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!




Monday

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!


Tuesday

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


Wednesday

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.


Thursday

Rest Day
Just did some yoga and foam rolling.


Friday

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!


Saturday

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!


Sunday

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 



Song

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!)


Podcast

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.


Product

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!


Show

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.


Random

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?

Monday, October 16, 2017

Buffalo Creek Training Week 9

Just like that, it's already race week.  I swear, this training cycle went by so quickly, and it's hard for me to believe that I've already completed 9 weeks of training, and on Saturday I'll be racing another half marathon.  I have so many conflicting thoughts and goals for the race and honestly don't know what to expect.  I'm going to try to get my thoughts together and share them later this week.  As for now, let's take a look at how my final week of training went:




Monday

SUP Yoga / 1 hour
I had the day off work for Columbus Day, but had absolutely no desire to go running.  I was still feeling annoyed by having a really bad final long run and wanted to give myself a day off to get my head together.  I decided the best thing to do would be going out on the lake on my paddle board and just relax.  I went to a more secluded area and it was so relaxing.  I also ended up taking Selma out for an extra-long walk, so overall it was a great day.


Tuesday

3 miles / 9:21 pace
I got to run in the morning before work (which I haven't been able to do for the past few weeks), so I was really happy about that.  Unfortunately, it's been really humid out lately so the run was still a struggle.  I keep telling myself that going through all of these humid runs will just make me stronger for race day, or at the very least be able to handle it better if race day conditions aren't perfect.


Wednesday

8.5 miles / 8:41 pace
I met up with Jessie after work for our final hard speed workout of training.  This one was called "reality check" and the description said to run 1 mile at race pace (8:30), 5 miles at 20 seconds over race pace (8:50), and end with a mile at race pace (8:30). As soon as we started with our warm-up mile, I felt really warm and my legs felt tired already, so I told myself to just make it through the workout and not care much about pace.  Luckily Jessie was feeling the same way, so I knew we would just try to push each other the best we could.

We started out with a mile at 8:12, which was much faster than we planned, but it felt surprisingly good.  The next 5 were pretty rough, but we kept each mile under our goal- 8:36, 8:33, 8:32, 8:42, 8:39.  At this point I was just pouring out sweat and was really dehydrated, but my legs still felt really good and fresh.  For the final mile, I just wanted to be done (plus it was getting dark out), so I finished up with an 8:10 mile.  As soon as we finished our half mile cool down, it started to pour down rain, so I knew we ran in close to 100% humidity and were still able to hit our goal paces.  Definitely a hard workout but made me feel more confident about our goals!


Thursday

Yoga / 1 hour
I felt surprisingly good after that hard workout, but still wanted to give my legs a day off.  I did an amazing full body stretch video, and it was just what I needed.


Friday

4 miles / 9:35 pace
Easy run before work, and the weather was perfect!! Humidity seemed to break and I felt fantastic.


Saturday
8 miles / 10:13 pace
I met up with Maddie and Steffany for this run, and was happy that it was another cool and beautiful morning.  I did 5.5 miles with the girls (which just flew by since they both, luckily, also love to talk when they run) and the final 2.5 by myself.  I felt really good, so I was able to pick up my pace and hit sub-9:00 miles for the final 3.  The highlight of the run was when we stopped and got to play with the cutest little golden puppy named Bailey.  I almost grabbed him and sprinted away...too cute!!


Sunday

Trail Run / 40:00
Jessie and I headed out to Riverview Park for an easy run, and ended up doing 40 minutes going all over the park.  I grew up just a mile away from the park and know all of the trails like the back of my hand, so it was great to take someone else there and get off the roads!  Neither of our watches were really tracking the miles correctly (mine said we did about 3 miles and hers said we had almost 4, so we split it in the middle and went with 3.5).  

Friday, October 13, 2017

Top Five Friday : Miss You

Is it Friday already?  The last few weeks have gone by sooooooo quickly.  Work has been busy lately, and Dan has been traveling for work, so it's just been a flurry of activity.  I also realized today that I haven't been blogging at all recently (minus my weekly training recap and Friday post).  I miss writing and hope I can get back into it soon!

