10-K Training: Making It Count

I don’t race as often as many runners I know, so I feel a lot of pressure to make it count when I do.  If I’m not going to race a certain distance again for another year, I need that PR.  Last year I won a 4-year battle with the Monument Avenue 10-K to break 50 minutes, finishing in 49 minutes flat.  (You can read that race recap here.)  The race is set for March 29 this year, and while I will be content to shave even seconds off my time, I’ve set a goal to run it in 48 minutes.

Ambitious?  Maybe.  Possible?  Yes.

With just over five weeks until race day, I am getting serious about training.  To avoid injury, I only ever run three days a week, usually M/W/F.  Typically when training for a longer distance (or no race in particular), my weekly routine includes one speed workout (either a tempo run or intervals), one long run (with “long” being relative to what I am training for), and one mid-distance, mid-speed run.  However, after looking at various training plans, and considering that I am aiming for speed, I decided that I really need to make my running days count.  Here’s my weekly training schedule for the next five weeks:

Monday: Tempo Run (30-50 minutes)
Tuesday: Weights + Cardio Cross Training
Wednesday: Intervals (mile, 800, or 400 repeats) + yoga
Thursday: Weights + Cardio Cross Training
Friday: Long Run
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Weights

I’m including both a tempo run and an interval workout each week to get my body accustomed to running faster.  Here’s my tempo run from Monday:

treadmill tempIs it still a tempo run if you don’t run one pace the entire time?  I like adding in a couple of half-mile faster spurts to avoid getting bored–plus, 7.7 mph feels easy when you’re coming down from 8.0 mph. 😉  It was a great workout, regardless.

I am pumped about the race and training and all that it entails!  After work today I am heading to a local high school track to do some 400 m repeats…wish me luck!

-What are you training for right now?
How may speed workouts do you do each week?

 

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Valentine’s Day 2014

Valentine’s Day was full of good food and love for us this year.  My mom gave us a heart-shaped egg cooker, so Friday morning Andrew fried us some heart eggs to go with our banana muffins from earlier in the week:

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I met my good friend Kate for lunch at The Daily (the restaurant where Andrew and I had our awesome date night last week).  Kate and I realized that, for various reasons, we’ve had lunch together on Valentine’s Day for the last three years.  New tradition 🙂  We went to The Daily because I really needed some more of those Brussels sprouts:

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Mmm 🙂

After work I went for a 30-minute run–the first in my new running shoes that I bought last week!  I’m not usually a pink girl, but these are the best shoes for me, and this is the current color.  It’s tough sometimes, but I never pick running shoes based on the look!  It was festive for a Valentine’s Day run, anyway.

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Friday was a beautiful day here–I’m pretty sure the temperature was in the upper 50’s when I ran, but not all the snow had melted yet.  It feels a little funny to run in shorts with snow on the ground, but I’m not complaining!

After my run I took a quick shower and was getting ready for our Valentine’s date when Andrew arrived home with these goodies:

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Beautiful flowers and all-natural chocolate:  he knows the way to my heart 🙂

We turned to the Frank Sinatra station on Pandora and began prepping dinner.  While cooking, we enjoyed some festive pink cocktails that were quite delicious: cranberry-pomegranate juice, passion fruit rum, and lime (plus tonic water for Andrew).  Amazing.

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We tag-teamed the cooking and ended up with this very tasty dinner: steak, garlic green beans, and baked sweet potatoes.

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(I only ate about half of that giant steak :)) 

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After taking our time and really enjoying dinner and good conversation, we started watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s on Netflix.  Neither of us had seen it, and it was so good!  Midway through the movie, once our food had digested some, we brought dessert to the living room:

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Dark chocolate fondue with strawberries, marshmallows, bananas, and rice crispie treats

We made the fondue in our Crock-pot “Little Dipper”– chocolate chips + almond milk + vanilla.  We plugged it in while we were making dinner, and it was ready to go by the dessert course!

Overall it was a fantastic Valentine’s Day.  Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, the day before V-day we did fulfill #4 on this list:

IMG_4104We built a very lovely snow woman in our neighbors’ driveway. 😀

Have a great Monday!

-How did you spend Valentine’s Day?
-What was the highlight of your weekend?

-When buying running shoes, how much does appearance affect your choice?

Running: When Dogs Bite

I experienced a running first yesterday: a dog bit me. 

