Thursday, December 29, 2011

Boring Post Alert

Well....hi there!!

It has been a whirwind kind of week(s), and realizing that it has been almost 2 weeks since I last blogged about anything has only made it seem longer. Shopping, baking, celebrating and traveling have made up the bulk of the last few weeks leaving little room for anything fitness related. Thus, I have almost nothing to report.

Things from the Past
  • Last week I managed to get some activity in almost every single day - I was quite pleased!
  • Wednesday (21st) I celebrated my 25th Birthday and it was glorious. One of my birthday "traditions" is to go for a run - sort of my present to myself - and this year instead of a run alone, J went for a long walk with me. Best birthday present ever.
  • I managed to make some smart food choices over Christmas weekend, including lots of veggies, some veggie smoothies, and no true dessert craziness. I'm pretty proud of myself
  • The day after Christmas we left for Tennessee to visit J's family. All good food decisions and exercise regimens disappeared when we crossed into Tennessee. As much as I love being with J's family (they are truly wonderful people) I'm ready to get back into my own groove and my own routine
Things for the Future
  • Tomorrow we leave to head back to Kentucky. My ToDo list is insane, and as much as I'm looking forward to getting on a schedule, that schedule is going to be brutal
  • I heard from the DerbyFest people saying "you can switch to the full marathon" (for a huge fee, obviously) "can we proceed?" and after my response, I've heard nothing. The email address she contacted me from is invalid to actually send emails to, which makes it difficult. We shall see - either way I'm still running 13.1 in April so that's great
  • Trying to nail down my training plan for the spring - I can't wait to share! I think blogging through training will be a great tool to keep me honest and push me through training
I'm still catching up on all of YOUR holiday fun, so keep the posts coming. So excited to start a new year!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Just a reminder

I needed these today and I thought you might too. Happy Hump day :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Things and Stuff

I didn't realize that it had been 5 days since I last posted. It has been a relatively busy few days, though at this exact moment I can't recall exactly what it was busy with. Nature of the beast.

Saturday I got to go out and buy new running shoes after my prize money finally came in the mail. Louisville is blessed with a lot of awesome running stores and, in the interest of showing support, I've shopped at all of them. Lately I've been shopping at the new-to-Louisville store Blue Mile. The guys that work there were super helpful - and honest - in helping me pick out a Garmin and were really friendly. Not to mention they have an awesome rewards program that gives you store cash for spending money there. So I headed in and the first person I found was the store owner, who chatted with me about my volleyball shoes, told me a charming story about Balaga brand socks and passed me over to Wes for my gait analysis. I hadn't ever had a true gait analysis, so this was interesting. I brought in my past two shoes, showed them where I get blisters, and did the gait test. After some more treadmill running - questions from Wes - and a bit of bouncing around I decided on these babies
I'm glad I started the day out with such an awesome purchase because the rest of the day was spent shopping.....for ALL of my Christmas gifts. I don't know why I decided to do it all in one go (maybe because I have ZERO free time, see Infra) but it was enough to kind of dim my faith in the idea of "Christmas Cheer". Whatever happened to manners, being nice to people, and simple social courtesy?

If i sound like a negative nancy, it's probably because I'm kind of feeling negative. As good as my fitness was before thanksgiving, it has gotten equally as bad lately. My runs are sluggish, Grapefruit knee/ITBS is raging, zero energy, and tons of water retention and weight gain.

I'm having trouble deciphering what my body wants me to do. In the midst of all of the holiday craziness I want to spend my free time working out or running. Moreover, this whole trying-to-plan-a-wedding-right-now-so-my-family-will-shut-up-about-it thing means if I don't spend some quality time in the gym, I get super cranky and hate everybody (myself included). But then the physical signs make me feel like maybe I'm pushing it and could risk starting 2012 out injured instead of strong. I honestly have no idea which it is. Either way, it's gross and I'm not a fan.

In positive terms, my friend Emily got me to try a fruit smoothie with Spinach in it. I'm sort of hooked. In a preemptive strike against the holiday bulge, I filled my fridge with fresh and frozen fruits and veggies, milk and greek yogurt. The smoothies are, oddly enough, super tasty! They don't taste like spinach but they ARE spinach. Genius, really.
Emily says the trick is "don't look at it, just drink it" 
I contacted DerbyFest about switching over to the Marathon. Negative Nancy says, "Tough S%@!, too late."But i'm trying to remain positive and just keep doing my thing. That's all I can ask.

Odd, I feel better having at least openly discussed that I'm in a pissy mood....strange how that works! Thanks to you all who share your ups, downs, and in-betweens so openly on your own blogs. I am constantly inspired by even the most mundane parts of your lives and your fitness journeys - thank you for sharing with me!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A call for advice and other things

Back at work after almost a week of laziness. After two weeks of being out of the office (finals, etc) it's weird being back, especially since things are exactly where I left them. Outside of work I'm making cookies and buying christmas presents and spending lots of time in the gym. At my desk I'm watching a tape from a sentencing hearing where a kid about a year older than me is getting sentenced to life in prison. Reality, man.
Sad reality face (and sad, bare office - yikes!)
Anyway.... I have a dilemma and I think I need your help. As I noted a couple of weeks back, I signed up for the Kentucky Derby Festival Mini Marathon. I'm ECSTATIC. 2012 is going to be an awesome year for me (25, graduating law school, taking/passing the bar, getting married) and I can't think of anything better to add than the KDF Mini. Or can I......

