Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Treadmill Lovin'

Let's admit it... The treadmill tends to get a bad wrap. I mean, just say the word "treadmill" around a group of runners (or even non-runners for that matter) and you will most likely get moans, groans, eyes rolling, and replies like "oh, you mean DREADmill?" from the majority of the crew.

TreadmillTime
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And until recently I would have said I was probably in that group of cynics. Okay, maybe I wouldn't say I was a full blown HATER, but I definitely dissed the 'mills. But I am here to publicly say "I AM SORRY" and ask for forgiveness!

Now, I have never had a bad experience on a treadmill (although I am afraid I will fall off and crack my head on the wall due to my bad coordination), and if I am being 100% honest, that is because I avoid them like the plague.

Living in Southern California, we have a plethora of amazing places to run (and normally have beautiful weather to do it in), so when I started running a little over three years ago, I took to the outdoors.

NaturesTreadmill

A few months ago we were gifted a treadmill (Can you say AWESOMESAUCE?! I know I can!). And although I LOVE running outside and pounding the pavement, I have actually been slowly turning into a treadmill enthusiast!

I thought I would list a couple of the reasons I have started to change my tune about the treadmill:

Treadmill
My treadmill isn't anything special, but it gets the job done!

Consistency

I don't know about you, but I have a difficult time keeping a consistent pace throughout my runs. Don't get me wrong, I am pretty good at progression runs, but if I am trying to keep a run at the same speed, I either have to look at my watch the entire time or my pace tends to be all over the board. With a treadmill, all you need to do is select your speed and run. You just simply "SET IT AND FORGET IT". (Although I know I need to work on being able to run consistent paces while on the pavement, the treadmill has been an awesome tool to use, especially for runs that I am supposed to be running at my goal marathon pace for extended periods.)

TreadmillConsistency
A couple days ago I forgot to look at my schedule before I went on a
bike ride, so ended up having to do 5 pace miles once
I got home. The treadmill made it much easier to keep the steady
pace, especially with it being the second workout of the day.

Distractions

This is a two-fold for me. First, on a treadmill you can distract yourself by watching a TV show or movie (during today's run I watched the end of yesterday's So You Think You Can Dance episode).  This tends to help the time go by quicker (at least for me) - and helps you to not focus on the minutes and seconds ticking away. Next, on a treadmill you aren't distracted by as many outside interruptions. Running around people on busy sidewalks, dodging drivers who aren't paying attention, waiting at traffic lights, stopping to take pictures of pretty things, etc., all can get you out of your groove while running. For me, when I am on the treadmill, I can just zone out and RUN.

Weather

I know, I know, I live in Sunny Southern California, so I have VERY LITTLE to complain about. But honestly, the humidity this summer has been pretty cray-cray. In the past three months I think I can count on two hands how many days the humidity has been under 65%. The nice thing about the treadmill is you can hit it, RAIN OR SHINE! (And if the El NiƱo the meteorologists are predicting for this winter hits as hard as they are thinking, the treadmill may become invaluable for a few months.) Another nice thing is you can set up a fan nearby to try and keep you cool (somehow I still end up with sweat puddles all over the place) - which isn't really an option outside unless you have some sort of cabana boy who will follow you on your runs and fan you throughout your workout.

TreadmillWeather
Even with the fans, the sweat is swinging all over the place...

Convenience

Like I said, we have a treadmill in our condo (it is actually in our spare bedroom turned office and now turned workout room). It is very nice to just walk down the hall and get my run in (not to mention, I can look like a crazy in the safety of my own home). Now, we live on the second floor, so I am still trying to be a courteous neighbor and not use it at rude hours (since I don't know how it sounds to the person who lives below us), but it is a possibility to run whenever I want. I don't have to worry about if it is dark outside or running in a sketchy area or where the closest restroom may be. You might not have a treadmill in your second bedroom, but even if it is at the gym, some of these same conveniences still apply.

TreadmillConvenience
My treadmill towel said ROAR... I "had" to do it ;)

Now, I will probably never be a RunEMZ or StuftMama (but aren't those women pure AMAZEBALLS?!) and run the majority of my workouts on it, but I think I am quickly coming around to the instrument that is the treadmill!

What are your thoughts on the TREADMILL?

