Fitness Friday — Half Marathon Training Update #3!

Haaaaappy Friday! Here I am with what may be one of my final half marathon training updates! Only 4 weeks left till my race, and I am feeling extremely confident and excited!

To see why I chose to sign up for a half marathon, click here… and also be sure to check out training updates #1 and #2!

Before I get to my update…I was really touched to have several friends tell me this week that my blog/running chronicles inspired them to start the Couch-to-5K program. I sometimes feel like my blog only serves as a journal for me and an accountability tool. I post things like my training plan and budget online not because I want to brag about how far I can run, or how little I can spend on groceries, but because it makes me more likely to stick to it.

So when my friends told me they were starting to run, I felt touched that I inspired them, but I also kind of felt like a phony — a lot of the time, I honestly still feel like a beginner myself. I decided to look as far back as I could at my MapMyRun stats. I couldn’t look all the way back at January 2011 when I started… However, I was surprised to see that there wasn’t that much of a difference in my distance and pace between June 2011 and June 2013.

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June 2011 — 21 miles total, max distance 2.5 miles, 9:39 min/mi pace

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June 2013 – 18 miles total, max distance 3.3 miles, 9:30 min/mi pace

This means in my first 2 1/2 years of running, I only increased my distance by about 1.3 miles, and stayed about the same speed. My running progress clearly did not happen overnight right when I started running, and I think it’s important for me to share that.

Fast forward to today — since June, I have increased my furthest distance by almost 8 miles. If you had told me in January 2013 that I would run 2 10Ks before the year was over, I would have never imagined that that was possible. Just goes to show how much I know 😛

ANYWAY, on with the training update!

Funny story- when I went to update my training log, I noticed something that I’m guessing none of you did either… I totally left an entire WEEK out of my training plan!

Check it out – after week 8 it skips from January 26th to February 3rd! Whoops.

Anyway, that’s all corrected now. I decided to cut week 1 out of the spreadsheet and start with the week of December 9th, since that was the week that I actually registered. Check out my progress:

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A couple of things to note: I had a bad head cold weeks 7-8. Running actually seemed to help because it loosened up the phlegm in my throat/chest, but I decided to skip my early wake-up to lift weights on February 1st. It was TOTALLY worth it!

Overall, I’m extremely happy with my mileage (and pace! I was taking it easy yesterday and ended up averaging 9:08/mi… what the what!?) and I’m feeling confident about only training to about 11.5 or 12 miles before the race.

Thoughts After 10 Weeks (or is it 11?):

aches & pains

My knee pain is pretty much 100% gone (!!!). It hurt on my runs this week only because I bruised it up pretty good at dodgeball on Sunday 😉 Note to self: invest in knee pads!

However, fun development- I have a black toenail now. It was really painful for a couple of weeks but now it’s just ugly. I really hope it doesn’t fall off before the race! I have been pretty nervous about it so I embarrassingly went to my friend Chris (who signed up to run the race with me and Tyler! Yay!) and warned him I was about to gross him out, then asked if he had ever had a black toenail. His response: “I have one now!” LOL #runnerproblems

the course

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The entrance to the bike trail, and the hill of death that I’ll have to endure at the end of mile 7

Nothing new here! I have pretty much mastered most of the course. I don’t think there’s any part of it that I haven’t ran (or biked) on. That is an awesome feeling.

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abandoned bike trail on my 11 mile run in the RAIN

One thing I am a little bit concerned about on race day is whether I will be able to keep up with Chris, and whether Tyler will be able to keep up with me! Haha. Chris came with me on a long run last month and we run at a pretty similar pace, but he has already completed 13 miles several times before. Tyler is only up to 9 miles in his training, but he is a fit dude so I have no doubt he’ll be fine! Can’t wait to push and challenge each other during the race…and enjoy a beer together at the end. 🙂

lifestyle changes

I couldn’t believe how much more energy I had for my 11 mile run having gotten a full 8 hours of sleep and not drank the night before. Lately it’s always been one or the other — I either have a few drinks on Friday night, or just don’t end up getting a good nights sleep. But both at the same time? I need to make this happen more often!

I have definitely been cutting down on the weekday drinking (no more wine with dinner, sigh)…it’s just better for me in general, and easier on my budget! I can also confidently say that I am following the 80-20 model of healthy eating- most of my meals are extremely clean and involve Greek yogurt/fruit (breakfast) or beans/quinoa/bread/veggies (lunch and dinner).. Breakfast and lunch are clean every day of the week, and I’d probably say on at least 4 days my dinner is homemade and plant-based as well.

