Dec 032014
 

Hello, hello! Happy Wednesday to ya’!

Today I thought we’d talk about my workouts lately, since it’s been a while since I’ve given you a full update. Buckle your seatbelts – this is a long one!

Running

As you probably know by now, I will be running the Trimara Sports Holiday Half Marathon in Brooklyn, NY one week from Saturday! Ah! I can’t believe it’s almost here.

To prepare, I’ve been following the training plan I set up a few months ago, and for the most part that has been going well. I’ve tried to stick to at least two runs per week (usually one short, speedy run and one long, slower one) and then use the rest of my workouts during the week for various strength/cross training exercises. I’ve gotten burned out from too much running during half marathon training in the past, and I really don’t want that to happen again. So far, so good!

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Overall, I would say my running has been going pretty well. The long runs are still somewhat hard for me, but that is nothing new. I know that when it’s race time I will just have to power through and get my mental game straight, since physically I know I am perfectly capable of doing this.

I think having my friends cheering me on from the finish line will be a big help, and knowing that I get to wear these awesome holiday costumes during the race and after at during a super fun Santacon celebration will also help push me through.

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As far as my goals go, I would really, really like to PR this thing. My current PR is 1:58, and I think I can probably do better this time around. That being said, here are my tentative goals:

  • A Goal: 1:53 (Average pace of 8:37)
  • B Goal: 1:55 (Average pace of 8:46)
  • C Goal: 1:57 (Average pace of 8:55)
  • D Goal: Under two hours (Average pace of 9:09)

P.S. I really like using the app “RunCalc” which helps me figure all these paces out!

This will be my first time running a half without Fabio, and I’m a little worried that I won’t be able to run as fast if I’m alone. He always pushes me through the tough portions of a race, and encourages me not to stop to walk when I’m tired. I’ve prepared a few mantras to say in my head during the race, and luckily it’s supposed to be a “pancake flat” course, so that should help. Cross your fingers for me!

Kayla Itsines

I think I may have mentioned this already, but I’m back to doing the Kayla Itsines workouts! I took a break for a month while I tried out ClassPass, but now I’m back at ’em. This week so far I’ve done the Legs & Cardio workout (Monday) and the Arms & Abs workout (Tuesday). I went ahead and started the workouts over, so I’m currently back on week two. It’s already so hard, and I can’t believe that just a few months ago I was doing the workouts for weeks 8 and 9. Yikes! How did I do that?

I love that these workouts continue to kick by butt in the best way, and I still find them fun and engaging even months after starting them. Plus I can do them all in my living room, which is great now that winter is coming (yes, that’s a GoT reference). I am planning to continue these workouts for a while, because they are just so great! If you’d like more information about my experience with these workouts, you can find my review posts here.

Studio Drop-ins

Now that I’m a regular contributor to the Fit Crasher blog, I’ve been popping into a lot more fitness studios in the DC area. Last week I went with Anne to Urban Athletic Club, and although I won’t be covering it on the Fit Crasher, I still wanted to share my experience with you all!

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Urban Athletic Club is the gym that hosted those fun OutRuns I participated in over the Summer (formerly Roam Fitness) and they just opened a new location in Georgetown! They still have their original location in Glover Park, but Anne and I were really excited about the Georgetown studio since it’s a lot closer to us. To help promote their new studio, Urban Athletic Club is offering free classes at their Georgetown location until December 14. So awesome, right?

One day last week, Anne drove us over to Georgetown for the 6:30 am “Total Body” class. That is one bad thing about this location – there’s no metro nearby! Luckily there was street parking available, so it wasn’t too stressful.

The other annoying thing (at least for me) is that a 6:30 am workout is just a little too late for my morning schedule. I usually need to be leaving my apartment by 7:45 (ok fine, it’s usually more like 8:00), so finishing up a workout at 7:30 is a bit dicey. Last week I had a doctor’s appointment in the morning so it was fine, but I’m going back on Friday and am crossing my fingers that the timing works out. They do have a shower so I can get ready for work there, but I’m still going to be a bit rushed. Our instructor, Chris, mentioned they were thinking of moving the class up to 6:00, which would help me out tremendously! We will see what happens!

Anyway!

The gym is located inside the Kew Gardens apartments on Q street, but the entrance you want to use is on 27th street, between P and Q. Your GPS will probably take you to the main entrance, but you want to get in through the side. It looks like this. Just ring the bell and they will let you right in!

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Once we got inside, I was super impressed with all the cool equipment they had available. The “Total Body” class was a really fun mix of body weight exercises, kettlebells, free weights, and TRX suspension work.

During the class we were matched with a random partner, and then split up into three stations: the turf, the TRX bars, and the mat.

The turf: At this station, a flat ladder was laid out on the ground and one partner had to go up and down the ladder while doing jumping jacks, high knees, butt kicks, and in-and-out quick feet. Meanwhile, the other partner had to do toe taps on a medicine ball, Russian twists, plank, or pushups until their partner returned from the ladder exercises. It was tough!

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The TRX bars: At this station we did a variety of moves including one leg burpees, monkey bar knee raises, pistol squats, forward leans, and a bunch of other upper body exercises that I forget the name of. 😉 These smoked my shoulders, and I was really sore the next day!

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The mat: Here we were given free weights and kettlebells and told to do another series of exercises including kettlebell swings, deadlifts, and tricep extensions. Phew!

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Overall it was a fantastic  workout and I’m already looking forward to going back on Friday. Definitely check them out!

Question of the day: How have you been working out lately?

 Posted by on December 3, 2014
Nov 262014
 

Hi friends! I hope you’re having an awesome Thanksgiving Eve! Today I’m actually romping around NYC (and will be watching the parade tomorrow – woohoo!) which means there hasn’t been a whole lot of time for sitting down to blog. Luckily, my good friend Catrina stepped up and is here today to tell you all about training for a 10K.

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Me with Catrina this past summer

Catrina is new to running (though not new to fitness!) and it’s so refreshing to hear a real perspective from someone who is new to this activity that I have totally fallen in love with. I hope you guys can relate to her and appreciate her story! Take it away, Treen!

