Friday, July 29, 2016

Friday Five - things I like about Summer running

Yay, it's Friday!  I'm looking forward to the weekend but first, it's time to link up with Mar, Courtney and Cynthia for the Friday Five.  This week's theme is a free Friday to choose whatever we want to talk about.  So I'm going to talk about 5 things I enjoy about Summer running and use the poswer of positive thinking :)

1.  Cute animals - I've been trying to wake up early to beat the heat.  And morning runs in my neighborhood allow me to see lots of bunnies!  Also, a couple weeks ago I was running with friends at the town center and we saw a deer running across the street.

Ok, it's hard to get a photo of a bunny without scaring them off but he's there

2. AC feels amazing - I walked into the house and the air condition after my run this morning and it felt absolutely amazing.  I'm not sure I've ever appreciated air conditioning as much as after a hot Summer run.

3. Less gear - Winter runs require jackets and gloves and hats... I'm getting tired thinking of all that gearing up.  At least with Summer runs, less is better.  Clothes, running shoes, garmin, water and out the door.

4. Running for fun - I'm trying not to think about pace during the heat.  So instead, I do my best to just make the runs fun.  I make running dates with friends, appreciate the scenery, take photos, find random detours on my route to explore, stop for pokemon, whatever I can do to make it fun.

Caught this guy on my run this morning

5. Rewarding myself with iced chai - Ok, I know rewarding yourself with food is not a good habit.  And I try not to do it too much.  But there are some runs where the thought of an iced drink is all that keeps me going!  And lets not forget Summer races that have watermelon afterward.  Yum!

 So that's my 5 things that I enjoy about Summer running.  How about you, what are your favorite things about running in the Summer?

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Running plans for the rest of 2016

So what's next?  I haven't been really training for anything since I completed the RnR DC half marathon in March.  And I've been enjoying the more unstructured time.  But I'm also beginning to get antsy to get back on a training plan.  Which is good, because I start training again in August!

So here's my current plan for the rest of the year.  This upcoming weekend, I have local Montgomery County Road Runners 8k I'm planning on doing.  Good news, it's free.  Bad news, it's know for hills, heat and humidity!  But I'm just treating it as a fun run with friends.

August, I'm planning on another MCRRC 8k.  It's one I did last year and really enjoyed the beautiful course.

September, I'm thinking of doing a 10k in DC but I'm not sure on that one yet.

October, the Army 10 miler.  I'm excited for this one as it will be the first time I'm doing this race.  I've heard great things about it with the only caution being that it's really crowded.

May not have started training for Vegas but already working on making matching shirts!

November is the Rock and Roll Vegas half!  This is going to be a girl's trip and I'm really excited about it.  Three of us are doing the half and one is doing the 10k.  Also, it is coincidentally the same weekend my parents are going to be in Vegas for my mom's birthday so they both signed up for the 5k.  I'm looking forward to cheering them on almost as much as I am to running the strip at night.

And December is my goal half marathon. It's an inaugural race, which I'm a little nervous about, but it's a company that's put on races in multiple cities before so fingers crossed.  It's Race 13.1 in Baltimore.  And it looks like it should be fairly flat which I'm happy about.

So those are my race plans for the rest of the year! 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Weekly Review

I hope everyone had a good week!  The week started out with a lot of rest for me as I was still feeling the heat from tubing the weekend before.  But I was back to 100% by Wednesday and the week ended strong :)

Monday - rest day

Tuesday - rest day

Wednesday - Jillian Michael's 30 day shred

Thursday - 40 minutes on the elliptical

Friday - 30 minute run.  I haven't been running after work on the weekdays because it's just been too hot.  So I decided to try something new and get up earlier on Friday and go for a run before work.  It went pretty well.  I didn't have so much time so only got in a bit more than 2 miles but at least I got out there!  I started around 6:30 and it wasn't too hot, though it definitely seemed to heat up a lot by the time I finished.

Friday evening, I went out to a silent disco with a bunch of friends.  It was perfect clubbing for people who like dancing but can't deal with a lot of the downsides of the usual club night.  It was early (7pm to 11pm) so I could still get to sleep at a reasonable hour.  You can control the volume on the music since the music is all through headsets.  Everyone gets their own headset, there are 3 DJs playing, and you can cycle between the DJs as you want on the headset.  It never felt too crowded.  And it was at a rooftop bar so there was a nice breeze and a beautiful view.  All in all, a great Summer evening :)

Saturday - rest day.  We also had to run some errands in Virginia so I got in a good pokemon walk (staying in the shade as much as possible) and brunch at Tupelo Honey Cafe.  Yum!

