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!

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 🙂

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?

 

Garmin Vivoactive HR Watch: The Perfect Gift For The Active Individual

Garmin Vivoactive HR Watch: The Perfect Gift For The Active Individual

My first blog post of the year! Hope everyone had a great first week of 2017. Looking back on 2016, there was a combination of both good and bad. Bad I feel isn’t a great word here, so I’m switching to “challenging.”

Challenges that were a lesson for growth and change. Plenty of tough real world situations, frustration, stress, and fear are a few of the characteristics I would describe tough spots this year. Even though negative at some points, I’ve gotten stronger and have learned what the real me is made of. Grateful for these experiences even though I wanted to jump out the window on a few occasions!

Good things: new friends, people, opportunities, growth, learning more about myself, and learning where I find my niche in the fitness industry. Continuing to trust myself, live independently in Tampa, and do what makes me happy are what I hope to continue in the New Year! One marathon, multiple races and miles, blogging, growing my personal training business and enhancing my group fitness skill set and classes, grad school this summer and fall, travel to Costa Rica, continue to live in sunny Tampa and meet the greatest guy, neighbor–turned boyfriend has been a few highlights of my year!

I’m not done with any of these yet, but every year I find myself getting a little bit closer to who I want to become. Big YAY!

OK. My year in review is recapped and I’m excited to share the purpose of post today!

My Garmin Vivoactive HR watch! 

I didn’t realize I would want this, but as soon as Harrison gifted it to me and I read about all it does, I was:

1.) Floored

2.) Excited to try it ASAP!

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I was in awe of such a generous and thoughtful gift, but also EVERYTHING this watch can do! Run, swim, bike, row, ski/snowboard (came in handy this Christmas in Steamboat), stand-up paddle board, golf (not really for me, but a possibility down the road!), as well indoor running, cycling, and strength training. I especially love the capability for strength training, especially during a HIIT workout or group fitness class!

It tracks heart rate as well, another component I thought was pretty sweet. Again, nothing I thought I would be sold on, but definitely a reminder to add that extra push and challenge myself during a run or cardio session. Although wearing a heart rate monitor around your rib cage is more accurate, which I still believe is, heart rate via your wrist is also fairly accurate compared to measuring my own manually.

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Sleep is also another feature I find fun to check! Again, nothing I monitor too closely since I’m a pretty sound sleeper, but seeing the amount of hours I slept, periods of deep and light sleep, movement, and awake time is handy. Sleep is a huge component of exercise performance, so knowing I’m sleeping well and sound and tracking it regularly is a feature that I’ve grown to like.

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Aside from the sport features, tracking steps, floors climbed, and intensity minutes are also recorded! All based around your profile you complete on the app, the watch determines your recommended steps per day, floors to climb (kind of tough at times), and intensity minutes for the week. It reminds you to move and congratulates you when you’ve achieved your goal! All good things to know throughout the day.

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Besides tracking fitness, the watch uses Bluetooth technology which syncs with your phone!!! Receiving calls and texts is easy and allows you to monitor notifications discreetly without the use of your phone. However, this is probably one draw back on this watch. I don’t care so much to see my texts and calls show up when I’m working out. My phone is away for a reason because I am busy! My workout time is my me time so I prefer to have that away. Luckily, this feature is not annoying and can be easily dismissed.

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I’m still get used to it, but I must say, it is easy to use and understand. Two buttons on the face, a large touch screen, and waterproof. Once set up, downloading the Garmin Connect App helps manage your stats via your phone. There you can go into details of your activity, sleep, calories burned, weight-loss tracking, and more. Did I mention you can sync it with myfitnesspal?! Too cool! I haven’t yet. Trying to decide if I want it connected or keep them separate. Will keep you posted! Pretty cool option knowing you can keep food logging and activity all on one app.

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Since there is SO many cool features, it can be easy to focus on numbers! Although numbers can be motivating, I try personally to not let them run my life.

I believe these activity trackers, whichever brand you buy, are a TOOL, not a measurement of success or failure. I feel that if I don’t track my sleep, I don’t get steps in, or my intensity minutes fall below the recommended amount, is not something to stress over. However, it is something to work on daily. Being reminded to move and take the stairs I feel are two very good features on this product–all of which doesn’t hurt any of us!

