Thursday, February 28, 2013

I am Trying, I swear

Ever have one of those days where you really doubt yourself, doubt your ability to accomplish things, doubt the way you look and feel? Those days you are focusing on the things you aren't doing, or the things you are doing wrong. Well the truth is, today is one of those days for me.

And we all know that if you say you have never felt that way, that you're full of crap. Just saying.

Well I am going to try something new today, instead of dwelling on those things, I am going to look at all the things I AM doing and ways I am working to make myself a better person, physically and emotionally.

I am trying to work towards Marathon number 5: This training cycle is different from my others, because I am also training for other things at the same time and I am not training for a PR. BUT I can't let that distract me, I am focusing on the fact that I know if I put in the effort I will get to the marathon and be prepared and cross the finish line, and then bounce back for the things to come after. I have to keep reminding myself that I can do this, it's not my first time and it wont be my last. So for all of you looking to run your first marathon, know that the anxiety doesn't always go away, even people with experience face the same issues you are going through, you are not alone.

I am trying to knock some books off of my reading list: Reading is incredibly important to me, I am always reeling for more knowledge and inspiration. I need a little boost right now, so I am reading some lighter,less serious and more fun reads. I will let you know how they are as I read along. The skinny Bitchin' is a journal type, so I think I'll use that in my blog posts to prompt some post ideas and reader feedback. The Mindy Kaling book is pretty good so far, talks about her struggles with weight as a kid, and her take on life; comic relief is a good way to describe it.


I am Tri-ing...well literally. For those who don't know, I am tackling my first half-ironman(70.3) this July. I don't claim to know very much about the whole multi-sport world, but I will do everything I can to learn. My training for it is going to be....dysfunctional at best. But to be honest that is how most of my training plans look. I have been floating back and forth between feeling confident and feeling completely terrified. So I am going to focus on the things I have been doing to help get to my goal. I have been biking more than normal, I have been trying to bike before my runs, to get the feeling of running after riding. I have been getting in the pool occasionally, I went today (went yesterday too) because I know this is something I really need to do more of. I need to stop focusing on the fact that I am new to tri's and just dive into this head first, no point in sticking your toe in the water first to see if it's cold. I know tri- training is going to be hard, more challenging than just my running, especially since I am training for running specific races at the same time. I am not going into this with the idea that it is going to be sunshine and daisies, I am ready for the challenge I just need to get my head on straight and get my ass to work.

I am trying to plan a wedding...Dear lord who knew this shin-dig would be such a pain in the ass to plan. I give wedding planners credit, it's bad enough dealing with myself during wedding planning, let alone someone else. Screw that! After we got engaged I was all Gung-ho on planning, then the holidays happened, and my sister baby showers that needed planned, and before I knew it....months had gone by and I hadn't gotten much accomplished on planning. Now that I am trying to get back into planning mode again, I just need to get organized and focus on what I have already done, and what the most important next steps are. For the record I have one BIG thing taken off the list... I HAVE MY DRESS :) [now I just need to make sure I can still fit into it next year for the wedding!]

I am trying not to be a self-conscious girl..but well that isn't going so well. I have been struggling emotionally with my weight lately. Before you get all "OH hell no, little white bitch didn't just say she's fat" on me, let me explain. NO I don't think I am fat, but I do think I can work on my body and trim down in some places, and tone others. There is nothing wrong with wanting to better yourself and as long as you are realistic. I am realistic knowing I really don't have a lot of weight I could lose, and knowing that I shouldn't lose much either. I am a girl though, I worry about how I feel, I worry about how I am seen. Although I may not have a lot to lose, I really want to focus on getting more lean and toning some trouble spots that I have. I just need to keep my eating in check and focus on my training. But I am a girl and there will be days things wont fit like I want and day's I'll feel less than fit, but I've learned to use those days as motivation to work my ass off to get to the days where I can look in the mirror and think "Damn I'm good"

I am trying to better myself... as I have said a million times and will continue to say, I am far from perfect. I haven't always been the person I know I am capable of being. I see a therapist (saw her today, she awesome...just saying), and I don't care what people think about that. I have seen one since I was 14 years old and have been judged for it from the moment I started. Let me say this though, we all have problems, no one is perfect, and I believe there are more people in this world who need therapy more than I do. I have issues, but at least I am willing to get help and work on them, work on making myself into a better version of me. I am not hiding behind things, or pretending everything is okay, I am not trying to control other peoples lives simply because I cannot control my own (A lot of experience with someone doing this...it's not a healthy friendship to be in...hence the reason it's done). I work hard every day, to be a good Fiance, a good friend, a good employee, a good athlete, and a good me. I make mistakes, I have a temper, and I can be the biggest stubborn pain in the ass you'll meet, but I am working on it. That is the best that I can tell you.

So basically what I am saying is...
Today was an off day for me, it happens, sometimes you can't stop it from happening. I had no motivation, my clothes didn't fit the way I wanted, I am over-tired and would love to curl up in a ball. But I have learned to make the most of it. I did what I could today, I got my work done, I pushed through a run that I really didn't want to do, I swam again to build my confidence for Tri's, I spilled my guts at therapy, I cleaned out the rest of my apartment, and now I am sitting here writing this. I also plan on getting on the bike later while I do laundry, nothing turns an off day around like endorphins and productivity.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Aerobic miles

Today was a great day to work on base building miles, particularly because I was finally able to get off of the treadmill and back onto the roads! Rochester was a wonderful 41 degrees today with the sun shining down. I was antsy all morning at work trying to get things done so I could sneak out for an early afternoon run. Therefore the moment I had a free second, I was gone...I probably left tread marks on the floor running out to my car to get out of the office and home to run.

I went into this run with no time or speed goal (insert shocked face here....we all know I love to push myself). My goal for this run was to get 9 aerobic miles in, focus on form and just enjoy the weather we had for the day. I rushed home from work ( I was luckily able to get out early today), change and got my stuff ready (I put my Garmin and I.Pod on charge this morning just in case I had this chance), and headed outside.

