Where Has the Summer Gone and Where Have I Been?

You would think summer would be the time when I am on point with my blogging but this summer has proved that theory wrong! Between vacations, a summer class, yoga, crossfit, running, enjoying the outside and now school starting, I have not had the time or desire to be glued to my iPad to type up posts.

I do not know where to begin on this recap so I will start with some key events and memories from the past couple of months

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The week after the San Francisco Marathon, I was back on a plane heading to Wiscounsin for a family reunion!  My first run back after taking some time off from running post-Marathon was a quiet 7-miler along a hilly road in Wiscounsin.  Who knew Wiscounsin was so hilly!

Another great memory from this summer (end of August) …MY FIRST RELAY!

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I did the 100 on 100 Vermont Relay which starts in Stowe, Vermont and finished right in Okemo. My mom was part of a team and one of the females was injured so I volunteered to take her spot.  I had no idea what to expect but figured if I could run 26.2 then I could run my total of 16 throughout the day.  Though it sounded logical and certainly manageable, I did not expect it to be as difficult and fun as it was!  We stayed the night in Stowe and woke up early to make our 7am start time.  And by our, I mean the woman who was doing our first leg.  I was the last leg so I didn’t start until 11ish.  Right as a the sun was starting to beam. Lovely. 

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My first leg was 5.8 miles, my second leg was 5.2 miles and my third leg was 4.8 miles.  It is safe to say that I experienced all the climate changes throughout the day.  It began to downpour during my second leg which actually made me concentrate less on how miserable I was and more on just trying to hurry up and get out of the rain.

Leg 2 was definitely the most challenging.

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People said that leg 2 is where you loosen up but it was the exact opposite for me.  This is where I felt the tightest.  Thankfully the rain gave me the kick I needed to finish up the final 2 miles.

Leg 3 was actually my favorite!  I never run at night or with a headlamp or through trails so this leg was pretty exciting.

imageI quickly found out that the headlamp does not replace a street light.  I had very little light and the trail-type road was not helping with the struggle.  As much as I would have liked to move faster – not spraining an ankle took some priority and I just focused on my stepping.  Around mile 3 I met up with a runner and we decided that if we wanted to finish this thing with ankles still attached to our legs, it was best that we stay together and use some teamwork headlamp action.  It worked perfectly and the miles (it was only 2 but after a long day, that seemed like a lot) just seemed to fly by as we were chatting.  Before I knew it, we were approaching our final hill that led us right into the lodge.  The buffet table was in the same area so it almost felt like I was running straight toward the buffet line…which isn’t a bad way to end a race. 😉 After a day of eating/drinking just electrolytes, gels, bananas and nuts, it felt great to have a real meal!  Even if it was 11 o’clock at night. 

I have also finally made my way to local Thursday night 5ks.

imageThe races go on for 12 weeks and you accumulate points every time you race.  The better you perform, the more points you get at each race, however, if you miss just one week, you miss out on the points and can drop significantly.  Every year, I say I am going to start at the beginning and try to get the most points but once again, I don’t start until much later and have missed so many points that even my wins will not bring me up.  Points aside, they have been nice Thursday night runs and every week I go into the race telling myself that I am just running for fun.  I do Crossfit on Thursday mornings so my legs are never feeling race-ready but for some crazy reason, every time that gun goes off, my soreness goes away, I stay relaxed and manage to pace myself perfectly.  And with great pacing and low stress, I have been getting some pretty solid times and have consistently been placing 2nd.  They may not be PRs but it feels so good these days to pace myself and learn how to just run for fun with a little competitive edge.  Last year, I would come to these races with a plan to win.  I would start off crazy fast, hit a wall, and usually want to die by the last mile.  I may have had better times but it wasn’t worth it.  I think I stopped going after 3 weeks because that whole “feel like dying” thing was not really what I wanted to schedule into my Thursday evenings.  Now, I just start off with a solid pace, listen to my body, and start catching people if my body feels good.  And with some good pacing, it usually does!

I also raced a 20k on Labor Day weekend.  This race was a USATF certified race so I was racing for/with my team.  I had a long run planned for that day prior to signing up so I figured I would make the haul to Eastern, MA so I can get a long run in with people, represent my team and enjoy the time with my team.

imageWe also bought new uniforms that are black, pink and baby blue so of course, I was eager to rock some of my favorite colors.

