The Road Less Traveled

Hey Gang!  Hope the first few days of summer have been good to you!  I don’t know what it is about summer, but it’s like every day I crave ice cream. Not every other day, but every day. I have been good the past week and avoiding my cravings, but I think tomorrow I may have to indulge. 😉

So last week I discussed 4 ways to revive your running this summer.  One of the ways was to change your route.  Well this past Saturday, I did just that. I had 8 miles to run and typically I do the same out and back. But that morning I walked out my front door and I just was not feeling that route. So I figured, meh I’ll do my normal 6 mile route and randomly add 2 miles somewhere.  The type A personality in me felt a slight panic but I forged ahead. Well, I am so glad I did because I discovered a small part of my town that still holds on to its rich history.

I ran back in a very tiny neighborhood, where I discovered Emory Grove. It’s a small camp site for Christians that started in 1868. Apparently back then, people who lived in Baltimore city would ride the train and live in the cottages all summer long and practice their faith.  Women and children would stay there all summer, while the men usually took the train back to Baltimore daily for work.

While I was running back in the neighborhood, the groundskeeper said I was free to run through the camp site.  My first thought was 1) are you really the groundskeeper? and 2) I don’t feel like being murdered today. I politely declined.

Here is a photo of the cottages courtesy of the Emory Grove website. How cute is that?!

Then I ran down another side road and discovered another random building. What was a cinder block building with “No Pedestrians!!” signs doing back in a neighborhood with historic homes?! I smell a new Netflix series people 😉

So tell me, what adventures have you had so far this summer?  

 

4 Ways to Revive Your Running This Summer

Hey gang!  Long time, no update!  I know, I know.  You all have been sitting on the edge of your seats!  Well the wait is over!  Today I want to talk about ways to revive your running this summer.  A lot of you are just starting or are about to start training for a fall race.  Right now, everything will be just glorious!  But by the time September rolls around, you may dread running the same 5 mile loop every.damn.day.

Here are some of my top ways to avoid burnout and keep running fun!

#1- Change your route.

This past weekend, my boyfriend and I went to his parent’s place in Chester County PA. He just got a new road bike so we were both itching for some quality exercise and been wanting to explore the Chester Valley Trail. Neither of us have explored this rail trail before. I think this trail wins as my new favorite!  It was so refreshing to run in a new place and really appreciate the surroundings.  I even saw a newborn deer!! Mama was close by so I kept it moving. LOL.

Even if you can’t get to a new running destination immediately, just change the direction of your normal route.  You’ll be surprised at how different it will feel!

#2- Join a social/fun run.

‘Tis the season for running stores to have weekday fun runs to pubs and bars. Why not join others in the agony of running in the heat but taste the glory of a cold beer after the run? Charm City Run has some fun events scheduled this summer. I am hoping to join in on the Pub Dog run in Columbia later this summer 🙂

#3- Create a new playlist.

Summer is all about concerts. So why not incorporate the new summer hits into your playlist? I tend to listen to the same songs over and over again. Is there someone else out there that does the same thing?!  Here is my latest favorite.  I’ll be listening to that for the rest of the summer on repeat 😛

#4- Follow a summer fitness challenge and invite others to join.

Runners are creatures of habits.  We tend to eat the same foods, run the same pace, not stray far from our routines. Participating in a summer fitness challenge can get you out of your routine and hold you accountable to a goal. My favorite is the 100 Pushup Challenge. Do I ever get near 100?  Heck to the no. Most I ever did was 35. But the pushup is arguably one of the most effective exercises since it activates biceps, triceps, shoulders, core, quads, and chest. Last time I completed the challenge, I felt significantly stronger and it helped my endurance since I was able to maintain good posture longer on a run.

So that’s it folks! Which one of these will you do this summer?  Feel free to add other ideas to the comments.

 

Running Mantras…They’re Not Just for Running!

Happy Wednesday my peeps!  Hope everyone is having a great week so far! Today started off on a high note, as my running partner and I got into the Army Ten Miler on October 8th!  I have run this race in the past (you can read about it here) and it’s hands down one of my favorites.

