Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Semper Fi 5k

This is another race I've done every year since I began running.  You can see my 2014 review and 2015 review and we had beautiful weather both of those years so they may be a more accurate picture of the race.  This year was marred by rain.  A lot of rain.

I'm glad I was doing this race with friends because I was tempted to skip it when I got up and saw the rain.  But we pushed through, it was a 5k so we wouldn't be out there too long and it was on pavement so not too much worry about the footing.  Plus, we could then go enjoy a decadent breakfast afterward :)

There was packet pick up the day before the race at a local running store.  My friend picked up our packets for us and she said it was super easy.  There was also packet pick up on race morning.  The line looked pretty long for that though.

The race was in the same location as last year.  It is on Ohio Drive, right next to the Potomac River, with the start line right past the Lincoln Memorial.  It is a beautiful location, even in the rain.  This year, there was  no parking on Ohio Drive so we had to park a bit further away and had a longer walk to and from the car.  That is the one downside of this race.  The nearest metro stop is also about 20 minutes walking so there is no convenient way to get there.  We just got there early (7:15 for a 8:30 start time).  We stayed in the car until 7:30 or so and then walked to the start line wearing throw away ponchos.

We decided to do a 15 minute warm up run since it was better than just standing in the rain.  So we ran the other way along the river and came back by 8:15.  That's when they started their official group warm up.  After that, there was the flag and singing the national anthem.  And we were off!  I discarded my poncho in a near by trashcan, started my watch, and joined in.

My initial goal for this 5k was to get it done in less than 35 minutes.  My PR for a 5k was set at this race last year and it was 35:11.  Well my official time for this one was 34:39!  I think part of the reason was that once I saw it was raining, I kind of put thought of getting a PR out of my head.  My shoes felt heavy with water and there was a bit of a wind.  I just decided I would do my best given the conditions.  The lack of pressure probably helped me relax and I was able to feel good the whole way while feeling like I was pushing.

It also helps that this is a really flat course!

I didn't make the negative splits though.  That's something I still have to work on.

Another great thing about this race is the free photos and even a free finisher video with your results.

Once we had all finished the race, we went ahead and left as quickly as possible because it was still raining.  There was no hanging out and relaxing after the race this year given how wet everything was.  But we warmed up in the car and went over to Ted's Bulletin for our breakfast reward.

Overall, this is a great race.  The logistics were handled well even in the rain.  The course is flat, beautiful, it's not too crowded, and I think all 3 of us got PRs.  I definitely recommend this race.  The only downside is the parking/metro is not close to the start line so there is a walk before and after and you have to get there early.  But that's not necessarily a bad thing.  The walk back to the car was a nice little cool down.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Weekly Review

Last week went pretty well for the most part.  I was under the weather with a sinus headache toward the middle of the week but I think a lot of people have been struggling thanks to all the rain we've had as it seems to be extending allergy season.  But here's the summary.

Monday - rest day

Tuesday - Strength training at home (three circuits of jumping jacks, squats, crunches, glute bridges, clam shells, planks, push ups, lunges)

Wednesday - rest day with a sinus headache

Thursday - another rest day with a sinus headache

Friday - this ended up being a beautiful day and thankfully that made my sinuses feel much better too.  I got in about 35 minutes at the gym.

Saturday - Semper Fi 5k with a 15 minute warm up.  More details on this later in the week but it was my first sub-35 minute 5k!

Sunday - 40 minute strength training yoga with Adriene video

I'm not sure what this week will look like.  Today needs to be a rest day just because I have a lot of errands to run in the evening.  Tuesday should be body pump and I'm hoping to be able to get a run in on Wednesday.  Thursday, we leave for vacation!  

I'm linking up   with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Friday 5 - things I'm looking forward to in Iceland

It's finally Friday!  It's felt like a long week to me.  Partly that's because the rain has really been rough on my allergies and sinuses and partly because I'm so excited for our trip to Iceland next week!  My excitement must be clear since I can't stop talking about it.  So I thought I might as well dive in and talk about 5 things I'm looking forward to in Iceland.  I'm also linking up with Mar, Cynthia and Courtney for the Friday Five. 

1. Exploring the city of Reykjavik - We're staying in Reykjavik, the capital city, and using is as a home base to explore on various day trips.  But I'm also excited about the city itself. It is the northernmost capital city in the world, the largest city in Iceland but has a population of only around 200,000.  It's knows for being charming, a little quirky, having a great arts scene and great nightlife.

