Friday, April 5, 2019

Training Lately and Florida Recap

Hi everyone!  I've been a bit quiet for the past few weeks and haven't posted workout recaps, and that's because Dan and I took a quick trip down to Florida!  We were there for 10 days and visited Miami and the Tampa area and crossed off two more stadiums.  Here's a quick recap of the trip, along with some workouts I managed to squeeze in!

4 mile run in Brickell

We stayed in Brickell, which was a GREAT location.  There were a lot of restaurants and beautiful places to run, and anytime we drove somewhere we were going against the crazy Miami traffic.  For my speed work, I ran to Brickell Key, which is a flat, mile long triangle island.  It has beautiful views of the skyline and even has some water fountains!  Plan was to do 1 mile warm up and cool down, then 1 mile at 8:30, 1 mile of 8:10, rest 3 minutes and repeat.  After the first round  (hitting the paces perfectly) I was completely wiped and my legs felt like lead, so I just ran back to my hotel until I hit 4 miles.

Compression Therapy

I noticed a sports recovery placed called CryoSpace in ClassPass near my hotel, so I decided to give compression therapy a try for the first time.  I sat in a comfy chair for 30 minutes with big leg sleeves on that squeezed different parts of my legs.  It felt great!

Miami Open

This was the third tennis tournament that I went to (Cincinnati Open and Rogers Cup being the others), and I would say this has been my favorite.  The event was held in a new location this year and the main court was in the Dolphin's Stadium.  The entire tennis campus was beautiful, with lots of fun restaurants and places to watch the game while relaxing in the shade.  We were most excited to see Roger Federer play (he pulled out of the other two tournaments when we went), but unfortunately he had a rain delay and got moved to the next day.  Luckily for us, the Miami Open offered everyone tickets for the day session so we got to come back and see him play!  It was awesome!!

Biking in the Everglades

I really wanted to make a trip to the National Park while we were there, and a friend suggested we rent bikes at Shark Valley!  Not only is it really convenient when driving from Miami, but it's also a beautiful area.  The bike trail is a flat 15 mile loop, with an observatory tour at the halfway point.  We saw so many alligators and interesting birds!

Studio Fitness

I took another ClassPass class near my hotel that Evelyn was teaching.  It was intervals of different strength moves, using all kinds of equipment (dumbbells, kettlebells, sand bags, plates, slam balls).  We also got to run outside and do burpees, so it was a great full body workout.


What a cool area!  You can tell that you've arrived to Wynwood by the brightly painted buildings and art surrounding you (even our parking garage looked like it could be an art piece).  We made a few different stops while we were there- the Wynwood Walls, Panther Coffee, Salty Donut (best donut EVER- I got the chocolate hazelnut), Wynwood Brewing, and Concrete Beach Brewing.

Miami Marlins Game

Crossed another stadium off our list (lucky #10)!  We were at the game for Opening Day which was so much fun, but in general I found the stadium a bit bland and nothing that will stick in my mind.  The roof was also closed since it was raining (which was GREAT to not get rained on!) but it made the atmosphere much different than a traditional game!

Florida Keys

We spent our final full day in Miami driving down to the Keys!  It was such a beautiful drive- surrounded by crystal clear water and driving through lots of cute towns.  We made it down to Marathon, making lots of stops along the way, and next time I want to go all the way to Key West and stay for a night or two!  My favorite stop was at Long Key State Park, which has hiking trails, picnic areas, and beautiful beaches.

Clearwater Beach

After making a visit with my grandparents, we made our way to the west coast and Clearwater Beach!  I was actually here for a bowl game in college, so I was excited to be back.  We stayed at the Hyatt Regency, which was right in the center of the island and had a beautiful view of the beach.  Unfortunately it rained most of the time we were there, but I managed to run the entire distance of the island for a run!

Tampa Bay Rays and Breweries

Our final day of the trip was spent in the St. Petersburg area, where we crossed off a ton of breweries and made it to another stadium.  My favorite brewery of the entire trip (and maybe ever) was 3 Daughters Brewing, which had a fantastic atmosphere, was really large, and had a huge selection of beers, ciders, wine, and hard seltzers.  I'm trying to convince them to have a second location in Pittsburgh!  At the game, Dan caught a foul ball which was the highlight of the visit for me!