Sunday - Woke up early to meet a friend for a 4 mile run so that we could beat the heat.

And that was my week!  I think I'm hoping for something similar this week with strength training on Tuesday and Saturday, Running on Thursday, Friday and Sunday.  And my paces were slow this week but I've just determined that I'm ok with that.  Summer is going to be about just getting out there and getting the miles in at whatever pace I can do.

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

 Weekly Wrap 51 Taste the Rainbow

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Watermelon Salad

I hope everyone's week is going well!  I'm excited because it seems like we're in for some cooler weather today and tomorrow.  But it's still Summer and that means the temperatures are still going to be on the high side.  Making salads a perfect option either as a meal or an add on to a meal.  They're served cold, don't require much heating up the kitchen, and usually have lots of foods with high water content.

We recently made a watermelon salad that I'm still thinking about.  It was a perfect combination of sweet, salty, crunchy, cool, and tart.  Yum!  And I think it's one that you can definitely play around with and change the proportions so that it's to your tastes.

Watermelon (we used a container of the pre-cut watermelon from the grocery store)
Greens (we used a bag of the spring greens from the grocery can see a theme here.)
Half a small onion, diced
3 to 4 ounces of Feta
1/4 cup Cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Mustard
1/4 cup Olive Oil (I like my dressing on the tart side, you may need to add more olive oil, the tradition ration is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar)
Salt and pepper to taste

Dice the onion and cut the watermelon into bite size cubes.  Put the green in a salad bowl, toss the onion, watermelon and feta on top and mix.  As far as the dressing, i mixed the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper together in a small tupperware container. Then I added in the oil, put the lid on the container, and shook it until the dressing was well combined.  Put as much dressing as you want on the salad and toss to combine.

Voila, that's it!  A perfect summer salad.  We had fired up the grill so we had the salad for dinner along with some grilled tofu and grilled corn on the cob. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Weekly Review

I hope everyone had a good week!  Mine was a bit of a mixed bag with it starting out well but ending badly.

Monday - Rest day with a post dinner walk with Mike.  We've been playing Pokemon Go and it's gotten him more interested in taking walks with me :)

Tuesday - rest day with another post dinner walk.  The extra pokemon steps meant I got more than 13,000 steps on both these rest days.

Sights seen during our post-dinner neighborhood walk

Wednesday - 25 minutes (body pump started 15 minutes earlier than the online scheduled said for some reason) on the elliptical plus 60 minutes of body pump.  I loved getting back to body pump!

Thursday - 40 minutes on the elliptical

Friday - 60 minutes of yoga.  I had thought about going back to body pump but was still sore from Wednesday.  The yoga felt great and seemed to be what my body needed.

Saturday - Rest day.  This is where things started to go down hill.  I went tubing on a river a couple hours away with friends.  We had done this last year and it was a lot of fun.  Of course, it was maybe 20 degree hotter this time than last year.  Long story short, I reacted really badly to the heat and ended up getting sick to the point of having to leave the river early and wait for someone to come back and pick me up.  I also continued to throw up through the evening, even after we got back home and I seemed to have difficulty regulating my body temperature.

Sunday - Rest day.  I was supposed to meet friends for a run but I cancelled given that I was still dehydrated from the day before.  But the good news is that I continued to feel better through out the day and concentrated on rehydrating.  We did also get out to a movie (we had bought tickets in advance to see Ghostbusters) and had another pokemon walk by the theater, staying mostly in the shade and drinking lots of water.

We had fun checking out different memorials/art listed as stops that we had never noticed before

I think I'm back to 100% today.  The heat this Summer just has not been going well for me.  But I'm hoping that this week will be better :)  I'm linking up with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Lawyer's Have Heart 10k review

I'm not going to bury the lead.  This was a disappointing race for me.  Not due to the race organization at all, but due to my own experience.  I ended up switching to the 5k mid-race as I just could not deal with the heat.  But here's the story from the start.

I love this race and I've done it in 2014 and 2015.  The course changed in 2015 and I think this year was mostly the same course as last year.  And this race is hot and humid every year.  It's June, and that makes sense.  According to Garmin, this year was 72 degrees and 75% humidity.  Last year was 80 degrees and 74% humidity.  2014 was 70 degrees with only 60% humidity.

