June YIP Run to Yards

Tonight, my friend Rob and I joined the Young Involved Philadelphia (YIP) Running Club on their monthly run. The first Tuesday of each month, the group runs to a place of interest in Philadelphia, takes a tour/learns something/etc, and then goes to a bar for some drinks. It’s a pretty awesome concept. I ran with them one other time, when we did a tour of the Reading Viaduct, which is going to be turned into a park. It was *super awesome*. (I posted a bit about it here and put pictures here.)

This month, the first Tuesday falls during Philly Beer Week, so the run was organized to end at Yards Brewery (my favorite!), where you could take a tour, and we got our first beer for free! I had to babysit until 6pm, so I went home quickly and took a quick 1.2ish mile run over to Philly Runner, where the runs start. I am normally a 10+ min/mile, and I was booking it a little to get over to the store in time. Rob and I had decided to do the longer run (they usually have a 3 mile route and a 5 mile route.)

splitsIn this case, the 5 mile route were the super duper fast runners. Our route went up 16th St to Race, down Race to 5th, across the Ben Franklin Bridge and back, up to Spring Garden, and then over to the brewery. I am generally really good at pacing myself, and I knew immediately that I’d have to slow down. But I did get caught up with them at the beginning – and I also hit  every single light going down Race St. I fell behind on Race, which was fine. I was seriously struggling trying to keep pace, and when I finally hit the bridge, I slowed down A LOT going up the first part. I had already decided to only run up half of the bridge, and then back down. I was able to pick up the pace coming back down, waited for the group to come back, and then ran to the brewery at a pretty good pace.  As you can see, my splits were ALL OVER THE PLACE. But, overall, it was a really successful run in really humid weather, and I’m really happy with my overall pace considering how much I felt like I was struggling.

When I rolled into Yards, I had maybe the reddest face that I’ve ever had before. I seriously should have taken a picture. I ordered a Yards Saison, chatted with a few people, and then Rob and I started walking back home (another 2+ miles). Everyone that does the YIP runs are super friendly, and the crowd definitely overlaps with some of the other running groups in the city, so you will likely see some friendly faces if you frequent other group runs. Also worth noting is that a lot of people go by themselves, so everyone is chatty and not cliquey.

Hot Chocolate 15K Recap

On April 6, I ran the Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15K race. I wasn’t super ready for the race, but I was as ready as I was going to be! My only goals were to have fun and enjoy the run. I figured I’d run a 10:30-10:50 mile pace since that was a little faster than my long run pace had been. I had struggled even on short runs at less than a 10:15 pace, so I wasn’t expecting too much.

I took a short 2.5 mile run on Friday before happy hour. Then on Saturday, I took a rest day. Saturday night, a few friends got together to make homemade pizza. I took a couple of beers with me (just 2!), and we chowed down and hung out. I went home about 10PM, and I was up early at 6:30AM.

I walked to my meet friend Rob, and we walked to the art museum just in time to see the 5K race start at 7:15. It was CHILLY – like 38 degrees, but it was sunny. It took me a little while to figure out what to wear, since it was over 50 when we finished. I ended up checking my coat and wearing an old sweatshirt to throw away right before we started. Otherwise, I wore my super cute new Ellie leggings, a tank top, and one of my trust black Under Armor long sleeve tops. I was warm at the end, but otherwise – I was okay. Rob and I waited around for the race to start, trying to stand in any sliver of sun light we could get.

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We started running down the Parkway towards Logan Square, around the circle and back to the museum. Then, it was an out and back on West River Drive.  I’m not sure what I did when I registered, but I was corralled almost at the back. I ended up starting up several corals with Rob, which was a little fast for me,  but I think it was a really good idea. I was certainly passed by people at the beginning, but I wasn’t running that much slower than them, and quickly fell into pace with people around me. I even passed quite a few people in the last few miles.

At mile 4, I paid attention to the mile clock for the first time, and I checked my RunKeeper. I was running slightly over a 10 minute mile pace! I felt good, so I made my goal at that point to finish under 95 minutes. It was a little ambitious, but I thought that I could do it. I only let myself look at RunKeeper every 2 miles, but was able to keep my pace on track with the mile clocks.. I thought I’d hate the out and back thing, but turn around was actually about mile 5.5, so well over half way. Mile 5 was actually my slowest mile, but I picked up the pace and mile 6 was my fastest!  My pace for the whole race was pretty consistent, and the last 3 miles were all right around 10:05.

During mile 7, I was so tired. I wanted to slow down, but I pushed through. That’s the point where I really think that my Sgt Nate training really started to help. I kept telling myself that I had pushed through the last 20 minutes of class so many times. By then, I was pretty warm and was getting sun burnt, and I’m so proud of myself for pushing through and not slowing down at all.

When I was in sight of the finish line, I heard Megan cheering, which helped me get across that finish line! My official finish time was 1:34:13, a 10:08 pace, though my RunKeeper had my a little faster than that.