 My +Saucony Hat was perfect for this sunny spring-like run, also added some more miles to the purple Kinvara's, I'm trying to work them into the rotation about once a week, get the most out of my other pair of Kinvara's before switching to these ones full time.

This run felt good, focused on keeping my arms relaxed and keeping a steady pace. My splits were just about even through the whole thing, I never really got into a good groove, but I think that's because I wanted to go faster (I fought the urge, because I know I need the aerobic miles).


I actually would have liked this to be a little slower for aerobic miles, but I'll take it. This was effortless for the most part, a few big gusts of wind and a few bobs and weaves around ice patches gave me a little more work but nothing I couldn't handle. (I most likely looked like an idiot the entire time I was going down Park avenue where most of the sidewalk was still covered in ice and where there wasn't ice, there were puddles the size of a crater left by a meteor. (I'm not afraid of puddles or water, but come on...no one likes cold wet feet.)

I really need to work on getting some more aerobic base miles in each week. While training for Marshall Marathon in the fall, one of the things that helped me the most was building up my base of aerobic miles, it is great for the mind and the body to back off a little bit. Aerobic miles do wonderful things for your level of fitness.  I have just never been really good at getting them in by myself, it's a lot easier when running with someone when you can slow down, relax and talk while you run. But of course I am trying to learn to do it on my own too. Here's a little hint though, I like to do things my way and I like to do things fast and efficient and patience is most definitely not my middle name. So we will see how much I actually try and slow myself down.

A little about Aerobic Exercise/ Aerobic running
Aerobic exercise is generally lower intensity activity that relies on the use of oxygen to meet the energy demands of the body (Aerobic Metabolism).  You're not going to spike your heart rate or win any races, the goal is to maintain steady pace and steady breathing to allow the body to maximize it's energy through oxygen. Basically your 'easy' runs should be aerobic, where your tempo runs, intervals, and progressive runs are going to be more anaerobic (screw keeping your heart rate down for these, it's going to get jacked up). Progressive runs are my favorite (mainly because it works well for me), I love finishing run stronger and faster than I started.

Benefits of Aerobic Running
There are so many benefits, but I will highlight a few for you......
  1. Prevents Health Problems : Running in general does this. I mean seriously, if you're taking the time to get off the couch to go run, chances are you're going to start making other smarter decisions to go along with it.
  2. Strengthens the Respiratory System: Makes your lungs more efficient. your body can deliver oxygen quicker to the rest of the body. Oxygen=good. (duh.)
  3. Reduces Body Fat: Aerobic exercise burns calories, just like other activities do, the only difference is that aerobic activity burns FAT calories (erm, those are those little creatures that sew your clothes smaller at night to make you mad)
  4. Strengthening the Heart: Makes the heart muscles stronger and can pump blood more efficiently. 
  5. Improved Mental Health: Again, running in general does this, but sometimes backing it off and taking it easy and just focusing on time on your feet rather than the speed can be a stress relief. Not every run needs to be your fastest, the sooner you learn this, the less likely you will end up disappointed when you do have an off run.
  6. Improves Oxygen Supply to Muscles: You're muscles need Oxygen, you need your muscles to run. Do I need to say more?
  7. Increased Efficiency of Muscles Oxygen Usage: Continuing with number 6, muscles need oxygen but if they are more efficient with their usage of said oxygen, the less likely they are to be fatigued. And we all hate tired muscles.
Look, I am not an expert.....not by any means. But I do know what has worked for me in the past, take it easy and relax. Not every run will be your fastest, nor should it be. Your body needs to experience all types of running to develop into the best runner it can be. You need easy aerobic runs, you also need those intervals to boost your speed, and tempo runs to push your threshold, longer runs to help build endurance, and recovery runs to allow your body to heal. Don't be stupid, if you plan o running every run as fast as you can, call your doctor now and schedule an appointment for some injury, because you'll be needing it before too long.

One last addition to that.... I will be the first to admit I did not used to understand the concept that every run shouldn't be your fastest. I was horrible about it to be honest, and I used to wonder why I wasn't improving and why I was always fighting fatigued and injured muscles. Finally I started being smarter and asking more experienced people questions, I started reading about running and I started trying to train smarter and not harder. It wasn't easy at first, and there are still days I have to really fight the urge to go all out, but you have to remember the long term goals and not just focus on the here and now. It's a process, and it's also a puzzle, there are so many pieces to becoming a stronger runner, but every puzzle is different, you need to find the perfect way for your pieces to fit together. (okay, lame I know...but true!)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Weekend on the move!

Whew! Now that the weekend is over hopefully I can settle down a little bit. Don't get me wrong I am not complaining and saying it was a bad weekend, just saying it was a very active weekend. My life is hectic with 2 jobs and everything else. Now that the move is over and I can check that off of my to-do list, maybe I can get some more wedding planning taken care of.

Friday: 6AM workout, worked at office all day, worked at restaurant all night, finally home around midnight.
Saturday: Breakfast in bed, then packing and cleaning at the apartment ALL DAY, finally got some food and  saw 'A Good Day to Die Hard' in the evening to take my mind off of moving.
Sunday: Early Wake up, worked on packing all morning, then parents and H2B came to help move everything. Lots of heavy lifting of furniture, boxes and totes (Does this count as cross training??) A few trips back and forth from apartment to house, and we were just about done with all of the big heavy stuff. Got some lunch and then dove into unpacking. Finally got to the gym at 5:30 for my 16 miler.