I kinda really wanna do the full marathon instead. I ran the Flying Pig in 2009 thinking it would be the only  time I'd ever run 26.2 and I was totally ok with that. Half of the time I didn't think I would even finish the training for the Marathon, let alone the Flying Pig. And then it was over. I finished, I was thrilled, I wore my medal everywhere and went happily back to Half Marathons (3 more) and smaller races. But now I feel like marathons are like potato chips - you can't do just one.

It's a nagging feeling - like I need to do something for me to put an exclamation point on 2012. J thinks that's kind of crazy, seeing as though I will become a Juris Doctor 2 weeks after the race, and maybe he's right. But there's still this pesky feeling....I blame all of you and your awesome stories about your recent races, training, and inspiration to be better runners and people. So lets break it down:

DO IT! Run the full 26.2 because

  • It's easy to switch, won't be a hassle at all
  • If I started now I'd have 22 to weeks to train and if I started Jan. 1st I'd still have 17 weeks to train
  • Don't have to worry about being gone for a week for spring break since I have a class
  • No high expectations - I'd be happy with just finishing. No pressure
  • I really want to prove to myself I can do it again (and do it with J by my side)
  • It would be my last big race with MY last name (don't know why that seems symbolic to me)
HOLD OFF! stick to the 13.1 because
  • It's 5 days after your final exam and 2 weeks before graduation - I'll be a little busy
  • Next semester I have the externship AND coordinating a HUGE project involving 140 people and 2 weeks that will eat up tons of time
  • My grapefruit knee - will it hold up? 
  • Paralyzing fear of failure - what if I can't do it? What if I can't train that hard, or miss workouts, or just can't do it? 

On this week's belated Wednesday Wish List: I wish I could make a decision!!

What factors do you consider when signing up for a race? What things make a race a definite YES or a definite NO for you?

Happy Running!

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Lowdown On My Rubdown

After a pretty restless (read: awful) night's sleep, I was really happy that today was massage day.  I arrived my recommended 15 minutes early to fill out the paperwork and hit the table. I'm still on the fence about the whole thing, but here are just a few of my initial thoughts after my first Sports Massage
  • The staff at Apex Spa Louisville are kind, knowledgeable and very professional (they also have a super awesome dog that works there too, and that was almost the highlight)
  • It wasn't awkward at all, which I was kind of worried about (being my first massage)
  • Though their sports massages normally stick to the lower body only, I asked her to also take some time on my lower back & she gave me a detailed explanation of everything she would be doing before she did it
  • One thing I noticed is that there were times that I almost couldn't feel her hands. Maybe I'm desensitized because of the foam roller, but her dainty little fingers weren't doing much for my hips and hamstrings
  • When I left, I didn't feel that much more relaxed OR sore than when I went in
  • It's really really expensive
We'll see how I feel tomorrow, but my thinking is that it's something I could maybe do as a post-race treat but not at all regularly. 

After the massage I commenced a day of baking. I spent most of the day running in and out of the kitchen making upwards of 50 Almond clouds, some sugar cookies, and the innards of a chicken pot pie J and I will be eating for dinner shortly! I also managed to get in Cardio Core and Balance while one batch was in the oven. 
As you can see, it's not what you would call 'spacious'
Since my student budget is a tight one, I like to make gift baskets with love from my kitchen for friends and family. Most of these recipes came out of holiday desperation: when I was losing my initial weight I needed cookie/candy alternatives that I could eat without losing my diet goals. Over the last three years I've accumulated some good ones! I also love that I can feel good about giving my family treats that aren't (too) bad for them, but that taste just as good as any other holiday goodie. Enter, Almond Clouds. 
I could eat this picture, they taste that good
These delicious meringue-esc. goodies are a little bit chewy, a little bit crunchy, and a lot tasty. They're SUPER easy, keep for ever, and one batch makes a gazillion (give or take a few). I can't remember if I stole these from Weight Watchers or Ina Garten, but either way, they even out pretty good on the nutritional values. Check out the recipe, here

Hope those of you in the mid-west/Ohio Valley aren't washing away - GO AWAY RAIN!

Got any good holiday recipes for me? How was your run/workout today?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Crossed the finish line - of the semester!

Lazy /ˈlāzē/

Adjective: 1. Unwilling to work or use energy 2. Characterized by a lack of effort or activity

Example: After her final Jenn was so lazy she did absolutely nothing for three days

Finishing a law school semester is a lot like finishing a big race. You're elated: your endorphins are pumping, you're on cloud nine - you're smiling from ear to ear at your accomplishment. Regardless of how you finished, it's over and you've done it. The highs of finals are also followed by a short trip into the deep abyss of depression that can only follow weeks of stress, little sleep, and lots of coffee. I'm happy to say, I survived both! 