What's your favorite sport to watch?
Do you like active vacations or relaxing ones?

Monday, March 25, 2019

Cap City Half : Week Five HALFWAY!

All of a sudden, it's the halfway point of training!  I can't believe it, but it's been going really well so far.  I've cut back on running miles compared to other cycles, but I've also added a lot more cross training.  I think it's really helping, and I'm feeling stronger than ever!

Here's how my week of training went-


Rest Day
Planned on running and /or going to Beat, but I started feeling really sick when I got home.  A bug was going around at work, so I decided to just get in some extra rest.


3 miles
Felt much better when I woke up, so after work I headed to the park to run and walk with Selma and Dan!  It was a beautiful, sunny day and the park was filled with dogs.  We stayed mostly on trails, which was great.


7 miles
Speed workout for the week was 8 x 800 at half marathon pace.  Jessie and I met after work at a local track to get it done.  Our watches were both really off from eachother and from the track (which was hard to be consistent- lots of walkers and kids on the inner lanes so we kept zig-zagging all over).  All of our splits ended up being faster than planned- they all stayed under 4:00 while our goal was 4:10.  For the final one, I decided to go all out and ended up in 3:30!  Yay!


Rest Day!


2 mile walk
Took Selma for a walk outside.  It was snowing but that's just spring in Pittsburgh!


9 miles
I met up with Jessie and Steff for my long run this week!  It was chilly and windy and hard, so I was really happy to be there with friends and not alone.  I ran the last mile alone since I parked away from them, and just pushed it for a fast finish.


Hot Yoga / 1.25 hours
Morning yoga at Stray Dog.  The practice was really great with lots of leg stretches, and the room wasn't too warm.  Perfect way to kick off Sunday!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Cap City Half : Week Four

Happy Monday!  I hope you all had a great weekend, and got to enjoy St Patrick's Day!  I definitely did, and also had a great week of training.  Here's how week four went- only six more weeks of training to go!


1 mile / 9:35
I had a busy day, but Dan and I managed to squeeze in a short run together.  It was windy and cold so neither one of us really wanted to run, but we got it done!


7 miles / 8:54 pace
Speed work day, a little earlier this week!  In the Kara Goucher plan, this is always one of my love it/hate it workouts.  It's called ice cream sandwich, and the goal is 2 miles at 15 seconds over race pace, 6 hill repeats, then another 2 miles at 15 seconds over race pace.  Since my goal pace is 8:20, I was planning on sticking around 8:35 pace.  Well, that immediately went out the window because I felt GREAT, and the weather was perfect!  My average paces ended up being 8:12 for the first two and 7:53 for the second two.  The hills were actually a great break and challenge in the middle of the run, but everything just flowed perfectly for this run.

Beat Fitness / 1 hour
Apparently I like doing a strength workout after my speed workout!  I actually felt really good for this workout, and just took it easy on leg exercises.  We did 5 different stations, and spent 7:30 at each one.  The exercises we did were- split leg dumbbell row, banded monster squats, front barbell squat, TRX pull-up, diagonal plank, bear crawl, rower, BOSU ball down/up, leg raise/v-up, hamstring plank curl.  We also ended with a tabata of burpees, star jumps, and crab walks. Great workout!


Rest Day


3 mile walk
It was a beautiful, warm day out, so I had to take Selma for a walk outside before my watercolor class.


Beat Fitness / 1 hour
It was a very special class because Dan came with me!  We were the only two in class and it was a lot of fun.  Great workout with a really intense burn out at the end (squat jumps, lateral planks, jumping jacks).


8 miles / 9:20 pace
I met up a little later in the morning for a long run with Jessie, and we did a great job!  Our pace was really consistent the entire time, then we decided to have a fast finish and ended our last mile in 8:09.  Really great run over all!