Chelsea, being the angel that she is, has given me the privilege to share my experience training for a 10k with you all while she heads to NY to celebrate the eat-a-thon holiday that is Thanksgiving!

A little background: Two months ago I packed up my things in NY and decided to make a huge leap of faith and move to beautiful sunny San Diego on my own (can you tell I love it here?).

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Being the carb and chocolate lover that I am, during my last month in NY I ate as if everything was being taken from me and I would never see a bagel or a slice of pizza again. Then I got to California and ate ALL of the tacos. I mean all of them.

So after two months of non-stop eating, I decided I needed a workout plan I was going to stick to, to get my butt (literally) back in shape. As an avid CET reader I knew race training was something Chelsea has done in the past and has been able to stick to, so after discussing the idea with her I downloaded a 10k novice training program online and got to it!

She even sent me a “Will run for beer” shirt for my birthday to get me motivated. What a great friend right?!

run for beer

However, there’s a reason I’ve always chosen CrossFit or an elliptical over running…and that’s boredom. It has always been the reason I hate running. I get so unbelievably bored.

My body has been in and out of good physical shape my whole life, but running, no matter how fit I am, is hard for me.

That being said, here are a handful of tips/tools that I’ve learned that have helped to keep me going through this training process:

  • Running by the beach is way easier than running the streets. Not only do you have amazing views (the ocean, the sand, the men with six packs 😉 ) but there aren’t any streets to count as you pass by. I no longer have an internal struggle about how many blocks I’ve actually run compared to how many it feels like I’ve run.

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  • I give myself set walking breaks. For example, if I have a 5 mile run I tell myself I am not allowed to stop and walk until 3.5 miles. This provides me a mental end goal that’s shorter than the actual run so I can keep working towards the next ‘goal.’
  • New music! I’ve gotten into the habit of adding at least 5 new songs to my “On the Run” (big Beyonce fan over here, could you tell?) playlist before each long run. This lets me rely on my older songs for the beginning of the run but have new ones when I need that extra push towards the end.
  • I’ve stopped skipping songs as much as possible. When I first started running, I had this incessant need to keep switching my songs after about ½ of it played, but it kept making me think “jeeze I already listened to 10 songs and it’s only been 2 miles.” Now I keep the song jammin’ until the end as much as I can.
  • Hold yourself accountable. My training sheet sits next to me at my desk, and each and every day I highlight an activity in yellow if I do it, and in pink if I missed it. Seeing those pink highlights is just such a horrible feeling and being able to pick up my yellow highlighter and check something off is so satisfying! I also take snapshots of my RunKeeper app and send them over to Chelsea after each long run. I think it helps because I’m sharing my journey and experience with someone whose been there and is SUPER supportive and helpful.

Hopefully this helped you think about your running strategies and what might work for you! Next week is the 10k so wish me luck!!! And of course thank you again to Chelsea for letting me share this with you!

Guys isn’t this awesome? Not only did Catrina pack up her stuff and move across the country alone, but she is totally rocking her 10K training and she doesn’t even like running. Go Treen!

Questions of the day: Do you like running? If so, how did you get there? If not, what do you do instead/in spite of that?

 Posted by on November 26, 2014
Sep 162014
 

Good morning!

Sorry I didn’t have a weekend recap post for you guys yesterday. I was actually fairly sick over the weekend with a nasty cold, and spent the majority of my time switching between the bed and couch with a box of tissues glued to my side. Apart from a nice BBQ with my family on Sunday afternoon, there wasn’t a whole lot going on over here, so I didn’t think it was worth recapping. Luckily I’m feeling much better now. 🙂

Today I thought we would talk half marathons. After outlining a few races that caught my eye a couple weeks ago, I reached out to the race organizers for the Trimara Sports Holiday Half Marathon to see if they would be willing to cover my race entry fee in exchange for a review on the blog, and they said yes. Hooray!! Now that my next race is officially on the books, I’ll have to ramp up my training once again, which is always a fun process.

Given this news, I thought today would be the perfect time to outline the steps I usually take to prepare for a half marathon. Hopefully this will be helpful for those of you who have never run one but would be interested in doing so. With that being said, here are the steps I follow to prepare for a race!

1. Find a race, and register.

When I first decided I wanted to run a half marathon, I had no idea how to go about finding one. How does one hear about these things? At first I was searching mostly on Active.com, which has a lot of search options, but then I discovered Running in the USA, which has now become my go-to race resource.

My favorite part about the Running in the USA website is its “Mapshots” feature.

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[Source]

From this page, you can search for races by month, distance and location. For example, during my last search, I knew I wanted to run a half marathon on the East Coast sometime in November or December. The Mapshots tool allowed me to see all of the races that fit my criteria on one easy, interactive screen.

Once I have my list of contenders, I carefully review each race to determine:

  • What the course elevation is (will I die on hills? Can I PR?)
  • When the race is (do I have enough time to train? What will the weather be like? Is it a Saturday or a Sunday race?)
  • How expensive the registration fee is (can I afford this? Are there cheaper alternatives?)
  • How big the race is (how many people are running it? Is it going to be too small, or so big that I will have trouble running at my own pace? Is there a cut off or a lottery?)
  • Where the race will take place (how will I get there the morning of the race? Do I need to pay for a hotel? Drive? Take public transportation? Fly?)

There are a lot of critical questions to consider when making your decision, so it’s important to do your research and not make a spontaneous choice.

After reviewing the basics, I usually search on Google to see if I can find any race reviews from other bloggers. While this isn’t always successful, it has been really helpful for me in the past and has allowed me to get a really good sense of a race.

At this point I usually get a gut feeling that will pull me toward one race or another. A lot of times the location or time of the race has the biggest impact on my decision (especially if it’s a scenic course!), but sometimes I just get excited from the race website or pictures, and I’ll know that’s the one I should do.

Most importantly, do your research and make sure the race you’re signing up for is really something you want to commit to.

Then register! Don’t second guess yourself; if you’ve thought it through and you know you want to run the distance, click submit! You can do this!