Finally moved in!!
For the last few months I have been living between my apartment and J's house, finally the days of packing bags for overnight, and rushing around between places in the morning is over!!!! (-Insert huge sigh of relief here-) I still have a few things to take care of at the apartment (Cleaning, and move a few last things), before my lease is up Thursday. Now that the move is over it's a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders, it is going to make a lot of things much easier. BUT there is one exception....my life is going to be very cramped for the next 2 months. We have 5 people living in the house, 1 bathroom. Let's just say I will be happy when May 1st rolls around and we are down to 4 people in the house, and then I will also finally have a place to have all of my things (Currently 90% of my things are in the garage). But overall this move is great, finally living with the H2B and not having to deal with things in 2 different homes. Obviously most excited about finally being with the man a lot more...being able to come home to him :) There are other great perks about this move, ones that affect my running and training. #youknowyourearunnnerwhen you think about each decision as it pertains to training.....
  1. The house is in a lot better area than my apartment was. My apartment was at a main intersection and the roads were NOT suitable for running. The house is in Cobb's hill, so now I can step out the door and have wonderful places to run. I run these streets all the time but now I don't have to drive to get there :)
  2. Gym in the basement! Growing up we had a good amount of fitness equipment in the basement and I loved it. In college I had to walk to the fitness center, and all 3 of the apartments I have lived in I didn't have any cardio equipment( I do have some weights and such). Now I finally have a mini-gym in the house again!!! Treadmill and a bike and weights in the basement! This probably makes me sound lazy, and makes it sound like I am wasting my 2 gym memberships I have; but the fact is, it's a lot easier to work around a crazy schedule when you have the option of anytime workouts at home.  It is harder to make excuses like the gym is closed when I get out of work, or things like that. I fully plan on using my gym memberships, but having the equipment so easily accessible is going to really help my training.
  3. Less time commuting between places, means more time to work out! When scheduling workouts for the week I have to take into account time to get to the gym, and my apartment to get ready for work and things like that. Cutting commute time and time running around packing bags is going to give me more time to spend at the gym or outside running.
1st 'Longer' Run of this Training Cycle
83 days from today I will be running marathon number 5, granted I am not shooting for a PR, I'm still trying to take training seriously (um, yeah 26.2 miles is a long way, and it does require training). Yesterday was my first longer run of the cycle, 16 miles done (next week 18 with Hollie!). I wasn't sure how this run was going to go, for a few reasons. First of all this is the longest run I have done since the marathon in November, and 2nd moving heavy things all day before running 16 isn't ideal. All that said, it went awesome. I originally was going to run outside in the afternoon, but the move took a while, then lunch needed to settle in my stomach (Dim sum is not the best run fuel), and I wanted to get some unpacking done. I decided to hit the gym for my run. Finally got on the treadmill around 5:30....without my headphones! They were packed somewhere and couldn't find them, I was very nervous about 2+ hours on the mill without listening to TV or music, thankfully I only had to last an hour. My wonderful H2B came to the rescue and joined me at the gym bringing me headphones, and also filled my water bottle so I didn't have to get off the mill (He's a keeper!). 

  • 1st hour 7.51 miles (Starting pace 6.8 mph finished at 8.1 mph)
  • Quick reset the mill (Shuts off after an hour)
  • 2nd hour 7.8 miles (Starting pace 7.3 mph finished at 9.0 mph)
    • [had a younger fella get on the treadmill next to me during 2nd hour, he tried racing me...it was funny...he kept checking me out too...until John came and brought me my headphones and water...too bad he was on my right, it was harder to flash my ring at the dude....when he got off the mill finally he acted like he won because he finished before me...ummm dude I was in hour 2 of a 16 mile run and you just ran like 5 miles...Kiss my ass]
  • After the 2nd hour I still had 0.69 miles to hit 16, I thought about skipping it, but then said screw it and restarted the treadmill for round 3, 5 minutes later I was done with 16 miles whew!
WHEW!! 16 sweaty miles on the treadmill...DONE


Overall the run felt great, very sweaty being in the gym on the treadmill (they really need more fans in the Cardio room at the JCC)...mentally I needed that run to boost my confidence for this training cycle. My body has not been put through this in a while so I'm pretty sore and tired today. Slept in a little instead of working out this morning, I just needed the rest. No injuries or anything to complain about, just a little twinge in my left calf that I have been fighting for a few weeks. I really love getting back into training and longer runs. The feeling of pushing your body and feeling so exhausted when bedtime rolls around. I know who else loves me being back into training...my calf sleeves and compression socks..we spend so much more time together in training :) [for instance, compression socks, with dressy work shoes, under my black work pants...]

Welcome back to the world of training, where calf sleeves are normal, running laundry increases, food gets inhaled, and you fall asleep faster than Forest Gump after running across the country.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Russian in me

Yesterday was one of the longest days I have had in a while, and it had nothing to do with time. It was simply just a draining day, but I suppose funerals will do that to you. Somehow I managed to turn an emotional day into some positive running at night. Maybe it was the emotions fueling me, maybe it was the fierce feisty Russian in me that made me work that much harder, it doesn't matter #findyourstrong wherever you can get it. I fast forwarded this post a little in the beginning, after that backtracking to why I am embracing my heritages.

Fast Forward to later last night...

After getting home yesterday, I did everything possible to keep myself busy and distract myself from the fact that I just lost a family member, and that my family is getting smaller. When I finally got to sit down and talk with John about my day, I was happy and upbeat, telling him stories I learned about my aunt, and how I'm starting to realize why I am the way that I am. After a day of feeling mixed emotions, it felt so odd to finish it on a high note, but I felt so excited to embrace my heritage and see how it affects my life and my running. Finally around 9:30 last night I hit the treadmill for my run, not knowing how it would go considering the day I had, and the time that I was starting. Turns out, the Russian in me kicked ass and that run felt incredible. It was my tribute to my late grandmother and now late great aunt, and the things that they gave me to be who I am today. My easy 7 miler was turned into an awesome progression run, and I felt like I could have gone forever. I'll still call it an easy 7 because it felt easy, but pace wise I should have been quite a bit slower. Sometimes you just need to go for it, throw the plan out the window and go with your heart, embrace your inner Russian ;)

