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A Great Run

I set out for my third run of the week this morning with my fiancee, not sure whether it was going to be a good one or not.  Last night, we ordered our usual Friday night pizza, and after eating it, my stomach just felt off.  I woke up feeling much better, but I decided to switch from my normal oatmeal routine and had a slice of whole wheat toast with PB & banana.  I also had about a cup and half of coffee.  We set out for the running trail by the river, and go figure, it was humid again!  I think there should be a rule that once September 1st arrives, the temperatures cannot go past 70 degrees.  I just love fall and the cooler temps it brings with it. 

So we got going, and this was my second time to use my Garmin.  Let me just say that I’m already obsessed with this gizmo!  After a 5 minute warm up, we started running and I looked down to see a 9:35 pace.  I had tons of energy, and with some new songs on my ipod, I just kept going.  I got to the point where I wanted to finish the first mile under 10 minutes.  I knew this would probably be a bad idea, since I wanted to run 3 miles today, but once I knew the challenge was attainable, I just went for it.  Sure enough, I finished in 9:56.

After that achievement, the woozy stomach set in, and I knew I had a ways to go before the end.  I realize that my breakfast might have been a tad on the heavy side, so I need to keep experimenting with pre-run fuel.  But, I kept trucking and did end up taking two walking breaks for about a minute each.  I finished the last 1/2 mile strong though and ended with 3.01 miles in 32:52.  Yes, quite slow for some, but for me I’m excited :).  I shaved 10 seconds off my time from Thursday evening’s run, and I know each run adds up.

Looking forward to my next run Monday!

Monday “Funday”!

Well, I successfully knocked my first run off my calendar today.  I ran roughly 3 miles in 31:56 on the dike, so around an 11:00 minute pace.  I’m hoping that with each run I check off, I feel less like a dying cow?  Do all runners start out feeling like their insides may just end up on the ground by the end of their run?  Hmm…I hope this gets easier!   Even though I finished the Couch to 5k program, I’ve only done a handful of outside runs.  Nothing compares to pavement…nothing.  I am just going to keep running.  Like in Finding Nemo, “Just Keep Swimming.” 

Short and sweet.  It’s 8:01pm, and I may start eating the keyboard…tah tah! 🙂

Today’s Run = Two Thumbs Down

We decided this morning to run on the dike, which is a built up walking trail near the Susquehanna River.  We have to drive to get to it, but it’s definitely worth it.  They have mile markers painted on the pavement, and there’s a good mix of walkers and bikers. 

For some reason, I thought it was a lot cooler than it was today, but the humidity was horrendous by the time we started at 11am.  Our plan was to run 3.2 miles today.  We got about a mile into it, when Keith noticed a family up ahead.  A  little boy’s bike was down the hill, and he was obviously shaken up.  We slowed down to make sure that they were okay, and Keith grabbed his bike for him.  Once we started again, things went downhill fast.  We got about 1.75 miles in before I had to walk.  My breathing was so bad, and I felt terrible.  We walked for about 2 minutes, and then once we picked it up, I knew I had to finish it out.  The rest was nothing but picking various trees and objects to focus on getting to as small victories.  We finished almost 40 minutes and were pooped. 

This run was definitely a wake up call that time isn’t slowing down, and I gotta get my butt in action if I want to do well in October.

I downloaded a free calendar, so that I can plan out my workouts and stick to them.  Hopefully that will help!  Next run planned for Monday :)…ready or not!

First 5k in the Bag!

After roughly three months of sub-par training and completing the Couch to 5k program, last Saturday, my fiancee and I completed our first 5k race!  I say “sub-par” because the Couch to 5k should take 9 weeks, but somehow I finished in about 12 weeks.  With one vacation to Las Vegas and one to Montana, work stress, and other excuses, I certainly didn’t train like I should have.  However, I could not be more proud of myself for doing it and finishing it!

The Pittston Tomato Festival 5k is part of a weekend filled with various activities in a local city near where we live.  I’m not quite sure how it started, but tons of vendors set up stands and sell Italian and Polish food, there is a parade, tomato fights, and lots of entertainment.  The 5k kicked off last Saturday at 11am.  We got there a little after 9:30am, and I was feeling good until we got our race packet.  I then felt completely out of my league.  This was literally my first time at any race event, and I guess I didn’t realize how many professional runners would be there.  We both felt so silly for being there, and all those old high school thoughts started creeping back in.  “I’m not good enough”, “I’m going to be dead last I just know it”…etc.

