New Plan

My exercise sabbatical is over. This past week, I took a lot of time off work, enjoyed the holiday, and relaxed. Running my first half feels great but now I am ready to jump back into a new training plan. This time I decided to try a plan from Runner’s World using their Smart Coach program.

The selections I made to come up with this plan are:

Initial Weekly Distance: 21-26 Miles

Training Intensity: Moderate

Long Run Day: Saturday

This plan is 14 weeks long.

I consider myself a beginner and have been running for less than two years. This plan is more intense than my previous one but graduated enough that it will not be a shock to my system.

Monday: Easy Run Three Miles  & Strength Training

Tuesday: (Supposed to be a rest day but I have plans after work on Wednesday, so I am adjusting the plan.) Six Miles with Four at Tempo

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Easy Run Two Miles

Friday: Strength Training

Saturday: Long Run Ten Miles

Sunday: Yoga

I plan on adding daily stretching which will help with increased flexibility and muscle tightness. I have an AM Yoga DVD that I plan on using most mornings before work to make sure I get this in everyday. Having IT Band issues was not pleasant during my first half and I will do anything to avoid it. (Plus I can live without walking around with a slight limp and people asking me if I am OK.)

I only took a handful of pictures on Thanksgiving before the beer drinking and eating took over.

002

The table pre-food massacre.

Dennis and Mom

My Brother and Mother.

How do you come-up with a training plan?

Moving Forward

Leading up to the end of end of Half Marathon training, I started to have a nagging feeling of what to do next. I wanted to let myself enjoy the St. Pete Women’s Half and take the time to really process how I felt about it before I jumped into a new training plan. Living in an area with a lot of great races, I knew it would be difficult to know where to start.

This week has been one in which I took it easy. I did not exercise for three days following the Half and have only run one day. I wanted to take it easy because of the holiday and to really think about how to move forward. Sometimes taking that time to rest, mentally and physically, can give you the push to jump into a new routine.

So One Day I Just Decided To Run

{Source}

The question I have mulled over the most, is whether to focus on short or long distances. I want a sub-30 5K and I am very close to obtaining it. With regular speed training, I know I can get there. At the the same time, I want to run another Half. I learned a lot training for the first one and think this training cycle will be a lot more efficient. So what to do?

I decided to train for the Half. I will still run a few shorter distance races (a few five and ten K’s) but think maintaining the fitness I currently have, will help improve my time rather than starting to base build later in the year.

Here is the current race plan. It is tentative and I reserve the right to change my mind.

A Race:

Gasparilla Distance Classic – March 4th Half Marathon

Other Races:

The Florida Half Marathon 10K & 5K December 17th – Will do the 10K

Beat the Elite 10-K Challenge – January 14th

Seasons 52 5.2K – January 21st

House of Hope Run Around the Pines – February 18th

Iron Girl Clearwater – April 4th Half Marathon

How do you feel after your A race? Ready to jump into a new training cycle or do you like to take it easy?

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Someecard

{Source}

Today seems like the right day to focus on gratitude and list a few of the things I am grateful for.

1. J and the kitties.

002

011

010

2. That I have a job (regardless of whether or not I like said job, in this economy I am grateful.)

3. Good Health. The past few years dealing with my thyroid have been difficult. I have finally found the right dosage of Synthroid and my insulin resistance is at normal levels.

4. Good friends. I am so lucky to have people in my life that will plan elaborate ways to get me out of the office to surprise me for my birthday.

30th Birthday Saffran

30th Birthday Suprise Saffran

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have a safe and happy one.

Women’s Half Marathon St. Pete

This weekend was a whirlwind. It started on Friday, which I took off from work because I was supposed to see Breaking Dawn at midnight, but it worked out anyway because I needed to pick-up my race packet.

Packet pick-up and the Race Expo were held at the very fancy and beautiful Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club.

Vinoy Renaissance Hotel St. Pete

{Source}

The hotel is huge but the race did a great job with signs directing you to the packet/t-shirt pick-up and eventually the Expo.

Race Packet Pick-up St. Pete Women's Half

I grabbed my packet, swag bag, and did a quick loop through the Expo. There were lots of great vendors but I really do not have any money to spend and wanted to beat the traffic on the way home.

The bag is pretty nice and I will definitely put it in my rotation of reusable shopping bags.

