Friday, April 27, 2018

Top Five Friday : Lots of Goodies

TGIF!  I am READY FOR THE WEEKEND.  We released a new app update this week, which meant a lot of late nights working and some stress.  But it's over now, and I have a great weekend up ahead, including my first race of the year!  I'm so excited, even if it's not the full marathon that I had planned.  I'll be going with some friends, so I know it'll be a blast.

Here are my favorites this week, which are all over the place but I think really interesting!  Be sure to tell me what you're loving this week, and I'll see you all on Monday with a race recap!

linking up with ErikaHeather, and Friday Five 



Song

Willy Wonka - Macklemore
This entire week I've been listening to Macklemore's latest album- Gemini- over and over.  My favorite song is Willy Wonka, which has a really cool beat and is just fun to listen to. It's a great running song or just sitting around the house song!


Podcast

Sandra
I originally heard of this podcast as a "preview" episode on one of my favorites from last year- Homecoming.  This is another scripted series which follows an Alexa-esque technology called Sandra.  So far I've only listened to one episode, but I'm interested to see what happens.  So far, we meet Helen, who is starting her first day at the company and gets placed into "Birds", so any time a person asks Sandra a question about birds, Helen is the one answering.  The podcast so far reminds me of an episode of Black Mirror, so I can't wait to hear what happens!  There are only seven episodes and they're all available now, so it's a great time to binge (plus- Kristen Wiig is in it, so you know it has to be good).


Show

The Voice
Lately, I haven't been watching much TV lately.  I guess it's because the weather has been nicer and work has been busy, but I just don't seem to have the time to sit down and watch anything (which is a good thing!).  I have been trying to slowly catch up with The Voice, mostly because I have it on in the background when I'm doing something else and can listen to the music.  This season has some really great performers, but I feel like Brynn Cartelli (the crazy amazing 14 year old) is going to take this season.


Product

Rick Steves' Travel Books
I have a fun trip coming up, so I had to share one of my favorite resources for planning trips- Rick Steves.  I believe that he only covers European countries and cities, but each book that he comes out with covers each destination in such great detail that I have to mention it.  I love how Rick (or whoever actually writes the guides now) tells you what tourist attractions are actually worth visiting, and also shares local favorites.  I've found some great hidden gems based on his recommendations!  I also like the fact that for more famous areas like the Roman Forum or Prague Castle, Rick includes suggested routes with information about different sights so it feels like you're on a personal tour.  If you aren't interested in the books, I would recommend checking out his website, youtube channel, podcasts, or TV series.  There's so much information!


Random

New Bikes!
One of my 30x30 goals is to complete a triathlon, and I decided to finally bite the bullet and sign up for one this year.  Step one for this goal was to start swimming, which I did at the beginning of the year.  Step two was to get a new bike, which I did last weekend!  I wanted a mid-range bike that would be suitable for triathlons but could also handle longer bike rides (I want to bike part of the GAP this year as well), so I was directed to the Trek Verve series.  It is SO comfortable and was in my price range, and I'm really liking it so far.  Dan also got a bike at the same time, and went with the Trek FX.



Do you like to ride bikes?
How do you plan out your trips?

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Week in Workouts [April 16-22]

Hi everyone!  Guess what- you won't hear any weather complaints from me in today's post because the weather this week was GLORIOUS.  It finally feels like spring is here and might even be around to stay for a bit!  My cherry blossom tree is even starting to flower:

This was a bit of an odd week for me- I was very active, but didn't do much running.  I tried out some new Class Pass classes, went swimming and biking, and just ran twice. I love the variety and I feel great!  Here's a look at my week:

Monday

1000 yard swimming
Went for a morning swim!  The pool was super crowded so I ended up sharing a lane with another woman who was swimming SUPER FAST.  I tried to keep up for just one length of the pool and she left me in her water dust.