10:30 at night...After a long emotional day, and a fantastic feeling run in honor of my Aunt :)


Backtracking....
A little less than a week ago I got a call from my mama (don't judge, yes I still call her that), she told me that my great Aunt Tessie passed away. Now she was great in many ways, but she really was my great aunt, as in she was my fathers aunt. My fathers mother Stella, aka "Ma" passed away before I was born. Throughout the years I head plenty of stories about my little angry Russian grandmother, and was always sad that I never had a chance to meet her. My dad's family always did an amazing job making sure my sister and I didn't miss out on family and having grandparents (Both of my dad's parents passed before I was born). Ma's sisters, Tessie and Dorothy were always around and didn't treat us like great nieces, but as their own grandchildren, they stepped in and helped fill the absence of Ma. I was sad to hear of Aunt Tessie's passing, but knew that it was time, she was 91 and has been telling us she was ready to go for some time. I wasn't really affected by the loss until the funeral yesterday.

 Seeing my family, hearing the memories and stories be told, and saying goodbye was the hardest part. It's sad to see her go, but what got me more is the realization that I have a lot of my grandmother and her sisters traits. My Dad told me numerous times since I was a kid that I reminded him of this mother, stubborn pain in the ass with a temper(it's true, guilty as charged). After listening to everyone talk yesterday I realized I have more than just that, I have their feisty, fearless, whole-hearted attitude. I don't do things half-assed, when I do something, I do it big and grand and with everything that I have in me. I think the Russian in me has made me the runner that I am. I take chances, I go for it, and I give it all I've got to give. Now I am not purely Russian, the Russian is just a part of me from my fathers mother's family (Zinkievich...Doesn't get much more Russian), I have other nationalities in me which all give me different traits. It's interesting when you start to think about where you came from, and how it has shaped you into the person you are. I've never really thought a lot about my heritage but I have a feeling I am going to start paying a lot more attention to it.

Zinkievich (Fathers mother)[Russian]- Fierce, Feisty, Tempermental, Whole-hearted. My short stature comes from my little Russian grandmother and her sisters.

Anderson (Fathers father) [Swedish]-Like to be passive, but can be VERY direct if necessary.  Hatred of being late, and most importantly, this is where my baby blues came from :)

From my mothers side I have French and Dutch in me which is where I get my practicality, bluntness, pride, and I clearly didn't get my height from the Dutch in me seeing as I am only 5'3" and the average height of a Dutch woman is 5'9".

The more I read about my heritage, the more I see where the different parts of me came from. I think it's interesting to look at these things, it helps to better understand your family, and more importantly yourself. The more I learn about myself, the better runner I have become. Over the years I have learned what works for others may not be what works for me. We are all different, we all come from different places and are going in different directions. There is no right way to do things, no right way to train, no right way to get to the goals that you set for yourself. You need to do things on your own terms and in a way that works best for you. This took me a long time to realize but with each passing day I am learning more and more about myself and more ways that I can improve myself, and improve my running.






Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Bust through Boredom


Today's post is inspired by today's Dailymile #Dailymission 

#DailyMission :Do you have a secret for turning a boring long run into something at least a little more fun?

First off I have to say many of the things I am going to list are things I do during ANY run to keep myself occupied, not just on long runs. And secondly, you may laugh at some of these, or think that I am crazy but it works for me and you never know, it may work for you too....