I do have my Garmin Forerunner 15 watch that is still my favorite and something I will continue to use! There’s something special about that watch–I think it has something to do with the races I’ve completed with it. In that case, I will be using it for my marathon and other races this year. General activity I will swap in with my Vivoactive HR watch for spin, walking, strength training, etc.! Overall, I highly recommend this watch since it plays a role in my active lifestyle that is more then just running! A perfect gift any time of year for the active individual in your life.

 

Two Workouts To Beat Boredom on the Treadmill

Two Workouts To Beat Boredom on the Treadmill

Hi All! I’ve been a little MIA lately due to school, BUT I’m back in action after getting though a crazy busy last couple weeks. Between clients, internship, and having a test this past week, you can say I’ve been a little nuts. Marathon training has kept me sane through it all and has helped me prioritize my runs as much as it has my studying. Another reason why exercise is so good–boosts productivity! 😉

Even though I’m in Florida, it definitely isn’t feeling like fall. It’s still fairly hot and in some cases rainy in the afternoon. Kinda like summer weather. Florida needs to make up its mind! It’s either hot as hell or it’s either hot as hell. Florida, please choose neither and pick fall instead. 😉

With sporadic rain showers mixed with humidity or just being plain hot, speed work outside has been hit or miss. I definitely haven’t missed those workouts, but it’s either get wet outside or suck it up and run on dreadmill…I mean treadmill. Okay, it really isn’t that bad. It’s a last resort for me. It’s either I suck it up on the treadmill or it doesn’t happen plain and simple. If it is nice, then YES you bet I’m outside. With the past few times I have been on it compared and when I was training for Miami, I’ve played around with ways to keep me challenged but also distracted. First off, music is a no brainer. Gotta have music to keep you pumped and going. That’s pretty much it…besides a water and a towel. A nice view also helps!

So HOW would you say you beat boredom on the ‘mill? I’ve come up with two treadmill workouts that I’ve done in a pinch to get in some speed work when I can’t get outside. Because #noexcuses is a real thing especially with marathon training!

1.) Up The Pace

-Start out with a brisk walk on the flat surface for three to five minutes. Using either the distance you have set to run (most times for me) or time at .25 miles or three to five minutes. From there, up the speed half a speed at a time. For example, if you’re ending your warm-up around .25 miles, up your speed from 3.5 for 4.0 or as high as 4.5 mph for 2-4 minutes at a time. Continue to increase speed gradually until you reach the mile marker. At this point, you’re at fast pace/almost a sprint for the last 3/4 (.75) of the mile. That last bit is TOUGH! Once you reach the mile maker, drop back down to your start pace at the walk and repeat the gradual increase in speed until you’ve reached desired time or mileage.

2.) Tempo Sprints

-Start with a brisk walk for three to five minutes. When you’re ready, up the pace to speed of which you’re at an uncomfortable “push” type pace. Talking should be minimal and breathing heavy. Stay here for maximum minute and thirty seconds or minimum of thirty seconds. Drop to jog. Drop back down to brisk walk. Repeat picking up the pace faster each time. Work until you’ve reached desired time or mileage.

Anything helps when you’re on the ‘mill! These have really helped me and I’ve seen the benefits even though I’m inside. Of course outside is always best, but I like to think of it as it happens on the treadmill or not at all when it comes to days I’m stuck inside. Every time I’ve chosen to get it done with on the treadmill and remind myself I’m better for it. Then after the workout, I make a note to self the times it doesn’t rain and plan to go then. XP

Happy Friday!

 

Core & Plyo Workout Plus First Week of Marathon Training

Core & Plyo Workout Plus First Week of Marathon Training

So far so good with my marathon training and balancing life, school, teaching classes, training clients, boyfriend and social life, and internship…LOL. Really though, I am pleasantly surprised with how well I’m doing so far. *Knocks wood.* I am very busy, but if you know me, you know I LOVE that and wouldn’t want it any other way. This week in particular has been a whirlwind and I feel quite tired, but also invigorated. I saw a quote this week that said, “I am so exhausted today because I was busy being so awesome YESTERDAY.” That’s how I’ve felt lately. And it’s a good thing. I’m also really excited to sleep in tomorrow morning for this reason. It’s the little things that count.

