 10x100m stride outs.  The kids ended up having a two hour delay due to snow and when I hit the trail it was completely covered and pretty thick - up the sides of my shoes for sure and still coming down.  The easy miles were just that - very easy, but I didn't really do all out strides.  I did pick up the pace those 10x100m, but they certainly never reached all-out.  Traction and snow don't always mix.
Biggest mistake?  Not wearing my Oakleys when there's snow.  Too bright!  ouch!

Day 5 of #30DaysofYoga was called "Feel Alive Flow!" and it definitely lived up to its name even though it was a very short session.

Wednesday:  This marked the beginning of Phase 3 of the strength training plan.  Workout A: Weighted hip thrusts, bent over rows, box squats, pushups, deadlifts, side lying leg lifts, stability ball crunches while holding a dumbbell, and planks.  I really liked this routine, although since its been a while since I've done pushups I'm kind of weak on them again.  Boo.  It'll come back with time.
#30DaysofYoga Day 6 was 16 minute of ab focused practice which was exciting to me as it made for a perfect cap to a strength training day.  Oh My God this may have been one of those most intense ab workouts ever.  I've done a lot of ab routines over the years and I don't know whether it is because I'm fairly green to yoga or what but I was totally feeling this!

Thursday:  Windchill from hell day!  I opted to wait until the advisory was over at least to attempt this run.  And yes, I mean attempt.  I was fully planning on bailing early if I thought I was putting myself at risk being out there.  But I had to try.  The advisory was over at 1, so I was able to do my #30DaysofYoga before the run.  It was a full body practice and I do believe it helped limber me up for the run.

I'm not going to lie here: the first mile or so sucked.  It legitimately hurt and I thought about throwing in the towel.  But I know by now never to judge a run by mile 1, so I kept at it.  Sometime after mile 2 my handwarmers finally heated up to full strength and I at least felt better in the hand department.  By mile 4, I was totally warmed up and it felt like any other chilly day run.  No issues other than my nose running.  That and the fact that I was going realllly slow for me.  My heartrate didn't want to stay down at the pace I'd been running my easy runs at lately and any time there was a wind gust it spiked.  But, I stuck with it and went with it and I'm glad I did.  Those 10 "easy" miles felt like nothing by the time I was done with them.  I even walked a couple of times because in a couple spots up the trail (out by the old jail) people had snow shoveled in high piles that came up to my shins and there was no running through that.  All said, this was one of my proudest runs ever.  I definitely felt like a Runner of Steel.

Just a friendly PSA, though:  If you're going to be running in negative windchills, be prepared for your iPhone to freeze!  I didn't know it happened until I took it out after my run, but it even had ice around the buttons and took a little while to thaw out.  I kept wrapping it in napkins to keep it dry on the way home.  Something to be aware of...  It's fine, btw - it just freaked me out.

Friday:  Rest day with #30DaysofYoga Day 8 Guided Meditation.  This was a godsend!!  Just what I needed.

Saturday:  I started my day with #30DaysofYoga Day 9, and after the kids were chauffeured around to their various activities, I got out for my run.  This was another day I was ok being "late" to run because of the wicked cold.  But this day was a whopping 3 degrees and felt a million times warmer than Thursday (no lie).
Here's a milestone for you:  This is the first time I've ever done a specific "Recovery Run" correctly.  Before, I've never gotten the concept that you're not supposed to exert yourself/spend a lot of energy on these runs.  To me, if I was running, I was getting a workout!  Well, in the spirit of sticking to my plan and embracing the slow, I kept my heartrate way down in real recovery range.  Yes, it was wicked slow.  Yes, it felt like I was barely above a walk.  But you know what?  This run was awesome!  I don't feel like I lost anything during this run and I felt totally prepared for the tough long run workout the next day.  There's something to be said for doing things the way you're "supposed to"!

Sunday:  Every few weeks my training plan calls for a long run with a set amount of miles to build up to running at race intensity.  In training plans I've done in the past, there was usually a pace run on Saturday followed by a standard long slow run on Sunday.  So, this is new territory for me.  I didn't know how I was going to do but I was excited to give it a go.