I am writing today with my typical Top Five Friday post and am here to wish you all a great weekend!  Let's get to my favorites:


linking up with ErikaHeather, and Friday Five 



Song

Sam Smith - Pray
Another new song from Sam Smith came out, and it's SOOOO GOOD!!! Now I'm just eagerly waiting for his full album to come out.  The art work for the record recently came out which means the release date has to be soon!  I can not WAIT.


Podcast

Cults
If you're looking for a spooky and creepy (but also interesting) podcast to listen to, look no further than Cults.  This podcast discusses famous cults in history (starting with one of the most-known, the Manson Family) as well as takes a psychological look to the reasons why people would join or become cult leaders.  For some reason, cults have always been an interesting subject to me (but no, I have no interest in joining one!!!) so I'm enjoying this podcast!


Product

Dharma Bar

At Expo East, one of the booths that I stopped at and really enjoyed was Dharma Bar.  The company's motto is "Food with a Purpose", and they make organic, vegan, gluten free and kosher energy bars.  I really like the taste of these and have been eating them before workouts.  They have a great texture and I'm able to digest them easily (I usually have issues with eating before running but I haven't had any problems with these!).  These bars can be found online, or in stores if you're in the DC/Virginia area.


Show

Dancing With the Stars
We're a few weeks into the season, and I definitely have some opinions!  This week was my least favorite annual themed show (Most Memorable Year), but I'm looking forward to my favorite theme next week (Disney!!).  My favorite stars so far are Lindsey Stirling (who was my favorite coming in and I love the creative routines that Mark has been coming up with), Frankie Muniz (who just seems like the sweetest, most genuine guy ever), and Jordan Fisher (soooooooo talented- just check out that dance above).  This season most of the stars seem to really be on an even playing field in terms of scores, so it will be really interesting to see how eliminations go from here till the end!


Random

Worth It
I used to be really big into watching videos on YouTube, but lately I've only been logging on to watch videos in the Worth It series on Buzzfeed.  On each episode, the guys go to 3 different places in the same food category to try the same dish at 3 drastically different price points.  You'll see them try stuff like $2 slice of pizza vs. $2000 pizza, brunch, buffet, pasta, etc. etc. etc.  It's so fun to see how the other half lives sometimes ;)  The series also covers lifestyle topics, like getting tattoos, looking at apartments, and more.  It's a really fun series, and the guys that host it are hilarious.



Who else is watching DWTS?
Favorite YouTube channel?

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Buffalo Creek Training Week 8

Another week down and we're getting closer and closer to race day!  I'm not going to lie- these past two weeks have not been great.  I think the weather constantly changing (cold and crisp one day and humid and hot the next) is messing with me, and I've been feeling sick and worn down.  So- this week I didn't have the best workouts- minus my speed workout!- but, I got it done and we're officially in the taper!  Here's a look at my week-



Monday

5 miles / 9:39 pace
After work I headed to the park to get in an easy run.  The weather was perfect and the entire run felt great!


Tuesday

6 miles / 8:51 pace
I met up with Jessie to get this workout done before work.  The plan was 1 mile warm up, then 4 miles with each getting faster (starting at goal half marathon pace + 20 seconds and finishing with 10 seconds under goal pace) and 1 mile cool down.  Even though our mile warm up felt really awful and stiff, we ended up hitting our goal paces perfectly: 8:42, 8:29, 8:19, 7:57.  I was so happy with how this workout went!

Paddle Boarding / 2 hours
It was such a warm day out, so I decided to go SUPing after work.  It was gorgeous out!


Wednesday

Rest Day!


Thursday

Paddle Boarding / 1 hour
Selma came along with me!  It was so fun and relaxing..she just chilled the entire time.


Friday

4 miles / 9:11 pace
I wanted to get in a few miles after work, so I headed around my neighborhood for an easy run.  


Saturday

10 miles / 9:45 pace
This run was not very good.  I met up with Maddie early in the morning to get my long run out of the way, and even at 7 in the morning it was warm and humid.  I couldn't get into the run at all, and was really warm and sweating the entire time.  I did 5 miles with Maddie at a nice and easy pace, then did the next 5 miles at a 9:00 pace.  It felt fine at times but my foot started bothering me out of nowhere (probably all in my head since I was struggling anyway), and I ended up stopping at 10 instead of doing 2 miles to cool down.  


