Monday, August 28, 2017

Heart Rate Training Week 13

I hope everyone had a great weekend!  My week didn't exactly go to plan.  Long story short, my foot still hurts and I'm not sure what the issue is.  Hopefully it will go away with another day of rest but here are the details of the week:

Monday - rest day with a 20 minute walk

Tuesday - 20 minute walk and strength training


Wednesday- Morning run before work


Thursday - Unplanned rest day with a 30 minute walk in the evening.  Sadly, I think this may have been when I hurt my foot since it started hurting Friday morning.

Friday - Speed work in the morning before work.  It was 4/1 intervals.


We also went out dancing again at the last silent disco of the year.  The DJs weren't as good as past years but we still had a lot of fun.


Saturday- I tried out a new barre class.  It was ok.  I got a great workout for my core and legs but it wasn't as high energy as past barre classes I've been to.

Sunday - I was planning to meet friends for a 2 hour run.  But when we started, there was an immediate sharp pain in my foot :(  So I decided to just walk.  At some point in mile 2, the foot wasn't hurting and I could walk normally so I ran a bit in mile 2 and was able to add even more running in mile 3.  But I decided to just keep it to 1 hour instead of 2 hours.


I was glad I got out there though since it was such a beautiful morning!


So that was my week.   The foot still hurts (it's the front and outside of the ankle).  It's fine most of the time but there's pain when I move it wrong, i.e. tilt it up or to the side.  My work shoes have a slight heel and it actually helps since it keeps my foot tilted down.  I'm hoping more rest today will help.  But I hope everyone else had a good week!  I'm linking up with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin (and guest host Finding Fabulous at Fifty) for the Weekly Wrap.


Friday, August 25, 2017

Friday Five August Runfessions

It's the last Friday of August.  I hate feeling like the Summer is slipping through my fingers.  But all we can do is try to make the most of the time that's left!  And of course, Friday means it's time for the Friday Five link up hosted by Running on Happy & Fairytales and Fitness.  So I'm going to take the time today to talk about some runfessions.

Friday Five Linkup 2.0

1.  Skipped a run - I've been pretty good about getting in 4 runs per week recently but I skipped my speed work at the gym last night.  I have no good reason, I just was tired after a long day at work and just wanted to get home, have some dinner, and cuddle with some cats.  So that's what I did.  I figure no point in getting burned out before I even start marathon training.  I did make it up with speed work this morning before work but that means it will just be 3 runs this week.

Shelby's side eye when I want to cuddle

2.  Worried about my feet - Not sure what's been going on with my feet but they've been hurting at random times.  I don't think it's even really related to running.  I did switch out some old worn out every day shoes recently so hopefully that will help.  I've also been better about doing the feet exercises from the podiatrist and with icing my feet.


3.  Forgetting to take photos - I love seeing everyone's photos of their run.  I enjoy the selfies and I enjoy the scenery photos.  I keep telling myself I need to do more of that but then I keep forgetting.  Not a big thing in the greater scheme but I'm going to try to remember to do this more.

I did remember to take a photo Wednesday morning with the sunrise

4.  Bad at foam rolling - Foam rolling is something else that I haven't been that good at.  I'm definitely working on getting better at this too.  I even added it to my habit tracker and hope to get at least 2 foam rolling sessions in per week, more as needed.

Instruments of torture?

5.  Food and weight - I've had some success losing weight recently and eating better.  But then this week has been a struggle.  It's like I had a couple weeks of success and then I've just gotten lax again.  I'm getting back on the wagon today and trying to remember that a couple good weeks is not all it's about.  I've got to remember that it's about a healthy lifestyle in general.

So that's it for today.  I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Eastern County 8k

I met up with some friends last weekend to run the Montgomery County Road Runner's Eastern County 8k.  This is one of their low-key races so it was free for members!  I had done this race 2 years ago and really liked the first part of the course but not the last mile or so.  I had heard that year was not the normal course and they had to make a last minute change and that the course is usually nice the whole way.  So we were giving it another try.

The course is in a beautiful, local park. It starts off on the road but moves to a paved trail pretty quickly.  It follows the trail around and then there's a turn around at the half way point, then back the way we came.  We continue to follow the trail back the way we came until the finish, which is by the start.

Empty course during my 1 mile warm up

It's a fairly hilly course.  It starts with a nice downhill and then some rolling hills but that means on the way back, there is a whole lot of uphill at the end. Most of the race was pretty shaded except the last half mile or so where the sun really beat down on us.


It's a pretty small race.  There were only 139 people this year and the last time I ran this race, there was around 160.  The trail isn't closed so in addition to the race participants, there is the usual use of the trail and plenty of people walking their dogs, out with their kids, etc.  I was in the back of the pack so it never felt too crowded but I'm sure it might have been a bit congested for the middle of the pack, especially since it was an out and back on the same trail.