When the gun went off, I thought I might puke.  My legs felt like jello, and before I knew it, racers were passing me to my left and right.  The course was actually very hilly, and it started by crossing a long bridge then turning and crossing the next bridge to the south.  I tried to just focus on my running, my music, and my pace, but it was so hard!  I had a feeling I might start out going too fast, which I did, but I soon found a good speed.  After the first 1/2 mile, I realized my goal was to simply finish without walking.  I didn’t care about time, but I did NOT want to finish last.

By the time I got to mile 1, I thought I was a lot farther along than I was.  At this point, the hills kicked in, and it was all I could do to not to walk.  Most of mile 2 was nothing but hills and pure heat.  The sun came out as soon as the race started, and the humidity crept up fast.  I took water from the first station, but I couldn’t really figure out how to drink it.  I skipped the second one, and just kept trucking. 

After going up a 1/2 mile incline, the two volunteers at the top informed me that I had 1/2 mile to go and it was all down hill 🙂 .  I could NOT have been happier.  I picked up the pace a bit, but I was really struggling.  My chest was tight, and I just felt rotten. 

Once I got to the bottom of a hill and rounded the corner, the finish line was within sight!  I started sprinting, and the sheer energy of the crowd’s cheering carried me to the end.  It also helped that my fiancee was there at the finish line ;). 

When I crossed the line and tore off my tag, I thought for sure I was going to pass out.  It’s funny how after running for so long, it actually hurts to stop!  Once I drank some water, the pure joy rushed in.  I DID IT!  I finished a 5k, and I didn’t walk!  My initial time goal was to be under 35 minutes, and I finished in 34:44…awesome.  My fiancee kicked this 5k in th face, and he finished in 29:17.

I never quite “got” the whole racing or running thing for that matter.  But, the high from finishing that race made me finally realize what this is all about.  Pure accomplishment from something that I set out determined to do. 

So in true new runner fashion, last Sunday we signed up for the Fall Foliage 5k in Rhinebeck, NY.  It’s on October 23rd, so just a little shy of two months.

My fiancee and Inow realize that with proper training, including strength training and better nutrition, we can certainly beat our first times while making this “running thing” a lifestyle!  Gah…what an awesome day 🙂

New Shoes!

I’m still figuring out what my niche is with blogging.  I have quickly realized that blogging my meals will get very old very quickly.  While I figure out my flow…I leave you with a post about my new Brooks running shoes…which I adore 😉 .

So I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with running.  As a kid, I used to dread running “the mile” for fitness testing.  I would feel ill at the starting line, and I was usually one of the last to finish. 

During and after college, I gave it several “attempts”, usually on a treadmill.  I would get past the “I’m going to die from side stitches” phase, but then I’d get bored or wouldn’t continue training.

A couple months ago, my fiancee and I were talking about how awesome it would be to run a 5k together before we get married.  Reading so many blogs about running and the addicting capabilities, we decided to just go for it.  What do we have to lose?

I researched upcoming races in the PA area, and luckily there is a 5k in late August only a few miles away! 

So…anyway, we decided to use the Couch to 5k training plan, which I had started a couple years ago.  I’m on week 4 now, and it hit me that I should probably invest in some quality running shoes. 

Thankfully, a local shoe store (owned by an actual podiatrist) gave us some great advice, did a gait analysis, and studied for how we pronate.  I landed some awesome Brooks Ghost 4 running shoes!  I love the color too, almost like the Tiffany box 😉

I think I’m really liking this whole running business.  It’s a great way to spend time with your significant other, friend, family member…plus it’s an awesome stress reliever to boot.

With that, I’m off to grill some chicken and chill for the evening.  Have a great night!

Busy Day

Geez…what a long day!  Mondays can be a hit or a total miss…thankfully today wasn’t all that bad.  I went to bed at a decent hour last night, but I just kept tossing and turning.  Don’t you hate nights like that?  Thankfully I woke up this morning for the first Monday in awhile not wishing I could throw myself in front of a truck (I hate Mondays). 