Sunday

5 miles / 9:35 pace
Nice and easy run with Selma.  We went on the trails for part of the run which was a nice break.  All of the trees were changing leaves which was so gorgeous!  In the middle of the run it started to rain, so our second half was a lot faster than the first half!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

What's New With You? Linkup #21

I want to start out this post on a bit of a serious note.  A lot of really bad, awful stuff happened this month in the world.  It seems like every day (pretty much this entire year) the news is full of horrible events that have happened, both natural and man-made, and it just makes me feel a sense of fear and helplessness.  I'm lucky to have been able to stay out of danger and have all of my loved ones stay safe as well, but I know a lot of other people (maybe even some of you reading) aren't as lucky.  Even if I don't talk about it on social media every time something happens, you're all in my heart and prayers, and if there's anything that I can do to help out, please contact me.

One thing that this year has taught me is that life is uncertain and you never know what's going to happen when you wake up in the morning.  With that in mind, I'm trying to (as cheesy as it sounds) live life to the fullest, not take things for granted, and let the small stuff roll off my back.  It's hard to be upset about trivial things when you know people are actually struggling out there!

With that in mind, I wanted to share a few things from September that made me happy or made me feel grateful. I always try to keep my blog as neutral as possible, so I'm not here to tell you what to think or who to call- I'm just here to try to make the few minutes you stop here a little brighter.  With all of that said, let's get to the post!



Running

For me, running has always been a mental escape and form of therapy for me, and since I'm training for a half marathon (which is coming up SO SOON) I've been running a ton this month!  Training is still going really well, and I'm happy to say that I've been crushing my weekly speed workouts and long runs.  Most of that is due to the fact that I've been running with friends, which really helps keep me motivated.  Lately I've been working from home once and week and using that day to run at a nearby park with Jessie, and it's amazing how much better speed workouts go when I run with her (even at 6AM) than if I go alone.  The power of group runs!


Penn State Football

I'm not really into NFL anymore (for multiple, non-political reasons), but this season I am all about Penn State Football!  I've been a fan practically my entire life, since my grandparents and parents went to Penn State.  I remember watching games as a kid, listening on the radio, dressing up in blue and white every Saturday, going up to State College to watch live games, and all around having my weekends centered around The game.  They're all really happy memories, especially now that I'm an alum myself.  This season has been absolutely amazing, with the team being in the top 4 in the country and having some really exciting games.  This week we take on Northwestern, and I hope we stay undefeated!


Cross Stitching

I've had it as my goal for a while to be more creative and work on projects, and this month I finally picked something to do.  Cross stitching has always been a fun activity for me, because it's pretty fool-proof, mindless, and has an amazing end result.  Lately I've been sitting down at the end of the day to work on a new project (which I hope to share soon) and catching up on some shows.  Which leads me to....


Fall TV

I don't know what it is about this time of year, but I think the best TV shows are on in the fall.  Maybe it's because the weather is getting colder and more people are staying in, but there are so many good things on right now!  This Is Us, The Voice, Dancing With the Stars, and Project Runway are all my favorites right now, and I also just discovered some re-boots that aired earlier this year (Love Connection and My Kitchen Rules), so those have been fun to watch while I cross stitch.  I also finished Game of Thrones (so good!!!) and Big Little Lies (amazing), so I think I'm done binge-watching shows for a while.


Breweries

I got to check off another brewery on my "Tour de Beer" list this month- Shu Brew.  This has been on my list for a while because I've heard really good things about it, and it's just a short and nice drive from my house.  I went a few weeks ago with Alexa, and we stopped at their second location (which is where they brew the beer, the main location is more of a restaurant) while there was a live jazz band playing and a fire going.  I learned that it's a dog friendly place, and I loved how low-key it was.  I felt like we were at a friend's house hanging out!  I'm definitely going to go back again soon (in fact, I'm thinking of stopping by this weekend for the release of their pumpkin beer if any locals want to come by!)


Paddle Boarding

I love, love, love to spend time outside, and feel the best when I'm near or on water.  There's something so calming about bodies of water- whether it be the ocean, a river, a lake, or just a little stream.  A few weeks ago I got my own paddle board, and have been using it a ton (thanks mostly to the unseasonably warm weather, even as we're into October).  I've found myself using social media and spending time indoors less and less lately (minus my cross stitch TV hour)- maybe as a way to "live life to the fullest" or just take my mind off of things.  When you're out there, it's easy to feel peaceful and clear your mind.



Your turn...what's new with you?