What I’m Loving Lately: Last Week of Half Marathon Training, ‘Lazy’ Meal-Prepping, Exploring More of St. Pete

What I’m Loving Lately: Last Week of Half Marathon Training, ‘Lazy’ Meal-Prepping, Exploring More of St. Pete

Hello! We’ve made it to Friday-Eve! It seems like it’s been another long, but fast week. I feel like its Monday then I blink and its almost the weekend!

I’ve wanted to keep this cycle of posting more regularly on here, so this time around I’m gonna keep it short and sweet. Sharing with you what I’m loving lately in terms of what I’m into, my training, outside of fitness and work, and just LIFE in St. Pete!

RUNNING

This is the second to last week of half marathon training! I’ve put in quite a few miles (maxing at 35 miles last week) and have been feeling great. I’ve kept the twice in a row running (one easy, one hard intensity workout) with an active recovery day or rest day in between. I’ve kept this since January of this year, and I feel I’ve responded to it well. I enjoy a nice change in pace (LOL @ running puns) from the hitting the pavement with a bodyweight or strength workout at home or at work. I get a sweat without killing myself. I save the tough workouts for the road! 😉

I have my race, Run Singer Island Half Marathon on 4/20 on Singer Island (Palm Beach County where my parents live. Singer Island is about 20 minutes north). After that I have the Best Damn Leftover 5K Safety Harbor in June. I’m not sure where I’ll be when I’m done in June, but until then I plan to keep about 30-35 miles per week.

I’ve really been into yoga, foam rolling, and any restorative or deep stretching. I usually do this at night before bed along with PT exercises, but have found myself more into yoga and less self-guided type sessions. I sometimes will put on a Yoga with Adriene YouTube video and follow along which I did earlier this week that was heavenly. I’ve used my breaks at work to focus on more specific area of foam rolling (tennis ball under feel and ankle), along with more stretching of hips and back. At home at night, I put on my essential oil diffuser or sleepy time music on Spotify as a way to get myself ready for a good nights sleep. Today at work, I tried meditation for the first time! 30 minutes too! It wasn’t too bad or boring, another good way to de stress or add to your morning or evening routine.

This coming weekend I’m running the Runway 5K at Tampa International Airport with a few friends which I’m looking forward to. Shortest distance for me in a long time. 🙂 Excited to see how this goes!

LAZY MEAL PREP

Yep, it’s a thing. I reallllllyyyy have not been in the mood to cook all the meals or try anything brand new. The idea of me standing in the kitchen all afternoon just does nothing for me. I don’t feel like being creative, racking up large grocery bills (they’re never THAT expensive but still), plus clean-up. And for me in this moment, I’d say that’s totally OK! If you’re all in about cooking up a storm because that works for YOU, you do your thing! I feel like meal prepping goes in phases for me anyways, so I’m sure I’ll be back in the kitchen soon enough. I must say though, the Run Fast Cook Fast Eat Slow cookbook is AMAZING and even if you’re not a runner, there is seriously some good info and recipes in there. I’ve not made one thing I don’t like!

Since I do feel SOME kind of prep is needed for me, I stock up on frozen vegetables, easy to cook or pre-cooked meats or protein sources, and some pantry staple carbs.

These have been some common foods I’ve enjoyed the past couple weeks. They’re items I have on hand and take minimal time to prep. Whenever I use my pantry staples, anything really goes. I’m not too particular on how ‘well’ they will go together. Food is fuel so if its tasty, fresh, and ready to used, I’ll use it!

-Boxed pasta and rice- not necessarily whole wheat, gluten free, or organic—white enriched pasta that’s Publix brand as well as Publix brand brown instant rice.

-Just Grilled Chicken by Trader Joe’s- pre cooked grilled and frozen chicken strips. I cut some up, reheat and put ranch, everything bagel seasoning, and peppers on them! Really yummy for a quick chicken salad.

-Eggs- This I do buy often. I either go with a fried egg or hard boiled. Perfect snack, addition to a salad, on toast, in an egg scramble with veggies. Perfect!

-Frozen Veggies- Steam in a bag is what I prefer. I buy about three different kinds. Added fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and all you did was mic ‘em!

-Fruit- both fresh and frozen. I prefer fresh, so I always have bananas or apples on hand. I also have mixed berries which I love for yogurt or overnight oats.

-Oats- I don’t buy fancy steel cut. Old fashioned is fine for me! I make overnight oats for work and mix in a banana, yogurt or vanilla whey, PB2 powder, almond milk, and water.  I also really like mixed berries, yogurt, oats, and vanilla. Super convenient and tasty. They’re ready to eat as soon as I get to work and include a healthy balance of carbs, fats, and protein to start my day off right!

These are some staple items I’ve enjoyed the past couple of weeks! Like most people, we all have budgets and don’t wanna spend a fortune at the grocery store every week! I’m always surprised how much I can make do with what I have and still enjoy a healthy and satisfying meal.

EXPLORING ST. PETE & GETTING OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE

One thing I’ve committed more to this year is really delving into living and learning as much as I can about St. Pete. I truly truly love where I live. I never thought I would live over here, but this move was definitely a blessing in disguise!

