Monday, March 30, 2015

AM: 3/30/15

Is it April yet?!

Happy Monday, y'all! I don't know about you but I am so ready for summer weather- it snowed this past week and yesterday the low was 19 degrees. Gross.

Monday- Rest day
Tuesday- Rest day
Wednesday- 20 minutes on the bike, 4.6 miles, foam rolling, planks
Thursday- Rest day
Friday- Rest day
Saturday- 5 freezing cold miles, 11:10 pace
Sunday- 30 minute hill workout on the bike, 7.19 miles. Runner's World Core Workout, planks

5 total miles

Yeah... so it was another light training week. But honestly, after Shamrock last weekend, I was ok with taking the week to rest and regroup. On Saturday I had an absolutely awesome run- keeping an 11:10 pace felt so good; almost like I was never injured. Here's to hoping this trend continues!

While I love these pants, I will be happy to trade them in for shorts.

On Saturday, I slept in, snuggled with Koda, and then made some delicious 5 PPV chocolate-peanut butter-banana pancakes. I have heard other Weight Watchers peeps talk about making pancakes with the WW Smoothie Mix and I decided to try my own version:

1 pack WW Chocolate Smoothie Mix
3 egg whites (or 1/3 cup all whites or egg beaters)
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp PB2
1/4 cup sugar-free syrup (if desired)

Whisk all ingredients together (minus the syrup) in a small bowl. Cook like regular pancakes. Top with bananas. Easy! One word of caution- they do NOT bubble like most pancakes to let you know they need to be flipped so you just have to keep an eye on them.

I would think that you could use any type of smoothie mix- it doesn't necessarily have to be the WW brand. Maybe I'll try that next and let you know how they turn out!

Yummy and exactly what I needed pre-run on Saturday.

140.6 as of 3/24/15 weigh in
+.2 from last week
-49.8 since January 2013
-61.4 since HW

Y'all know the drill by now- I lose, I gain, but hopefully by the end of the month the overall trend is down. We'll have to wait and see.

But! I have good news! My non-scale victory this week: fitting into a size SMALL pair of shorts at Express! I've never even shopped at Express before- I always thought their clothes were too small for people like me. But on a whim this weekend, I walked into an Express and tried on a pair of small shorts and by some miracle, they fit! I might have danced a little in the dressing room :-)

Even though the scale didn't say what I wanted it to this week, that doesn't mean it was a bad week. A wise WW'er once told me, "the scale isn't failure, it's just feedback." So I'm taking that feedback with me into next week and focusing on making progress towards my goals: reaching goal weight, finishing marathon-training, and increasing cross-training.

What goals are you currently chasing?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Race Recap & Review: Shamrock Expo and 8k

After a long and snowy (!) drive from Pennsylvania, Jen and I finally arrived in Virginia Beach, VA for the 43rd annual Shamrock Marathon Weekend! Jen went to the hotel to check in and I headed straight for my shift at the J&A Racing booth. As an ambassador, one of my duties is working the expo and helping to answer questions about the weekend and other J&A events.

Snow on March 20!

As usual, the expo was amazing- lots of cool vendors and lots of space to move around. One thing I love about Shamrock is that they check your ID at the expo- no need to carry it on race day to get your four complimentary post-race beers!

Once my shift was over, and Jen and I got all our bibs, shirts, and packets for the weekend races, we headed to dinner with some of my friends that live in Norfolk and Hampton Roads. It was a great way to unwind from a long day. But we couldn't stay out too long- the 8k started at 7:45!

Lots of free stuff at the J&A booth.

The next morning, Jen and I were up and out the door by 5:45 am. Since I was running, Jen decided to volunteer at the finish line handing out medals. We parked at the Convention Center (about 20 blocks from the start/finish line) and took the volunteer shuttle up to the start. Jen headed off to her volunteer duties while I found a hotel lobby to keep warm in- it was 38 degrees!

Jen and me reenacting scenes from Frozen.

