Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I have a lot to blog about but no time at the moment. However, I do have something to post! Thanks to Ali Mc I've become a Picnik fanatic (because I needed something else to be obsessed with!). I made this as a reminder of all the fun running can be so that when I'm feeling crappy and crabby, I don't forget.

Happy Running!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Beat the Boring in the Pool

Anytime I post about swimming I almost always get three general answers:
1. I don't know how to swim
2. I don't cross train
3. It's so boring
For me, cross-training is a mandatory part of my training program and the only way I can really keep from being injured. Swimming is a natural part of my cross-training regimen since I grew up swimming competitively. But as to the 'boring' argument, well, I have to totally agree. Unlike running, swimming can only be social to a point. If you're a lap swimmer like me, there are no trees to look at, no roads to pass, just lap after lap staring at the same tiled floor. Bo-ring.

For me, swimming was missing one element essential to my workouts: Music.

After doing some research I found the Interval 4G by H20 Audio. According to the website,
"The Interval is the only waterproof iPod case designed just for swimmers! If you’re an iTunes user, there’s no better way to bring your own personal soundtrack into the pool. The waterproof case for the iPod shuffle 4th generation has integrated Surge 2G headphones and easily attaches to almost any swim goggle"
Lucky for me, Dana at H20Audio was gracious enough to let me try one to use with my Ipod Shuffle! The day it came in the mail I squealed I was so excited I danced. I was worried that it would be difficult to set up, but after only 20 minutes I was in the pool ready to go.
The Interval includes 5 sets of earbuds that you can play with to ensure you get the right fit. Once you affix the Interval to your favorite goggles, the earbuds fit snugly down into your ears and you're all set to rock out to your favorite music as you count the laps. Plain & Simple!

What I loved - 

  • It was beyond easy to set up! The instructions are written for normal non-technical human beings so they're really easy to understand
  • I never have to worry about my Ipod getting wet/ruined. The instructions suggest you test the Interval in water prior to using it in the pool. Once I did that and realized how solid the construction was, I don't have any worries about taking my Ipod underwater with me
  • Lots & lots of earbuds - while some regular earbud headphones only come with sm/md/lg, the Interval comes with 5 different sets. This means you have a ton of freedom in terms of finding the ones that fit best for you!
  • The sound quality is excellent. It's just as good (if not better) than my regular headphones
What I'm still working on - 
  • Finding the right size earbuds may take you some time. I've found that one ear-hole is smaller than the other, so it's been quite the Goldilocks experiment to find just the right sizes. Don't let it discourage you from continuing with some trial & error
  • I'm a fidgety person by nature, so I generally pull & tug at anything on my head/ears. Teaching myself to just leave the Interval alone is still a work in progress!
Overall, I really like this little device. This morning I felt stronger and more rhythmic in the pool with music to guide me. Just like my Ipod helps push me through the last few miles of a tough run, the Ipod+Interval combo gives me the extra oomph needed to gut out a tough pool workout. 

Wanna try out the interval? You can buy it with or without the Ipod Shuffle from www.h20audio.com. They also have great waterproof gear for runners, including headphones and Ipod/Iphone cases. If they're anything like the Interval, you won't be disappointed. 

Happy Miles/Laps!

*Disclaimer: although I was provided the Interval to test the opinions are entirely my own. I was not endorsed in any way, I'm just providing my own humble opinion as to my own experiences with the product. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wednesday Wish List

It seems like every time I open a webpage - particularly one that sees high volume - I see something like this:

Did you hear that? I can eat like a 15 year old boy, get little sleep, drink little water, and with these 8 simple tips I can have abs. 

It sounds stupid, but I hate these things. I used to be a slave to the tips in magazines like Women's Health (which I still read) and other "Women's" websites which professed "easy" and "simple" ways to get that perfect body. Like clockwork I would head to the gym and give the workouts my best effort only to find, shockingly, these are hard

Being fit is hard. Living a healthy life and taking care of yourself, and your children, parents, siblings, spouses, pets and home is hard. While some of these little tricks may actually work for awhile, they inevitably fail if you're not ready to commit yourself to being fit, and being healthy. It's a commitment that changed my life, and one I certainly struggle with every day. For the record: I'm on my couch eating lindor truffles after skipping my workout....see? struggles!

One thing I love about being a runner is that as much as I may complain and whine about it sometimes the hard is what makes it great. Gutting out one last interval, digging through that last rep at your max weight, pushing one extra mile when the tank is on empty, leaving every ounce of sweat and willpower on the street; that's hard, and it's great. 