2. Make a training plan.

Of course, there are a million half marathon training plans available on the internet. Heck, just type in “half marathon training” on Pinterest and you’ll instantly be rewarded with hundred of plans. However, I like to make my own plan that’s customized to the workouts I’ve been doing and the dates I will actually be running. That way, if I know I have a work event, vacation, or other obligation on my calendar, I can schedule my training around them. It works well for me!

For my first half marathon, I trained with 2-4 shorter runs per week, with one long run on Saturdays. While I still loosely follow that type of plan, I now incorporate other types of workouts (strength, speedwork, etc.) so I don’t get injured, burned out, or bored with running.

As you probably know, I’ve been doing some track workouts with Anne lately, and have still been working on the Kayla Itsines strength workouts a couple times a week, so I’ve incorporated those workouts into my training plan below. I’ve also left plenty of days blank, which I can either use for additional short runs, Fit Crasher workouts, or rest days.

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When you make your plan, you probably want to work backwards from race day, adding as many weeks as you need to in order to feel comfortable. When I started training for my first race I could barely go more than 2 or 3 miles without stopping, so I used a long training plan that slowly built up my stamina. Even if you can only run 1 mile now, there’s no reason why you couldn’t run a half in about 16 weeks!

3. Start training, and stick with it!

Once you have your race and training plan mapped out, it’s time to start training!

Plans can be difficult to stick to, especially if you plan to tackle your long runs on weekends like I do. This can mean skipping a Friday night out at the bar with friends in exchange for a long run early Saturday morning, but to me there is no better way to kick off a weekend than with knocking out a bunch of miles. You just feel so accomplished afterword!

Try to look at your plan like a promise to yourself, and don’t skip any of the workouts. Of course life happens and plans change, but I’ve found that skipping workouts can be a slippery slope; as soon as you skip one it’s easier to skip more and more. It will be tough at times, especially if you’re on vacation, hanging out with friends who aren’t running, working long hours, etc., but just remember if you don’t do the training, the race is going to be that much harder. That thought always kicks my butt into gear!

Sometimes training might require waking up before everyone else and heading out for a solo run, but I actually find that to be pretty fun!

If you follow your plan and slowly increase your mileage while taking plenty of rest days, you’ll be totally ready come race day.

4. Run the race!

A couple days before your race, start getting all your gear ready and make sure you have all the logistics planned out. Do you know how you’re getting to the start? Do you know where to pick up your packet? Do you need the bag check? Do you have a playlist ready? Make sure you plan out all the details ahead of time, so on race day you can relax. Also don’t try anything new on race day – make sure you have a game plan for your outfit, gels, water breaks, etc.

Right before the race you’ll probably feel a flurry of butterflies, but just go with it! If you’ve followed your plan and worked hard, you’ll do just fine. 🙂

Question of the day: What do you do to get ready for a half marathon?

 Posted by on September 16, 2014
May 302014
 

I get this question from you guys a lot- what are your tips for running long distances without getting bored?

When I first began running “for fun” in college (i.e., not for an organized sport), I could barely make it a mile and a half around the track. I would listen to random songs on my iPod mini (raise your hand if you had one of those!) but would wind up getting really bored after just a few minutes. The same thing was true on the dreadmill treadmill: I would run to precisely 1.5 miles, and then hop off feeling bored and somewhat unaccomplished.

The thing is that I knew my body could run farther, but my brain just wouldn’t cooperate. A few years, multiple races, and hundreds of miles later, I have finally figured out what gets my brain past the point of “I can’t possibly take one more step” to “I can do this, I just need to keep going.”

I know this is something that many of us struggle with, so today I’m here to share 5 of my best tips for running farther, and tricking your brain into thinking it’s actually fun.

1. Get off the treadmill and step outside. I know people have different preferences when it comes to running, but personally, I hate running on the treadmill and will avoid it at all costs.

There’s something about being outdoors and connecting with nature that I have always loved. I am one of those people that goes stir-crazy inside, so any time I can take some time for myself and enjoy the outdoors, I am all over it. If you’ve always been a treadmill runner, I strongly suggest giving outdoor running a shot.

If you’re not sure where to go and feel a little intimidated by outdoor running, try mapping out a route ahead of time. To do this, I like to use the Route Creator function offered by RunKeeper. To create a route, simply log in or create a free account with RunKeeper, head to the website (not the app) and then click the “Route Creator” function (it’s under “Me” and then “Routes”).

From there you can point and click on an interactive map to create your own personalized running route. RunKeeper’s maps know where local trails and pedestrian-friendly sidewalks are, and it even tells you how far your route will be. Once you’re satisfied with your route, save it, and then open up the app on your phone when you’re ready to step out the door. Your route will load right to your phone and you’ll have it with you as you run! It’s a great tool, especially when traveling/running in unfamiliar areas, and I love using it to explore new running routes near me.

RunKeeperRouteCreator

2. Listen to a podcast or audiobook. This is another one of my favorite tricks for occupying my brain during long runs. I have always been a book nerd and truly enjoy listening to a good story.

I trained for my first half marathon while listening to the Harry Potter audiobooks, and it was, and still is, my absolute favorite way to run. I would get so excited to head out the door and hear what was going to happen to Harry (even though I already knew), and I remember listening to it during my half marathon and thinking about how awesome it was.

I do have two tips for listening to audiobooks while running though: 1) I wouldn’t recommend listening to a brand new story while running. Listening to a book that you already know well is probably a better idea, since sometimes when you’re running you need to stop listening to pay attention to where you’re going/focus on your safety. If it’s a new book, you might miss some parts and need to rewind. 2) Audiobooks can be expensive (especially if you’re listening to a long series) so consider getting a monthly membership with companies like Audible.com or asking for audiobooks as gifts from friends and family.

Podcasts are also great to listen to while running, though I will say they don’t hold my attention as well as audiobooks do. Some of my favorite (free) podcasts include This American Life, NPR’s TED Radio Hour, the Jillian Michaels Show, and Balanced Bites. What are some of your favorites?

3. Make or find a playlist. If audiobooks or podcasts aren’t your thing, try to make or find a playlist! I use Spotify Premium, which costs about $10 a month and allows me to listen to any song I like, whenever I want. I often use Spotify to make my own playlists, or sometimes I just type in “Running Playlist” into the Spotify search function to see what playlists other users have created.