While waiting for the race to start, I got to see my friend Sid Busch- he's run 198 marathons and almost 500 half marathons! This race, he was running as "Shamrock Man" with two beer bottles in his holster :-) It was nice to catch up with him. Around 7:20, I headed over to bag check to drop off my sweatshirt and meet a fellow ambassador to give him his bib- his flights had been cancelled and delayed and he didn't get into VA Beach until midnight the night before. With all my errands out of the way, I made my way to corral 12.

Shamrock Man!

There were approximately 10,000 people running the 8k and there were 16 corrals. I was placed into 12 due to my expected finish time- I finished last year's race in 1:01:41. It took about 35 minutes for our corral to get to the start line which wouldn't have been as bad had it not been so cold and windy! I was wearing a singlet, arm warmers, a jacket, a long sleeved shirt, capris, knee-high compression socks, gloves, and a hat. And I was still chilly!

Ready to go!

At long last, it was corral 12's turn! Knowing I was running the half the next day, my strategy for this race was simple- just finish. I wanted to run a good race and feel strong and fast at the finish. I had set up my timer for 1:1 and felt really good when we started.

This race is pancake-flat. Like super awesome flat. It's a simple two miles south, turn around, two miles north on the boardwalk, then a quick little out and back and then finish on the boardwalk. An 8k is 4.97 miles.

I checked my watch at mile 1- 11:13- way, way too fast! I tried to slow down a bit and just enjoy the chilly run. I had planned on throwing away the long-sleeved shirt I had on but I never really got warm enough to part with it. I did take it off around mile three but then put it back on after the race.

Right around mile four, I realized that if I kept the pace I was running, I would hit a major PR for this distance. It was the best feeling. Since my stress fracture this fall, all of my runs have been easy- I haven't pushed the pace for fear of re-injuring my foot. But during this race, I pushed. And I ran hard. And I crossed that finish line at 57:29, a full four minutes off my time from 2014.

Medals are delicious in the morning.

What could be better than a PR? Getting your medal from a friend! Jen was still on medal duty so she put this glittery new medal around my neck. I headed into the party tent to grab my free beer and ran into Kathryn and Kathleen. I met both of these lovely ladies through twitter and Disney- it was great to catch up with them and chat about the race! Jen met up with me later and we ran into two friends from work- Sara and Steph. After chatting for a while, we started the mile walk back to the car- I had another expo shift at 1:30.

Kathleen, me, and Kathryn. Thanks to Preston (Kathryn's husband) for this picture!

Steph, Sara, Jen, and me. Beach selfies for the win.

I love this race for a lot of reasons but here's my top three: 1. It's an unusual and challenging distance. Not a 5k, but not quite a 10k. 2. Beautiful medals! 3. Flat, flat, flat course. Excellent for trying for a PR.

My expo shift that afternoon went really well- I got to chat with Bart Yasso and take a #Bartie, we built pyramids with J&A cups, and I got to talk to SO many people about running. It was awesome. And, my brother arrived from NJ! And several other friends came by the booth to chat- including some co-workers that I worked with 10+ years ago! Pretty dang cool.

My bestie, Bart Yasso.


Jason and Derek being creative master minds. 

Ambassador selfie.

He absolutely didn't want this picture. But I made him. That's what big sisters do. 

After some final expo purchases, we headed back to the hotel for dinner and an early bed time. Luckily, our hotel had a great pasta buffet in the restaurant so we didn't have to travel for dinner. After a leisurely meal, we set out our clothes for the next morning- it was going to be a big race for so many reasons :-)

Have you ever ran an 8k or another unusual race distance?

Disclosure: As a J&A Ambassador, I received a complimentary race entry. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Interested in more Shamrock Weekend fun? Check out the 2015 Shamrock Race Recap linkup below, hosted by J&A Ambassadors Nan, Sarah, Lindsey, and Jennifer.

If you wrote a 2015 Shamrock Race Recap  (spectator and volunteer recaps are also welcome) feel free to add your blog post to the linkup:
  • Link back to the blog host(s) in your recap so your readers can find the list.
  • Love reading recaps? Here is a one stop shop for some Shamrock goodness!
  • Not a Shamrock related post? Linkup hosts have the discretion to remove your link
Note: This linkup will be open until April 22, 2015.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

AM: 3/24/15

No matter how hard I try to prevent it, it always happens: post-race weekend depression. This year's Shamrock Marathon Weekend was no different; I am super sad it's over! In a nutshell- friends, PR's, family, and beer. AKA, awesome. It was my first distance race and my first multi-day challenge since September and my feet survived! And my brother ran his first half marathon! Look for recaps coming this week.

