Thursday, April 30, 2015

Monthly Goals : May

Hello everyone and happy May!  April came and went very quickly for me- it was a busy month filled with races, planning and traveling!  I still tried to stick with my April goals (which you can check out here )
Keep reading to see how I did on my April goals, and what I want to achieve in May! 

TOLT: My Favorite Fuel


Hello everyone!  How are you all doing?

Now that I'm deep into half marathon training, I decided to share what my favorite fuel is for running!  I have it broken down into pre-, during and post-run.   I have a really sensitive stomach, and can't handle much food before a running (especially a race) so you'll notice that section is particularly empty.  I'm still trying to experiment and figure out what will work, but so far I'm coming up empty!  If anyone has suggestions please leave it in the comments!

Also, I'm linking up with Amanda for Thinking out Loud Thursday!
Thinking-Out-Loud2

Before:

Bananas- Pretty much the only thing my stomach can handle before a run.  I typically have a banana about 2 hours before a race, and occasionally before a workout.  I've tried mixing bananas in smoothies with some coconut water and that also works well!

Water- I try to keep things simple and just sip on water constantly.  I used to only run after work, so I made sure to hydrate throughout the day.  I notice a huge difference in the quality of my workout if I drink water or not.  Now that I try to run before work, I make sure to have a glass of water as soon as I wake up.

Coffee- If I have a particularly tough workout, or a longer morning workout, I'll drink a tiny amount of coffee.  I can't drink too much or it bothers my stomach, but having about a half cup seems to help my performance.  There have been studies done on the effects of caffeine + running, and most signs point to the positives: mental alertness, improved mood, and boost in performance.  I make sure to drink mine black, and it helps a ton!

During:

Honey Stingers gel- I've tried many a gel in my day (aka in the past 4 years) and honey stingers work best for me.  I LOVE the taste of honey, and that's exactly what these taste like.  The consistency is also much thinner than typical gel, which makes it a lot easier to ingest, especially during a race.  I haven't tried these yet on super long runs, but so far so good!

Saltstick Caps- I talk about these all the time, but they are amazing!  I can tell a difference immediately when I take one of these during a race.  My legs don't feel as tired, I don't feel nauseous, and I can run faster!  These have been an absolute life saver for me.

Water- I've tried to take Gatorade during races, but it always ends up bothering my stomach.  I usually stick with just water at fluid stops.  For longer races (half marathon and up), I sometimes will take a cup of Gatorade and water towards the end of the race if I'm really struggling, and have about a 1:1 ration of Gatorade to water and it doesn't bother me as much.

After:

Nuun- I used to drink Gatorade after runs to re-hydrate, but I find Nuun to be much more refreshing and more satisfying.  Sometimes Gatorade or other sports drinks can taste too sweet or give me a stomach ache if I drink too much.  Nuun is much lighter and still has tons of electolytes and sodium, plus tastes a bit fizzy.  My favorite flavor is Grape..it's SO good!

Chocolate Milk- I love drinking chocolate milk after tough runs!  Not only is it a great recovery drink because it has a ratio of 4 grams carbs to 1 gram of protein (perfect balance to promote muscle recovery after endurance exercise), it's also delicious.  It's like having a reward after a challenging workout, but also helps you recover.  What could be better!

Tart Cherry Juice- After every run and workout, I drink a bit of tart cherry juice.  It helps to significantly reduce muscle soreness and pain.  It's actually amazing how well it works!  If you're interested in reading more about the science behind the juice, read this.  My favorite way to have it is blended with frozen mango and banana with chia seeds.  Refreshing and filling!

Coconut Water- During the summer, I absolutely LOVE to drink coconut water after running.  It's so refreshing and hydrating after sweating it out in the hot sun.  I would recommend trying Trader Joe's coconut water- it's the best tasting brand I've tried (and I've tried a lot!).  I also love using CW as a base for smoothies if I'm craving something with more substance!

What is your favorite fuel for running?

