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

 

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

 

 

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 🙂

My Experience Using The Hanson Marathon Method So Far

My Experience Using The Hanson Marathon Method So Far

MERRY CHRISTMAS! It’s so hard to believe that this year is basically through. Wasn’t it just Easter last week?? So many great adventures and memories this past year. Also, many challenges and struggles that go alongside. I’m almost through grad school…that alone makes me feel all kinds of things. One more semester! I am glad to be seeing the light I must admit. Excited to see what the last bit of the year brings and what new adventures are in store of me in 2018.

One thing that has been a big challenge for me that I started around the end of September, was the start of using the Hanson Marathon Method for the Best Damn Race- Safety Harbor Half. I had heard of the program through other runners I know and heard it was a great, yet challenging progrom. I figured I’d give it a shot. I’m all about breaking my time for a half marathon (1:51:51) and figured this would be the push I need. Long story short…it has!

The program I’m using is the Hanson Advanced Half Marathon program. I read their book, The Hanson Marathon Method (no affiliate link, just want to spread the love 🙂 ), which goes into detail about the purpose of each workout, benefits of them, modifying them, and their philosophy..”cumumlative fatigue.” After looking between the beginner and advanced half plans (no “medium” half plan LOL) I went with the advanced taking into consideration my experience with the half marathon distance (I’ve run 10) and being fairly fit enough to handle the speed work. One thing that made me the most nervous was not the workouts (although yes), but running six times per week. I came from running three to four with a few days of cross training and weights mixed it. I went into the first week feeling not to confident, but agreed that I would take it one day at a time. I didn’t look at the workouts within the first week because honestly, I was so incredibly nervous! I knew this program was gonna push me out of my comfort zone. But I was excited for the challenge and ready to be pushed. It was defininely a mindset change for me.

The plan is a total of eighteen weeks. I’m on week thirteen. I have never felt this challenged in all of my running life. Seriously! I’ve trained for two full marathons and other halves and my training runs have never been this strategic. Of six days of running, there are three easy runs, two hard runs (speedwork and tempo runs), and a long run. One rest day. I add on my own one to two fifteen minute bodyweight workouts after two of my easy runs. The long run doesn’t get added until about half way or into the program and that I would consider that an easy run even though it’s long.

I love how the easy paces are TRULY EASY…I look forward to those knowing I can take it as easy and there’s no pressure. I use music and have fun with it. The pace range is pretty broad here which makes it nice. My pace range for easy runs are between 9-10:30 per mile which depends on my goal finish time (the Hanson method comes with a pace calculator for your goal finish so you know which paces to hit for each workout).

The hard workouts are defininely ones you wanna show up with your GAME FACE on. Paces are important to hit, and they stress that. I let those kinda loom over me each week to be honest, but I tackle them anyways. They seriously are the ones I wanna curse at but I find that I need the hard ones. This are the workouts that are GETTING ME to my goal finish. I keep that in mind before I start them (and know that these workouts are tough, but they don’t last forever either).

Six days of running and I defininely feel that a rest day in crucial. I started with that day being a “easy bodyweight strength day”…yeah no. I need that time to rest for real!! I feel so much better and know it’s doing my body good to not be pounding the pavement.

Among all this running, I got serious about my stretching and mobility routine. I was so-so on it and kinda got away with the bare minimum. Now that my mileage is so high, keeping my legs fresh with mobility exercises helps out so much. I’m much less stiff and achey. My mobility routine usually consists of hip movements, rotation through the pelvis and torso, hamstrings, and calves. Other static stretching and use of the foam roller I use too. I’m thinking I’ll do a seperate post on my recovery routine since it is worth it’s own spotlight!

Now with the holidays here, I’ll be away so I’ll have to turn to the treadmill while away in Steamboat. I’m not quite sure if I’ll do more maintance running or if I should really follow the plan through. I know I will be doing some running each day as planned and go from there. UGH. I hate the ‘mill and honestly it makes me not too excited, but I’ve come so far and don’t want to lose out and any training! We’ll see.