Rob also did an awesome job – he finished in 1:26:31 at a 9:18 pace! I’m so proud of us both! Megan met us at the finish line with some Fireball for our hot chocolate (stellar idea by the way. Mummers, anyone?), and then we trekked over to Silk City for some delicious and well earned brunch.  I’d definitely run this race again next year!

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15K Training – Final Week!

imageLast Sunday morning, the weather was not ideal. It was a little cold and windy, but  I ran my 7 mile run anyway. I set off west through the city to the Schuylkill River Banks Trail, ran up about 1.5 miles and turned around at the end of Boat House Row. My splits were all between 10:50 and 11:08 (except for mile 6 which clocked in at 11:30). Overall pace was 11:02. Not fast, but after my other runs that week – this went well. I didn’t want to walk home, which was a good sign.

Then it got cold again. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, it didn’t get above like 35 degrees. I did some killer indoor Lithe and Professional Touch Fitness workouts, but I didn’t get outside to run. Wednesday night, Lt. Eric almost killed me with some intense HIIT training. Thursday morning (bright and early at 6am), Sgt Nate tried to kill me again with endless gauntlets and kettle bell training.  Thursday afternoon, even though I had done 2 killer workouts in 12 hours, I had to run. I hadn’t run in almost a week! I had low expectations due to my super tired body, but it turned out to be one of the best runs I’ve had in my 15K training yet! I ran 3 miles at a 10:04 pace. And get this, IT DIDNT FEEL HARD. I could hardly believe it. It was the same route I had run the week before when I had wanted to die.

Friday, I was so sore from the previous 3 workouts in 36 hours, that I had to take a rest day. Then, the monsoon rains came all weekend and I didn’t run again until yesterday, though I did pull myself to a KILLER Skinny Mini with Meg on Sunday at Lithe.

Yesterday, I set out to run 6 miles. I ran the first 2.5 miles with my roommate, Natalie, and then I set off across the bridge. On the way up, a pretty attractive man was running down towards Philly. He took his earbuds out and said “You’re looking great! Keep it up!” That was just enough to power up the rest of the way! I made it down to the Camden side, passing a man of questionable character – and started back up. OH. MY. GOD. It’s always hard, but running head first into strong winds is almost enough to kill your spirit. I made it, and on my way back down towards the Philly side, I got a thumbs up and a “good job” from another runner. I love when you are running and you get some unexpected encouragement! My overall pace was 10:49, and it felt strong. Despite the winds and the hills on the bridge, I started and ended feeling strong. My last mile was a minute faster than my first! And the second uphill on the bridge, into the wind, was stronger and faster than the first uphill.  I followed up the run with some AWESOME Miso Ramen from Cheu Noodle Bar with a friend. Go there immediately.

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Miso Ramen from Cheu Noodle Bar

I’ll do a couple more short runs between now and Sunday – and I’ll go and run the 15K. I don’t have any expectations for myself other than to have some fun. I’m going to run at a pace that feels enjoyable, while still trying to challenge myself. So far, they are calling for good weather, so hopefully that holds true.

Race recap to come!  Anyone else running the 15K Hot Chocolate Run on Sunday in Philadelphia?

On Running Fast in the Wind

I’ve been basically following my 15K training plan, I’m happy to report.

Last week, I ran 4 miles on Monday at an overall 10:30 min/mile pace, an easy 3 miles on Tuesday at an 11:00 min/mile pace, and 6 miles over the Ben Franklin Bridge on Saturday at an 11:00 min/mile pace. If you have never run over the bridge, it’s sort of killer. It’s basically 3/4 of mile uphill, then 3/4 of a mile downhill. Then you turn around and do it over. The first time up going towards Camden, I always think “This isn’t so bad! Why don’t I do this all the time?” Then, I get to the NJ side and have to turn around and part way up think “Oh, right. This sucks.” When I finally get back to Philadelphia, I’m always *so* happy to be on flat terrain. The runs weren’t fast, but felt strong.

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I never get tired of this view.

This past week, I also ran a few times- following my training schedule. This past week, it was freezing at the beginning of the week, so I ran Thursday and Friday. Both runs were SO. HARD. MUCH harder than they should have been. Without any super good reason for it. I ran 3 miles on Thursday at a 9:40 pace (my splits were not even – 9:20, 10:12, and 9:34.) That’s fast for me. Especially with the amount of running I’ve been doing over the past few months. I was short on time and trying to run fast, but I guess I started out TOO fast – because my splits are usually not that all over the place. It was windy too, which didn’t help. Friday, another super windy day – I ran 3.5 miles at a 10:19 pace. My splits were MUCH better and more even – but it felt SO. HARD. Like, the I-want-to-stop-and-walk-home kind of hard.  (I didn’t though, don’t worry). My friend Matt insists that it was the wind, but I don’t know.  I’m running 7 miles on Sunday, so hopefully it won’t feel so freakin’ hard. I guess everyone has off weeks, but these *definitely* didn’t feel strong like last week’s runs.

Have you run across the bridge? I think it’s probably my favorite view of the city, which always makes up for the heart pounding climb back up from Camden.  Any other favorite views from a running path?

