Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Week 8: Embracing the Process

Last week was week 8(ish) of marathon training.  I think.  I may have actually lost count of how long I have been training because it feels like it has been eternity.  But what I do know is that I now have 11 weeks to go, yikes!  In my post last week, I talked about ditching the excuses and working hard.  It worked for me and I had a great week of training last week.  My theme for this week, oh I'm trying to have a theme each week now BTW, is to try to enjoy the journey a little more.  This was especially important as I set out to run my longest distance of this training cycle with an 18 miler on Thursday.  I had a difficult time with my last two long runs so my goal for this one was, of course to push through and finish it strong, but to also enjoy it.  I have come a long way but I still have a ways to go, so I need to respect the process.

Monday: Spinning + Upper Body Strength
I have been feeling a little burnt out on teaching spinning. I have been doing it for over years now and it is especially tiring when I am training for a full.  But every time I get in there with my group, we have such a rocking time that I am so grateful to get to teach.  It also is great cross training, so I really can't complain.  Monday was no exception and I had an awesome time with my spin crew.  Though I usually do some leg and power exercises on Monday, I pulled back the reigns a little bit this week in preparation for my long run on Thursday.  All in all it was a fun and productive morning.

Tuesday: Easy Run [3 miles] + Core + "Speed Work"
Normally I do speed work on my treadmill on Tuesdays, but with the Achilles a little tight and my hamstring still somewhat tight also from the week prior, I thought it would be best to do an easy run. When my alarm clock went off at 5am, though I did NOT want to get up and run, at all!  But I reminded myself of my theme for last week (ditch the excuses) and my theme for this past week (enjoy the journey), I figured I owed it to myself and my commitment to get up and get going.  So I did an easy 3 miles with some core.  Definitely not ideal, but I felt it was what I needed that day and I accepted it for what it was.  Later that evening, I had actually considered making up for my mediocre run that morning by meeting up with my run group.  I was already dressed and ready to go when the group got canceled. So I suggested to my husband we go for a family walk around the neighborhood.  My 4 year old had other plans for our walk and wanted to run everywhere.  Of course his definition of a run is sprinting from here to there, and let me tell you, that kid is FAST!  So he certainly wore mommy out!

Wednesday: Upper Body Strength + Yoga
Wednesdays are my looooong days.  They start with work at 5am, a break to get the kids ready and off to school, work all morning, workout at lunch, work all afternoon, then I pick up the kids and head over to teach Yoga.  I'm pretty much non-stop from 5am until 9pm!  Honestly, it is pretty tiring.  Plus, I always get a little nervous the day before a long run, so this past Wednesday was especially exhausting!  But like my husband and I always say, this is the life we have chosen, so we embrace it, make it work and appreciate all it provides us with.  Managed to sneak in a light upper body work on my lunch break and some yoga poses with my class that night.

Thursday: Long Run [18 miles]
I approached this run with the most positive attitude I could muster.  I tried to convince myself I wasn't nervous, but I was definitely apprehensive.  Thanks to the insane heat and humidity, my long runs have been pretty rough and I expected this to be no different.  But not wanting to set myself up for failure and of course, honoring my theme for the week, I set out to just do the my best and try and enjoy it the best I can.  By no means was it great, in fact I'm still a ways a way from where I want and need to be.  But it actually did go much better than my previous long runs which was encouraging and promising.  Of course I had to hurry off to work as soon as I was done, so I had little time to sulk or celebrate the run anyway!

Friday: Upper Body + Core
I recovered really well from my long run.  Aside from slightly achy, restless legs Thursday night (due mostly to dehydration), I was actually feeling pretty good.  No major tightness or pain, even in the areas that have been periodically bothering me throughout training.  So yey for that!  But I still wanted to take it pretty easy in the weight room to give me body a little break, well that and I honestly just didn't have that much time.  So I squeezed in a quick little upper and core workout on my lunch break.