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Training Plan

As I mentioned a couple days ago, I am getting ready to GIVE IT MY ALL! Sure, I may not hit my goals, but I will never know what I CAN do if I don't try my darndest, right?! 

GiveItYourAll

Well, with that said, I have laid out my next round of training. This time I will be using Hal Higdon's Intermediate 1 Program. I am hoping it will lay the ground work for a potential marathon PR (personal record) and if all goes according to plan, a possible BQ (Boston Qualification). 
The first step was putting the pen to paper (I still use the good ol' fashion handwritten calendars). I am still not technically registered for the Revel Canyon City Marathon, but I am shooting for that to be my "goal" race. (Can you say falling down a mountain?!

RevelCanyonCityElevationChart
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If that works out to be "the one" it is about 15 weeks from now. Since the generic plan is 18 weeks long, I worked backwards from race day to figure out what I should be doing at this point (I think that means I was starting on about week 3 by the time I actually start following the program - but thankfully I have a decent base to build off of right now).
The one thing I did notice was that it has 5 days of running a week... Right now (and honestly, for about as long as I can remember), 4 days has been my max. I usually run four times a week, strength train one day, cross train on another, and then have a rest day. With that said, I have adjusted the plan slightly so that one of the short runs will also include a strength training workout. (I know, for me and my body, I need to keep a strength training workout on the calendar to help keep me injury-free.)

TrainingCalendars

Also, the hubby is training for his next half marathon (he will be running Rock 'N' Roll Los Angeles with me at the end of October), so some of my Sunday "short runs" may turn into longer runs. They will be at an easier pace so I am not too worried about the additional mileage right now (and I guess I could always ride my bike or skateboard along with him if my body needs the break).


So here goes nothing... The plan is in place (and it must be official since it is on the fridge!), now it is time to DO THE WORK!

TrainingCalendars

Where do you record your training calendar?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Workout Recap - Week 30

Sunday, July 19th – 13.1 mile run, Foam Rolled & Stretched


Monday, July 20th – 8 mile progression run, Foam Rolled & Stretched


Tuesday, July 21st –  Strength Training (abs, back, arms and legs), Foam Rolled & Stretched

Wednesday, July 22nd –  4.5 miles of Yasso 800s, 3 mile run, Foam Rolled & Stretched


Thursday, July 23rd – 16.75 mile bike ride, 5 mile (pace) treadmill run, Foam Rolled & Stretched



Friday, July 24th – 16 mile run, Foam Rolled & Stretched


Saturday, July 25th – REST DAY, Foam Rolled & Stretched


Holy guacamole! A 49.6 mile week?! WHAT THE CRAP?! Oh yeah, my long run from the previous week (13 miles) ended up on this week because life happened and I had to rearrange some things. Still kind of crazy that I got in close 50 miles of running logged!

How were your workouts this past week? 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Running In The Elements - Part 1

I know I sound like a broken record (especially if you follow me on Instagram), but MAN, could I do with a little break from the heat and humidity lately! We pay an extremely high Sunshine Tax to live in Southern California, and with it, I expect sunny and 70 degree weather 95% of the year. I don't know if in the last three months we have had a day with humidity under 70%... And for us weather snobs, THAT SUCKS! Let's be real, if I wanted weather like this I would move somewhere on the East Coast and pay a whole heck of a lot less than what we fork over for "perfect weather" here...

With that, I thought I would do a quick post about tips and tricks I have found to help me "run in the elements". (My plan is to have some friends so some guests posts on things like running in the rain or snow, two things that are NOT my forte, so we can make this a whole series.)

HeatAndHumidity

Some of these things may be common sense, but like Brendon Burchard reminded us at BlogFest, "common sense does not always mean common practice".

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

And I don't just mean during a run. I mean the days leading up to your long runs, during runs, and after you finish (and even into the evening). Water is always my jam, but especially when the heat and humidity are out in full effect I NEED my H2O. During a "normal" run, I usually will bring hydration of some sort with me once I am running over 6ish miles, but during the warm weather, I adjust that down to 4 miles. (During today's run I ran with my hydration vest and even topped it off when I was pounding the pavement - meaning I probably chugged down about 120 ounces during my 16 mile run.)