Lately, I have been killing it at work!  In the mantra department that is 😉 I said this gem to my boss last week and he loved it.

It’s so true though. Not just in running but in life.  Even if you go a little out of your way to say thank you or to lend a helping hand, people remember that. Those five extra seconds you spent doing something gains interest over time and pays off exponentially.

I also said this one today, both during my run and at work.

Many times in life, both on the race course and off, we will say we don’t “feel” like doing something. But are you really going to let your emotions rule your life? Being tired is temporary.  Plus if you wait until you “feel” like it, you’ll never actually do it.

And now my personal fav….

Very true.  And this is exactly why I don’t beat myself up too much when I don’t get a chance to clean the house. Because you know…priorities. 😛

So tell me, any mantras you love?

Last Week’s Food and Fitness

Hey gang!  Did anyone else have a case of the Mondays today?  My little guy Tadd did.

Mondays, for me at least, mark the very beginning of the week. Not Sunday. Monday is the day my new training and meal plan kicks in.  When I develop training plans for my clients, the first day listed is always Monday. Here is what last week looked like for me:

Monday- Sooo right now I’m not training for anything (for shame!!) so I have been sticking to 3-4 miles during the week. Monday was an easy 4 mile loop, tackling a huge hill from the start. How huge you ask? So huge I cannot talk while running up it. Sucks the wind right out of me!

Tuesday- A quick weight lifting routine from “Quick Strength Training for Runners“. I am almost done with the full 8 week program and plan to do a review.

Wednesday- 4 mile loop…with the hill at the end so it’s a downhill haha.

Thursday- Easy 3 miles. Probably should have ran more because that night I ate entirely too much at Woodberry Kitchen.

Friday- REST DAY!! Another meal out with the family at a local Chinese restaurant, Sonny Lee’s. So. freakin’. Good.

Saturday- Because of the heavy rain we were having here in MD, I opted to take RPM45, a spin class, at Brick Bodies. It was a good sweat session, even though in my opinion nothing gets the heart pumping like running. I guess I didn’t have enough salt in my diet because after class I was craving a salty snack so badly!  So I opted for brie and crackers. Fancy!

And I guess that wasn’t enough, because for dinner later I had pizza from Whole Foods. I guess since it’s from Whole Foods it’s healthy, right?

Sunday- I ran a glorious 6.38 miles and felt like I was flying! I hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day, even the fur moms! I gave a whole new definition to “tummy time” with our cat Liger. Whenever I lay down on the couch, he jumps right up and lays on my belly haha.

So tell me, did you have a good week in fitness and food last week? Enjoy the great week ahead!

 

 

“I Fell in a Hole”

Friends, this is a real subject line from an email I received from a client. Here was my response:

Me: “You what? What were you doing? How does something like that happen? Were there sticks and leaves covering the hole like a booby trap?”

Client: “I was running and then I fell into a hole and hurt my back. Now my back hurts. What do I do?”

(Me still wondering why is there a random hole in the ground…)

Ok, so I still don’t have the full story as to why there was a hole in the ground. Maybe that’ll be a follow-up post?  But this story easily shows how quickly one can become injured even if you are perfectly healthy. Injuries happen, especially in running. As runners, it’s something we will all deal with at some point.

One of the most common questions I get is whether to use heat or ice. Check out the infographic below for specifics.

Have you experienced any running-related injuries?

Stay healthy out there my friends!

2017 Parkway Classic 10 Miler Recap

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Hi guys!  April is flying by! I ran the Parkway Classic 10 Miler this past Sunday in Alexandria, VA.  This race is definitely up there as one of my favorite races. It’s always well organized, the course is a point-to-point with some nice rolling hills, and is a BEAUTIFUL course. The houses you run by are absolutely stunning! The only “drawback” is there isn’t spectators along the entire course, but the last mile is packed with a cheering crowd.  That’s okay, because the beautiful course helps distract you from the pain. 😉

My running partner and I arrived the night before and stayed at the Sheraton Suites in Old Town. The hotel price was comparable to others but the location of the hotel couldn’t be beat.  It was 3 blocks from the finish line and 2 blocks from the shuttles that transport runners to the start line in Mt. Vernon. I like to keep things stress free where I can. 🙂

Packet pickup, located at the Pacers Running Store in Alexandria, was only about a mile away from our hotel. I love how Pacers organizes packet pickup. First, you can pick up for multiple runners without any kind of signed permission slip or ID.  They also always have multiple people handing out packets so there are no lines to wait in.

