Sunday, September 25, 2016

Towpath Half Marathon Training : Week 5

What a week!  The stars were aligned and I ended up having the best week (by far) of training.  Thankfully, there are only two weeks until race day, so I'm hoping to ride this training high right to the starting line.  This was my final hard week of training, so let's take a look at how it all went down:


4 miles / 36:40 / 9:09 pace
I started my week off with a little tempo run.  I did a half mile warm up, followed up 3 miles at an 8:00 pace and half mile cool down.  This felt like a comfortably hard pace, which tells me I did it right!  Also- how about that fog over the city?!  Beautiful!


Yoga / 45:00
 I was actually planning on trying out a new class at my gym, but the instructor was out of town so I ended up doing yoga instead.  Hopefully I'll get to try it next week!


Rest Day!
 I started to feel a little sick on Wednesday and decided to take a rest day.  I'm not sure if it's allergies, changing in weather or just a cold, but it wasn't fun!  Lots of sneezing and coughing and pretty much no energy.  I barely made it through work without falling asleep, so I decided to take a day off!


3 miles
I still wasn't feeling great and was just going to skip this run as well, but Suzy sent me a text about a Canadian named Terry Fox who ran across the country with only one leg to raise money for cancer.  With that kind of inspiration, how could I stay home with sniffles?   


3 miles / 26:15 / 8:45 pace
I'm hoping this was our last warm day for a while, because this was a brutal run!  I ran in the evening and did three one-mile hill repeats.  It was close to 90 degrees and humid, so this was a really challenging run!  The downhills saved me!

Core / 30:00
I joined Dan for his core exercises, and threw in a few sets of each exercise along with some Sun Salutations to make a good 30 minute core workout.


4 miles / 37:34 / 9:23 pace
Glorious, glorious weather.  Still a bit humid, but I'll take it if the temperature is below 70!  This was also a cloudy morning, so it felt great out.  Went on a nice and easy run to shake out my heavy legs after running hills!

In the evening, Dan surprised me with tickets to the Pirates Game with a Hunter Hayes show afterwards!  Hunter is one of my favorite singers, so I was REALLY excited!  The game was pretty awful but the show was amazing, and we ended up getting home around 1:00!  Party animals!


11 miles / 1:41:00 / 9:10 pace
Today was my final long run before the race, and it could not have gone any better (especially considering that I only got 5 1/2 hours of sleep!). The temperature was right around "ideal running weather" (55 degrees), my entire body felt great, and my mind was in the right place.  I also decided to wear my sneakers that are usually for easy runs to see how they would hold up for a long run, and they did great!  I decided that these would be my race shoes. 

I did two laps of North Park, one each direction to mix it up, and listened to a podcast while wearing a jacket for the first lap. Second lap I took off the jacket and turned on music and felt like I was just starting the run! Isn't that the best feeling? My final 6 miles were all under 9:00 (one was 8:32 whoo hoo!).

After I got home, I got to work!  Dan and I are building a shed in our back yard, and today we had my dad's help.  We did a lot of hauling of 80 pound bags of concrete, 50 pound bags of river rock, digging holes, and filling them with cement.  My entire body was tired by the end of the day, but I can't wait for the shed to be ready!

How was your week?  
Anyone else struggle with allergies? I never used to have allergy issues until we moved!
Hunter Hayes fan?

Friday, September 23, 2016

Top Five Friday #68

Happy Friday (and officially-fall) everyone!  I'm feeling a little under the weather, so I'm looking forward to sleeping in this weekend and catching up on some Fall TV premiers (did anyone watch This Is Us?  So good!).  I have so much to share today, so let's get to it!

Linking up with MarCynthia and Court 
as well as Heather and Momfessionals

Endangered Species Chocolate

Dan picked this chocolate up for me on a whim at the store, and it's so good!  It's certified vegan, gluten free, non-GMO, and a portion of it goes to support endangered animals!  It actually tastes good too, so you really can't lose.  We found it at our local grocery store, but I've also seen it at Whole Foods, and it's available on Amazon! YUM!

Miley's Back!