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Wednesday Reviews : Le Tote

 Happy Wednesday!  Today for my review, I'll be talking about another clothes service called Le Tote.  In the past, I reviewed Stitch Fix (check out my latest fix here!).  I haven't been too happy with my "fixes" lately, so I decided to branch out and try a new service.  (note that I paid for all of this on my own and I was never contacted by Le Tote for this review!)

Le Tote is much different from Stitch Fix, and I love the concept: You pay $49 a month, and receive unlimited totes for the month.  Each tote contains 3 articles of clothing and 2 accessories.  Before the tote is sent out, you have a day to review the shipment, and switch out pieces.  This is my favorite part- being able to see what you're getting ahead of time!  

Once you receive your tote, you can wear it as often and as long as you'd like, then send it back in a pre-addressed and stamped envelope(they even wash everything for you!).  You can also purchase the items from the site for less than retail price.  It's so simple!

Once Le Tote receives the clothes back, your next tote is on the way!  I tested the service out for a full month, and received 3 totes in that time (that's 9 clothes I got to try, and 6 pieces of jewelry!)  

Let's see what I got to try this month:

Delivery #1

Wearing : Mason Scotch Hannah Dress and Lola vs Harper Dream Tunic
I loved both of these!  The dress is exactly my style and was perfect for work.  It's hard to see in this picture, but it was navy blue with black herringbone design.  It was very subtle and I loved it.  The tunic was also really cool- there was a faux-leather panel at the top, and it was mid-thigh on me.  It could have passed as a dress, but I paired it with J Crew Pixi pants and some booties.  I would definitely buy something like this!

 

 Delivery #2

Wearing: Noir Elsa Soft Tee and Shilla Revolution Top
I absolutely loved the Soft Tee.  It had a really cool design, and was incredibly soft (like the name would imply).  It was really long on me, though, so I had to tuck in the front.  The Revolution top was a fun alternative to a basic black t-shirt, and had longer, crepe sleeves.  I liked this but wouldn't buy it in stores. 

 

 Delivery #3

Wearing: Lola vs Harper Skies Croc Tee and Splendid Laverne Top (with House of Harlow Sunburst Necklace)
I loved the Lola vs Harper tee!  It was a really comfortable material and had faux-crocodile sleeves.  Tops like this are so easy to dress up and down!  I liked the fact that I got 3 basic black tops in my totes.  That's what I typically wear to work (easy to match with different pants + no staining!)  I also loved the Splendid top.  It was a fun alternative to a traditional button-down top.  I loved the color and it was SO comfortable.

You'll also notice that I got the same necklace from the second tote but in white.  I loved the design and wore it constantly, so I wanted to try it out in white as well!  I love this necklace and may pick it up in the future.  You can request to get the same item in multiple totes, which is great if you find a favorite piece! 

Overall, Le Tote was a lot of fun to try out.  It's a good opportunity to wear lots of different clothes each month and not have to worry about washing the clothes or keeping them.  It's a lot cheaper than other clothing services (such as Stichfix or Golden Tote) and I would definitely try it again! 

If you're interested in trying Le Tote, I would appreciate if you used my referral link!  You'll get a $25 credit by using my link :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Wednesday Reviews : Empty Products #1

Hi everyone!  Happy Tuesday to you all.  If you're anything like me, you love to finish up products.  It's so satisfying to completely use up something, and then be able to try new things!  I love seeing reviews on YouTube of empty products.  Once you use up something, you can really tell if you actually like the product or not, so those reviews are really helpful.

Today I'll be sharing short reviews of products I used up recently.  This is going to be a series (probably once a month or every other month) so you can see what I use up regularly!  I hope that you enjoy!