Later that night, after a quick dinner at T.J. Stone’s, we settled in and I took a picture of my race day outfit so my boyfriend would be able to pick me out of the crowd during the race. I definitely suggest doing this if you have someone coming to watch your race.

Race morning came and after loading up on bagels and coffee, we walked two blocks to the loading area to catch the shuttle to the start line.  These buses were brand spankin’ new! They even had seat belts! #safetyissexy LOL

We got to the start area about an hour prior to the start, which left plenty of time to use the porta-potty (a must!) and check a bag.  I am so glad I decided to check a sweatshirt because it was freezing again once you crossed the finish line. No one wants to stand around sweaty and cold!

Just before the 8 a.m. race start, I lined up at the 7:00 to 7:59 minute per mile group and we were all smiles event though slightly cold.

At 8 a.m., the gun shot rang out and we were off! Apparently I was feeling pretty good!  Here is my mile split breakdown according to my Polar:

NOTE: I wasn’t wearing my heart rate monitor haha

Here are my official results:

Danggggg!! 😛 That was 16th out of 511 females ages 30-34, 59th out of 2,635 females, and 298th out of 4,482 people!! Even though I didn’t break my goal of a 1:09 performance like I had wanted, I am still proud of myself.

A performance like that calls for a nice cold one, so my boyfriend and I stopped at Port City Brewing Company to celebrate.

How do you celebrate a good run? What races did you run this month? Write in the comments above, under the post title 🙂

Sole of the City 10k Race Recap

Hey friends! How was your weekend? On Saturday I ran the Sole of the City 10k in Baltimore!

 

My goal race is actually the Parkway Classic on April 23rd, but this race happened to work with my training schedule.  Plus, a bunch of my friends do this race and they told me I absolutely HAD to register. Okay, twist my arm 😛

Packet pick-up was earlier last week and I got to pick up this sweet premium from Under Armour.

Do not be deceived.  This hoodie is VERY thin. Basically I would only wear this walking around in 65 degree weather. Yeah, so not really a hoodie LOL. The packet pickup itself was at Charm City Run was pretty well organized per usual.

Race morning came and it was a freezing 35 degrees out!  Brr!!  But then the high for the day was 60 degrees. Even though we lucked out with sunshine, this weather is hard to dress for. In order to be warm, I wore a crappy goodwill hoodie to the start area, which was located at McHenry Row. When I woke up that morning, I really had no desire to “race.” I thought I would just enjoy the run.  But then of course, my friends egged me on! They wanted me to win. Well, I guess it didn’t take much to get me all fired up because I easily agreed and felt the fire in my belly!

After hanging out at McHenry Row and chatting/shivering, around 8:45 a.m. we made our way to the start line.  It was a short walk and not overly congested.  I said goodbye to my friends and headed to the front of the starting line.  After a BEAUTIFUL rendition of the National Anthem (seriously that girl had some pipes!), we were off!

Mile 1 ran through Federal Hill and to the Inner Harbor.  I was feeling good and was trying to gauge the competition around me.  I did have a guy run next to me panting like a dog.  There was no way I was going to let him beat me! So off to mile 2 I went!

Mile 2 was around the Inner Harbor and running toward Harbor East and Fells Point.  I noticed there was not much of a crowd, which was a bummer.  The cold air probably didn’t help. I still felt pretty good at this point as captured by this race photo. I mean look at that stride!

Mile 3 was pretty much the turnaround point at the edge of Fells Point and took us back to the harbor.  At this point in the race it started to warm up I was feeling a bit warm.

