Sunday, November 19, 2017

One City Marathon Training : 1

And we're back!  I absolutely love training for races, so I'm excited to kick off a new training cycle (ps- if you want to hear more about the race I'm doing next and why I picked it, read this post!).  This was a great week, filled with some new cross training and fantastic workouts.  Even with some less-than-ideal weather, I was able to fit in all of my runs!  I know I'm not the only person that feels like a rockstar when I'm outside running in a downpour or on a snowy blowy day.  That counts as double mileage, right?

As always, here's a look at my week in training!  I liked my graphic so much from Buffalo Creek, so I decided to keep it for this cycle as well!  Maybe it's good luck, since I got a big PR!

linking up with Steff, Holly and Tricia!


Body Pump / 1 hour
This was my fourth ClassPass class for the month!  I'm working on a full post about all the classes that I tried and what I thought, but this one was a great workout.  It's really similar to what I used to do at my old gym in Squirrel Hill- high rep, low weight strength class.  The time flew by and I could tell I had a full body workout.


4.5 miles / 9:27
First run of my marathon training plan!  I set out for an easy run and wanted to do between 3 and 4 miles.  I felt great and the weather was perfect that I accidentally went an extra half mile.


4.5 miles / 9:13 pace
In my plan, I have marathon pace runs as well as tempo pace runs.  Sometimes these workouts aren't really "tempo" because the pace isn't sustained for a long period of time, and that's exactly what this workout was.  The goal was to do 2 x mile at the tempo pace (which, according to my plan is between 7:50 and 8:15).  I did this workout in the morning and felt great from the beginning!  I had to keep slowing myself down and ended up with splits of 7:50 and 7:46.  A little fast, but the workout was so short that I couldn't help myself.  #sorrynotsorry


Barre / 1 hour
A few weeks ago, I went to a class at The Dailey Method and ended up talking to the owner about my blog.  She was so excited about it and asked if I wanted to host a local blogger meetup, which I immediately agreed to!  I reached out to some of my local blogging friends and some other girls that I follow on Instagram but haven't met in real life, and ended getting a great group to agree to come. The class was really challenging, but it was so great to meet everyone in person.  Good workout and good friends..what's better than that?


Rest Day!
Much needed!


4 miles / 8:56 pace
This was definitely one of those grit-it-out and get-it-done type of runs.  All day long it was pouring down rain (not like a nice little shower, but full on downpour).  It was also pretty chilly out, but I knew I had to get this run in!  I ended up running pretty quickly (probably just because I was freezing and soaking wet), so overall this was a good run.


10 miles / 9:14 pace
This run was crazy!  I started out later in the day, after I met up with some friends at brunch, and it started to snow as soon as I got to the park.  Once I started running, the snow turned to hail and the wind kicked up, so I just switched my watch display so I didn't see my pace, and ran by effort.  I felt really great the whole run!  My plan calls for a 5 minute "strong finish", which is just picking up the pace at the end of the run.  I ended up running the last mile a little faster than my marathon race goal (8:46!!), and it felt great!  I was shocked when I saw my overall pace, and felt like I could have kept running more miles.  Great way to kick off my training!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Top Five Friday : Busy Bee

Happy Friday!  This was such a crazy week and I feel like I've been on the go every day!  I'm definitely hoping to catch up on some sleep this weekend, but also have a few fun plans, including an early Thanksgiving dinner, brunch with friends, a Penn State game, and my first long run of marathon training!

I hope you all have a great weekend and I'll talk to you on Monday!

linking up with ErikaHeather, and Friday Five 


Kelly Clarkson - Love So Soft
Kelly Clarkson just came out with her newest album and it's so amazing.  She has (in my opinion) one of the best voices out there, and I love the new style she's evolved into lately.  Love So Soft is the first single to come out and I can't stop listening to it.  I just listened to an interview Kelly did on Anna Faris's podcast, and now I'm even more in love with her.  She seems so cool and down to earth, even though she's incredibly talented.  Love her!


I enjoyed season one of this podcast, but I have to say that season two is just knocking it out of the park.  On this show, Jonathan Goldstein bring in people that have wanted to confront a person about something that happened in the past and help them do just that.  The episodes have all been fantastic (and the most recent one about a guy confronting a driver that nearly killed him was really inspiring and eye opening), and Jonathan is such an amazing podcast host.  He's funny, a good story teller, good at interviewing people, and the editing is fantastic.  Even the ads are hilarious! 