Saturday: Fun Run [6 miles]
Between work, the kiddos and being so focused on my training runs, I haven't been able to meet up with my Moms Run This Town group as much as I would like.  I had really been missing my girls and fun we have out on the trail.  Though I wouldn't get the run in that I want and need (as far as pace and miles go), and I would have to wake up earlier than I would prefer on like the ONLY day I ever get to sleep in, I knew the group run would be more than worth it.  And it certainly did not disappoint.  It was so awesome getting to meet up with my girls, we got in 6 miles and had tons of fun in the process.  I am definitely going to make an effort to get out to more group runs!  After a long week of work and training, it was nice to get to relax with the family out at the pool that afternoon then have a date night with the hubster that night!

Sunday: Rest Day
Sunday was a much needed rest day that was spent at the beach.  There wasn't a cloud in the sky, it was super warm and the water felt great.  The boys had so much fun splashing in the waves and playing in the sand.  There's nothing I love more in this world than seeing their smiling facing and hearing their laughter.  They are my whole entire world and I could not have imagined a more perfect rest day after such a crazy busy week!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Week 7: Time to Ditch the Excuses

In my 7th week of marathon training, I had to have a HUGE pep talk with myself.  I feel like I have been selling myself short a lot during this cycle and giving in to every "reason" why training has been so challenging. I finally decided to ditch the excuses and start getting serious about my training if I want to reach my goal.  I have to admit, having come up short at a BQ in my last 3 attempts, I was kinda in a strange place heading into this training cycle. You see, I know what it's like to fail, I've come quite accustomed to that, unfortunately.  And as much as it sucks, let's be honest here, it sure is a lot easier to just give in rather than push through when it gets tough. But I am really freaking tired of taking the easy route because I'm freaking tired of failing (pardon my French).  I'm ready to finally turn my dream into a reality and this week was about taping into that desire and how it will drive me the rest of my training.

So without any further ado, here's a recap of week 7, one of my best weeks of raining thus far...

Monday: 60min Spinning + Strength Training
Taught my usual spin class and got in a quick weight lifting session before hand.  I focused a lot on power exercises in the weight room, incorporating single arm snatches, box jumps and split squat jumps.  And spin class was great, energy was through the rough, I had a blast and was drenched in sweat!