Face/Body Products

 
1. Tree Hut Shea Moisturizing Body Lotion in Brazilian Nut.  
My all-time favorite lotion.  It's extremely moisturizing and smells AMAZING.  I've probably gone through 5 tubes of this and will keep buying it.
2.  Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Cleansing Pads.
These pads made my skin feel really smooth and clean, but it didn't really exfoliate or help my skin in the long run.  I've switched over to a chemical exfoliant and it seems to work much better.
3.  Urban Decay B6 Complexion Prep Spray x 2 (sample size)
I loved this spray!  I don't know what's in it, but it made my skin smoother and less red before I added any other products.  I think I may pick this up in the regular size!
4.  La Roche-Posay Mela-D Deep Cleansing Brightening  Foaming Cream (sample size)
I also tried a sample of this and took it with me whenever I traveled.  It always made my skin feel really tight when I used it, so I wouldn't purchase a full-size container!

 Hair

1. Loreal Ever Creme Shampoo.
I love this shampoo and always get it in winter.  It makes my hair really soft and smells like vanilla/caramel candy!
2. Batiste Dry Shampoo in Dark + Deep Brown.
This is my favorite dry shampoo and I wear it about every other day.  I try to only wash my hair every 2 or 3 days, and this keeps it looking fresh and not limp.  This one blends in with my brown hair perfectly, so I love taking it to the gym if I work out in the morning and don't have time to wash my hair.
3.  Batiste Dry Shampoo in Fresh.
This dry shampoo is alright, but it does leave my roots a bit white if I'm not careful.  It's not as quick and easy as the one above, but it will do in a pinch.  I only buy a different dry shampoo if the brown one is out of stock!  The scent on this one definitely is fresh and makes me feel much cleaner (and probably smell better!)

Makeup

1. NYX Retractable Liner in brown
Love this liner!  It didn't dry out at all and always went on smoothly.  No complaints here!
2. L'Oreal Butterfly Intenza Mascara
This was an ok mascara.  I really liked the original Butterfly mascara, but wasn't as impressed with this version.  It clumped up my lashes and I had to comb through them every time I wore it.  It did seem to work better when it dried up a bit, though!
3. L'Oreal True Match Lumi foundation
Love this foundation.  It looked beautiful on and I loved the pump.  I also tried the original true match and HATED it, but this one worked really well.
4. L'Oreal True Match Concealer
Great concealer.  Loved the brush tip applicator and it covered everything really well!
5. Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer in Brightener
My favorite undereye concealer.  I already have a new one ready to go!
6. L'Oreal Magic Lumi Concealer
I love how this looked under my eyes, as well as down my nose and on my cupid's bow.  My only problem was that I went through it REALLY quickly, so it's not worth the money to me.
7. Chapstick Total Hydration in Sweet Peach
I got this in a box (I think a Target beauty box?) and used it every day.  It's actually a clear balm, even though it looks like it would be peach.  It smelled great and hydrated my lips really well.

What products have you used up recently?
Have you tried any of these products?  What are your thoughts?

Monday, April 27, 2015

April 27- Weekly Goals

Hello everyone and Happy Marathon week!  I know a lot of you are running the  Pittsburgh 5k, half or full (some are even completing the challenge and doing two races!), so I'm wishing you all lots of luck!  I'll be on a plane heading over the Atlantic during the race, but I'll be cheering each of you on and will be eagerly awaiting race recaps.  Good luck!

As for today, I'm going to keep it nice and short and just share my weekly goals!  Since I'm traveling, I may not be able to complete all my workouts.  That's fine with me - I'd rather enjoy my trip than stress about training.  Here's what I have on my schedule for the week:

Monday : 4.5 miles
Tuesday : Rest / yoga
Wednesday : Speed work : 8x400
Thursday : 3 miles
Friday : Rest
Saturday : Copenhagen Park Run
Sunday : Rest

Have a great week!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Half Marathon Training : Week 6 Recap


from jenchoosesjoy.com

Hi everyone and welcome to Week 6 of half marathon training! I'm officially half way through my training...what?!  I can't believe it but I'm feeling great and ready to put in 6 more weeks of hard training. 


(note, I'm not affiliated in ANY way with the Biggest Loser or with the Run/Walk.  I just wanted to make it clear what I'm training for in a fun way!)

