Thursday, February 14, 2013

Moving to Hosted Site!

Well, I took the plunge and started a hosted site!  I'm really excited about this big step.  So, if you want to continue to read my posts, please follow them at my new domain:

If anyone has switched from a service like Blogger to WordPress and has any suggestions for how to handle the transition, please let me know!  Likewise, if you know of any WordPress widgets that I can't live without, those suggestions would be very welcome. :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lovely Day for a Run

Today's workouts:
—11 mile medium-long run (11:22 average pace)
—1 hour vinyasa yoga class

I went to yoga first thing this morning, which was a challenge, particularly for my arms, because it had been just over 12 hours since I had last practiced.  But, I made it through the class and felt pretty great when I was done.

I ran a few errands, came home, and tried to nap, but the dogs only let me get in 20 minutes or so of napping before they woke me up.  I think they didn't want me to fall asleep for a long period of time and not decide to go on my run.  I wound up heading out for my run around 1 PM, which isn't a bad time to run in the winter since it's the warmest part of the day.

The weather was gorgeous and I was really glad to be able to get in a longer run outdoors.

I think my legs were a little tired from my tempo run yesterday, or maybe it was all of the yoga.  It was really hard for me, mentally, to not just give up and say that I got enough miles in today.  Around mile 7 my right hip flexor started bothering me (the injury I've been fighting since September).  I almost stopped running, which maybe I should have.  I stopped and my legs got cold which made the flexor feel even worse once I started running again.  But, I toughed it out and finished, although my flexor was killing me during my cool down walk.  It didn't bother me much after I showered, but I'm still icing it to be safe.

I'm still running pretty slowly compared to the splits I was getting before my injury, but I'm only 30 seconds or so slower than where I was last year at this time, which isn't too bad, in my opinion.  I'm just going to keep following my training plan and try to base a lot of my running off of heart rate so I make sure I'm getting the right effort level.
Do you train by heart rate?
What workouts did you do today?
Or was today a rest day for you?
Do you like to take naps?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Valentine's Presents

Today's workouts:
—6 mile tempo run
—1 hour vinyasa yoga class

I headed out to the crushed gravel path where I've been doing my outdoor runs today for my tempo run.  I generally do speed work on Tuesdays and Thursdays and although Tuesday has traditionally been my interval day, over the past few weeks I've been switching things around if the weather is better for an outdoor run on Tuesday.  Today was forecasted to be warmer than Thursday, so I decided to do my tempo run today.

It was very windy at times and I ran my first few miles into a headwind, so they were pretty slow.  My other miles averaged around a 9:40 pace, which would have been really slow for me last year, but it's not a bad pace for me now.  Every week I keep hoping that I'll get faster.

I came home and discovered that I had two packages delivered for me from my dad.  He's so nice and sends me presents for Valentine's Day every year.  As in years past, he had one of the women in his office help him decorate up one of the boxes with stickers. 

A lot of the small stickers had marine critters on them, which is fitting because my masters and PhD research was on marine invertebrates.

Dad sure does know how to pick good presents for runners.

I wound up with Girl Scout cookies, a box of Sport Beans, and two running books that were on my Amazon wish list.  Dad's diabetic so he shouldn't eat the cookies but he likes to support his coworkers' daughters when they sell cookies, and I am fortunately the lucky beneficiary of his kindness.  If Scott's extra nice to me, I might share some.

What are you hoping to get for Valentine's Day?
What's your favorite Girl Scout cookie?
Have you read any good running books lately?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Busy weekend

—7 mile marathon pace run
—1 hour vinyasa yoga class

After my morning workouts, Scott and I headed to Bloomington-Normal, IL, where we're getting married to try to get some things straightened out.  First, we grabbed a quick lunch at Panera.

Lunch: half caesar salad and half turkey sandwich
It might be impossible for me to resist anything labeled "red velvet."
We got our photographer booked and we also reserved a place for our rehearsal dinner, all in the span of about six hours, so I was happy with how the trip went.
—14 mile long run
—20 minutes yoga at home

Scott and I started our day off with one more wedding things: we were signed up to attend a gift registry event for engaged couples at Crate and Barrel.  I've been dreaming for years about getting to register at Crate and Barrel and it was fun getting to look at all of the gadgets and housewares, but it was also more stressful than I expected since we had to agree on which plates, flatware, etc. we liked best.  We did get some free pastries, which was nice.
I managed to make some overnight oats for the first time following Lindsay's recipe with a few tweaks.  Since I don't need to avoid milk and couldn't find vanilla Amande (I swear Whole Foods had every flavor but vanilla), I went with some organic vanilla yogurt, and I also added a splash of vanilla extract.