Once the exam was over,  my four day 'nothing' binge commenced. There has been lots of pizza (maybe twice now?), lots of decorating for Christmas (three trees in one week, sheesh!), shopping for Christmas, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (twice!) and just plain sitting on my butt, on my couch, watching Seinfeld DVD's. Sweet, sweet, vacation. 

Despite my supreme laziness, I've tried to keep my butt in a workout routine. Mostly because I don't want to be embarrassed in the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge, but also because "it's good for me" (mostly for the HBBC though). Thursday I went back to Pure Barre and it was a vastly different experience. The workout was almost the exact same, but my body was just tired enough from Tuesday's class that it was a LOT harder. I also got a ridiculous migraine about 10 minutes in that made it difficult to concentrate (and not vomit...ugh). 

I don't know if it was my soreness from this class, or that I overstretched but I seriously funked up my right hamstring during the course of all the stretching and pulsing and whatnot. Friday I could definitely tell I'd over-stretched it and the whole right leg (but mostly the hamstring). I had the time, though, and I wanted to sneak in a workout so I decided to go for a trail run. 
I started running trails during training last year as a way to be kind to my knee but keep running. I love that it forces me to be "present" in the run and really pay attention to every moment (mostly so I don't fall down). This one was especially nice because the trails are almost covered in leaves, making speed damn near impossible. My miles were pretty slow, but they were also really enjoyable and the elevation changes and unevenness of the trails really gave my legs a good workout. 
Clear patch of trail coming back
Uphill weave starting out 
I also love that the route is almost entirely off of the roads on the map
Yesterday was almost entirely devoted to Christmas shopping and spending time with J. Managed to get two miles in on the treadmill today, which I was proud of considering how my body feels like it's been put through a meat grinder. Relief is on the way though because I scheduled a sports massage for tomorrow! It will be my very first and I'm a little nervous, but I've heard it does wonders (especially for ITBS). Fingers crossed!

Do like taking "lazy time"? Have you ever had a sports massage - thoughts?

**Also - welcome to my new followers! I'm so glad you found my blog - mostly because I love reading yours. You inspire me and keep me motivated. I hope I can return the favor!

Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge
Total Daily Points - 2
Total Weekly Points - 2
Total Cumulative Points - 39.62

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New things, new results

Today was one of those miraculous days that started out as a crappy descent into hell and ended pretty fabulously.

Years later if someone asks me "what did you do on Monday November 29th 2011" I will have nothing to say. I did not leave the house. I don't even remember if I showered. I sat in one place, meticulously plotting my path to a "C" on my wills & estates exam tomorrow. Well, I take that back - I did do one thing. I made J this jello salad he's obsessed with for our dinner tonight. And I cut the living S#%! out of my thumb in the process. Looks like the Manson Family used my kitchen (and bathroom). It also rained for 24 straight hours, I didn't get to work out, and J was unable to give me every answer to every question I would randomly call up and ask him at a moment's notice.

So needless to say, when I woke up this morning I was hoping for today to have a much different character. The morning wasn't very promising, as I headed to weight watchers prepared to pay for the meeting (which I didn't have to, but more on this in a minute). While there, my thumb started oozing all over the place and I didn't realize when I later handed a cashier at Walmart a wad of $1 bills spotted with blood with a smile on my face. The South is a forgiving place, but not that forgiving.

I got home and I felt ultimately defeated - weight gain, bloody hands, this impossible exam and to top it off, my "grape-fruit knee" (personal medical diagnosis) forbade me to run.

And then I decided I was done being a pissy-whiney-angry-mopey-mess. I popped in Shaun-T's Hip Hop Abs. It's just as ridiculous as it sounds, but I love to dance and I love to sweat, so what the hell? It was a decent workout - not earth shattering like Insanity®, but not bad for 30 minutes in my living room.
What he doesn't tell you is that Abs like that don't come with a smile
While I was hip-hopping w/ Shaun T, I had a voicemail from my friend Sarah. Sarah, who had turned me on to Insanity®, had bought a Groupon to some new fitness class and had three extra. Would I want them? Well...why not? The Groupon was for a new Pure Barre location in Louisville. I looked up the schedule and made an appointment -- for 2 hours later. Crazy? Yes.

Before the groupon, I'd only heard of Pure Barre from a friend who'd become addicted to it prior to her wedding. Essentially, it's a one hour mix of pilates, yoga, and dance-related stretching and resistance that provide a well-rounded strength training workout without much cardio or stress. According to the website:
"Pure Barre is a total body workout that lifts your seat, tones your thighs and burns fat in record-breaking time. Utilizing the ballet barre to perform small isometric movements set to fantastic music, Pure Barre is the fastest, most effective, yet safest way to change your body. Students see results in just 10 classes."
 My reaction? It was a good workout, but not the "blast-you-into-fitness" type thing I was prepared for. It's also relatively expensive (as you can imagine, law school doesn't leave much for the discretionary sports budget). My tune may change depending on how good/bad I feel tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Turkey Day Wrap Up

I can sum up the last week-ish in one small graphic:
"Is this real life?"
The last 6 days have been a total whirlwind. Unlike poor David after the Dentist, though, it's been an amazing whirlwind. Wednesday J and I loaded up the car and headed to Jackson, Tennessee for Thanksgiving. This was a notable occasion as it was (1) my first Holiday with his family (2) our first holiday together AND (3) our last thanksgiving unmarried. I was pretty excited - his family is absolutely wonderful - and also a little bit nervous about the ridiculous food-fest that was about to ensue.