Foam Roller

This week, I started marathon training, and earlier this month I started adding cross training to my routine.  What that means is that I feel sore a lot of the time, and I know it's just going to keep getting worse as training progresses.  So, after my runs and in the evening I've started to foam roll, and it's been helping a ton!  I can pretty much immediately tell a difference in my muscle tightness, and feel so much better the next morning.  I just use a basic foam roller at my gym, then use one with nubs when I'm at home.


Great British Bake Off
I was so excited to log into Netflix earlier this week and find a new season of one of my favorite shows was available!  If you haven't watched GBBO you're missing out.  Each week, the bakers face three different challenges, all around one central theme (like cakes, breads, cookies, etc.).  The things that they make are amazing, but what I like even more are the different personalities.  I'm not sure if all British people are so charming and sweet as the people that are picked for the show, but it's making me want to drop by ASAP.


Pittsburgh Winery
I know what you're all thinking- Pittsburgh (and north-eastern) wines are disgusting.  They're all super sweet, low quality, and don't match up to other regions around the world.  Ok, maybe you're not thinking that, but I sure did when I heard of this place.  I quickly changed my mind once I tried their wines, and the reason why they're so good is because the grapes are actually grown in California, but turned into wine in Pittsburgh.  I quickly decided to join the wine club (which gives you free tastings every time you come, discounted bottles as well as a few special releases every 6 months, and invitations to special wine club events).  On Wednesday, I made it to my first wine club event, where the winery was celebrating their 5 year birthday!  There was amazing food, new release tastings, and a chance to make our very own red wine blend.  It was such a fun night and the wine was GREAT.

Favorite kind of wine?
What are your plans this weekend?

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Travel Tips from Dan!

I have a very special guest today on the blog- my husband Dan! This year he started a new job where he gets to travel a ton (and we're talking cool places like San Diego, Charleston, HAWAII...). He's already picked up some great habits on staying healthy while he's out and wanted to share them with all of you! Even if you don't travel for your job, I know this is a busy time of year with visiting family and friends, so I hope you can all learn something new. Feel free to leave your own tips or hacks in the comments- Dan wants to hear them all! Enjoy :)

Hi everyone!

Sorry, it’s been awhile since my last guest post. Unfortunately I haven’t done too much running this year, but I do have some healthy travel tips to share since I started traveling a little more for work. I am by no means an expert, but I wanted to share with you some things I’ve learned and especially invite you to share with me some tips of your own! Some of my advice is health-based and some is finance-based. While being as healthy as you can be, it’s important to save money too, because we want you to be able to afford more trips for many years to come!

My pointers are based on flying to a destination, staying at a hotel for several days to a couple weeks, and being able to pack a lunch box most days. So if your travel consists of driving to a weekend culinary destination where you’ll be walking all day, then feel free to tailor these tips to your individual situation and hopefully they’ll still be useful to you.

In the Airport

  • Do yoga and back exercises the night before your flight. It doesn’t take long to start feeling stiff sitting on that plane. The longer the flight, the worse your body will be aching. Do yourself a favor and exercise a little bit the day before.
  • Stay hydrated. Bring an empty water bottle with you to the airport. Once you’re through security, you can fill up your water bottle at a water fountain or a water bottle filling station. Don’t pay $3 for a 16oz bottle in the terminal. It’s expensive and wastes plastic.
  • DO NOT buy food in the terminals or on the plane. Instead, bring your own snacks, protein bars, crackers, etc. with you. The fast food at the airport is even more overpriced than your local spot, and doesn’t taste any better. It’s also not as nutritious as the snacks you already know and love.
  • Piggy backing off of the last tip, make sure you bring enough snacks for your layover too. Traveling is exhausting and you’ll definitely be hungry after your first flight or two. I’m glad I had these snacks with me for my layover in Charlotte. The water bottle was a reused bottle I brought from home. So, I spent about $2 total on my layover munchies instead of $10-$20 at one of the fast food joints or restaurants in the terminal.
  • If you’re physically able (and especially if you’re not in a rush), always opt for taking the regular stairs instead of escalators or moving walkways. Get those limbs moving and the blood pumping. You’ll be plenty stationary once you’re on the plane.
  • STAY AWAY from Starbucks! I know you love it, I know it’s addicting, I know it’s everywhere… but it’s just simply not worth it. Drink coffee at home before you leave or get free coffee during your flight’s drink service.

