So close to going home! [28M]

Only five more days until I am back at home with my husband! Gosh am I ready!

Last week was my highest mileage week since coming back from the fractures! Five milers for my base runs, a six miler mid week, and a seven miler at the end... And of course my two off days!

This week we're planning to repeat the mileage, but change up the quality a little. My shin has been bothering me quite a bit since I haven't had ART for awhile now, so I'm trusting it's just soft tissue. :/

Sunday, August 25th
5M on the road in Columbus. Super, super hilly, and my shin was bugging the mess out of me, but energy wise I felt good. Very glad I was able to keep normal turnover on the hills! Just ran for 40 minutes since I couldn't measure distance.

Monday, August 26th
30' cross training, 10' core. I split up the 30' into 10 biking, 10 on the elliptical, and 10 rowing. Biking was irritating my hip flexor so I decided to break it up! I really enjoyed doing it this way!

Tuesday, August 27th
6M progressive on the treadmill. 8:21, 7:41, 7:23, 7:09, 6:52, 6:40, for a 7:21 average. It's crazy because the last few miles were quite challenging for me, as in I definitely felt this one throughout the morning in my legs, but these paces were my daily runs in the past!! How weird! Anyways, the run itself was good. Surprisingly, I had no shin pain! My legs felt very fresh and peppy! Just had some terrible hip flexor/quad pain on the left side starting around mid-run. I almost cut the workout short for it!

Wednesday, August 28th
5M + 4 Strides. Nice and easy on the way out, but I hauled on the way back. I had to have finished in the same pace range as yesterday's run, for sure! 39:32 for the full run, but I know the way out was really slow. Good strides as well. My hip flexor is definitely a mess though. Tuesday evening is calling my name already!

Thursday, August 29th
5M + 6 strides. Just stayed relaxed at the Memorial Park Loop for this one! :) 2.5 miles out, 2.5 miles back, nothing fancy. When I finished the run, I got in my strides on their paved track and that was that! Pretty serious IT pain on my right leg, which makes sense with the hip flexor and quad pain I'm getting on the left.

Friday, August 30th
20' cross training cardio followed by a short core and strength session. Then I spent a long time foam rolling. Thank goodness 24hr fitness keeps those on hand!!

Saturday, August 31st
7M total with 3k race in a relay! Very fun morning but way too hot for a race at 8:45 or so! Got in a nice 3 mile warm up and a 2 mile cool down to meet mileage. The relay was supposed to start at 8:00 but was running a bit behind. It was about 8:45 by the time it got to my leg, and the sun was quite proud of itself out there!! I started solo which is not good when you haven't done any pace work! The whole first 800m was between 5:00 pace and 5:30 pace. Needless to say, I crashed and ended up averaging 5:58 pace for the run. Super happy with this as I haven't done anything sub 6:20 pace, and I only did that for 4 minutes, haha. But, at the same time, it's a great reminder of how much work there is left to do!!


On the road again! [28M!]

Leaving Dallas this morning to spend the next two weeks at my company's main office. I'm not a big fan of going into the office, but for the chance to work out of my house the other 49-50 weeks of the year, it's well worth it!! :)

Feeling very good after last week's low mileage and ART sessions, so I'm hoping everything holds up for the trip. It will be interesting to see how long the ART work from last week carries forward!

Sunday, August 18th
5M run. Went out to MVCC for the grass and rolling elevation, and man did I feel it when I switched directions! Running clockwise loops is mostly downhill with one shorter uphill segment, but backwards? Gosh, it's killer! Finished the six loops (5.1 miles) in 38:45 which comes out to 7:35 pace! Woohoo! Moving forward, folks. Moving forward.

Monday, August 19th
20' bike, ab challenge. It's my first day at work in the Houston office so I kept this light and quick to be sure I got in on time!!

Tuesday, August 20th
5M run + 4 strides. Memorial Park! I'm back! :) Love that place! 39:18 for the five miles. I felt good, but I did notice my ankles were very sore and tight when I finished as well as during and after my strides?! But very good session regardless!