Speaking of back of the pack, I was way in the back of the pack for this one.  I knew it was a small race but I had a minute of panic at the beginning because I felt like I might be the last person.  But then I talked myself down and reminded myself that it didn't matter if I was the last person.  Someone has to be and I should still just run my own race at my own pace.  So I slowed down to where I felt comfortable and tried to just run my own race.


I picked off two people by the turn around and picked up 3 or 4 more people before the finish. And more importantly for me, I enjoyed the race and felt good the whole time, in spite of the heat and humidity.


So I'm glad we gave this race another try!  I love the location and the trail it's run on.  It was a beautiful wooded area with shade for most of the race.  The only negative this time was that there wasn't much food left at the end of back of the packers.  This is really unusual for MCRRC races.  There is almost always plenty of food at the end.  This time, there were no bananas, no oranges, no watermelon... there were some dates so I helped myself to one of those.  There was also plenty to drink with water, apple juice, and iced tea.  The array of beverages seemed a bit unusual.  Hopefully the food thing was just an aberration.


Monday, August 21, 2017

Heart rate training week 12

The weekend flew by!  It seemed so short but it was a great weekend.  And that means it's Monday and time for the weekly wrap.  So here are the details of my week.

Monday - Rest day

Tuesday - I worked from home as I had an off site meeting I had to go to in the middle of the day.  And I also had a strength training session in the evening.


Wednesday - Morning easy run


Thursday - 40 minutes on the elliptical at the gym


Friday - rest day

Saturday - A local 8k with a 1 mile warm up beforehand.  I'll write more about the race later this week.  We also had a birthday party for Mike with a gathering of friends at our house.


Sunday - Ugh, indulged a bit too much at the party on Saturday.  Getting up did not feel good.  But I got myself together and went out for an easy run, and I felt so much better afterward!  I also went to a yoga class later in the morning.  I'd been doing yoga at home but had forgotten how much I enjoyed full yoga classes.  The only thing I didn't like though is that they put too many people in the studio and it ended up being too crowded, hot and stuffy :(  I'm not sure if I'll give this place another try.


I'm pretty happy with how the week went :)  I got in 4 cardio sessions and 2 strength training sessions, with one of those being a 75 minute yoga class.  Here's the plan for this week.

 Monday - rest day
Tuesday - strength training
Wednesday - morning easy run
Thursday - intervals at the gym
Friday - morning easy run
Saturday - strength training
Sunday - Long run with friends

I hope everyone else had a great week too!  I'm linking up with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin (and guest host Ponder N' Wonder) for the Weekly Wrap.


Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday Five - August Birch Box

Yay for Friday!  It seemed like a really slow week to me but I guess that's what happens after a short work week last week.  But it's finally time for the weekend and also for the Friday Five link up hosted by Running on Happy & Fairytales and Fitness.

 Friday Five Linkup 2.0

A friend of mine recently got me a 6 month subscription to birch box as a gift.  This was such a great idea for a gift and I know I'm going to have fun with it :)  So what is birch box?  Well, here it is in their words: "The brainchild of two friends with a love of the internet and an itch to create a better way to shop for beauty products.  Katia and Hayley envisioned a way for customers—just like themselves—to easily and efficiently try, learn about, and purchase beauty products online. They combined monthly deliveries of personalized samples with original editorial and an exciting ecommerce shop"


I haven't spent much time or money on learning about beauty products.  I have a couple go-tos and that's about it.  So I'm sure I can learn a lot through these samples and hopefully find some new go-tos. 


In fact, I'm already a fan of a couple things in my first box.  But first, here is the list of the 5 items in the August box.


So what do I think?

1.  Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo - wow, I love this!  I was a little skeptical of this idea when I heard it in the past but I've tried it for 2 days this week and it really works.  I won't say my hair looks the best it ever has, but it looked pretty darn good for no washing and no styling.  I literally just ran a brush through my hair, sprayed with the dry shampoo, and finger combed.  That's it.  It's a great option for mornings where time is scarce.  And it smells good as an added bonus.

Hair on a dry shampoo day

2.  Marcelle Hydrating Gel-  This one was another hit!  It's a gel moisturizer that feels really light when it goes on.  There's no stickiness or heaviness.  Just a light refreshing feel to the gel and it seems to absorb into the skin really easily.  I'm actually thinking of switching out my moisturizer and getting a full size version of this one.

3. Coastal Scents Blush and Bronzer - This one was just ok for me.  I liked the texture and ease of application but it was way too bright for me.  I actually had to put some powder over it to tone it down a little.  So I think the product is ok but maybe it just wasn't the right color for me.

4. The Beauty Crop Liquid Lipstick - This one wasn't a hit either.  I loved the color but it seemed to make my lips feel too dry.  It also didn't stay that well.  I have other lipsticks that look similar and do a better job.