On the Plane

  • Speaking of drinks on the plane, opt for water, juice, or coffee instead of soda (pop/coke depending on where you’re from). We all know by now the negatives of soda. Sure it’s refreshing, but you shouldn’t compromise your health just because you’re up in the air.
  • Once again, pack your own snacks.  Not only is this cheaper than buying the pre-packaged boxes on the plane, but you can also have something nutritious and filling.
  • If your flight is longer than 2 hours (or any length if you have an aisle seat), I highly recommend standing up, stretching, or even walking around a little bit. You’ll probably end up doing this anyway to head to the restroom, but make sure you get some quality stretches in too. If you’re in the middle or by the window, I know it’s a pain to ask your seatmates to move just so that you can do some toe touches in the aisle. If you don’t stretch on the plane, make sure you stretch when you land.

At the destination

  • If you can, try to prepare your lunches and dinners most days instead of eating out. This is definitely easier if you scope out your hotel ahead of time and make sure they have a full size fridge and a stovetop. If you’re staying at an air bnb, then of course they have a stove, so GET SOME GROCERIES!
  • BONUS TIP: On my most recent work trip, my 3 coworkers and I ate out on the hotel grill pretty much every night, using food we got from the local grocery store and fish market. This is a pretty cheap and healthy way to eat local food while still socializing and hanging out. It was just as much fun as eating at a restaurant, but for a fraction of the price, plus we usually had leftovers for lunch. Definitely consider this when traveling with a group.
  • Now despite what I just said, I actually do recommended eating out every 3 nights for longer trips. The reason for this is to maintain sanity and to keep your trip new and exciting. Believe me, I understand that eating your own prepared foods gets old after a while, especially on vacation. Following this rule of thumb will help you stay motivated and not burn out, and also end up saving money.
  • When you do eat out at a restaurant, opt for chicken, fish, or vegetarian dishes instead of red meat. For their traditional hamburger recipes, most places will substitute chicken or veggie patties.  On my recent trip, I had a draft beer and veggie pizza at a brewery while watching the World Series. If you’re going to indulge, this is the way to do it- not grabbing fast food every day!
  • Going back to the grocery store, there’s plenty of healthier choices to be made. Choose almond milk instead of regular milk, choose orange juice with added nutrients, and choose bread that’s full of nutrients instead of plain white or wheat.
  • To stay hydrated throughout the trip, I have a specific system down. On the first day when I go grocery shopping, I buy a medium sized Gatorade bottle and a couple of gallons of the cheapest water the store offers. I drink the Gatorade on the first day and keep refilling the empty bottle with the gallon containers of water as needed. This gives me all of my clean drinking water needs for less than $3.
  • Go on walks (or runs!) to explore the city you're visiting.  You see so much more and get in lots of steps when you walk places instead of driving.  Some of my favorite moments of my trips have been going on long walks and discovering cool places that I would have missed.

Question for you all:

We all know that organic food stores have more attractive looking produce. I have read that these places are actually more wasteful and less sustainable since they just throw out a ton of fruits and veggies just because they don’t look as nice. What are your thoughts/opinions on this subject? Thanks!

That’s all I have for now. Happy travels!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Here We Go Again!

Well everyone, I decided that I'm going to train for another marathon this winter.  The saying is that third time's a charm and I'm hoping that's the case!  Either that or I've actually gone crazy and in a few months I'll be back here crying that my body is not made for marathons.  Only one way to find out!

If you've followed me the last two years, you would have seen the ups and downs of my marathon training.  I was training for the Gettysburg Marathon both years, and failed miserably both times.  Let's take a quick trip down memory lane...

First time (in 2016), I decided it was a good idea to train for a marathon while I was house hunting, changing jobs, and planning my wedding.  I decided to DNS the marathon and was happy with my decision.

slightly better than running a marathon

Fast forward to the next year (2017) and training was going great!  I was killing all of my runs and feeling strong....then I got injured.  Took some time off to rehab my shoulder, and still decided to do the marathon to redeem myself.  Ended up getting a DNF at the halfway point because my shoulder felt like it was going to fall off!

pitiful wave and surrounded by nothing but fields

So- I feel like I have to get one good marathon in before I can put this to rest.  It's also one of my 30x30 goals, so I have to do it in the next 3 years!  This time around, I feel like I have a great base built up from my half marathon PR, and I'm ready to get training.