Little known fact of me- I was a huge Hannah Montana fan growing up.  I don't even think that I was the target demographic, but I watched that show religiously, own the movie, and dressed up like her for Halloween.  I own all of Miley's music and have been a fan even when she was going through her crazy phase!  Now she's back and better than ever, starring on this season of the Voice!  She recently visited Jimmy Fallon, and you have to check out her performance.  She's amazing! (p.s. if you want to see Miley's musical evolution- watch this video!)

The Easiest Pumpkin Latte

I've been making my own pumpkin spice lattes this week, and I'm obsessed.  After some experimentation, I found a mixture that's flavorful, not overly sweet, and vegan!  It also only takes about 2 minutes to throw together, so when I'm rushing out the door at 6 in the morning, it's clutch.  Here's my "recipe":

1 T pumpkin puree
1 t pumpkin pie spice
1 t maple syrup (or sweetner of choice...add more or less to taste)
1 shot espresso (or 2 when you have a case of the Mondays)
8 oz steamed almond milk

Add ingredients to a mug in order listed, and whisk to combine.  If you don't have a milk frother, heat almond milk in a saucepan with pumpkin puree, spices and syrup.

Play! By Sephora

Anastasia Brow Gel - I have really full, thick, unruly brows and this gel works so well!  It keeps them tamed all day long but doesn't make them look too stiff or unnatural.
Kat von D Tattoo Liner - MY FAVORITE LINER.  I was so excited to get a mini in the box this month!
Living Proof Night Cap - I love using this along with my Living Proof shampoo!  My new favorite hair brand!
Sephora Rouge Shine Lipstick - The color is really pretty and the formula is so creamy and smooth.  I'm not really a fan of shiny lipsticks though, and this one looks like a straight up gloss.
Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation - I love how silky smooth this moisturizer is!  Big fan.

iPhone 7

I decided to finally upgrade my phone and get the new iPhone!  I've had the iPhone 5 for the past few years, and while I loved it, some features stopped working.  Plus, I work on the mobile and emerging payments team at my bank, and everyone made fun of me for not being able to use Apple Pay or any kind of digital wallet!  So far, I'm loving the phone, especially the amazing photos it takes!  I got the phone in black (not jet black) and got this case to go with!


Such a fun and catchy song!

If you follow me on Snapchat you saw a little interpretive dance to this song...I absolutely LOVE it

Adding this song to my running playlist immediately!

This version of Katy Perry's song gave me SO many's incredible

Another oldie but goodie!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

15 Minute Core Workout

Hi everyone!  In Dan's last health update, he mentioned that he started to do daily exercise to strengthen his core.  He's had back problems for the past two years, and I taught him a few stretches and exercises to help strengthen his back, as well as work his entire core.  He started doing them daily, and it's already making a big difference for him!

Today I'll be sharing a weekly schedule that he's been following.  Each week, I slightly bump up the number of reps for each exercise.  You can use these numbers as well, or do whatever works for your current physical level.  You can also add multiple sets of each exercise and do a few circuits to really challenge yourself!

I have to make the normal warnings and disclosures here- I'm not a doctor or medical professional so do these exercises at your own risk!

The exercises

Situps - do either regular/full range situps or crunches.

Pushups - do these either on your knees or toes.

Plank - do these either on your knees, forearms or with straight arms.

Side Plank - time indicated is for each side.  do these with a knee down, on forearms or with straight arms.

Bridges - lie on your back with knees bent and feet on ground.  for each rep, slowly lift hips until there is a straight line from your shoulders to knees.  slowly lower to ground.

Superman - lie on your stomach with arms in front.  for each rep, raise your legs and arms all at once (only your stomach should still touch the ground), pause at the top and slowly lower for one rep.

Slow Roll - kneel on the ground on all fours.  keeping your hands and legs in place, push hips back and lower into child's pose.  pause, then slowly roll forward into upward facing dog.  pause for one completed rep.

Twist - lie on your back with arms straight out and legs on the ground.  bring up right knee to chest and twist to left side, looking over right shoulder (you will feel your back stretching)

Legs up the Wall - lie on your back close to a wall.  place legs flat up the wall (with heels towards the ceiling).  inch your butt as close to the wall as you can.  hold for recommended time.

