Wednesday, March 12, 2014

WIAW: Getting Irish

As an English teacher by day, I love themes. It's no surprise that I would apply them to other aspects of my life including my fitness. For St. Patrick's Day I thought I'd look for ways to bring some Irish into my diet and workoutsI am not Irish by blood, so I started my food and fitness research on the internet - (full disclosure I asked mrC first, but he was not helpful). 

Honestly, I found A LOT of Irish food that I would never eat or won't eat now that I'm GF: Brussel sprouts, corned beef and cabbage, soda bread, lamb stew, shepherd's pie...did I mention that I'm a picky eater?

In the end, I think I'll stick to just having something spinach in my smoothie!

Mixed berry, spinach, yogurt, almond milk, and protein smoothie

Putting together an Irish workout was much easier. For this one, I thought I would focus on leg strength since that is where I am right now.

Each exercise can be done as an interval. I chose 30 seconds on for each with 5 seconds rest and repeated 3 times.

What is your favorite way to "be" Irish with food or fitness?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Training Truths: Marching toward 100

For the first week of March, I kept my focus on taking care of my knee and enjoyed racking up some miles for the #FFMarchMiles challenge with short 30 minute runs and working walks. I am motivated by challenges and data, but I am hoping to NOT over-do it just to hit 100 miles in March. I know I can't do it with running only, so I'm hoping the walking will keep me level-headed. I'm the type of runner that will keep going to hit the full mile mark and not end up with a .95 run!

On Wednesday, +Mizuno Running  launched their new #IfEverybodyRan campaign asking the question, What would happen if everybody ran?  Since I run because it makes me happy (see photo evidence in this post), it's no surprise that this is my favorite stat:

Monday - ran 3.1 miles on TM

Tuesday - walked 2 miles on TM

Wednesday - After having issues with my Nike Sportwatch on Monday and again on Wednesday, I ran 3.4 miles on the TM. I might have taken out my Nike Sportwatch frustrations on my pace.

FitSnap app!

Thursday - REST

Friday - REST

Saturday - ran 3.1 miles with mrC outside because IT. WAS. GORGEOUS! (And, after phone calls and Tweets with +Nike my Sportwatch is back in action. Great customer service!)

Sunday - walked 3.1 miles on the TM and blogged thanks to my handy-dandy treadmill desk (19.83 #FFMarchMiles total)

I also had fun with the first week of the ZOOMA #ZOOMAphotoaday challenge. My favorite day was #8, shadow. I love my retired running buddy always following me around when I put on my running shoes, but I absolutely LOVED the sunny weather more!

What kind of runner are you? What do you think would happen if everybody ran?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Half at the Hamptons 2014

I love half marathons. And to be honest, I want my family to love half marathons, too. When mrC agrees to run them with me, I'm happy. After my oldest step daughter ran her first half marathon last November, she was eager to run another so I cheerfully signed us up for Half at the Hamptons, my third race in the #14in2014 challenge.

I ran this race in 2012 and loved it. The course is flat and a large portion has scenic ocean views.

This was supposed to be my comeback race. When I signed up, I was rebuilding my mileage after battling a hamstring issue that had lasted months longer than I ever imagined. I picked this race because I had time to train and the course would be leg friendly, aka flat.

What I didn't count on was that my hamstring issue would persist and manifest into a tight ITB and then a cranky knee!

Despite my pitiful training, I managed to get myself to the starting line. I knew there was a possibility that I might see my first DNF and I was ok with that. My step daughter and I made a plan to walk for 1 minute every two miles and hopefully we would make it. Her busy college schedule resulted in less-than-stellar training also.

It wasn't sunny, but the wacky New England weather did cooperate. The rain held off and we had 40+ degrees with just light winds.

The first 4 miles seemed to fly by. It helped that we ran past our cheer section twice. The crowd support along the boardwalk was amazing. By far the loudest and most enthusiastic was the Stonyfield van.

After walking at mile 4, we were feeling pretty good, so we decided to walk every third mile. I grabbed water from the stations along the way to rinse out my mouth. Sometime around mile 6 my stomach started growling so I accepted some GU to supplement the Cytomax I brought in my Simple Hydration bottle.

I was still smiling at mile 10, but my legs were starting to tighten up. My longest training run had been a 10 miler three weeks earlier.

Just after passing mile 11, I needed to walk and stretch my tightening legs. My step daughter was anxious to get to the finish, so I urged her to keep going. It was a long final two miles to the finish, and even seeing mrC at mile 13 couldn't energize my legs. The last three weeks of non-running to care for my cranky knee caught up to me.