Since life and other commitments have taken over the first half of the year since I bought my condo, I hadn’t yet made it to an HOA meeting. This is something I wanted to be in the know about, without getting too political about it 😛 I finally went to my first one earlier this week and introduced myself as, ‘Ali Swank in unit 310.’ I’ve been in touch with the property manager a few times to help answer some general questions, etc. but I wanted the board to also know who I was. There’s been talk about the smoking policy and making the community *hopefully* a smoke free place to live which I’M ALL ABOUT since I have smoker living under me (it’s not bad or a terrible nuisance, but I smell residual smoke on occasion and it occasionally deters me from using my patio…ANNOYING). I didn’t get all my panties in a twist at the meeting regarding this issue, but I wanted to make myself present. Putting myself out there, meeting others, becoming involved, that’s the goal! BOOYA.

On another note… 😀

One awesome thing about St. Pete is how much they push activity, exercise, and wellness. They’ve created an initiative called Healthy St. Pete that is all about raising awareness of a healthy and active lifestyle through free group fitness. Yes completely free!! Each Saturday of the month they feature either yoga, trail running, hula hooping, dance, basically anything! They meet all over local St. Pete parks on Saturdays. All you do is show up! How great is that?

Last weekend I attended the free first Saturday yoga in the park. It was done by a local yoga studio in St. Pete in Coffee Pot Park (off 30th Ave N) and it was AMAZING! I usually don’t crave a yoga class, but I did that day! Not only was it an amazing class, but I also went to push myself and get to know others in the community. I didn’t make a group of friends off the bat, but I put myself out and introduced myself which was a huge thing for me. If you know me, I come off shy and very reserved so I was super proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone.  I plan to continue to put myself out there and meet others in this community!

On that note, that’s all I have for now!

Thanks for reading and talk soon 😀

-Ali

 

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Shamrock Halfathon Recap + Life Updates

Shamrock Halfathon Recap + Life Updates

Good morning! It’s been a bit since I’ve been in this space. Life has just been busy. No news is good news right? I feel like I’m in a good head space with job, condo, and friends. I face adulting challenges and wins just like most 20 something year olds. Overall, I can’t complain!

WORK LIFE

I continue to love my job and the challenges it gives me daily. I love working with my manager who really gets me and is helping to develop me as a better group fitness instructor, personal trainer, and professional in this industry. She is seriously a great role model and mentor for me. Our members are most of the time* willing to learn and ask questions when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, interested in bettering themselves through health and fitness, and participate in our classes and programs. Of course there are *those* member that can make your life difficult or annoy you with 42574883 questions, but I try to remind myself that those people exist and play a role no matter how annoying or needy they seem.

Right now, were doing a program called “March Muscle Madness” where everyday for 4 weeks, participants either do a lift of the day (squats, push, pull, deadlifts, etc.) or a circuit that engages those muscle groups for a more involved workout. The point is consistency and getting as little as 10-15 minutes in for the lift or 15 minute in for the circuit depending on the time they have. They log the weight they used throughout the 4 weeks to see progress and baseline measurements. Everyone is really loving it and participation is high! My manager and I are ELATED that everyone is participating, asking questions, and making an effort. These are the little things about my job I LOVE. I must admit though, getting people to participate is like slamming your head into a wall sometimes. There is still a lot of intimidation when entering a gym or simply working out. People are scared to workout, sadly. However, we’re seeing progress in our traffic numbers and this program’s participation, so something is working! Woohoo!

RUNNING/TRAINING/WORKOUTS

Running has been my JAM lately. What a huge difference from where I was 6 months ago. I feel confident, strong, and powerful. I have found my workouts are good yet challenging, but just enough. I’m seeing results without killing myself. I have no pain and have religiously kept up with my physical therapy exercises and stretching daily. I would say this has been a HUGE make or break to my running comeback.

I train 6 days each week with 2 days being an active recovery/cross training day with one full rest day. I run 4x a week doing a tempo run, an easy run, a long run, and a speed work day. All quality workouts here! I adapted these workouts from the Hanson Method (which I love and feel truly works!) but needed to modify after coming back from PT. I knew I couldn’t do 6x a week full on without possibly hurting myself again, so I modified and swapped in active recovery/cross training days with the 2 easy run days the plan recommends. I look forward to other activities besides running and have found they have translated over well to my progress. Total I run 29-35 miles per week.

  • Active recovery/cross training: Mostly consist of walking or weights after finishing at work or first thing in the morning in my complex gym (I need to LEAVE my condo—focus is better and I can come back knowing I can relax when the workout is done). I aim for ~10,000 steps per day when I’m not running. Walks to the mailbox, moving throughout the day at work even when I’m not teaching, parking far away, etc. I’m not perfect, but I damn well try! 😉 I spend about ~45 min strength training. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I do a combination of legs/lower body either using the program we’re doing at work as mentioned above ^^ and upper body with some core thrown in. One of those sessions I add in PT strength training exercises I can’t do at home, like using a BOSU, step, or foam pad.
  • Tempo runs: These are DEATH. And they still are even modified! They’re great though and they’re working! I take one mile at a time, focus on feel, but also use this to PUSH hard. This is race pace!
  • Long runs: For anyone who has done a half or longer, you KNOW these are crucial! Slow and steady, a nice view/path, good music, and breakfast after. Love these!
  • Speedwork at UT: I joined a run group called Progressive Running in July of last year. I knew the Hanson speedwork sessions were tough and I secretly hated doing them alone. I love the group and the motivation we give each other at 5:30am! It’s a tough workout and early start, but I love how we’re all struggling together while chasing our goals.
  • Easy Runs: Just like says, EASY. I go slow, listen to good music, and go with the flow. I love going to Northshore Park in St. Pete. There’s shade, a nice view of the water, and a beautifully paved, wide sidewalk. Similar to the long run, I just don’t go as far.