So far this summer (and September), I have run 2 new PRs!! What is my strategy you ask??? JUST RUN DISTANCES YOU HAVE NEVER RUN BEFORE! ha ha. But seriously, it is a sure way to score yourself a new PR.

A couple additional things (I am scrolling through pictures on my phone to recap my last 2 months ha ha)

imageI bought a pair of Hokas because I just couldn’t resist the thought of how comfy they look despite the clown-shoe-like style.  I am not sure why I thought breaking them in on a 14 mile run was wise, but of course, that was exactly what I did.  They felt pretty good.  I was not in love, but I am starting to warm-up to them.

The weekend before school started, I went to Ithaca for a big family reunion/get-together with my boyfriend’s side of the family.  It was the absolute perfect way to end the summer.  Good BBQs, good people, good weather, and lots of fun and games.

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Quick food recap.  I bought the Oh She Glows cookbook and feel in love.  I learned how to make creamy sauce by simply blending cashews that have been soaked and almond milk.

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This dish was one of their curry dishes (we added the shrimp because it is a vegetarian cookbook) The sauce is simply curry, cashews and almond milk and it is mixed in with all sorts of delicious veggies.  I topped some zoodles with this concoction but some brown rice would be perfect. 

My mornings have consistently been delicious Greek yogurt and fruit bowls for the entire month.

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The key to a wonderful Greek yogurt bowl is some Purely Elizabeth Puffs + Granola.  I absolutely love granola but the sugar content is pretty high.  This cereal is primary puffs with some granola mixed in.  It is perfect because you get just enough granola with some puffs for the added crunch.

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I have also been a huge fan on zoodles (Zucchini spiralized into noodles)!

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My summer lunch was usually zoodles mixed with Cottage Cheese and Flavor God Pizza seasoning.

This summer was absolutely amazing and I am still on cloud nine from the marathon.  I want to do a fall marathon but I also just want to train and run while the weather is still nice without having a specific game plan.  I like having the choice to do what I want and not have to plan around events.  October is stacked with races and crossfit competitions.  Although a fall marathon sounds wonderful –  jumping in a bunch of different half marathons and some Crossfit competitions also sounds great.  My game plan is to increase my long run distance every weekend that I am free and if I can manage to get that 20 miler in with 2 weeks allowed for tapering, then we will see if there is something possible for early November.  But right now I just have my eyes set on some great runs, great Crossfit workouts, my Spartan Race next weekend and just taking the weekends to wind down.  🙂

I hope everyone has had a great summer! It is always sad to see it go, but I love working with my new group of students and am excited to implement some new things in my teaching!

IT’S TAPER TIME!!

…..yes, yes it is!  My long-runs are done and now I can go back to focusing on Crossfit and not have to worry about tiring my legs for the long run.  Deep down, that is what I am thinking but I know that this is the time where I need to be the most careful.  I have put in the effort, I have conquered the 20 21 miler and now it is the time where I need to give my body the proper care that it needs and the chance to recover so that come July 26th, I am ready to race strong..and smart!

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Someone please pinch me!  I am still on cloud nine… I just can’t believe I did this and I can’t believe how enjoyable it was.  I ran the first 12 miles alone on the roads and at mile 12, I entered a reservoir to do the final 8 with my mom and a member of my running team.  My running partner was just starting her run  so she was ready to get moving..and by ready to get moving, I mean she certainly set a strong pace.  There were moments where I wasn’t sure I would be able to hold the pace but I did!

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..pretty much!

She was such a great running partner and it was so nice to have someone to distract me from the miles.  Once I start running with someone, my ear buds get tucked away into my bra and I no longer can hear my lovely Nike App girl telling me my miles and my splits.  It is definitely a nice to break away from concentrating on the miles but eventually I get curious.  A couple of times I asked my mom and my running buddy what mile they were on and then calculated what mine would then be.  I must make myself look real good when I ask what mile I am on in the midst of one of the most important training runs 😉  We finished the run at my running partner’s car a little past 2o miles.  I was going to have her drive me home but I knew I had a little more left in the tank and being so close to home, I decided to finish this awesome run strong and ran home! I actually arrived at my driveway at mile 20.87. No way was I going to end there! I turned around, ran the end of my street and back just so I could hear that Nike lady say those two beautiful numbers..2-1 miles!!! She has never sounded so beautiful 😉