Here was my training plan for the week:

To remind you, I'm using Hal Higdon's half marathon intermediate plan as a base, but adjusting it to fit my schedule.



Monday

3.87 miles / 33:00 / 8:23 pace
Beautiful morning run with some humidity and sprinkles.  I keep saying it, but I love these early morning runs!  Once I'm up and going, it's so peaceful and easy to keep going.  It's fantastic having the run out of the way early!  

Tuesday

Centergy
Great class as always!  I especially love the hip openers.  Always feels so great!

Wednesday

Morning Spin class
This was a 45 minute class, and I took it easy.  It was still great and I love spinning in the morning!

4.6 miles / 40:00 / 8:41 pace
Great and difficult tempo run!  I wanted to push myself, so after my warmup, I ran 5 minutes at 8:40, 10 minutes at 8:15 and 5 minutes at 7:45, followed by a cooldown.  Ran most of the faster miles going uphill, so I was happy with my splits.

Thursday :

3 miles / 28:00 / 9:20 pace
Another early morning run.  It was freezing this morning, so I got to wear some winter gear again.  It felt great out though and my legs enjoyed the slow pace after yesterday's hard run!

Friday

Rest!!

Saturday :

Rest!!

Sunday :



6.2 miles / 57:50 / 9:19 pace
Beautiful run along the Mediterranean Sea in Mallorca! There's a bike path and running path along the water so I just ran there. So beautiful!

Read my past weekly recaps:
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5

Friday, April 24, 2015

Top Five Friday #9 : Blogs

Happy, Happy Friday to everyone!  How are you all doing?   I'm so excited for this weekend, and especially excited for today's Friday Five post!  The topic is Favorite Blogs, and I have a lot of them!  I've been reading blogs for a few years now, and religiously follow my BlogLovin' list as well as Blogger Reading List.  I love finding new blogs to read as well, so I'm excited to read everyone else's suggestions!  Don't forget to check out the amazing hosts: Mar, Cynthia and Courtney!

I'll be talking about my favorite blogs in five different areas : Makeup, Travel, Food, Fashion and Local bloggers.  Hopefully there's something for everyone here!  I also linked to my 3 favorite posts from each blog if you're looking for a few posts to get started.  Hope you enjoy, and don't forget to leave me some of your favorite blogs below!

 

Makeup 

I've been a long-time subscriber to Essie's You Tube channel and absolutely love her personality!  Her blog is also amazing - I love the site design and her pictures are incredible.  She does a lot of product reviews and has round-ups of her favorite products.  I also love her adorable greyhound, Reggie!

Travel


I found this blog when I started researching what to do in Europe.  I love how each guide is only 12 hours worth of activities!  Most websites I find have itineraries for visits of 3 days to a week!  The pictures on this site are also breathtaking and make me want to plan ANOTHER trip!

Food

I've been reading Bakerella's blog for a long time, before she became such a celebrity! If you didn't know, she is actually the original creator of cupcake pops/cake balls/whatever you want to call it!  She makes the most adorable desserts and even has her own line of bakeware!
 

Fashion

I have to blame Caroline for about half of my purchases ever since I started reading her blog.  Her style is really similar to mine and I love how she mixes and matches her 37-piece capsule each season.  She's about to move to Seattle for a few months and I'm so excited to see how her capsule will evolve and where her blog will go! 
edit to add..Caroline actually posted that she's taking a 6 month break from blogging while she moved...bummer :( 
Beauty Routine  x Creating a Capsule Wardrobe x One Item Six Ways

 

Local


For this last topic, I wanted to highlight six incredible Pittsburgh bloggers.  Not only is everyone in this list extremely motivating and has a terrific blog, but they're all amazing people.  They're all supportive of each other on their blogs, on Daily Mile, and in real life.  I appreciate each and every one of them for their constant comments and encouragement!  I would recommend you check them out and follow along on their journeys (most of them will be running the Pittsburgh marathon or half marathon in a few days!)