Signing up for Spotify Premium has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time, and I really enjoy using it. There’s nothing like some up-beat new music to put a spring in your step just when your run is getting difficult!

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4. Make a list of “thinking topics.” This one might sound kind of weird, but I do it before every long run. What I do is make a list of problems or issues going on in my life that I don’t currently have a solution to. Then I refer back to that list while I’m running and start thinking things through.

For example, say something has been bugging me at work and I haven’t been able to think of a solution. I will add it to my “think about while running” list and then really delve into the issue while I pound the pavement. Sometimes it can be a really simple topic like what to wear to an upcoming event or what to cook for dinner, and other times it can be more complex like the best way to deal with disagreeing coworkers. By having specific topics to think about during my run, not only do I keep my brain from focusing on the pain of the run, but I also solve problems in my life.

5. Use mantras and positive thinking. In my opinion, this is the number one way to run longer distances. When you think positively and focus on how good you’ll feel after your run instead of dwelling on your pain, you can truly run any distance you set your mind to. Here are some positive thoughts I like to remind myself of when running:

  • I might feel pain now, but I will feel awesome later
  • This is the best way to start my day, and after this I can do whatever I want
  • I’ve run this far before, and I can do it again
  • My body is strong, it can handle this easily
  • I’m lucky to be able to run…think of all the people who can’t

I also like to mentally split up runs in my head, for example by thinking of a 12 mile run as three quick 4-mile ones. As you may remember, I use positive thinking in all aspects of my life, and I truly believe it makes a difference.

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[Source: Pinterest & Here]

Question of the day: How do you run long distances?

Want more? Check out my running motivation tips here.

 Posted by on May 30, 2014
May 132014
 

Good morning, folks! This past weekend Fabio and I learned a little bit more about training for a triathlon, and I think we have finally made some decisions about our next steps. I promised you all an update, so here it is! You can read Part I of “Tri Talk” here.

Last week I received a brochure in the mail for Team in Training. Honestly this sort of blew my mind- I first learned about Team in Training at the Team Z triathlon information session two weeks ago, and then after blogging about it, I kept seeing ads for Team in Training pop up everywhere. It seemed only natural that I would I also get a brochure in the mail. Life just seems to work that way, doesn’t it? Apparently I was meant to learn about this organization.

TNTad

Unfortunately by the time the brochure arrived in the mail our lazy butts actually checked the mail, it was too late for us to attend any of the information sessions about the triathlon since most of them took place in the first week of May. I didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to learn more about Team in Training (TNT), so I emailed the representative listed on the brochure and asked for additional information. I got an answer right away and soon I was all set up to speak with Martin, one of the main organizers of the TNT DC chapter.

Martin and I spoke on the phone after work one day last week (he was a good sport- I was on the metro and he kept having to hear all the binging of the doors opening and closing) and he gave me an overview of Team in Training. He also invited us to the TNT Nation’s Triathlon kick off meeting on Saturday morning, where we heard even more about the program. Here’s what I learned!

What is Team in Training?

Team in Training is an organization that provides training programs for athletes of all levels in exchange for fundraising toward the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. TNT is not limited to triathlons; they also help you train for half marathons, full marathons (tempting!!), cycling races, and other athletic events. At this particular moment, Fabio and I are interested in learning about their training program for the Nation’s Triathlon, which is an Olympic distance tri right here in DC in September. Of course if we like TNT, I could see us continuing to train with them for other events.

Like Team Z (read my overview of Team Z here), TNT connects you with coaches who write out a training plan to get you through the race from start to finish. There are different levels of training for each event catered to your abilities (so you can be a beginner swimmer, intermediate biker, and expert runner, for example). The difference from Team Z is that instead of paying up to $95 a month for training, you are pledging to raise about $2,500 toward the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

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[Source]

That’s a lot of fundraising. Why?

Since its initiation in 1988, Team in Training has trained over a half a million runners, walkers, triathletes, cyclists and hikers and raised over $1.3 billion to fund lifesaving research. With your pledge to fundraise, TNT will coordinate all your training and pay for all your race expenses including entry fees and airfare/hotel expenses when necessary. Because of this, the amount that each participant needs to raise varies from race to race. For example, participants training for the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco would probably need to raise more than someone doing the Nike Women’s Half Marathon right here in DC since TNT would need to pay for their travel. It’s all relative so it changes for each event.

How are you supposed to do it?

Because I have very limited experience with fundraising (high school cheerleading and college sorority events pretty much cover it all) the fundraising aspect of TNT intimidated me at first. $2,500 is a LOT of money, but luckily TNT has a staff of professionals who are experienced in fund raising and work with each participant to come up with a game plan. They help you host happy hours/events, come up with a list of people and businesses to contact, and set up a fund raising website for you to manage. The staff at TNT did a good job of putting my fears at ease and assured me that the only people who really have a hard time with the fundraising are the folks who don’t take it seriously and wait until the last minute to get started. According to the TNT staff, pretty much everyone who makes an effort is able to come up with the money.

Other fundraising details?

There are a couple other fundraising details like that there’s a recommitment date half way through your training program where you can decide to stop if you don’t think you’ll be able to come up with the required amount of money. TNT keeps what you have so far and you are not obligated to come up with the rest. You also don’t get to complete your race with TNT. If you do decide to recommit and you don’t come up with the required amount of money, you’ll have to pay it out of pocket.

What does the money go to?

As I mentioned before, the money goes toward the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society who use the money to fund research for a cure for blood cancer. This is one thing I really, really like about TNT compared to Team Z. With Team Z, it seemed like an astronomical cost just to do something you love (and it probably went mostly into someone’s pocket). With TNT, it’s still an astronomical cost but it comes from people around you and it goes to such a fantastic cost.

We heard from a number of cancer survivors at the kick off meeting who had all been touched by the good work of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and tears were brought to my eyes numerous times. I wasn’t prepared for or expecting that!! The fact that you can do something you love and help cure cancer is simply amazing.

TeamInTrainingHowandWhy

[Source]

What’s the time commitment/training plan like?