  1. Bring a friend along...DUH! One of the easiest ways to beat boredom in any run, especially long runs is to run WITH someone.... even if they only run part of the run with you, even if you don't talk at all....having someone there can really help! FYI having a friend there makes people watching and making fun of things you see, that much better! Laugh together! You could also pretend to be criminals running from the cops together, or spies chasing someone, just saying that you have an imagination and you should use it.
  2. Make a kick ass playlist...music is a great motivator and the right tunes can keep you going even when things get boring or tough. Randomly scatter in some crazy upbeat songs, mix in some oldies (we all have them stashed away, you we know you know all of the words!), play songs you know you can get lost in, sing all the words and forget about the miles passing you by.
  3. Sing & Dance to said 'kick ass playlist' : The amount of times I have gotten busted jamming to tunes while running is astronomically high. Every time I get caught I laugh too, because I am not embarrassed, I may not be the best dancer, but when I dance when I run I am pretty sure I look like I am having a seizure. That is my public duty, to make people laugh when they see it. Brighten someones day who see's me, they'll brag to their friends about it. My playlist making skills have gotten very good, and I love putting songs on there I know all the words to, usually I'll sing and beebopp in my head, but it eventually starts coming out of my mouth, or at least humming the tune. Name the following songs, they're awesome throwbacks to run to, because we all know you know the words and you'll forget all about the fact that your leg is cramping up.
    1. "What you wanna ball with the kid Watch your step you might fall Trying to do what I did Mama-unh mama-unh mama come closer In the middle of the club with the rub-a-dub, unh No love for the haters, the haters See me on the fifty yard line with the Raiders Mad cause I got floor seats at the Lakers Met Ali he told me I'm the greatest I got the fever for the flavor of a crowd pleaser" 
    2. Night Creatures Call And The Dead Start To Walk In Their Masquerade There's No Escapin' The Jaws Of The Alien This Time (They're Open Wide) This Is The End Of Your Life
    3. Take me home tonight I don't want to let you go 'til you see the light Take me home tonight Listen, honey, just like Ronnie sang Be my little baby, oh, ho, oh
    4. You're playing so cool Obeying every rule Deep way down in your heart You're burning yearning for Somebody to tell you That life ain't passing you by I'm trying to tell you It will if you don't even try You'll get by if you'd only Cut loose, footloose
  4. Chase cars: yes, I am serious. I run in the city a lot more now than I ever used to. So I will see cars at stoplights, I'll make a goal to beat them to a few lights down. They have to stop at all the lights or get stuck behind other cars so sometimes you can actually beat them. Or there have been times I changed my route to follow a car (this is on main roads, not back roads or anything), make them think I am following them, then back off and turn around...messing with people can be quite fun. Don't do this unless you know the roads though, don't get yourself lost or put yourself in a bad situation.
  5. People Watch: I LOVE LOVE LOVE people watching. If I could sit in the airport or at the mall and people watch for hours I would. Some of the things people wear, and some of the things I see people doing are just beyond me. Pay attention to your surroundings when you run. Notice the houses that still have Holiday Decorations out from a few months ago, I totally saw a house with Halloween decorations the other day!! Wacth the people on the streets, the crazy outfits you will see or the random people talking to themselves. When you are running on main roads, running or standing at a light take a moment to look at the people in the cars around you, I make a point to catch people rocking out in their cars, Jimi Hendrix wannabees with their air guitars, or the steering wheel drummers trying to be Ringo Star or Mick Fleetwood. 
  6. Plan a fun route: the route for your run can make all of the difference, sometimes being in the middle of nowhere can be nice, but when you are going to be out there for a while, seeing people and having things to look at can help. I love running through some of the artsy or busier districts in the city, plenty to look at, people to watch, and also, more opportunities for water fill ups or potty breaks (necessary things on long runs). I also have learned to love looped runs. Break a long run into a few smaller loops, maybe do a few different loops, or just do one loop a few times. I found that breaking my 20's into a 10 mile loop twice was a great way to break things up, and the 2nd loop always felt so much shorter than the first!
  7. Count things: Count the number of red cars you see, or the number of dog walkers you pass, count anything, helps pass the time. For the record, I count my steps when I am going up a steep hill, it takes your mind off of the struggle and helps you get to the top faster! It's like counting sheep to fall asleep, pick something to count to help you finish the run.
  8. Play with your speed: Altering your pace every once in a while is great to help make things more interesting and it will actually help your muscles too. On your long runs you don't need to make it anything drastic like mile intervals or something of the sort, but switching gears every once in a while can be helpful. Even if it's every few miles, pick it up for a minute or so or a few street blocks, push it a little more and give your legs a chance to stretch out then settle back into your planned long run pace. Changing things up a bit can help keep your mind and your legs fresh.
  9. Plan something in your head: Most people do their long runs on Saturday's or Sunday's because it's naturally when they have more time to be out on the roads for a few hours. I like doing mine on Sunday for a better reason, that gives me a few hours to plan my week out, map my schedule in my head, plan my to-do list, and get ready for the hectic week to come. Sometimes I lose myself in miles by even planning out what I will write for my run-recap when I get back.
  10. Visualize your big race day: When I am finding it difficult to get in the groove, I flip through songs until I find a good upbeat power song that I love, and then I visualize myself crossing the finish line of the race I am training for. For example, in the fall I was training for the Marshall University Marathon that finishes on the goal line of the football stadium(They pass you a football with about 20 yards to go so you can cross finish line/goal line with the ball..TOUCHDOWN!!!). During my longer runs, I kept visualizing my touchdown dance when I finished. Would I do a 'Moss moon' or a 'Lambeau leap', or perhaps Stevie Johnson's notable TD dance mocking Plaxico Buris, One of OchoCinco's many celebrations, or I could stash a sharpie in my Kinvara and autograph something like T.O.....the possibilities were endless. But it proved to be a great way to distract me during runs, I was visualizing the finish line, and every emotion that goes along with it, very powerful way to motivate yourself. (for the record, when I did cross the finish line in November, I was so overwhelmed with my huge PR and BQ that I mentally blanked and forgot the dance I was going to do, and simply spiked the football and yelled "hell yeah", not the most creative, but damn it felt good! Unfortunately you can't see the spike or hear me yell, but watching this always makes me smile, I use it as motivation to keep getting better...)
    1. video

Monday, February 18, 2013

Step Back and Bounce Forward

While laying in bed last night I found myself thinking about how I was excited for workouts this week, ready to go log some miles and hit the gym a few times, meanwhile I had just ran 10 miles on the treadmill less than an hour prior to this. I was extremely happy to feel motivated for this week because last week I was pretty sure I left my motivation at the airport when we came home from vacation. All week I struggled to get my workouts in, with scheduling issues, lack of motivation, and lack of will power and energy, it just wasn't happening.

Last Week
Monday: Was SUPPOSED to come home from vacation. No workouts.
Tuesday: ACTUALLY came home from vacation in the evening. No workouts.
Wednesday: Back to work after a week away: CRAZY hectic day at the office. But I did get 6.5 miles in.
Thursday: Decent day at work, got 6.6 miles in, then went to the dentist....spent all of Valentines night in pain, looking like a chipmunk and being bundled up on the couch.
Friday: Woke up still looking like a chipmunk, in a lot of pain, and no desire to do any pounding or sudden movements. Worked all day, called in sick for my night job ( hard to smile and be nice to people at a restaurant when it hurts to move your face in any way shape or form)....Spent most of the night being lazy.
Saturday: Pain, exhaustion and migraine finally took over, spent most of the day setting up my new laptop and being a bum. 
Sunday: Promised my mama (yes I still call her mama!), I would help her go pick out some new clothes at the outlet mall and then go to lunch, was gone most of the day. Spent the evening packing my bag for the week and packing more of my apartment up for the move. Finally got on the treadmill at J's around 7:30 for a so-so 10 mile run.

There are so many chances I should have taken to run or go to the gym. But I made excuses and I allowed myself to be lazy and be irresponsible with my training. I'm not happy about it, but at the same time, it might have been just what I needed to get myself ready for some bigger better weeks to come. Which leads me into....

