Monday, January 31, 2011

January Recap

January may not have been the snowiest month but it sure was cold here.  This was the month I got back into running and started hitting the streets at 5am again.  It felt great to build up my mileage and do some quality runs before most of the world awoke.

Average Temp: 24.6F/-4C although it was hardly this warm at 5am for my runs.

Miles run: 72.6 miles with no current plan, just building a base.

Rest days taken: 11 from running, 5 from all activity

Highest mileage week: 18 miles

Average pace: 8:27 min/mile.  Trying to slow down and it seems to be working!

Current Obsessions: Skiing!!  I am addicted! I want to go again!

Current Excitement: Half marathon training starting NEXT week!  Just waiting for my plan to come from my running coach!  Hope he sends it to me soon!

Current Read: The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry and wedding magazines.

Current Guilty Pleasure: Sour Patch Kids.     

How was January for you?  I am looking forward to a great February!

Good Cross Training

 At dinner Saturday night, a couple friends invited me to go skiing with them on Sunday.  I have not been downhill skiing since 10th grade, which is 9 years ago.  I used to ski all the time.  My mom and I had season passes because we lived so close. 

Sunday morning I pulled my skis, boots and poles out of my closet and got everything ready.  We  met up at 4pm and planned to ski until the mountain closed at 10pm!  The temps started out around 24F (-4C) and dropped as the night went on, down to 10F (-12C) and felt even colder in the wind!  Even with the chilly temps it was a gorgeous night and I had so much fun! 

Even though it had been quite a few years, everything came right back!  After a few runs down the mountain it was like I hadn't even taken all those years off! I tried to take a few pictures with my phone while on the chair lift but with my gloves on I couldn't make the touch screen on my iPhone work.  I tried using my lip but all the pictures just came out blurry.

By the end of the night my legs were tired and my knees were starting to hurt.  I was worried I would wake up Monday and be really sore but when my alarm went off at 5am this morning I felt great. 

I bundled up again and headed out for a quick 2 mile run.  I knew that if I didn't get up I would regret it later and it was only 2 miles which was the perfect length.  I ran a quick out and back with the first mile being mostly downhill which led my second mile to be mostly uphill (mile 1- 8:09, mile 2 - 8:48).  It was a great way to start off the week.

There may be more skiing than running in my future as we are supposed to get hit with a huge storm Tuesday night. 

How was your weekend?  Happy Monday!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Joys of Winter Running

The best part about winter running is that you can sleep in on Saturday morning after working 45+ hours all week and know that the temps wont be above 30F!

Since I still go to bed at 10pm on Friday nights, I can only sleep in until around 8am.  It's still 10 hours of sleep.  I woke up around 8:15am and settled in on the couch with my apples and cinnamon oatmeal and coffee.  Around 10am I finally got up and changed into my running clothes. 

After some dawdling, I finally got out the door.  The pace felt effortless and I just glided along for 5 miles.  Compared to yesterdays run (2.8 miles at 9:03 pace @ 5am), today was 5 miles at 8:21 pace and both runs felt the same.  It is amazing how my early morning runs are so much slower which I think is a result of heading out the door 10 minutes after waking up.

Once I got back and showered, I did some yoga for about an hour which my legs hated but made me feel so much better.  Then I had the best lunch ever - grilled cheese and tomato sandwich! 

Now time to lay around for the rest of day! My cat definitely has the right idea!

Have a great weekend and happy running!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Treadmill Tempo/Track Tuesday

It really isn't a secret that I love running intervals.  I have been restraining myself from doing these kind of workouts because I have heard increasing speed and distance at the same time is not a good idea.

Well its been over 7 weeks since I made my comeback to running after being sidelined with knee pain and this morning I thought I was ready to take things up a notch.

The workout:

Warm up
2x {800m, 400m, 200m, 200m} with 200m recovery, 400m between sets
Cool down
Total miles = 5.25

I wasn't sure how this workout was going to go - I really haven't tested my speed out in a while so I didn't know how much I had lost since the fall.  With the treadmill it is so hard to tell paces for intervals less than a mile plus doing math while running really is not my strong suit.

First set - {3:30, 1:45, :51, :51}
Second set - {3:30, 1:42, :50, :50}

This workout went really well.  I felt like I was pushing the pace but not going to fall off the treadmill because it was going too fast and I couldn't keep up.  I think this is a great bench mark to see what I am at and where I can improve.

Do you ever do a test of your speed?  Do you love or hate intervals?

Have a GREAT Tuesday!