Monday- Rest day
Tuesday- Rest day
Wednesday- Rest day
Thursday- Rest day
Friday- Rest day & worked at the expo
Saturday- Shamrock 8k, 57:29- new PR!
Sunday- Shamrock Half Marathon, 2:46:59, Mimosas, beer, and Oreos on the course :-)

17.98 miles total

I really would have liked to worked out more last week but it just didn't happen. I had wanted to rest, just not that much. I want to do a better job of cross- and strength-training each week; I've just got to get a better routine going.

Since last week was a race week, nutrition and hydration were very important. This was probably the first race that I felt adequately hydrated for. I aimed to increase my water intake by about 25% each day and I felt like I reached that goal every day. Also, since I'm still not 100% sure that I don't have gout, I avoided any foods that would cause a flare-up: beef, pork, caffeine, beer, etc. Overall, I'm proud of how I prepared for last weekend's races.

And I'm also really proud of how I celebrated after the races: Five Guys! If you don't know the goodness that is Five Guys Burgers & Fries, I'd highly suggest you try it once or twice. I hadn't ate there in over four years but on Sunday, I had the BEST burger and fries I'd had in a long time- to the tune of 28 Weight Watchers points (daily goal is 26). But it was so completely worth it.


140.4 as of 3/18/15 weight in
-.8 from last week
-50 from January 2013
-61.6 since HW


I cried last Wednesday when I weighed in and saw that I finally had reached 50 pounds lost- it's been a rocky 26 months but I wouldn't have had it any other way. Slow and steady is working for me and with only five pounds to go until goal (wow, I never thought I'd be saying that!), I am focusing on taking this journey one week and one weigh-in at a time. :-)

On the left: January 2013, one week before I joined WW. On the right: March 2015, Shamrock Half Marathon.

How was your week?

Friday, March 20, 2015


It's here! It's finally here! It's Shamrock Marathon Weekend!

Y'all, this is like Christmas morning for me! Ever since becoming a J&A Ambassador last summer, I have been counting down the days until Shamrock weekend. I really fell in love with this event last March and am so proud to represent this racing company. And their biggest race of the year is finally here!!!

As you are reading this, my friend Jen (from All Four Love) and I are currently traveling to Virginia Beach- about a 5-6 hour drive. Keep your fingers crossed that we don't hit too much traffic and we're able to get to the expo on time- I've got to work the J&A booth at 11:30!

We've got such a cool and awesome weekend in front of us- I'm running the 8k and the half, Jen is running the half, and my brother Adam is joining us in Virginia Beach tomorrow and running the half with me on Sunday. It will be his first and I am so excited that I get to run this with him!

I'm also really looking forward to connecting with other friends that will be down for the race- I think seeing my running family is one of my favorite parts of a race weekend! In addition to an expo that will be packed with cool vendors, I'm excited about the speaker series that J&A puts on, including a few sessions with Bart Yasso. He'll also be available for pictures at the J&A booth so I might be stalking him for another selfie, or rather, a Bartie!

With Bart Yasso at the WDW Marathon Expo.

But what I'm most excited for, what I've dreamt about for what seems like forever, is running a distance race again. I cannot wait for the start of the half marathon. To hear the national anthem, to watch the corrals go off in front of me, to have those nervous butterflies as the race starts- pure ecstasy for me. This will be my first half marathon back after the stress fracture and the latest bout of crazy with my toe. To say I'm excited is an understatement. Thirteen point one miles of fun, accomplishment, and victory is waiting for me on Sunday and I can't wait to get after it.

If you're coming to Virginia Beach this weekend, be sure to connect with me- I've got some Shamrock goody bags full of good luck wishes and chocolate! You can find me at the J&A Booth at the expo today from 12-5 and tomorrow from 1-6. You can also find me in corral 12 for the 8k on Saturday morning and corral 10 for the half on Sunday morning.