The Penultimate Step
The more I thought about it last night I began relating this to my High School and College Track & Field days when I was a Long Jump and a High Jumper. Now before you ask where the hell this is going, I promise it will tie in. I was a natural at jumping, it came easy and I improved quickly once I really got into it. But none of my improvements ever surpassed the ones that came after I learned the penultimate step. Penultimate is a word that means "next to last", in long jump and high jump this is particularly important. The penultimate step (next to last step) is key to getting the most out of the jump, you have a longer higher step then the last step is lower(height) and shorter(in length) making it so you don't have to force the jump, biomechanics allow you to get off the ground maximizing your velocity and distance. Basically what I am saying is, you have to shorten the last step, get a little lower or back off a little in order to maximize the physics for the big jump. Same holds true for training, sometimes you have to back off a little or have an off week (like I did last week) to help lead you into a bigger better week and get back on track for training. Last week was my step-back which allows me to be more rested and ready to go for it this week.

Although I am still not feeling 100% (I am still rocking a little bit of a chipmunk cheek from my dental work), I am happy to feel motivated again, happy to put my schedule together for the week which will force me to get back on track. I can sit here and dwell on my disappointment in myself for being lazy last week, or I can use the rest and recovery I got to give me more energy for this week.

Some Tips to Getting back on Track
  1.  Don't beat yourself up: easier said than done, but dwelling on it isn't going to help. Use it as motivation to be better in the future.
  2. Talk to someone about it: confide in a friend or someone you trust. Figure out how and why you got off track, see how far off track you really did get, and put together a way to change it and get back to where you want to be. Telling a friend about it will help you stay motivated and hold yourself accountable for your actions.
  3. Look at the community: Pay attention to your Dailymile friends (or other sites you may be a part of), seeing people post workouts should give you motivation to have things to post as well. Look to message boards and blogs to have support about people going through the same things, stick together!
  4. Get outside or to the gym: Nix the home workouts for a few days while trying to get back on track. Being surrounded by people who are doing what you're doing will help push you, and a little push can go a long way. 
  5. Re-evaluate and Re-commit....I don't track my food all of the time, at least not like I track my workouts. But I have found that when trying to evaluate where I am at, tracking everything even for a week can be helpful. It will hold you accountable and help you be healthier going back into things. Keep a log of what you're taking in and what you are doing to burn it off, seeing it written down or in an app can really help. There are so many ways to log what you are doing, if you want suggestions just ask!
  6. Set small goals: set a few smaller goals, such as "I will get to the gym 3 times this week" or set a mileage goal, or perhaps set a goal to log all of your intake and activity for a week. Setting small attainable goals can help you build the confidence to get back where you want to be. Write the goals down, or share them with a friend...and set a reward for each of the goals, working towards something is a great way to stay motivated!
  7. Ask for help!  This is an important one. Whether it be asking for help at home with chores or to-dos so you have a little more time to dedicate to working out, or asking a friend to accompany you for a run or gym session to hold you accountable and be there for support. You don't have to tackle everything alone, training for a marathon or any race is a lot of work and requires time, sacrifice, responsibility and it requires support. Make sure you have someone to help you, someone to talk to and be there, it makes a world of a difference!
Those are just SOME of the many things that can help you get back on track, no one is perfect and we all need a little boost sometimes!

We all get off track sometimes, if you have any suggestions or things that have worked for you, speak up!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

For the love....

Happy Valentines Day! Instead of making this holiday just about the ones we love, I am going to make this day in honor of all the things we love too. After all, you should be telling and showing your love to the one you are with EVERY day and not just one day a year! In honor of Valentines, I am dedicating this post to couples near and far, for the love of each other, the love of the run, the love of everything :) From one runner to another, a toast to the things that make running so amazing!

For the love of BRANDS

Saucony
Those of you who know me know that I am addicted to Saucony, and I am not looking for a cure for this. Whether it's my Saucony clothes, gear, or sneakers, I'm always sporting the Brand in some way shape or form. I've been a runner a long time, and have been doing it more seriously for the last few years, I've been through a lot of shoes, a lot of brands...the moment I put on my first pair of Saucony Kinvara's I haven't looked back. They have been with me through some great races, including my most recent marathon which was a 16 minute PR and an official Boston Qualifying time by a long shot. The shoes didn't give me that time; my body, and mind did. But those shoes sure helped, they got me through training without blisters or injuries, they were there for the long runs and the short ones, they helped me get where I needed to be. Since switching to Saucony Kinvara's after my first marathon in 2011, I have had no major injuries, and for that matter not a lot of small ones either, no blisters from shoes, nothing that would ever make me want to change back to my pre-Kinvara days!
   My favorite water bottle & my kicks:)  (9/2012)               Pair #6 Kinvara's(1/2013)


     My 1st pair of Kinvara's, rain or shine they never let me down! HOOKED!!(7/2011)

Clearly you see my LOVE of Saucony Kinvara's, but I also have many other Saucony items that are wonderful, running hats, winter hats, gloves, I love my Saucony DryLete sport top(perfect for cold or inclement weather), my Axiom Long sleeve(great for layering), and my amazing Kinvara graphic shirts(show off the love!) and Hydralite tank (this tank is awesome for warmer temps!).

Now that you know a little more about my LOVE for Saucony, you should help me convince them to make me a pair of all white kinvara's so I can wear them when I walk down the aisle next year! Kinvara wedding sneakers for me please! For the true runner at heart, my Fiance and I met through running, and it only makes sense for me to have my other love (Saucony Kinvara) there on my wedding day too!


Garmin
For the love of numbers, get a Garmin! I am such a numbers driven person, I love the facts and the statistics and being able to quantify aspects of my runs and workouts. I started training for my first marathon without a fancy watch, half way through I realized that I wanted to know more about my training, more about my runs and how I was doing, Garmin was my answer. You don't NEED a high tech watch to be an amazing runner, I know so many people who refuse to wear a Garmin or other GPS watch, and it works for them; but for me, show me the numbers people! Using a Garmin has helped me learn to pace myself, learn to have stronger workouts, smarter workouts, and has helped me be a better runner. I love my Garmin, some may not need it, but for me it is an essential!
My Garmin 405 has proven to be incredibly useful for long runs especially, It's peace of mind finishing a run knowing I can go back and analyze how I did, seeing every mile, every hill, all the hard work put in to achieve goals. (Photo from 10/2012, my last 20+ training run for Marshall Marathon...Garmin & Kinvara shown in same photo, perfection!!)