So that's my history with this race.  As always, the proceeds benefit the American Heart Association.  There are 10k, 5k and fun walk options.  There is also a generous 2 hour time limit.  I love that there are so many options and ways for people of all fitness levels to be involved.

The other thing I love about this race is that it starts and finishes at the Washington Harbor in Georgetown.  In past years, I have been able to go early and find plenty of street parking.  They also have special deals on parking at local garages if you'd rather go that way.  This year, we found a cheap hotel room downtown and were able to walk to the race.  Packet pick up was at Brooks Brothers (strange) the day before and it was very quick and easy.  Another thing I liked this year is that the shirt was optional for an extra $10.  I decided against it since I didn't really need another cotton t-shirt from this event.

The course for the 5k and 10k start together.  They start with an uphill up a ramp to the main road and then an out and back section in Georgetown.  around the 2.5 mile mark, the courses diverge and the 5k heads left to the finish area and the 10k heads right to continue downtown. I like this section of the course usually because it's off the river and there's usually a nice breeze.  This year, there didn't seem to be much of a breeze at all and it was sunny.

I was really struggling.  I think the fact that we had a fairly cool May, and then I went off to Iceland, meant that I had not acclimated much to the heat at all.  And when I saw that 5k split, I decided to just call it and do the 5k instead of the 10k.  I could have slowed down (at the split there were plenty of people who seemed like they were walking the 10k) since 2 hours should be plenty of time for the 10k.  But I was feeling light headed, dizzy, and I was worried things might not get better even if I slowed down.  I felt like if things didn't get better, it would be worse if I wasn't near the finish line.  So I veered left and finished the 5k.

Mike found me once I finished and helped me out.  I dumped a whole bottle of cold water over my head and that definitely helped.  I also drank some cold water (the water in my water bottle was of course warm by then).  I sat for a while as we waited for my friend to finish the 10k.  Finally I began to feel better and I started taking a look at my stats.  Once I saw my heart rate data from my fitbit and that is was an average heart rate of 172, I was glad that I decided to do the 5k instead of the 10k.

My friend finished strong and she said the rest of the course was fine.  She felt like she struggled with the heat a bit as well but that the clouds covered up the sun at some point and that helped give her a boost.  The race also gives out wet sponges during the 10k and that really helped too.

Of course, the best part of this race is that we always follow it with a delicious brunch at Farmer's, Fisher's and Bakers.  Yum!

So, pros to the race are the beautiful location for the start and finish, it is always well organized, lots of options for distances, a generous 2 hour time limit, and plenty of water stops and wet sponges for the 10k.  The only con is really the heat, but that's a risk with any June race.  I will probably keep doing this one but try to be better about acclimating to heat in advance.  Last year, I was able to finish the whole 10k even though it was hotter and I think that was largely because we had a hot May as well last year.  But I have to do a better job of trying to acclimate to the heat and letting myself slow down in Summer races.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Weekly Review

I had a full but fun week!  It started out slow on the work out front but ended strong so I'm pretty happy with the progress this week.  It included 2 cardio sessions, 2 strength training sessions and a yoga class.

Monday - Rest day as we spent a lot of the day driving back from New Jersey

Tuesday - Rest day since we had to run errands after work that we had ignored while we were away on the weekend.

Wednesday- Jillian Michael's 30 day shred

Thursday - 40 minutes on the elliptical

Friday - Rest day

Saturday- Jillian Michael's 30 day shred

Sunday - Running with friends in the morning for about 30 minutes.  We had planned on 45 but we got a late start.  And we had to end on time because we wanted to catch a free outdoor yoga class.  I love doing yoga outside :)

Plus, there was a lot of walking in the afternoon.  We had brunch in the city and then walked to the Kennedy Center to see Kinky Boots.  We loved the show!

So that was my week.  I hope you all had a great week too :)  I'm linking upwith HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Friday 5 - 2016 goals check in

I hope everyone had a good week.  It's been a bit up and down for me but I'm glad that the weekend is almost here.  And that means that it's time for the Friday 5 link up with Mar, Cynthia, and Courtney.  Since we're past the half way mark in the year, I figured I'd take a look at the goals I wanted to work on this year and any progress made toward them.

1.  3 half marathons - I've only done 1 so far but I have one planned in November and one planned in December.  I know I'm leaving them until late in the year but I don't deal well with the heat so it seemed for the best.  So I'm still working on this one and it should be accomplished.