If you won't be joining me and 30,000 of my closest friends for Shamrock Marathon Weekend, make sure you're following on twitter, facebook, and instagram as I'll be sharing a ridiculous amount of pictures with the hashtag #ShamrockOn15.

It's finally here- so let's ShamROCK!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Race Week Strategy: Shamrock Marathon Weekend

So, you've followed your training plan, you've thought about your race day strategy, you're ready for the race, right?! Almost. I like to think in terms of a "Race Week Strategy" when I'm getting ready for a big race weekend because there's a lot to consider outside of the race or races themselves.

It's race week!

Here's my "race week strategy" for Shamrock Marathon Weekend- which is just two days away!

Eating, Sleeping, & Drinking- Race week nutrition means lots of good stuff, less bad stuff. Generally, I stick to lean proteins and lots of fruits and veggies. I also try to increase my daily water intake by at least 25%. To be properly hydrated for race weekend, you've got to start ahead of race day. Sleep is also vital to feeling my best on race day- I try to be in bed by 10 pm each night. I also save the beer (and any other alcohol) for post-race :-)

Transportation & Lodging- Virginia Beach is about five hours from where I live, without traffic! I've mapped out a route that will hopefully avoid all the DC and Fredericksburg craziness. I've also printed out the hotel confirmation and double-checked check-in/check-out time. And I've packed a bunch of healthy road-trip snacks!

Course Routes- This weekend I'm running the 8k and the half marathon- aka the dolphin challenge! I love looking at course maps ahead of time so I can figure out where the food and water stops will be- this helps me bring the correct amount of fuel with me for the weekend. You can find all the Shamrock course maps here

Expo Schedule & Vendors- In addition to awesome races, J&A Racing also puts on a fantastic expo. Some of my absolute favorite vendors will be there: BeeCause Charms, Flipbelt, One More Mile, York Sign Shop, Raw Threads- just to name a few! I like to check out the list during race week so I can map out which vendors I don't want to miss in the hustle and bustle of expo chaos. And the speaker series is simply phenomenal- you won't want to miss the legend himself, Bart Yasso, speaking at 5 pm on Friday and 4 pm Saturday. Planning out my expo time ensures that I will see and do all the things I want to without feeling rushed or hurried.

Runner Tracking- Sign up your family and friends for text/email/social media alerts so they can track your progress! I also like to sign up to track my friends- it makes it easier to find folks after the race if I have an idea of when they are going to finish. And I can send them some encouragement for wherever they are on the course. PS- If you want to track me, my bib numbers are 27101 (8k) and 18236 (half).

Weather- It just wouldn't be race week if I didn't obsessively check the weather! It will snow in PA on Friday but it's just supposed to rain in VA Beach. Checking out the weather is important because it dictates what I pack and could impact travel. I usually wait until a week out from the race before I start to worry about the weather- farther out from a month, it's too hard to predict.

Packing- I'm an early packer. I've got all my clothes/running gear/fuel already laid out and will be packed long before the early Friday morning travel. By starting to pack a week in advance, I have plenty of time to think about what laundry needs to be done, what still needs to be purchased, etc. 

Training- I'll be honest, this week I have not been training nearly as much as I do when it's not race week. At this point, there's too much of a risk of injury for me. I am resting my feet and enjoying a nice short break before the races this weekend. 

Being prepared by planning a "race week strategy" has really helped me to lessen my race day anxiety and still enjoy the build-up of excitement that comes with a big race weekend.

What would you add to this list? What's part of your race week strategy?

Monday, March 16, 2015

AM: 3/16/15


If you can't tell, I am SO excited that Shamrock Marathon Weekend is just four days away! Look for more posts this week detailing all the fun stuff this weekend will hopefully bring.

As you know, the last two weeks have been a bit of a struggle- some of my food issues resurfaced; specifically bored/lonely eating. But I'm proud that I was able to recognize what was going on and stop it before it got too out of hand. Two or three years ago, I don't know if I would have made the same decision. Progress!