I got in my long run on the treadmill because by the time we were done with all of our errands it was really cold and rainy and gross outside.  My legs were so tired from the marathon pace run the previous day, so the long run was definitely a test of mental endurance and learning how to run on tired legs, but I finished it.
—1 hour vinyasa yoga class
My legs were beat yesterday so I decided to take a break from running today and just do yoga.  My whole body felt so much better after the class.  I also got a sports massage which was great and I'm really hoping that it helped me work out some of the stubborn kinks in my calves and helped to stretch out my IT band.
I also went out and bought a new laptop!  Mine decided to bite the dust over the weekend, which is why I didn't update my blog.

My old 6-year-old Toshiba had been randomly shutting down for maybe about a week now I had a lot of trouble getting it to boot yesterday.  Today I got the crazy screen above when I tried to get it to start up.
Scott found me a good deal on a decent Samsung laptop that's really light weight and I think will work really well once we get things like the mouse touchpad sensitivity adjusted.  The new computer is going to suck up a lot of my tax refund, but my old Toshiba just doesn't have any more time left in it.  Thanks for your hard work, Toshie.

Did you work out today?
Do you ever purposely run on tired legs?
When was the last time you got a new computer? 
Do you ever get massages?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Friday Change of Plans

I had originally hoped to fit in my tempo run today, but it was icy out this morning, my legs were really sore, and my last rest day from running was January 28th, so I thought I should listen to my body and take today off. 

I took the time that I would have spent running and worked on getting some wedding planning things done instead.  Today we are nine months away from our wedding day and The Knot is telling me that I'm way behind on my to-do list.  I contacted the photographer we'd like to have and set up a meeting with him tomorrow afternoon.  I also contacted the DJ we're thinking of using and got some price quotes with him, and I looked into some pricing for save-the-date magnets.  I'm hoping we can get a lot of these things wrapped up and set in the next few weeks so I don't have as much looming over my head.  And, not related to the wedding, I researched massage places in my area and made an appointment for a sports massage on Monday, which is much needed.

Lunch was a slight variation on a "recipe" I found on Pinterest: cottage cheese, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes.

I did head out for a very low stress yoga class this afternoon.  It was very relaxing, except for the head rolling, which felt great on my neck but made me dizzy after a while.  Since Whole Foods is right next to the studio I've been going to for the past few days and I was crazy hungry, I decided to pick up dinner for me and Scott there, chicken tamales

and a cold salad that I think they had labeled as a red quinoa tex mex salad.  It wasn't really spicy, but it was delicious.  I think it was one of Scott's first experiences with quinoa.

Tonight's plans include foam rolling, vegging out with Scott, and probably falling asleep early because I am really tired and I need to get up relatively early tomorrow to get in a planned 7 miler before heading to community yoga at my local lululemon.

Did you eat anything good today?
What's your favorite cold salad?
What are your plans for Friday night?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Really Great Day

Recent workouts
—5 mile interval workout
—30 minutes of yoga using my Shiva Rea: Daily Energy DVD

—1.5 mile recovery run to get the blood flowing through my muscles
—60 minute hot yoga sculpt class

—10 mile medium-long run
—60 minute warm (85°F) yoga class

I was going to try to post yesterday, but my day wound up being really busy.  I got in a short recovery run to try to help speed recovery from my interval workout on Tuesday, then headed to a job interview that I had at 10, which lasted about an hour or so.  I spent the rest of the afternoon running errands until I headed to a hot yoga sculpt class (at Yoga by Degrees in Wheaton, IL, my first time there).  I was pretty stressed out from my day, so it was nice to get in a little bit of yoga, although the sculpt class was a lot more cardio and jumping around than my usual vinyasa classes and also used weights.  This class was really warm and humid; I was sweating just sitting on my mat before class.  I am glad I tried something new, though.  I enjoyed switching up my yoga routine. 

Today I did a 10 mile medium-long run on the treadmill.  I'm trying to increase my mileage for my spring marathon and want to start including medium-long runs in my training in addition to my long runs because I think they really helped me mentally prepare for running the full marathon distance in the past.  I felt really good running at my long run pace, even better than I did when I ran 11 miles on Sunday.  I was really pleased with how the run went and how good I felt.  Today was one of the first days in a long time that I felt like my training had actually worked to help me become a better runner.