RnR DC, my one and only half so far this year

2. Run a 5k without a walk break - I'm getting closer on this one.  I've been managing to get to the 20 minute/2 mile mark on hilly 5ks before taking a walk break.  So I think I should be able to get to this one too.  But it's on pause during the Summer as well.  I'm adding the walk breaks back in for now.

Ben's Run was hilly and rainy but I got to about 20 minutes before taking a walk break

3. Tracking all runs, including treadmill runs - I've been doing horribly on this one.  I just haven't been taking the time to go back in and manually put the information into the Garmin site.  It hasn't felt like a priority, but I wanted to make it one mainly for the purpose of tracking miles on my shoes.

4. New fitness activities - This is another one I haven't made progress on yet.  But it's Summer now and this is generally the time I look for more indoor activities to try out.  So I'll make it a priority to try some new things in the upcoming months.  I think Orange Fitness or a cycling class is at the top of my list.

5. Cooking - This was a 2 part goal in that I wanted to try a new recipe every month and put it on the blog.  I've actually been pretty good about trying new recipes but I've been bad about blogging about it afterward!  I did it January through April but nothing in May or June.  I'm still happy because the main part of the goal, getting excited about cooking again, was accomplished.  However, I will try to be better about blogging about the food for the rest of the year.
The last new recipe I blogged about was cheesy polenta with tomatoes and spinach

So that's the update on my goals.  There are several that still have a lot of progress to be made but I think I'll accomplish most of them.  The tracking my mileage goal seems like a lost cause at this point though.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Iceland trip review - Part 2

The last part of my Iceland trip review has been a bit delayed since I was offline for a couple weeks.  But I did want to get back to it before too much more time passed!  The first part of my trip review was about things outside of Reykjavik and this one will concentrate on things we did in Reykjavik.

First, some information about the city.  It is the capital city of Iceland the world's northernmost capital city.  About 2/3 of the country's population lives in the capital region, but that is still only around 200,000 people. Also, the city is about 45 minutes from the airport.  Flybus was an efficient and inexpensive way to travel to and from the airport.

The first day, we had made plans to go on a walking tour and to go whale watching.  Well, we learned that it was a mistake to plan timed things for the first day.  The flight was more than 2 hours late so we couldn't make the walking tour on time and the whale watching tour was canceled because the seas were too rough.  Thankfully, the whale watching tour let us schedule for another day and skipping the walking tour allowed us to have a more leisurely introduction to the city.  So that was a lesson learned about scheduling things on your first day.  But here is some of the stuff that we did do in Reykjavik.

Street art - There seemed like there was fun, quirky art everywhere we looked in Reykjavik.  This ranged from weird sculptures to giant murals to charming little paintings.  I enjoyed checking out the street art pretty much every time we stepped out of our hotel onto the streets of the city.

Harpa concert hall - This is a beautiful building.  It is one of the main sites that Reykjavik is known for.  It is on the water and has stunning architecture and they offer behind the scenes guided tours.  We didn't see a show there but did watch a short file they have about the northern lights.  The building is definitely worth seeing but I wouldn't necessarily recommend the film for the price, but it was bad weather on our first day in Reykjavik and we were looking for indoor refuges.

Whale watching -  I would absolutely recommend taking a whale watching tour.  We had an amazing experience seeing several humpback whales feeding.  We saw some harbor porpoises as well.  Do your research because there were several types of boats we saw heading out for whale watching tours, and some were definitely smaller and more adventurous than we needed!  We used a company called Special Tours and we were very happy with them.  The only thing I regret is that I didn't have some sort of water proof photo taking solution.  (Take waterproof everything is one of the tips I learned for next time.)  Depending on the time of year, puffin tours may be available too.

Museums and tourist sites -I mentioned earlier that we had some bad weather our first day in town and were looking for indoor things.  We accidentally stumbled upon the Settlement Exhibit and I'm glad we did.  I felt like this one was worth the cost and I really enjoyed it.  If you're interested in archaeology and history, this place is for you.  Here is the description from the website.

"In 2001 archaeological remains were excavated in Aðalstræti, which turned out to be the oldest relics of human habitation in Reykjavík, with some of the fragments found dating to before 871 AD. During the excavation a longhouse from the tenth century was also discovered. The hall and a wall fragment are now both carefully preserved at their original location and form the focal point of the Settlement Exhibition Reykjavík 871±2 - a fascinating exhibition about life in Viking times
As part of the exhibition the construction of Viking Age buildings is explained using multimedia technology and enhanced with computer technology to provide an insight of what life was like at the time of the first settlers. Exhibits also include artefacts from archaeological excavations in central Reykjavík."