CONDO

I’m still putting my little piece of paradise together! I feel like this is a never ending project anyways…like everyone says, ‘it’s never done’ meaning putting together their home…? I do hope to be a little further along in a couple months, but it IS a slow process. I recently bought an outdoor high top table for my porch which I’ll assemble this weekend (god grant me patience…no this isn’t IKEA). I’m excited! My place is really cozy and I’m so happy to be living where I am!

BOOKS

I’ve been really into reading over the past couple months. It’s a great night time activity after work or to enjoy by the pool. I read ‘Catcher & The Rye’ (late to the game, I know…this wasn’t required reading for me back the day :P) and am now reading ‘Becoming’ by Michelle Obama.

I’m not into politics and I don’t really consider myself a Democrat either (I’m an independent let’s be real here) but I really liked Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign. It was super eye-opening how she made her initiative happen and everything that was put into it. Reading about living in the White House, navigating being in the lime-light of politics among being a mom and being the first black First Lady was super interesting. She writes really well and it is almost like she is right there describing the good, bad, and ugly moments with you. A good read if you like something light.

SHAMROCK HALFATHON

I did my first every half since the Best Damn Safety Harbor Half in February 2018. I was so burnt out on the running and the Hanson method I couldn’t look at running that far anytime soon. With PT, the breakup, the start of my new job, graduation, there was a lot so I just stuck to easy runs and new the right race would come up when I’m ready.

The race was in Ft. Desoto and was pretty much an out and back route that was completely flat and kinda shaded. It was my first Florida Road Race series organized race too. If you haven’t done a Florida Road Race race it’s a pretty much no frills kinda race, very homespun, but well organized. I would do it again, but I personally like a lot of hype and a bigger crowd. This was local though, and a nice change too.

I felt strong the whole time and picked up the pace around mile 5 or so. Luckily the weather was cool and cloudy so that was a huge help. I think it would have been on the miserable side if it had been hot and humid. There was some shade, but not a lot.

I ended up finishing it in 1:49 minutes which is my second best half marathon time! I also placed 4th in my age group. I’ll take it! I have another half marathon April 20th called Run Singer Island (on the east coast of Florida). I’ll go home that weekend to run the race and spend Easter with my family. I’m excited!

Last update before I close out! I registered for my next marathon, the Palm Beach Marathon, which is December 8th! I won’t start training for that until August-ish but I’m in and super excited!! I can’t believe I’m doing my third marathon, but I’m ready to put in the work. Excited and a little nervous of course! 🙂

Talk soon,

Ali

 

 

Reflecting on 2018. Excited & Ready For What is to Come in 2019.

Reflecting on 2018. Excited & Ready For What is to Come in 2019.

Here we are again, one year later from my last reflection on 2017. I read my reflection post a year ago today, I was scary accurate! 2018 was a huge growth year for me. I felt all the feels: good, bad, the ugly. I had some amazing moments, experiences, learning opportunities, and accomplishments I’m really proud of. Some moments took a lot of guts, other moments were crushing and just sucked. In a weird way, I feel like I really ‘adulted’ more then ever this past year. I was pushed far out of my comfort zone. I felt feelings I had never thought I could experience. I believed in myself!

I don’t wanna list all my accomplishments because I think that’s tacky, but here are few that really made this past year stand out:

-Bought my condo in St. Pete!

-PRed my half marathon (1:45) using the Hanson Method. I busted my ass 6x a week running. I’m proud I committed myself to the program because the efforts paid off.

-Traveled to Ft. Collins, CO and Atlanta, GA. I had never been to Ft. Collins, and seeing my cousin and her husband made for a great long weekend hiking mountains, biking Ft. Collins, and drinking killer local beer. My mom and I surprised my Aunt for her birthday in August and it was a total success! We saw my cousin’s house and just chilled out. It was a perfect long weekend trip.

-Graduated with my Masters in Exercise Science & Nutrition Science from the University of Tampa! After two years, I did the damn thing and earned it. It was tough, but aside from the knowledge I gained, I made more friends and memories among all the late nights and early morning study sessions and classes.

-Got a full-time job! My first time in the corporate world. I love my job as fitness specialist working with the employees of New York Life in Tampa. I never thought I would be impacting the world of insurance through health and wellness, but here I am. I look forward to going to my job everyday.

Among these moments, were a ton of shitty ones too. I won’t lie. This was my toughest year yet. I don’t wanna dwell on the negatives, but here are some things I’m ready to peace-out to:

-The heartbreak I dealt with. First real relationship I had. I thought it was an ‘end all be all relationship.’ It clearly wasn’t. Things changed between us and we just wern’t the match I thought we were. People grow apart and I learned that. I just didn’t think this would happen to us. I’m grateful we ended on good terms, but its still awkward. I’ve run into him more times then I would like…*face palm emoji.* I’m still healing and I’m 100% ok with being single right now. It kind of is a breath of fresh air, actually!

-Dealing with a shitty apartment with a landlord who wasn’t the greatest. Ok, so it was that bad to begin with…but I can’t say it was wonderful either. This is a good example of not always jiving with everyone you work with. I learned to stand up for myself and leave a place I was no longer happy living in.

-Running and I had a love/hate relationship for the last half of the year. I was on/off since I had reoccurring aches and pains in my right calf. I finally decided my own treatment of ice and stretching wasn’t enough so I consulted a podiatrist and PT. I’m grateful for what I’ve learned and can happily say I’m on my way to crushing the pavement like I was earlier this past year!