3 mile walk
Recovery walk with Selma at the park.  The weather was great and it was sunny out, so it was a great way to end the week.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Cap City Half : Week Three

Hard to believe, but I'm now three weeks in to training for my next half marathon!  This was one of my most fun and diverse weeks of workouts that I ever had- it definitely wasn't a high mileage week, but I tried out so many different workouts and it was so great!  We also were blessed with some amazing temperatures, and I hope that means spring will be making its debut soon.  Here's how my week went!


5 miles / 9:35 pace
Cold run, but the sky looked incredible and there was a bit of sun!  I did a few loops around the pool by my house and got back to my car at around 4.65 miles, so of course I had to keep going to get to 5 of course!


Rest Day!


5 miles / 8:49 pace
I worked from home, so I was able to get in my workout during lunch.  The goal for this week's speed work was tempo- 3 miles at 8:40 sandwiched between a warm up and cool down.  It was a really chilly day and I just wanted to finish quickly, so I ended up a little faster- 8:21, 8:05, 8:00.  I felt so good the entire run though and was feeling smooth!

Beat Fitness / 1 hour
My favorite ClassPass studio just released a Groupon (3 months unlimited classes for $109) so I jumped on it and will put my ClassPass membership on hold for the next few months.  Today's class was pretty good- only four stations and a longer time at each one (2 rounds of 4:45 each).  The exercises were all over the place- Russian twists, bird dog, kettlebell snatch, twists, rotating dumbbell row, kettlebell swings, deadlift, and TRX pullups.  It was challenging but the time went by so quickly!


Rest Day for Watercolor class!


Beat Fitness / 1 hour
Another great class.  The format was the same as Wednesday's class, but the moves were different- step ups, dumbbell bench press, side / curtsy sandbag lunge, bar press, air jordan, true form run, BOSU ball supermans, and club lunges.  Class ended a little early, so Brian had us do a 3 minute tabata of 30 second burpee/15 second mountain climber.  That part of class was SO hard and I left really sweaty.


Cross Country Ski / 3 hours
I set out for the mountains early in the morning with Alexa and her boyfriend, and Dan!  We all rented skis, then went to Kooser State Park for some glorious ski conditions.  I had a ton of fun and was able to use some of the lessons that I learned from my first trip to do even better this time.  I even went down a few (tiny, but still hilly) downhills.  It was absolutely perfect!  We also ended the day by visiting two breweries (Helltown and Strange Roots) so it really was the best day.


8 miles / 9:37 pace
I met up with Jessie and Steff for this run at North Park, nice and early on Daylight Savings (bad choice!).  It was a beautiful day out, and it felt great to not have to bundle up to run!  Steff had 12 miles to do, so Jessie and I tagged along for the first 8.  Her plan was to run the first 4 miles, then keep speeding up every 2 miles.  We nailed our paces for the first two sets- 9:21, 9:07, 8:55, 8:46, and it made time go by really quickly to break it down into parts instead of just thinking of all 8 miles.

Hot Yoga / 1 hour
I wanted to sign up for a hot yoga class since I had a lot of hard workouts the past few days, and I usually find it to be relaxing and restorative.  That was NOT the case with this one at Stray Dog Yoga- the class felt super hot and sweat was just rolling off everyone the entire class (gross but true!).  While it wasn't the relaxing experience I was looking for, I still really enjoyed it and got a few good stretches and inversions in!  Great way to end a fun week of workouts.

What's your favorite kind of workout?
What's the weather like where you are?

Monday, March 4, 2019

Cap City Half : Week Two

I might sound like a broken record at this point, but hello from snowy Pittsburgh!  We got another 6 inches of snow last, so it looks like this upcoming week will be interesting in terms of training.  On a plus, last week was a great week and I crushed a few key workouts.  Here's how it went!


3.6 miles / 9:43
Nice  and easy loop around my neighborhood as usual!  It was chilly but sunny out, so it actually felt really nice.  There were a lot of people out enjoying the sun as well.


Rest Day!
I was originally planning on going to Beat Fitness, but Dan sent me a text and said he wanted to hang out.  So, we went to happy hour at BJ's and watched Free Solo instead!