Overall, I am seeing big improvements!! I was so hesitant on this program but knew I had to trust the process. I’m beyond excited for what the rest of the program holds (even though I’m quite frightened in a good way)! I’ll know I’ll be ready to crush my half in February with this program!

YOUR TURN:

  1. Are you training for any races in 2018
  2. What are some challenges or successes you had lately? How did you overcome challenges? How did you succeed?
  3. What are your goals going into 2018? Either workout or non-workout related?

 

3 Lessons I Learned When I Ditched My Garmin For A Week

3 Lessons I Learned When I Ditched My Garmin For A Week

First, let me just say that I never intended to run without my Garmin for a week…LOL. I’ll be the first to admit I’m attached to their watch just as much as the next runner is. I’m super dependent on it and rely on it big time since I’m in training for my next half…Best Damn Race Safety Harbor!

Quick back story…my original Garmin Vivoactive HR watch (read more about it here) got flaky over Labor Day weekend so I sent it back and was sent a new one—free of charge—within a few weeks thanks to Hurricane Irma. Yay! Two months later, the watch they sent me became flaky AGAIN…NOT a happy camper at this point…so I sent it back and gave Garmin a piece of my mind. I’m pretty sure this was the universe giving me signs to slow down or something since the week before I had a procedure to remove an ingrown toenail…sorry TMI 😛 Anyways, I’ll have my new watch—again free of charge—-by the beginning of next week. Hopefully. Luckily Garmin was great and was extremely apologetic on the phone. Seriously though…runners in training do not have time for watch malfunctions!

That being said, I learned a lot about myself and my training when going without it. I was pretty surprised actually. It kind of added stress I didn’t know was there. When the watch went away, it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders! Some eye-opening things, folks.

  1. I learned I was very dependent on my pace or distance and letting that determine if my run was “good” or not. Typing that…I’m like really?? LOL. When you’re on a roll and pushing yourself, it feels good to see improvement. But after a while, it felt like the watch was dictating my life which I didn’t like. I’m hitting certain paces in my training which I like and gives me something to work towards, but the central focus on numbers in general definitely messed with my head. I realized I completely disregarded any sense of enjoyment or peace I was getting from my runs and knew that needed to change!
  2. Running for effort is just as effective as pace. Running for effort is something I don’t do a lot of because I always have my watch. But ditching the watch and letting your body be the one in control is pretty cool. Your body really knows what’s up and can tell you some important things if you’re not stuck in a numbers game! Another part of training that has helped take the pressure off.
  3. I am reminded of the original reason of why I run. I run because it makes me feel good, empowers me to work hard, gives me confidence, is a stress-reliever and therapy, and is just plain FUN.

SO, as of now, I still do not have my watch. I’m running the rest of the week without it until it arrives next Monday, the 6th. I’m embracing the fact I still don’t have it (convincing myself more like but you get it) but I must say it’s nice not stressing about pace, calories, or distance (I’m using Map My Run to help me with turnaround points). This training is for enjoyment as much as it is a PR.

Thanks to this inconvenience, you could say I’m “okay” with going without a watch for now. It’s kind of fun going back to the “old days” when none of us had these fancy watches. However, I’m looking forward to getting my watch back and seeing if I’ve improved without it! These couple weeks have been an eye-opener in a sense of going without the watch more often. This is something I’m going to implement going into the next few weeks of my training cycle. In the meantime, I challenge YOU to go without your watch for just one run and see how you feel. You might be surprised!

YOUR TURN:

Do you run by effort? Do you have a watch you rely on?

Do you run for fun or training for something now?

Why do you run?

Six Reasons To Use a Training/Workout Log

Six Reasons To Use a Training/Workout Log

Hey There! Hope you all have had a great summer! It’s hard to believe the summer is almost (if not already) over. I go back to school next week so this is my last week of summer. I’m ready to head back, although not being class these past few months have been nice. Last year of grad school, I’m ready for ya!