In the end, all these happy and shitty moments all ended in one thing: a lesson. Among a lesson, I learned who my real friends were, made new friends, challenged myself, and ultimately more about myself then I ever thought! That’s all pretty sweet if you ask me.

I’m looking forward to a few things, more travel (domestically, and hopefully internationally!), miles on the pavement, new friends, good food, and even more adventures and memories!

Cheers to 2019!

-Ali

 

 

My First Few Weeks of Physical Therapy + A Good Balance with Exercise

My First Few Weeks of Physical Therapy + A Good Balance with Exercise

This has been a long overdue post! There’s been a lot going on with the holidays approaching, plus being busy as usual with work, etc. So I’m happy to be sitting down and sharing my physical therapy experience so far with you!

I went my first PT appointment the week after Thanksgiving at Optimal Performance Physical Therapy in South Tampa. I was pretty excited to get some help and learn something along the way. Plus I knew this was gonna lead me back to hitting the pavement hopefully sooner then later, so I was ready to learn and do all I could.

I had never been to a PT office, but this one was busy (are they all like this?). I was surprised at the amount of people who were in later in the afternoon and the amount of PTs working too. I saw all ages and abilities. I thought, “there’s really this many people that need PT?” as I watched people come in and out of the floor area steadily. There were even 2 people per PT (and there’s like 7 or 8 on staff regularly…). Luckily, that didn’t stall my appointment or anything. I was seen on time which I’m a stickler about. 😉 I had my evaluation where I explained everything and my PT, James,  who sent me home with exercises and stretches to do until we met for our next appointment:

Stretches and exercises I do once per day up to 5x a week, stretching multiple times per day:

  • Standing calf stretch- knee locked and heal against wall or off a step (we all know this one, but I hardly ever do it…reason #1 I need some guidance… LOL).
  • Standing soleus stretch- knee bent, heal/foot against the wall.
  • Exercises with resistance bands 3×15
    • Inversion
    • Eversion
    • Anterior tibialis
  • Tennis ball posterior tibialis roll out (as often as possible)

My PT is really nice and very easy going! So far he’s pretty chill about answering my questions and explaining everything. My heart actually skipped a beat when he did say I can run, just up to 1.5-2 miles 3x per week after my eval. I was ELATED! Although this is really low mileage for me, I’ll take anything I can get. He advised no consecutive runs, making sure I have a day of rest between runs or doing spin in between.

The following week, after seeing him twice, I explained my symptoms which were lessened thanks to soreness from our sessions and the exercises on my own. I was advised to add TWO runs consecutive which is symptom dependent. Honestly weeks that I can run have been hit or miss so I run when I can and fill in with walking, spin, or strength training.

Three miles have been my max mileage per run. If I don’t do 3 miles, I run 1.5-2 miles a couple times per week. The mix in mileage has been good since the short runs don’t take too long (less then 30 min). It’s kinda nice for a change running shorter distances instead dedicating a chunk of my morning to being on my feet! I take my pace easy regardless of the distance. The best feeling though is knowing I haven’t lost any running fitness or endurance. I’m thanking the spin classes that!!

Since I just added in 3 miles this week, I think my calf is getting used to it. I do feel some stiffness towards the very end, but I don’t push it. I try to be in-tune to my body after my runs, when the aches and pains set in. So far none of that!

So far, this has really been a humbling journey for me. I’m still appreciating the low-impact workouts while adding in some easy runs. I’m realizing running 3 miles is an accomplishment on its own! I would discount running 3 miles because it wasn’t “as far” as running 5, 6, 7 miles like I was. Taking care of your body and going slow is another lesson I’ve been learning. No one is measuring or comparing your distance or pace against another’s. On Instagram it feels like it is (I went off it because because the comparison trap is a real thing, not sure when I’ll return honestly). I’m working out and I’m feeling great without pushing mileage. I don’t fret about getting in a certain amount of mileage each day or when it will happen. Right now there’s a good balance.

In a bit, I look forward to adding more mileage pain free. But for now, I’m just moving when I can and getting stronger in the process!

Thanks for reading & Merry Christmas, friend!

My First Thanksgiving in St. Pete, Lots of Spin Classes and Physical Therapy, & Hosting My First Christmas Party

My First Thanksgiving in St. Pete, Lots of Spin Classes and Physical Therapy, & Hosting My First Christmas Party

I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving and long weekend! I sure did 🙂 I enjoyed all the company I hosted as well as all the super delicious food that was eaten. YUM.

It was definitely a packed condo I had, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Two bathrooms (thank god), two twin beds (put together into a daybed), one queen blow up mattress, one double bed I shared with my cousin (who I love dearly…but DAMN it was small), and 6 full bellies and grateful hearts. We ended up taking out from Mazzaro’s Italian Market which was so good and so easy!! My mom was determined not to kill herself in the kitchen so after careful thought, we went with Mazzaro’s. We had all the traditional fixings and sides plus pecan and pumpkin pie. Not only did I host Thanksgiving for the first time (with my mom’s help), but this was the first Thanksgiving I ENJOYED the food I ate without attaching any guilt, shame, deprivation, or restriction to it. In the past I would have had all the anxiety of consuming “unclean” foods, then give myself a hard time about it. I had not one single disordered thought and it was AMAZING! I’m so glad I spent my energy on creating memories with my family instead of tracking my food or running off to exercise. So liberating!