5.4 miles / 9:08 pace
First official speed workout complete!  I met up with Jessie for the run after work, and Dan even joined us for the warmup.  We did 1 mile warmup, followed by 3x1 mile with a 20 second jog in between miles and a mile cool down.  The goal was to be between 8:30 and 8:40 per mile (which is 10 to 20 seconds slower than race pace), and we ended up crushing it.  Our miles came in 8:23, 8:24, 8:21.  We both felt great and had to hold back the entire time!


Rest Day!
Thursday is my watercolor painting class at the local community college, so I just came home, ate something quickly, and got going to class.


3 miles walk
Took Selma to the park for a little hike/walk/run!  We had a great time :)  When I got home I did a yoga video and some core.


9 miles / 10:00 pace
I ran with my girls at the Pro Bike and Run group run!  We had a great route that started in Southside, and went through Oakland and Squirrel Hill.  It covered routes that I used to take when I lived there, so it was nostalgic to run around there again!


Hot Yoga  / 1.25 hour
I tried out Amazing Yoga for an early morning vinyasa.  It was a really hard class, plus it was heated to 90 degrees, so I was really struggling!  I made it through though, and was proud of myself at the end.

2.5 mile run / 9:40 pace
Dan and I went for a run together, and I tried out a new pair of shoes (Sauchony Triumph- love!).  It was snowing / sleeting the whole time but I was having a great time.  Plus, we ended the run with beers at OTB with friends, so overall it was a fun way to spend the afternoon.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Cap City Half : Week One

Week one of training is in the books!  Once again we had some crazy weather (huge snow storm, followed by an intense wind storm that left us without power for 10 hours), but I had a pretty good week of workouts.  Here's how it went!


4.5 miles / 9:48 pace
Nice and easy loop around my neighborhood.  There was some snow, but there wasn't much wind and it wasn't too cold, so it was actually pretty pleasant.  I ended the run with a few striders.

Dirty Dozen
The plan that I'm following has a core workout that's supposed to be done on Mondays, so I made sure to do all 12 of the moves right when I got home from my run.


Beat Fitness / 1 hour
Class was pretty intense today, and I left completely sweaty.  The moves we completed were- dumbbell pull-down, kettlebell squats, TRX row, barbell back squat, hip thrusts, bicycle crunch, True From treadmill sprints, wall sits, mountain climbers, and club swings.  It was challenging but great!


Rest Day!
We got hit with a HUGE snow storm, so I stayed home from work and didn't really do much of anything.


2.5 miles
The weather changed quickly, and all of the snow melted thanks to a nice, warm day.  Since it was so nice out, Dan wanted to go on a run as well, so we took Selma and ran together!  I did about 2 miles with Dan, then finished up a bit alone.


Yoga Glo / 1.25 hours
I met up with a friend to try out a new yoga studio in Shadyside- Yoga Love.  This one was candlelit and was super relaxing.  The flow itself was pretty challenging and moved really quickly.  I enjoyed it a lot!


5 mile run
I met up with Jessie for an early morning long run!  We did a lap around North Park and it went by really quickly, and I felt great.

3 mile hike
A few weeks ago, I joined a Outdoors club to meet up with other local ladies to do fun activities outside.  We met up at Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve and had a great hike.


Rest Day!
Went to Top Golf with a few friends for two hours of golfing, but otherwise just relaxed all day and took it easy.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Cap City Half : Race Goals, Plans, More!

Hello everyone from snowy Pittsburgh!  We've gotten a ton this morning- when I woke up there was nothing outside, but by the time I was about to leave for work, it was a complete blizzard!  Now we have a hefty few inches of snow, and it keeps falling.

Training for my next half marathon starts this week, and I'm really excited to get back in the training groove.  Last year my entire focus was on completing my first triathlon, so I'm ready to get back to running and chipping away at a new PR.

