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?

10 Day Challenge: Day 9

Today is Day 9! I’m excited to have a beer on Friday – don’t get me wrong – but I have discovered that I haven’t really missed wheat or dairy at all. I remember feeling a bit more deprived the first time around doing something similar to this. I will post a complete recap of the 10 Day Challenge when it’s over; however, I thought I’d share some photos today to highlight some things from the past few days.

Food I Ate  (and Didn’t Eat)

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I made Thai red curry with chicken and vegetables last night for dinner/lunches this week.  I added a little water to it, and I think I shouldn’t have – it turned out a little watery than normal. I made this huge pot of it (this picture was taken before the tofu was added), and it will last for at least 5 meals. It’s dairy free (and meat free for that matter), and I have been eating it over a cup of brown rice – that are pre-cooked and packaged in ziplock bags in my freezer. You just microwave it for 2 minutes. It’s genius really, just be sure to package it up when it’s still warm to lock in moisture.

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I spent some time with Ingela and her family this weekend. They were super supportive in our no dairy/no wheat efforts. We would have made do, but they re-did their menu for us!  For dinner on Saturday, we had vegetable skewers and sausages. I found this recipe for banana boats for “Paleo” campfire treats, and they were absolutely delicious. We cut open a banana and stuffed it with a little peanut butter, some dark chocolate chips, and topped it with some almonds. Wrap it up in foil, put it in the fire for awhile, and enjoy. Brunch the next day was eggs with veggies and watermelon. Perfect.

I did eat a ton of chips and salsa this weekend – which isn’t the best, and not the worst thing. Technically fits with no wheat/no dairy, but *not* with the “real food rules“. Jess and I went to our baby cousin’s first birthday party, and while I did eat some potato chips, I did not eat any cake. It wasn’t that big of a sacrifice. Cake is not the thing I would eat if it were my last meal on Earth.

Things I Did

8 mile run on Saturday morning! Pace was great, weather was great, and Tamika came along with Matt, Jess, and I!  We did an out and back on Kelly Drive.

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We are seriously the happiest people I’ve ever met post-run.

My knee started to bother me during the last mile. I’ve never had knee problems, so I decided it was time for new sneakers. Honestly, it’s been time for a few months. Philadelphia Runner had a cool Beer and Gear event (in which I did *not* partake in the beer), and I had a $25 gift card from a Body Cycle giveaway last spring, so I ventured over to actually spend some money on decent sneakers. Look how pretty they are? (Saucony Ride 6 for those who care).

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I wore them yesterday and today and love them. Yesterday, I ran 2 miles over the Schuylkill for Ranger Training and then wore them for class – stairs, wall squats, crab walks, power step ups, etc etc etc. Then I wore them today for Kettlebell class. Love them.

Also, I want to leave you with my article of the week. Fitspiration is getting a little out of hand. Yes, it can be inspiring, but it can also be down right damaging, which I didn’t fully realize until reading this. He’s pretty spot on with a lot of this. I strive to be *healthy*. I work out hard, and too much according to some people – but I take days off each week, eat plenty to fuel myself, and listen to my body. Last Friday, my body said “don’t you dare go do a kettlebell class and expect me to run 8 miles tomorrow.” So I went to yoga. It’s important to make the distinction between killing yourself in the gym and training hard. Read this. It’s important.

10 Day Challenge

Yesterday, Tuesday, September 2, I started a 10 day challenge. I will not eat any wheat products, dairy, or have alcohol for 10 days. I am trying to hit a reset button and trying to remind my body how good it feels when I have healthier habits! (Okay, and I want to lose a little of the pudge that I feel like I have from too much drinking/French fries.)

Tonight, I had a killer workout with Sgt Nate at Ranger Cross Training. We started with a brutal cardio/body weight 15 min warmup, then moved into a more brutal kettlebell workout that consisted of 100 of various things. My back killed me, my quads killed me, and I was ridiculously sweaty during cool down stretching on the mat. I was not up for cooking anything, even though I have individual bags of brown rice frozen in my freezer (more on that in another post). So, I stopped at Whole Foods. Thank god for whole foods.

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I got vegan kale salad with garlic dressing and brown rice tuna and salmon sushi. It was delicious and satisfying (and totally on the challenge). I am now off to *hopefully* win our ultimate frisbee game!!

My Week in Exercise

Here’s a rundown of the exercise I did this week, and how I feel about it. I’ve been doing a significant amount of drinking and eating this week …. so it was important for me to get moving this week. BUT – it was a bit of a slow week exercise wise with all the work I did the past couple of days.

Monday: I went to noon Ranger Training Bootcamp with Sgt Nate. The class was a little brutal, but no awful. FIrst, we started with a warm up run, followed by 10-20-30-40 flying burpees. (Think: burpee, 180 degree jump turn, repeat). Then, we did 20 frog hops down the field, lunge walking (in reverse) back. We continued with 5 bear crawls and 10 pushups (the “5 and Dime”) down the field, and sprinted back – 4 times. There may have been something else that I’m blocking out.

Tuesday: I was supposed to get up for yoga, but I didn’t. I instead came to Lithe and took Twiggy. It’s a non stop class with a ton of cardio cheer at the beginning, at least the first half. Then, you alternate some standing arm and leg work with more cardio for the last half of class. I was dripping sweat, in a good way.  That evening, I took another Lithe class called Waspie. Waspie is a slower more sculpting class that uses the blue bands, which always make my arms hurt. My legs were super tight on Wednesday from all of the standing leg work we did!