Running has been on and off for a bit now. As soon as I felt “better” I would feel aches and pains in the same spots on my ankle and shin after a run. I knew this was chronic at this point, so I switched over to spin classes for the time being. I also contacted a few running buddies of mine and they sent me over their recommended specialists they saw for similar issues. I made an appointment with Bayshore Podiatry while my mom was in town last week and I’m so glad I did. I don’t have a stress fracture, which I thought I did, but instead just have chronic overuse and weakness in my front right shin/lower leg. I was told its muscle imbalance which can be fixed with physical therapy. YAY! I’m excited to learn something and get back into running ASAP. I have some big goals for 2019 (marathon again…:) ) and I know getting the rest and strength now is better then later. I go to my first appointment on Thursday. I’m pumped!!!!

In a weird way, this time off from running has given me a new appreciation for it. I’m learning to include my low impact workouts too. Spinning, walking, strength training on my own, and yoga are a few new types of fitness I’ve really been enjoying. Running will always be my favorite, but there is something to be said for including other types of fitness in your workout routine! Even as a person working in this industry, I even need this reminder!

Yoga, the Peloton, and strength training I do at work. I treat myself a couple times a week to Soho Cycling which I love. I also would like to get back in the pool too since that would be a good addition! I do hope I can start running like 1-2 miles soon (maybe Friday, the day after my appointment…? :)) to get back that endorphin kick! Spin and yoga are cool, but I really just don’t get that same empowering endorphin trip that running gives you, ya feel??

In other news, I’m hosting a Christmas Tree Decorating party on the 9th, which I’m so pumped for my also very nervous…LOL. I’ve always been hesitant to through a party for more then like 2 people, but I’m so proud of my little home in St. Pete I wanna show everyone! (…I have about 8-10 interested in/planning to come. O.M.G). I got a real tree with my family this week, and my place smells AMAZING. I wish you readers could smell my place because CHRISTMAS has arrived! I’m gonna do a lasagna, salad, and garlic bread, some wine and egg nog, and christmas cookies. My mom wants to drive over for the occasion too! UGH I’M SO EXCITED.

I hope you had a good first day back to reality after this eating good weekend 🙂 I have turkey coming out of my ears for the next several days so complaints here!

Have a great week, friends!

Refocusing on Recovery and Taking a Break From Running

Refocusing on Recovery and Taking a Break From Running

After I ran the Ronnie’s Run a few weeks ago, I not only chaffed like a MF, but I overdid (and realized I’m also lacking) in more ways then I thought.

About a week after the race, I took it easy and did some easy runs (3-4 miles, maybe 5) and slowly got back into it since the race. I decided after a few of those, that I could up the mileage and challenge myself. A weekend or so ago, I ran 3 miles on Saturday, 7 miles on Sunday, and 5 miles on Monday. Rested Tuesday (typical day of rest). After 7 miles, I felt tight and achy. I never stretched or foam rolled. I just moved on with my day. I never questioned the next morning when I would plan to do 5. During the 5 miles, I felt tight at the beginning. Kinda typical right? The first mile is always a warm-up mile for me. *Side note: I have terrible if not, just non-existent warm-up routine that I rarely do. It’s needs work and it’ll become obvious why later…lol.

I was pushing the pace and felt good for most of it. On the last 2-3 miles of the run though my right foot, ankle, calf, hamstring…basically my whole right leg just ACHED and HURT. Like WOAH! This kind of pain was something I had not had since high school (ran cross country in high school, dealt with similar issues). I thought I just didn’t recover enough post seven miles, which was clear, but I also knew off the bat, I just pushed my body too far, too fast.

It’s been over a week since I had run last. I’m still having some issues with that side, and it’s annoying as hell. I’m doing my own rehab with help from my manager at work, plus foam rolling, and just taking it as opportunity to slow down. The universe has a funny way of making you just CHILL. It doesn’t hurt to walk, but any impact is questionable. I think it’s just overuse, but I know I also have tight calves and not so good ankle mobility. I’m getting new shoes this week so I’m hoping that will be a huge help!

Although I’m annoyed that I can’t just “go run”,  I’m using this little break to focus on other parts of fitness I typically by-pass. Aka: flexibility and cross training.

SO. Here I am, over a week of not running, but turning it around and making it a learning opportunity. Since I’m not on the run, I’ve decided since the day I hurt myself (10/22?) until the end of October to focus on flexibility. Keeping it simple and mixing in a combination of strength (balance, split squats, single leg deadlifts, towel curls for ankle/foot strength), mobility, gentle stretching, foam rolling, and yoga. I hate all of these things because they’re boring…being real here…but at this point, I know I need them all more then ever.

Among flexibility, I’m hopping on the bike more! I forgot how much I really like spin classes. They’re hard AF. I’m challenged the entire time and I get a similar movement pattern to running. It doesn’t bother my ankle or calf at all. I’m either at Soho Cycling (love the instructors and vibe there!) or the Peloton at work. I’d love to get in a pool too, since I miss that, but haven’t explored that as much yet. Among the bike, I’m also doing 2x per week strength training. Another thing I like, but not as much as I love cardio. Strength training is such a love/hate for me. 30 minutes is perfect and I feel SO SORE afterwards. I know my body is thanking me for all this change and less impact.