Similar to the Team Z training plan, you train every day but Friday. Saturday is the day for longer runs/bike rides, and Sundays and/or Tuesdays are for group swims. TNT gives everyone a training plan tailored to their abilities, and then members follow it on their own (or with a small group that they coordinate themselves) throughout the rest of the week.

Also like Team Z, TNT has plenty of swim coaches who would be able to train non-swimmers like me how to get through the swim from start to finish. Phew. This is the main thing I’m worried about in completing a tri, so I was happy to hear this.

TeamInTrainingFinishLine

[Source]

That’s a lot of information. Let’s digest.

As you may remember, I really, really liked the concept of Team Z. I liked the idea of having a big group to race with and plenty of teammates to cheer you on. I liked the idea of coaches and a custom training schedule, and I liked the idea of potentially traveling for an event. The only thing I didn’t like was the price tag of $95 a month. Ouch.

TNT on the other hand, offers all that and more. You still get a training plan, you still get a team, you still get to travel, but you get to help cancer survivors too! I think that alone makes TNT outweigh Team Z in my mind.

Herein lies the problem though- the meeting we attended? Oh yeah, that was the kick off meeting. Meaning training started yesterday. Technically Fabio and I still could have signed up (people join late all the time) but this summer is already pretty booked for us. Fabio has already committed to soccer, softball, and volleyball on the weekdays, and most of our weekends are already booked with activities. I just bought the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide eBooks, and I really like the training program I’m following right now.

I know I want to do a triathlon, but right now just isn’t the best time for us to be jumping into a whole new fitness project with an intensive 6-day-a-week training program.

So here’s what we’ve decided. We really want to do a triathlon. We really want to do it with Team in Training. Now might not be the best time for us, but we know it will be soon. What we are going to do is keep our eyes open for the next TNT Olympic-distance tri (whether in DC or elsewhere) and sign up again when the time is right for us, when we won’t be making a last minute impulse decision, and when we can clear our schedules to really dedicate ourselves to this 100%. Even if it means waiting a year, I think we are ok with that. At least now we know what we want and how to get there.

Questions of the day: Do you know anyone who is part of TNT? Do you have any fundraising tips?

 Posted by on May 13, 2014
Feb 122014
 

Hello, hello! How has everyone’s week going? Mine is great so far- Fabio was in New York for the first part of the week but he got back late last night and now I’m a happy camper 🙂 Work has been busy and there are some exciting changes going on…more on that soon!

In the meantime, it’s Wednesday so let’s talk food!

Thanks to Jenn for hosting the What I Ate Wednesday linkup, as always.

And now let’s take a peek at what I ate on Monday!

Breakfast

I’m still on an oatmeal kick (which I make with 1/3 cup oats, 1/3 cup skim milk, 1 mashed banana, and a sprinkle of cinnamon), but this week I bought some new trail mix to try out with it. I can’t remember what it’s called but it’s filled with nuts, dried berries, and dark chocolate (!!). Also I can pronounce all the ingredients on the bag, so that’s always a plus 🙂 There is also a little peanut butter in this bowl. So good! Definitely a delicious, comforting breakfast for these cold days we’ve been having.

oatmeal

Lunch

Nothing new to see here- just a turkey sandwich on a sandwich thin with Colby Jack cheese and mustard, plus carrots and hummus on the side.

By the way, last time I was at Costco I picked up one of these cheese variety packs that comes with Swiss, Cheddar, Colby Jack, and (I think) Muenster cheese, and it’s awesome! Even if I eat the same little sandwich nearly every day, it’s fun to switch up the cheese! #GameChanger

lunch

Snack

A little later in the day I had two snacks: a mini Babybel cheese…
babybelcheese

….and one of these flourless oatmeal peanut butter cookies that I made a few days ago.

cookie

This was my first time making these little cookies, and they were SO easy to make and really delicious. I have a feeling I will be making them a whole lot more often. Good thing or bad thing?

Dinner

I got home from work pretty late on Monday, and I was by myself so I didn’t feel like making too much of a meal. After sorting through the recipes saved in my email, I decided to make this cheesy sweet potato and chickpea salad, only with white cannellini beans instead of chickpeas, since that’s what I had (check that out, two Carrots N Cake recipes in one day!)

To make this recipe you just chop up a sweet potato, roast it in the oven, and when it’s done you toss it with peas, beans, and Laughing Cow cheese. Done! So simple, and so tasty. I added a little curry to mine because I’m a fan of curry, but you could add whatever seasonings you want.

dinner

This bowl was pretty big and I didn’t finish it all so I had some leftover for lunch the next day. Always love when that happens 🙂

I also had a glass of sangria on the side, because the Bachelor was on and you can’t watch the Bachelor without wine 😉 Usually Bianca comes over to watch with us but she had to work late, and since Fabio wasn’t home either I just watched by myself with Jack. Luckily since my dinner was right there on the table he kept me in close company 😉 Haha! That dog is never far from the food.

All in all I’d say it was a pretty good day for eating. Lots of yummy things!

Workout

This week I started training for the Cherry Blossom 10-miler run! I’ve been really excited to start training for this, so I’m glad the day is finally here.

In case you need a refresher, here’s what my training plan looks like:

 

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

February 10

Core Synergistics

February 11

2 miles

February 12

Arms & Shoulders and Ab Ripper X

February 13

3 miles

February 14

Rest

February 15

4 miles

February 16

Rest

February 17

CardioX

February 18

3 miles

February 19

Legs & Back and Ab Ripper X

February 20

3 miles

February 21

Rest

February 22

5 miles

February 23

Rest

February 24

Kenpo X

February 25

3 miles

February 26

Arms & Shoulders and Ab Ripper X

February 27

4 miles

February 28

Rest

March 1

6 miles

March 2

Rest

March 3

Plyo X

March 4

4 miles

March 5

Legs & Back and Ab Ripper X

March 6

4 miles

March 7

Rest

March 8

7 miles

March 9

Rest

March 10

Core Synergistics

March 11

4 miles

March 12

Arms & Shoulders and Ab Ripper X

March 13

4 miles

March 14

Rest

March 15

8 miles

March 16

Rest

March 17

CardioX

March 18

3 miles

March 19

Legs & Back and Ab Ripper X

March 20

4 miles

March 21

Rest

March 22

9 miles

March 23

Rest

March 24

Kenpo X

March 25

3 miles

March 26

Arms & Shoulders and Ab Ripper X

March 27

3 miles

March 28

Rest

March 29

5 miles

March 30

Rest

March 31

Plyo X

April 1

Rest

April 2

3 miles

April 3

Rest

April 4

2 miles

April 5

Rest

April 6

Race Day!