That’s it for now! Have a great weekend, friends!

What is your greatest running (or fitness) achievement?

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Fitness Friday — Half Marathon Training Update #2

Hello everyone and happy Friday!

First of all, thank you for all your sweet comments on Tuesday! My first few days at work have been great. There hasn’t been lots of substantial work for me to do yet, but I absolutely love being in a young, energetic office whose work I find extremely interesting and exciting! I’ve basically been spending my days reading news headlines about our clients’ areas of interest, which is totally up my alley. #newsjunkie for life over here!

It’s also been good to get back into a routine, which includes a “regular” sleep schedule and eating better (read: 3 real meals, and not snacks all.day.long). Well that is, besides last night…

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My after work dinner consisted of an entire basket of French fries (“I’m not even angry, that is impressive!”) and a few Jameson & Gingers at the dodgeball bar… I think I deserved it after almost 4 days of good, healthy eats! 80-20 people, 80-20… Ya can’t be perfect all the time!

Anyway, without further ado, here is my update on my Half Marathon training!

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My last update was 3 weeks ago, when I was nearing the end of week 4 of my training. I’m chugging right along at week 7 right now and have made awesome progress!

The Hal Higdon training plan I used to model my plan after suggests that you do 5K and 10K races at some point during your training. I was originally hoping to run the Hot Chocolate 5K in San Francisco last weekend, but I have pretty much decided that 2 more races (and all the $$$ fees associated) are probably not going to be possible with the tight budget I have allowed myself for the next 6 months.

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So you’ll see there were a few lapses in my training – that I’m TOTALLY okay with. When we were in Oregon, we stayed super active (I logged 12,000+ steps for 3 days in a row!) but I only made it out for one short, slow 2 mile run on New Years Eve day. I didn’t actually do the Hot Chocolate 5K like I said, but I still made progress and ran 8.7 miles with Chris that weekend instead. I’m on the lookout for a new course for us to run tomorrow and the goal will be 9 miles!

Thoughts After 7 Weeks:

aches & pains

Since my last update about experiencing knee pain, virtually ALL of that knee pain has disappeared. I attribute this to 1) getting used to my new shoes and inserts, 2) stretching well, and 3) running on a hilly course that isn’t 100% pavement. The only time I feel pain is usually during the week when I’m doing my shorter runs on the sidewalk.

Wearing heels to work probably doesn’t help the goal of avoiding aches and pains! Beauty is pain Running 16 miles a week is pain.

I also tweaked my ankle last night when I was carrying my bike up my stairs in heeled boots…And I totally brought my ice pack to work today when I woke up and it still hurt. Is it too soon to ice my ankle in front of my new coworkers? #noshame

the course

I’m still running on the grid during the week for my 3-5 mile runs and on the bike trail for my long runs. I have run on the half marathon course every week since my last update, and like I said I have been happy with my results. 7+ miles go by faster when you have a nice view and aren’t just running the same loop over and over! I’ve been training on the back end of the course, and am thinking about switching to the front end this weekend.

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the Half Marathon course!

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the course we ran last weekend!

I’m starting to wonder with these long runs if I should be hydrating or bringing some kind of fuel. Any insight? A couple of weeks ago, I brought some energy chews to get in the habit of eating while I run & see if it agreed with me…it went fine, but I didn’t feel too much of a difference energy wise during or after the run.

lifestyle changes

I have definitely been a lot better in recent weeks about alcohol consumption, especially on Friday nights before my long runs, as well as Saturday afterwards. I wouldn’t say I’m drinking less frequently (I am definitely a glass-of-wine-at-day’s-end kinda girl), but the amount I’m drinking when I do drink has gone down. Mission accomplished! My budgetary restrictions are helping on that front too 😉

This week, I had a pretty drastic change in routine when I started work. I woke up at 6:30am on Wednesday to do a light workout before work! This is crazy talk for me, because I am NOTORIOUS for sleeping late, and sleeping for a longgggg time. Needless to say, I was in bed by 10 and asleep by 10:30 on Wednesday night…just to wake up at 6am yesterday morning to fit in my 5 mile run. Strangely enough, I really like this new routine and I hope I can stick with it. I feel more productive and successful than I have in years! It’s also easier to find the motivation to work out when you’re fresh and awake in the morning, rather than after a long day at work.

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my first sunrise in… who knows how long!

That’s it for now! Hope you all have a great weekend (especially if you get Monday off for MLK Jr. Day!)

Do you fuel or hydrate during long runs? Any tips or advice?

When do you work out: during the morning, at noon, or at night?