Monday, January 24, 2011

3 Reasons to watch Biggest Loser

First off - it is definitely a Monday.  I had no trouble getting out of bed at 4:40am to head to the gym for some cross training.  Once I got to work though, all I wanted to do was go back to bed.  Time for a BIG dose of caffeine - yes that is a 20 ounce coffee!

I started watching Biggest Loser last year.  Since I was a little late jumping on the bandwagon, I guess I haven't completely gotten tired of the show.  I was not impressed with the last season though, especially the women contestants.  They just seemed really whiny and besides Ava, didn't seem to work hard and always had an excuse.  Surprisingly I continued to watch the show and I am actually really enjoying watching the current season. Recording the show and being able to fast forward through the boring parts really helps.

Here are some reasons why I continue to watch the Biggest Loser:

1. Watching people work out makes me feel guilty so I get up off the couch and stretch/foam roll/do my physical therapy exercises while I watch.

2. Watching people lose weight is fun - I love the transformations.

3. Alison Sweeney.  Basically I wish I could dress exactly like her (and probably Brian does too).  I love to watch this show just so I can see what she is wearing.  Last week she had the BEST hair ever.  I even took pictures because I kind of want to have my wedding hair look like hers!

Do you still watch Biggest Loser?  Is it even worth it anymore?

Sunday's Workout:
15 minutes elliptical
20 minutes running (~2.2 miles)
10 minutes stair climber
10 minutes weights
20 minutes yoga

Monday's Workout:
45 minutes elliptical
10 minutes weights

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Officially Official

This morning I took the plunge and signed up for my 3rd half marathon in May! Training will not actually start until February but the fee increased tomorrow so I decided to go for it and run this race as redemption for my race last fall!

This morning I braved the ultra cold temps (8F feels like -3F) and ran 5.6 easy miles at 8:25 pace. I bundled up with 2 pairs of spandex, 2 long sleeve under armour tops, a sweatshirt, hat, gloves, and face mask. The sun was out and I just settled into an easy pace and actually was not cold at all!

Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I don't always wear running clothes

Winter morning running is really about luck and planning. I can look at the weather forecast the night before and just hope that we don't get a ton of snow to ruin my running plans.

This morning was the second day in a row of getting out there for some quiet easy runs. It was super cold this morning - another 14F feels like 3F!

As soon as I woke up I was excited about this run because the skies were clear and there was a beautiful full moon. I almost did not need my headlamp because the moon was so bright.

The only bad part about running in the dark is that pictures do not come out well. But trust me it was an absolutely gorgeous 3.5 miles!

And now proof that I do not actually live in running clothes or sweatpants! Today I am actually having a good hair day! No frizz or fly-away! I am sure since I work in a 99% male work place that no one will notice.

I hope this is the start of a great day! Happy Thursday!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Finding my Dress

After visiting nine different bridal stores over the last month and a half, I finally found my dress this weekend.

Let's rewind first -

Last Thursday, I set up more appointments to try on more dresses. This would be my fourth attempt at finding the perfect dress. The first place I had heard some rumors about them being pushy, snippy and arrogant. A few steps in the door and the lady almost wouldn't take us because she said we were late (which we weren't). Her mood quickly changed when my mom threatened to leave. She took us upstairs to the bridal area and showed me a few dresses. Most of their samples were out of my price range (the most expensive one was $20,000!) and I just didn't feel comfortable there. As we were leaving the lady asked how many dresses I had tried on so far and I replied "about 30". The lady almost fell on the floor and said that was way too many and I needed to stop. How can I stop if I haven't found the one I want?

We had time to kill before going to the second appointment so we stopped into another bridal shop just down the street. Although we knew we wouldn't find anything here, it was great just to try on some beautiful dresses!

The final appointment was at the original place where I had first tried on dresses. This was the place where I had found a dress that seemed perfect except for the price. After I got the dress on I looked at myself in the mirror. It was gorgeous but something just didn't feel right and I couldn't just say "yes" to this dress because I hadn't found anything better. I didn't want to settle.

We went home that night and in the morning I wasn't any more convinced that we had found a dress. My mom called me at work and suggested I make one more appointment at this place she had heard of from a co-worker.

My mom and I were the first appointment of the day and had the whole place to ourselves. I tried to describe to the woman helping us what I was looking for in a dress. She said she thought she had just the dress for me but pulled about 5 for me to try on. The first dress was gorgeous and I loved it! We put that one aside and kept going but nothing else measured up.

The first one had everything I wanted - a chapel length train, fitted through the bodice, detailed beading that was not over the top plus it was priced right! I put the dress back on and I just knew that it was the one! I am so glad that I waited and didn't settle for just any dress!