One of my goals this summer was to crank out three blog posts. Unfortunately, that didn’t quite happen. I was not really motivated to create a new topics or felt the need to share regularly to be honest—until last night!

Last night I was relaxing and saw my training log journals on my bookcase. I thought it would be fun to go over and read through them. I have journals from my training through undergrad, the summers in between, and my first marathon training…2014, 2015, and 2016.

As I read through them, I was amazed how much I accomplished and the runs/workouts I did everyday! I was very motivated, and still am, but I was a little excessive looking through them. It brought back some rough moments for me (excessive training and running so I could be “skinny”) and some great ones like beating my mile time! I can confidently say my time has drastically improved from 2-3 years ago. It’s so cool to see how things changed from one year to the next mentally and physically.

As of now, I’m not using a training log or journal. I’m not sure why…clearly it works! I know after looking through these logs, I’ll be jumping back to it. I think it was because I was relying on the logs to help me get to milage and stay consistent with training during my marathons. Now that I’m not training for a long distance that requires planning, I’ve found that being flexible with training is what I feel is right. Funny how you go in and out of certain habits!

Regardless if you’re using a training log to account for training milage or just trying to get into a fitness routine, logging is a good place to start.

The log I use(d) is The Complete Runner’s Day-by-Day Log 2017 Calendar by Marty Jerome. It’s simple to use and has enough space to be as specific about your workouts as necessary. I recommend it for everyone even if you don’t run!

OK! Here’s the scoop on this post: six reasons to log. Let’s get right to it.

  1. Boosts motivation. Simply put. Looking back at your hard work over a week’s, month’s, or year’s time is fun to see. It can re-motivate you to get back into shape, sign up for race, or get yourself to your same group class (or try a new one). Looking at mine, I did a lot of swimming and yoga on certain days. I realized I miss those workouts more then I realize and am considering hitting the pool again for cross training and plan on finding a yoga class that works for me.
  2. You see progress over time. As long as you’re *consistent* with logging and being specific to an extent, you can truly see changes being made! My mile time a couple years ago was around 9:00/9:15 per mile. Today I’m running around 8/8:15 per mile. They say progress takes time and it does!! My biggest takeaway with seeing this was that good things take time. Patience is key. Things don’t just happen over night! Taking a couple years of consistent work to make something happen is worth it.
  3. You learn what works and what doesn’t for you. My swimming and yoga workouts were on the same day and time that year and it worked for my schedule since I saw a repetitive pattern every week. Other workouts didn’t stick as well. That’s okay! Learning types workouts, best time of day, best day of the week, location, snacks/meals beforehand, music, the list goes on…can help you with establishing the best routine for you. Learning what doesn’t work too is equally important!
  4. A good reminder when motivation drops or inspires you to switch it up. Looking back, the swimming and yoga keep coming to mind. I realize I want to add this back into my fall workout schedule to keep my routine fresh. Cross training is something that has taken the backseat to and I’d like to add it back in. It also inspires me to keep my tempo runs and speed workouts on the plan to help me beat my half marathon time this spring. Seeing these parts of your training can help boost motivation to sign up for a race, try that yoga class because you know you need to stretch, or avoid Chipotle before your long run! (guilty).
  5. Repeat workout routines. Sometimes a workout routine in itself is enough to bring back. Maybe running Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8am was good way to get in your workout before work? Yoga in the evening was a good way to decompress? Associating these routines with feelings of accomplishment (or a bad experience in some cases!) is a good way to look back and add or take away certain routines.
  6. What still needs improvement or you still struggle with, what has improved from previous changes, and what stayed the same. This is like looking at your log in reverse. You can see what you still struggle with (e.g still can’t seem to find a good day to strength train–seeing options you already tried is a bonus!), what has improved (e.g seeing your mile time improve from your one time per week time trials) then seeing how you got there, and what you’ve kept along the way (e.g twice a week spin class at your favorite studio). Making note of what you’ve done to combat the struggle, what worked when hitting a specific goal, and what has been a priority in your fitness routine is beyond key to upping your fitness game or getting back to it!