Moving on to my typical Friday roundup of current favorite songs and shows!

Five Songs

Maroon 5 - Stutter

I love a lot of Maroon 5 songs, but this is my favorite.  I like the driving beat in the background and the chorus is great!

Gavin DeGraw - Sweeter

Gavin has one of my favorite voices, and I'm obsessed with this song!  I heard it during a spin class (great song for a climb) and couldn't wait to listen to it over and over at home.

Jasmine Thompson - Halo

I love, love, love acoustic songs, especially covers of popular songs.  This one is really pretty and easy to listen to. I love this girl's voice!

Nate Ruess - Nothing Without Love

Nate Ruess has such an interesting and unique voice.  When I first heard this, Dan said it sounded like the guy from Fun.(which is apparently on hiatus...sad news), which just proves how unique his voice is!  This is a great song!

Queen - Can't Stop Me Now

In case you didn't know, this is my favorite song ever!  I love it for running since it picks up tempo a lot in the middle of the song.  I never get tired of listening to this song!

 

Five Shows

Dancing With the Stars

I wasn't really a fan of the theme this week (Spring Break), especially since I'm still upset they're taking away the "Switch-Up" which was always my favorite week!  My favorite dance was definitely Riker's...he's blowing me away lately! I can't believe I didn't like him at all the first week and I'm rooting for a showdown between him and Nastia.  I also liked Nastia's dance but wasn't "wow'ed" by it.  Anyone else think Derek should have taken the year off to focus on his show instead of trying to squeeze this in as well?

The Voice

I liked a lot of the performances this week: Meghan Linsey, India Carney and Corey Kent White were probably my favorites!  I also enjoyed Koryn Hawthorne's performance, but there's something about her voice that bothers me.  I can't put my finger on it, but this was my favorite performance of hers so far.

American Idol

Another week, another bottom 2 for Rayvon.  I'm assuming he'll be in the bottom every week from now on.  I was sad to see Quentin leave, and I was actually really disappointed in most of the performances this week!  Everyone sounded pretty shaky and didn't seem that into it.  I guess it's getting to the point in the competition when they're burnt out but still have a few more weeks to go.

The Bachelorette

The Bachelorette won't be starting for a few more weeks, but promos (this 50 Shades of Cray one is great!) and spoilers are starting to come out about the upcoming season!  I'm SO excited to watch, because Kaitlyn is one of my favorite contestants of all-time, and I'm interested how the two-for-one deal will work out.

Fuller House

In other Future TV Shows news, did you hear that the Full House remake is a go?  I've heard reports for months, and now it's confirmed to come back to Netflix!  All of us 80s/90s babies get to relive our childhood!  That reminds me, has anyone watched "Girl Meets World"?  I saw one episode but it disappointed me :(

Also linking up with Heather and Clare!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Eat Around the World Challenge : France

Hi everyone!  Today I have the second installment in my "Eat Around the World Challenge" (if you missed the first one, click here!).  Today, we'll be traveling to France.  This is another cuisine that I've never made before, and I actually haven't eaten much of either!  There aren't many French restaurants in Pittsburgh, and the ones we have are a bit out of my price range.



It was fun trying out some new recipes, but unfortunately the sides turned out much better than the main dish.  I did find an AMAZING recipe that you'll find below, and I can't wait to make it again and again!  It's incredible!  Keep reading and see what I came up with!

P.S. I'll be linking up with Anne in her next Pin to Present series!  If you want to follow me on Pinterest, click here.  The pictures on the left are the pins, and my version is on the right.

Chicken Chasseur

chix_chasseur_1.JPG

The chicken chasseur was very odd- when I made it first, the sauce was really runny and bland.  I tried it again the next day with some cheese and rice and it transformed into an incredibly rich, delicious dish!  So weird!  I'm not sure if I would make it again, but it was great as leftovers!