Tuesday: 5.5mi Speed Work + Hot Yoga
It has been very busy and hectic at work and often the only free time I have is between 5-7am.  So I decided to use that time to get some work done rather than my speed work.  I figured I could squeeze in a quick run on my lunch break or later in the evening if need be, work has to come first.  Luckily, I was able to sneak out for an hour before lunch and decided to do my speed work on the treadmill.  I was a little iffy about it at first, just not feeling it.  But that is when it hit me, I have been iffy and whiny and full of excuses all this time, it was time to put in work dammit!  So I sucked it up and ended up absolutely CRUSHING my speed work!  I ran 6x800's (I was only scheduled for 4 but felt so great I did 2 more) with a pace closer to my 400 rather than 800!  I know they can't always feel that great, but I definitely need a good, hard workout like that to get me back in the game.  Hot Yoga later that evening was a great accompaniment to my speed from earlier.
Wednesday: Strength Training + Yoga
Total body strength at Planet Fitness on my lunch break where I did a little bit of everything, including some much needed lower body exercises and core.  I don't do much for legs, though I know I need to, so I hit it pretty hard (which I ended up paying for as the week went on, uhoh).  It was back to work for the rest of then I picked up the kids, rushed over to LA Fitness and talk Yoga.  Oh the life of a working fitmom, 3 different gyms in a matter of hours!
Thursday: 5.5mi Tempo Run
Hunter and I ended up sleeping in until about 5:45 that morning, feeling as if we needed a little extra rest.  When we woke up, he went into the gym to workout and work, so I headed downstairs to get some work done too.  I originally planned to run on my lunch break but decided to knock it out before heading into the gym for the day.  Hunter took the kids to school as I rand around the neighborhood.  The heat and humidity got to me quickly and I kept thinking about slowing down or cutting it short.  But then I remembered the pep talk I had to give myself once this week already and pushed through.  It wasn't the pace I was shooting for but it wasn't too far off and I'm glad that I broke through some mental barriers.
Friday: 2mi Hill Repeats
Normally, I do upper and core on Fridays but Hunter sent me a text on his way back from out of town (he was gone for the night) asking me if I wanted to run this hills out in Apopka.  So of course I said heck yeah!  There are not many "hills" in this area, it's actually pretty flat around here.  I had heard about this hill out in Apopka that some of our NFL guys like to go run up and had been eager to give it a try.  We got out there around 1pm with the sun high in the sky and beating hard down on us.  We measured out a tenth of the mile uphill and began our work.  We sprinted as hard as we could up the hill and briskly walked back down, doing that 10 times.  It was definitely tough.  When I found myself slowing down or wanting to even stop, I would tell myself to push harder, my BQ was at the top of the hill.  Pushing through now, and all of the other times that get tough, is what it's going to take to get my that goal.  That's exactly what we did that afternoon, and Hunter and I were both pretty exhausted that evening.
Saturday: 10mi Treadmill Run
I thought I was finally going to get out on the trail with my MRTT mamas but thanks to my van needing some service it was yet another no go for me this weekend.  We had to get the car seats into Hunter's truck, drop the van off at the shop then drop Hunter off at work.  So the boys and I headed over to LA Fitness so I could get my miles in on the treadmill.  It could have been the hard lower body workouts of the week, exhaustion from hill work, or me just being mentally not there, but the run started off pretty rough.  I kept wondering, "it shouldn't be this difficult, is there something wrong with me?"  So there I was again, having to give myself another pep talk, reminding myself that if I want to race hard, I have to train hard.  It wasn't easy, in fact I had to fight pretty hard for the miles and the pace.  But I pushed through it, finishing up the ten miles with an average pace of 7:23 and my last mile the fastest one at 6:36!

By Saturday afternoon, my legs were shot, I was so tired but I was on another level mentally.  I had broken through some HUGE mental barriers this week, that I had been needing to break since this Spring.  I feel like moving forward, I have a much better attitude and I'm ready to give the rest of the training cycle my absolute all.  No excuses, just hard work to make this BQ finally freaking happen!

Oh, and Sunday: REST DAY!
Rest and relaxation with my favorite people was spent taking the boys to see The Secret Life of Pets (which is super cute btw) and then hanging out by the pool the rest of the day!  Exactly what I needed after a hard week of training.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Summer Running: My Tips to Beating the Heat

IT.IS.HOT!!!  It could be just my imagination, maybe global warming or maybe because it's the first time I've trained for a marathon this early in the summer, but I swear this is the hottest it has ever been!  Every time I come back from a run, regardless if it is a quick little 3-5 miler or long run, I am absolutely drenched and drained!  I wish I had some magic formula to totally beat the heat and have amazing runs year round, but despite all my efforts and experience, the summer months are still pretty tough.  I have, however, learned a few ways to work around and/or with the heat and humidity to survive these brutal summer runs and thought I would take a second to share...

Stay Hydrated
Although the most obvious piece of advice for summer running, and essentially for any activity year round, it certainly does not hurt to be reminded.  Proper hydration is key for performance and recovery so be sure to place a huge emphasis on it, especially as the temperatures rise!  I went into a little more detail in a past post about hydration, but I would like to point out a couple of things I to stay hydrated, especially during the summer months.  First and foremost, I make sure I am constantly drinking water throughout the day, and increase my water intake the day before, the day of and the day after a long run. And speaking of those long runs, I make sure to have some Nuun Hydration in my Orange Mud hydration vest.  Hydration of the utmost importance and should NEVER be neglected, so do not "stay thirsty my friends" and be sure to drink up!