I was running on a semi-major road near my house, and I saw the dog and its owners (or more likely owner + friend) up ahead on the same sidewalk.  As we approached one another, I could see that the dog–a mutt, maybe 40-50lb–was very excited, so I slowed to a walk and tried to give it as much space as possible.  The dog was barking, and the owner pulled the leash a little tighter, and just as we passed each other, the dog lunged and grabbed hold of my thigh with its teeth.

“Oh my gosh!  Did he bite you??  Did he bite you??”

“Yeah, yeah, he bit me!”

“Are you okay??  I’m so sorry!  He’s had all his shots!  I can give you my contact information and am happy to pay any medical bills!  He’s a puppy, and he just doesn’t do very well!”

“It’s okay; I’m okay.  Thank you.  I’m sure a band-aid will cover it.  It’s okay!  It happens!”

It happened so fast, and I was wearing running tights (now ripped), so I couldn’t see the extent of the damage.  It definitely hurt, but it was also cold, so I knew my skin was more sensitive.  It was just a very surprising situation, and I didn’t think through my reaction.

I tried to resume running, crossing the street into a neighborhood, and immediately was met with a lot of pain in my leg.  I investigated as best I could without pulling down my pants in public, and the one gash I could see was not pretty.  I can’t promise that I didn’t utter a few four-letter words.  From there I hobbled home, not quite crying, but definitely whimpering.

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24 hours later–Tilt your computer screen as needed to get the full color-effect of that bruise 😉

After inspecting the wound, I sent a picture to Andrew, my mom, and a couple of friends in the medical field, and they all urged me to go to the doctor just to get it checked out.  Friends, that was a funny telephone call:

“Hi, I’m a patient of Dr. So-and-So.  Um, I just got bitten by a dog.  Is that something she could take a look at today?

They were able to to see me right away, and said it looked all right, and it was time for me to get a tetanus shot anyway.  They gave me the shot and some heavy-duty antibiotic cream, and sent me home.  The left side of my body–my leg where I was bitten, and my arm where I got the shot–is super sore today, so I am going to take it easy for a few days, but otherwise, I think I will be all right.

After the incident, I did some research to learn what one is supposed to do if bitten by a dog.  If you happen to find yourself in a similar situation, here’s what to do:

To avoid the bite:
-Slow your run to a walk so you are less threatening.
-Don’t stare, but keep the dog in site.
-Walk in the opposite direction of the dog.

After being bitten:
-If the owner is present, take the contact info!  (I am kicking myself for not doing this!)
-Apply basic first-aid: wash the area with soap and water, apply antibiotic ointment and sterile bandage.
-Go to the doctor.  Just in case.  I know it’s a pain, but why risk it?
-If you took contact information, ask for proof of up-to-date vaccinations for dog.
-Report the incident to animal control.

Stay safe out there, friends!

-Have you ever been bitten by a dog while a running?  How bad was it, and what did you do?

Andrew at the Gym and Other Gym Things

Happy Friday, everyone!

Last night Andrew and I hit the gym right after work.  I don’t typically work out in the evening–the gym is the most crowded, and my flexible schedule allows me to go other times–but Andrew does, and he asked me that morning if we could go.

As soon as we walked in, Andrew realized he’d left his lock at home (which is kind of amazing considering there have been at least three incidents in the last month in which Andrew has been on his way out the door to the gym and said, “I can’t find my lock… I think I left it on the locker the last time I was at the gym.”  He’s been right every time.  He just locks it back up like it’s high school :-D).  Without a lock, Andrew decided to give me his stuff to put in my locker.  He disrobed in the hallway and gave me his sweatpants, sweatshirt and big winter coat–I looked like I was carrying a full load of laundry into the locker room, friends.   😉

Anyway, I met him back out in the main exercise room and hopped on an Elliptical beside him (he was biking at this point.)  I wanted to do a little cardio warm up before lifting weights, and Andrew was just killing time until a treadmill opened.  After about 5 or 10 minutes, a treadmill in the row in front of us opened.  Andrew got off his bike, went to wipe it down while the treadmill user did the same for his equipment, and just as Andrew was walking toward it, a girl swooped in and took that treadmill!  The nerve! (I’m kidding, she had no idea;  she saw an open treadmill in a very crowded gym.)  After a few more minutes, he was on another treadmill, and I hit up the weight area.