Run - I think this one is self-explanatory!  RUN! (or walk..any kind of cardio really!)

What's your favorite core move?
Anyone else have back issues?  What helps you?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Towpath Half Marathon Training : Week 4

This week flew by like none other.  I traveled a bit for work, which was great for my running!  I managed to have one of my best weeks of the past few months, so I would call it a success!  Here's a lot at how the week went down:


5 miles /  45:40 / 9:07 pace
I was at Penn State for recruiting and went on a morning run around campus.  The weather was absolutely prefect and my entire body just wanted to run fast!  I haven't seen paces like this in a while so it was really encouraging.


Yoga / 45:00
Lunchtime yoga as usual!  I was getting some headaches when we did any poses upside down (like downward facing dog) for long periods of time, so I took it easy for parts of the class.


3 miles / 26:15 / 8:45 pace
1 mile cool down / 10:00 / 10:00 pace
 Morning speed workout on the treadmill.  I did one mile repeats of gradually picking up the pace, starting at 6.0 and increasing speed .5mph every quarter mile, with a mile cool-down.  Ended up being a great workout!


Rest day!


Tae-Bo / 30:00
Has anyone else ever done Tae-Bo before?  It used to be one of my favorite exercsises to do growing up, and I decided to pull out my old DVD for a workout!  If you haven't given it a try, do it.  It's really fun!


3.5 miles
The weather was really weird in the morning and was raining on and off, so I headed out for a quick workout while it was "off".  It was really humid out, but nice and breezy.  I went around my neighborhood for a hilly and fun run!


10 miles / 1:35:28 / 9:32 pace
My legs felt so good on this run, but the weather was awful!  There were storms all afternoon, so it was really humid and warm out in the morning.  I powered through for my long run, but I wish it was a nicer day!  Hopefully race day will have better weather.  Dan and I spent the rest of the day picking up furniture and a shed for the house, moving furniture between rooms and cleaning, so by the end of the day I was exhausted!  Definitely a productive weekend!

What was your best workout this week?
Do you like to run at an old school or neighborhood?
Ikea- yay or nay?  Yay for me!  I love it!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Top Five Friday #67

Happy, happy Friday to you all!  This week was absolutely crazy busy and I'm writing this post a lot later than usual (aided with the help of some pumpkin beer and leftover Papa John's pizza), so there's no time for an intro today.  Let's get right into these favorites so we can enjoy the weekend!

Linking up with MarCynthia and Court 
as well as Heather and Momfessionals

Pumpkin Beer

Since I'm currently enjoying my favorite type of beer, I figured I should at least share what I'm drinking!  Every year, I get a few mix packs of different types of pumpkin beers and pick my favorites for the year.  This year that would go to Sam Adam's 20 Pounds Of Pumpkin, New Belgium Pumpkick (thank you Lynne!) and Southern Tier Pumking.  Do yourself a favor and grab one of these, put on a flannel, and enjoy the crisp fall air!

Fall TV

It's that time of year when all of the good shows start, and I could not be more excited!  Dancing with the Stars started this week (#TeamValaur), and I'm looking forward to a new season of How To Get Away With Murder and Quantico.  What other shows should I look out for?

Zucchini Fritters

I had to share my favorite recipe of the week- these delicious fritters!  They were super simple to make, and I substituted two "chia eggs" for the regular eggs to make it vegan! (2 tablespoons chia seeds mixed with 6 tablespoons of warm water).  I think these would be great with some extra seasonings or some other grated veggies thrown in (carrots sound amazing)!  

Grace Van Der Waal

The finale of America's Got Talent aired this week, and the winner was 12 year old Grace (who, by the way, was the first woman to win since the very first season)!  I'm not typically a fan of singers on the show, but this girl is incredible.  She not only sings, but also plays the ukulele and writes all of her own songs.  The song she performed for the finale was my favorite of any of her past performances, and I can't wait to see what she'll come out with next!  She reminds me of a mixture of Sia and Taylor Swift, and I promise you will fall in love with her.