Other tourist sites we visited include the Perlan and the Hallgrimskirkja, both of which offer amazing views of the city. 

Nautholsvik Geothermal beach -This was my favorite thing we did in Reykjavik.  It was a little harder to get here than most of the other tourist sites.  That is probably because this is frequented mostly be locals.  But if you are up at the Perlan, there is a small trail to the left of the sculpture of musicians outside the building.  You can follow that trail down to the beach.  It was probably a 20-30 minute walk downhill on the way there and uphill on the way back.  We did have to ask for directions once but finally made it there.  The trails in this area also seemed like a popular choice for running.

From the website:  "Nauthólsvík was opened in 2001, to the delight of residents and tourists alike and now attracts an estimate of 530.000 guests each year. The creation of the geothermal beach was an ambitious, but a very successful project, involving the construction of a lagoon with large sea walls, where cold sea and hot geothermal water fuse together resulting in higher temperatures."

I'm not going to lie, the water was still cold.  I got into the ocean area up to about my thighs.  But then I must have hit the area where there was more ocean water and less geothermal water in the blend and it was downright icy.  Thankfully, there are also hot tubs on the beach filled with the natural geothermal water so we were able to run back to the hot tubs and continue our soak in more comfortable temperatures.

Restaurants and nightlife - I would be remiss if I didn't talk a bit about the restaurants and nightlife in the city.  Especially because everywhere we ate, from a small burger stand to a fancy farm to table restaurant, was amazing.  Expensive, but still delicious.  And I was able to find vegetarian options pretty much everywhere.  The tapas restaurant we went to even had a vegetarian tasting menu.  Here are some of the places we ate:  Tapas Barinn (Icelandic inspired tapas), Grillmarkadurinn (fancy farm to table),  Bergsson Mathus (limited menu but delicious, simple fare in rustic surroundings), Hamborgarbullan (small burger stand by the harbor, that has veggie burgers too).

The nightlife was great because it was midnight and still light out!  We generally had early morning touring plans so didn't stay out too late but did manage to stumble on to a whiskey bar that had a pretty good live band playing and we spent our last night in the city at the rooftop bar of one of the local hostels. Here are some of the places we went for drinks: Dillon Whiskey Bar, Kaldi Bar, The Lebowski Bar, and the Loft Hostel Bar.

Around midnight!

In summary, Reykjavik was an amazing city.  We really enjoyed having 2 days to explore it.  I know a lot of people say that the best parts of Iceland to see are outside the city and while that may be true, I definitely making time to see Reykjavik as well if possible.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Weekly review

I'm back!  I had a rejuvenating two weeks with camping with friends the last weekend in June and spending time with friends in NYC and New Jersey with family this past weekend.  There are unfortunately still horrible things going on in the world but at least I feel better equipped to deal with it.

I did a lot of hiking when we were camping and my foot seemed to hold up well.  So I resumed exercising last week and I think it's going well.  I also think I figured out why my foot was hurting and I'm going with my work shoes.  I hadn't taken a good look at them until last week and they are really worn on the outside, to the point that the shoes are uneven.  I've ordered new work shoes and they should hopefully be here this week.

Thursday- about 35 minutes on the elliptical at the gym (I dropped something at accidentally stopped the machine around 11 minutes so the photo doesn't reflect the entire time)

Friday - another rest day to see how my feet reacted to working out again.  Plus, we drove up to New Jersey, parked at the NJ Transit station and took the train into the city.  With the traffic, we didn't get to our hotel until around 10pm.

Saturday - I woke up early and checked out the hotel gym.  It was beautiful and had a great visa of Times Square.  They even had the Life Fitness machines that let you pick trails around the world and it looks like you're on the trails as you run.  I chose some trails in New Zealand, that I will probably never get to see in real life.

I did 40 minutes of cardio and then about 30 minutes of weights.  We also had lots of walking around the city and catching the matinee of Shuffle Along on Broadway with half price tickets.

Sunday - Swimming with my niece and nephew plus a 30 minute walk with my niece in the morning.

I hope everyone has been having a great couple weeks and I'm planning to try to catch up on blog reading later today.  My cardio has all been on the elliptical but I'm hoping to go out for an actual run tomorrow now that my foot feels better and I have new shoes on the way!