Playing around with the new blush and lipstick

5.  Glamglow hydrating treatment - Ok, I'll admit I haven't actually tried this one yet.  It takes a little more time to try than the others and I'm also a little worried that it may be too moisturizing and veer into making my skin oily.  I'm sure I'll give it a try at some point and report back but it's also something that I don't see becoming a regular part of my routine because of the time it takes.  I need to stick with things that are more on the low maintenance side.

So that you have it!  That was my first Birch Box and I've enjoyed the experience so far.  I liked the option to try out small samples of things before actually spending the money to buy them.  I'm much more likely to invest in more expensive products if I already know I like them.

Has anyone else tried a beauty subscription box?  I'd love to hear what you though of it.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Preparing for Marathon Training

I can't believe it's already the middle of August!  It seems like the Summer has just flown by.  And I've been enjoying running for fun and learning how to run by heart rate.  I haven't been in training for a specific race since I finished the Star Wars Dark Side half marathon in April.

But that changes soon.  I'll be running my first full marathon at Disney World in January and training starts in September.  So I've been spending the Summer building a base and learning how to run easy but I've also been taking some steps recently to get ready.  First, I ordered new shoes that I'll start using when I start training!


They're the same model as my current shoe but they do look a bit different from last year's version.  Also, the color is definitely more subdued than I usually go for but the price was much cheaper on these :)

 I also did some shopping.  Fabletics was having a sale a bit ago and I got some running clothes there.  I also saw a good sale at Skirt Sports and got another running skirt.  I didn't spend too much on clothes because the latter part of my training will be in cold weather anyway but I think we've got a bit of hot weather to go so these pieces should come in handy.  I also got a new set of wireless earbuds for my birthday since I broke my last pair so I'm sure that will come in handy for training too.

Ok, this isn't for running.  But it was so cute and the sale was so good at Fabletics!

But the most important thing I've been doing to prepare is try to figure out a training plan.  I've used a Hal Higdon plan for my last couple half marathons and his novice 2 plan looked like a good option for marathon training.  I had printed out a calendar for the next couple months and plotted in the training but I was still questioning myself.  It didn't really feel right.  And I remembered that the first half marathon I trained for, I trained with a group.  It felt so much better because I had help navigating through new territory.  And I didn't necessarily want to find an official training group but someone to help out with guidance would be nice.

So I decided I'm going to try an online running coach.  I had an introductory consultation with Laura from This Runner's Recipes last week and it was a great conversation.  I'm excited to start training and I felt better about my doubts after talking with Laura.  I feel good about her philosophy and having a plan that is a little more tailored then something I just pulled off the internet.  Of course, I'm happy that I also have a friend that I've convinced to do her first marathon too, so I should have company on most long runs and I'm sure that will help too!

I'm still working on convincing the third member of our little running group to join us :)

Any other tips you guys have for someone jumping into marathon training for the first time in a couple weeks?  I'd love to hear it :)

Monday, August 14, 2017

Heart Rate Training Week 11

The weekend flew by and I can't believe it's already Monday!  It's shaping up to be another busy week here so I'm sure it will fly by just as quickly.  But before I start into this week, here's a summary of last week.

Monday - Rest day with lots of walking around Busch Gardens!

Tuesday - Strength Training - I did 3 repeats of the below


Wednesday and Thursday - unplanned rest days since I was experiencing some pain (I think I pulled something weird when I was trying to get into one of the rafts at the water park)

Friday - 3 mile easy run - my heart rate was up since I waited until the afternoon and it was in the 80s :(  But at least I got it done before the rain started.


Saturday - Interval run with a work up and then 2/1 intervals x 10.


Sunday - Met up with friends to run a new trail


So the plan for this week is a rest day on Monday, strength training Tuesday, easy run Wednesday, interval run Thursday, strength training Friday, Eastern County 8k Saturday, and easy run Sunday.

I hope everyone else had a great week too!  I'm linking up with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin (and guest host Running With Attitude) for the Weekly Wrap.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Friday Five - Busch Gardens Williamsburg

I hope everyone had a great week!  It flew by for me because it was only a 4 day workweek since I had taken Monday off work for Busch Gardens, Williamsburg.  We had a great time and I thought I'd share 5 things about our mini-vacation.  It's also time for the Friday Five link up hosted by Running on Happy & Fairytales and Fitness.

1.  Discounts - The whole reason we ended up taking this trip to Busch Gardens is that we got a Groupon for park tickets.  They were $60 included both the theme park and the water park, and could be used for 7 days!  That was a great price for even the 2 days that we were at the parks.  The other way we saved some money is going Sunday and Monday.  Hotel prices were pretty expensive Saturday night but we were able to find a good deal on a room about 11 miles away on Sunday night.

I'm sure the park is always fun but discounts definitely lead to bigger smiles!