I had a solid 45 minutes to relax and get my stomach back to feeling OK before heading to a day full of 4th of July parties.  I tried to hydrate as much as possible prior to leaving so I wouldn’t feel dehydrated and nauseous later.  Lets just say, BBQ food, chips and lots of sitting and talking is NOT proper race recovery.  By the end of the night, my legs were screaming in pain and everything felt swollen.  I even experienced some mid-conversation hip flexor cramps…nothing like gasping for air and grabbing your hip while someone is telling some important story…

I felt a little better on Sunday morning but my right knee was in a bit of pain.  I learned from an injury last year that knee pain is often a result of tight hips, hamstrings, or quads which then tugs on the knee.  Yoga was definitely in my Sunday morning game plan along with this bowl of blended berries.

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There is nothing I needed more after a 21 miler followed by lots of 4th of July junk food than a good stretch at yoga and detoxifying fruit bowl.

During yoga, it was clear that my right knee pain was due to an extremely tight right hip.  Any position that stretched the hip flexors is where I experienced the most pain but thankfully those were the positions that loosened them up and I walked out of Yoga with a much better feeling in my knee.

Lets talk food because since being on summer vacation, I have had time to whip up some pretty delicious dinners around here..but clearly still not enough time to post more blog posts! oops.

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If you are craving pasta but do not want all the gluten or carbs…this is definitely the way to go.  I think it even tastes better than pasta!  1 serving is 1/4 of the fairly large batch and has 20 grams of carbs and 25 grams of proteins.  We are also a fan of the Black bean pasta.  We made a homemade tomato sauce with onions, mushroom and basil with some shrimp.

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It made another appearance later in the week with chicken and brussels sprouts.  This time no sauce, just sprinkled swiss cheese and nutritional yeast.  I am telling you, this pasta is the way to go.  It is so delicious just plain or you can jazz it up with various marinara sauces or avocado sauces.

Last Wednesday I came home from a farm stand with LOTS of Parsley and the last time I did that, it sat in my fridge and rotted.  This time around I knew I had to use it ASAP so the first thing that came to mind was GUACAMOLE.  I used Running on Veggies guacamole recipe that uses a cup of mashed peas.  It is perfect.  You double the volume with less that fat and more vegetables and you can’t even taste the peas.

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Guacamole is not a main course, though it should be!…so I decided to pair the guacamole with some homemade Fajitas using crockpot shredded chicken.

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Easiest meal right here!  Just chicken, salsa, bone broth, carrots, onions and parsley..set the crockpot for a few hours and boom..delicious shredded chicken.

I am currently finishing up this blog post with a nice coffee in my hand overlooking Cayuga Lake in Ithaca.  It is not time to fish a bit and then hit some wineries.  I planned on getting in a nice run around the lake today but my legs are recovering from yesterday morning’s Crossfit WOD…

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This was definitely one of those workouts where you are just fighting to hang on.  The humidity certainly didn’t help..I think I am still trying to catch my breath 24 hours later.  Despite the pain and exhaustion, after 26 minutes of work, I made the Crossfit Board for fastest time!  My 12 mile run around Ithaca will be postponed until tomorrow so I can tackle the hills with rested legs 🙂

Summer Vacation is Finally Here…for a few hours

Tuesday at noon was my official start to summer! WooHooo!…but of course, Wednesday at 8am was my official start of a summer statistics class.  It only meets 5 times over the course of the summer so I can’t complain…especially because 1.) I get bored so easily over the summer and 2.) I LOVE STATISTICS

image..and 3.) I love the juice bar at UMass and my brand new colorful pens and notebook 🙂