Coming off of my good run high, I headed back to Yoga by Degrees to check out one of their vinyasa classes.  Because I'm new to the studio, I'm not really sure how difficult their classes of various levels are, so I decided to try a Level 2 class, which was perfect for what my body was ready for after the 10 mile run.  The class was great and I almost got down into the splits, the closest I've come in years.  A+ for yoga today.

The yoga studio was in the same strip mall as a Whole Foods, so I decided to stop by and pick up a few things and grab some lunch.  I'd never been to this Whole Foods, so I was really excited when I discovered that they have fish tanks in their dining area.  As a marine biologist, I had to sit next to the saltwater tank, of course.

Loving the sea urchin and live coral.

I decided to grab some of their vegetable sushi made with brown rice and some iced green tea, which I enjoyed while watching the fish swim around.  Also, the Whole Foods had copies of Competitor magazine in the dining area.  Major score.

Vegetable sushi.  One of my favorite Whole Foods treats.

Today has been so relaxing and fulfilling.  The weather is cold and rainy and kinda crappy, but I don't even care because I've accomplished so much today.  So, I'm just going to enjoy the rest of my day and read through my new, free magazine.

How is your Thursday going?
What's your favorite thing to eat for lunch?
Do you prefer saltwater or freshwater fish tanks?

Monday, February 4, 2013

February Goals

I wanted to post my goals for February because I thought if I posted them it would make me a little more accountable.  So far, I've kept the goals, so I'm feeling good about that.

My goals for February are:
  1. Keep increasing my running mileage and long run distance to train for the Illinois Marathon in April, which I'm planning on running but haven't signed up for.  (I've mostly been waiting to see how my hip flexor tolerates the increased mileage.)
  2. Foam roll at least once every day.
  3. Practice yoga every day (class or video).
  4. Attend yoga class at least 4 times a week.
So, here's what I did today:
  —One hour vinyasa yoga class heated to 90°F at my favorite studio in the area
  —Two mile recovery run on the treadmill

I had hoped to wake up early and get in the run before heading to yoga class but since I stayed up to watch the end of the Super Bowl, I slept in a little bit and didn't think I'd have time to run before class.  We got a few inches of snow overnight, and when I went to go clear my car off this morning so I could drive to yoga I was very surprised to find that Scott had cleared off my car for me.

Best. Fiancé. Ever.

Class was amazing, and because it was a heated class I was sweating like crazy.  I've been attending heated classes several times a week for almost a month now and I think my body is getting used to the heat.  If we're moving between poses relatively quickly I still get a little winded, but I still feel much better than I did at my very first heated class that I took back in August of 2011.

After class, I headed home and jumped on the treadmill for a slow two miles to hopefully help me recover from my long run yesterday.  My legs weren't sore at all after the 10 miler I did on January 27th, but they were pretty sore yesterday evening, sore enough to get me to foam roll two separate times.  My legs didn't feel too bad and I kept it slow, so I think it worked.
What are your goals for February?
Did you work out today or take the day off to recover from the Super Bowl?
What did you do for the Super Bowl? 
Scott and I just hung out at home and relaxed. :)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Super Bowl Sunday Fitness

It was snowy and pretty cold with the wind chill this morning, so I decided to take my long run to the treadmill.  It never got too cold to run outside in South Carolina, so I'm having a little bit of a shock (although I did expect this) after moving to the Chicago area.  Days like today are why I asked Scott for my treadmill for my birthday/Christmas and it has been getting plenty of use.

My view from the treadmill.

He actually set things up pretty nicely for me with my TV and Blu-ray player, and he got me a nice fan for Christmas, which helps move the air around.  I've been watching Season One of Dollhouse on my runs lately (after making it through Firefly --yes, I am a Whedon fan), which helps keep me from getting too bored.

I ran 11 miles at a really slow pace, but I was in the right heart rate zone, so I'm trying to be okay with my speed (or lack thereof).  I'm really working on listening to my body pace-wise and running at the correct effort based on heart rate as I try to gain back my speed and fitness.

I stretched, had some of my favorite recovery drink for after long runs, Endurox R4 , showered, and then did a little bit of yoga.  Because I was still working on getting things stretched out after my run and I didn't want anything too strenuous, I went with my Power Yoga Flexibility DVD.

