Beach Workouts!

Last weekend, I was in Cape May for a gorgeous wedding! It was a ton of fun. I spent the whole weekend there, which was fabulous. I had some beach time, did some window shopping, made it to Lobster House for drinks, went to Cape May Brewery, and, of course, the wedding. The brewery was really good! It’s only a few years old, and I was pleasantly surprised with all of the beers that I tried! There were a bunch – and all so good! My favorite were the Saison and the Devil’s Reach. It was a really nice little getaway. We stayed in an apartment that had beds for 5, and only cost $250 a night! And as for the wedding? I’m so happy for Vinny and Cassie – and they threw one awesome party complete with tater tots, cornbread pork belly sliders, tons of dancing, good booze, and a beautiful setting!

Cape May Brewery!

Cape May Brewery!

Wedding and Beach Fun!

Wedding and Beach Fun!

 

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View From My Run!

Jess and I even managed to get in a couple workouts while we were there. Saturday morning we took a 40 min-ish run. We ran along the beach promenade for a little over 1.5 miles before turning away from the water and running through the island. It was warm, but there was a great breeze. We probably ran about 3.5 miles, and it was a perfect way to start the day. We finished withiced coffee and bagels at this adorable coffee shop called Ellie’s, next to the cheese shop in West Cape May. They make them fresh there, and she was very proud to tell us that the boil and bake them – “just like they do in New York.”

Lithe Escape Style!

Lithe Escape Style!

Sunday morning, we got up and ran to the beach (only like 3 blocks away), and I took Jess through a Lithe workout! Working out on the sand certainly adds something to the double jacks and plyos and reach and pulls! We did a cardio – barre – cardio – barre – fold over work series that took about 40 minutes. My pictures don’t look awesome (the sun was in my eyes, and I look a little special in some of them!), but it was a great place to Lithe! I could get used to that! Again, perfect perfect start to the day!

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?

4 Week 15K Training Plan!

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Last week, I realized that the 15K Hot Chocolate Run was in a month. A quick glance at RunKeeper confirmed my suspicions that I had not exactly been running enough. Uhm, I had only run 11 miles in February. Total. And not a single mile in January.

I had been working out – at least 5 days a week: Lithe, Power Yoga, Ranger Training, and some random spin classes.  But not running. A polar vortex took over Philadelphia for most of the winter, and I did not want to be outside in it. I certainly didn’t want to be running. I love running, but not when it’s so cold that my face feels like it’s going to burn off.

Finally March 8th looked like a pleasant Saturday, so I made running plans with Matt, dragged myself to the neighborhood Sweat Fitness for a dreaded treadmill speed workout, and started looking up 4 week 15K training plans. There are a couple ones out there, but I didn’t find one that would work for me. So, I decided to make my own.

I do want to say that if you do not have experience with distance running, you need more time to prepare. A lot of distance running is the mental game. 4 weeks isn’t enough time to develop that. Also, if you haven’t been working out at all, you should NOT try to prepare for a distance race in 4 weeks.  [On the other hand, I have been working out all winter, and I have run 3 half marathons and 3 10-mile races.] Also, keep expectations realistic. You will likely not run a PR, and that is OKAY. [Technically, I’ve never run a 15K, so it will be a PR anyway. :)]

Here is my plan. Last Saturday (pre-4 week plan), I ran a little over 4 miles on the Ben Franklin Bridge. On Monday (birthday run!), I did 4 miles tempo. Tuesday, I did an easy 3 mile run with Matt.  Tomorrow morning is my 6 mile run, also on the Ben Franklin Bridge.

4 Week 15K Training Plan! 

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
Week 1 3-4 miles easy 3-4 miles tempo or hills 6 miles
Week 2 3-4 miles easy 4-5 miles tempo or hills 7 miles
Week 3 3-4 miles easy 4-5 miles tempo or hills 8 miles
Week 4 3-4 miles tempo 3 miles easy 15K Race

What’s the shortest amount of time you have spent training for a distance race? How did the race go for you?

Looking Back and Looking Forward

Looking Back

I’ve been thinking about this post for the past few days. I have been trying to figure out exactly what kind of year 2013 was, and I think that I’ve come to the conclusion that it was a fine year. Nothing life changing, just a good, solid year.

Highlights:

  • Travel: In the spring, I went to Savannah with my sister to visit Ingela. I had the pleasure of doing a road trip with Ingela a few months later from Savannah through Atlanta, camping and white water rafting in Tennessee, to Nashville (LOVED), and ending in Asheville, NC. Then in July, I traveled to the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington State with my friend Elisa to go to Emily and Aaron’s wedding. It is truly an amazing place. You should all go there.
  • Fitness: Still was trucking along with Sgt Nate, and I started regularly taking classes at Lithe Method when I got a part time job there in JuneI ran 3 5Ks (Cupid 5K, Manayunk 5K, Turkey Trot 5K), a 4 mile race, a 10K, a 6.55 mile trail race, and a half marathon. I got a PR on the 10K (1:00:11!), and I got 4th place in my division in the trail race! Started incorporating a little hill and speed work into my runs with Matt, and I got back to some regular-ish yoga classes after I injured my IT band. And I almost forgot that I joined an ultimate frisbee team!
  • Food: I did a 10 day real food challenge in September with no wheat, dairy, or alcohol and felt great. I have cut back on dairy, since I feel a lot better without it. Started “eating normally” and not obsessing about the scale. I am so much happier this way, let me tell you!
  • Personal: One of the biggest things I tried to work on since the summer of 2013 was to focus on building more meaningful relationships with my friends. I am very lucky to have such a wonderful, wide friend circle in Philly. In the past, I had been focusing a lot of attention on “being friends with everyone” and not enough attention on actually trying to build deeper relationships with people. I haven’t stopped being friends with people, just have refocused my energies a bit. It’s always a balance, but determining when to give a little more and when to let go is an important skill in life, especially pertaining to relationships.
  • Resolutions Revisit: 
    • 1.) Do something new every month: I kept up with this for the most part, but I did miss a month or two. Some things I did: tried new restaurants and new fitness studios, made pad thai, took a swim class,  Savannah Slow Ride, Burlesque class, trussed a chicken, sea kayaked, rode a Scoute Coup, went to Nashville and the San Juan Islands (and lot of other new places), hiked the Rickett’s Glen loop, played on an ultimate frisbee team with PSN, volunteered at Blocktoberfest, and sang live band karaoke.
    • 2.) Stop weighing myself so much: Took me almost all year, but I was eventually successful with just a couple of hiccups (when my scale broke!)
    • 3.) Drink less!: Okay, so I didn’t *really* manage to do this one, but I have at least made peace with it.

 

Looking Forward 

  • Resolutions:
    • When I eat meals at restaurants, try to always include a fruit or vegetable with the meal.
    • Include a mentally/physically restorative workout into my routine at least once a week (yoga, tai-chi, etc) – even if I do this at home.
    • Keep in better touch with my friends who live outside of Philly. This means that I will email/call them once a month.
  • Goals: [not really resolutions, but things I’d like to accomplish]
    • Run a half marathon trail race
    • Run a the 15K Hot Chocolate Run in April
    • Save money for my trip to SE Asia this summer
    • Sgt Nate’s 2 week nutrition challenge in January with no cheats!
    • Take more trips to Baltimore to visit college friends.

 

I may update and add to my goals list, but I think this is a solid start.

What are your resolutions/goals for 2014?