Barre Code / 1 hour
After work, I headed to The Barre Code for their signature class (Barre Code).  It's a 50 minute class, and this one used ankle weights and small dumbells.  The class was divided into four segments- legs, core, arms, and seat (aka butt).  The time absolutely flew by, and I got in a great workout.  I stayed after to get in some great stretches on the barre.


Tuesday

Rest Day (super sore!)


Wednesday

3.33 miles / 9:33 pace
I went for a run before work around downtown.  It was still a little chilly, but actually felt refreshing and great while I was out.  I ended up doing a progressive run on accident, and my final mile was 9:04!

1000 yard swimming
I made it out during lunch for a quick swim at the gym.  I got in another 1,000 yards and picked up my pace a bit from Monday, but didn't do anything fancy.


Thursday

Reformer Fusion / 1 hour
I've been meaning to test out a Pilates reformer class for a while now, and I finally made it to a local studio that has classes available through Class Pass!  I love how the studio is small- it only has 5 machines so it feels like you're getting individual attention the entire time.  The class itself was so much fun and a great workout, and I really liked the instructor.  I'll definitely be back (in fact- I already scheduled another class there for next week).


Friday

Rest Day!


Saturday

7.75 miles / 9:49 pace
I met up with Steff and Jessie a little later in the morning when the weather was PERFECT for my long run.  We had amazingly consistent paces for every mile, and of course had a great time the entire run.  Can't wait to run a half marathon with them next week!

6 mile bike
Dan and I have been looking for new bikes for a while now and finally got them on Saturday.  We couldn't wait to ride them, so we stopped on the way home for a little test drive.  I love it!


Sunday

3.75 mile bike
Can you tell how eager we were to have bike!?  It was a beautiful day out, so we headed out on a quick neighborhood ride.  Still need to work on being more comfortable with picking up speed on downhills, but I'm getting there! We spent the rest of the morning doing yard work, which I count as another workout ;)

1200 yard swim
This was such a fun workout.  It was broken down into a bunch of different segments, which made the yards just fly by.  Here's what I did-

300 yards freestyle to warm up
4x50 yards breath practice (first 25 breath every 4 strokes, second 25 breath every 2 strokes)
200 yards with no breath at the wall
4x50 alternating strokes (individual medley)
300 yards freestyle to cool down

Friday, April 20, 2018

Top Five Friday : Catch Up

Happy Friday everyone!  Wow, has this felt like a LONG week.  It was packed full of activity and some stressful days at work, so I'm really looking forward to the weekend.  This is my last free one for a while before I have some races and quick trips happening, so I'm going to try to enjoy it.  I have some work to get done around the house as well, so here's to hoping I have enough energy to be productive instead of just having a Netflix marathon.

Here are some recent favorites, since I haven't done one of these posts in a while!  Have a great weekend!

linking up with ErikaHeather, and Friday Five 



Song

Revamp - Elton John
One of my favorite things is seeing a classic album or collection of songs being redone by current, popular singers.  Sometimes it ends in a trainwreck, but it always makes me think of a song in a new way or appreciate a new style by one of my favorite singers. SO- I was really excited to see a new album of redone Elton John songs.  One of my favorites is Miley Cyrus singing Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me, and I'm also obsessed with the new version of Bennie and the Jets.  I haven't listened to the other tribute album that came out at the same time (Restoration) but I bet it's just as good!


Podcast

Forever 35
I recently discovered this podcast as a recommendation from an old favorite (Girls Next Door) when they discussed their favorite shows.  This one features two women who discuss hobbies, self-care, beauty products, and just about everything under the sun...just read their official description- Kate and Doree are two friends who love to text each other about serums. On Forever35, they talk about sheet masks, serums, exercise, nutrition, meditation, anxiety and stress, Kate's favorite drugstore mascara, Doree's addiction to restorative yoga, and much more.  I like the random topics, and it's one of those podcasts that feels like you're chatting with your girlfriends.


Show

Schitt's Creek
I've heard about this show for a while, and finally decided to sit down and watch an episode.  Since then, I've torn through two full seasons, and I'm going to be so heart broken when I finish it!  The show is SO funny and has a really unique concept (rich family loses all of their assets, except for a small town called Schitt's Creek the father bought as a joke gift for his son).  All of the characters are hilarious and seem to be cast perfectly, and it's a great background show to put on when you just want to zone out.