Wednesday, August 21st
6M progression run. Achy joints and bones, but more so a super upset stomach. :( I had a very stressful, late evening yesterday due to some car trouble, so I am thinking that has something to do with it. Anyways, I ran the first two miles as if I was going to do the workout, then dashed to the restroom, then picked the run back up but just held an easy pace to try and let my stomach settle. 47:09 for the run, so 7:51 pace which is actually what I averaged yesterday. Weird!

Thursday, August 22nd
5M run + 3 strides. I ran very easy on the first mile, in fact it was past 9:00 when I got to the marker! After that I started alternating 1' and 2' surges, both of which I allowed for a 2' recovery period. On the way out I took it as just that - a good recovery. On the way back, I found myself finishing surges very near different groups of guys running, so I just tried to stay the same distance behind them. This put me in a much more fatigued state, but definitely made the run more successful, in my opinion! I finished in 39:07, so about 30:00 for last 4 miles of fartlek. Strides were good but I think I strained or pulled my left quad on the third one so I stopped there? Very weird sensation when I finished and it is still sore now.

Friday, August 23rd
30' cardio, 10' core. I didn't want anything hard, but still wanted to get my day started with a little sweat and moving around. :) Did the trick!

Saturday, August 24th
7M easy run at the park! Was planning on six miles, but started very slow due to another upset stomach, so I ended up going for an extra mile! Plus I did the math while I was running and a 7 miler put my weekly total right in line with the 10% rule! Felt so good to run for close to an hour again - It's been a long time! Still feeling the left shin and inner thigh, but the quad was much better than it felt after my last stride on Thursday.


Recapping my 1st benchmark race and moving on! [20M]

Before I tell you all about my terribly exciting plans for this week, I'll give you an even more exciting recount of last weekend's festivities. So, Jake and I pulled up to the host church in Deleon at 6:00, exactly one hour before the race start. The funny part? Not a single runner was there yet!! We got our bibs and then naturally asked where the port-a-potties were. "Umm, we don't have any, but you can use the Blue Moon Cafe's restrooms. They're just across the street." Okay, so I can already tell this is going to be interesting! We knew it was a small race because super slow times won it last year, but with cash prizes three deep we expected at least someone to show! Nope! We ended up pulling off a nice 1-2 punch in the 5k with Jake finishing in 15:36, me 19:56, and the third place runner in 22:00! Solo effort for both of us!

The course was SUPER hilly, but they were rolling hills which somewhat lessened the effects. The mile markers where also off, which can definitely mess with your head! According to their markers, I came through 1M at 5:50 and two miles at 12:26... Talk about "what?!?!". I knew it was off when I got to the mile though, so at that point I just set my eyes on the gator and tried to maintain effort. When I rounded a corner after the second mile I looked back to see if any guys were nearby to outkick me. Bad idea! Not a soul in sight! Hello invitation to get lazy! I definitely eased up on the gas in that third mile, but I'm not going to complain or regret a bit. I planned on a 7:00 pace 5k and would have been very happy with that. To run 6:24 pace was VERY pleasant surprise!

Now, onwards and upwards! No changes to our long-term training plans as a result of this weekend, but we at least have some paces to use for when I'm ready to do paced workouts. This week will be a slight down week since last week was my first time to go two straight weeks over 20 miles. We're planning to stick it right at 20 this week and then keep moving up slowly in the following weeks. That's one thing I'm very happy with this season. I've never gotten back in shape this slowly, but I'm actually very confident in this slow build.

Sunday, August 11th
3M run. Hit up the treadmill for this one and felt awful. Granted I ate basically nothing of value for the last 36 hours due to an upset stomach, so I should have expected it. No muscles soreness whatsoever, but my left knee and left quad were pretty messed up. To emphasize how out of it I was on this run, I don't even know my final time!! I'm pretty sure it was 25:00.