Out Run the Sun
Summer time means earlier sunrises.  This means you can get even earlier for those morning miles, yey...or not hehe.  Though many may not be quite as bright eyed and bushy tailed this time of day, it may be the only time run in before the sun is up and scorching.  Getting as many miles possible in before the sun is fully up is not only a great way to beat the heat but the perfect way to start your day!  I personally love a good early morning run.  There is something so beautiful in watching the sun rise and getting to witness the start of a brand new day.  It also gives me a great sense of accomplishment knowing what I have conquered for the day before many are even out of bed!  If waking up early is not your thing right now, I can (almost) assure you that if you focus on the great things early morning runs have to offer, you'll soon grow to love it!

Slow Down
Probably not what you want to hear when you're training so hard to get ready for your Fall races.  But pulling back on the intensity of your runs (especially the long ones) may be what you need to get through the hot summer months.  The intense heat and humidity can certainly take a toll on your body and pace, so don't get discouraged if you find yourself feeling a little sluggish out on the trail.  Pace may need to be adjusted by up to a minute or more depending on the temps and humidity.  So don't beat yourself up if you have to slow down a little in order to still get the miles in. Although I must admit, every single summer, I get a little frustrated when my long runs are slower the other months, and I even have a "freak out moment" as if it were my new norm.  But then I'm reminded that despite my slower pace now, I know what I am capable of and that if I stay dedicated to my mileage and training plan, it will pay off.  Always be sure to train hard, but more importantly, train smart!

Take It Indoors
Though you may not be a fan of the treadmill, sometimes it is the necessary evil when the weather is just not conducive for an outside run.  As a runner down here in Florida, I have grown to love my "dreadmill" when I need to get some mid-day miles in during the summer time.  (Also, as a working mom, sometimes it's the only way I can get a run in).  Whether it is the one in my den or a trip to the gym, I actually (somewhat) look forward to hitting up the 'mill for some miles and me time.  I personally LOVE music, so all I need for an enjoyable treadmill run is some good tunes (and water of course).  While at the gym, I have TV's in front of me so it is a great time to catch up on the news and sports (and the occasional talk show).  Other ways I have passed the time on the treadmill is listening to podcasts or books on tape, watching some NetFlix on the iPad, or even chatting with a friend on the treadmill next to me at the gym.  Of course it not the same as running on the trail, but when that trail is pushing 110 degrees, that treadmill doesn't seem so bad after all!

Why Not Tri?
A triathlon may not be your thing, but cross-training with some biking and running is a great way to beat the summer heat.  Taking a dip in the pool or whizzing down the trail on your bike is certainly much cooler than pounding the hot pavement during a run.  It will provide great cross-training, a new challenge, and potentially a new love in multi-sports!?!

Embrace the Suck
Last but not least, it is freaking hot and there ain't nothing we can do about it.  And with several weeks (actually months for us Floridians) of summer to go, it's only going to get hotter.  I hate to say it, but we just need to suck it up and push through the best (and smartest) way we can.  Be grateful you are able to do what you love, even if it a little warmer than we prefer, and know that all your hard work now will pay off in the Fall!

Good luck and happy training everyone!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Yes, I'm Still Training For Chicago!

My blogging has falling off a bit but my training for the Chicago Marathon is still in full force.  These past two weeks have been hectic to say the least, with the holiday and our little family vacation, not to mention work is INSANE, which is a good thing when you own a business but it sure can be exhausting!  But I have still managed to squeeze in my training runs, including a 16 mile long run, so here is a quick recap of the past two weeks of training mostly told through pictures...

Week 5
The week started off with the usual of me teaching spinning and weight training.  I had some decent treadmill runs during the week including a good speedwork day and an average tempo run.  Strength training has been going really well and I'm feeling much stronger.