Product

Fresh Juice
A few years ago (two apartments ago to be exact), I went through a juicing phase where I would make a juice every morning and felt GREAT!  I even did a three-day juice cleanse (which I would not recommend or do again).  Tragically, I broke the machine and have been missing juices ever since.  A few weeks ago, Dan decided that he wanted to start juicing as well and picked out a new machine (THIS one, which is amazing and I would highly recommend).  Since then, I've been picking out a juice to make for the week, and I prep 5 containers of fruits and veggies to grab and juice in the morning.  I love it!


Random

Stanley Cup Playoffs
Let's Go Pens!! #3elieve.  To be honest, I'm not really a hockey fan, but I always love watching playoff hockey.  It's so exciting, the energy is always great, and the city goes crazy. 



Do you like hockey?
What are some recent favorites?

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Week in Workouts [April 9-15]

Happy Monday everyone!  I typically share my week of training when I post on Monday, so I thought I would keep that going today.  Even though I'm not really "training" for anything right now (even though I'm signed up for a half marathon that's right around the corner) I'm still trying to keep up my fitness.  This was the first week since I got injured that I hit 20 miles, and I also got in some other exercises.  Here's how the week went-

Monday

2.5 miles / 9:12 pace
I made it outside before work for this run.  It was a bit chilly, but it actually felt great while I was running.  I kept the run a bit short, but was happy to see a bit of speed in my legs while feeling like I was running an easy pace.


Tuesday

1000 yards swimming / 20:00
This was the first time that I swam before work, and it was so great to get it done with so early in the day!  I have a pool in the YMCA by my work, so I just stopped there and got in a quick swim.

Barre/Yoga Mix
I made it to one of my favorite classes that I found through ClassPass.  This class consists of 45 minutes of barre followed by 30 minutes of yoga.  This is the hardest barre class that I go to, and I always leave with every muscle shaking.  The time flies by and it's so great!


Wednesday

Rest Day!


Thursday

4 miles / 9:43 pace
I was hoping to go swimming, but it was such a nice morning that I decided to get in a run instead.  This was my first run in shorts (outdoors) in a few weeks so I couldn't miss it!  I went on one of my favorite routes around the North Shore before work, and felt SO great.


Friday

Rest Day!


Saturday

11.67 miles / 9:52 pace
Every year, right before the Pittsburgh Marathon, a bunch of the local running groups host "course preview" runs to get everyone acquainted with the course.  Jessie, Steff and I met up to join Pro Bike and Run for their preview, and ended up with the half marathon group.  We were in a large group for the 10:00 pace, and went all over the city!  It was such a beautiful day, and I was so happy to be out there.  Loved this run!


Sunday

2 miles / 10:00 pace
Dan wanted to go for a run, so I decided to bring Selma and join him for a quick jog around the neighborhood.  We're supposed to get more snow next week, so I decided to soak in as much nice weather as possible.  Plus, this run helped me hit 20 miles for the week!

5 mile biking
After doing some work around the house and going shopping, I decided to get in a quick bike ride before the Pens game!  I worked on pushing myself more up hills and getting more comfortable in higher gears.  I'm still a little nervous on the bike, but every time I ride I feel more comfortable.




How was your week of workouts?
Did you get some nice weather this weekend?

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Guess Who's Back?

It's me!  Remember me?  Gretchen...I run (sometimes) and blog (even less frequently than I run)??  Ringing any bells?

It feels like it's been forever since I wrote my last post, when in reality it was just over a month ago.  Funny enough, my last post was called "Snowing Again", and as I write this..in the middle of April..it's snowing outside.  Crazy spring, eh?  It's almost like the universe was waiting for another post on the old GretchRuns blog to kick itself into spring weather.  So, if today is the final day it snows on the east coast and it's all warm weather from here on out, you know who to thank.
Beautiful day for a baseball game!  Do they use snowballs in this weather?