Women's Half Marathon Swag Bag

Tail liked it too.

Women's Half Marathon St. Pete Bag and Cat

My race bib and one of the Bondi Bands I bought at the Expo. I love how this race prints your first name on your bib. (In case you are unable to read it, it says “I belong to a drinking club with a running problem.”)

Bondi Band and Race Bib

The goodies in the bag minus the Women’s Running magazine that I already started to read.

Women's Half Marathon St. Pete Goodies

The t-shirt is very nice and made by Born Fit. I will definitely use this shirt to run in.

Women's Half Marathon St. Pete T-Shirt

Saturday, after my Democratic Women’s Club meeting, I headed to my Mom’s in Tampa. Sleeping there cut my driving time down by an hour. We watched TV (I finally got her to watch Once Upon A Time, which I knew she would like.) I attempted to go to sleep at eight but it was more like nine. I tripled checked my alarms after Thursday’s incident, and planned to get up at 3:30. I woke up without incident and had lots of coffee and a light breakfast.

My stomach was not doing great, which it never does when I am super nervous, but I managed to get out of the house only 20 minutes later than planned. There was no traffic until I got off the highway in St. Pete and then it was monstrous. At 6:30, I was still in line to get into the parking garage and the race started at 7. It took me 15 minutes to park, five to walk to the porta-potties (I really had to go), and I got to my corral as the air horn went off. Not ideal but at least I was always going to start towards the back, so there was no time lost.

The first mile or so was super crowded which worked since I had not had a chance to warm up, it was nice to stick to a slow pace. My plan was to maintain about a 11 minute/mile pace which is comfortable for me. I did take one bathroom break around mile seven but only lost two minutes waiting and could not have run one more minute with a full bladder.

Race Highlights:

Beautiful Course: Gorgeous houses and water views. I kept thinking, can you imagine living here in this beautiful place?

Tropicana Field: Getting to run through Tropicana Field (where the Tampa Bay Rays play) was really cool. It was towards the end of the race and running on Astro Turf is an experience. This is reason enough to run the race, how many people can say they ran a lap around a MLB field? (I also found my self touching one of the green walls because I was always curious if they are padded. My conclusion is if you run into one trying to catch a ball, it must really hurt.)

Crowd Support: Great signs and lots of cheering. Having the names on the bibs let people cheer for you by name. My favorite signs were a series that were staked within 20 feet of each other and were to a runner names Laura. They told her how much they hated to miss the race but that she was going to do great. The final sign in the series promised her a foot massage when she got home. How cute is that?

Water Stops: They were all well manned and had plenty of volunteers. My favorite was a 70’s themed stop (sponsored by a local running club) they had a VW Van and were decked out in disco duds (including wigs.)

Cool Medal: Really unique and perfectly represents the race location.

Women's_Half_Marathon_St._Pete_2011_Medal

{Source}

Race Lowlights:

Lost My Car: This is completely my fault, and sadly not the first time this has happened to me. All the rushing to get to the race before it started, I did not pay attention to where I parked. I ended up walking around for two hours checking every parking garage within a three-mile radius of the start. Not my finest hour by a long shot.

Heat: It was pretty hot for November (even in Florida). I am so glad I was convinced to wear my Fuel Belt. Having access to the extra water was essential.

I finished the race in 2:46:09. I am happy with the time because I really was focusing on finishing and if pressed for a time goal, would have said 2:45. It leaves me with lots of room for improvement and I cannot wait to run another Half.

F Is For Failure

I took today off so I could see Breaking Dawn at the midnight premiere. At 8 PM last night, I decided to take a quick nap, so I could stay awake for the movie. I set an alarm and assumed J would wake me up if it got too late. I woke up in a panic at 3 AM, missing the movie, and completely screwing up my sleep schedule.

Twilight Breaking Dawn 11-18-11

{Source}

The alarm I set never went off because it was sent for Saturday. J fell asleep on the couch, so he could not wake me up. Luckily, J agreed to come see the movie with me tonight but there is just something special about midnight screenings.

Moving onto more positive things, I am trying to learn how to take decent pictures. I expect the learning curve to be great but want to share my progress.