Monday, August 12th
60' bodypump. Purposely skipped the squat and lunge tracks and used those for range of motion or form exercises. Hopefully a full day of minimal pressure on my knee it'll feel better tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 13th
4M run + 6 strides. A very nice run with lots of pep in my step this morning! Felt like a million bucks energy and muscle wise! Now if I can just knock out these aches and pains! :) 32:08 for the four loops and then I tacked on 6 form-focused strides (AKA, no aggressive sprinting). Felt wonderful!
PS. Using McMillan's training paces calculator, we have following paces to take me from my current 5k time to sub 19, which will be the next goal. According to this, my 8:02 easy run is right on target! :)

Wednesday, August 14th
5M run with McMillan's "Lab Rat" workout. [2M easy, 3M of: 4' at 6:58, 2'easy, 4' at 6:39, 2' easy, 4' at 6:35, 2' easy, 4' at 6:27, easy run until 3 miles is completed.] What a great day!!!! I was seriously scared of this one but it felt perfect! Never too hard and I wasn't itching to stop the treadmill on the last one - always a good sign!! :) The paces felt quick for the first 20" or so after running easy because of the huge sudden pace change, but after that, I was quite under control and very confident! Definitely enjoyed this one!

Thursday, August 15th
4M run. Just an easy four loops through the neighborhood! Nothing special to share about this one! Hips joints and hip flexor are still really bugging me, but ART is tonight so that should help! Glad to finally have my knees and shins doing well though.. I am already an ART fan!

Friday, August 16th
Strength circuit with Jake and day 5 of my 30 day ab challenge!

Saturday, August 17th
4M run + 4 strides. I took this run especially easy because of a terrible headache and didn't even glance at my watch until I finished. Very refreshing and enjoyable effort level, and then I finished and looked and it was over a minute faster than I usually run! What?! And hips were great today! Yay! :)


Going for two in a row! [25M!]

I hit twenty four miles last week. The highest I've been in over six months! It's amazing what a couple of stress fractures can do to you! ;) Anyways, goal one for this week's mileage is to get in another 20+ mile week, which would make it first time to be over 20 for two weeks straight. The icing on the cake would be to hit 24 again, which is the plan!

The other fun, exciting twist to this week is the slap in the face that I have to look forward to this weekend! Yep - It's time for the first benchmark race. A teeny 5k in a small town called Deleon. Jake is doing their 10k so I'll already be out there... Might as well get in a good hard effort! Before you start panicking that I'm setting myself up for failure, I'm not! I am very realistic going into this and I'm only using it as a chance to see where I'm starting from and get a bit of a reminder (hence the slap in the face reference) of what it feels like to run hard for consecutive miles! :) I'm aiming for around 7:10 pace this week (swallowing the pride!)! :)

Sunday, August 4th
4.25M run on the grass. I have managed lose my running watch between getting ready for dinner with friends last night and going for my run this morning, so I just did five loops at MVCC (4.25M). The first and last loops were fairly mediocre but the other three loops I felt like I was running pretty strong.

Monday, August 5th
60' bodypump. For some reason I'm feeling especially good today. Not sure what it's from, but it's nice!

Tuesday, August 6th
4M run + 4 strides. Back at the track for this one, just like last week. Felt pretty good again today, but my left shin was bothering me and I had trouble breathing in the humidity. Not much new with either of those! Started very comfortable and cut down each mile for 8:57, 8:07, 7:34, 6:49. Strides were better than last week in terms of how I felt - for sure. Much stronger and more composed on these. 17.7, 17.4, 16.7, 16.4 - Weird, I know!

Wednesday, August 7th
6M progression run. Back on the treadmill for this one, just like last week. Jake and I agree that until I am back in good aerobic shape, it's best to keep my one "workout" for the week on a treadmill. It gives me a little more control. :) Baby steps! Anyways, today was MUCH better than last week! Felt great from step one, so I dropped each mile's planned pace by 10". I'm so thankful I tried these Isagenix products - They might make a bigger difference than I expected! 8:06, 7:40, 7:31, 7:19, 7:08, 6:58 - 7:27 AP for all 6... Last week it was 7:41 AP for the six! :) Knees, left quad, and shin were still pains, but as I thought about it on the run, if they didn't hurt, I would gladly have gone longer or faster.