10 miles

As you can see, it’s a nice mix of the P90X DVDs I’ve been doing since December, along with a variety of running distances. I also plan to use my 1 mile runs with Jack to incorporate some speed work. I think it will be a good mix of activities so I can prevent boredom and injury.

So far week one has been going well! I did the Core Synergistics DVD on Monday, ran 2 miles yesterday, and did the Arms & Shoulders + Ab Ripper DVDs today. It’s supposed to snow here tonight/tomorrow, so I’m thinking I might have to do tomorrow’s 3 mile run tonight instead. We will see!

Overall I’m feeling pretty confident about this plan, and I have really missed running longer distances so I’m excited to jump back into things. Here’s hoping the weather will cooperate!

Question of the day: Do you run outside in cold weather?

I will say that yesterday’s two mile run and this morning’s one mile run with Jack seemed brutally  cold for some reason, even though I know we’ve had colder temps than this. Brrr! Come on Spring!

 Posted by on February 12, 2014
Jan 282014
 

Waking up early to work out is not easy. It’s not easy for me, and I’m sure it’s not easy for most of you either.

In fact I go through phases where I am really good at this (usually in the summer when the sun is shining and the weather is gorgeous) and other phases where I’m horrible and just opt to sleep in instead (usually around this time of year).

Lately though, things have been a little easier for me. Ever since I started doing P90X back in early December, I have been making a real effort to get my workouts in before work, and so far it’s been working really well. I still wouldn’t call myself an expert at waking up early to work out (in fact, it usually only happens about 4 out of 5 weekdays) but I have improved a lot in this area and I thought today I’d share a few tips that have been helping me get my butt out of bed and into my workout gear.

tipsformorningworkouts




1. Go to bed early. On days when I know have to wake up early to work out, I try to be in bed by 9:30 pm. I don’t actually fall asleep until closer to 10:00 or 10:30, but just being in the mindset of getting ready for bed earlier helps me feel refreshed and well-rested in the morning.

I know it can be hard to get into bed that early, but remember- if you worked out in the morning that day, you will have more time in the evening. For example, when I workout in the evenings I come home from work, work out for about an hour, make dinner, and then relax and read or watch some TV. By the time all that is done, it’s usually close to 10:30 or 11:00, and any chance of going to bed early is out the window. However, if my workout is already completed by the time I get home from work, then I have the whole evening to make dinner and relax, which leaves me with more time to hop in bed earlier.

Of course this doesn’t work every night, like on nights when there is a TV show on that I want to watch or when I’m with friends, but in general going to bed early is a great rule of thumb and really helps me wake up earlier.

2. Wake Up Energized. This is different for everyone, but I recommend trying to find a way to wake up that works for you, and leaves you ready to hop out of bed. Whether that means hitting snooze 10 times or setting your favorite song as your alarm, think of something that will make you happy and energized when you wake up.

I know some people like to set their alarm to their favorite morning talk show, so that when it goes off they want to get up and listen to it. Other people like to set their alarm to a random song from their iTunes, so that every day they will be surprised by what song comes on.

For me, I like using the Sleep Cycle app because it will only go off when my body is nearing it’s natural waking cycle anyway, or when my time is up.

sleep

Think about what will work best for you, and try it out. It might take a while to get it right, but in the end I think you’ll find that having a pleasant way of waking up will make a big difference.

3. Remind yourself it’s worth it. No matter how early you get into bed or how peppy your alarm is, chances are you’re still going to be pretty miserable when you have to get up. I swear the first 5 minutes of being awake are probably the hardest part of my day because I have to convince myself not to crawl back under the warm covers and go back to sleep for an extra hour. The one thing I do to really get myself out of bed is to remind myself that it’s worth it.

I remind myself that waking up again in one hour is still going to suck. Usually I find that when I go back to sleep I feel just as miserable in an hour, only I’ll feel even worse because I skipped my workout. Then I know my workout will be hanging over my head for the whole day, and instead of coming home from work with no obligations, I’ll have to work out. Blehh. Getting home from work and changing right into PJs is so much more enjoyable than getting home from work and putting on workout gear.

This is the most important rule for me when trying to wake up earlier. It’s what works 9 times out of 10 and leaves me feeling so much happier all day.

4. Start Slow. On those days when you are battling with yourself (go back to bed or suck it up and work out??) I like to start slow. First, I’ll stretch my muscles in bed and try to wake my body up. Then I’ll get out of bed and turn on the light. Having the light on helps tell my eyes that it’s time to wake up. Then I’ll go to the bathroom, check social media, email, etc. to get my brain going. Sometimes I’ll text a friend who I know is also waking up early to work out, or see a facebook status from someone else who is up early and braving the cold weather for a run (loooove when this happens).

coldworkout

Either way, when I start slow and take it one step at a time, it seems a little easier and makes it less likely that I’ll fall back asleep.

5. Be Consistent. Once you have successfully woken up early and made it through an early morning workout, you’ll feel awesome. All day you’ll feel energized and so happy that your workout is behind you. The tough part though, is that you will have to face the battle all over again tomorrow.

Why? Because after just one day of “sleeping in” your body will forget how it felt to wake up earlier and think that it’s ok to sleep one hour later. Maybe this is just me, but if I skip just one weekday morning workout, my whole week gets messed up. Usually if I skip an early morning workout it’s on a Friday, since I know that won’t really affect the rest of my week.

Once you are consistently waking up early, you’ll forget what it even felt like to sleep in. Mostly 😉

Anyway, these are the tips that work for me! I hope they help!

Question of the day: Do you work out in the mornings or evenings?

 Posted by on January 28, 2014
Oct 292013
 

As the date for my next half marathon looms closer and closer (it’s the weekend after next!) I am starting to get those pre-race jitters again. To make myself feel a little more at ease, I’ve been developing a plan and  working out logistics.