Before I get into all this summer vacation talk and the things I have planned aside from number crunching, I have to start off by saying I AM ONLY ONE HARD TRAINING RUN AWAY FROM BEING MARATHON READY!  I conquered the 18 miler last Saturday…by myself! image I am not going to lie, I was freaking out Friday evening because I couldn’t recruit anyone to run that final few/6 miles with me.  I really/obsessively questioned whether I could tackle the run by myself.  My boyfriend mapped out a new route that was the perfect distance, 12 miles through surrounding neighborhoods and then the final 6 miles in a beautiful and FLAT reservoir less than a mile from our house…also serves as a good meeting place if I had someone to run with.  I tried not to talk about my nerves and uncertainty too much because I know that non-runners are not a huge fan of listening to anything involving running let alone running a crazy 18 miles.  We drove the route the night before to make sure I had my roads correct, I put out water at mile 9 miles and was all set to conquer the run…unfortunately alone.  I woke up early Saturday morning to ensure that would I beat the heat.  Boy was I nervous.  I don’t know what it is about long runs that makes me anxious.  My theory is that ‘the long run’ is not just a normal run.  You (or maybe it’s just me!) have to mentally prepare for it. I have to pump myself up for it.  It is not one of those runs where you just get out there and just crank out a few miles.  You have to train your mind to not focus on the time, not focus on how many miles left, not focus on pace and to solely focus on taking in the world around you.  I think my nerves kick in because so much effort goes into preparing for the long run..the mental aspect, the water placement, the GU, the weather…and then there’s the thought of ‘after ALL this preparation, what if I can’t do it or my legs just feel terrible’.  There are days when I am rested yet my legs still feel horrible and then there are other days where I already worked out and yet my legs feel great.  It seems like I can never control how my legs are going to feel and that uncontrollable piece is scary especially when your about to conquer lots of miles.  I guess when you put so much effort into preparing for something, it’s natural to be nervous.  Nervous that the plan that is prepped and set in place could potentially fall through.  And the craziest part of all, is most of the time, it all works out..yet I still always get those nerves.  And even if it happened to not be my day for a long run, there are plenty of other days to try again! Thankfully last Saturday was my day and I had a great run at a solid pace 🙂

My legs were surprisingly not too sore on Sunday so I was able to get in a good yoga session and Crossfit workout.  As for Monday, I wasn’t sore but certainly not ready to take on the 100 burpees that they had on the agenda. No thank you!  I did a nice evening shake out run and a bike ride instead. By Thursday, my legs were definitely ready to rest up and thankfully my Compex muscle stimulation came in the mail just when I needed it the most! image I did not hesitate to use it! I hooked it right up to my hamstrings and let it do its thing! It certainly worked its magic because my legs felt great for Saturday’s (yesterday’s) 15 miler! image It is crazy that ‘scaling back’ this week means a 15 mile run.  A month ago 15 miles would have been my longest run in history and now it doesn’t seem so long.  It could of been because my wonderful mom jumped in and ran the last 5 miles with me to take my mind off that last leg!

I had to get to afternoon party but I certainly did not skip on a post-long run ice bath in my neighbors pool, a nice oatmeal cereal with fruit and nuts, and a quick stim session. image image

Next up…the 20 miler.  Nothing like kicking off the 4th of July with a light run 😉

Before I end this post, I have to show you all another accomplishment that went down this week…

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 I successfully managed to create homemade spring rolls!  I used Brown Rice paper (soaked in warm water) and filled them with sliced cucumbers, carrots, romaine lettuce, avocado, kelp noodles, shrimp and a drizzle of homemade peanut sauce.  I could use a bit more work on my rolling skills but all in all, they came out great…and half the price of what I would pay at a sushi restaurant.

ONE MORE THING…my Timehop app reminded me that exactly 3 years ago I ran my first half marathon!

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Wow. It is crazy to think about how much has changed/happened over these past 3 years.  I have grown in so many ways.  In those 3 years, I ran 14 more half marathons, earned my Masters Degree, started my teaching career,  started Crossfit and am now training/3 weeks away from my first marathon…oh and met an incredibly amazing person that puts a smile on my face everyday 🙂

Stepping up my Recovery Game

Happy Friday..and only 1 1/2 days until Summer vacation!

If it weren’t for those unnecessary Snow Days, I would be done by now!

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Not much has been going on this week, just working on finishing up the school year strong!