I hope these six tips can be of help to you! Since last night, I feel ready to switch up my routine for some new found motivation. Sometimes we can find motivation, a new perspective, or the answer right in front of us if we take time to log. 😉

Your Turn!

Do you log your workouts? Do you find it works for you?

What has been an something you’ve learned about yourself having logged for a certain amount of time?

Do you have any fitness goals on the horizon this fall?

 

Summertime: Five Things I’m Loving Lately

Summertime: Five Things I’m Loving Lately

Hey! It’s been awhile since I’ve been on my little blog. This past semester with school has been a crazy one, yet again. I knew it was gonna be a nutty one, so blogging went straight to the back-burner until I was done. It was definitely a good decision on my part! I’ll probably go back to putting it on the back-burner in the fall. But for now, expect to see me on here more often!

Summertime this year is a chill, yet productive one for me so far. No big trips planned or classes I need to take. I’m using this time to learn more about myself through my internship, my training, my current work, and to take time to see myself where I want be a year from now…no more schooling and in a full time career (fingers crossed!). Long story short.

With those things in mind, I took time to reflect on what I’m loving in my life right now. It’s so easy to keep looking ahead or planning for the future. I find that I see myself as “not good enough” or comparing myself to others. It’s a dumb game and wastes time. Period. Reflecting on what I love about my life right now, is good way to start planning on what I can take with me into the summer months and fall semester.

SO what am I loving? SO MANY THINGS!! I had to narrow it down some, but these are my FIVE things I’ve been loving lately:

1.) Catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. I’ve been hanging with my girl, Lindsey (@runnaroundd) more lately and have loved our coffee dates together. We’ve not always been in touch, but we’re on the same page with fitness and our love for coffee, so you could say we hit it off every time. Other friends have gone to the wayside lately, and that’s okay too. Those people will reappear when the time is right. Until then, there’s always room for new friends right?

2.) Eating more fruit. Sounds weird, because I always eat fruit and have always loved it, but something about fresh summer fruit sounds so refreshing! I love frozen pineapple or mango in smoothies and watermelon with feta and balsamic vinaigrette…YES, the ultimate summer snack.

3.) Not following a training plan. I said it. It feels weird. I’m being honest. It’s nice to not revolve your life around training for a marathon. I truly love the training and see myself running a marathon again for sure, but this time of year with it being so hot in Florida, I don’t feel the need to run for distance or train for an event. Right now, I love running the distance I wanna run when I wanna run it…type of thing. I do bootcamp one time per week, strength day one time per week, HIIT one time per week, running in between, and yoga. It’s a good mix and I’m not focused on one one kind of movement. I’m sure by the end of the summer I’ll be craving some kind of race to train for!

To keep me focused, without any races on the horizon, I’m considering doing a run streak. Ya know, one of those “run a mile a day from this date to this date”…yep! It’s sounds like it could work since I have a goal, but nothing crazy. Consistency seems to be what I’m craving anyways.

4.) My Special Olympics Internship. I LOVE my this internship. BOOM! It has by far been the most eye opening experience I’ve had. I truly love seeing my class and putting together lesson plans (I’m teaching health education to SO athletes). I love the creativity behind it and the topics I cover with them. My students give me a challenge in the best way possible. We’ll see where this goes from here!

5.) Taking school off for the summer. Although I’m technically “in school” during this internship, I’m not in the classroom. I have no classes for credit to take (I’ve completed them), homework, studying for a test, or showing up to do. It is a blessing since this program is truly a constant grind and this time off has been worth it. I know I’ll feel refreshed and ready to get back for the fall semester!

Your Turn!

  1. What is your fitness routine like lately?
  2. What are your favorite summer recipes?
  3. Any new experiences that you’ve learned from?