Since I decided to ultimately skip the Frigid Five Miler, I was feeling a little bit of guilt about missing out on the hill.  To make up for it (haha, if you want to call it that), I decided to run the JASR half marathon course as well as not take the easy way around the lake loop by cutting through tennis courts and instead going up and around the hilly way.  I figured that would be perfect because I'd be able to keep myself in check and go nice and slow up McKinney hill, though the first part of loop #1 and then hammer down the rest of the way.

It was a challenge!  I forgot how that steep downhill after McKinney can really do a number on your legs and I did question my route decision a bit when I was feeling like I might not have the strength to pick up the pace later on.  But, I did recover - using my hrm to keep the rest of the first 5 miles nice and slow - and by the time it came to pick it up, I was able to. I even ran a couple of miles a little too fast... North Park is always pretty tricky to pace (at least for me).  Just being honest here, I was starting to "feel it" miles 10-11, but then I perked back up and felt like I flew to the end.  13.12 miles of success!  I will say that I am glad I don't have to run my long run like this every week.  ;-)

Total Miles Ran:  36.3
Total Running Workouts:  4 - 1 easy (with pickups), 1 just easy, 1 true recovery, 1 long w/pace miles.
Total Strength Workouts: 2
Total Yoga Workouts: 7 - I'm on a streak here!

Nutrition this week: Much better than last week!  With all of the holiday/birthday junk gone, it's much easier without the temptation.  This week included mostly whole foods and good ol' home cooking every day.  The majority of my junk food came last night in the form of a slice and a half of pizza and a few bites of ice cream.  Yeah!

Oh, I also got my FitBit from the Pittsburgh Marathon!

I've been wearing it for a couple of days now.  It's a pretty cool little gadget.  I plan on making a separate post about it after I've used it a little longer.

I love reading everyone's training stories.  I think its amazing to see a bunch of people who are totally different in backgrounds, abilities, needs and wants have a common purpose/goal.

Train on, my friends!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Winner, Winner!

It's a major award!

Ok, not quite like that.  And yes, I realize Christmas is over but my love for this movie and this moment is year round.

I just wanted to share something pretty cool.  Last weekend, as part of the Kick Off Training Run, the Pittsburgh Marathon was offering a virtual option.  This way you could still be part of the excitement and be entered to win some cool prizes.


Like I posted before, I was going back and forth over whether to physically attend the run or not and due to the ice I opted for the treadmill (after some more delicious sleep, of course).

The pic above is what I posted to Instagram and used the #GameOnPgh hashtag.  I didn't think much about it afterward - I mean, everybody was doing it. ;-)

I was completely shocked when I got this comment to the pic on Monday:
Talk about excited!!  I've only been tempted by a FitBit for FOREVER.  I know I've said this before but I'm nerdy, I like gadgets and numbers and stats and graphs and all that jazz.  This plays right into my obsessive needs and desires!  I can't wait to do things like track how I sleep (crappy, I know - my cat has been sleeping on my face lately and I'm up and down a lot), and how many steps I've taken in a day.  I used to use an old school pedometer like 10 years ago when I first started walking for exercise.  I'm currently using a GPS watch and other trackers on my phone (endomondo, etc), but just how many steps is in a ten mile run?  I want to know this!  And I will!  I also think it is great that it connects to MyFitnessPal which I use on a daily basis! 

So yes I'm giddy - just like old Dad was over his leg lamp.  I got an email this morning that they were sending it out today so I should be getting it soon.  Can't wait to share my geeking out with you!

Thanks again to the people at the Pittsburgh Marathon!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Marathon #2 Training Week 1

I'm off to a pretty good start here.  Hopefully this keeps up!  I'm going to try (no promises) to be better about my recaps this training cycle even when times get hard.  I'm not saying it's a "resolution" (I hate that word), but it's something I want to work harder at.  However, I'm going to also try to not make them too lengthy.  If you follow me on DailyMile or Instagram then you're pretty caught up on the details of my workouts and I don't like to be too redundant.