Tail Laying Down Edited_edited-1

I used the High Pass Sharpen Tutorial to make Tail extra cute in Photoshop. I would like to find a tutorial to get a cat to stop moving when you are attempting to photograph them.

J and his football snacks. The cheese is an aged Pecorino infused with black truffle. J is obsessed with this cheese and has made special trips to The Cheese Shop on Park for it.

Football Snacks

My favorite dinner of the week, Creamy Baked Macaroni and Cheese. It was so good and the perfect winter comfort food.

Macaroni and Cheese

Has your week been full of fail? Do you think I should have set two alarms?

Social Networking For The Win

Like many new runners, I have a lot of questions. Yesterday, as I stared at the course map for my impending first Half, I started to think about water. There are a lot of water stops on this course. Nearly one every mile. This led me to wonder if carrying water with me, via a Fuel Belt, was worth it. Now, I do not mind running with a Fuel Belt, I do so on long runs but if I have a choice of with or without, I prefer without. So I took my question to Twitter.

Running my first half on Sunday. If there are water stops everymile would you stil run with a fuelbelt? #runchat #fitblog

Which was followed by a lot of helpful responses.

@ It depends: Do you like the fuel drink they're offering (I don't like Gatorade), & do u want to stop & walk thru the water stops?
@JenZenator
Jennifer Z
@ I prefer to so that when I want a drink I can get one especially if the water stop is congested
@Christyruns
Christy Gerdes
Depends - are you carrying any fuel with you, like shotbloks, GU, etc? RT @: If there are water stops everymile would you stil...
@RunningPeanut
Running Peanut
@ well, if you are used to running with a belt, then I'd go for it. I have a #spibelt and love it!
@RunningPeanut
Running Peanut

So this was the first of, what I can only imagine will be many, freak-outs averted before the race on Sunday. It is starting to feel so real and slightly scary.

Have you ever taken a problem or question to Social Media? Did it help?

What racing questions did you ask before your first big race?

Florida Hospital Celebration Health 10K

I decided to use this race as the last long run of my Half Marathon training. As someone who mostly runs alone, it is so nice to run with other people and to run a route that is planned out by someone else. It took place in Celebration which is one of my favorite places in Central Florida and a place where I run regularly. (Celebration Runs)

One mistake I made was eating out really late on Saturday. J and I went to Dave & Busters in Orlando. It opened recently and I have never been to one. So we played games for an hour and sat down to eat around nine.

Dina Dave & Busters

J Dave & Busters

Then we ate this.

Dave & Busters Spinach Dip

And this.

Dave & Busters

Plus a little bit of this.

Sam Seasonal Dave & Busters

The food was fine for bar type food but it sat in my stomach like a rock. So not the recipe for a successful early morning run. At least I had fun (and won lots of tickets beating J at trivia.)

I woke up early early the next morning (around 4:45 which is only a little bit earlier than I wake up everyday for work.) Celebration is pretty close to my house, so there was not any traffic issues and the parking went very smoothly. After a short walk from my car, where of course I forgot my sunglasses and did not have time to get them, I picked up my race packet and was able to use the bathroom. The porta potty situation was crazy, so I went inside the hospital to go.

The weather was brisk (for Florida) but I was comfortable in my shorts and t-shirt when we started to move. The course was beautiful and there was a decent amount of crowd support. It included many cute kids with cute dogs.

My goal for this race was to not puke up the rock of food and beer that was still in my stomach and to relax into a steady pace. I am not fast and know I need to maintain a comfortable pace for the Half next week. This race, I was really able to do that. I never surged with the crowd and my pace was very consistent. I also did not take any walk breaks until after the 5K mark which was a first.

The Positives:

Great course

Great cause

Easy parking

Very well organized (The Track Shack races always are.)

Bag check (This is the first one I have seen at a 5/10 K. Great idea and I wish I had known, I would have kept my camera in it to take some pictures.)

Did not puke

Perfect weather (in the 60’s)

The Cons:

Not enough porta potties

Two water stops which might have been worse had it been a hot day

After the race I stopped at the sports medicine booth provided by Florida Hospital. I have had a slight pain in my left leg the past few weeks which is making me limp a little. It makes running a bit uncomfortable at first but starts to feel better as I continue to move. Yoga seemed to help it but I was worried that it could be a more serious injury. It turns out to be some tenderness in my IT Band. A stretch was recommended, to do before and after runs. I was also told to hold off on any serious strength training this week to make sure I am strong for my race on Sunday. This news that my injury was just muscle soreness is such a relief. I will continue to stretch, do Yoga, and foam roll to work it out this week.