Another large task is learning how to recover from Sunday long runs, while still strength training during the week yet also staying rested for the next long run. It is TOUGH.   I thought taking Monday off would be enough time to recover from Sunday’s 16.5 miler but my legs were still feeling pretty tight on Tuesday.  However, it didn’t stop me from waking up early for 6am Crossfit.  Who can pass up a 5:30 sunrise like this…

imageAfter Tuesday and Wednesday morning crossfit, my body was definitely in the need of a good stretch so tried a new Yoga class Wednesday evening.  This class – Yin Yoga – focuses less on the muscles and more on reaching the tendons and joints.  To do this, you hold less intense positions for a longer period of time.  The goal is to have no pain while in the position and just allow the body to naturally release itself with time. (5 minutes per position)  My instructor talked about how most of the poses revolve around loosening up the lower back because the practice emphasizes the role that one’s back has on controlling the rest of the body.  Aside from the class being from 7:30-9 – way past my bedtime – it was a great class! Most of the moves can be done while laying on the floor watching tv so I have a feeling this 7:30 class will turn into my own class on the floor of my living room at a more reasonable time.  😉

Since my long run probably shouldn’t be my only run for the week, I figured I would pass up Thursday morning crossfit and run instead.  I set out for only 6 miles but there is something about those delirious morning miles that always makes me want more..maybe I am just trying to procrastinate going to work.

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The good thing – I got in a nice semi-long run, the bad thing – I had about 30 minutes to get ready and eat breakfast. That being said my breakfast was a classy, ‘throw-everything-in-your-Greek yogurt’ that had to be devoured on the go!

imageBut don’t worry, I made up for it at night with a delicious vegetable omelette topped with some melted Swiss Cheese and nutritional yeast.

imageSince I ran 7 miles in the morning, I planned on just relaxing after work… but let’s be honest, that plan never actually happens.  I had an itch to workout after a long day of work so I took on afternoon crossfit as well.

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Don’ t be fooled, I did NOT do the prescribed 125 pounds.  My tired legs stuck with a challenging but manageable 85 pounds. It is safe to say that today is rest day because my legs are ready to recover and prepare for another challenging long run tomorrow!

Speaking of recovery..I finally made a purchase I have been thinking about for a LONG time.

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AN ELECTRIC MUSCLE STIMULATOR!!  I always used this to help with muscle recovery when I was a college athlete. It always helped with increasing blood flow and flushing out lactic acid.  The price for this is pretty high but when I came across the code for a HUGE discount, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.  Using this stimulator to loosen up my lower back and piriformis will make it so I don’t have to get frequent massages so maybe it will all even out 😉 right?!

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Longest Run to Date and a Racecation Planned

Ironic that my last post was about setting PRs and the frustration I have been experiencing with not having set a running PR in quite some time…then BOOM, without any expectations, I set a running PR.  No, no, not some outrageous race time but my LONGEST RUN EVER!!!

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Owe it to my new Brooks Launch running shoes..

Like I said in my last post, I have been focusing most of my time on Crossfit and have only been getting in super short runs later in the day if I have time.  Two weekends ago, I had a 14 miler planned but not a single bone in my body wanted to do it.  I don’t necessarily get excited for long runs but I don’t usually dread them like I was dreading that 14 miler.  Instead of forcing something that I just didn’t want to do, I ended up skipping my long run and doing yoga at my Crossfit box followed by a Sunday WOD and some extra lifting.  It was exactly what I wanted to do.  My body needed a good stretch and I was in the mood to lift and workout with people.  Being my first week of marathon training, (yup, MARATHON IS BOOKED.  Will explain later!), I felt a little guilty about bailing out on a long run this early into training but sometimes you just need to let yourself break away from the plan a bit and do what you want rather than what you feel you should do.

This past Sunday, I knew I had to stick to my schedule and I felt ready to take on the long run, especially because the weather was perfect.  With almost 2 weeks of little running since my last half marathon, I had no idea what to expect.  I set a goal of 10, a reach goal of 12 and if some miracle happened, then the intended 14 that I missed last week.

imageAh yes, I still smile when I see those numbers.  How did I do that??  But seriously…I wish I knew what made this run so perfect.  My legs felt fresh despite 5 straight days of working out before going into this run, my mind was relaxed and everything just felt great. I just kept tacking on more miles because my body and legs were willing to take it and not fighting against me for once!  Once I knew I was going to hit my reach goal of 12, I went a little further for 13 and though I could feel myself starting to weaken, I was way too close to that miracle so I slowed my pace down a bit and just remained controlled.  I reminded myself that a mile is just  my quick warm up around the block before Open Gym crossfit.  I can handle that!  And sure enough, I did 🙂  This was so needed.  I needed this running boost to remind myself that I can do this!  When I look at my training plan, those high mileage runs scare me, but I just need to take it one mile at a time.  I also need to remind myself that not every run is a good run and sometimes your legs just want to give up after mile 1.  Don’t force it.  If the run isn’t there, then save it.  Wait for the moment when it is.  It may not be part of the plan, but the plan will work itself out if it’s meant to happen.