HydrateHydrateHydrate
Not sure if you can tell, but I am DRENCHED (and covered
in salt from my sweat). EXTREMELY THANKFUL to have
brought water with me for runs like this, but hydration is
important before you even step out the front door!

Run Early or Late

When you are already dealing with heat and humidity, you don't also want to add in scorching sunshine on top of that. Obviously, we have to get our runs in when it works for our schedule, so I understand if this isn't an option, but when at all possible, try to avoid the heat of the day. (For example, this morning the hubby had an important presentation he was giving at work and was a bit nervous, so I delayed my run so I could help him run through his bullet points a few last times. I would do ANYTHING for my hubby, but let me tell you, starting your 16-miler at 9:15am {meaning not getting done until close to noon} is definitely not something I would normally recommend to others.)

Slow Your Roll

I'm sure you've heard it, but do you do it? When the heat and humidity come knocking pounding on your door, you should adjust your pace to account for the elements. There are a few equations out there, but I don't want to scare you math haters out there, so suffice it to say, you MUST run slower when the temperature rises. (But, honestly, if you are interested in what Mr. Jeff Galloway has to say about it, check out his blog post here.) (Normally my long runs I shoot to be about 60-90 seconds slower than "goal marathon pace", meaning between 9 and 9:30 miles. This morning's run had me closer to 10 minute miles and I needed to be okay with that. You cannot run as fast as you normally can in the heat or humidity. Feel free to run by effort and not by time when it comes to those warmer runs.)

SlowYourRoll
NOT my normal pace, but you've GOTTA listen to your
body and readjust your goals when the heat and
humidity rear their ugly heads while out for a run.

Now, please remember, I am NOT a professional runner or a running coach, still technically a newbie (only started running about 3 years ago), but these are things that have worked for ME, so why not spread the wealth and maybe they will help you too...

Are there any tips I left out?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Yasso 800s

Crap. This is only the second time I've done them and the last time was 6 weeks ago, but let me tell you, they did NOT get any easier.

I was originally planning on shooting for 8 repeats (half mile hard, quarter mile easy), but once I got to the track and felt the weather (HOLY HUMIDITY BATMAN) I knew that probably wasn't going to be a possibility.

LocalTrack
So "my" track isn't the greatest, but it gets the job done.

The premise of Yasso 800s is that the time you can run 10 repeats in, in minutes and seconds, should correlate to the time you can run a full marathon in, in hours and minutes. For example, I am shooting for a 3:30 full marathon (my Boston Qualifying time is 3:35, but figure I should probably add in a bit of a buffer to be safe) so I would need to run my 800s in 3:30.

Let's be honest, after my first two repeats I was DONE. I was on pace (which was AWESOME), but the elements were zapping my energy faster than I could run the repeats. I was feeling a bit defeated, but kept telling myself that only I can push myself... No one else is going to get out here and make me run these...

OvalOffice
Today's oval office

After my first two repeats, though, I couldn't hit my pace again. And it TICKED ME OFF! I know I mentioned in my last post about my Yasso 800s that I couldn't see my pace so I wasn't 100% sure how I was doing... Well, I figured out how to see it now and I don't know if that helped or hindered my running...


By my fourth repeat I could tell that I definitely wasn't going to make it to 8. I told myself if I could finish 6 strong then I would let myself stop at that point and finish up some easy mileage at home. Now I was not "waving the white flag" because of frustration or because I just didn't want to run any more. I was actually listening to my body and knew that if I did any more I was probably risking dehydration.

Yasso800s
This section is the only portion of "somewhat" shade and I didn't even
get to run in it while doing my repeats... STICK A FORK IN ME, I'M DONE!

Even though it bummed me out that I couldn't get in my full 8 repeats and it sucked even more that I didn't hit my pace for the last 4 of them, I am proud that I got out there and started working on my speed again. (And if/when the humidity starts to get its act together, I think I could definitely bust out 8-10 of them, but we will have to wait and see.)

GarminConnectYasso800s
If you AVERAGE the split times, I am right under 3:30 per 800 meters (like 3:29.8333333), but I still don't necessarily see this as a successful set of Yasso 800s... Would you?

And shoot, looking back at my first set of Yasso 800s, I actually finished with a faster average pace (my first time was 8:00/mile and this time was 7:53/mile). That's gotta mean something, right?! And the elements were MUCH harsher today than 6 weeks ago.