Electro Dub Tango - Mundo Bizarro (such a cool mixture of electro with tango)
Sia - The Greatest (I'm just going to make this my motto during my next race)
Eric Clapton - Layla (oldie but goodie!)
Beyonce - 1+1 (for some reason I can't stop listening to this lately)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

WIAW : Penn State Edition

Happy Wednesday everyone!   This week I got to go up to my alma mater- Penn State- for a recruiting trip.  It was a lot of fun and I thought it would be interesting to share what I ate while I was there.  Here's a quick look at my day, along with my eats!

I woke up at 6:30 to go for a run in the morning.  I always loved running around campus when I was a student, so every time I visit I try to go for a jog!  I ended up running five miles, and stopped at Starbucks on my way back to my hotel.  I ordered a pumpkin spice latte with coconut milk- the syrup they use has condensed milk in it so it's not vegan, but I had to have my annual PSL!

The career fair started at 10:00, so I had to check out of my hotel and head to the college to set up around 9:00.  There was some food out for us, so I had some water and fruit salad.  Students started to come right away, so I didn't really have much time to eat!

I snuck away around 12:45 to grab some lunch.  There was a huge picnic set up outside (the fresh air felt AMAZING) and there were so many options!  They had salad, pasta, gluten free sandwiches, vegan and vegetarian wraps, and regular options as well.  I grabbed a roasted veggie wrap with hummus spread and some salad and chips along with more coffee to get me through the rest of the day.

We tore down our display around 4:00, and I hurried out to meet up with some friends for dinner!  I still know a few people that stayed in the State College area after college for work, so any time I'm visiting we always try to meet up.  We ended up going to Olde New York where I got a delicious black bean burger (seriously..the best one I've ever had, even though it looks kind of gross in the picture) with some fries and a Firey Mule (Fireball with ginger beer and lime juice- amazing!).  We stayed for a while catching up, then I headed home.

I got back home around 8:30 and ate some orzo salad along with a pumpkin beer while I caught up with Dan and Selma!  Perfect way to end the day!

What are some of your favorite things to do when you visit your college?
Any other pumpkin beer lovers?  It's my favorite type of seasonal beer!
Best thing you've had recently?  That black bean burger is seriously amazing...

linking up with WIAW!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Towpath Half Marathon Training : Week 3

I'm kind of tired of saying this, but this was another not-so-good week for me.  I started out great with a solid run on Monday, then I had an unfortunate incident that had me missing work and my workouts for a few days.  The end of the week I got more on track, but I'm still upset for missing a few days!

Either way, the race is just around the corner so I have to keep pushing.  Here's to hoping next week is better!


4.5 miles / 43:18 / 9:37 pace
I had off for Labor Day and had a great early morning run at North Park.  It was pretty crowded, but there was low humidity and it was a cool day.  Couldn't ask for better weather!

In the afternoon, Dan and I were both doing some work on the house, and I hit my head pretty hard at one point.  It hurt, but I kept on painting our bedroom and thought I was fine.  Unfortunately, for a few days I had an awful headache, felt a little nauseous and dizzy (especially at work) and took a few rest days.  I'm find now, but I think I might have had a minor concussion.  


Rest day!
I was actually planning on going to a Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga class with Lynne, but since I wasn't feeling well I thought it would be best if I didn't go.  I'm so mad that I missed this class because it's a bucket list item for me and I was really looking forward to it!


Rest day!
Another day off.  Starting to feel better, but I figured it was best to take off another day rather than get back too early and end up hurting myself more.


3 miles
I took it really easy and just ran around my neighborhood for some easy miles.  I did a one mile loop that went around my house just in case I started to feel sick at all, but I felt fine.  I think I was cooped up for too long and just getting out and getting fresh air helped a lot!


Rest day!
Yup..another one!


3 miles

Easy run on a new route in my neighborhood.  I went early in the morning but it was already in the 80's and super humid.  Not very comfortable for running, but I was happy to get it over with.  Afterwards I went to my sister's house to watch the Penn State/Pitt game with my family (we lost in a very frustrating end of the game).


9 miles / 1:23:24 / 9:16 pace
The weather was PERFECT today- just a little chill, tiny bit of wind, cloudy for the most part. My legs felt good today as well and I'm really happy with my pace! Even hit some sub 9:00 miles, which I haven't seen in ages! Didn't even feel like I was pushing it today..yay!