At this point, I saw an opportunity.  I always feel a little bit funny taking pictures, especially selfies, in the gym, and Andrew would NEVER agree to me taking a photo of him at the gym.  While I was doing the leg press, however, I realized I could take a sneaky shot of both of us.  My feet + Andrew huffing away on the right.  Heh heh heh.  (Yes, it’s the little things. :-D)

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After I’d lifted all the weights I cared to lift for the night, I hopped on the treadmill next to Andrew to do a cool down walk.  I glanced over at his dashboard to see how fast he was running, as I am in the bad habit of doing (earlier in January when I was recovering from being really sick, I went to the gym with the firm plan of running 3 miles at a 6.0 (10 min/mile pace) just to help myself ease back into exercise.  The girl next to me was someone I knew from high school, and I saw that she was running at an 8.0-9.0 and had been for a few miles already.  Competition kicked in, and “The Club Can’t Handle Me” came on my iphone, and I thought, “Yeah, the club can’t even handle me right now,” as I foolishly upped my pace to an 8.0.  I maintained this for about a mile, then had to walk because… I was still getting over the flu.  It wore me out for the rest of the day.  Lesson learned: listening to and honoring your body trumps competition and pride.)  Anyway, I looked at Andrew’s stats and saw that he, my I-hate-running-but-sometimes-do-it-because-it’s-good-for-me husband, was running a 7:30 mile pace and had been doing it for quite a few miles!  I know he has the advantage of long legs and male body composition, but I just didn’t know he could run that fast for that long!  There was no time to get competitive at that point, but I think I’m going to have to up my running game and challenge him to a duel race in a couple of months.  I don’t see any other option.

Thanks for reading my ramblings. 🙂  Have a great weekend!

-Do you look at how fast other people are running/pedaling/ellipticaling next to you at the gym?  Does it ever cause you to alter your own speed?
Do you take pictures at the gym?  How do you do it without feeling awkward?
-Are you and your significant other competitive when it comes to fitness things?

2014 Goals + New Year’s Day Cuisine

Happy 2014 (a few days late)!

I know some people are vehemently against New Year’s resolutions, and I don’t totally understand that.  The first of January provides a great, if only symbolic chance to start fresh and dream about what life might look like in the coming year.  It’s as good a time as any to make a change, so why not?  Why wait for the sake of rebelling against the tradition?

At the beginning of January I like to set goals rather than make standard resolutions–they might be functionally the same, but goals seem more attainable and specific than resolutions, which I tend to think of as more vague concepts (“Put 20% of my paycheck into savings” rather than, “Save money.”)

Here are some of my goals for 2014:

1. Run 750 miles. I’ve never tallied my mileage over the course of an entire year, but at roughly two miles per day, this seems attainable.

2. Run a marathon.  This was on my list of 2013 goals, and it just didn’t happen (I did, however, run three races last year, which was another goal :)).  If I succeed at this, running 750 miles during the year should be no problem!

3. Perform one random act of kindness every week.  Preferably anonymously.

4. Write three highlights of every day.  I purchased a small planner that has room to write something for each day, and I plan to journal at least three high points daily.  I am already really looking forward to having the completed journal at the end of the year and being able to reflect on all the good times.

5. Cook dinner for other people once a month.  I love cooking.  I love sharing food with others.  Friends–come over for dinner, and let us love you by cooking you (hopefully) delicious food.  😀

So far I am off to a good start:  On New Year’s Day Andrew and I ran 3.5 miles (this was a big deal as Andrew does not enjoy running; half a mile in he said, “Are you ready for me to start complaining yet?” ;-)), I’ve written in my journal/planner each day, and Wednesday night our friends Amanda and Diron came over for a New Year’s Day dinner!  We made a rosemary-garlic pork tenderloin, baked apples, black-eyed peas, and collard greens & kale.  (I don’t think of myself as a typical Southern girl, but my family definitely has some Southern traditions when it comes to food.  We also eat oyster stew on Christmas morning.  Anyone else? :))  I forgot to take any pictures on NYD, but thankfully we had most of the leftovers for dinner last night, minus the pork which Andrew finished for lunch.  Here’s the modified leftovers meal:

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Collard greens & kale, baked apples with butter and brown sugar, black-eyed peas with tomatoes, and lemon-thyme chicken

Not a bad start to the year. 🙂

-What are your goals or resolutions for 2014?
-Does your family have any interesting food traditions around the holidays?

Fit Gifts

Amidst the eating-more-than-we-should and the working-out-less-than-we-should of Christmas week, Andrew and I received (and gave) a few gifts that will help us be a little more fit as we get back to our routines.  The best fit gifts under our tree this year:

1. Running Clothes

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Please, don’t be intimidated by how tough I look. 😉  My mom, a fellow runner, gave me some awesome new gear this year!  The top is Under Armor and looks white in the photo, but is actually that cool pattern above on the right.  The leggings are Nike, and they are perfect. 🙂  I don’t know about you, but I find new running gear to be so motivating!  I couldn’t wait to put them on and run yesterday!