I decided to branch out and not do the Gettysburg Marathon.  There were a few things that I didn't like about the race for myself (it has great reviews though, so these are all just personal preference)- the roads were all open to traffic, there were no pace groups, scenery wasn't great, and it was small.  I know I don't want to do a huge marathon, but I did want a closed course and pace groups, and preferably somewhere pretty by the water.  While I was thinking all of this over and trying to decide what to do, I saw Sokphal posting about the Newport News Marathon.  I told Dan about it, and he said "I'll be in Newport News that week for work too!"  If that's not a sign that I should do this race, then I don't know what to tell you!

*I saw the siiiign*...and I signed up for a marathon

The race is March 4, which means that I'll be training in the winter, but *fingers crossed* the race will have good weather!  There are great reviews for the race, including "fast course", "amazing crowd support", "fantastic PR-friendly course".  If I'm not selling the race enough, allow me to say mention the post-race festival, which features "Complimentary runner meal from 6 different food trucks and 2 beers or wine".  I'M IN!!!
Training starts this week, and I'll be sharing my weekly training logs again.  I'm also going to talk about what plan I'm following, and how I'm incorporating cross training!  I can't wait to get started and put all of my marathon demos to rest.  Let's go!

Who else is going to train with me!?
What goal do you keep failing at but won't give up?
Am I crazy?

Friday, November 3, 2017

Top Five Friday : Only Four

Congratulations everyone- we made it to Friday!  This was such a busy, busy week so I'm looking forward to the weekend.  I have a fun weekend ahead, and I'm also hoping to do some deep cleaning as well.  I feel like I haven't been keeping up with things at home lately, so I'm going to try to change that right away.

Here are some favorites from the week, and I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!  Good luck to any of you running the New York City Marathon or any other races this week, I can't wait to see Meb run his final professional race!

linking up with ErikaHeather, and Friday Five 


Lindsey Stirling - Warmer in Winter
It's November, which means it's officially socially acceptable to listen to Christmas music.  Still too early?  Oh well!  I'm excited about new music coming out, and have been enjoying Lindsey Stirling's new Christmas album.  She always does such cool versions of classic songs, and adds in some original ones as well.  On this CD she also included a lot of guest singers in her songs, which makes it a bit more fun and commercial as well!


Personal Best
One of my favorite podcasts is back with a whole new look and name!  The Runner's World Podcast has been renamed to Personal Best with a new host, but is still full of great stories about running and interviews with inspiring and interesting athletes.  Their first episode back features Bart Yasso, aka the "Mayor of Running", and I'm waiting for my next long run to dive in.


Bob's Red Mill Egg Replacer
If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen me demo this product a few days ago!  In the past, I always used chia seeds or flax meal to replace eggs in dishes, but decided to try this out instead.  It basically replicates the texture of eggs in baked goods, but doesn't add a weird flavor (or graininess) that I always noticed in the others.  It's really easy to use, and I find that it works really well in baked goods (I tried in both sweet and savory).  If you're trying to use less eggs in your baking, give this a try!


The Good Place
In general, Dan and I don't like watching the same shows at all.  He likes stuff like Stranger Things (too scary for me) and Rick and Morty (too weird) while I'm into reality shows.  Somehow, we both started to watch The Good Place together and both like it a lot!  It's a light-hearted show that keeps you guessing and has a strange sense of humor.  Plus, Kristen Bell just makes both of us happy!  We're just finishing up the first season now and I can't wait to see what happens!

Favorite Christmas album?
What is your favorite kind of TV show?

Thursday, November 2, 2017

What's New With You? Linkup #22

Happy November everyone!  It's finally starting to cool down here and it pretty much came out of nowhere!  Last week it was in the 70s and now all of a sudden it's in the 30s.  Next year, can we please gradually change temperatures (I'm told that this is called "fall")?  That would be great.

October was kind of a weird month.  Dan had to travel for work, and I was busy working on getting a new app released at my work (which finally went out- yay!), while working as a relationship manager on a new campaign, translating our current app to Spanish, and doing my daily responsibilities.  I feel like I was really busy and the month passed by quickly, but when I think back it seems like I didn't do much of anything.  Anyone else have those kinds of months?

It's time again to recap the month and see what's new!  I would love to hear what you got up to in October as well, so make sure you join the monthly linkup with Kristen and me by linking up below!

Now let's see what's new with me!