Mile 4 was when I really started to feel the heat! We just left Harbor East and was entering the Inner Harbor. Mile 4 basically got you from Hard Rock Cafe to the Science Center. Which honestly, was a little awkward because you were running on the harbor amid the crowd. Like, the bystanders literally had no clue they were in the middle of a race haha. So many confused looks…

At mile 5, I was hot.  Like, nearing overheating.  But with one mile left I was determined not to slow down.  I wanted to place dang it! Mile 5 was back through Federal Hill and the finish line was back at McHenry Row, where we started. Here is a shot of me crossing the finish.

No, I normally don’t look that good 😛 I was WIPED! I gave that race everything I had! Note how the gloves came off. Literally and figuratively, ha!

After the race I waited for my friends to gather again.  I grabbed a free beer but frankly I do not want beer after a race.  I pretty much take three sips and give it to a friend.  Unfortunately the food after the race was seriously lacking. We got chicken salad, but really it was an onion salad.  You can just smell the stench through the box. It didn’t appear anyone wanted an onion salad after a race because most people didn’t eat it lol.

We waited around to see if I placed, but no dice! I was disappointed initially.  Then I got an email with my results.

BOOM! Like 25% percent of the field was female 30-39. Lots of competition!  But considering that, I feel pretty darn good about my race.

So would I do it again? Meh, the jury is still out. I didn’t think the course was anything special. I am leaning toward “yes” but only because I would like to get on the podium next year. Let’s see what I can turn out at the Parkway Classic!

Back to Basics: How to Fuel for a Run

Happy April everyone! Running season is upon us and it’s the time of year where I receive the most questions.  So in the spirit of the season, this month I am going back to basics with (the appropriately named) Back to Basics Series. Yay!!

Last week, a coworker and I got into a discussion about fuel.  He scored an amazing deal (like $3?! Normally $33) on a 24-count box of Honey Stingers that were “about to expire”…in August! If you’re training for a half marathon you could definitely eat all those by August. What a lucky dog…

Long story short, I get a lot of questions about fueling. How much? How often? Which kinda? Well if you haven’t figured it out by now, today I want to talk to you about…

Do I need to consume fuel during my run?

It’s important to know that fuel is only necessary for runs longer than 60 minutes, regardless of the distance. Doesn’t matter if it’s 3 miles or 7 miles, after 60 minutes your body needs carbs.

How often should I take in fuel during my run?

The ideal rule is 1 package every 45 minutes. So if you plan to run over an hour, start at minute 45, then another an an hour and 30 minutes and so on. If your stomach is feeling “off” or you feel full, don’t feel like it is mandatory to take something.  Listen to your body.

Which kind of fuel should I consume?

Beer!  Kidding.  Don’t do that.  I did that once during a race. I immediately regretted that decision. The most popular fuel is gel. They come in a variety of flavors and are easy to carry with you. Next are chews, which are pretty much like gummies. They are a nice way to switch it up if you get tired of eating gel and want something to chew, hence the name. Next up, sport beans!! Basically jelly beans you feel less guilty about eating. Sport beans are a favorite of mine around mile 17 of the marathon when you are losing your mind and all you can do is count beans…yeahhhh. Frankly, none are greater than the either. Experiment and see which one works/tastes best for you!

So there you have it!  The basics of fueling!  I didn’t include hydration in this post because that is a separate post in itself 🙂

Happy running!

 

Snow Day Workouts!

Hey friends! If you live in the Northeast, you are getting slammed with snow!  Makes sense after last week’s 70 degree days right? One morning I’m running in a tank top/shorts and the next morning I’m in a winter jacket/running tights. Cray.

Well, just because the roads are covered in snow and ice doesn’t mean we have to hit pause on our training. Besides I don’t know about you, but I reaaallyy don’t want to be this girl….

Here are some ways to get in some training without running….and subsequently falling.

#1 Yoga 

About a year ago, I bought a Groupon for a subscription to online yoga classes for $8. Even if you only use it once it pays for itself versus going to a studio and paying $16 for a class. The nice thing about yoga at home is you can do it any time you want.  So if you want to sip some coffee and watch the snow fall, before working out, go for it! Also, you don’t have to worry about looking cute in your latest Lululemon.  Yeah I said it!