Thursday, August 8th
4M run + 4 strides 1 stride. VERY slow four miles around our neighborhood. Heavy legs, choppy stride. Boo. 34:40. Did one stride, started walking back and my shin hurt bad enough that I decided to call it. Getting ART on the shins this afternoon anyways!
*ART and K Tape*

Friday, August 9th
Rest day. No PiYo with the race tomorrow!

Saturday, August 10th
20' warmup, 5K benchmark race, 10' cool down. Saving the race recap for a separate post, but it was a very pleasant surprise. 19:56, which apparently comes out to 6:24 pace. Definitely not what I expected at this point, especially with it being a hilly course and no one running within two minutes of me in either direction!


Healthy Grocery Shopping 101

I'm mixing things up a bit with this post! Normally I use this blog for just two reasons. 1. For me! :) To hold myself accountable with my training and keep a record of it for future reference. And 2. For others! To encourage you to stay active and set goals for yourself.

I did not grow up in a very nutrition savvy household. Not that it was an unhealthy house - we still had veggies and fruit with dinner, venison or fish from the ranch, etc, etc. But we definitely did not know all the small tips and tricks to keep in mind in the grocery store in order to make the most out of our purchases.

The wonderful thing about my years of undiagnosed digestive problems is that I very quickly learned what's good for us, what ingredients to avoid, and what serving sizes looked like. It's become a popular trend for people to commit to doing the same. Everyone wants to "eat healthy". Even the restaurants are catching on to this great change in our culture! Unfortunately, there is a lot of misleading advertising and poor educating going on. I'm hoping today's post helps clear some of that up!

This post will not show you meal ideas, nor is it just for runners. It's for everyone! Please take the time to scroll through and feel free to leave comments with questions or suggestions! This is something I've become very passionate about, so I'm excited to share it with you! :)

Organic coffee! Why organic? You can rinse some of the pesticides off your food, but I doubt your rinse off your coffee!! :) I prefer instant so that I don't waste any. $11 should get you through a month - Way cheaper than *bucks!

Nuun All Day. It's about $7 for 15 servings, so only 50 cents a bottle! No artificial sugars, no carbonation, and full of vitamins and nutrients! My favorite is the blueberry pomegranate.

Salsa is the healthiest and most versatile condiment in the store. Pick your flavor and get creative! It's great in salads, sandwiches, tacos, etc! Only major thing to watch with these is the sodium level!

Red bell peppers are FULL of nutrients and super tasty raw or cooked. When shopping, look for ones that don't have wrinkly skin! The nice thing about them is they last well once rinsed and cut!

Roma tomatoes are almost always the cheapest tomato in the store! They're also a great serving size! Just rinse one, slice or dice, and get creative!

Avocado. YUM! The secret to avocados is that a serving size is ONLY 1/4 of it! Rinse it, cut out your quarter, and put the rest (with the pit) in an air tight container immediately to keep from turning brown!

Avoid white potatoes, but the sweet ones get an A+ grade! Just wash off, stab a few times with a fork, pop in the microwave for 2 minutes, flip, 2 more minutes, and then wrap in foil for a few. We like ours with ground turkey!

Almond butter > Peanut butter! NO COMPARISON! A good one should be refrigerated and contain nothing but the nut itself. If your nut butter has any kind of oil, sugar, or salt, it's time for a new one! :)

Almond milk is a hidden gem in my book! You'll see a lot to choose from, but go with plain unsweetened. Trust me - It's STILL sweet! Avoid the light and sweetened versions! Use like regular milk and enjoy the extra calcium!

EGGS! The superfood for everyone! Just try to find a brand with no antibiotics and no hormones!

Bye bye jelly, hello fruit spread! Fruit is naturally sweet, why would you want someone adding extra sugar to it?! Look for a brand that's just pure fruit! If you can't, look for low sugar and avoid full sugar or artificially sweetened ones!