Monday:  I did Workout A of my strength training plan, which currently consists of: Hip Thrusts, Rows, Goblet Squats, Bench press, deadlifts, weighted leg lifts, elevated planks and side planks.  I followed it up with yoga.

Tuesday:  First run of the training plan and right out of the gate with my first tempo run in a long time.  I did 8 miles in total:  2 easy warmup (via hrm), 4 miles at tempo (all sub-8 min miles!), and then another 2 miles to cooldown (via hrm).  I was very pleased with this run.

Wednesday:  Workout B.  Single leg glute bridges, pullovers, walking lunges, military press, reverse hyperextentions on the stability ball, clamshells, ball crunches, and ball side crunches.

Thursday:  9 mile general aerobic run.  This was New Years Day and another set of firsts - no Jan 1 hangover and ran over 9 miles on a weekday!

Friday:  My birthday!  The main plan called for a rest day but it was the first day of #30DaysofYoga and I really don't think it's too much to do yoga on a rest day.  I'll continue to do this at least until this challenge is up.  The first day went very well.  I like how Adriene's starting off with just simple postures/poses and holds and stretches.  Just what I need!

Saturday:  A 4 mile recovery run was on the schedule.  I've been going back and forth all week on attending the official kick off run.  Mother Nature ended up making the decision for me with a wicked bout of freezing rain.  So I got to sleep for a few more hours (yay!) and then I went to the closest gym, which is thankfully just up the road.  I actually got a decent run in on the treadmill, although admittedly having to keep the heart rate in recovery range helped make the treadmill very easy.
After my run, I did day 2 of #30DaysofYoga, which was entitled Stretch & Soothe.  It was great, but more challenging than that title led me to believe!

Sunday:  First long run!  12 miles, ran via keeping my heart rate in the appropriate zone.  My plan has me running long runs at a higher heart rate than my general or recovery runs.  I like this so far and am interested to see how it works out for the longer runs to come.  I felt good at the end of this run and I feel good today!
Day 3 of #30DaysofYoga was great!  Lots of stretches for the hips which is exactly what I want post long run.  Lately my hip flexors seem to tighten up faster than anything else and it's good to loosen back up as soon as I can.

Total Miles Ran: 33.2
Total Running Workouts: 4 - 1 tempo, 1 easy, 1 recovery, 1 long
Total Strength Workouts: 2
Total Yoga Workouts: 4 ( I think this might be a record!)

Nutrition this week:  Just being honest here - terrible.  It was not only New Years, but my birthday as well, so there were more junk and treats and sweets and booze than a typical week.  I know this coming into this week every year so I don't beat myself up over it.  I can get back on track when the party's over.  :)

Because race shirts count as yoga wear.  I said so.

Friday, January 2, 2015

36 for my 36th

Happy Birthday to ME!!  Another year older, none the wiser. ;-)

I told the fam I wanted a fruit flavored cake this year and they couldn't decide what to make me.  This is what they came up with: Strawberry cake, Pineapple cake, and Lemon cream icing.  It was actually really good!

I thought something fun would be to make 36 statements to mark my 36th birthday.  They may be little known facts about me, goals I have, or embarrassing moments.

Hopefully you'll get a kick out of reading them, maybe learn something about me you might not have wanted or needed to know, and have a laugh along with me.