#2 Strength Training

Now I’m not talking about anything heavy duty here.  I mean a snow day is meant to be a relaxing day right? This is actually the perfect opportunity to do what I call “maintenance training.” Pretty much all of the little stuff that is going to help prevent injuries later down the road that runners tend to neglect.  Currently I am doing the workouts (an 8-week training plan) from “Quick Strength for Runners” by Jeff Horowitz. These are simple but effective exercises like squats and push-ups.  Oldies but goodies!

#3 Shoveling!!!

Ok so this isn’t fun for everyone but shoveling is a great conditioning workout.  Not only is it cardio (gets that heart pumping!) but also strength training (squat to scoop the snow, wood chopper to throw the snow). It’s really a great total body workout.  Just remember to stay hydrated…don’t eat the yellow snow 😛

#4 Call it a Rest Day

Like I said, there’s something about a snow day that brings hopes of hot beverages and sitting by the fireplace under a blanket.  If you don’t want to work out then guess what?  Don’t workout! Remember rest days are a healthy part of your training.  Yes, rest is just as important to your training as running is.

So tell me, how do you workout on a snow day?

Race Travel: How You AND Your Family Can Stay Sane

Hey friends!  Happy Tuesday and last day in February! To end our partnership theme month, today I want to talk about how to travel to a race with your family. Sounds simple at first right? You’re probably thinking, how can this be any different than a vacation? Well it is VERY different. Here are some tips to help you make the best out of race travel so that everyone leaves happy!

Pre-Race

Tip #1: Set expectations

Well before your big race, it is important to set expectations for the trip.  Is this a race you want to take seriously?  Is this just a bucket list race? Your fellow travelers need to know these things.  If you are taking the race seriously, your family needs to understand that the night before the race you need to be in bed early, time will need to be spent at the expo to pick up your race bib, you may need to eat a very specific diet leading up to the race, etc.  Your family is probably thinking this is no different than a vacation. Also explain what you need from them.  Do you want them to spectate the race? Do you need them to drive you to the start line? Do they need to have a large fountain soda waiting for you when you cross the finish line?  Ok, that last one is really one of mine 🙂 Luckily my boyfriend is gracious enough to make sure I have one after every race.  Thanks honey! He also knew it was important to me to take a picture of the Boston Marathon finish line prior to race day.  How amazing is this picture he took?!

FinishLine

Tip #2: Create a spectator map

If your family is spectating your race, it is critical that you create a spectator map so they will know exactly where to be, at what time, and when to expect to see you.  Your family likely has no clue what the course is or the race start. Make it easy on them by writing down all the details.  This past October my boyfriend and some friends were spectating the Marine Corps Marathon to see myself and another friend.  I made a cheat sheet of what time to be at the train stop to get to D.C., what metro line to hop on once in D.C. and the times, where to catch breakfast before the race, and what intersections to be at and what time.  I have to toot my own horn.  It took a LOT of work so I suggest doing this at least one week in advance. I also suggest checking the race website for spectator tips.

Post Race

Tip #3: Have a meeting point after you cross the finish line

If you are running a huge race with thousands of people, you need a meeting area. If you only listen to one of my tips, it needs to be this one.  The last thing you want to do after a race is walk (er, limp) around trying to find your family. Some races have a family meeting area.  Frankly I do not find this to be useful because usually they are too far from the finish and that is where everyone else is meeting.  I suggest picking a landmark near the finish such as a store or restaurant. I always have my phone on me as well, that way my boyfriend and I can touch base and find each other.

Tip #4: Celebrate WITH your family, not just your achievement

You may have endured some grueling miles, but your family has endured waking up super early on a Saturday, shuttling you around, transporting themselves through the race course, and being extra nice to you even though you were stressed and moody before the race. Be sure to thank them and treat them to dinner or an event. You want them to keep supporting you, don’t you? 😛

That’s it for now!  Share any tips or stories you have in the comments below.  Happy running!