Goals and Resolutions

Do Something Crafty. I (almost) finished my cross stitch project- just a few finishing touches to add!  This was my first time doing a big project without a kit, and it was a lot of fun.  Dan was traveling for work a lot this month, so I passed by the time by working on this.  I'm not sure what I'll do with it since I was just using some scrap cloth that I had left over and you can already see the fraying edges, but now I want to work on another project.  I have something in mind but have to buy more cloth!  (ps- I got the pattern from this Etsy shop!  There are so many cool patterns you can buy!)

Stay Active.  The highlight of my month was running the Buffalo Creek Half Marathon with Jessie, and both of us getting big PR's!  The race was absolutely perfect and I'm really proud of us, especially since we trained so hard for the past 10 weeks.  I have another race coming up this weekend- my first relay at the Pittsburgh 10 Miler- then I'm getting ready to train for a spring race.  More to come on that!

In other news- Pittsburgh recently got Class Pass.  If you haven't heard of it- you pay one monthly fee, but can go to any studio or gym in the Class Pass system.  That means that instead of having to pay individual memberships or going to the same place all the time, you can mix it up and pay one flat rate!  I decided to try out their medium plan (which is 5 classes in the month for $30) and went to my first class last night at The Dailey Method.  It was my first barre class and I am SO SORE!  I'll share more about my overall thoughts at the end of the month, but so far I'm loving it! (ps- you can use my referral link to save $30!  I'm not being paid or sponsored by Class Pass...I wish...and I bought my membership myself!)

Drink Beer!  This was definitely a good beer drinking month. I tried out Full Pint in Lawrenceville, East End in the Strip, and also took trips back to some of my favorites (Shu Brew and Grist House).  At Grist House, I stayed to watch the Penn State/Michigan game since the owners are huge PSU fans, and it was so much fun!  I'm planning on going back for the game this weekend and I can't wait!

I got a new pair of running shoes!  A few weeks ago, Fleet Feet Pittsburgh contacted me and asked if I was interested in trying out their new shoe fitting program in exchange for a new pair of shoes.  I could not say yes fast enough!  This was also my first time at the store, and it was SO nice and packed full of all of the runner essentials.  The process was so quick and easy- Emily from Fleet Feet watched me walk without socks or shoes to see if I over or under-pronated, asked about my mileage and injury history, then scanned my feet using their new Fit ID 3D Scanner.  It just took a few seconds, and got measurements and a 3D model of my feet, so that Emily could find shoes that were perfect for my feet.  I also got an email of my scan so I can use it in the future!

I tried on about 6 different shoes and ended up with the Asics DynaFlyte 2.  I love how lightweight and comfortable they are, and can't wait to keep trying them out!

On my way out, Emily gave me a few New Balance items as well that are perfect for winter running.  They came just in time because it's been FREEZING lately!  The tights have such a cool pattern on them and are really comfortable (which you can see above), the hoodie is really warm but breathable at the same time and has fold-over cuff/mitten (below, with my pony tail through the convenient hole in the hood!), and the t-shirt is the perfect top to throw on and head out on a run!  I haven't tried New Balance clothes in the past, but these were all such great quality and fit well so I know I'll change that in the future.

That's all I've got for today- let me know what's new by linking up below!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Buffalo Creek Half Marathon Recap

Hi everyone!  Today I'm excited to share my Buffalo Creek Half Marathon recap with all of you.  If you've been following along, you know that I've been training for this race for the past 10 weeks, and my goal was to average an 8:30 pace (which would be a 1:51:26 half marathon).  My previous PR was 1:54:34, so I just would have been happy with anything under this time.

I was excited to do this race because a lot of my local running friends have their PR's on this course.  It's known for being a fast course, because it's pretty much all downhill (just look at that elevation chart), and is on a crushed limestone trail so you don't have to worry about making turns or hitting the tangents.  Plus, this is a mid-October race in Pennsylvania on a shaded trail, so the weather is usually perfect for running.

I drove up to the race with Jessie, and parking was really easy.  The race starts at a church in Cabot, and there were lots of volunteers out directing traffic.  We were there about an hour before the race started, and both had something to eat, met up with some friends who were also doing the race, and came up with a race plan.  Before we knew it, the race started (right on time!  Yay race organizers!) and we were off!

I mentally broke up the race into 3 chunks to make the race a little easier mentally.  The park where I do most of my long runs and speed workouts is 5 miles, so I told myself that I was just doing two laps of the park, followed by a 5k.