Speaking of this whole marathon training thing that I keep mentioning…

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I am making my way back to San Francisco this summer 🙂 I received this same confirmation email a year ago but only made it to the Half-marathon finish.

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San Francisco Half-Marathon 2014

Lets see how it all plays out for Round 2.  I am excited..nervous…scared…but also relaxed.  I know that the trip will be amazing regardless of what happens.  If I don’t feel marathon ready then I will just switch to the half marathon and enjoy everything that race has to offer…THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE.  And even if NO running happens, I can enjoy a wonderful vacation with a great friend in a beautiful city.

Running wasn’t the only huge accomplishment this weekend but because I haven’t had many of those in a while I will boast about that the most 😉 On Saturday, I finally reached the highest double unders amount for my Crossfit box!  This has been a goal I have been trying to reach for weeks now and I am so happy it finally happened! 102 consecutive Double Unders! 

Funny story about reaching 102. On Friday I decided to try and set a new personal best seeing as I had been at 83 for a couple of weeks and Double Unders were in Friday’s WOD.

imageI made it up to 99! A new personal best (as of Friday) and a tie for first place at my box.  I walk in on Saturday and saw I had been bumped to 2nd because a phenomenal double underer (definitely not a word..) in the later class ended up hitting the whole 100! She is actually the person I learned double unders from.  I starred at her form and just tried to mimic it…a little creepy but true..and helpful!  Since I was still on cloud nine from my 99, I did not expect to have to tackle this challenge again but being only 1 away, it had to be done.  I didn’t get it on my first try but my legs were willing to jump 102 more times 🙂  I suspect this will lead to a little Double Under competition 😉 but what better way to stay motivated and continue to better my previous score!

Lets get to the good stuff and talk food…

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Friday nights always call for burgers and a sad attempt (fail) at grilling artichokes.  When it comes to burger night, things get a little territorial so thankfully we had some chives to make sure our burgers are not mixed up 😉 I am a huge fan of the Trader Joe’s grass-fed 90% lean beef, mix in some onions and Flavor God spices and top it off with melted shredded Swiss cheese. Instead of buns I use one slice of toasted Ezekiel bread and just leave the top open and load on grilled onions, mushrooms and avocado!

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This is has been a recent post-workout favorite!  If you are a chocolate lover like me, this is right up your alley.  I mixed my Vega-Sport Chocolate Protein powder with just enough Almond Milk to make a gooey fudge.  Chop up some fruit…apples, strawberries and bananas are my top choices...and just dip/SLATHER them in chocolate.

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Lastly, after a cold and rainy 3-day field trip to Cape Cod last week, the only thing I wanted for dinner was grilled, HOT, food!  That is exactly what went down…Salmon, broccoli, brussel sprouts, chopped sweet potato fries.  Just what I needed after 3 days of cold food!

I hope everyone has a great rest of the week!  I will be road tripping it with my team tonight for a USATF 5k race in New Hampshire.

Wish us luck! 🙂

Boston Run to Remember Race Recap

Between ending the lacrosse season and a 3 day field trip to Cape Cod with my students, I am FINALLY here and ready to recap the Boston Run to Remember Half Marathon.

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This was my 3rd time running this race and is the only half marathon that I have run 3 consecutive times.

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2013
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2014

It was also my 3rd time staying in the Hilton at Logan Airport with my mom.  Prices are cheap, transportation to the start line is quick and easy, view is spectacular and post-race brunch is delicious..which is a necessity.  It was also the 3rd time that my mom and I set an early departure time but ended up leaving hour(s) past the intended time 😉

Time of departure aside, my mom and I met up Saturday afternoon and were off to Boston.  We had a few pit stops that had to be made along the way…

Marathon Sports was a necessary stop because I have been struggling to find the perfect shoe.  The Asics Gel-Pursue have been my go-to for the past year and although I have tried to explore different Asics, I always end up coming back to the pursue.  Well sure enough they had the Asics Pursue at Marathon Sports and sure enough the shoe expert said that it was a good fit given my foot structure.  But I also had my eyes on the beautiful Brooks Launch running shoes.  I have been contemplating trying out Brooks because I have heard great things about the brand.  The second I slipped them on, it all made sense.. they felt amazing.  So amazing that I felt the need to walk out of the store with them on and wore them for the rest of the day 🙂

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I also felt the need to talk a picture of how awesome they were while standing in line for my over-priced/standard Boston price Americano.