Monday- Short core workout
Tuesday- Walk Away the Pounds, 3 mile walk
Wednesday- Rest day
Thursday- Rest day. Toe flared up around 10:30 pm and was painful through the night until 11:30 pm Friday night. Ugh.
Friday- Rest day
Saturday- Rest day
Sunday- Shamrock 5k in Baltimore, 37:36, 11:48 pace. Toe felt great!

I wish my feet felt this great every day!

So, this freaking toe. On Thursday night, as I was laying in bed, it flared up. Swollen, painful, wouldn't move- I could barely walk on Friday. After work on Friday, I put on my boot (the one from the stress fracture) and could get around much better. Then as randomly as it started, it stopped hurting and being "frozen" around 11:30 Friday night- about 25 hours of pain. I have no idea what the heck is going on with it except that the flare-ups are lasting longer and longer each time. I have an appointment with a sports medicine podiatrist this morning so maybe I'll get some answers. All I know is that I am hoping and praying that I don't have any more flare-ups; especially this weekend. I just wish I knew how to prevent these painful flare-ups.

Not much to say here- I didn't try anything new or noteworthy. But, I did a much better job of staying within my daily PPV range this week. And I did a lot of cuddling with Koda- that counts for something, right? :-)

This little face is the greatest. 

141.2 pounds as of 3/11/15 weigh in
-1.8 from last week
-49.2 since January 2013
-60.8 since HW

After a two pound gain last week, I was happy to see the majority of that gone this week. I am still struggling to get past the 141 mark. I've set my goal weight at 135 but if the scale won't budge anymore, I may have to readjust that goal. For now, I am hoping to be at goal by the time we go on our second Disney cruise in May- less than two months from now. We'll just have to see what happens.

Are you running any St. Patrick's Day themed races this week?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Jeff Galloway Says: It IS Possible to Run Injury Free

One of the things I love about the Jeff Galloway run/walk method is that is gives you the opportunity to run [mostly] injury free. Research has shown that incorporating walk breaks into your run can help you reduce the probability of injury as you are putting less stress on your structural and muscular systems than straight running.

Galloway is really the expert on this topic, so you'll find his tips below- with my two cents added in! 

Training and Motivation Tips 
by Olympian Jeff Galloway
Runners from Austin, Duluth, Denver, Metro Dc, NW Indiana, and Montgomery County, MD - We are coming to you! There is a Galloway Training Program starting near you in the month of March! Check the calendar for more information: March Galloway Program Kick-offs

JG: Most injuries experienced by my runners are due to 
1) pacing long runs too fast, 
2) increasing the weekly mileage too quickly, 
3) lengthening stride and 
4) stretching.

SR: I would add an additional cause of injury- running as your ONLY activity. My stress fracture was a direct result of ill-fitting shoes and too much running, not enough cross or strength training. See also "The 10 Laws of Injury Prevention."

JG: The principle in staying injury free is to balance gentle stress with the right recovery periods-allowing for rebuilding. (for more information, see my book RUNNING INJURIES)

SR: Yup! When I was over-training in the summer, I did not allow enough rest for my skeletal system to catch up with my muscles, tendons, and ligaments, thus causing an injury.

JG: Finding the right Run Walk Run strategy from the beginning of a run has been the best way I've found to stay injury free, come back from an injury and in some cases, continue to run while the injury heals. (See my book RUN WALK RUN)

·    Are you concerned that running will damage joints, and other body parts ? I was told this regularly, from my first week of running over 50 years ago but the research shows the opposite result: Runners have healthier joints, etc. than non runners as the decades go by.

·    While researching for my book RUNNING UNTIL YOU'RE 100, I reviewed dozens of studies and could not find one showing that running harms legs, feet, joints, etc.

·    It may surprise you to know that many studies show that runners have fewer orthopedic issues compared with non-runners as the years go by.

·    A respected and large population study out of Stanford following thousands of runners over 50 who had run for more than 20 years concluded that runners had less than 25% of orthopedic issues compared with non runners of the same age.

JG: As long as you stay below the threshold of irritation you can often continue to run while the injury heals.