My race results:

Clock Time: 1:09:47

Chip Time: 1:08:53

Pace: 11:05.1

It was a lot of fun and I would defiantly run this race again. Maybe next year I will do the distance dare and run the 5K too.

A Day Of Rest

Lazy Saturdays might be the best kind. Today I slept in and did not do one ounce of anything that wasn’t relaxing.

I caught up on some TV. Hello Vampire Diaries and The Secret Circle, I love you but hate that I have to wait until January for new episodes.

I practiced with the fancy new camera.

Tail with High Pass Sharpen_edited-1

Spoon Rest

050

055

I used this tutorial on how to create custom user profiles. It was fun to play around with the different settings.

My running clothes are in the washer so I am less stinky for my race tomorrow. The Garmin and iPod Shuffle are charging. I should be ready and rested to race tomorrow.

Yesterdays comments proved that many of us have difficulty relaxing before races. It can be difficulty sleeping or just a stomach full of butterflies. I have no solution to this and everyday I get closer to my upcoming Half, the more nervous I get. Taking today to enjoy myself and be unproductive is definitely helping. Trusting that I did enough, worked hard, and am prepared to the best I can.

This did show up in my email today.

Women's Half Marathon St. Pete

Makes it much more real.

Namaste Bitches

{Source}

Half Marathon Training Week 14 In Review

You can follow my previous weeks training and current DVD rotation on my Workouts page.

Sunday: Rest

Monday: 2.51 Miles

Tuesday: Total Body Circuit Training with Jackie Warner 40 Minutes Full Body

Wednesday: Elliptical 30 Minutes

Thursday: 2.56 Miles

Friday: Rest

Saturday:Last speed session of training plan. 6 x 800 repeats total of 5.27 Miles.

Thoughts:

Doing the Jackie Warner DVD proved how much more frequently I need to do  more strength workouts. This DVD had gotten a bit easier but I am finding it challenging again. My training is winding down and as I write this I have nine days until my first Half. I am excited, scared, and happy all at the same time. It is interesting when something you have worked so hard for and planned for so long, starts to become so real.

Goals:

1. On Sunday, 11/13, I am running my last long training run in the Florida Hospital Celebration Health Founder’s Day 10K. I am looking forward to this race because Celebration is one of my favorite places.

2. Relax and not stress about the upcoming Half. It is going to be fun and I know I will finish.

3. Sleep, eat, and stay hydrated all week.

J caught Tail doing this to the TV during Monday night football.

How do you stay relaxed the last week before a big race?

Fitness Friday Blog Hop

Food Rut

Meal planning is hard. Packing lunch five days a week and cooking for a husband who likes a lot of variety and does not like healthy food while maintaining a budget, is like balancing on a tightrope. This week I decided to use a new source for dinner recipe ideas and found each one on Pinterest. My qualifications for a recipe are:

Minimally processed, whole ingredients

Can be cooked in 45 minutes or less (for a weekday meal)

Mostly meat-free

Every meal has some kind of vegetables

For really busy days, I always have a salad made up for the entire week. I do that on Sunday when I have time to wash and chop all of the vegetables. I make large batches, even though I cook for two, so we always have leftovers on hand.

Breakfast

Cereal with banana and kefir

Shredded Wheat

Uncle Sam’s Cereal

1 Banana

Strawberry Kefir

Coffee

Coffee black x 2

Morning Snack

Banana Fresh

String Cheese

Lunch

002

Quinoa With Roasted Butternut Squash

This came out amazing. The smell of the roasting squash was delicious and the pecans on top added just the right crunch.

Organic Apple

Afternoon Snack

More string cheese.

Dinner

Tortellini Vegetable Soup

Tortellini Vegetable Soup

This soup was very tasty and really quick to make. The only change I would make is to lighten up on the salt. I was able to find a whole wheat cheese tortellini which was quite good. J usually complains about whole wheat pasta and he was not able to tell.

Tuna Sandwich

Tuna Sandwich with mixed greens on Ezekial Bread

What are your tips for getting out of a food rut?