Carrot Salad 

The carrot salad, however, was so simple and delicious.  I decided to get multi-color carrots (which I think taste better, and also look prettier) and used a spiralizer to shred them.  It was a great side dish, and I'll be trying this again in the future!  I took leftovers for lunch the next day, and it tasted even better.  The dressing marinated the carrots and it tasted amazing!

French Onion Soup


This was AMAZING and definitely the highlight of dinner!  I don't have a broiler and forgot bread, but even so this was incredible.  I don't typically like French Onion soup, but this one was so rich and decadant.  I am in love and will be making this recipe again and again!

The recipe itself was really time consuming, but didn't take much effort.  Most of the time I was just waiting for the onions to carmelize or the soup to come together.  Highly recommend trying this out!

I hope you enjoyed this little food journey today!  This is such a fun resolution and Dan and I have both enjoyed trying new cuisines each month without paying a ton to go to restaurants.  Coming up next month is Greece...can't wait!

Linking up with Amanda for thinking out loud Thursday!

What's your favorite French dish?
Do you like to try out different cuisines at home? 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wednesday Reviews : Recent Purchases

Hello everyone!  Lately, I've been on a pretty big shopping kick.  I mentioned before that I've been saving money throughout the year, and I finally decided that this was the month to spend it!  With my trip to Europe coming up, I decided to splurge on some new clothes to take along.  It was also Chic Week at Sephora, so I tried out some new products!

Keep reading to see what I picked up from Lululemon (my first trip there!), Madewell, Express and Sephora. 

LululemonLululemon essentials

1. cool racerback in sugar crush multi - I tried on a few tank styles, and this one was my favorite.  This was the only print they had in my size, and I didn't want a solid color.  I like it, but I'm going to keep an eye out for more patterns!  I haven't worn this on a run yet, but I bet it will work great.
2. run swiftly short sleeve in heathered black - Love the material of this!  I wore it to a group power class, then running on the treadmill.  It didn't bother me at all and didn't make me feel warm.  This will be a staple in the summer.
3. speed short in star crushed black cherry - I got these for the print, and they're incredible comfortable to wear running.  They are pretty short, so they won't be for everyone.  This is my preferred style of short to run in, so I love them!  I especially love the zipper in the back and the two large front pockets in the waistband.
4. wunder under crops in naval blue - WOW.  That's all I can say.  These are the best, and I would recommend these if you were to just get one thing from Lulu!!

Madewell

recent purchase madewell
1. structured crop top in eyelet white - I love how this shirt looks.  It hits right at my hip bone (I have a really short torso) and looks really crisp and modern.  I ordered in XS and it fits TTS.
2. abroad dress in stripe inset - I got this for my Europe trip, and it's also going to be a staple work dress.  The material is really comfortable and doesn't wrinkle, and I love the strip inset.  On the hanger it looks a bit odd, like an apron, but it looks much better on.
3. stonehold pendant necklace - I've gotten SO many comments on this necklace and I absolutely love it!  It goes with just about any outfit, and the length is adjustable.  LOVE this.

Express

express leather jacket review

1.  minus the leather jacket in pitch black - SO excited about this.  I've been looking for the perfect faux leather jacket for a while, and saw a blogger posting pictures of this.  I luckily found one in my size at Express this weekend and I'm in love!

Sephora

cover fx natural finish foundation review

1. cover fx natural finish foundation in P20 - I got a sample of this from Sephora (btw, if you're in Pittsburgh, check out the Shadyside Sephora.  They are SO helpful and friendly there.  They suggested this foundation to me and even applied it to my face with a few other products).  It's incredible!  Medium/full coverage but looks really natural and matches me PERFECTLY.  I love the squeeze tube as well!
2. nars radiant creamy concealer in vanilla - Everyone raves about this concealer, and I understand why.  It has really great coverage, but also blends in really easily.  I love this kind of applicator as well!
3. nars audacious lipstick in juliette - The formula of this is terrific!  It's really creamy and lasted hours on my lips.  I'm still getting used to the color because it's a little brighter than what I'm used to, but I think it's a great spring/summer color.
4. too faced twice the drama -My absolute favorite mascara.  It's amazing, but expensive.  I decided to try out the set, because it's the same price as a single mascara!  The liner is incredible too.  I tested it on my hand, fell asleep, went running the next morning in long sleeves, then took a shower and it was STILL on my hand!  This is a perfect liner for tight-lining because it's really creamy, pigmented and lasts forever.