I will be running in the Capital City Half Marathon in Columbus, Ohio in 10 (more like 9.5) short weeks!  There are a few reasons why I picked this race, mostly because it's a flat course, good time of the year, and a few of my friends are also running it.   Plus, the post-race party sounds legit, with beer, pizza, margaritas, and carousal rids at the finish line.  So, I can either celebrate a good race or drink my sorrows away. Either way I win!

Once again, I am going to be following Kara Goucher's 10 Week Half Marathon plan.  I used this when I got my PR in Buffalo Creek and really liked it!  The combination of easy runs, long runs, and different speed workouts each week worked really well for me.  I liked how the speed work was all focused around race pace and had longer intervals (shortest being an 800, but most of them are more sustained effort).  It gave me a lot of confidence for race day and really helped my mindset!

I am also going to be training with Jessie for this race again.  We trained together for Buffalo Creek, and having her there to push and motivate me for speed workouts and long runs was so helpful.  I'll still do my easy runs alone, but having a friend there for those tough workouts is great!

Another goal for this training cycle is spending more time in the gym.  I'm going to be cutting my running days down to 3 or 4 days, instead of my usual 5 or 6, and using the extra days for cross training.  I have use Class Pass, but might actually put it on hold to get a 3 month membership at Beat Fitness to focus on strength and conditioning.  I've seen a change in my body from going there just once in a while, so I think if I went a few times a week it would make a huge difference.

I'm excited to go for a new PR in this race, and my overall goal is to break 1:50!  I'll be sharing my weekly workouts, and will also check in a few weeks from now to see how training is going and set my A, B, and C goals as well.  Here we go!!

Are you training for anything right now?
Do you like to train alone or with a friend?

Monday, February 18, 2019

Week in Workouts : It's Over

Preseason is officially over, and my next training cycle starts TODAY!! I had another solid week of workouts, trying out a few new things, and taking a bit of rest when I got hit with a mini cold in the middle of the week.  I'm feeling back to 100% and ready to get running!  Here's how my week went- 


Core Workout
I decided to start doing some home workouts during the week when I'm not going to a class or doing a run.  This workout was SO HARD and from the beginning my abs were on fire. 

2 mile walk
I took Selma for a walk around the park on a chilly, rainy day.  It wasn't ideal, but we had fun and it was still great to get fresh air!


4.1 miles
It was another cold and rainy day (one of those days where the temperature is right on the brink of turning the precipitation from rain to snow), so I wasn't really looking forward to the run.  I decided to just go out for an easy one or two miler, but of course once I was out there I ended up doing more.

Core Workout
After my run I did another core workout- this one was much easier but was tough with my sore muscles from Monday's workout!


Hot Yoga
I tried out a different yoga studio with my ClassPass- Stray Dog Yoga in Wexford.  The class was heated to 100 degrees and was vinyasa style, with lots of flows and balance moves.  I absolutely loved it, and the 75 minutes flew by!  My only complaint is that the studio was pretty small but absolutely packed, so I kept bumping into people or had to coordinate my moves with my neighbors. 


Rest Day!
I was feeling a little stuffy on Wednesday, and woke up with a ton of congestion and couldn't stop sneezing and coughing :(  I also felt like I had 0 energy, so I ended up working from home, skipping my first watercolor painting class, and spending Valentines Day resting.


2 mile walk
I actually had a happy hour after work and stayed for a bit without drinking since I was still feeling a bit under the weather, but afterwards I met up with Dan and Selma for a walk in the woods.  It was just what I needed!


5 miles
This run was just about getting it done.  I wasn't meeting up with friends since I had plans, so I just put on a good podcast and put in the miles.  Not the best, but I got it done!

Top Golf
For my sister's birthday, we ended up going to Top Golf for a few hours of golfing fun!  I've never gone to a driving range or done any kind of golfing besides putt-putt, so this was a completely new experience for me.  It was so much fun though, and actually kind of made random muscles that I apparently never use a little bit sore!  


1 mile walk
This day was kind of a fail in terms of working out.  I was planning on running, but slept in since we stayed out late with friends the night before, then we had to run some errands, and by the time I was getting in the car to go, it started hailing like crazy!  So, I just took Selma for a quick walk.

Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred (Level 1)
I felt like doing a workout at home, so I pulled out some of my old DVDs.  Apparently I went through a Biggest Loser and Jillian Michaels phase, because I have a ton of her stuff!  I decided to do the 30 Day Shred, which is 3 rounds of- 3 minutes strength, 2 minutes cardio, 1 minute abs.  It was a fun workout that went by quickly!

What are you training for?
Have you ever played golf?

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Day Trip to Nikko

The first day trip that we took in Japan was to a town north of Tokyo called Nikko.  I did some research about nearby cities, and was really interested in this one because of the natural beauty surrounding incredible UNESCO heritage sites.  There's even a saying in Japanese- "Never say 'kekkō' until you've seen Nikkō"—kekkō meaning beautiful, magnificent or "I am satisfied"-which just proves the beauty of Nikko.

Here's a look at my favorite things that I saw and ate during our day trip to Nikko!


The trip from Tokyo to Nikko was pretty simple, and we were able to take all trains run by Japan Railways, which is covered under our JR Pass.  Here is the route that we took-

JR Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Utsunomiya Station (this is a bullet train, which means we got there very quickly! We got reserved seats, but there are also unreserved cars if you don't have a Rail Pass and want to save money).

Nikko Line from Utsunomiya Station to Nikko (very cute, old fashioned train, but doesn't run very often.  Make sure you check the time tables so you can plan out your time wisely).

There are buses available from Nikko Station around town, but the walk is really lovely!  It's all uphill to get to the shrine areas, but the view of the mountains is absolutely breathtaking, and there are lots of shops and restaurants to stop in to break up the walk.

Shinkyo Bridge

This bright vermilion bridge, which in English means Sacred Bridge, signifies the entrance to the shrines of Nikko and is one of the first World Heritage Sites you'll see in town.  This iteration was built in 1636, and is considered one of the three finest bridges (and the oldest) in Japan.  You're able to cross for 500 yen, but you can also view it crossing over the rapids below for free!

Kanmangafuchi Abyss

If you continue along the water, you are able to take a terrific stroll past Kanman Park, a Buddhist temple, and a row of 70 stone statues.  The statues represent Jizo, a Bodhisattva who cares for the deceased and sick children, which is why he's commonly covered in children's clothing and surrounded by toys.

The main attraction on the walk is the abyss, which was formed by an eruption of a nearby volcano.  I can only imagine how beautiful the area must be in the fall, but even in winter it was terrific!

Toshogu Shrine

The main attraction in Nikko is the incredible Toshogu Shrine, which is supposed to be one of the most elaborate and grand shrines in the world.  It definitely lived up to the hype!  

The shrine is the final resting place of Tokugawa Ieyasu, who founded the Tokugawa Sogunate that ruled Japan for 250 years.  While the shrine started as a simple mausoleum, it was updated and enlarged into the current complex in the 1600s by Ieyasu's grandson.

There are so many small, incredible details all over the sprawling structures.  One of my favorites is right when you enter, where you can see the Three Wise Monkeys and an illustration of "see no evil, speak no evil and hear no evil".

Just look at that incredible detail!  This is how the entire complex looked and we could have spent hours just studying one building.  Well worth the 1300 yen entry fee!

Yuba-maki Zen

One of my favorite things about Japan and traveling to different cities is that most places have a regional specialty that they are known for.  In Nikko, this was yuba, which is basically the skin formed when making tofu, and can be prepared fresh, dried, or half dried.  We picked a place that specialized in different preparations, and got the set meal to try them all out!  Everything was so delicious, and I especially liked the miso soup, which had a more robust and intense flavor than what I'm used to.

Murmur Biiru Stand

We stumbled upon this little brewery and stopped in to try all the different flavors.  The owner was a really sweet guy who brews the beer in the back room of the shop, and also sells some beer that his friend in Utsunomiya makes!  While the beer wasn't incredible, it was a nice stop to make, and he was playing Napoleon Dynamite dubbed in Japanese, which made the experience even better.

Have you ever visited an UNESCO World Heritage Site?
What kind of cities do you like to visit?