For the Love of Food & Fuel
My top 10 loves....

  1. Goldfish....yes goldfish....Particularly the whole grain ones in the very large carton....They're a great carbohydrate source, easy on the stomach for before and after workouts/races, and best of all...YUMMY!
  2. Clif Shot Blocks Strawberry....I have tried all sorts of in-run fuel, from gels to jelly beans and everything in between. Clif Shot blocks have been the most consistently useful for me...convenient, easy, no stomach problems, great flavors, no overpowering feeling of shakes or fullness...
  3. Builders Bars....Great protein source, post-workout recovery fuel, can even be used as a meal on the go..quick and easy!
  4. Reeces! Chocolate and Peanut butter, there is nothing better. I run so I can eat these, well that is partially true...but when you need some quick tasty calories to give you some energy after a workout, its a great go to!
  5. Gatorade....The Gatorade brand now offers so many different types of fuel. Pre-workout fuel, fuel for during as well as recovery fuel. I have tried most of them and have had no issues. But my favorite is good old fashioned Gatorade, it offers fluid and electrolytes with great taste. It's convenient as you can get it just about anywhere, and they also make powdered packets to go in your water bottle, doesn't get much easier than that! 
  6. Spinach...The benefits of this amazing green leaf are huge, it helps aid digestion, prevent illness, decrease inflammation, full of antioxidants, lowers blood pressure, full of Vitamin A(which is great for your skin),and those are just SOME of the benefits! My only side note on this one is that this is an item that you should always buy organic!
  7. Chocolate Milk. The protein, the calcium, the carbohydrates, Vitamins A, C & D....not to mention the amazing taste....DRINK UP!
  8. Salmon, it can be cooked so many different ways, full of flavor and full of nutrients. I have found this to be a great fuel source the night before a race, healthy but wont weigh you down!
  9. Sweet Potatoes...yummy yams, great source of Vitamin A, C, potassium, iron, manganese and copper which are all going to fuel your performance and support healthy muscle function.
  10. Peanut Butter & Jelly...YES I said it, I am 25 years old and still eat PB&J regularly. I use Arnolds Flatbreads (whole grain with flax and fiber) for the bread, and locally made natural peanut butter and locally made jams/jellies. The benefits of this are wonderful...great for carb-loading, great a few hours before a run or shortly after, so much protein and nutrients and we all know it tastes great even as adults!



For the Love of each other: Couple designed workout ideas!
Here's a few ideas for workouts with your loved one, get fit together!


  1. Simple: go for a run together! My Fiance and I first 'date' was an easy afternoon run together, great way to talk, enjoy the outdoors, and get fit at the same time!
  2. Hit the gym at the same time, you don't have to be next to each other the whole time, but just being in the same place with the same goal is a great way to support each other without being "in your face", you still get your time to do what you want to do.
  3. Go for a walk or a hike together. This is a great way to enjoy the great outdoors, pack a backpack and go for a hike, bring some healthy snacks and make an afternoon out of it. Or even just go for a walk around the neighborhood after a long day at work, talk and vent and stretch your legs out, by the time you get back you'll feel much better!
  4. Try a class together. Go try something new, some kickboxing, or cycling, or cross-fit ...find something new to both of you and try it together! Date night!
  5. Play a sport together. Whether it be making a tee time, or hitting the courts, find something fun but active to do....play as a team or one-on-one....either way it gets the endorphin's flowing and your body moving!
  6. Couples Massage. YES this counts, massages are great for anyone, but especially for athletes. We put our bodies through a lot, give them some TLC! So why not relax together and enjoy some quality time while you muscles and body thank you at the same time!
  7. Teach each other something. Teaching your partner something can be a great experience, learning to appreciate the things each of you do. Maybe you teach your man how to do some yoga moves, and maybe he takes you to the batting cages, you'll appreciate the time together and learn some new moves in the process!
  8. Make a circuit workout together. Plan a workout at home or the gym, rotate exercises back and forth, you can make it so you do the same thing at the same time or alternate. It will help you be active, and push each other in positive ways.
  9. Your normal lovin' workouts with each other may burn more calories than you think, don't count that out either! Not that you need more excuses to get smooching!
Those are just SOME things you can do as a couple to stay fit together, come up with your own or modify these to work for you and your significant other. Be creative, and have FUN!!

Happy Valentines Day!!!









Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Athletes Packing List

As I prepare for a mini-vacation I look at my packing list, I realize that more than half of it is to support my running/athlete habits. I think I would be more upset if I forgot one of these items than anything else, I know I am not the only runner or athlete who thinks about this while preparing for trips! Typical vacation stuff can be bought if forgotten, you aren't going to go buy a new Garmin, or charging cord, or some other athletic gear items, so you don't want to forget them! This is geared for a vacation and not a running specific trip like a race (yes there is a different packing list for that in my mind, most is the same but there are other considerations for races).

A few things to consider while packing for a trip you will be active on:


Clothing Considerations
Pack for the climate you are heading to (weather reports can be viewed for a day, a weekend, look at the hourly as well to plan ahead, that way you can be prepared for the entire trip!), but also pack at least one "just in case outfit", for instance I'll be heading to Florida and the weather is supposed to be over 75 the entire time, but I'll still pack a long pair of running capris or pants, as well as a long sleeve top I am comfortable running in, just in case. This eliminates the chance of you using "I wasn't prepared for that weather" excuse, when you don't get a workout in. The general rule of thumb is "pack for weather 20 degrees warmer than anticipated, and 20 degrees colder than anticipated". Another thing to make sure is to anticipate activities you might be doing on your trip, might get a bike ride or a swim in since it will be nice, be prepared for those things so you won't have to sit out on the sidelines if you don't have the right stuff packed. The other "just in case" thing I like to do is pack an extra outfit. I am planning on running 3-4 times while we are gone, but Ill pack for 5 workouts just in case, maybe one of the days will turn into a double, maybe on that last day I'll want one more run on the beach before returning to the cold snowy tundra of New York.....don't get caught unprepared, you'll kick yourself for it!