Luckily, I had some motivation to keep me from going overboard on the munchies over the weekend. My commitment to the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge - and my super competitiveness - meant I had to get in some exercise while we were gone. The challenge has been really good as far as giving me that extra reason to get some exercise in. Of course I know that I should work out - the whole "it's good for my body" rationale is ever present. But sometimes I find a need a new reason, or a new 'excuse' to take time away from people, work, and school in order to do it. The HBBC is a great example of a new motivating excuse!

Another great motivator for spending less time gorging & more time running over the weekend was that I picked up my wedding dress on Tuesday! For the first time in my life I'm actually not encouraged to lose weight since we'd have to get it taken in (wtf? "taken in"? Swoooon). But if there's any better motivation for eating carrot sticks instead of bon bons, I don't know what it would be.
There's really no room for error here
And then there's my favorite Thanksgiving tradition - The Turkey Trot! After I graduated from college and came crawling home to Louisville, I started running the Turkey Trot at my local Y. It's really the best way to start out such an awesome holiday and I really have loved making it part of my holiday. Lucky for me, there is a Turkey Trot in Jackson!
J and his sister started running it two years ago and it was quite the start-up operation - no bibs, no times, just people running around the gym for 3.1 miles. Apparently I'm not the only Turkey Trot lover because this year the event had doubled! We each got chrono-tag bibs and goodie bags filled with lots of awesome samples. Even more exciting - it was J's first "official" race! I may have killed his excitement, however, because unlike his past "Trots" - we RAN!
Obviously taken pre-race - notice the smiles!
We finished the 5k in 28:58 - almost a PR for me and my best 5K in two years! I was so thrilled. We finished strong and we finished together (and ahead of his teenage nephew, woohoo!). J was just thrilled to be alive, I think.

Overall it was an incredible weekend. Louisville has secured a spot atop the Big East with a clutch win over South Florida and whatever happens now we're at least going bowling! Not bad at all.

Now....finals. Wednesday is the beginning/end of the whole shebang. Tried to start it off right with BodyPump today. At least now I'll be too sore to leave my desk.

Happy Running!

How was your Thanksgiving? Did you start any new traditions? Do you race on Turkey Day or is it a strictly fitness-free holiday?

Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge
Total Daily Points - 4
Total weekly points (last week) - 19.47
Total Weekly points this week - 4
Total Cumulative points - 23.47

Monday, November 21, 2011

Short & Sweet

Like most of you, I had one of those "pre-holiday" days: everything you normally would do in a week needs to be done in two days but your brain is already half-way out the door. Sums it up, pretty much.

I got into work super early today - having successfully turned in my dreaded take-home final - and decided that rather than be a super star volunteer-employee & work until my scheduled time, I'd head out early to hit the gym. Best decision. By 3 o'clock I was restless and my legs were starting to get the 'itch' - you know, when you've been sitting at your desk too long and you just must get up. That one. Only one thing could be done.
Me: I'm outta here. Time to go annihilate my body at the gym. Oh yeah. 
J: Go get 'em babe. Let me know how it goes 
I love that. My awesome man gives me top-notch support and encouragement regardless of whether I'm walking on the treadmill or running a half marathon. So thankful for him.

I was feeling pretty good from this weekend. My body was definitely letting me know that I worked hard, but not sore or stiff at all. Realizing I hadn't been on the treadmill in ages, it was kind of weird to get back on it. Despite the awkward reunion, Mr. Treadmill was perfect for what I was doing: some short and sweet intervals. It looked kinda like this:
1.0mi warm-up @ 5.0mph
0.10mi @ 6.4 (0.15mi walk)
0.20mi @ 6.3 (0.15mi walk)
0.30mi @ 6.2 (0.15mi walk)
0.40mi @ 6.1 (0.15mi walk)
0.30mi @ 6.2 (0.15mi walk)
0.20mi @ 6.3 (0.15mi walk)
0.10mi @ 6.8
0.50mi cool down @ 5.0
It's not a lot mileage wise, and the paces aren't even that fast. But it definitely was challenging. That, combined with my first test of Rock My Run, made for a really enjoyable run. I followed it up with 20 minutes of core work that was a lot less enjoyable.

If you're not familiar with Rock my Run, check it out! It's essentially a free downloadable DJ service. You can choose the mixes by length, genre, or artist. I liked that I didn't have to worry about skipping through my Ipod to find something to listen to. Not to mention all of the songs on the mix I chose (Everybody Say Paarrrtay!) had a great upbeat tempo and weren't obnoxious. Those are basically my qualifications. Definitely give it a try!

Hope everyone is recovering from Philly and your weekend races. How was your run/workout today?

Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge
Total Daily Points - 4 mile run, 20 minute core work = 5 points
Total Weekly points - 14 
Total cumulative points - 14

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Negative Positives

Last week it was the Religion Clauses, today it's equitable relief that I'm drowning in. Drowning isn't really fair, since I didn't start swimming in it until about 5 hours ago. Regardless, my 3rd "final" of the semester (out of 4) is due at noon tomorrow. Quality and content be damned, it'll be done (though I can't complain much since I've been procrastinating for about...oh...two weeks...).

But my procrastination hasn't been in vain! Friday night J and I had a date night which involved P.F. Chang's, some sassy new date clothes (in light of my new "I love my body!" attitude), Froyo with lots of toppings, lots of couch canoodling and college football. Ideal Friday night.

Unfortunately the blissful Friday night lured me into such a deep sleep that when my alarm told me to get up and go for a run at 7am Saturday morning, I told it to shut up and went back to bed. I did manage to get my run in though - after watching Louisville football AND basketball win! - and truly enjoyed every second of it. I was a bit wary thinking I could make it through 5 miles since I haven't had any real "training plan" but, well, I made it with gas in the tank! In fact, I negative split it!
Wow! My first mile was my marathon goal pace
Negative splits and gaining strength throughout runs is something I'm setting my sights on in 2012. I'd DIE to negative split my May Half Marathon, but lets do one thing at a time.

Today I wasn't really feeling like doing anything but now that the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge is in full effect I'm trying to keep my own bootie in gear! In deference to my legs after yesterday's phenomenal run, I walked a mile on the treadmill then hit up ZUMBA at the Y. I'll leave today's Zumba experience at this - we had a substitute and she was ridiculous. Too much pep. Worth it though, because then I didn't feel at all guilty about eating a feast of Trader Joe's Orange Chicken. Not one bit.
Love in a bowl, straight from the oven
I got an exciting running-related package in the mail today. I'm not breaking it out until the Turkey Trot, so you'll have to wait...but it's worth it. Oh, it's worth it.

Hope everyone had a great weekend  - congratulations on finishing races/long runs/or getting much-needed rest!

Do you run negative splits - have you always, or do you have to work at it? 

Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge Log for 11/19 & 11/20
11/19 - 5 mile run = 5 pts
11/20 - 1 mile walk, 45 minute Zumba = 4 pts
Total Daily points  - 4
Total weekly points - 9
Total Cumulative points  - 9

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Consider me BodyPUMPED

So my predictions as to my soreness were 100% correct.

I'm not super can't-move-don't-touch-me-Can't-bend-over-sore, but I'm definitely experiencing some restriction in movement. Luckily, I'm at work (secret blogging) & anything that I need is within reach of the rollie-chair. I can also take my shoes off and sit however the hell I like since my desk is gigantic.

+1 for being at work.  Also, operation Hydrate is currently underway. Dangerous mission.
That's a lot of water...I'm a little hesitant
My planner for tonight says "RUN!". I'm interested to see how dark/cold/gloomy it is when I get home. Depending on those factors, I might have an excuse to try out my new Hip Hop Abs DVD. I love hip hop, and I want to love abs, so it can't be that bad, right?

On an unrelated note - a colleague of mine wore a skirt that had maybe a 4 inch inseam on it today to school. With loafers and a nice sweater. Call me a prude, but you can't "church up" a skirt that practically shows off your ladybits by adding loafers. This is a professional school (and no, I'm not talking about the "oldest profession"). I'm all for flaunting it if you got it but there is a time-place & manner for everything! (that was a law joke in disguise)
That means you too Lindsey Lohan. This is Court, not the club.
Good luck to everyone running this weekend - especially all of the first-timers! Remember that everyone is proud of you just for signing up in the first place. The hardest part is over; just enjoy your race :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Updates & Wednesday Wish List

It definitely feels like a Thursday. Maybe it's because I went into work today, or because I'm just clueless. It's a toss up, really.

Managed to finally finish my foray into the Religion Clauses last night. After twelve long hours at school, I'm completely finished with my writing requirement for law school. A task that brings me ever closer to being completely done with the whole she-bang. Now, only wills, trusts, and legal/equitable remedies stand before me and a blissful Holiday Break. maybe I've got just a little bit more left. 

The worst thing about yesterday - aside from making tables of contents and having to type the words "ministerial exception" over and over again - was that I didn't get a chance to get a run in. I packed a bag and stuck it in the car just in case I had a few free minutes to sneak away. Unfortunately, the weather just wouldn't let me. It's one thing to go out and get soaked to the bone when you can go home and shower - quite another when you have to be in a little office for the rest of the night!

After yesterday's Write-a-thon I was relieved to get to the gym and put my body to its paces. I warmed up on the spin-cycle and then headed to Bodypump®. I really love Bodypump because it helps me do something I love (lifting) that I'm really not good at on my own. I don't have to worry about lifting too much/too little or not hitting the right muscle groups - I just follow along. Add in awesome music and the almost 'dance'-like quality of it, and I'm sold. I'm also sore - very sore.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Going Going Going

Business as usual here in my world. Finals are just around the corner and while I lucked into only having one in-class exam (yay!) I have two other "finals" due between now and Thanksgiving (boo!). The first is a "brief" to the US Supreme Court that's due tomorrow. I'm so deep in the religion clauses I might drown (it's possible, trust me).