By putting this wish on the blog  think I fall into the category of "preaching to the choir". Either way, I wish more people would accept the challenge and learn to find the same power and fulfillment in it that I do. Sure, sometimes it really just is hard and it sucks, but that's what community is for. There is no greater reward than finding out that something that used to be really challenging is now a breeze. Whether you're just stepping off the couch, pushing for that sub 6 minute mile, or working towards your first Marathon/Ultra, we can all respect the 'hard', and we can all know the joy and exhilaration at beating it. 

Happy Running!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Home Alone & An Unexpected Awesome

I can't remember the last time I had a Saturday that was so quiet. Typically Saturdays are the only days Josh and I have to spend together, what with the ridiculousness of our schedules. Lately we've been spending a lot of that time relaxing, but it's still exhausting going back and forth between our two apartments (a million times), running errands, doing homework, etc. In an effort to preserve some sort of relaxation on Saturdays - and some "together" time for me and Josh - I've been moving my long runs to Sunday lately. Still, it's hectic.
How am I supposed to say no to this handsome guy?
So when I dropped Josh off at the airport on Friday morning I was left with a wide-open weekend (of crying and counting the time until he returned, Josh would want me to say). I started off by heading to the local market and picking up some new food. In an effort to be adventurous, I picked up some things I'd never tried before. For instance, Naan. And boy oh boy oh boy is it good!
This morning I slept until I didn't feel like sleeping anymore. I fixed a big breakfast, adding blueberries to my oatmeal as a special treat (yum!) and hunkered down on the couch to be as lazy as I damn well pleased. Suffice it to say, it was glorious. The plan was to head to the gym for the UofL game at Noon and get in 2 hours of cardio. I was pretty specific on the time because 2 hours is what it takes me to run 10 miles. Since I hadn't run much this week I wasn't really anticipating stepping foot on a treadmill at all.

And then I accidentally ran all 10 miles straight on the treadmill. Whoops? It sounds odd, but it just sort of happened. On the way over I thought "I need 120 minutes. Why don't I try to get 40 minutes - a third - of that on the treadmill and then I can switch to the elliptical." So I started on the elliptical and, well, I just never switched. It felt really good to be running and having the game on was a great distraction. There were some iffy moments, and I've been babying my knee ever since, but all in all a pretty great run!

So now I'm rewarding myself with more naan, beer, and season 2 of The Wire.

After a 2 week hiatus I'm returning to my Sunday Yoga class tomorrow and I can't wait! I've also carved out some time to hit up my local running store before I go...good thing I have money left over from Christmas!

Do you get to relax on Saturdays or do you find you're usually really busy?
What do you do when you want to relax or get away from all the stress?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

And then there was no coffee

I stumbled out of my nice warm bed this morning and into the freezing kitchen this morning to find this
no...coffee....??? AHH!
Not having coffee is an apocalyptic event in my life. I hardly ever drank coffee before law school and now in my 3rd and final year I require a cup of hot strong java goodness before I can tie my own shoes. It's not the caffeine so much as it's the ritualistic aspect of waking up crusty-eyed and sore on any morning and feeling the sweet release of warmth from a big happy mug. Well, except for today obviously. Coffee is essential when you have a schedule like mine has been.

I'm happy that so much of my 'busy' has been fitness & food related. For starters, I'm in week 6 of my training plan and my long runs have been going GREAT. My weekly mileage, on the other hand, has been struggling. Looking at the schedule I noticed I haven't had a step down week yet, and I'm not due for one until Week 9. Lately my body has been telling me that maybe this is a mistake. I've decided this week I'm going to get my workouts in based on time rather than miles and see how I feel. Since I'm only about 1/3 of the way through, I'm going to focus on staying strong and healthy this week rather than logging every single mile. We'll see how this plan works!

In other news, I've been experimenting with new foods/recipes in an attempt to keep up with my raging appetite. I definitely spent twice my January grocery budget, but I justify it by feeding Josh too. Unfortunately, I haven't had as much luck in the "trying new things" category. Have you ever looked at a recipe and though "mmm YUM!" and then, upon taking a bite, though "uuuugh yuck!"? That happened to me with several things lately. Maybe my taste buds just aren't ready to surrender to some of these things. Then again, I don't know why I thought I'd just love recipes based on egg-whites and pumpkin when I don't really like egg whites or pumpkin. Oh well - I'll keep trying!

Wednesday Wish List
This week's wish list is simple: blog more! I've been (trying) to keep up with you all and had no time to update myself. This week, I'll be working to fix that. Thanks to Jen @ Running With the Girls I've been tagged in the 11 Random Things post that's been going around. What a great way to keep up this "wish". So stay tuned to 11 random things about yours truly!