Sunday, August 14, 2011

Weekend Recap

This weekend was full of delicious food, lots of sleeping, with a good measure of exercise thrown in.

I started Saturday morning at 7am with a five mile run on the Mt. Vernon Trail. The trail was crowded with runners and bikers, who like me, probably wanted to exercise before the crazy heat and humidity set in (which it did). I completed the miles pretty easily, making sure to just take it slow and steady. I ran with music and was done in 44:38 with an 8:55 average pace.

After my run, Ryan and I headed to the Silver Diner for some pancakes which we both have been craving for days. These gave me enough fuel to power through a high intensity Zumba class that I took with Brenna in the early afternoon. I haven’t been to Zumba in ages and the class left me wiped!

Brenna and I headed back to her house to shower and get ready to see the film adaptation of the book, The Help. I read the book last winter in Mexico during our wedding week and absolutely loved it. I excited to see the movie and it definitely lived up to my expectations. 

After the movie, Brenna and I had drinks and dinner at Coastal Flats. We enjoyed Blue Crab & Rock Shrimp Fritters to start and each had the Crispy Two Noodle Shrimp Salad for our entrees. Everything was deeeelicious! 

True to form, we had cupcakes for dessert from a local store called Cupcakes Actually. We split two: "Actually Dipped Peanut Butter"and "Flourless Chocolate." I'm a big piggy and also had another cupcake all to myself called "Strawberry Fields."

All in all, Saturday was a terrific day! 

Today, was a bit of a lazy Sunday. We grocery shopped, napped and enjoyed some homemade low-fat Key Lime ice cream. I finally made it out the door for my run around 5pm and ran three very hot and sticky miles. I ran with my Garmin, but without music. I set my Garmin to track how long each mile took me and here's the breakdown: 
  • Mile 1- 8:39
  • Mile 2- 8:56
  • Mile 3- 8:59
I'm really pleased with my runs this week and I'm ready to make next week even stronger. 

Have a terrific Sunday night! 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Lack of Energy and Motivation

This week, I’m having a really hard time getting motivated to run. My energy level has been pretty low and I just can’t seem to get into any sort of groove. As I was worrying about this yesterday morning, I actually stumbled across this gem: Six Reasons for Low Energy Runs. If you run, I highly recommend that you read this article. It’s full of great tips to fix common mistakes I think a lot of runners commonly make.

So what’s the reason for my lack of motivation and energy? I think my problem is the fact that I’m way too worried about pace right now. While I run I have visions of myself at the finish line of the Thunder Road Half Marathon setting a personal record. However, I now realize that I’m pushing myself a little too hard on speed, which is making my runs really difficult and causing me to cut them short.  Instead, at this stage in my training, I need to be focusing on my mileage.

Tomorrow, I have five miles on my schedule and I’m determined to finish every single one of them. However, I know that to do it, I’m going to have to slow myself down significantly. To help give myself an extra motivation boost, I’m also planning on heading out to my favorite trail to try and make the run as enjoyable as possible. Wish my luck that I can complete my first Saturday “long run” all by myself!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Thunder Road Half Marathon Training- Week 1

Last week, I started my official training for the Thunder Road Half Marathon. I'm really happy with the way things went! Although I didn't get as much mileage in as I hoped, I'm okay with it since I'm just starting out. Plus, I got three days of weight lifting in and yoga, which makes me very happy. Here's how last week looked:


(a 1 hour weight lifting class)

Tempo Run
(3 miles– 24:35)


2 miles of hills on treadmill,
20 minutes on elliptical,
10 minutes on stairmaster


3 miles on treadmill (25:10) &  PowerFlex

Bikram Yoga
(90 minutes of heated yoga)

Instead of running four miles as planned on Saturday, I only did three due to lack of time and stomach issues. Yesterday, I skipped my planned run because I was absolutely wiped after Bikram Yoga. In order to avoid this happening again next week, I'm going to run first and then go to yoga.

Based on last week's successes and lessons learned, here's my plan for this week:


(a 1 hour weight lifting class)

Run (30 minutes of high intensity intervals) + elliptical or stairmaster


Run (Hills) + elliptical or stairmaster


5 miles + PowerFlex

Easy Run +
Bikram Yoga

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Reality Check

When Ryan and I got engaged, like 99% of brides-to-be out there, I decided I wanted to get in shape for the wedding. Besides changing my eating habits, I decided to a join a gym. Luckily for me, I didn’t join just any gym: I joined VIDA, which is known for being one of the best gyms in the DC area. VIDA completely changed my outlook on fitness. By attending classes at VIDA and listening attentively to the instructors, I quickly learned that weight lifting is incredibly important for women, that cardio is terrific but isn't king, and that establishing a routine is paramount to the success of any workout regimen. Most of all, going to VIDA taught me that hard work truly does pay off. For the nine months that I went to VIDA, I lifted weights at least twice weekly, sprinkled in cardio, and made sure that I consistently went to the gym. I’ve never felt so comfortable in my own skin and had so much confidence at our wedding. 

When I changed jobs in January, I had to cancel my membership to VIDA because the location was no longer convenient. Since then, my workouts, fitness level and body weight have changed; my workouts are much less consistent, are typically focused on cardio, and I don't lift weights as much. As a result, I’ve watched the scale creep up. In part, I place blame for these things on my current gym (Bally's), which I think is terrible. The classes are boring and are at inconvenient times, and the instructors aren’t motivating. However, I realize that I need to personally shoulder most of the blame for my loss in fitness and higher body weight. After a recent mini breakdown that was brought on because I felt so uncomfortable with how much my body has changed, Ryan and I had a long heart to heart. I came away with a reality check about what I used to do right for myself and what I have been doing wrong.  