Wednesday: Morning 3 mile slow run with Matt and Jess. Read about it here. I also had an ultimate frisbee game that night. I played a decent amount – and definitely got some sprints/speed work in! We won – 3-0 now! – and I scored a touchdown/goal and threw a touchdown pass also! I’m definitely getting better on offense!

Thursday/Friday: Rest days due to work and going to the beach today!

Saturday: Planning on some kind of bootcamp type workout at the beach. I’ll be sure to post about it! It will likely be something similar to this workout from the Be Well Philly Blog.

Sunday: 7 mile slow run with Matt. Actually looking forward to it! I only ran 5 miles last week, but I’m not too worried about the distance. Working our way up to 13.1!

Summary: 2 runs (1 short, 1 long), 1 Ranger Training, 2 Lithe classes, 1 DYI bootcamp, 1 ultimate frisbee game

Next week is my last full week off before school starts, so I’m going to kick it up a notch in anticipation of my nutrition challenge in September. Stay tuned.

This Week’s Reasons Why Life is Good

I’m a little overdue for a “why I love life” kind of post. Lots to say.

1. This is so spot on. I wish more of us (me included) took this advice to heart. My favorite part: “Just eat food. Eat real food, be active, and live your life. Forget all the diet and weight loss nonsense. It’s really just that. Nonsense.” Read it immediately. Also, here’s another good article about the “f-word”.

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Birthday Fun!

2. I had a blast on vacation, but I’m really , ridiculously happy to be back in Philly and hang out with all of my friends. I missed them!

3. I had the pleasure of celebrating two of my friend’s birthdays on Saturday. I love being part of people’s celebrations just as much, if not more, than I love celebrating my own accomplishments.

4. Mini Recap: My sister and I also went to Philly Dance Day on Saturday. It is one of my favorite fitness activities done all year. Organized by Philly Dance Fitness, it is super fun every year. Classes are mostly 45 minutes each. This year, Jess and I took Swing Fit first. It’s like Zumba, but with different music and movements. We did a little partner stuff at the end, but I sweat the whole time and thought it was an absolute blast. Then, we went to the YMCA on Christian St (It’s pretty nice there, by the way) and took a Hip Hop class followed by Cardio Pop. Hip Hop was super duper fun, and Cardio Pop left me a little sore the next day. Think: dance and fitness follow the leader intervals. They have a big evening party, but I’ve never been able to go to that. Maybe next year!

5. I took a run with Matt on Thursday. My first in awhile! It was a great day to run the bridge. It’s not a secret that I don’t like running, or exercising at all really, by myself. I clearly suck it up on occasion, as I did for most of my vacation workouts – but I’m happy to be back running with him again. We are *soon* going to be officially training for a couple races: The Sloppy Cuckoo (short distance) and The Oktoberfest Half. Run with us!

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Taken by me, from cute little bleacher style seating, made comfy with lots of pillows.

6. If you haven’t been to this adorable pop up beer garden on Broad between Pine and Lombard, go immediately. I love it here. It’s super cute, cozy, and I never want to leave.  They serve good, local beer for $5 a pop. GO IMMEDIATELY! (Unless it’s raining, in which case, you might want to wait.)

7. My closest friend in the world (not including my sister) – Ingela – recently moved back from Savannah to Harrisburg. I’m super psyched that she’s only a couple of hours away.  Now, I just have to get her to come visit my sweet new digs.

8. Have I said how much I LOVE my new apartment? And we have a COUCH now. It has seriously changed my life.

9. I had 2% greek yogurt (instead of 0%) for breakfast with my usual granola and blueberries. OH MY GOD it’s delicious. And I wasn’t starving all day. Coincidence? I think not. There’s no turning back from here.

10. Due to my vacations, I took a month off from Rangers. I took some Lithe classes when I was home and ran on vacation. Yesterday was my first day back. We started with walking lunges down the green to a far tree, running back – 4 times. Then we did 360 pushups, split up in sets of 5-10-15, etc with running in between each “station.” We repeated that with flying jack knives. Then, we did a mile run. I survived. It felt great! I’m SORE today!

11. I am taking this pretty awful teacher training class. (Made for new teachers, and I’m going into my 6th year. *sigh*) In order to be a little more positive during the day, I went to yoga class Tuesday morning and am going again tomorrow. It definitely helps! At least after this class and one more year of teaching, I’ll qualify for my instructional 2 certificate!

12.  Speaking of my lovely sister, here is a lovely picture of us. She’s a perfect example of why life is good.

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Taken by Pam, July 27, 2013

Vacation Workout: Hotel Gym Bootcamp

Vacation Workout: Hotel Gym Bootcamp

I took the basics of this workout from ones that we do in Ranger Training with Sgt Nate (www.sgtnate.com). I’m in Asheville, NC, and this hotel fitness area was very small,but big enough to fit this in.

I started with a 1.5 mile run on the treadmill. I started at 6.0 and increased slightly every 1/4 mile.

Then I did four rounds of the following exercises. Do 20 the first time, then 15, then 10, then 5:

– Plyos (jump squats)
– Push-ups
– Rear lunge to front kick (with the same leg that you lunged back with)
– Bridge to plank (up on 2 hands in plank and drop down to elbows and back up – that’s 1)
– Rowers (a military sit-up- I’ve described these before)

Then I finished with an easier 1 mile run.

Took about 45 minutes, plus a few extra for a cool down walk and stretching.