GarminYasso800s

And since I didn't get in my full workout, I decided to head home and do a 3 mile cool down. Nothing too fast or crazy (I think I averaged like 9:30/mile pace for that leg), but I wanted to get in a few additional miles and NOT on the track. I mean, legit, I think my eyelids and finger nails were sweating while I was doing my repeats. The humidity was even radiating UP from the soggy track. UM... YUCK! There isn't much shade on the loop by my house, but it felt at least 10 degrees cooler.

#RunHappy

All-in-all I got in 7.5 miles, which isn't too shabby. Although it wasn't exactly what I was shooting for, I know there is room for improvement (and I have to give myself a little credit, I mean I did listen to my body for Pete's sake!). Sure, there were times I wanted to give up on myself, times I wanted to cry and quit, but I BELIEVE IN ME! I CAN DO HARD THINGS!

And then, just in case I forgot that I am promising myself to GIVE IT EVERYTHING I'VE GOT, I returned home from my runs to this message. It is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING to have friends who remind me to follow my dreams and GET IT DONE! (I may have teared up when I saw this on my Twitter page... My friends, we just get each other! #BeyondBlessed)

WeRunSocial

What are your thoughts on speed work? Love it? Hate it? Do it? Skip it?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Giving It Your All

Like I mentioned in yesterday's "not-so-stellar" recap of BlogFest 2015, although I didn't walk away with a ton of blogging education, there were nuggets here and there that stuck with me.

One such tidbit of truth that resonated with me was from our keynote speaker, Gabby Reece. Yup, the model, professional volleyball player, and mother married to a professional surfer (can you say #TotalPackage?!).

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Not only did she kick our butts' in an amazing (and amazingly hard) HIGHX workout, she also dropped some knowledge on us. I wrote down a couple of her quotes that rang true for me (and hopefully they might ring true for you too).

Fitness

-AND-

GivingItYourAll

I think the first quote is pretty straight forward (PS I used Canva, an AWESOME program I learned about while at BlogFest, to create the graphics in this post. If you haven't seen it before, I would totally recommend checking it out. In the words of Linzie "MIND BLOWN".). But, like another one of our speakers said, "Common sense does not mean common practice". And just because we say it or "know" it, doesn't mean we DO it. During one of my races I saw a quote on a shirt that almost made me spit out my water. It was something along the lines of "You can't complain about the results you didn't get from the work you didn't do." BOOM! DROP THE MIC!

With that being said, though, I think the second quote is a little harder for me to put into practice. For me, I worry about giving it my all... I worry that my all won't be enough... I worry that my all will still leave me short of my goals... I worry that my all will be craptastic... I worry that my all will leave me disappointed in myself (and even worse, others will be disappointed in me)... So maybe that is why I often just run "for fun".

And PLEASE hear me on this! I am NOT saying there is anything wrong with running for fun, not going for a time goal, forgetting about a PR (personal record), etc! But in my case, I am often defaulting to that option because I am scared that I won't be able to hit a goal (the first step is admitting I have a problem, right?!).

Don't get me wrong, when I am training, I am pushing, pushing, pushing myself. I want to get faster, stronger, better, but I think when it comes to the actual races, to actually quantifying my training, I pull back. I worry that I won't hit my goals. I psych myself up and tell myself that I don't have what it takes.

Fall or Fly

But, you know what? I will never know if I have what it takes if I continue to sell myself short. Sure, maybe I will fall short, maybe I won't hit my goals, but I know for darned sure that I won't push my limits and conquer my aspirations if I am starting off with a defeated attitude in the first place.


I'm not going to lie, it is SCARY AS HECK! I am freaking out even thinking of the fact that I want to attempt to qualify for the Boston Marathon and actually give it my all to see if I have what it takes. I have no idea if I will hit my goal (or whether it will take me 3 months, 10 months, 5 years, or if I will ever reach it), but I know I will be more disappointed in myself if I don't give it 110% than if I do and miss the mark.

So, here goes nothing.

Do you think you give it your all when it comes to your goals?

Monday, July 20, 2015

BlogFest Disappointment

Let me preface this post by saying this is NOT the post I was expecting to write nor was it the post I wanted to write... but I gotta #KeepItReal, so it is the post that I HAVE to write.