Miles 1-5

8:18, 8:21, 8:25, 8:17, 8:24

The first 5 miles felt great.  We started out on the road for the first two-ish miles before we got onto the Buffalo Freeport Trail.  I started out with Jessie, and also got another running friend, Crystal to join us.  She was just out for a training run and we convinced her to stick with us (since she's a lot faster than us, she could help motivate us when we were tired).  Our watches were having some issues (one watch would say 7:40 pace while another would say 8:35), but we were pretty much always trying to slow down.  It was a beautiful day out so we just wanted to go!

Miles 6-10

8:13, 8:15, 8:12, 8:28, 8:22

The second 5 miles were a bit more of a struggle.  I started to get some side cramps pretty much as soon as we got on the trail, and they were really starting to bother me by this point.  I wasn't sure if it was nerves, if I ate too much, or not enough.  I could hear my stomach gurgling around, but told myself just to stick with Jessie and Crystal as long as possible. We were still hitting our paces, and were even a little fast which gave me some hope!  The miles were still seeming to fly by, and my legs felt surprisingly great.

Luckily, we had some friends waiting just past the 8 mile mark, so I told myself to stay with Jessie and Crystal at least until that point.  Ciara and Katie got some great pics of us (almost looks like we're having fun!) and I remembered a motivational text that Ciara sent me right before race kicked off- "Remember, dig deep, leave it all out on that trail and remember your "why" when you start to get tired".  I made myself remember all those early morning runs with Jessie and all of the hours that I dedicated to training.  I couldn't give up now just because I had a little stomach pain!  I turned on my music for the first time in the race and really tried to dig deep.

Miles 11-13.1

8:42, 8:56, 9:22, 1:14

Mile 10 was when I really started to feel the pain.  It felt like every step that I took, someone was stabbing me in the stomach and sides.  I didn't want to stop, so I forced myself to keep going and breathe deeply.  I told Jessie to go ahead, but made sure that I kept her in my sights.  No way was I going to let her miss her goal because of me!

There's pretty much only one hill in the race, and that happens in the last mile of the race.  We have to run from the trail up to a bridge that takes us to the finish line.  My legs were pretty trashed from running 12 miles of constant downhill, so I was actually happy to see the hill!  I saw Jessie and Crystal make their turn onto the bridge and shouted encouragement to them.  I usually love hills, so I told myself I could try to catch up to them and we could still finish together.

Unfortunately, my stomach had other plans, and by the time I made it about halfway up the bridge, I started to dry heave.  I kept going since the finish line was so close, but two steps later I had to stop for about a minute to actually throw up (sorry for TMI!).  Somehow I felt really good after that, and the finish line was all downhill from the bridge so I just gave it everything that I had left and hoped I hadn't slowed down too much.  The entire race, I had my watch set on the current lap, so I had no idea what my overall time was.  I knew that my last few splits were above my goal, but I knew I saved up a bit of time in the first 10 miles, and just pushed as much as I could.  I crossed the finish line and looked down at my watch to see 1:51:xx and knew I did it!!

Overall, I loved this race.  There were so many familiar faces that I saw running, and that just motivated me to do my best.  I was happy for myself for getting a PR (and my average pace was 8:31, which I'll take!!), but even more proud of myself for putting so much into training this cycle.  I changed up a lot about how I trained (you can read more about that here), and it's just making me more excited about races in the future.  I already have a few ideas of what I want to do next!

What is your favorite race?
Do you like to run with others or alone?

Monday, October 23, 2017

Buffalo Creek Training : Race Week!

Hi everyone!  Last week was my 10th week of half marathon training, which meant that it was race week!  After putting in tons of miles and hours of recovery, would all my hard work payoff?  Keep reading to find out!


Rest Day
I had run 3 days in a row the week before (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) so I took Monday off.  Selma and I went on a long walk and I did some yoga!


3 miles
Nice and easy run around the park.  Nothing special about this run, but I had to keep reeling in my pace!


5.75 miles / 9:13 pace
The final speed workout!  This one was called "Fun Reminder" and was supposed to be easy- 1 mile warmup, 2x1 mile at goal pace, then 2x half mile at goal pace, followed by 1 mile cool down.  Jessie and I met up early before work to get this done, and it wasn't too bad!  We had no trouble hitting our paces and it felt great.  Wouldn't really call it "fun" but it was a good final workout.


Rest Day
Just did some yoga and foam rolling.


3 miles
Easy shakeout run before the race!  Everything felt so good and I felt ready to race :)  There were a bunch of friends (aka deer) right by my car when I finished..I counted at least 10 in one little area!