The best thing about running is that it doesn't contain any religion clauses. It doesn't contain any statutory interpretation, it doesn't include any professors, it doesn't include any judges - running just 'is'. That's the beauty of it.

In keeping with my "Just go with it" theme I've been working on being 'present'. It seems lately like a lot of my life is being lived in the future: planning for finals, planning for spring semester, planning for graduation, planning for the wedding, etc. Everything I do seems purposed toward "tomorrow." It shouldn't be a surprise to me that I fall into the same trap with running. Each run is done with the next workout in mind, each workout with the next long run in mind, each long run with the next race, etc. This is no way to live.

So now I'm trying to focus on being really in the moment. I kickstarted this whole thing at Yoga last week. I focused on thinking about me, and the moment I was in; each breath, each muscle fiber in each stretch. It felt so good just to put everything else out of my head and focus on right now.

Today's run is a perfect example of this. Last night before I went to bed I made a workout knowing that I'd probably be too chicken to do it. I sent it to my Garmin and headed to bed. Turns out - it was great! I worked a ladder (1/4. 1/2. 3/4, 1. 3/4, 1/2, 1/4) with .15mi rest and HR goals. I focused on each split on it's own, independent of the others and worked on meeting the specific pace goals I'd set. And I did - on every single one!
10:48 was my slowest split...waaah?
Talk about runners high. I feel great! Cooled off with a chocolate smoothie and lots of water, due to this ridiculous "heat". Now, I feel totally grounded and ready to jump back into the Religion Clauses. Well, after I've eaten leftover Rigatoni Casserole that is.
Sans Breadcrumbs - oh there will be breadcrumbs on top
Recipe stolen from Beth @RUNNING Around my Kitchen and it's one you should steal too. Vegetarian friendly and freezes like a dream. I've posted the recipe I used along w/ the nutritional stuff!

Happy Running!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Too much mexican, not enough meatloaf

I apologize in advance to everyone up in the Northeast dealing with the remains of the horrible snow & wind. From someone whose been through her share of power outages and totally random snow/wind/ice events, I can empathize with the absolute awful that is winter weather.

Now that I've got that out of the way, it has been absolutely BEAUTIFUL here in the bluegrass this week. Right now it's 64 degrees outside and calm. I don't know what is prompting this, but it makes it almost impossible not to get outside and go for a run. That run, however, doesn't always turn out as pretty.

I was looking forward to heading home after my morning class and getting a jump start on the mountain of work I've been avoiding. Some friends goaded me into making a pit-stop at Qdoba - part in celebration of an IM football victory and part in commiseration of a project we'd just gotten back. I don't know how it happened but I managed to wolf down nearly every inch of my delectable Craft 2 meal. To put it in perspective: based on my current height/weight I'm allotted 29 weight watchers points per day. My gigantic meal took up 21 points. Oh yeah, just wait - it gets better.

About 20 minutes later I knew what I'd done. Unfortunately my digestive system is still a horrible mess after the whole gallbladder fiasco and an ounce of something irritating gives me horrible indigestion and a feeling of "full" that I can't describe. Ugh. I will admit, this whole "overeating" bit was helpful in one aspect because I wanted to bake something for my evening class. Since the thought of food made me want to die, I figured I could enjoy the baking part and not be tempted by the eating part. On that point, I was victorious!

I made these delectable Fudge Mint Brownies using Black Beans! Using some savvy googling and looking at a lot of instant brownie boxes I threw a recipe together and got to work.
How can this go badly?
After about 40 minutes I was pretty eager to see how they came out. I love experimenting with food - there's so much you can do using store bought materials and a little craftiness! After what felt like hours in the oven, they were finally ready to come out. It was nothing short of a choco-gasm.
Behold the fudgy-ness!
The black bean substitution really made them fudgy and dense, which is exactly how I like them. I'm sticking the recipe up here if you want to try it yourself. Next time I think i'm going to try with peanut butter...mmm.

Once I got the brownies all cooled and cut up I only had about 30 minutes before class to get a run in. In keeping with the spirit of "go with the flow" I laced up my shoes, set my Garmin to 25 minutes and just...went. When I came to a stop sign or a street crossing I went wherever it was quicker to go; traveled on sidewalks that had the fewest leaves, going and going until I heard the watch beep "half way" and then dutifully turned around.

About 3 minutes into it, my giant Mexican meal reared it's ugly head. I got a side cramp like you wouldn't believe. At that moment I probably could've given you an exact anatomical location of my 1/2 Chicken Quesadilla (but I wouldn't have, because that would've been impolite). I tried slowing my place,  using rhythmic breathing, rubbing the cramp - the cramp only fought back. Despite the intense grossness and pain I made it very clear to my legs - Don't.Stop.Moving.