A Whole Foods stop for some pre-race fruits and a Sushi lunch was also mandatory

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..and of course another over-priced drink.

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But this was a drink I didn’t mind spending $4 on because it was delicious!  You can’t even imagine the excitement I had when I went to my local Whole Foods this past weekend and saw a sign “2 for $5” for them.  Definitely walked out with 4 different flavors.  

And after multiple stops throughout Boston, we finally made it to the Expo!

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The Boston Run to Remember expo is always pretty decent.  Nothing too crazy but you have a solid amount of samples..free samples are what make an expo awesome, right?!  It’s hard to judge the expo when your last Expo was the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  Lets just say the expectations are set pretty high after you experience that.  After the expo we headed back to the hotel to relax..and catch up on Grey’s Anatomy with a Boston Skyline view.

We had reservations at the same restaurant that we ate at last year, Salvatore’s.  It still holds as some of the best pizza that I have ever had. So delicious that I even still have a picture of my pizza from last year….

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In the midst of inhaling the pizza, my mom was chatting with the bartender about last year’s race which somehow turned into a convo about my time and place last year which then led to the bartender saying “If you get top 3, you can come back tomorrow evening and I will buy you your meal”.  First of all, you should never offer to buy a female dinner after racing….we/I can EAT. So I guess you can say, my lack of placing top 3 was because I am overly generous and did not want the bartender to go bankrupt 😉

The race was at 7 so we had a 5am wake up.  I wasn’t too nervous because I had no idea what to expect.  I have been getting in my long-runs but my mid-week runs have been limited.  I have been focusing on strength and Crossfit rather than improving my race times.  I want to be ready and prepared to jump into half marathons for fun but fast times are currently not my main focus.  Last year, I ran a PR (which was beat this past fall) of 1:27 and with most PR races, there was a whole lot of pain and struggle.  It is hard to enjoy the beautiful Boston scenery when your fighting to hang on.  This time around, I decided to take it all in and not focus on time.

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3 minutes slower than last year which is still a bit hard to accept but it was truly an enjoyable race and I can’t say that about many races that I’ve raced hard in.

The expo samples may have been limited but they certainly made up for it after the race!

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If I had any class/dignity left in me after the race, it was definitely out the window when I grabbed an empty cardboard box and just started loading up on every possible (free) sample I could find.  Thankfully, I found a bag to transfer everything which made me feel a bit more classy.

Another reason why I decided to take the slower, more enjoyable racing option was because the next day was Memorial Day which means HERO WOD at Crossfit.  I was already signed up for the 10am session and I definitely did not want to skip on this fun!

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Not your typical ‘day-after-half marathon-workout’ but I am so glad I have some energy left from the race because this was crazy, challenging, and so rewarding!

imageI can’t say enough great things about working out with these people.  They are so strong, so motivating and they always keep me humbled.  Each person has a different strength and a different weakness.  Crossfit is such a mix of different abilities which is why I love it so much.  There is always something (multiple) things to improve on which keeps me wanting to come back and push harder everyday.

It sometimes worries me that I am not getting in as many runs and I have been lacking the motivation to push myself in races.  I am naturally a competitive person and will always want those race PRs and those super speedy times, however, I am still mentally recovering from some really tough races and I just want to get back to the joy of racing before I return to that level of pain and struggle.  I also need to keep reminding myself that although I am taking my racing lightly, I have been pushing myself harder and faster everyday in Crossfit.  There are so many goals I am trying to reach in that arena and I have been really fighting hard to reach some solid benchmarks.  Balancing running and Crossfit has been manageable but there is a lot of give and take.  In the fall, my focus was on racing.  I was only able to make Crossfit 3 days a week because I needed to get in high mileage.  I was improving in Crossfit but certainly not as much as I am now.  I guess you could say, I Crossfitted with caution which limited my achievement in that aspect, however, I ended up racing some fast half marathon times.  This past spring is opposite, I skip more weekday runs because I want to give my crossfit workouts everything I have without tired legs.  Despite my lack of racing PRs, I’ve set some solid PRs on the rower, on many lifts, and FINALLY just set the highest Max Double Unders.