Photo from Wiki Travel... I hope to have some of my own to share when I'm back

2. Midnight sun (sort of) - May is still considered the shoulder season as far as tourism in Iceland.  It will be too close to Summer to see the northern lights but not quite full Summer for the midnight sun.  But it will be close enough.  The sun currently sets around 11pm and rises again before 4am.  I'm looking forward to all those extra hours of sunlight and taking advantage of that in our explorations.

3.  Art - The Reykjavik Arts Festival will be going on while we're in the city.  But in addition to that, it's a city that's always known for it's quirky arts scene.  I'm looking forward to checking out some live music while we're there and also checking out the street art that seems to be prevalent in the city.

4.  Natural beauty - The amazing natural scenery is the main reason that many people go to Iceland.  Don't worry, we are planning on getting out of the city to see some of the glaciers, waterfalls, and volcanoes around Iceland.  I'm also hoping that we'll manage to see some whales, Icelandic horses, and puffins.

Photo of an Icelandic Horse from Wikipedia

5.  Icelandic pool culture - I was surprised to read that Iceland has a big outdoor pool culture given the temperatures most of the year.  It looks like it will be 45-50 degrees while we're there and that's at the end of May.  But there is a lot of geothermal energy which can be used to heat the water, naturally in some locations and with some human assistance in others.  The Blue Lagoon is probably the most well known and we'll definitely be going there.  But we also have plans to check out some less tourist-y pools including a beach on the North Atlantic that has some warmer water because it's fed by geo-thermally heated waters.  When else are we going to be able to say we swam in the North Atlantic!

So those are some of our plans for our trip.  What's not on the list?  Running.  We've booked with a budget airline and it's got some serious limits on free luggage.  So we're trying to go carry-on only and minimize what we take.  The running gear just doesn't make the cut.  Plus, it's shaping up to be a pretty active vacation with lots of hiking and walking around so I'm just going to relax and enjoy my time there without worrying about getting runs in.  The timing works out well since I'm not actively training for anything at the moment :)

I'd love to hear about anything you're looking forward to this Summer too!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Would You Rather

It's another gloomy, rainy day so I thought I'd try something lighthearted today and share more about myself.  Jessie at The Acquired Sass shared this list of "would you rather" questions and I thought it was a great idea.  So I'm going to steal her list to share a bit about myself :)

Would You Rather…

Be an amazing actress or singer?
  • I think a singer.  Though I suppose the best of both worlds would be to be good enough at both to be on Broadway :)
Go camping in the mountains for the weekend or get a hotel on the beach?
  • I'm definitely a hotel by the beach type of girl! I've gone camping and enjoyed it, but if I'm given a choice, it's definitely going to be swanky accommodations by the ocean for me.
  Though are last ocean adventure involved a cruise ship instead of a hotel

Have to sit all day or stand all day?

  • I'm going to have to go with stand for this one though I don't think either one is ideal. 
Have a night out on the town or night in with Netflix?
  • I'd like to say night out on the town but night in with Netflix is more realistic.  Actually, recently I've been enjoying hosting people at our house and having little gatherings.  That seems a nice balance of being able to socialize with friends without having to deal with the annoyances of going out.
Lose $1,000 or lose all of your phone contacts?
  • I'd rather lose my phone contacts.  That would be easier to replace.
Go by your first or middle name?
  • My first name.My middle name is my dad's first name and it's not something anyone has ever called me.
Go skiing/snowboarding or water-skiing?
  • Hmm...I haven't done much of either of these.  I think I'd go with water skiing just because it means being on the water and having warmer weather.  I've only tried it once when I was a teenager and I was barely able to get on my feet, but hopefully it would go better this time.
Have a kangaroo or koala as a pet?
  • Koala simply because I think they look cuter :)  I don't know much about either of these though.
I'm going to say my kitties are actually the best :)
Eat cookies or french fries?