Linking up with Treasure Tromp for Treat Yo'Self Thursday!  I definitely treated myself!

Did anyone pick up anything during Chic Week?
What's your favorite recent purchase?  Give me a mini review!!
Anyone else in love with Lulu (by the way..what's up with all the names?  Is it Lululemon, Lulumon, Athletica...what?!)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Why I Run: TOTR

Today's topic for the Tuesdays on the Run Linkup (which I've been LOVING being a part of!) is "Why I Run".    I love this topic, and it'll give me a good chance to tell you all a bit about my running history.  This is a lengthier post, so if you'd like the short version, read this article I wrote for Huffington Post, right before I ran my first marathon.

I started running when I was 8 years old, because my sister and dad would go out running at a park nearby.  I really wanted to join them, and my parents finally let me when I turned 8.  It was love at first stride, and I couldn't stop running.  I did my first race when I turned 10 at the same park- the Brighton Heights 5k.  I ended up beating my dad and sister, and finished in the top few women!

My first race.  Notice all the white cotton t-shirts..running was really different back then!


From then, I didn't want to stop running.  My dad, sister and I formed "Team Braun" and ran tons of races in the area, usually winning our age groups.  This was before running was really popular, so everyone in the running community in Pittsburgh knew about Team Braun!

I ran my first track meet in elementary school, where I did the 800m (the longest distance they offered).  I ended up in third and my parents made fun of me because I spent some time waving to everyone in the stands who were cheering instead of focusing on the run!  In middle school, I ran for the cross country team, and ended up winning the championship and setting the record for the course!

For all you Pittsburghers, this is at the Schenley Park oval.  This is still where city league meets are!

I continued to run in high school, doing cross country and indoor/outdoor track.  It was around this time that I started to burn out and didn't enjoy running as much.  I didn't look forward to long runs with Team Braun, I hated going to the track and running intervals, and I especially didn't like our weekly lifting session as a family.  All that hate culminated in a pulled hamstring during cross country practice my junior year.  I finally shut down and realized I would never be as good as I used to be and I would never set records again.  I took some time off, but finished out my high school career in cross country and track.

Not looking excited to start running


When I went away to college, I decided to stop running. I had my years of glory, but didn't care about the sport any more. I focused on Blue Band and my school work, and never thought I would ever run again, except for the 2 miles or so I would jog on the treadmill at the gym once in a while.

In my junior year, something started to change in me.  I started to feel like something was missing in my life.  I didn't feel healthy or attractive or like I had a big "thing" in my life.  I needed a goal and needed to work towards something again.  My mind immediately went to running, and thinking of all the good times I had in cross country and track.  All the victories, and none of the defeats.  I decided to start running again, and train for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon.  Once I completed that, I was completely hooked on running again.  I signed up for the full marathon, which coincidentally fell on my college graduation.  That's actually when I started this blog (back when it was "Gretchen Goes the Distance"..you can still read those posts if you go back in the archives!)

Happy to be running again and sharing my love with others!

Ever since then, I realized exactly why I run, and why I could never stop again.

Running makes me a happier person
Running makes me a healthier person
Running makes me see the world in new and exciting ways
Running makes me thankful and reflective
Running makes me connect with new people
Running makes me a better person..one mile at a time.

Why do YOU run?

Monday, April 20, 2015

April 20 - Weekly Goals

Happy Marathon Monday to everyone!  There are so many amazing bloggers out there who are running (some for the first time, some for their 5th+ time) and I'm cheering on each and every one of you!  I would also love to see Meb win back-to-back races, and maybe even a local lady win it this year.  I'm so excited to watch and run some miles in honor of Boston!  Maybe one day I'll be out there running the famous streets in the footsteps of some of the greatest!