Today's post is just going to be a good old catch-up sesh (especially since I missed my own What's New With You) linkup.  Here's what happened in March!

- I got injured.  Boo!  Once again, marathon training was going great, then I got an injury out of nowhere.  It was pretty frustrating because I was building up my mileage slowly, taking my easy days easily, cross training, and stretching after every run.  I was convinced that I had a femoral stress fracture, so I even went to Urgent Care for an x-ray (my first trip there EVER!).

Not a picture of an x-ray, but Selma always makes me happy and this picture is silly, so I'll put it here

I basically never got an answer, but then my mom told me about a coworker's daughter who had similar issues, and her doctor suggested adding a Vitamin D supplement.  Coincidentally, at my last two physicals I got blood work done, and in both I showed up as having a Vitamin D deficiency.  I looked up the symptoms, and they were exactly what I experienced (and similar symptoms to a stress fracture)- bone pain, stooped posture, muscle cramps, weakness, and tingling.  It's common for vegans to have these symptoms, or people who live in places that don't get a lot of sunlight.  So, since I'm a Pittsburgher who eats a mostly vegan diet and it was a dark winter, I'm a prime candidate for these problems!  Luckily, since I added a supplement and completely stopped running for a few weeks, I've been feeling great.

- No marathon for me!  Remember how I was planning on running the Newport News Marathon, but then the date didn't end up working out?  Then, I decided to change my registration for Canton's Hall of Fame Marathon from the half to full?  Well, as it turns out my registration wasn't changed, so I'm planning on doing the half.  I'm not going to race it, and plan on running with a few friends.  If I start to feel pain, I'll just take it easy and just have a good time.

I'll be with these girls!  Plus Jessie :)

- Dan was away in March.  He had another work trip that ended up being three weeks long, which was exactly when I stopped running.  So, I was just left on my own, not able to do an activity that's been a big part of my life for the past 20 years, and stuck in a freezing cold, gray city.  For a while I would just come home from work and basically fall asleep right away.  I didn't have any motivation for anything (except if I made plans to hang out with friends..otherwise I would just be sleeping).  Yet another reason why I stopped blogging..I just didn't feel great about myself and didn't feel like sharing anything.

Then, one day I decided I was sick of feeling down, and shared 3 goals for the day.  They were simple things- put away my laundry that was washed last week, clean the kitchen that was disgusting and still a mess from a St Patrick's Day party, and go for a swim (which I hadn't done in a few weeks).  I shared my goals, and immediately tackled all 3 within the hour.  Since then, I've been sharing goals every week day, and it really helps me keep motivated and knock off those little annoying things that I keep putting off.

My original post!

- I've been cross-training like crazySince I couldn't run most of March, I've been doing all sorts of other activities! That is- after I gained 10 pounds (literally) in the matter of weeks.  Once again, wasn't feeling great, so I decided to do something to change my mindset.  I upgraded my ClassPass membership and made more plans with friends to go to new studios.  I also started swimming more, and have eased back into running, so I'm feeling more and more like myself again!

Brand new Club Pilates that opened up near my house! Beautiful studio and fun class!

- I also tried out some new breweries.  Duh!  My favorite is definitely Cinderlands.  I heard some mixed reviews when it first opened, but I'm absolutely in love with it.  Not only do they have amazing beers (I ended up getting a small pour of every single one they offer), but they're constantly rotating and trying new varieties.  The food is also INCREDIBLE.  It seems like it should be advertised as a restaurant that also makes its own beer, instead of a brewery that serves food.  It's that good.  



So- that's basically where I've been and why I haven't been blogging in a month.  I have some fun stuff coming up soon, and I'm excited to start talking more about triathlon training and other exercises I've been doing that AREN'T running related!  Maybe I'll even throw in some recipes and house updates (I have a few of those!).  

Now your turn!  What happened in your life in March?
Is it snowing where you are?  
How do you get out of a funk?