It’s funny, because now that I’m not running, I’m taking a totally different approach to exercise. Running is my love and will always be. But I’m seeing that there is more to life then just getting miles in. I’m enjoying the change of pace and I’m still being active, just in a different way. I feel more at peace and less stressed ironically. A few things in my life are taking on a similar perspective. If I don’t get “high intensity” activity in or my steps are less then 10,000…it’s a reminder that it’s not the end of the world. I end up focusing on other parts of my life that I enjoy like catching up with friends over coffee, organizing my new home, feeling focused and productive at work, and enjoying simple forms of movement like yoga or just walking.

Once I feel ready to return to running, I’m gonna ease into it SMART. A warm-up and cool-down will be a more regular part of my routine. Foam rolling and mobility will continue to make an appearance more often. I’ll either head over to Soho Cycle or the Peloton more often then every 3 months. I’m gonna enjoy the fact I CAN run and enjoy it and not always be so on pace.

As much as this has been a change for me, I’m kinda grateful I’m taking this bit of time off. I know it will lead to being better then I was before!

Happy Friday, friends! 🙂

 

 

 

Ronnie’s Run 10 Miler Recap

Ronnie’s Run 10 Miler Recap

Third time posting in a month or so…WIN! I’m excited to be here more regularly lately, so let’s keep this going!!

Last week I posted about on how I was having a low key weekend plus the Ronnie’s Run 10 miler race. It was definitely low key and productive, which in the midst of all the condo stuff I’ve been doing lately, it was nice to switch the focus to something else for a change.

Let’s start this 10 miler recap from the night before, because I have a few things I like to do to get my head set for a race the next morning.

I worked until 7pm Friday night and came home knowing it was gonna be PIZZA night. I always have a high carb dinner the night before a long run or race and knew the Publix Margarita Pizza was sure to hit the spot (pasta, pizza, baked or sweet potato, something with rice alongside chicken and a small salad/vegetables are my go to meals before a long run). I laid low, watched tv (food network or whatever on Hulu), read my book (Sidney Sheldon is what I’m reading now…so good! combo or mystery and romance), and was in bed around ~9pm.  I never have any alcohol since it gives me headache and leaves me feeling slugglish the next morning (light weight over here) so I skip it altogether and save some for post race. Call me a grandma, but I love nights like this any day of the week. I feel relaxed and ready to tackle the next day with confidence. I did this same kind of thing before my first marathon and pretty much every other half I’ve done. Same goes for getting ready for work the next day, an event, just wanting to feel rested, etc. It’s proved a successful pre-run routine, so I’ve stuck to it ever since!

Ready to run, I woke up at 6am to drive down to Ft. Desoto. Ft. Desoto is a beautiful and historic area and state park. It has beaches all along the shore and nice flat gravel roads and sidewalks—perfect for running, walking, and biking! They have pavilions, piers, plenty of parking, cute cafes/sandwich shops, and all kinds of outdoor recreation rentals (paddleboards, bikes, kayaks, you name it!). Not to mention, the historic fort you can walk through and explore. It’s basically the perfect place for a race, and in fact—they offer triathlons and other races there throughout October-April.

I arrive at the park at 6:30am ish and park at the north beach. A lot of cars begin to arrive and runners and walkers start exiting their cars to walk, run, and warm-up. They had vendors near the starting line, bathrooms, and music so a bunch of people, including myself head over there. From there I warm-up and head back to the vendor area. I find a friend from my outdoor bootcamp days and graduate program, Liz of Liz Anthony Nutrition who sells protein bites (AMAZING by the way!) and we chat until we head over to the start together. There was a 5k race which she did and the 10 miles which I did. Both races started together until the 5k veered off from the 10 mile course. Another cool thing, was the fact that the 10 miler race had pacers. I don’t really use the pace groups, and wasn’t planning on using them, but I ended up sticking with the ~9 minute pacer for the first 5 miles. I felt good and strong. All the training group runs I’ve been doing since July were paying off!

It wasn’t until the turnaround point (~5 miles, an out and back course) that I felt I was slowing down. I became sluggish and my strength to keep up was waning. At this point, I had about ~4 miles left to go, and was having every negative thought get into my head. I finally talked myself out the negativity and reminded myself of positive mantras. Some included “one foot in front of the other”, “run your own race”, “you are made to do tough things”, “keep moving”, “you can do this”, and what felt like a million other little phrases of affirmation to get me through. I admit, the further I’ve run for this race was 7 miles, about the right time I felt sluggish with about ~3-4 miles left to go. I kept saying these phrases over and over and didn’t let the pace group I saw leave my view get to me.

As I continued to slow, I gave myself permission to walk through the water stops for the last 5k of the race. I never do this, and was initially hard on myself for “giving in” but I knew I wanted to feel good and finish strong whatever the clock said. I don’t think it took much time off, so it was definitely well worth it to give myself a mental break and get some water (it was starting to get warm out too).

I finished in 1:34, which I am pleased with and will take despite how I felt during the last half. I estimated an hour to an hour and a half, and I was pretty much right on!

The post race celebration was good yet simple. A no-frills type of finish. They handed out chocolate milk (YUM! hit the spot too) and water. They didn’t really have breakfast or food (like no bananas…hmm). It ended up being fine because I ended up leaving shortly after saying goodbye to my friend Liz and heading back home to get my new dresser delivered!

The one con of the whole event, was not the event itself, but the fact that I chafed like a mother f***** and I will NEVER wear shorts for that distance or longer ever again!! lol. I’m not being dramatic when I say that I was torn up and so uncomfortable for about 4 days. Thank God for nonstick antibacterial gauze pad and yoga pants LOL. I just started back running today (one week later). I bought those Nike biker longer training shorts so, if anything, I’m expanding my workout wardrobe LOL.