And then Meatloaf happened. As I stopped for a walk break my little Quicksliver switched on the Meatloaf - Bat out of Hell. I figure it was my Shuffle's kind way of saying "suck it up - move it!". So I did. It wasn't the prettiest 2 miles ever, and hell, it was only 2 miles - but I made it!

So far, operation "no plan" is working like a charm. And to top it off, my seminar class ate all but 3 of the brownies! Sounds like I'll be making Black Bean Brownies again sometime soon. As for the Qdoba... well, maybe not.

Got any good recipes for me? Have you ever had to outrun a side-stitch? 

Happy Running!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The New Plan Is No Plan

I think the ending of Daylight savings time created a rift in the universe.

Usually my days are meticulously structured and jam-packed. Every moment is planned out in an effort to complete 27 hours of work in the 24 hours provided to me. My meals, my minutes, my workouts - all strategically planned down to the minutes. After I walked out of the Ethics Exam Saturday morning, I felt like I'd entered the Twilight Zone. Rather than go-go-go I've felt kind of unmoored. While I'm usually inclined to call it 'lazy' and 'restless' right now, I'm calling it awesome.

My workouts have been just as wayward, but I don't think that's a bad thing. Usually if I run, I have to have a plan. A goal or an endpoint. I've never really run just to run. I ran because I wanted to accomplish something, so I ran to accomplish that goal. In typical "me" fashion I had to have the promise of the reward in order to actually do the running.

Something just clicked in Chicago, though. Since that race I've really been energized and excited about running. Maybe it was getting the reward of a pain-free, goal time race in perfect conditions. Maybe it was the surgery in February or the Hospital stay in March that made me really appreciate what it means to be active. Maybe it was this guy finally getting to be there for a race.

Hopefully our first of many post-finish line photos
Whatever the case, I want to run! So I'm taking a unique approach for awhile - I'm just going to do what feels good, when it feels good, until it doesn't feel good anymore. I'm going to try new routes and new paces; eat new things and try new fitness classes. I'm going to let runner-me go untethered and unstructured until January 1st. I'm eager to see where my runner-self will wander

Tonight I headed to my favorite Y for an hour of BodyPump. I forgot how much I love it - it makes me feel strong and tough and...really sore! I eaked out 15 minutes on the elliptical afterwards just to get my muscles nice and loose. This time of year the gym is usually just a few degrees too hot for my taste. Something about the weather changing so drastically makes it impossible for them to keep the thermostats right. Regardless, I got my HR up a little bit, got a good stretch in and left feeling really good.

I have to say - I'm tired! My body is worn out but I'm absolutely satisfied by the day. I have nothing planned for tomorrow as of yet....and I love it! Can't wait to see what runner-me has in mind.
Don't mind if I do!

When did you first fall in love with running? Were you training for something or did it just happen?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Exciting Updates

Another weekend of ridiculousness - but I think it's slowing down now!

It has been a crazy combination of absolutely beautiful and absolutely gross here. Wednesday night definitely fell in the 'absolutely beautiful' category. I got home from my last class around 6 and it was almost 70 degrees. How can you not run?

I wanted to be pretty careful with this silly knee so I took some serious measures to avoid angering my IT Band. I did the Insanity® warmup (10 minutes of lighter cardio & stretching) and then foam rolled for a few minutes, focusing on the pressure points. I even wore my new IT Band strap the guys at the running store helped me pick out. I was ready. I picked up my Garmin to head out the door and...oops...dead battery.   I love seeing all of the metrics after a run and digitally see what I did. Oh well, I slapped on my dad's old Dakota digital watch so I'd know how long I ran, and headed out anyway.

I ran a route I'd never run before, on some streets I'd never run before. I ran on sidewalks, on running paths, and some sidewalks so covered with leaves and debris that they were basically trails. Did I mention that all of my law school research earned my a new Ipod shuffle? Boo-yah.

Simply put, it felt really really good. I also found out you can run from my house to either of the parks I love - they're both just a mile away. Got home and 'mapped my run' to discover I'd gone about 4.8 miles at an 11:22 pace. That was my pace for the Chicago Half! Pretty awesome news since I signed up for....

This will be my 3rd KDF Mini! SO EXCITED!
Thursday morning I got the reminder to register before the rates went up. I was whole-heartedly against running it since I'll have finals, then graduation etc. Randomly I checked the spring finals schedule to find out that my one final will be four solid days BEFORE the race. It was meant to be! I told J "I was thinking about maybe possibly running the Derby Mini" and I'll be damned - he got excited. I was fully prepared for him to be the voice of reason and talk me out of it, but pleasantly surprised he was on board.

So yeah, that's gonna happen.

Friday and Saturday I had to prove I'm ethically capable of sitting for the bar exam in the spring. It was about as exciting as it sounds (which isn't very exciting at all, if you're not into the whole sarcasm thing). The only workout I've managed to get in was a treadmill session involving ethics notecards. I may have only been pulling 16 min/miles, but with the incline on 4 and "talking" out notecards, I felt like I at least got something out of it.