SR: My orthopedic doctor and my physical therapist both encouraged me to run/walk as I came back from my stress fracture. And both are huge fans of the Galloway method- they say I'll be able to run well into my 70's as long as I keep taking walk breaks :-)

All Roads Lead To Rome!
Deadline extended until March 8th. 
(Time & Space is now limited - 2 slots left)
Sign up at 
Offer Expires: 3/8/15

What's the best way you've found to avoid injuries?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

My Favorite Running Things- Part III

Last year, I wrote a post or two about my favorite running things, all the essentials I need to have a good run. As with most things in life, as I have become a more experienced and [sometimes] injured runner, this list has grown and changed a bit.

So, here's a new list of my favorite things AND a special discount on my absolute must-have running essential- Enell Sports Bras- just for Sparkly Runner readers! Read on to find out how you can get some discounted "support" in your life!

Old Navy Activewear: Cheap, cute, and fun, Old Navy really has some great workout/running clothes. My favorites include bright printed capris/leggings and tanks with sassy fitness sayings.

Sparkle Skirts: These skirts are pricey but are totally worth it in my opinion. Hand-made in the USA, they feature two large pockets on the built-in shorts and one large pocket on the waistband. And they can be worn forward or backward- it all depends on where you want that waistband pocket.

Flip Belts: When I'm not wearing a skirt with built in shorts, I'm wearing this belt. With a clip for your keys and plenty of room to store fuel, money, ID, credit cards- whatever really- these belts are the only ones I've found that are comfy and don't move at all when running. And they are super affordable- under $30.

KIND Healthy Grain Bars: I'm always on the lookout for a low-point, healthy bar to take with me on long runs. The KIND Healthy Grain bars do the trick! Five grains, gluten-free, and only 4 PPV- and they're really, really good! My favorite variety is the Maple Pumpkin Seed.

Altras: After doing a lot of research on what shoes are best for runners with arthritis, I settled on getting a pair of Altras. Getting used to the zero-drop was interesting but I really love the cushioning and wide toe box of these shoes.

Asics: After being injured this fall, I am constantly rotating shoes so my feet will gain strength in different areas with each different shoe. My PT recommended Asics and I love the GT-2000's I currently run in. They are supportive and comfortable.

Feetures Plantar Fasciitis Sleeves: I haven't talked about it much here but I have some wicked Plantar Fasciitis occasionally. These sleeves help with circulation, pain-relief, and swelling. And they just make my feet feel good!

GYMBOSS timer: As a firm believer in the Galloway run/walk method, this timer is vital to my success. It can be set for any type of interval you want, can vibrate or beep or both, and will last for 99 intervals- essential for the long run. And it's under $20 and won't drain your battery like a phone app.

Oiselle Journal: A gift from a sweet, sweet friend (Steph at GooberMonkey), this journal has been helping me really nail down goals, obstacles, and successes in a way that only writing by hand can do. It's nice to actually have to write out my thoughts as opposed to typing- where I can go back, delete and start again. You can't do that when you're writing by hand and it's helping me to really focus on where I want my training to go in 2015.

Foam Roller: You can get one of these anywhere and the benefits are awesome! It's like giving my legs a massage every day- even though it hurts sometimes :-) But foam rolling is an excellent way to keep all your muscles, tendons, and ligaments stretched out and warm- thus helping with increased flexibility and decreased risk of injury.

Enell: You know I love these bras- what I've been loving recently is all the new colors they've come out with! I love wearing a tank top now just so I can see Scuba Duba Blue or Raspberry Zest peeking out!

Want to get one of these new Enell colors for yourself? Head on over to and use code "SPARKLY10" to save 10% on your purchase! This code is valid 3/11/15- 3/18/15 so don't delay in bringing some colorful support into your (or your favorite female runner's) life!

What's your favorite running essential?

Monday, March 9, 2015

AM: 3/9/15

Good morning, y'all!

It's been an interesting week on a number of levels but especially concerning the weather. Thursday brought eight inches of snow and ice but by Sunday, the sun was shining and temperatures reached almost 50 degrees! Finally!

We both enjoyed the sunshine!

Matthew left on Tuesday for a 12 day trip for work. It's just been me and the pup.... and a whole lot of emotional eating. I haven't lived by myself in over seven years and I forgot that loneliness is a huge trigger for me: when I'm lonely, I eat. This usually doesn't affect me but I guess since I knew Matthew would be out of town for so long, it made me a little sad. And the cure for sadness is food, right?!