Salt free seasoning is everywhere. Take the time to cleanup your spice rack. Herbs and spices are super good for you and a healthy way to add flavor, but they can be pretty bad for you if you're not careful. How much sodium is in yours?

A couple posts about cereal. 1. Count the ingredients. They should fit on one hand! Can you pronounce them? If so, it's a keeper!

2. Re-read the ingredients. Is anything enriched? If so, it's a trick and it's not going to fuel you like you want! Is any form of sugar in the top three ingredients? If so, it's not a fair treat for your body! Avoid it!

3. Here's an example of one of the tricks out there! This is an ORGANIC cereal! The problem? Look at the ingredients? What's item # 2?? No bueno!

Tomatoes are surprisingly high in sodium for a "fruit". So, when you buy canned versions - diced, sauces, stewed, etc - Look for "No Salt Added" on the label!

Spaghetti is cheap, and when purchased right and portioned right - it's not evil! :) Look for whole wheat or a vegetable version that is high in fiber and protein.

Two things to note about soups, stocks, and broths. Always look for "No salt added" and "No MSG"!

Okay, I lied, four comments about cereal (I'm addicted). These two are my favorite. Single ingredients and super puffy so it makes for large, healthy servings!

Organic spinach! Here's the deal with this: A serving size is HUGE! Most of you eat 1/4 of a serving and think you've had your veggies for the day! This bowl is HUGE and clearly overflowing, but I could only fit 72 grams in it. And there is no room left for toppings! How much is a serving? About 85 grams! Pile it up, folks!

Here's a quick tip for you! When you're using a lot of fresh produce you'll find yourself with more "leftovers" than usual. Try to save all your glass jars for this purpose. Easy to clean, no BPA, and cheaper than bags!

This is my protein powder. After every workout I immediately dump one scoop into my blender with a cup of almond milk, a cup of frozen berries, and a few spinach leaves.
What do I like about my protein? 1. THE TASTE! 2. The quality of the whey protein (undenatured). 3. No yucky sugars, just pure and simple stevia. 4. Amino acids!!! This makes it easier to absorb!

This is another part of my daily routine. With all the stresses and toxins in our lives, it's good to have a gentle, proven, nutrient dense supplement to rid your body of the toxins and restore your cell's health.

CHEAP, QUICK, FLEXIBLE! What more could you ask for?! Buy old fashioned (not instant) and get it in the large tub. You can flavor it with fruits, cocoa powder, nuts, cinnamon, etc!

Excuse the mess, but here's a quick shot in our freezer. We stock up on frozen fruits and veggies whenever possible. Way cheaper than fresh, they last longer, and none of the yucky preservatives from canned veggies!

If oatmeal is on your menu, consider adding some cinnamon. Cinnamon is a super choice if you have diabetes because it minimizes the impact of carbs on your blood sugar.

Another quick tip! Eat your cereal in a mug! Most of us often triple the serving size of our cereal, but a mug keeps you honest! :)

A note about deli meat. While it can be a great, lean protein option, there are only a few "safe" brands to buy. Always check the ingredients for nitrates, nitrates, and any artificial colors or flavors. Hormel Natural Choice has been our "go-to" for quite a while and can be found just about anywhere!

A healthy snack! Who knew?! Larabars, as the label proudly states, are pure fruit and notes. NOTHING ELSE! They are high in calories though, so these are best for pre/post workout or a nice treat!

Stevia is your new best friend. Say bye to sweet-n-low, splenda, and even cane sugar. This is your best bet! Also on this note, check your ingredient labels for aspartame! This is a BAD artificial sweetener and has no place in your body!!

Last but not least! Two things to note about yogurt! 1. Go for plain. You can sweeten it with berries, honey, etc, but don't let them do it for you! 2. Go for organic. This goes for all dairy foods and drinks! Besides that, both greek and regular are good options!
Well, that's it for today! :) That was over thirty tips and tricks that I've learned along the way. There's much more to share but I'll save that for another day if this gets a positive response! :) Let me know what you think. Anything you'd like to see more of or know more about? I'm all ears!!