  • Mmm.... french fries.  I love cookies too but if I had to choose, I'd go for the salty, fatty option.
Be hot all the time or cold all the time?
  • Ugh.  Neither of these sound fun but I'd rather be a bit too cold than too hot.  You can always add more layers or gloves or something.  But you can only take so much off.
Read the book or watch the movie?
  • Read the book.  Always.
Drink hot or iced coffee/tea?
  • Hot tea is my to-go. Usually chai lattes when I'm out but I'm still getting my monthly tea sparrow packages and I've really enjoyed experimenting with the various types of teas they send me.
Be able to exist healthily without food or without sleep?
  • I love both but I think I'd give up sleep first.  Food is about much more than sustenance for me.  I enjoy the flavors and social experiences that come with food too much to give them up even if I didn't have to eat to live.
Live in a small town or big city?
  • The city (though I currently live in a suburb of DC).  I grew up in a really small town in Ohio, left once I was 18, and never looked back.  I definitely prefer living in the city with all the options and opportunities it provides.
I love being able to go to local races and see sights like this
Cook a gourmet meal at home or order take-out from an upscale restaurant?
  • Hmm... I'd say cooking.  Both sound great but I think there's an added satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment with cooking a great meal at home.
Wear pajamas or a dress suit everywhere, every day?
  • Definitely pajamas.  I wear suits to work when needed but they're never comfortable.
Have a year without paying taxes or an extra month of paid vacation?
  • Definitely no taxes for a year.  Then I could use that money however I wanted, which could very well include more vacation, but at least I'd have a choice.
Live without music or television?
  • I'd say without television.  I like being able to listen to music on runs and while in the car.  I think I could give up tv easier than giving up music.  We are thinking of cutting the cord on cable once our contract expires.
Take a European sight-seeing vacation or relaxing Caribbean vacation?
  • If I had to choose, I'd say I prefer Europe.  It's huge and provides so many different options within the continent.  It can include beach vacations as well as mountains and cities.  So it wins just for the variety.  We leave for vacation in Iceland next week and I'm super excited!

So that's my list of things I'd rather do.  Some of these were definitely hard to choose between. I'd love to hear what some of your answers would be :)

Monday, May 16, 2016

Weekly Review

This was another week without much working out to report.  For some reason, I was just absolutely exhausted at the beginning of the week.  I tried to make up for it later in the week but there is only so much making up that can be done.

Monday - rest day

Tuesday - rest day

Wednesday - rest day

Thursday - I made it to the gym!  I had some coffee around 3 in the hopes that I wouldn't be exhausted after work but that worked a bit too well and I felt jittery for almost the whole evening.  So coffee is not necessarily the solution, but at least it helped me get there.

Friday - Strength training at home with my usual 3 rounds of jumping jacks, squats, crunches, glute bridges, clam shells, planks, push-ups, lunges and calf raises.

Saturday- rest day

Sunday - I went out for a run for the first time in 2 weeks.  I met up with a friend and we went to a county park in her neighborhood.  It was a pretty run but it just felt like a bad run to me.  Part of it probably was the fact that it's been 2 weeks.  It just seemed like a lot of little things were combining to make it a bad run, my knee hurt a bit, my breathing was difficult, my contacts were bothering my eyes, there were a lot of little hills, and there were a lot of windy gusts.  But I did it and I'm hoping to keep that momentum up for this week!

I'm linking up   with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Weekly Review

Oops, I missed putting up my weekly review yesterday but I'm a fan of the better late than never philosophy.  Last week was a bit of a strange week because my parents were still visiting until Wednesday and then we were traveling from Thursday until Sunday.  So there were more rest days than I would like but I doubled up workouts on some other days.  Also, this was more of a cross training week since that spot on my foot was hurting again.  I'm not sure why since I haven't been running a lot.  I may need to get new work shoes again.

So here we go, jumping right into it.

Monday - rest day

Tuesday - strength training at home (jumping jacks, squats, crunches, glute bridges, clam shells, planks, push-ups and calf raises

Wednesday - rest day

Thursday - rest day

Friday - 40 minutes on the elliptical, 20 minutes swimming

Saturday - 60 minute yoga class, 15 minutes swimming (the pool was much more crowded today) and 60 minute dance class

Sunday - rest day

So that was last week.  This week should be back to normal and I really want to try to get back to my usual work out routine.

Friday five - lifescape courses

I'm a little late but I'm joining in with Courtney, Mar, and Cynthia for the Friday Five.  Today's it the first Friday of the month so we're talking about fitness.

I wasn't sure what I was going to write about but this morning, I was working out at a hotel gym and experienced Life Fitness Life Courses for the first time.  This made working out inside a hotel gym much more fun!  So what is it?  It's a way to experience the scenery of various hikes around the world while you're working out on the treadmill, elliptical or bike.  I chose hikes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Here are 5 fun things about the experience.

1.  Fun facts - there are little pop ups that tell you fun snippets about the area that you're hiking in.

2.  Variety - the elevation or resistance changes automatically to simulate the course that you've chosen.  You do get to choose a difficulty level at the beginning so it keeps that in mind with the resistance changes. And the scenery is varied as well.  There are some hikes that are wide, tourist type walks and there are some that are challenging, narrow, steep paths.