1.  I had a huge emotional sobbing meltdown when the clock struck midnight on my 30th birthday.  I thought I was soooooooooo old.  haha
2.  My two oldest kids have the same initials (ALL initials, not just the first name like the Duggars).  Since the youngest came along a few years later (surprise) we really didn't have any ideas for continuing the trend.  I often wonder if it will affect him someday.  ?
3.  My favorite color used to be black.  Now that I'm older it's more of a grey.
4.  I have Adie's Pupil.  My eyes will never be in "PERRL" status and it freaks newbie docs & nurses out until I tell them.
5.  #4 gives me some light sensitivity which is why I wear sunglasses more often in certain situations.
6.  I used to live in South Carolina.  I moved back to PA because I was afraid of the huge palmetto bugs.
7.  I am absolutely terrified of snakes.  Even typing that word made me shiver and I just looked under my desk.
8.  One of my kids is an ASD kid and I will totally go to bat for him any time, anywhere.
9.  I have been playing World of Warcraft for 10 years.  My main is a Troll Priest.  For the Horde!
10.  I ran track for a short period of time in high school.  I got kicked off the team for "having a horrible attitude".
11.  I used to be quite the singer. I was a first chair soprano in competition and went on to be a lead singer in a group.
12.  Once, after singing a lovely solo, I proceeded to turn around, walk too far and fall off the stage. (I was fine physically, but my ego was very bruised.  Yes, I was sober.)
13.  My first adult beverage was Southern Comfort in orange juice.  I don't think I'd choose to drink that today, but feel free to pass the Jack Daniels.
14.  I am a very shy person.  But once I feel comfortable with someone I will be the biggest mouth ever.
15.  I'm a list maker.  I have a list for what to do today, this week, this month, a store list for every store I need to go to, a list of things I want, a list of things I need.  It's all about the list.
16.  I used to really love Vera Bradley purses until everyone started carrying them.  Once I traveled back to central PA where I grew up and saw people with them, that ended that relationship.
17.  One of my pet peeves is excuses out of people for why they can't exercise.  Do you think I always like getting up at the crack of dawn to run?  Or that my fitness costs don't add up and wear me thin sometimes?  You have to decide what's really important to you!
18.  I used to think I felt safer in the country than the city.  As with other things, over the years this completely changed.  There's safety in numbers, right?
19.  My highest weight as an adult was 212.  My lowest was 93. I'm now in a happy place.
20.  I haven't taken my Christmas decorations down yet.  It might wait until Monday, to be honest.
21.  My toes are absolutely gnarly after training for and running a marathon.  Even my kids are grossed out by them.
22.  I think high heels are ridiculous and unhealthy and I refuse to wear them more than maybe once or twice a year.
23.  I really want another tattoo and am currently in the design making process in my head.
24.  I love watching garbage television when I have nothing better to do (or to avoid doing things I should be doing).  What's garbage?  Pretty much anything on TLC - 90 day fiance, Sex sent me to the ER, etc.  So stupid!
25.  One of the things I'm proudest of is killing my soda addiction.  99% of the time if I drink it now it's mixed with alcohol (and that's not an all the time thing).  I can't stand it otherwise and regret any time I slip and order it and all the free refills at a restaurant.
26.  My largest and fastest chunk of weight loss came between Kid #1 and Kid #2.
27.  I can NOT stand the leggings and boots (Ugg types especially) fashion trend.  But sometimes I cave and wear it too if I feel especially bloated and don't want to put on jeans.
28.  I believe in the Loch Ness Monster.  Really.  But not Bigfoot.
29.  My middle kid kicks my ass at Hearthstone.  And I have better cards than him!
30.  My favorite brand of makeup is Urban Decay, but I rarely wear makeup.  I hate sweating it off.
31.  I've never been to a Penguins game.
32.  I'm extremely afraid of heights.  I hate rollercoasters, airplanes, glass elevators in tall buildings, etc.
33.  I don't have a favorite type of music.  I can listen to most anything.  There are songs that suck and songs that are great in every genre.
34.  I think paranormal investigation is fascinating and I'd love to go along on a ghost hunt.
35.  Ever since having my thyroid tumor removed my metabolism has skyrocketed.  It's a blessing and a curse.
36.  My future fitness goals include running an ultramarathon, qualifying for the MCM club (running 5 MCMs = automatic entry forever), running in another country, qualifying for Boston before I'm 50, doing an unassisted/unsupported handstand, trying aerial yoga, and if I'm ever unable to run as much as I do now I want to delve further into bodybuilding and enter a fitness or physique competition.

Thanks for reading!

Balloon Tori picked for me! <3