I had such a fun weekend, so I've got to give you all some of the highlights.  Linking up with the Healthy Diva for MIMM! 


Brunch at The Urban Tap with Susie!  The food wasn't the best (I got Shrimp and Grits and they were pretty bland) but the drink menu was amazing and the conversation was great!  Thank you, Pittsburgh, for such a beautiful day while Susie was visiting!  Maybe she'll think about moving to the burgh?  No?? OK..

Beautiful, beautiful day!  Went to Schenley Park to play frisbee with our friend Jon!

Thank goodness for friends with cable!  We got to watch the Pens game (which they finally WON) and tried out the Pittsburgh Dad beer.  Nothing special, but it went perfectly with a hockey game!

It was a great weekend, and now I'm ready for a new week of workouts to start!  Here's what I have planned:

Monday - 4 miles
Tuesday - Centergy
Wednesday - 40 minute tempo
Thursday - 3 miles + Power
Friday - Spin
Saturday - Rest!
Sunday - 7 miles

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Half Marathon Training : Week 5 Recap

When you think about quitting, think about why you started.


I can't believe another week has come and gone in my training! This was a fantastic week for me and I had some terrific workouts.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous, and I even did a few morning workouts!  Keep reading to see what I did this week.

(note, I'm not affiliated in ANY way with the Biggest Loser or with the Run/Walk.  I just wanted to make it clear what I'm training for in a fun way!)

Here was my training plan for the week:




To remind you, I'm using Hal Higdon's half marathon intermediate plan as a base, but adjusting it to fit my schedule.

 

Monday

5 miles /  49:00 / 9:43 pace
Ran home after walking dogs at the Humane Society for an hour.  Wow, it was a hot one and I felt it!  My legs felt like lead and I was tired the entire time (running with a backpack isn't exactly comfortable either).  I'm so glad I bought a water before I started!  Runs like this really help my mental game, so bring it on!

Tuesday

Group Centergy
Nothing new to report here...typical workout.  Felt great, especially after Monday's horrendous run!

Wednesday

6 miles / 55:00 / 9:10 pace

Woke up early to run before work.  It was so peaceful out and makes me want to become a morning runner!  I went to Schenley track, which was gloriously empty (minus a few others  and some deer).  I did another WOW from Lauren Fleshman: the Freddy Kruger.
1600 meters : 8:00
4x200 meters : average of 6:10 pace
1600 meters : 7:15
4x200 meters : average of 6:00 pace 
1 mile warmup and cooldown, and a lap after each set.  Between 200 repeats I got a 30 second break (which I mistakenly thought was 15 seconds due to only being half awake).  Great workout and fun way to mix up speed work!

Thursday

Group Power
Today, the new launch debuted.  It was so hard, especially triceps and chest.  My arms were shaking by the end!

3 miles / 30:00 / 10:00 pace
Easy run on the treadmill after class. 

Friday

Spin Class
Great class as always.  We did lots of sprinting and hill work.  The hour flew by!

Saturday

3 miles / 32:00 / 10:20 pace
Easy Schenley trail run with Dan. 

Sunday

6 miles / 52:00 / 8:39 pace
Felt better and better as I kept running, but had to cut it short because a big storm rolled in. I should have run earlier in the morning, but I slept in and had to run errands in the morning. Live and learn!

Total for week: 23 miles

Friday, April 17, 2015

Top Five Friday #8 : Brands

Hello everyone!  Is anyone else excited for the weekend?  I know that I am, and I have it packed full of activities!  I hope the weather cooperates, because it's looking beautiful so far.

Today, for the weekly Friday Five linkup (with Mar, Cynthia and Courtney), we're talking about Top Brands!  This is a really fun topic, and I can't wait to see what everyone else comes up with.  I decided to pick my top brand for five different areas, as well as some suggestions on my favorites from each brand.  Let's get into it!