3.  Scenery - the scenery is gorgeous.  It kept me engaged during my 40 minutes on the elliptical.  At the end of each segment, there's a scenic moment where the camera pans and you get to see the full view, not just the trail.

4. Pace - the pace is definitely off though.  These are paces I've never run, not even on flat 5ks.  I was on the elliptical, so it's probably better on the treadmill.  I made sure to run by effort/hear beat not pace.  And I finished my work out based on total time instead of mileage.

5.  Choice - there were a lot of options to choose from spread out all over the world.  I plan to go back to the gym later this weekend and choose another option, maybe somewhere in Africa or Asia that I may never get to see in person.  And once y choose an area, your workout will consist of multiple hikes within that location.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Ben's Run 5k

I've done Ben's Run for three years now.  If you're interested in running this race, I would recommend reading my 2014 and 2015 reviews as I think they provide a more accurate view of what the event is usually like.  What made this year so different?  Rain.  It's funny how much rain can completely change the feel of an event.

Here is how I described the race last year:  This is one of those races that isn't about times, or PRs or a flat course but completely about community and the cause. The race is in honor of Ben, who passed away at Children's National Medical Center after 6 years of battling Leukemia.

But those things I love about Ben's Run, the community gathering together and the fun family atmosphere were mostly missing this year.  But that's understandable because it's not as fun to hang out while you're soaked from the rain.

Still hoping the rain would hold off

But here are the good things.  The race was again really well organized.  There were 2 water stops even on the 5k course.  And just like last year, there are multiple options for distances... 1 mile, 5k and 5 miles.  There weren't as many kids, dogs or strollers, which is understandable given the weather.  The friend I was with had brought her husband and two kids in the stroller as they were planning to just walk the 5k as a family.  Sadly, the rain really put a damper on things for them and they ended up calling it a bit after mile 2 and getting back in the car as they couldn't really keep the kids out in the wet conditions.

People trying to huddle under the tents once the rain started

As for my race, it went ok.  I did a warm up of about a mile and a half before the race so I was warm and ready to go when the race started.  It was chilly but I was ok with my arm warmers as long as I was moving.  I've been working up to running a 5k without walk breaks so I ran the first 20 minutes or so but there was a big up hill right before mile 2, so I started walk breaks then.  I pretty much just walked when I needed to given the hills and ran when I could for the last bit. The rain and wind also seemed to pick up the last mile.

After the race, there was water, bagels, and fruit as well as food trucks selling breakfast burritos and crepes.  But given the rain (it was pouring by this point) it seemed like most people went right home. In other years, there was a great finish line festival with a bouncy house for the kids, a silent auction, a live auction, a blood drive, and performances from local groups.

Waiting under a tent after the race while waiting for my ride

As always, this race was really well organized and had a community feel.  The rain put a damper on things but I think that was to be expected.  After all, it's no fun hanging out in the wet and cold.  But I'm sure I'll do it again as the proceeds go to a great cause.  I'll just keep my fingers crossed for better weather next year!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Weekly Review

Hello, it's been a week full of fun family time!  It's included some late nights and some early mornings so I can say I'm a bit exhausted.  I did manage to get in some work outs as well so here's my recap.

Monday - rest day

Tuesday - rest day.  I did manage to get in more than 10,000 steps since the evening was spent cleaning in preparation for guests arriving on Wednesday.  In fact, I got in more than my 10,000 steps ever weekday except Monday.

Wednesday - rest day

Thursday - I woke up early to get in 30 minutes on the elliptical before anyone else woke up.

Friday - Strength training in the evening.  This was 3 rounds of jumping jacks, squats, crunches, glute bridges, clam shells, planks, push-ups, squats and calf raises.

Saturday - Got up early to meet my friends for a local 5k.  This was through the Montgomery County Road Runners so it was free for members, score!  We did about a 2 mile warm up and then the 5k.  It was another hilly one but I felt good at the end.

Sunday- I woke up before everyone else to get in some Yoga With Adrienne.  I chose the strength training routine.  We also went back to pub trivia and managed to claim 2nd place this time!  That resulted in $25 off our bar tab which is always appreciated.  But it looks like probably no more trivia for us until July or so.  May and June are shaping up to be busy months.

So that was it for last week.  This week is probably going to involve a lot of rest days early in the week too since my family doesn't leave until Wednesday.  But I am hoping to make body pump Wednesday evening, run on Thursday, yoga on Friday, run on Saturday and Sunday.

I'm linking up   with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.