I was so happy to make it to the finish line so I could stop running. It wasn't the finish I had planned on when I signed up, but I did finish and I'm happy with that.

Finish time: 2:20:29

I'm glad I ran Half at the Hamptons again. There are lots of reasons to like this race besides the easy course and great views.

  • Several (5 total) water stops with Gatorade and GU 
  • Friendly volunteers along the course & cheerful spectators
  • Tons of bathrooms available at the bath houses along the course and at bib pickup
  • Plenty of free parking (more if there aren't 12 foot snow banks!)
  • Runners get a simple long sleeve race tee - it's cozy and perfect for lounging around
  • The race medal - I love the seashell shape
  • FREE race pictures courtesy of Delta Dental

Have you ever had a "bad" race, but felt happy about it anyway?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

5 Ways To Fit in Fitness

Life can be crazy busy. Some days it really feels like I don't get a break until I go to bed.

Here's a typical day for me:

5:30 - 7:05  Wake up. Shower. Feed the dog. Unload the dishwasher. Grab a cup of coffee, make something for breakfast, listen to the news, while Facebook and blog reading. Pack my lunch and make a smoothie to go.

7:30 - 2:41  Teach all day.

2:45 - 3:45  Meeting after school.

4:15  Get the mail. Unload my bags and check dinner ingredients.

4:30 - 5:00  Change clothes and go for a 3 mile run.

5:00 - 6:30  Prep, cook, and eat dinner with the girls. I made this yummy Mini Mexican Meatloaves recipe inspired by a post from Allison at Life's A Bowl. It was so easy and so delicious! I find lots of great recipes at the WIAW linkup.

Mini Mexican Meatloaves

6:30 - 7:45  Let the kids clean up while I shower and blow dry my hair.

8:00  Finally unwind and watch a little TV before going to bed.

It can be hard to find time to workout, but I know I will be healthier and happier if I do. Here are some tips that I try to follow that make finding time to exercise on busy days easier.

1. Make a plan: Schedule your workouts like you would your dental or doctor appointments. This makes it a priority and one you will be less likely to skip.

2. Active media time: You don't have to give up your TV time to workout. Watch your favorite shows or movies while you are running or walking on the treadmill. Build your own treadmill desk and work while you walk. Move the coffee table and do some squats or sit-ups during commercials.

3. Exercise at work: Squeeze in a quick workout on your lunch break, sit on a balance ball to work your core, take the stairs...There are tons of ways to

4. Wake up earlier: Set your alarm to wake up 30 minutes earlier than normal. It might not be the easiest option, but it beats NOT getting in your workout.

5. Go on a fitness date: You know what they say, couples who sweat together… Instead of dinner and a movie, take a hike and have a picnic, go to the beach and play sand volleyball, or take a bike ride around town and stop for lunch.

How do you fit in fitness?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Training Truths: Closing the door on February

February did not turn out the way I expected. Instead of finishing my half marathon training strong, I found myself dealing with a tight ITB and a crooked knee cap!

At the beginning of the month I started the #FFburpee challenge sponsored by FitFluential, but my cranky knee prevented me from being able to finish. I was hoping to develop a love for burpees, instead I settled for having made it to the halfway mark of the 1000 burpees goal.

During the month I kept myself busy with the three week #MNBchallenge sponsored by Lorna Jane and Fit Approach that focused on how to move, nourish, and believe everyday. I loved this challenge!

I did cross a goal off my 2014 list though. I ran my first new race of the year in Newport and followed up with my 11th half marathon (recap coming soon).

While on vacation in Florida at the end of the month, I learned that I will be returning to the ZOOMA Cape Cod Half Marathon in the fall as an Ambassador!

After much TLC on my cranky knee, I did get in two nice 5Ks last week. On Thursday morning mrC and I enjoyed a leisurely trail run wearing shorts! My knee felt pretty good and the new patellar band that my chiropractor recommended felt better than the KT tape and less bulky than mrC's brace.

After running errands back at home in NH on Saturday afternoon, we enjoyed another easy 5K to the beach and back. It was the best my knee has felt, so I'm hopeful that I am fully on the mend.

mrC had to go on a three day trip, so it was just me to take the dog for a walk on Sunday. We took a two mile round trip to the waterfall and back.

I am happy to be closing the door on the month of February. Looking ahead to March, I am once again involved in a couple of challenges. Angela is hosting the #HappyFitMarch challenge on Instagram and Twitter. FitFluential is sponsoring the #FFMarchMiles challenging participants to run, walk, or hike 100 miles. ZOOMA is hosting the #ZOOMAphotoaday challenge.

What are you looking forward to in March?