This race has been a whirlwind of emotion for me. You may remember that the race was supposed to take place on October 6, however with the government shutdown it got rescheduled for November 10. The week before the October race date, I felt prepared for the race. I had trained hard, completed most of my long and short runs, and was really excited for it to take place.

The rescheduling of the race hit me hard, and I was really frustrated that my carefully-planned training schedule that I started working on in July had basically fallen apart.

Now that it’s more than a month later, my training has suffered a bit and I’m not sure I’m going to do as well as I initially planned. I know I’ll still be ok during the race, but I might not get the goal time I was hoping for. To help calm my nerves and make me feel a little more ready for this race, here are some of the things I’ve been doing to prepare:

  • Setting A, B, and C goals. My initial goal was to run this half in less than two hours. During the half that I ran in the spring, I was really close to this goal and if I hadn’t stopped to use the porta-potty I think I would have made it. Granted my training has been a lot harder this go-around, but it is still a goal that I think I can achieve. I always think it’s smart to go in to something with a plan, so I’ve decided to set A, B, and C goals for myself. This means if I’m feeling great on race day, I will go for my A Goal. If I’m just feeling ok, I’ll do my B Goal. And if I’m feeling really crappy, my C Goal will suffice (and hopefully I won’t need a D Goal and so on…). Here is what I’m thinking for the breakdown:
    • A Goal – Pace 8:55 for total time of 1 hour 56 mins
    • B Goal – Pace 9:12 for total time of 2 hours
    • C Goal – Pace 9:35 for total time of 2 hours 4 mins
  • Looking for pace groups at the race. The last half marathon that I ran was so small and so new, that there weren’t any pace groups. I think using a pace group would be really helpful for me, especially so I don’t wear myself out at the beginning of the race and not have enough energy to continue on at a good speed. I read the FAQs on the race website this morning to see if this one will have pacers, but I didn’t see anything written about them. I’ve emailed the race director and am just waiting to hear back. I’ll let you know when I find out!
  • Asking family and friends to cheer us on. My dad dropped us off at the last half marathon Fabio and I ran, but unfortunately with the way the course was set up there wasn’t really a good place for him to spectate. This time I emailed a bunch of my family members details about the race, including good spots for spectating, and I really hope they can all come. Even seeing one friendly face from the sidelines would make a huge difference for me.
  • Coordinating race logistics. This last one is still a work in progress for me since I need to talk with Fabio about some of the details, but knowing how I will be getting to the race, when I will be picking up my packet, and how I will get home afterword are huge stress relievers for me. I plan to talk about all these details with Fabio tonight and then create a “Run of Show” of sorts with all the details. It might seem kind of over the top, but I’m a little OCD when it comes planning that kind of stuff.
  • Figuring out what to wear and what equipment I’ll need. I plan to tackle this one this weekend. It’s been a while since I’ve taken out my wintery running gear, and I’m sure the morning of November 10 will be quite chilly. I plan to take everything out, try everything on, and go for a run in the outfit I plan to wear just so I know everything will be a good fit. I don’t know about you, but I have a bunch of winter running leggings and it’s hard for me to remember which ones slip down, which ones are the most flattering, etc. since I haven’t worn them in a while. Lately I’ve just been running in a long-sleeved T and shorts, but I have a feeling it will be too cold for that attire on the morning on the race.

Phew. Hopefully that’s everything, at least for now.

Question of the day: What do you do to get ready for a big race?

 

 

 Posted by on October 29, 2013
Oct 232013
 

Hello there, and happy Wednesday! I hope your week is going well!

As usual, Wednesday around here means just one thing: What I Ate Wednesday, of course! Thank you to Jenn for hosting the linkup each week 🙂 It’s such a nice way for bloggers to get together and talk about food!

Here’s a look at what I ate on Monday!

Breakfast

At the start of this week, I had a couple of really ripe bananas that needed be used up. I had hoped to make banana bread this past weekend to take care of them, but with our trip to New York I never got around to making anything with them on Sunday. After doing some digging through the recipes that I save on my phone/in my email, I rediscovered Anne’s microwave banana oatmeal. Although I’m not a huge fan of oatmeal (the texture freaks me out) I decided to give this recipe a go.

Please excuse the unappealing photo; oatmeal is very difficult to photograph first thing in the morning when I am racing around trying to take pictures and get ready without being late for work.

I enjoyed this oatmeal in my favorite pumpkin bowl. ‘Tis the season!
oatmeal

I added some walnuts to the bowl for some crunch and to get me over my texture issues.

oatmeal2

It may not look so pretty, but it was delicious! I had the same thing this morning but I added in peanut butter instead of walnuts, and I really enjoyed it- texture and all! I can definitely see myself eating this breakfast more often, especially when there’s a super ripe banana that needs to be used up 🙂 This is a great recipe!

Breakfast Part II

Although the oatmeal held me over really well, I wound up eating a second breakfast once I got to work and realized there was free food up for grabs. I can never say no to free food! I decided to stay away from the delicious-looking muffins and bagels, and opted for a plate of fresh fruit instead. Everything was great, especially the pineapple!

I also had some cranberry tea on the side that my coworker/friend Claire brought back from a recent trip to Boston….served in the Kate Spade mug she gave me for my birthday, of course!

breakfast2

Such a nice second breakfast!

Lunch

Lunch on Monday was pretty standard: turkey on a sandwich thin with mustard and cheese. Carrots and hummus on the side.

lunch

….as if you were surprised.

Weirdly, I actually didn’t eat this lunch once last week because I wound up having a lot of leftovers to bring in. It was nice to return to it again on Monday. I missed my standard little lunch!

Dinner

I tried to lighten up dinner a bit since I ate and drank my face off in New York over the weekend. On the menu: tilapia cooked with salt, pepper, and rosemary (yum), roasted carrots and broccoli, and a side salad.

dinner

Everything turned out delicious and I felt full and satisfied at the end of dinner 🙂 Sometimes simple meals like these are the best!