Gear Considerations
Just like clothing, your gear needs to be appropriate for the climate and environment that you are in. Whether you will be running roads or trails, running in heat or cold, well lit areas or in need of some light, best to be prepared for anything so pack smart. One big tip, Don't forget the chargers for electronics, easy thing to overlook but not as easy to replace!

My Gear for 5 Days in Florida
  • Garmin & Garmin Charger 
  • Body Glide (heat can create problems, lets limit that!)
  • Nathan Handheld water bottle (I haven't run in heat in a while, hydrating will be key)
  • I.pod, headphones and Charger
  • Swim lap counter (just in case)
  • Swim goggles
  • Spi.belt 
  • Clif Shot blocks (strawberry is my favorite!!)
  • Saucony Kinvara 3's (Duh. we all know I am OBSESSED!)
  • Biofreeze roll on
  • Running hat/visor
  • Compression Socks
  • Sport sweat/waterproof sunscreen
  • My favorite running sunglasses
  • Band-aids & Moleskin (just in case of blisters from running in the heat)
  • Swim Cap
  • Ibuprofen 
  • Hair ties/bobbi pins and headbands to keep hair tame while working out (ladies, we all know this can be a challenge!)
  • Road ID (if it's the interactive one, make sure your online profile is up to date)---[look what just came in the mail, my NEW Road ID ;) super stoaked!]




Other Considerations
Besides checking the weather and planning workouts for the trip, a good thing to do is be prepared with routes. Using sites like Dailymile and MapMyRun or RunningAhead, plan some routes out so you know where you will be going running and/or cycling in a new area. Also, if you are visiting people you know or are a member of a site which has local athletes, talk to people from the area to find out good places to run, and places you might want to avoid. You can't always tell these things from looking at a map online, you want to be prepared as possible and safe as possible running in new territory. The other side of this is that locals might know some great places off the beaten path for you to run, or some great routes that offer well maintained terrain and cool views!



Monday, February 4, 2013

Road ID

I finally broke down and bought a Road ID, something I should have done a long time ago. I will review it and add it to my gear list when it arrives, but in the meantime I want to share the love, and pass on a coupon code for you to get your own Road ID. When you get to order and check out at Road ID use the coupon code: ThanksLaura22239457

Short post, but hey you get a coupon code out of it! Stay safe out there friends.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

January review: February anew

It is baffling to me that the first month of the year is gone! Where is time going? What baffles me even more is that I actually did more in January than I expected. Taking a few weeks off between December and January didn't hinder my comeback this winter, if anything it helped. A few weeks to let the body rest and regroup is very important and is key to burnout and injury prevention. I did the same thing last year (last year I actually was burned out by the end of the fall though... 2 fulls, a few halves and some other races over the course of 3 months will do that....who knew?), I took December and part of January off and my body thanked me, but last year was much harder to build back up. Maybe it's because I am stronger overall than I was last year but maybe it has to do with the environment I was in, I'll touch more on that later.

January Review by the Numbers 
Running 
Miles: 71.9
Average pace: 8:01

Cycling
Miles: 153.7
Average speed: 18.5 mph

Fitness workouts(weights, abs, etc.)
#:14
Time: 371 minutes

Cross training(cross trainer & elliptical)
Miles: 23.9
Time: 2 hrs 45 min

January total miles: 249.5
January total time: 26.83 hours

2013 goals
Running miles: 4.79% of goal completed
Cycling miles: 5.34% of goal completed

January at a glance
I am happy with the results of January, it was a busy month in life and with getting back into workout mode after a few weeks off. Getting back to the gym this year was much easier after last years break. It helps when you have a great support system and are surrounded by people who encourage you and help you get to where you want to be. My main support system in my life at this time last year was not an athlete, and didn't support my running or fitness goals. Therefore I didn't have the support to get back into things after time off, as they would have preferred I didn't get back into it. This year is so different. Having someone to encourage you, support you, and acknowledge hard work and accomplishments makes a huge difference. The first few times back at the gym were hard, considering the solid performances I had in the fall, to come back and feel so far from that was mentally and physically challenging. But it is like riding a bike, some time focusing on myself and what I needed to do to get to where I wanted to be did the trick. For the record, I didn't start working out again in January because it was a New Years resolution, it just works out the last few years that my last big race (marathon) falls in mid November therefore December becomes the rest and recovery month.  Not that I am putting down those who start working out in January for resolutions. I just simply feel that if you want to change something, there is no point in waiting until the new year, make the changes when you know it needs to be done, not when it's convenient or when society deems it tradition. Mentally this month had its shares of ups and downs but getting back into the swing of things really helped me, I am much happier when I am working out regularly and in training. Official training for marathon number 5 (Cleveland marathon) started a few days ago and I have never been happier to be back on a plan and on track for my goals.

February Goals at a glance
This month is going be so incredibly busy, but I need to keep focus on training at the same time. We have 5 days in Florida, 3 days in Vermont, a move to prepare for (Co-habitation with my fiance officially begins 3/1!!), I also have another baby shower to throw for my sister, and oh yeah hold down 2 jobs...when I figure out what sleep is, I will let you know. This month will really test my ability to plan, stay on schedule, and train despite a hectic schedule.

Goals by the numbers for February
Run Miles: 130 miles
Bike Miles: 200 miles
Fitness workouts: 16
Cross training/Elliptical: 3 hours total

Here goes a crazy month, let's see what it brings:)



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