Treat Yourself Tuesday: Running Edition

It’s time to TREAT YO SELVES, friends!

Treat-Yourself-Tuesday-BadgeEvery Tuesday, my dear friend Becky over at Olives n’ Wine hosts a linkup encouraging bloggers to share in what ways – big or small – they have treated themselves over the past week. I love this idea and think everyone should find at least one way to treat themselves each week!

As I’ve mentioned before, my favorite way to reward myself after a race is by going and getting a pedicure. What’s better than getting a leg massage after running 6.2 miles… amirite?

Well, since I had to go straight to my parents’ house and help start Thanksgiving dinner after my 10K on Turkey Day, I finally found some time to treat myself to a post-race pedi on Friday.

IMG_2553It was much needed, especially with how much I’ve been running lately! I am in desperate need of a new pair of running shoes (hint hint, Christmas present idea!) and my feet have been pretty wrecked.

Some other ways I’ve been treating myself:

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I participated in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap this year and have been SO impressed by all 3 boxes of cookies I received! My measly cookies seemed so lame in comparison…no worries, I have drowned my cookie-lameness sorrows by eating, um, pretty much every single cookie that I’ve been sent. That’s 36 cookies in about a month. No wonder I’ve gained like 7 pounds…

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I also treated myself to one of my favorite Friday night rituals- a cozy night in with some wine, cheese, crackers and my iPad! I watched NBC’s The Sound of Music Live with Carrie Underwood. Har har. I know people really ragged on Carrie’s performance, but… terrible acting aside, I think she’s amazing. Lovable, beautiful, great voice, great legs (lol 😉 )… And I will never turn down an opportunity to watch The Sound of Music and sing along!

Now…I do love cookies, and it’s no secret I love wine. But I’ve definitely felt like I’ve been overindulging at times lately. What good is it running 3x per week (with the occasional living room ‘weight lifting’ workout) if it just gets canceled out each weekend? I don’t think that’s the best way to treat your body. Especially if you claim to be a healthy living blogger.

In the past year or so, there has definitely been a shift in my blog away from recipes and more toward a log of my workouts and running. Of course, I do still post recipes from time to time (Gorgonzola Turkey Burgers, anyone??) but, as my mom has pointed out several times, “All you talk about is running these days!”

I like to use this blog to keep myself accountable for fitness goals. Because if I announce on the Internet that I’m going to run a 5K this year, and that I’m going to run 25 miles in a month…that means I have to do it, right?

Welp…today is one of those days.

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YEAH. THAT HAPPENED.

I had been on the fence about this decision since my Thanksgiving 10k, but what really did it was attending the California International Marathon this weekend:

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I went for a jog along the last mile or two of the race, and it was extremely inspiring to see all the different kinds of people – different sizes, shapes, age groups – finishing the marathon! It was 20-35 degrees for most of the race as well, which made it all the more impressive. I even saw a 74 year old man finish in less than 4 hours and 30 minutes. Right after that, I texted all my friends who I had told I was thinking about signing up for the half:

textSidenote: I overslept on Sunday morning, so I didn’t get to see her fiancé cross the finish line, but I was super excited to FINALLY meet Erica from Coffee & Quinoa this weekend and celebrate Nate’s 6th marathon with the two of them!

Anyway, I am very excited, but also nervous, to be undergoing this challenge. I am luckily in the best running shape I’ve ever been in, which puts me in a good spot as far as training goes. I think creating a safe training plan is key in treating my body right and making sure it doesn’t rebel against me throughout this process!

I made myself a training plan based on Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 Half Marathon training plan. Instead of running 4x per week and doing cross training on Sunday, I will be running 3x per week, doing upper body weight lifting once, and my “cross training” on Sundays will consist of dodgeball 😉 I also was a little leery of increasing my long run by a whole mile every weekend, so I am only increasing by .75 miles most weeks. However, depending on whether I actually do a 5k and 10k race along the way, I may change that.

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I actually am already on week 2 of the plan, so I’m 1 week ahead of schedule. This extra week is to allow myself at least 1 week to get sick at some point this winter…it’s inevitable! I also gave myself the week of President’s Day weekend off, because I might be traveling at some point that weekend 🙂

So that’s my big news! I hope you all stick with me to follow along while I train for this race. In March 2013, I ran my first 5K…and in March 2014, I am now signed up to run my first Half Marathon. What a difference a year makes. I am scared, and I actually think there might be a screw loose in my head for wanting to do this to my body…but it’s on the Internet now, so there’s no turning back!!!

How have you been treating yourself this holiday season?

HALF MARATHONERS: Tips and training advice please!!