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Additionally, my aunt Ann gave me this great running top.  I am looking forward to taking it on its debut run!

2. Extra Long Yoga Mat (for the giant)

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Andrew and I have been taking a yoga class pretty faithfully for almost a year, but we had yet to purchase our own mats.  The standard-sized mats we borrow at the gym are fine for me, but at 6’4 Andrew hangs off the top and the bottom.  For Christmas this year I bought him an extra long yoga mat.  With 7 feet of mat, both his head and feet are cushioned. 🙂  I waited until after Christmas to buy a mat for myself (the gray one pictured above) because I thought Andrew might give me one.  He didn’t;  instead, he gave me a…

3. Fitbit Flex

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I have been absolutely geeking out about this thing since the moment I opened it.  For those who aren’t familiar, a Fitbit is a wrist band that tracks your steps, distance, calories burned, active minutes, hours slept, sleep quality, and more.  In other words, a health nut’s dream come true.

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I’ve been having so much fun with it.  It’s a great visual reminder to get up and move;  over Christmas, when we were doing a lot of sitting around, it was convicting to see how far I was from the recommended 10,000 steps a day.  It motivated me to go out and take a walk. 🙂

The sleep features are really cool too.  You tap the band a few times when you lie down to sleep, and then again when you wake up in the morning, and it tracks your sleep patterns.

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In related news, I sleep like a champ. 🙂  See how there’s no pink (awake) at the beginning of the night?  Yes, I actually fall asleep that fast.

Fitbit also gives you the option to set weight loss goals and record the food you eat.  It tracks how many calories you’ve eaten and tells you how many you have left based on your goals.  All around, it’s an awesome gadget

With these tools, we are on our way to a healthy 2014!

-What fit gifts did you receive or give this year?
-Do you have a Fitbit?  Are you as obsessed with it as I am?

Current Fitness Routine + The Funniest Running Photo I’ve Ever Accidentally Taken

During the month of November, between the leftover Halloween candy and Thanksgiving treats, I hit the sweets pretty hard, was a little slack on my workouts, and by the end of the month felt pretty blah.  At the beginning of December I recommitted to working out most days of the week and treating sweets as treats rather than something to be eaten whenever I feel like it.  Already I’m feeling better!

In terms of working out, I have been on a roll this month.  Despite the cold, I have been hitting the pavement running like a champ–yes, I am feeling quite proud of myself. 🙂

 

running1Frosty grass calls for fleece-lined spandex.

Here’s what the last week looked like for me in terms of fitness:

Saturday:  Kickboxing video
Sunday:  Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred
Monday:  Run-40 minutes, easy
Tuesday:  30-Day Shred
Wednesday:  Run-30 minutes, intervals + walk- 60 minutes
Thursday: 30-Day Shred + walk- 15 minutes
Friday:  Run- 45 minutes

Jillian’s 30-Day Shred is tough–for those who don’t know, it’s a circuit-style exercise DVD that combines strength with cardio–but it’s not kicking my butt like the last two times I did it.  I take that as a sign that I am more in shape these days! 🙂

jillian2I do love being able to workout in my living room with the blinds closed 😀

On Wednesday morning I took a really funny photo by accident.  Running friends, you may understand what I am about to explain.  Or perhaps I will just sound vain or weird. 😉 Sometimes when I am running in the morning, when the sun is low, and I pass a solid fence, I think, “Wow, my shadow looks cool.  I wish I had a photo of that!”  On Wednesday this happened, and I decided to pull out my phone and try to get the shot.  However, by the time I took off my gloves and opened the camera, the terrain had changed a little bit, so there was a small hill leading up to the fence.  Here’s the result:

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Bahahaha.  My bottom half is on the hill in the foreground, and my upper half is on the fence, making it look like I have the tiniest waist and the biggest booty ever.  And with the tree, I look like I’m holding a gun.  I was really amused. 😀

And finally, because I like food and like posting pictures of food, here’s what we had for dinner last night:

rosemarychickenRosemary balsamic chicken, roasted Brussels sprouts, and quinoa.  Yum. 🙂

Have a great Friday, everyone!

-What does your weekly workout schedule look like currently?
-Have you ever taken a photo of your shadow while running (or wanted to)?