Moral of the story, I did this race because I wanted a baseline measurement before starting my half marathon training in a few weeks. I now know what I have to work on, and I am ready and excited to once again commit to the Hanson marathon method again!

Have a fabulous weekend friends 🙂

Reseting and Doing My Own Thing…Excited For my First Low Key Weekend

Reseting and Doing My Own Thing…Excited For my First Low Key Weekend

It feels like I’ve been here, there, and everywhere during the month of September. Which is good, because I got a lot done! Moving, continuing to get acclimated in my job, adding running back into the mix more regularly, eating healthy (can be hard when you’re on the go), showing and doing fun stuff with friends IN my new condo and in St. Pete, my mom visited to better help me organize my place, getting over the breakup (much better for it and happier), Junior League commitments, worked my other jobs (fitness desk at the Tampa Yacht Club and babysat). Yeah. That’s a lot both physically and emotionally.

But I also felt overwhelmed with it all happening. As much as I love being busy, I realized I am a 100% introvert. I love to be with friends and do fun things, and don’t get me wrong, I loved having people see my place and get involved with JLT—but I am learning I need to reset and do my own thing equally as much. I am still thinking about the breakup from time to time. The more I think about thought, the happier I am that I am not dating right now. I’m doing ME and I’m grateful in an odd twisted way that I am not with him (still hurts a little writing that though).

This is the first weekend coming up that I VERY minimal things planned! I have time to lounge around and just chill. I have a 10 miler race this weekend that I’m doing alone and I couldn’t be more excited to just focus on the race, do my own thing without knowing what to expect, and without the need to be anywhere right after. I do have something later in the day, but have time to sleep before that! 🙂

Let me tell you what I plan on doing with my chill time (I’m excited to share!):

Binge watch the first season of This Is Us (I’m late on the bandwagon but that is what hulu is for)

Meal-prep: I love to cook and be in the kitchen. Especially because I have a FULL kitchen! Give me something homemade and nourishing. On another note, send me your suggestions for meals you love. Would love to hear what you like to make in the kitchen.

Clean: Not really exciting…but whatever it has to get done.

-Running Ronnie’s 10 miler race! Really excited for this since I’ve never done a 10 miler. Not a half, but longer then a 10k/5k. It’s a PR no matter what right?

Some kind of workout Sunday with stretching and mobility: Not sure what I’m thinking…probably a short run. Definitely mobility and stretching at some point. My body really needs this lately. I make sure to devote time for this at work on slow mornings or before bed.

I’m excited to reset and enjoy just being me doing what I love to make me feel my best. These things bring me happiness (minus cleaning) and I’m good with that. Sometimes I feel we have to running around like a chicken with their heads cut off to look “productive.” I did that in September and it was too much. Excited to have a low key weekend in my little condo all to myself 🙂

What do you have going this weekend? Are you chilling, busy, or a mix of both?

 

What I’m Loving Lately + Life Updates

What I’m Loving Lately + Life Updates

Hello!!! It’s been several months since I last logged on here. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon my like page (aliswankfitness) last week and started that up again, but also so a post I wrote about rest and it all of the sudden hit me— I missed blogging/writing on here. I love reading other blogs, and thought to restart mine up again.

SO…I’m DONE with school woo!! I graduated in May with my masters in Exercise Science and Nutrition from The University of Tampa. I have a full time job as fitness specialist working through HealthFitness at New York Life. I love my job and can happily say I’m working in the field that I studied to be in.

My year started out great, all of the sudden on Memorial Day weekend, I had my heart broken, my AC went out, all complete with a terrible experience with my landlord. Thank God I have job to keep me sane and the most amazing friends I could ask for throughout the summer. Of course no one wants their heart broken or deal with heartache, but I couldn’t even live in my place because of no AC (which took a month to get back…long story for another day) to be alone or just be upset. My AC got fixed, but with other issues of the apartment come up later, I ended up moving out. My ex lived across the street and I saw and dealt with more cockroaches then I would prefer. At the same time, my running and exercise became sh** and I gained about ~20 lbs. My mental state was out the window.

Just being real, this was my summer. Sh** hit the fan, but I didn’t let it stop me. I simply honed in on people and things that made happy and cut the extra BS from my life. I took a week off exercise and several months of minimal to no social media. My parents came to visit. I traveled to Ft. Collins and Atlanta to see family I hadn’t seen in awhile. I learned who my real friends were and that people are truly kind and care. I journaled almost everyday. I joined the Junior League of Tampa and the Progressive Training Team.

Right now, I’m in a completely new chapter of life. Moving forward from this past forward, here are a few things I’m loving lately:

So I said I ended up moving…to St. Pete!! Right now, I’m in the process of decorating my condo…something so foreign to me! I look on pinterest all the time and shop around at home good, TJ maxx, Pier 1, even Goodwill for decorating ideas and furniture. I have a couch and side table…that’s about it! LOL! I do have a TV and an eating area but it’s pretty much bare bones.

I’m building back a base for running. Summer running went out the window. I hurt and I wasn’t gonna further stress my body. Labor day weekend I got back into and signed up for two races. I’m doing Ronnie’s Ron 10 miler and St. Pete Run Fest 10k. I’m running six days per week just to get time on my feet. Nothing intense. No long runs. Just a consistent amount of miles per day (3-6 miles). I add core or total body circuit at the end sometimes. I love my training group and the motivation and accountability it gives me. I’ve met new people and am getting faster so complaints there!