This week, we celebrated our two year anniversary of opening our own facility!  It's crazy how quickly this time has flown by and how much has changed.  Hunter and I have learned so much about business, each other and even life since embarking on this journey together.  It has not always been easy, but it has been totally worth it.  Dream big, work hard and never give up!

Got in a little cross training on my bike on Thursday.  I hadn't been on my bike since my triathlon in May, so it was nice to get back in the saddle.  My legs were pretty spent from my strength training and back to back runs, so it was definitely a little tough out there especially with the heat.  But I love to ride and hope to do more of it, and maybe even "tri" again soon!

This gym mirror selfie is from last Saturday after my 8 mile treadmill run at LA Fitness. I had three group runs to chose from all with wonderful runner friends and I was so excited to join one of the groups that morning.  But by Friday evening, with work, training and the kiddos, I was practically a zombie.  As much as I love pushing myself and staying super committed, I cannot kill myself doing so either.  So I made the decision to turn off my alarm, sleep in, miss the group runs and do my thang on the treadmill.  I did NOT regret my decision at all and ended up having an awesome morning with my boys, a great run then a relaxing afternoon with the family.  Sometimes we just need to listen to our bodies!

Week 6
Fourth of July!  The kids were out of school and we closed the gym down for the day.  It's actually the first time we have EVER completely closed for a holiday and we were so excited to have a full day off and spend it as a family.  We decided to take the boys into the gym with us while we worked out.  They had an absolute blast cheering on mommy and daddy while we "got swole" and even went through a few little exercises themselves.  I think we may have a new little family tradition forming here!

The rest of the day was spent celebrating the holiday with friends.  The weather was absolutely perfect for spending time at the pool but unfortunately our fireworks experience got rained out.  Which actually turned out ok because we were exhausted and ready for bed!

All the excitement of the holiday had me sluggish the next morning.  I decided to use my 5am wake up call for work rather than working out and put off my speed work until lunch time.  I had 8x400's planned for that day and though they were tough, I got it down and felt great!  Right calf gave me a little trouble but other than that, I was relatively pain free and feeling good about my long run coming up on Thursday.

To say those 16 miles were rough is a total understatement, they were downright BRUTAL.  I got a later start than I would have liked and was out there right around sun up.  The temps were already pushing 90+ and the humidity was close to 100%.  The first 6-7 miles weren't terrible, I kept a pretty steady pace I had hoped to keep the entire time.  But as I approached the turn around, I just completely ran out of steam.  The heat totally got to me, I was chaffing bad from my hydration vest and my iPod died.  I ended up doing walk run intervals for the last several miles just to get finished.  I would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed in my performance.  Having these ugly long runs are really starting to make me nervous about Chicago.  Fortunately I do have several more to go, so it gives me the opportunity to make adjustments but more importantly, get more mentally tough!  I used my 24 hour rule for the run, quickly put it behind me and had a great upper body and ab workout Friday before heading out for vacation.

We had a little mini vacation with the family at Bonnet Creek this past weekend.  We stayed here last year so I already had my run mapped out for Saturday morning.  With that ugly long run from Thursday behind me and a fun filled day of family time ahead of me, I just wanted to get in some easy miles while enjoy the beauty of the resort.  I knocked out 5 sunrise miles around the property without any care or concern of my pace and ended up having a pretty good run!

The rest of the weekend was dedicated to family time and making sure our boys had an amazing vacation.  They sure seemed to enjoy themselves in the several pools, splash pads, water slides and lazy rivers!  They also loved getting ice cream, going to the arcade, playing putt putt and riding around the resort on a golf cart!  Family is everything to my husband and I, and maximizing the time we have together is of the utmost importance.  We were totally exhausted by the end of the short trip but it was all totally worth it to see our babies have the time of their lives!

Well, that in a nutshell is what I have been up to for the past two weeks of training.  The summer heat and humidity are definitely getting to me as well as my crazy busy work schedule.  But I try my hardest to make it all work, keeping a good balance, a positive attitude, staying motivated and having a little fun in the process!