2.  Animals - Both the water park and the theme park were beautiful.  They were really well kept, clean, and tons of fun.  But I think the thing that really set Busch Gardens apart for me was that I loved the animals!  They had Eagles, Wolves, Sheep, Horses, and others I'm sure I don't remember.  They had two shows that featured the animals, one was with predators (wolves, hawks and owls) and one was with rescue pets.  They also have special tours that let you get up close nad personal with the animals.  I'd love to try one of those next time I'm down there.

Sheep, just hanging out and grazing - not fazed by the people at all

3.  Shows - Speaking of shows, there were some pretty good ones!  Like I mentioned, there were two shows that had animals but there were several great cultural shows as well.  The park is themed after various countries in Europe and that pulled through in the shows as well.  There was a fun night time show in "France" based on the three musketeers.  It had pyrotechnics and plenty of swash buckling stunts.  There was also a really good show featuring Irish dancing in the Ireland area.  There was a British music show and a German oktoberfest type show that we weren't able to catch but they sound fun too.

One of the wolves showing off his tricks

4.  Rides - I'm sure the main reason most people go to the park is for the rides.  And they were pretty spectacular!  The park is known for their roller coasters and I tried out several of them.  They were pretty intense.  I have to say I was scared away from the one that looked the most was called the Gryphon.  But I did manage several others and had a great time.  The roller coasters were pretty unique and my favorite was called Verbolten.  It was themed like a drive through the Black Forest in Germany.  There also appeared to be a lot of fun things for little kids.  I do think that there weren't many rides for adults who aren't thrill seekers.

A view of some of the roller coasters from the sky tram

5.  Waits and weather - We were at the parks Sunday and Monday.  We started Sunday at the water park and then, after a break at the hotel, went to the theme park Sunday evening.  The lines were pretty long on Sunday.  We got to the water park right after it opened and still had to wait in a fairly long line for the first water slide we went on.  The lines at the theme park were pretty long in the evening too.  I think we waited about 40 minutes for the first roller coaster we tried.  We kind of stuck to shows after that.  But Monday was completely different.  First, we got to the park early, maybe 15 minutes before it actually opened.  It felt like we were the only ones in the park at the beginning!  Also, there was a slight drizzle and I think that kept a lot of people away.  We pretty much walked on to every ride we wanted.  There was a brief period of heavy rain but thankfully it was around lunchtime so we were able to duck into a restaurant and grab some food and the rain was over by the time we were finished.

The park sure does empty out during the rain

However, if the lines are bad when you're there, the park does have a pass you can pay for that would allow you to skip to the beginning of the lines at both the water park and the theme park.  We didn't use it but we saw other people using it on Sunday and it seemed to work pretty well for them.

So that was our brief little trip down to Williamsburg.  We didn't get to see any of the historical stuff unfortunately.  But that's my goal for next time we're down there!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Heart Rate Training week 10

A day late since I just got back from my mini-vacation last night!  We had a great time in Williamsburg and the little get away definitely felt refreshing.  Here are the details of my week.

Monday - rest day with a 20 minute lunch time walk around the office.


Tuesday - strength training


Wednesday - Morning run for 3 miles.  It's getting light later which is sad but at least that means I can catch the tail end of the sunrise.


Thursday - Speed work on the treadmill.  I forgot to turn on the Garmin so I only have the treadmill data.  I knew I was supposed to do intervals of 2 minutes in zone 4 with 1 minute of recovery but it was hard to track the number without the garmin so I just went until I hit 3 miles.


Friday - Strength training


Saturday - Met up with a friend for a long run.  I was hoping to get around 7 miles but we ended up being super slow.  I'm not sure why as the weather was actually much better that it has been recently.  But I think the uphill on the way back was part of it.  At least I sped up each mile for the way back so that's something.


Sunday- A short 2 mile run before we went down to Williamsburg.  I was hoping for three miles but I was late getting out there since Shelby managed to knock the treats of the counter and they spilled out all over the floor.  It was a comedy of errors trying to clean it up while keeping the cats away and eventually I had to wake up Mike to come help.


So that was this week.  This is also the last week of the training plan I've been using for the heart rate training.  I feel like it's been really useful to figure out the heart rate zones, what each should feel like, etc.  It also seems like doing one, either speed work or a threshold run, per week works well for me but it felt like too much when I tried to do both per week.  I may alternate between those things when I get into marathon training.  The Hal Higdon plan I'm going to use just has threshold runs, but I do enjoy the speed work on the treadmill.  I'll have to figure that out and see what works better.  I know that I do want to try and keep the majority of my training (around 80%) in the easy run zone.

I'll write more about our trip to Williamsburg a little later in the week.  I hope everyone had a great weekend!  And if you have tips for whether to do speed work, tempo runs or both during marathon training, I'd love to hear it.