Here's a little peak at the bottom of the dress -

Besides finding my dream dress this weekend, I was able to get out for a run on Sunday. It was a cold and windy 3.6 miles with hill repeats at the end. This morning I headed to the gym because the temps were -2F! Now that is cold! Another easy 3.5 miles on the treadmill and some weight lifting.

How did you spend your weekend??

Friday, January 14, 2011

5 Days

I did it!! I got my bed out of bed this morning for the 5th day in a row of morning workouts.

It may have helped that I went to bed last night at 9pm because I was so tired from wedding dress shopping yesterday (but that is another story.)

This morning my alarm went off at 4:45am and I almost thought about rolling over and going back to sleep, but I didn't want to miss the workout! I was pretty excited to do this tempo run on the treadmill -

~1.25 miles warm up
5x {3 mins hard at 7:13 pace, 2 mins easy at 8:24 pace}
~0.75 miles cool down
Total = 5 miles

Got to love the treadmill because it makes you run at a certain pace!

Here are three ways to get yourself out of bed in the morning:

1. When your alarm goes off, immediately throw off the covers so that you are cold and don't want to succumb back to sleep in the comfy warm sheets.

2. When your alarm goes off, turn on the light right away. OR if that doesn't work, just try to do something that makes you think so your brain will start working and stop sleeping!

3. If you don't turn your light on immediately but you do throw off the covers, get out of bed and walk blindly to the bathroom (this only works if you REALLY know the pathway through your room and don't leave any obstacles on the floor for you to trip on). Once in the bathroom, turn on the light but don't open your eyes. Slowly open your eyes, squinting at first and adjust to the bright light.

That is how I get out of bed so early in the morning. Some mornings it is tougher than others, but I never regret a workout!

What are your tricks for getting out of bed?
Do you ever get excited for a workout?

Happy Friday and have a great weekend!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. The weather forecast called for snow on Wednesday morning, so I headed out Tuesday morning for another outdoor run. I ran 3.5 miles in the peaceful darkness.

Wednesday we did get hit with snow, so I settled for the bike in the basement as an easy workout.

This morning it was FREEZING outside, so I headed to the gym for a light run and weights. Hopefully I can make it 5 days in a row of morning workouts by getting up tomorrow for another run!

2. Today I am leaving work a little bit early to meet my mom and look at MORE wedding dresses. We have visited 6 bridal stores so far and found nothing to compare to the original one we looked at over a month ago. I can't even remember what it looks like now! Hopefully we find a dress!

3. I am thinking about running a half marathon in the beginning of May. The only bad part is that to get the low price, I have to sign up next week. I am hestitant to sign up so early because I don't know if I will be ready to run 13.1 miles in 15 weeks. Anyone have any good training plans??

Have a great Thursday!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Dark and early running

Running in the morning especially when its cold and dark is tough and scary. It is hard to get out of bed and once you do, then it's tough to get out the door because of the temperature.

This morning it was especially cold outside. I made sure to bundle up before I headed out.

It is really hard to smile when you have only been awake for about 15 minutes and you are standing outside in the snow trying to take a picture.

I set out into the dark with my headlamp, reflective vest and little red light (clipped on to my vest). Wearing these things and light colored clothing is important so that drivers can see me. Not too many cars pass me that early in the morning and most of them see me early enough to get over which is nice.

At times the wind was brutally cold but I just kept going. I had so many layers on that I couldn't get to my watch to look at my time. Running in the dark is good because it forces you to slow down which is great for an easy run.

It felt great to get out and run in the morning so I don't have the workout hanging over my head all day! Wearing the headlamp really helps so that I don't fall or trip on anything but that doesn't mean I don't get scared from random noises! Running in the dark takes some getting used to but it is definitely worth it for the peace and quiet!

Do you get scared during dark morning runs? What safety precautions do you take to make sure you are seen on a run?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Freeze Your Thorns Off 5k

Yesterday I ran a virtual 5k race put on by Adam of I am Boring. When I signed up for this race, I had no idea what kind of weather it would be. Thankfully it wasn't blizzarding, the sun was actually out and the temps were hovering around 20F.

I headed out at around 8:30am, decked out in all my winter gear. The roads were clear and there wasn't much traffic and I just enjoyed being outside. From my driveway I have two options - right or left. Left leads uphill and there are not many options for routes plus it leads to a busy main road. The right is downhill and has a lot more options. I went right and headed downhill and eventually got to some falter areas for most of the run.

After the flat areas I looped around back to my road and the dreaded hill. This hill is almost a mile long, with the worst part being about a half mile which I cannot avoid in order to get home. The picture does not do it justice - it is not a fun hill to run at the end of a run!