I joined the Junior League of Tampa. This is a great outlet for me since it is non-fitness related. If you’ve followed this blog for long enough or know me in real life, you know I’m all about fitness!! Having a different interest thrown into the mix has been so helpful. I’m tapping back into volunteering and networking with other girls I may have not met through running. Each person I’ve met has been so interesting and brings something to the group. If it hadn’t been for Junior League, I would not have met some of these women or participated in events I’ve wanted to do (Epcot food and wine festival, girl’s night night dinners and socials).

I’m working on myself again. Taking time to try new things, meet new friends, focus on performing my best at work, and self care other then fitness has been really important for me. I feel good when I eat and sleep well. I have said no a lot without feeling guilty (still takes a lot of work). AND…I’m getting back to little space again!

That’s all for now. I can’t wait to update you on all the things going on and coming up in this new chapter 🙂

 

Reflections Over Resolutions: 2018 The Year of Growth

Reflections Over Resolutions: 2018 The Year of Growth

Happy New Year!

I’ve been reflecting on 2017 for the past few days and have some pretty awesome accomplishments, memories, adventures, and people in my life. Alongside those amazing things, I’ve had some tough moments along the way too. Ya gotta take the good times with bad (or meh) moments right? A lot of lessons learned and struggles along the way too but I wouldn’t change those either. I focus on what has changed me for the better.

This year I can tell is gonna be a huge growth year for me. I’m super scared but excited! I enter this year with some hesitation honestly. But I know keeping good vibes in the front, the people that care and support me nearby, and a focus on the end goals, I will f***ing SHINE 😀

Ready to tackle:

Turning 25. A solid year. Also a quarter century old. Ha! I feel this gonna be a good point in my life to really invent myself outside of this runner girl-fitness junkie type persona I have. I will always be me, but with a few other goals, intentions, responsibilities, and [more] mature mindset.

Graduating with my Masters in Exercise and Nutrition Science this May from The University of Tampa. This is probably the most scary. I’m leaving the schooling world for good. No more being a student in a classroom. I love learning and believe you’re never too old to learn something. This time around though, it won’t involve being in a classroom or needing textbooks. I see the light and am ready to start the next part of my life! It has taken me two years to complete this program. I took this whole grad school thing slow because I truly wanted to leave knowing I had a direction after graduation. I had two internships. One was less then what I had hoped the other was the opposite and was completely full-filling. I have met more friends in the program and have become close with so many then I would have ever expected! Grad school is a completely different experience then undergrad. Extremely difficult academically but OH SO worth it among all the other things I have learned and gained.

Starting the process of making a career change to become a teacher. If someone said that I would look into becoming a high school health teacher I would have laughed. I thought it was a silly idea. With my experiences in Special Olympics being a health and wellness instructor, it has completely been a game changer for me. Sharing my passion of health and fitness with students is something I believe is so important to long term health and something I get excited thinking about. No other opportunity has given a sense of excitement like Special Olympics does or this idea of becoming a teacher. I’ve found that finding that “spark” means SO MUCH. This is a spark I’ve been looking for and think as of now, I may have found it.

Less group fitness and personal training. I’ve had this gig for the past two years now. I like it and it’s definintely a great fit for me while in school, but I see this part of my life stepping back a little this year. With becoming a teacher, I won’t have time to teach noon or mid morning group classes. Although I’ll have time to train some clients either still early or late in the day, I’m not sure if I’ll want to prioritize my time that for that if I have to grade homework or papers. Depending on my schedule, I may keep some clients that have been consistent with me because I enjoy working with them and seeing them progress in their fitness goals. I train facetime for some, so that could be an option I work more with versus in person training. I’ve also considered writing more training programs for people that they complete on their own and going about it that way. Hmmm…many options to consider! Whatever the case, I know I’ll always be ready to play the role as personal trainer or group instructor. Knowing me, I’ll probably have at least one class or client on my schedule whereever I am!

Balanced eating habits without binging, restrictions, guilt, or shame. This is one is odd to share in a sense because I don’t really talk about this much and am still working on. I definintely experienced some disordered eating this past year. Not good. I still remained healthy for the most part (I was never diagnosed with an eating disorder!) but I had habits that crept in and out and affected my thoughts on food and exercise. I did gain some weight and felt overall blah at points too. Sadly, I would punish and restrict myself because of this and deemed certain foods bad and good. Next thing I knew, I was binging on all the “bad foods” and it all became a vicious cycle. I knew this was something to change. Luckily this did NOT affect my health and only lasted a short time. Listening to podcasts, talking with my mom, logging my food, and journaling have been key components on some habits I’ve changed. I’ve created healthier habits that took time–about six months worth of work. My head is in a much better place now. I eat whatever I want. All mindfully. With *minimal binges and restrictions (hardest part still). Compared to how I was living the first part of 2017, this is completely different. I have good and bad days, but have SO MUCH control and a healthier mindset then how I started off 2017.

Saying YES to more often. One thing I learned about myself this year, is that I hold myself back. I tend to go with the flow and not make too much noise about anything. I said ‘no’ to fun things because I was afraid I wasn’t good enough or that it would deviate from my goals. I need to start LIVING life and have fun too. My balance wasn’t bad but needed some adjusting. Time to keep getting out of my comfort zone! I think this is something that is always a work in progress. Planning for more days of YES and less days of “I’m afraid and unsure.” 😉