So, with all this PR talk, I will end with this.  At the end of the day, no one really knows what your PRs are/is, many probably don’t care, and SOME DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT PR STANDS FOR! (Personal Record by the way) Just got out there, do what makes you happy, do what keeps you coming back for more, and do it for YOU!

Sunny Long Run, Deck of Hell and First Fishing Trip of the Season

Happy Tuesday!

I definitely just changed that from Happy Monday to Happy Tuesday because my intentions for posting this yesterday fell through…

That weekend flew by but it was awesome!  My team had a night game on Friday and the team had a  beautiful turf field with music blasting.  It definitely brought back memories of my college games with such a professional and amped up atmosphere.  I will forever miss my lacrosse days.  There is nothing more special than game day and the opportunity to play your favorite sport with your best friends.  Ahh memory lane. Always sad that it’s over but forever grateful that it happened!

Enough with the sappy lines, moving on!   Saturday was an eventful and exhausting day starting with an awesome crossfit workout.  We all decided to ditch the workouts we had planned and did a workout called the “Deck of Hell”.  Our coach had a deck of cards and assigned a move to each suite. Our four movements were burpees, pull ups, med ball cleans and weighted sit-ups.  Every time a card was flipped we had to do the move as many times as the number on the card and Jokers were 200m sprints.  It didn’t sound too tough of a WOD when we started but when the face cards keep popping up meaning 11 burpees or 11 pull-ups, it became clear how the workout got it’s name!

With a great WOD done and the sun shinning, it was time to dust off the fishing poles and kayaks for our first fishing adventure of the season.  It was more of tanning session with the lack of bites BUT I did catch 3!

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The ‘Deck of Hell’ and a few fish later, we were definitely due for a big ol’ burger and nachos and that is exactly what went down after a quick nap.

After checking the weather for my long run on Sunday, I decided that an early morning wake-up was essential if I wanted to beat the heat and spare myself from a brutal run in the sun.  However, my body and phone had other plans.  My alarm never went off, which is how Sundays should be, so at 9am I flew out of bed, laced up and headed out as fast as I could. Despite the effort, I definitely did not beat the heat and probably did not hydrate as well as I should have because it was a hot one!

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Any runner can attest that stopping just short of an even mile is just not something you do.  Even if you have to run up and down your driveway until you get that even mile, you WILL do it. But unfortunately, I was way too thirsty to check where I was at.  I knew I was well past 10 miles and that was enough for me to call it quits.

The last 5 miles was spent dreaming of this…

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Yup.  There is nothing better than that feeling of being done, kicking back and chugging ice water after.  This position did not last long because I had to coach at noon, but it was glorious while it lasted.

We ended the weekend on a great note with some amazing homemade shrimp tacos!

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Picked up some peeled and deveined organic shrimp cooked with Flavor God seasoning, broiled cabbage for some crunch, and homemade paleo tortillas taken from Stupid Easy Paleo.  These new tortillas are perfect!  They cook in 2 minutes, the size can be adjusted based on the frying pan diameter and they fold without breaking!  My next plan is to buy those egg yolk circles to make small, round tortillas as buns for my homemade burgers.

Another perfect meal from the week was a big salad, grilled steak with grilled carrots, sweet potato fries and onions.

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I was debating whether I should order red compression socks for this weekend’s Boston Run to Remember Half marathon..then I saw this amazing email!

imageHoly Smokes! What a deal.

I probably do not need any more compression socks and may not even get the red color, but for $39,I am willing to test my luck.  Nothing like a good surprise to add an element of excitement to the work week.  I will keep you all posted on what my Grab Bag has!

Oh and Mei would also like to say hi to you all.  There is nothing better than coming home to this cutie after a long day!

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I definitely needed to see this face after a pretty rough day.  I also needed a little extra miles to clear my head so I set out for a slow 4 miler before dinner.  Despite the 50 pistol squats from this morning’s WOD, it wasn’t as tough as I thought it would be.

Speaking of dinner, we have a pretty classy set up for blocking the sun..

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Rumor has it, it’s not permanent but I am not sold on that 😉 Permanent or not, I’m just grateful and happy to have a delicious grilled dinner outside with a beautiful sunset.

Have a great week! Only 4 more days until a nice little racecation with my Mom 🙂