After dinner snack

Ah yes, I managed to eat a few candy corn after dinner. I wound up eating about two handfuls this size. They’re just so good!

candycorn

And that’s a snapshot of what I ate on Monday! All in all, not too bad!

Running Update

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this yet to you guys, but Fabio sprained his ankle last week playing basketball with his coworkers (I know). It doesn’t seem like too bad of a sprain and he should still be able to run the half marathon with me on November 10, but he certainly won’t be able to run with me for at least another week.

I initially thought running by myself this week would be really hard/annoying, but so far it hasn’t been too bad. I’ve learned to trick my mind into thinking about other things (projects at work, what I’m going to wear to homecoming this weekend, upcoming blog topics, etc.) and before I know it the runs are over. Not bad!

Monday’s activity was a three mile run. Like usual, I sprinted in between the lamp posts on the Key Bridge for my speed work (I try to do this every time I run this particular route). Here were my splits:

  • Mile One: 7:41 (mostly downhill)
  • Mile Two: 8:44
  • Mile Three: 8:25 (mostly uphill- not sure why I went so fast?)

Average pace: 8:17

Also just for kicks, here are my splits from yesterday’s four mile run:

  • Mile One: 7:59 (mostly downhill)
  • Mile Two: 8:35
  • Mile Three: 9:18
  • Mile Four: 9:40 (mostly uphill)

Average pace: 8:54

Clearly I am all over the place with my speed, but the two routes I took are also totally different and include a number of different hills/challenges. I also didn’t do any speed intervals for the four mile run, so that explains my slower pace a bit.

At any rate, I’ve been feeling happy with my short runs lately, but have been struggling through the long ones. I’m still getting through them ok, but mentally they have really been a challenge. I just hope I will be ready for my next half in a couple weeks!

Question of the day: What have you been eating lately? How to you power through long runs?

 Posted by on October 23, 2013
Oct 082013
 

You may have noticed from my weekend recap that I did not run one single time this past weekend. Nope, not even once. It felt weird for me, but I think it was just something I needed to do. I’ve been having some very mixed feelings when it’s come to my running lately, and taking a break over the weekend felt really good.

Asics

I’ve been struggling with my thoughts on running for a while, but it wasn’t really an issue before since my half marathon was right around the corner. However now that I still have  five more weeks to go, I think it’s time to start talking, and start re-framing my attitude.

Pre-half marathon cancellation

Before this crazy government shut down thing happened and I knew my half marathon was going to get postponed, I was SO ready for my upcoming race. I’d been doing pretty well on my runs and I’d been training hard, and I just couldn’t wait to get this run over with.

Note that choice of words: get it over with.

Huh? What’s that? I didn’t feel that way about my last half marathon. Last time around I was loving all of my runs and I couldn’t wait for the half. I was sad when it was over, which is the main reason I signed up for this second race in the first place. Back then I was loving everything about running and never ever skipped a run, whereas this time I still did my runs, but I found myself dreading them and wanting to call it quits way more often than before.

So what gives?

During the training for my last half marathon , everything was new and shiny. The routes were new. The training was new. Each long run was exciting because it was a personal distance record for me, and I felt so proud of myself for running so far. I was teaching myself that I could do it, and that’s what gave me strength to keep going. Oh yeah, it was also a LOT colder and there was no humidity, which made my runs about 100 times easier.

This time around however, I already knew I could do all these runs. I’d already run these routes. Last time when running all the way to the Washington Monument, Capitol building, and Tidal Basin was a huge accomplishment, this time it was just another run to check off. I started getting lazy on my shorter runs during the week, and found myself skipping simple runs that last time I wouldn’t have dreamed of skipping.

I still felt I’d do fine for the half marathon (and probably still would have gotten a good time) but my heart just wasn’t in it like before. I was just going through the motions without the passion. I was excited for the half marathon so that I could move on from running (for now) and try something different for a while.

Government Shutdown

Then the big bad government shutdown happened, and I found out my race would be moved until November 10th. This means that just when I thought I’d be done with running for a while, I found out I would need to repeat the portion of my training plan that I had just worked so hard to finish.

Here’s what I have left, as of this week:

Week Mon Tues Wed Thurs Friday Sat Sun Total Miles Run
7 Rest 4 miles 3 miles 3 miles CT or Rest 10 miles 3 easy miles 23 miles
8 Rest 5 miles 3 miles 4 miles CT or Rest 11 miles Rest 23 miles
9 3 easy miles 4 miles Rest 3 miles CT or Rest 12 miles 3 easy miles 25 miles
10 Rest 4 miles Rest 3 miles CT or Rest 5 miles 2.5 easy miles 14.5 miles
11 Rest 2 miles 20 minutes Rest 20 minutes Rest Race Day! 13.1 miles 15.1 miles + 40 minutes

I don’t want to sound petty or whiny, but this totally frustrated me.

I can blame it on silly reasons like that the Audiobook I was listening to while running just ended, or that I put off buying new sneakers because I knew I wouldn’t be running for a while after this half, but I know that deep down those are not the reasons why I was annoyed. I was annoyed because I didn’t want to run anymore (for now).

There, I said it.

Running became a chore for me and just wasn’t as fun as it used to be. I was excited to do something else and mad that I had to keep running.

But you know what? I just have to get over it.

I just have to hop back on the horse, and start running again. Today I’ll run four miles, tomorrow three, Thursday three, etc. etc. etc. It will be fine. I may not love it as much as I used to, but I am not going to waste all that training I did by not completing this rescheduled half. Once it’s over on November 10, maybe then I can move on to do something else (cough, P90X, cough) but I am not going to give up now.

Who knows, maybe I should take this as a sign that I wasn’t ready for my half marathon and that I needed more time to fall back in love with running, or work on my pace, or discover something new about myself? (I do believe in things like that…)

Either way, I am going to try (starting with this afternoon’s run) to be as positive as I can, to not complain, and to just get out the door. I’m going to buy myself a new Audiobook to listen to (sigh), and maybe purchase the new sneakers I desperately need and have been putting off (double sigh)…anything to help me get back into my groove.

All I need is a little attitude readjustment, and I think I’ll be good to go.

Question of the day: Do you ever fall in (and out) of love with running?

 Posted by on October 8, 2013