Luckily, being able to recognize this habit is the first step in changing it. I had a few rough days but once I realized why I was feeling unsettled/lonely, it was easier to turn away from emotional eating and do something else. Taking a cue from Authentically Emmie and repeating "food will not fix this" over and over helps too.

Thankfully, Matthew will be home on Saturday. I can keep it together until then :-)

Monday- Rest day
Tuesday- Rest day
Wednesday- 30 minute hill workout on the bike, strength training circuit
Thursday- 30 minutes, elliptical
Friday- Rest day
Saturday- Rest day: Volunteered at the Chambersburg Half Marathon
Sunday- 6.2 miles, 12:01 pace

6.2 total miles

Since deciding to back off on my weekly runs, my weekend run has become so much more enjoyable. Yesterday, I set out to run two to three miles. But I felt so good, that I just kept going for the full 10k distance. And I did it without music and by myself! I got so lost in the run and the beautiful weather that I was never bored or tired; it was easily one of the top five runs of my life. It was simply awesome.

Runner's high.

I seriously have been loving my new Weight Watcher's cookbook: Easy Mains and Sides. Each meal is less than 8 PPV and takes less than 30 minutes to prepare. This week, I made beef stir-fry and potato salad- both were easy and really tasty. I also snuck in a dinner with my dad. He made these little chinese appetizers filled with shrimp and pork- so yummy. After the last few weeks of some less-than-stellar food choices, I felt much more in control this week. Meal planning and cooking at home really helps to give me the overall sense of control and confidence in my choices.

Beef and veggie stir fry, potato salad with shallots and whole grain mustard, goodness in a wonton wrapper.

143 as of 3/5/15
+2 from last week
-47.4 from January 2013
-59 from HW

And there it is- the gain I was expecting. It was just a few weeks late :-) As I've said many times before, gains happen. But the most important thing for me to do is not let this gain become another intentional gain. As long as I stay the course, I'll end up where I want to be- at goal weight.

What's the story behind one of your best training runs?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Treadmill Tips for the Long Run

Most runners I know are pretty bad-ass, they run hundreds of miles in the heat, cold, wind, snow. And they usually have a common enemy: the treadmill, also known as the "dreadmill." It's not hard to see why- running in place, mile after mile, like a hamster on a wheel? Yuck, no thank you!

Except when you don't have a choice. Freezing rain, ice/hail, and temperatures above 90 degrees are all conditions that will force me to either skip my scheduled run or get the miles in on the treadmill. Which is usually fine for a 30-45 minute run. But this past weekend, with 15 on the Pittsburgh Marathon training schedule, skipping the long run wasn't an option. And neither was running outside- it was hovering in the low-30's with freezing rain and snow- not the kind of weather you want to be spending 3+ hours in.

So onto the treadmill Matthew and I went! For three hours and twenty two minutes. And three seconds :-) Honestly, I didn't think it was that bad but as I was chatting with other runner friends, I realized that there's a lot of hatred out there for the treadmill. While I will always prefer to run outside, there are times that the treadmill is a must. So let's try to hate it less- here are my tips for surviving a long (or any!) run on a treadmill!

  • Bring a Friend. Having a buddy to slog out the miles with on the treadmill is a God-send! It truly does help the time go by faster when you can chat with a friend.
  • Split the run into time, not miles. This little mental trick is instrumental in helping me wrap my head around the run. For last week's 15 miler, I knew it would take at least three hours so I focused on getting through each hour; rather than each mile. 
  • Find something good to watch- or listen to. I'm lucky enough to have access to a small gym with a TV and a treadmill. I prefer to watch something inspiring, usually an athletic event. Movies, TV shows, and podcasts are also helpful in keeping your mind distracted. You can even use your phone to watch/listen if you don't have access to a common TV. 
  • Reach out to your social media tweeps. Several times during last weekend's run I shared my progress on twitter- and got lots of encouraging tweets back. It was really helpful to know that I had support from all over the interwebs. 
  • Use the Speed Interval function. I just learned about this a few weeks ago. Most treadmills have a "speed interval" button or something similar. It allows you to alternate between two different speeds with the push of a button- one for walking and one for running. It makes using the Galloway run/walk method ten times easier on the treadmill. 
  • Visualize your goal race. Remembering WHY you're on the treadmill can help you stick to it. Visualizing the course, the finish line, how you'll feel on race day- all of those thoughts can power you through the boredom that often accompanies the human hamster wheel. 