BlogFest

I posted about it last week, but I won an entry to BlogFest from Fit Approach during a Twitter chat a while back. I was super excited, yet a tad bit nervous about heading to the conference. I was excited because I have been blogging for 8 years and would LOVE to take my blog to the "next level" - whatever that means (just because I have been posting for that whole time does NOT mean people have been reading it). And like I mentioned in last week's post about the trip, I was nervous because although I have a blog, I wouldn't necessarily consider myself a "legit" blogger and I wasn't sure if I was going to be WAY out of my league at a conference like this.

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Let me set some ground work... I went into this conference thinking hoping I was going to walk away with a TON of great information. I saw the titles of some of the sessions, like "Build a Following on: Instagram", "How to Create a Career out of Your Blog", "The Future of Blogging", "Mind-Blowing Blog Tips", "How to Increase Readership", etc. To say I was stoked was probably an understatement. I was expecting that I would have hand cramps from writing so much. I couldn't wait for all of the amazing knowledge that was going to be imparted on me.

The truth of the matter is, although the speakers are AMAZING people (I don't want you to read this post thinking I didn't like what they had to say or they aren't great bloggers/ fitness professionals/ human begins), I have to say I was a little let down with the conference.

Source

Don't get me wrong, I loved running with friends at the #betruBlogFest fun run, trying Zumba for the very first time and having the class taught by the creator, Beto Perez, himself, hanging out with friends (both new and old), getting my butt kicked by Gabby Reece in a HIGHX workout, etc, but the BLOGGING PORTION of the conference, for me, was lacking.

Source: @SharpEndurance's Instagram Feed

It was sort of like a Blogging 101 class. And shoot, there are TONS of people that would benefit from classes like that, so I am NOT knocking it, I am just saying that with the way it was marketed, and for what I was expecting, it didn't live up to the hype I made it out to be. I think if they were trying to get the fitness professionals who attend IDEA World to come over and learn about starting a blog, it is an amazing resource, but it seemed as though most of us already had fairly established blogs (at least the folks I spoke with).

There were definitely a few nuggets I walked away with, but no where near the level of information I was hoping for (and, hey, maybe it was my fault for having such high expectations for BlogFest).


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I guess when I was sitting in a session about Instagram with an amazing woman who has 25,000+ followers I was expecting to hear things about how she got the followers and what tips she had for us - not just "it happened organically". For example, does she follow people back / is she posting personal pictures or just workout type pictures / does she reply to all comments / how many pictures a day is she posting / is she posting pictures or maybe making quotes or infographics / does she search hashtags and comment on folks posts that might be into the same things she is / or maybe she doesn't use hashtags at all. Obviously not everything that works for one person will work for everyone else, I get that. I realize there is not a cookie cutter formula out there that leads to success, but I guess I was hoping I would hear a few things that I wasn't currently doing that I wanted to start trying.

Or when it came to the presenter who spoke about Pinterest who mentioned she made $30,000 in a month due to Pinterest - I WANNA KNOW HOW! Sure, your background story may be inspirational and interesting, but honestly, if I want to know it, I will read your bio or buy your book - I'm here because I wanna know the nitty gritty of how you use your social media to make money. Are you selling something? Maybe you are working with sponsors who pay you on a per click basis. Or are you creating images for ads? But I walked away knowing nothing more than I started with...

The point that was being continually hammered home was "Be Authentic". Yes, thank you! That is UBER important, but I think A. we heard it every single talk and B. it is something I am well aware of. I started this blog as a way to keep my family and friends in Michigan involved in what I was doing once I moved across the country to California. What you see is what you get with me and my blog (or else it wouldn't be a very good journal, now would it?!).

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Again, I don't want this to come off like I am bashing the people, program, or presenters - that is TOTALLY NOT my intent. I just want to let you know what I was expecting and hoping to walk away with and why I felt as though it didn't live up to my expectations - that way if you want to go in the future you can tailor your hopes a little better than I did.


For me, like I said, I won my registration, but if I would have paid my way, I probably would have walked away disappointed. Now obviously I cannot speak for everyone who was there, so please make sure to get feedback from more of the attendees if you are planning on going in the future, but these were my general feelings about BlogFest 2015.

Have you ever gone to a conference that didn't live up to your expectations?