This Week’s Reasons Why Life is Good

So, not all of these things may have happened *this* week, but I make the rules around here.

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1. Due to a Nor’easter and President’s Day, I have a 5 day weekend. Yes, we have to make up the snow days , which stinks, but I have no control over the weather or SDP decisions, so I might as well enjoy the days. I slept in and hung out with friends yesterday for most of the day yesterday, which started with breakfast tacos and ended with 25 cent pierogies from Tattoed Moms.  They made me insanely happy. Jess spent the night Wednesday and Thursday nights, which also made me very happy! I feel like I haven’t seen much of her lately.  Today, I was up early and went to Rock Steady at Lithe – which *totally* kicked my butt in the best of ways.

photo 32. I made a pretty awesome kale caesar salad this week, which I finished for lunch today. I used dressing from Whole Foods that I found in the produce department called Zesty Tahini Dressing. It was very similar to the dressing that the recipe calls for, and it was easier than making it. Plus, I couldn’t find tahini. I might make this salad again next week, I loved it so much. The blue bowl did not make for a particularly fabulous picture, but that’s okay.

3. Olympics. I freakin’ love the Olympics.

4. My favorite Pop Up Beer Garden is back for this weekend only. I’m going to check it out tomorrow or Sunday! I hope the heaters are ginormous.

5. A few weeks ago, my magnificent friend Megan asked me to be her bridesmaid! They are getting married next year at Reading Terminal Market. Can’t wait!

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My mini-goals  for next week: 1.) go to yoga. I haven’t gone in a few weeks, and I can totally tell. 2.) Stop eating total garbage on the weekend.

What are your reasons why life is good this week?

Cauliflower Pizza Crust!

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TOMORROW IS THE LAST DAY OF THE NUTRITION CHALLENGE.

(I’ll be sure to update with my progress/results this weekend.)

I made some exciting things the past two weeks, like the carrot fries, the mayo, etc. This week, I tried cauliflower pizza crust! Not amazing, but a pretty solid base to replace crust! (I missed the cheese though, not going to lie.) I used this recipe for the base. It’s pretty time consuming, but pretty worth it. I think that you could probably make a bunch of these and freeze them in freezer bags for future use. My little-food-processor-that-could was acting up, but hopefully yours will be better! I put on homemade pizza sauce (well Whole Foods homemade, hah!), pepperoni, some diced tomatoes, and basil. I want to try it with some pesto, or spinach and goat cheese next time!

I had a snow day on Wednesday. It started snowing around 10am on Tuesday. School let out at 12:30pm. That was way too late, in my opinion. I work about 30-40 minutes from my apartment, depending on traffic, but it took me 2.5 hours to get home! Woah now.  Anyway, on Wednesday, I had lunch with my friend Heather at Sushi Planet. I decided to try out hand rolls sans rice, instead of getting the sashimi lunch special. The verdict? They were hard to eat, since the seaweed wrapper is difficult to bite through. Otherwise, they tasted great, and as you can see in the above picture – they look fantastic. But really. hard. to. eat.

I’m leaving you with a picture of the Roosevelt Blvd (a crazy like 8 lane non-highway, with crazy lights and turn lanes and lots of accidents.) Anyway, it looked like this on Tuesday around 1pm:

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Have any of you tried an alternative to pizza crust? How did it turn out?

December Running

I haven’t really been running. I’ve been going to Sarge and to a lot of Lithe classes, but running? It’s so cold!

According to my RunKeeper app, since the Oktoberfest Half at the end of October, I have run 2 times, and I ran once without my phone – making 3.  Apparently, I ran 4 miles on November 14. The next was on Thanksgiving when I ran a Turkey Trot with my sister and two friends.   Aren’t we adorable? It was COLD that day, yo. Like, feels like 13 degrees cold.

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imageAfter the Turkey Trot, I didn’t run until December 22nd. Jess and I ran 3 miles or so in 60 degree rain. Strange for December in Philly. Today, I was feeling like I could use a good run, so I went and busted out 5 miles! Considering my recent (lack of) running, I think it was a pretty awesome run. It wasn’t too cold, but I bundled up in a long sleeve shirt, fingerless gloves, pants, and an ear warmer, and I set out to do 3-4 miles. Once I got moving – the semi-cold, dreary weather didn’t really seem that bad. I have a basic 3ish mile loop from my house with several extensions that I can add on, and I just kept adding! If curious, I ran down to Washington Avenue, over to Columbus Blvd, north on Penns Landing, out and back on the pier by the marina, then all the way up to the Race Street Pier – a quick loop around there, west on Race St to 7th and back down. I was tired in the middle and definitely working – it wasn’t an “easy” run. RunKeeper has my pace a little slower than my iSmoothRun app, which said 10:20, and I think is more accurate. (RK is just prettier for posting, to be honest).  Regardless of my pace, I went farther than I have since October and pushed it a little. With few red lights for most of this route, I was really able to get into a groove. And by the time I was on Race St and 7th St, I was ready for a few seconds of break here and there.

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Elvis at 2nd and Race

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How do you feel about winter running? Any good city runs lately?