I decided to whip up a protein pancake with 1/3 c. oats, 1/3 c. liquid egg whites, and a teaspoon of baking powder.  Since I didn’t let it sit long, it was kind of a runny mess.  Thankfully, it still tasted good!  I added some raspberries and PB&Co. Cinnamon Raisin Swirl.  The jury’s still out on whether I like this peanut butter.  I got it at Whole Foods last month, and crazily I think it might just be too sweet. Eh..I’ll give it a few more tries!

I had to be at work at 7:45am with a full agenda for the day.  I realized at 11am, that 5 hours since breakfast might explain my rumbling stomach!  I brought a Chobani raspberry yogurt for a snack.

 

Lunch was a mish mosh, which thankfully tasted good.  I threw together some baby spinach, chick peas, quinoa, some tomato, and I added some asian vinaigrette on top…tasty but delish!  Later I had some grapes and pistachios.

When I got home, we decided to continue with our running plan outside, since it was so nice out.  We walked/ran for 30 mins, then grabbed Kimber and took her for another 20 minute walk.

I have to say…it’s so nice to have a fiancee who wants to work out with me!  Usually I’m the “rah rah” type, but I’m so glad when he can motivate me!  I wanted to crash when we got back, but he convinced me to do some planks and crunches.  And they were killer…

(I think I need a serious photography class… 😉  )

Tonight’s dinner was one of our favorite “go to” meals for weeknights.  I grew up loving my mom’s shepherd’s pie (I actually called it hamburger pie).  But when I found a healthier version on Tina’s blog, Trading Up Downtown, I had to give it a try.

It’s much healthier, with lean ground turkey, sweet potatoes, and greek yogurt rather than milk/butter.  With some teamwork, we got dinner on the table in under 45 mins…yay!

I’m off to watch the Bachelorette…yeah I’m officially addicted, and paint my nails.  I’m opting for hot pink!

Have a great night 🙂

Catching Up

Hey there!  I can’t believe it’s already Sunday!  I’m definitely still getting used to blogging, and since I don’t have a personal laptop, I wasn’t able to blog while away for work this week.

I must say, the Courtyard Marriott that I stayed at was one of the best hotel experiences in awhile!  If you’re not a rewards member yet, you’ve got to give it a try.  Unless it was coincidence, once I handed the front desk attendant my rewards card, I got a free upgrade!  The room had a balcony, more space than usual, and a glass shower. 

 

I also gave myself a “pat on the back” for using the fitness center both mornings at the wonderful time of 5:45am ;).   It makes me wish I had a gym in my basement, with how easy it was to get up and go.  The treadmills had built in tv’s and an actual view!  Most hotel fitness centers I’ve used are smelly, small, with old equipment.  A girl could get used to this lifestyle 😉 . 

While it’s usually very hard to stay on “healthy mode” while on a business trip, I really buckled down and made good choices.  Lunch was brought in everyday with a sandwich/wrap platter and salad.  For dinner each night, we went out as a group, and I ordered a salad with salmon, goat cheese, apples, and a vinaigrette.  For the first time in awhile, I came home feeling very good!

It has been so nice to enjoy a leisurely weekend at home!  Yesterday and today, I had oatmeal with flaxseed and almond milk.  Yesterday, we hit up the gym for a great running workout on the treadmill.  I’ve been following the Couch to 5k program to get ready for our 5k in August, and right now I’m on week 3.  I’m trying to slowly increase my speed and focus on endurance.  Eventually the speed will come, so I’m trying to do it the right way.

After four weeks of work trips and vacation, I finally have a full week at home…which means grocery shopping!  It’s such a great feeling to open your fridge and see it stocked with fruits, veggies, and “real food.”

Oh…and tonight’s dinner reminds me of why I love summer so much!  We grilled burgers on sandwich thins, and I had an ear of corn and some sweet potato fries.  I also made a simple romaine salad with tomatoes, walnuts, and a drizzle of olive oil/honey.

(don’t you love the pig corn holders…I can’t remember where I got them though!)

The rest of the evening, we’re going to try and take Kimber for a walk…that is if the thunderstorms pass, watch a movie, and prep for the week.

Have a great end to your weekend!