So during this seemingly endless winter for most parts of the country, make friends with the treadmill and use it to help you reach your running and fitness goals!

What other tips do you have for the treadmill?

Monday, March 2, 2015

AM: 3/2/15

Welcome to March! Springtime weather is just around the corner!- Maybe :-)

Before we get to the regular check-in, here's a fun announcement from Enell! They've got a brand new, limited-edition color that just released this morning:

Because I'm an Enell Ambassador, they sent me one of these beauties last week and let me tell you, this color is simply gorgeous in person! This is the only multi-color Enell that has been made for mass production- the bra is a beautiful pink trimmed in tangerine orange. We had a snowstorm this weekend and I jumped (literally) at the chance to try it out. It shows up more pink in person, like the photo below. If you want this amazing new color in your collection, check out for local retailers or instructions on how to purchase one online. These are limited edition so once they're gone, they're gone!

Yes, it was FREEZING. But also kinda fun!

Ok, let's get down to business-

Monday- Rest day
Tuesday- Rest day
Wednesday- 20 minute elliptical workout
Thursday- Rest day
Friday- Rest day
Saturday- Rest day
Sunday- 15 mile training run on the treadmill. 3:22:03 total time, 13:28 pace

15 total miles

It was another busy week at work- I was there late (like 11 pm late) four of the five work days and I was still trying to rest my toe. As I planned with my ortho, I am going to replace 1-2 runs a week with the elliptical and keep the long run for the weekend. However, this week it was really tough to even get in small workouts.

But, I am happy to report that I rocked those 15 miles on the treadmill with very little pain in my stress fracture foot or in my left big toe. My feet did really hurt for the first two miles- I don't know what that's about- but eventually it went away. Weird. I did have some struggles with my breathing, leg and hip pain, and just mentally getting through 3+ hours running again. But, I hope those issues will get better the more I get back into marathon training.

After last week's train wreck, I was determined to turn it around this week. Even though I had late nights at work, I still cooked and meal-prepped almost every night for the next day. Favorites this week include egg whites and ground turkey (4 PPV per serving) ; Zattaran's Jambalaya Rice and turkey kielbasa (12 PPV per serving the way I make it).

Breakfasts and lunches ready for the week. I spy a not-so-hidden Mickey!

Another win for this week was the discovery of Torani Sugar-Free Syrups. A few weeks ago, Torani reached out to me and offered to send some of their sugar-free syrups for review on my blog. I expected them to send a few small samples, however they sent three full-sized bottles: Vanilla, Caramel, and Raspberry. At first, I would just try each one in my coffee. Then I wondered, "what if I tried raspberry and vanilla TOGETHER in my coffee?!" This was life-changing, y'all. Then I discovered that I could put two pumps (equal to two tablespoons) of caramel into my Weight Watchers Chocolate Smoothie with some PB2 and I just about lost my mind. So delicious! I can't wait to find more ways to include these yummy, 0 PPV per serving syrups into my weekly routine.

Coffee and Sugar-Free Torani Syrups: a match made in heaven.

141 as of 2/25/15
-1.2 from last week
- 49.4 since January 2013
- 61 since HW

Weight loss is a funny thing. Last week, I had one of the toughest weeks I've had in a long time and somehow I lost 1.2 pounds. Other weeks I do everything right- eat well, earn activity points, get plenty of sleep- and I gain. It's a total mystery sometimes. However, I'm at the lowest weight I've ever been in my adult life. The last time I was in the 140 range, I was 13 years old. Insanity.

That was my week- how was yours? Any new food or products you're loving these days?

Disclaimer: Torani and Enell sent me products in exchange for a review on my blog; I did not receive any additional compensation.  As always, all opinions are my own.