13.1 miles / 1:51:35 / 8:31 pace
I'll have a full race recap as soon as the pictures are up (which are FREE!  Best race perk).  A little summary for now- Jessie and I both got new PR's and hit our main goal!  Super proud of both of us and we celebrated afterwards with brunch and later met up with friends at Grist House to watch the Penn State game.  Best day EVER!


Rest Day!
I woke up feeling surprisingly good and actually wanted to go out for a run but told myself to chill.  I did some yoga instead to stretch out my body and took Selma on a walk.  It was such a nice day that I couldn't just stay inside!

Did anyone else race this weekend?
How do you celebrate a new PR?

Friday, October 20, 2017

Top Five Friday : Go Time!

TGIF!  This week has felt extra long for some reason, and I am so ready for the weekend!  I have some big plans, including my race!  I already picked up my packet and was told by the race director that I'll definitely PR by at least 10 minutes (he's got some jokes!!).  While I'm not feeling that confident, I'm mostly just excited to get out there!  The leaves have finally started to turn in my area, so I just know the course is going to be gorgeous.  I'll try to get pictures, but hopefully I'll be so focused and running suuuuuper fast that I won't be able to ;)

Here are some favorites from the week, and I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!  To any local friends running Buffalo Creek as well- see you there and good luck!!

linking up with ErikaHeather, and Friday Five 


Demi Lovato - Lonely

I'm so excited that Demi Lovato's new CD - Tell Me You Love Me- is out!  Sorry Not Sorry has been my summer jam, and it was just a taste of what was to come.  There are so many good songs that I've barely gotten to listen to, because I can't stop replaying Lonely!  It's soooo good and shows off her amazing voice really well.  (just a warning that it says the f word a lotttt, so I wouldn't blast this around kids!)


Dirty John

It seems like everyone's talking about this podcast from Los Angeles Times that follows a sketchy guy (John) that an interior designer from Southern California meets and starts to date.  I'm only two episodes in, but I'm already hooked.  I'm hoping to save the rest of the episodes (there are only six) for the half marathon, but I can't wait to hear what happens.


Handheld Mandolin
I'm going to sound like such a dork, but I've been wanting a handheld mandolin for the longest time and finally picked one up.  Not even exaggerating when I say that it's life changing!  I don't exactly have the best knife skills (there's a reason why we have a jumbo box of Band-aids in the kitchen drawer), so I've been wanting to get a mandolin to help me get a nice, thin slice of veggie without risking my fingers.  A few weeks ago, I found one at Target in the clearance bin and bought it on a whim.  It's SO AMAZING!  I slice up potatoes to make chips, apples to dry out, carrots, cucumbers...the possibilities are really limitless.  Do yourself a favor and get one immediately!


Girlfriend's Guide to Divorce
I noticed this show on Netflix and decided to give it a try, and I'm HOOKED.  The show is dramatic, romantic, funny, and keeps me guessing.  It's a great guilty-pleasure type of show, so if you're looking for a nice, light show to start watching- I recommend this one.


Truly Madly Guilty

I just finished this book, and really liked it!  I've been going through a bit of a slump with books and haven't been able to concentrate on them recently, but this one kicked me right back.  I've been reading it on my commute, and have actually been happy about all the construction and detours my bus has had to take because it means more time to read!  I finished it really quickly and never wanted to put it down.  There's a lot of suspense, and has two different timelines going on- present day and "the night of the barbecue".  The whole book has you guessing what happened, and you don't really find out until the very last chapter.  While the build up was a bit better than the ending, I still enjoyed it and would recommend.  Plus- apparently Reese Witherspoon owns the rights to make it into a movie, and I would not mind if the entire cast from Big Little Lies came back for this one- Reese as Clementine, Nicole Kidman as Erika, and Zoe Kravitz as Tiffany :)

Favorite kitchen gadget?
What should I read next?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Buffalo Creek Goals and Training Recap

Well friends, it's time for another half marathon!  This has been my best and most fun training cycle so far, and I made it through without any issues or roadblocks at all (knock on wood..still have a few days left!).  I kept waiting for an injury or sickness or something to come and derail my training, but it never seemed to happen.