Just when you think you are done, you round the curve and see the hill gets steeper! I made it up the hill and was done!

5k in 23:40. Considering the cold and the hill this was not bad at all! Happy to be done and able to get inside to warm up!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thursday night run

I have been slacking on my morning outdoor running. Hopefully next week I can get back into my regular running schedule. This week I had to settle for an early evening run.

Getting out of work at 4pm is the best because there is just enough daylight to get a decent 4 mile run in.

I changed into my under armour cold gear (the top I got for Christmas and I love it), pulled on my gloves and headband and hit the road. It was colder than I thought so I was a bit cold to start out with (28F/-2C). Maybe one layer of under armour spandex was not enough?

After about 10 minutes, I warmed up and fell into a groove. I know a lot of people say that, but I really only feel this way in the winter because I can actually feel my body warm up. I had mapped out a short loop and a long loop so I could go either way depending on how I was feeling. I chose the long loop, 4.3 miles of peaceful running where I really focused on enjoying every step!

Afterward I took a few pictures just so I could remember this run! I didn't notice I had sweat stains on my elbows. Seems I only really sweat in two distinct places - my elbows and my armpits.

So now that my run is done what to do with the workout clothes? Caitlin over at Healthy Tipping Point posted early this week about "The great stinky workout clothes debate". She talked about re-wearing workout clothes.

Yes that does sound gross but I must confess that I do it too.

Only in the winter!

I only have two pair of good cold weather spandex and 3 tops. So I usually try to wear them a few times before washing them because I don't really sweat that much.

In the summer there is no way I could do this unless I was absolutely desperate and didn't have any clean laundry. I sweat way too much to re-wear my summer workout clothes!

Do you re-wear workout clothes or is that just too much?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Obsessed with Spreadsheets

When the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge started before Thanksgiving I knew I would need a way to keep track of my exercising and how many points I had earned. That is when I started using spreadsheets to keep track of everything!

I have a spreadsheet for the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge to keep track of my workout and points.

I have a spreadsheet for the wedding to keep track of vendors and ideas.

I have a spreadsheet for the books I have read and want to read.

I am addicted to spreadsheets! I just started a new spreadsheet to plan my running for the next 5 weeks. (It is still a work in progress.)

Recently I love having a way to plan out workouts and at the same time record what I have done. I am even thinking about coming up with an actual training plan for a spring race which is something I haven't really done before. I am considering running another half marathon even though I said I would never run one again after my last one!

Now onto yesterday's workout-
I went to the gym after work around 4:20pm and it was PACKED, like every single machine was full! I was able to get a seated elliptical and warmed up on that until a treadmill became available. I was hoping to get one of the newer treadmills, but no such luck.

I ran 3 great miles and could have gone for more but instead I went to spin class. I really should have just ran more because spin class was horrible. The instructor showed up 5 minutes late and then ended class 5 minutes early. She used to be such a great instructor but recently it seems like she doesn't want to teach the class anymore. I guess it is time to look for a new class to attend!

Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Back To Work

It was hard to get up this morning after sleeping in for the last week. 4:40am came too quickly and I think I didn't actually become fully awake until I got to the gym at 5am.

I get up early so often I have figured out exactly how long it takes me to get up, get changed, get myself out the door and to the gym so I set my alarm for the latest possible moment. Plus I pack my bags at night so that I know I wont forget anything. Although I have forgotten a towel and socks on different occasions!

I have never slept in my workout/running clothes though. Well I take that back I did once in college. I went to bed at 3am and had to wake up at 5am for basketball practice. I left my roommate a note to make sure I woke up (she was on the team too), changed into my bball practice gear and went to sleep.

Morning Workout:
15 minute warm up on the Elliptical
4 miles on the treadmill
10 minutes of weights

When I first arrived and stepped onto the elliptical there weren't a lot people there - just the regulars. Slowly, as I did my warm up, more and more people started to come in.

The treadmill run was tough since I only had the TV's and people watching to distract me - my iPod hasn't come out of hibernation yet (aka I keep forgetting to charge it). The people watching was especially fun this morning because there were a lot of new faces. It seems like a lot of people decided they would set resolutions to loose weight.

4 miles done and I was a sweaty mess. Something about running inside always makes me sweat more than if I run outdoors. The weight lifting was cut short as I was going to be late to work.

I may have been able to drag myself to the gym this morning but I am sure it will get harder as the week goes on. Plus the gym will be crazy with all the new years resolution people!

Which is worse - getting up early on Monday morning to work out or Friday morning?
Friday's are the toughest for me. By the end of the week, I don't want to leave my warm bed!

Have a great Monday!