I actually really like this video if I want a quick (it's only 25 minutes long) yoga workout to get in some stretching.  It's not as tough as an hour-long power yoga or vinyasa class, so it works well for me if I don't to add too much stress to my body.  And, getting in the small bit of yoga gave me a chance to try out this new lululemon headband I picked up on Saturday when I went to my local store's community yoga.  (It was fantastic, by the way.  I love their Fly Away Tamer headbands.)

I'm really loving the new Frond green color lulu is putting out!

Now I'm chilling out and watching the Puppy Bowl with my dogs.  They don't seem nearly as interested in it as I am.

I hope all of you are having a great Sunday!

What are your plans for the day? 
Anyone else watching the Puppy Bowl?
What do you like to do when you run on the treadmill?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Breakfast on the Run: Kind Bar Review

I've been heading out to yoga or my runs first thing after getting out of bed lately, so I need some quick calories to fuel my workouts.  Traditional running fuels (gels, chews) are great during a run, but they just haven't been working for me as pre-workout fuel recently, and I don't want to eat a huge meal before exercising and give myself GI problems.  I've started grabbing a Kind bar before heading to class, and I've been really happy with how they've fueled my runs and my hour-long, almost hot (90°F), vigorous vinyasa yoga classes.

Kind bar love.
I really like that I can see all of the ingredients in the bar and they have plenty of nuts and other good things to give me energy.  They're also gluten- and dairy-free, for those of you with those dietary restrictions.  I've been buying boxes of 12 off of Amazon, which is way cheaper than buying individual bars.  Right now, my favorite flavors are Almond and Coconut and Almond and Apricot. If you like variety, I suggest the Fruit and Nut Variety Pack, which includes 9 Fruit and Nut Delight and 9 Almond and Apricot bars. The Almond Cashew + Omega-3 bars are an easy way to sneak a little more Omega-3 fatty acids into your diet, but to me, these bars taste much sweeter than the other varieties, sometimes too sweet. The Pomegranate Blueberry Pistachio + Antioxidants bars are tasty if you're looking for some fruit flavor, but the bars contain small pieces of crisp rice, which I find get stuck in my teeth and tend to linger. (I found a piece of crisp rice tucked by one of my molars in down dog today, even after brushing with my Sonicare toothbrush.)

If you're looking for a relatively healthy grab-and-go snack, I'd definitely recommend checking out Kind bars if you haven't.  I know I'm totally hooked on them.

What do you eat before your workouts?
Have you ever tried Kind bars?
What's your favorite granola/energy bar?

Thursday, January 31, 2013

January Recap

How the heck is it January 31st already?  In some ways, I feel like I haven't gotten anything done (like with wedding planning), but I feel like my fitness goals are coming along relatively well.  I think I've been really good about keeping up with running and yoga after I got back from a trip to San Francisco on January 8th.

My mileage and yoga workouts from January 2013, per my Runners' World online training log.

I'm building up the length of my long runs and my mileage and feeling more optimistic about my running than I did a month or two ago.

Today's run was an interval workout that I used to do several years ago.  I picked up the idea from a Runner's World article, and following these intervals helped me build my speed after I ran my first half marathon.  Here's how they explain the workout:
For 35 minutes, alternate three minutes of running 15 seconds faster than 5-K pace with three minutes jogging slowly. (Warm up and cool down for four minutes.)
I tweaked it a bit and did a 1 mile warm up, 4 miles of the alternating intervals, and 1 mile of cool down.  I'm hoping that what little speed I used to have comes back soon...I sure miss it.

I was also looking around on the Runner's World website earlier and noticed that they posted some information about the newest incarnation of my beloved Brooks Ghosts and some other shoe models.  Here's what they posted:

Underneath the foot, the plastic shank in the arch is gone; that area on the Ghost 6 has been filled in with foam and rubber so the shoe now makes complete contact with the ground from heel to toe.
I'm honestly a little nervous that they've done such a major overhaul to the design.  I'll have to check out the Ghost 6s right when they come out and stockpile pairs of Ghost 5s if I hate the new shoe.  I'm worried that this could be a repeat of what happened with the Mizuno Wave Rider 14s--everyone hated the redesign and either had to scrounge up some 13s or switch shoes until Mizuno came out with the 15s.

Have you met your fitness goals for January?
Do you do interval workouts or speed work?  What's your favorite workout?
Have you ever discovered that you hated the new version of your favorite running shoe?