Here's a synopsis about what I used to do right:
  • I used to make working out just another normal part of my day. Even if I didn’t feel like going to the gym, I did anyway. Going to the gym was like going to any other sort of appointment that I simply had to keep. 
  • I did different types of exercise. On any given week, I would practice yoga, go to a Zumba class, lift weights and do intervals on the treadmill. This kept things interesting and helped to make sure that I didn’t plateau with my fitness or weight loss.
  • I made exercise social. I often took classes with Brenna and Jennifer and ran regularly with Amy.
And here's what I've been doing wrong:
  • I have been relying on running to keep me fit and to keep my weight in check. I think this is a common mistake that people make all too often. 
  • I haven’t been diligent about lifting weights. I personally need to lift weights two to three times a week to see and feel results.
  • I don’t mix things up like I used to. Yoga hasn’t been a part of my routine for some time and neither has Zumba.
  • I haven’t been consistent. Period.
Finally, here's how things are going to change:
  • Each Sunday, I plan to map out the upcoming week's workouts based on my schedule. This way I will be able to make sure to build workouts in around work, travel and social obligations. 
  • I'm going to start to work out in the morning so that I don't have to worry about fitting in a trip to the gym when I'm tried at the end of the day. I already know that this is going to be hard for me since I have a really hard time getting up in the morning.
  • I plan to work yoga back into my routine. I bought a Groupon for 10 yoga classes and already signed up for a class this weekend. Once the Groupon runs out, I'm simply going to have to build yoga classes into my budget and make it a priority.
  • I'm going to purchase some new workout dvds that focus on strength training. 
And with that, I'm off to lift weights (even though I'm going to miss So You Think You Can Dance...). No excuses, right! :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

August Half Marathon Training Schedule

Today I started training for the Thunder Road Half Marathon. Instead of trying to plan all of my workouts for the next three and a half months, I've decided to take it month by month. Since I know that August is going to be pretty low-key (i.e. no travel and very few social engagements planned), on the weekend, I hope to do weight lifting and yoga in addition to running.

During training, I hope to lose the weight I've gained this summer. Ryan and I have indulged a lot over the past few months and while he hasn't put on a pound, I have. I'm not aiming to get back to my wedding weight, just to have my pants fit better. I personally think that losing weight while training for a long distance race is a pretty difficult feat; after running miles and miles all I want to do is EAT. I think the key is to keep my portions in check and reserve sweets for the weekend. We'll see!

So here's my plan for August. I'll check back in weekly to let you know how I'm doing!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Running Like a Cat

A few weeks ago, I read an interesting blog post on Carrots ‘N’ Cake called “Runners are like Cats and Dogs.” The gist of the post was that runners either prefer to run alone like cats, or run with a pack like dogs. The end of the post posed the question, “Are you a dog runner or cat runner?”

 In response to this question, I immediately identified myself as a dog runner. If given a choice, I would rather run with another person than run alone. I’m more motivated to stick to my planned runs when I’m with another person, I’m more likely to stick to the planned distance when I’m with someone else, and I enjoy the runs more when I have someone to chat with (and I think it goes without saying that I especially enjoy my runs when they’re with Amy).

(My mom and dad's pug, Sophie)

Because I’m a dog runner, losing Amy as a running buddy has been particularly difficult. While I could try to find a new running buddy, my heart just isn’t in it. I simply can’t imagine experiencing the same ease that I had with Amy in both stride and conversation.

And so, I’ve resolved to try and meet my biggest running challenge yet: To learn to run successfully independently.

In truth, my attempt at this transformation has proved exceptionally difficult over the past few weeks. I’ve shirked my planned runs and when I have decided to hit the pavement or the treadmill, my runs have been short and uninspiring. Running solo is hard. But with a training plan for my next half marathon all mapped out, I know that I’m going to have to confront this challenge head on and learn to cope with, if not learn to enjoy, running like a cat.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What I’m Doing These Days

It’s been over a month since I’ve last posted and there are many, many reasons why. They include:

A trip to Philly to see my best friend Holly and watch Ryan play in a soccer tournament. Holly, Ryan and I had an amazingly delicious meal at Matyson Restaurant, which is seasonal AND byob.
If you're ever in Philly, eat there. You won't be disappointed.

A Michael Jackson Cover Band Concert. Enough said.

A trip to Florida to see my sister and brother-in-law.  Regan is having her first baby and is due any day now! I can’t wait to meet the little guy! 

A trip to the Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. We lounged on the beach, got sunburned despite our best intentions, ate ourselves silly and drank more than I care to mention.

A trip to Hartford, Connecticut for a work-related conference. It was my first time in Hartford and I really disliked it. Fortunately, because I was just two hours from RI, my parents came in and met me for dinner one night.  It was so wonderful to see them.

A birthday celebration for my beautiful friend, Brenna. We had a good time….
Two books that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

During and in between these fun things, I’ve managed to exercise an average of three times per week (minus my time in Kitty Hawk). I’m also slowly but surely getting back into running, although much of my endurance has been lost. More on this to come.

I hope your summer has been as fun filled as mine!