Today has been all about catching up on work and lounging around. J's dad sent us a box of awesome German goodies and, though I'd resisted thus far, I've managed to put a sizable dent in that today. Oh well. Did I mention my Louisville Cardinals knocked off the #24 WVU Mountaineers?


Belated Wednesday Wish-list
J's mom asked for suggestions for Christmas this year. Since I'm apparently going to be doing some training this winter/spring, I'm adding this bad boy to the list.
Nike Women's Fanatic running jacket
I feel warm and fuzzy just thinking about it.

Also - there's a pretty awesome giveaway over at Running Around My Kitchen. 3 days left to win a Tina Steinberg necklace - yes please!

Happy running!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Not so "hip"

Well, it has been a ridiculous four days. 

My non-running/fitness related life simply consumed everything. Just a brief recap:
  • Thursday Night I Emcee'd a charity Battle of the Bands for the law school - Lawlapalooza. After working/class all day, I spent 6 hours listening to awesome bands and trying to get broke law students to part with their minimal shekels for a good cause. It was a HUGE success - we raised a ton of money and had an absolutely fantastic time. 
  • Friday Morning was the quarter final round of the Oral Advocacy competition. Of course, I drew the 9am round and my 6:30 wake up call was like a death sentence. Luckily for me, my argument was spot on and I advanced to the semi-finals! The final round was later in the afternoon and while I felt like I did a great job, the judges (took forever) to declare my opponent the winner. Oh well, the $750 runner-up prize means I get new running shoes. YES! The whole thing was followed by a reception for the judges that I hardly enjoyed because I just wanted to pass out.
  • Saturday was UofL v. Syracuse on the Grid Iron. It was a need-to-win situation and I'm really happy we pulled it out. As much as I love football games, that level of stress and excitement is seriously exhausting. I was running on fumes as we coasted into a 4 hour video-lecture on legal ethics. Yawn. 
  • Sunday was the last day of the sand vball season and it was GLORIOUS! We went into the tournament seeded fifth and managed to pull out a championship! We played three of the best matches of our lives and I couldn't have asked for a better way to end the season
Whew. I'm exhausted just reliving that. Notice anything missing? I have a glaring 3 day gap in my workout calendar. Yuck! I started to do my Insanity® workout on Sunday but the lack-of-sleep/too-much-sleep/exhaustion combination took a toll on my body. I settled for some yoga and then all of the volleyball. 

I've decided to repeat the recovery week in order to reap the benefits. I only got to complete one cardio core and balance workout and I think I would really gain from it. So...repeat! I also noted that I was missing workouts most on Saturdays so I'm switching it up so that my rest day is on Saturday. Hopefully that will cut down on "Zero" days. 

I did manage to get a workout in today and it felt pretty good. My knee has been pretty shaky, but not swollen. My hips, on the other hand, have just been screaming. I think it's from sitting for such long stretches of time. Trying to figure out how to foam roll my hips has been tricky, but I'm working on it. 

At any rate, I'm happy to have gotten one in and am looking forward to some renewed energy because of it. 

Happy Running!!

Do anything fun this weekend? How do you keep from getting stiff in our "sit-a-lot" lifestyles?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Back to Basics

I'm convinced that there are few evils that a rest day and a swim in the pool can't cure.

The one good thing about my Insanity® rest days falling on Tuesdays is that Tuesdays are the easiest days for me to get to the pool. Swimming and I have had a love-hate relationship that I've mentioned time and time again. I've made a serious effort go go regularly though, and I've been making it work. Swimming is like "going home" for me - it was the first sport I ever really 'played' and being in the water always felt second-nature. As a runner, I've been trying to get the best out of both.

If you've never swam, you should give it a shot. It can be a challenging way to get cardio and build strength (especially in key areas we don't work while running). Aside from that, there's a zen to it that is really relaxing and it has a way of stretching, realigning and releasing muscle tension that I've only otherwise found in light yoga.

Easy Dozen
200 Easy warm-up Freestyle
150 Reverse IM (no fly)
150 Kick Build
4x50 Build on 1:00 (finished ea. under 45)
150 Pull Freestyle
150 Kick – fly work, abs
200 IM Drill
Total – 1,200 Yards

I made sure to stretch out really well afterward, focusing on my hip flexors and quads. Mobility in my knee is getting better, but it still feels really unstable. Not a good sign. Brought the tennis ball with me to school today so, despite looking like a total weirdo, I've been "rolling" it out all morning. Fingers crossed!

Dietary outlook is looking pretty good today. I'm here at school until about 9 tonight, which always leaves room for 'snacks'. It's so hard to plan for being gone that long and the vending machines are just so temping. They are, however, the silent killers of my weight goals AND my wallet. So today my lunchbox is stuffed with: lowfat mixed berry yogurt and granola, Baby Carrots, 1/2 Honeycrisp apple (be still my heart), Mint Chocolate Chip Luna Protein bar, and a baby almond joy (b/c hey, a girl has to have something naughty). If I can stick to it, I'm headed for dietary victory!

Hope you all are no longer working insane hours and/or plagued with injury!

Do you have a favorite type of cross-training? Got any tips for how to stay healthy while working long hours?