This week I shared a cool new core move that I shared on my Instagram. Since I’ve been tired this week, I just wanted to get it all done in as little as one or two moves. I also wasn’t feeling totally creative, like I said up top, so combining total core with a burst of low abs sounded like a good challenge to me! Make sure you keep your core tight, pressing it into the ground. Try not to let your low back pop up as your legs come down for the flutter kick. As soon as you feel your low back arch, you’ve gone too far! Keep your core tight and neutral.

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Owning you, Monday!

This move works the entire core and gets you burning up in half the time!  I was like ‘what can I double up on that let’s me get everything done in one or two simple moves?’ –> then BOOM. This move was born. I was toast guys!!!! Seriously it was really good. I didn’t need to do another move because this one got it all. Can I get an AMEN? Core done: CHECK! I love when I surprise myself with my creativity on days I’m feeling meh.

As much as I love doing large muscle groups and finishing them with core, I was just into doing just core and cardio and that’s it this past week. I wanted to be done with it in thirty to forty minutes max (I can typically spend about an hour, hour and fifteen depending on what I’m doing). We all have places to go and things to do, so this is where this workout came in handy the most.

I’ve talked a little about plyometric (plyo) moves before and they’re making their way back to my workouts. Plyometrics are movements that involve power, speed, and high intensity cardio. They’re great for HIIT and workouts like this one. Fast, challenging, and powerful. I never used to like them because I felt uncoordinated and slow. But after reading about how they can benefit my running and overall cardiovascular system, I reluctantly decided to add them. From there, I’ve grown to LOVE them. I add them for high intensity and burst of cardio where space is limited or I’m short on time. I especially love them for my HEAT class I teach since it’s always a good challenge and doesn’t require equipment–another bonus!

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Checked out the new University of Tampa fitness center this week! Gorgeous facility.

Combined with marathon training, I’m still keeping my three times per strength training days. I’ve been at this for awhile and really like how it’s fit into my schedule. Especially with my training and upcoming milage, it’s so important to stay strong and injury-free. Twice a week total body plus a quick thirty to forty minutes of a workout like this one is a perfect way to get in strength workouts.

No equipment necessary for this! All you need is a mat/towel, a water bottle, and some motivation and that’s it. 😉 Get that core working and heart rate up and you’ll be done in no time.

Core + Plyo Workout

  • * using a weight. I used one twelve pound weight and had a ten pound nearby
  • Three-four times total for each round going from one exercise to the next
  • Rest at the end thirty seconds to one min before repeating
  • Start with each exercise doing forty-forty five seconds each and work up to a minute

 -Overhead crunch + flutter kick*

-Russian twist + bicycle crunch

-Scissor kick + leg lift*

-Lateral bounds + single leg hop

-Side shuffle burpees

*Repeat 3-4 times*

In terms of marathon training, I started last week. Again so far so good. Since having done one already, I feel confident about my training and what works and doesn’t work for me. Of course, there is always something to try and glitches to sort out which makes each training special. I’m following Hal Higdon’s Intermediate I program with a few new changes I’m throwing in. I’m adding two days of speed work and one bridge run. My race has two bridges and yes, I knew that when I signed up. My first race was flat so I figured it was time to add a new challenge. I’m tracking my food via MyFitnessPal. Strength training three times per week. Lastly, I’m adding hip and ankle mobility work since I’m as stiff as a board and am learning through my internship that I really do need to improve this. I’m determined NOT to break with my upcoming milage! My ultimate goal is finish in one piece and injury free and I feel adding the mobility work will really be a great addition! Keeping with minimal drinking and good sources of carbs, proteins, and healthy fats. Carbs are a forever friend when it comes to marathon training!

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Five miles done before the sun

One component I’m particularly excited about is to have my boyfriend, Harrison, be part of this training. He’s into being fit (mostly lifting upper body…I help gotta help with some lower body stuff) and running for health. He’s really supportive and is excited for me and the upcoming training! I’m hoping when he’s not studying, and when I’m not too, I can get him up early to ride his bike alongside me on my long runs. If anything he’s great at keeping me accountable. We both get up early so we text/call each other to make sure where up and moving. For me, I text him when I’m about to leave on a run and when I get back, especially when I run early in the morning. I told him a lot of carbs are in the near future so he said he would be down to keep me accountable with making sure I’m well fed. HAHA. My kinda guy. 😉

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Me & my dude, Harrison. 🙂