Here are a few things that I changed about my training this time around, that really seemed to make a difference:

- I started with a really solid base.  It seems like when I start training for a race, I'm starting off at ground zero and have to build up mileage.  This time around, I made sure that I was already able to run at least 8 miles, and my weekly mileage was hovering around 25 miles (you might also remember that I did my first run streak right before training started!).  This made it so much easier to get right into training, and I could tell that I was improving pretty much immediately.

- I stretched or did yoga after every (hard) run.  This is another no-brainer that took me quite a few failed  cycles to figure out.  I always have the intention of stretching after getting back from a run, but never made it a priority.  This time, after I got home from nearly every run (but made sure I did it after every speed workout and long run), I would immediately go to my basement where my yoga mat is set up, and turn on Do You Yoga.  I followed the 30 day beginner series, which has short videos (around 10-15 minutes) that were pretty much just guided stretches and nothing really intense.  It was a great way to make sure that I got everything stretched out, and it's something that I don't even have to think about anymore!

- I regularly did strength training and switched up my cross training.  This was definitely my best training cycle in terms of activities outside of running.  I typically just run, and occasionally fit in some yoga.  This time around, I did all kinds of stuff- a weekly core exercise (which was included in the plan), rowing machine, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, and (of course) yoga.  It was great to switch things up and try a few new activities!

- I ran with other people.  In the past, I've done a few runs here and there with other people, but this summer I found my #RunSquad!  Not only did I get to do all of my speed workouts with Jessie (who also became my accountability partner and made sure I never missed any runs), but I also met up with other friends for long runs on the weekends.  Let me tell you- there were weeks when the last thing I wanted to do was wake up at 6:00 on a hot weekend to go run 10 miles, but if I had friends waiting for me, I always got my butt up!

For training, I decided to try out the Kara Goucher 10 Week Plan.  I used this as a build-up before I started training for the Gettysburg Marathon earlier this year, and liked it enough to try it out for an actual half marathon.  In general, I really liked this plan.  The mileage was right in my comfort zone, and I actually ended up running more miles at the beginning (since I already had a good base) and made each of my long miles between 8 and 11 miles.  I liked the strength workout that accompanied the plan, and ended up doing it every Monday.

I have a lot of mixed feelings about the speed workout in the plan.  While each week's workout was different and kept it from getting boring or repetitive (no one likes doing 800 repeats every week!), I felt like the workouts were too short and the paces I was supposed to run were too slow.  Pretty much every workout except the last one was a total of 4 miles, sometimes with jogging breaks in between, and usually at race pace or slower.

I ended up doing all of my workouts faster than prescribed, and I think that helped out a lot.  I love to crunch numbers, so I took a look at all of my speed workouts and found some interesting stats:

- In total, I did 33 "speed" miles.

- My slowest mile was 8:42 (first mile of the cut-down workout), and my fastest mile was 7:30 (last mile of switchblade workout).  I had faster paces for some workouts that were shorter intervals (like the 800 repeats) but that was my best full-mile split!

- My average pace was 8:08 for all of the workouts, and I only ran 6 total miles slower than my goal race pace (8:30)!  This is much different than what is in the plan, where only 11 miles are supposed to be at goal pace or faster (which means that 22 should be slower than race pace).  Crazy!

I think that for my next race, I need to add in a tempo day (maybe even using my long run for this), so that I can have longer periods of time running at my goal pace.  I still don't feel 100% confident with running at that pace for a long period of time, even if I know that I can cover the distance at a slower pace.

As I mentioned, I feel like I had a really solid training cycle and have worked harder than any other race that I've trained for.  I'm feeling confident about the distance, and really think I can get a huge PR at this race.  The only reason why I'm feeling uncertain and a little nervous is about the weather.  I'm not sure if it's the fact that I'm getting older or what, but the weather this year really affected me.  I felt like a completely different person on days that it was warm and humid out compared to days that were cooler.  I would struggle for every mile some days, then bust out fast paces for my long run the next day.

So, for the race, I'm trying not to have really high expectations so that I won't get disappointed if my body doesn't cooperate.  I would love to get a new PR, which is currently 1:54:34 from a super hilly race I ran in 2016 (the Shamrock Shuffle), with an average pace of 8:45.  For my goal pace in speed workout, I've been using 8:30 as my goal which would put me around a 1:51 half marathon.

There you have it!  I'm overall very happy with how my training went, and I'm excited to see where my fitness will be for the race.  I can't wait to use the lessons I learned from training the last 10 weeks and see how much more I can improve for my next race.....

Is anyone else racing this weekend?
What is your favorite training plan?
Best cross training?