July 1, 2015

2015 Running goals update

After reading lots of midyear posts by other bloggers and runners, I thought it would be fun to look back on my six months of running and racing in 2015!  The year started off with a month of training with no races.  January was a very quiet month, keeping a base and starting my Boston Marathon training.

My first race of the year was the Princess Half Marathon and it was my fifth consecutive year of running this race.  As my first half in 2011, it is a very special race for me and this year, Christine and my sister Alison were both there to enjoy the race weekend.  My goal was to run under two hours and to get a new PR would be even better.  Yes, it did happen and I was thrilled to find out that I placed in my age group, another goal for the race.  Christine PR'd her 10k as part of the Glass Slipper Challenge and my sister smoked her age group for a win by over 13 minutes in the half marathon!

After training really hard during the month of March and completing several long runs in the 22-23 mile range, it was time to taper for my little race in April.  After running the B.A.A. 5k with Christine and Adam on Saturday, Alison and I rode the bus on Monday morning from Boston to Hopkinton to run the Boston Marathon,  This was a dream that was finally realized and while it wasn't the race I planned, it was an experience I will always remember and my sister was by my side every step of the way.

Crossing the finish line with Alison

The month of May started with a Mother's Day trip to California to run the Tinkerbell Challenge.  My goal for these races was to earn an age group prize in both races and hopefully run a PR in the 10k race.  My prior 10k PR was over two years old and since I run this distance infrequently, I thought this was the time to test myself.  With perfect weather and good corral placement, my PR goal was met by nearly a minute and a couple age group prizes for each race were earned.  It helped alot to have Christine run the half with me after we both raced the 10k fairly hard on Saturday with the half on Sunday.

At the end of May, I ran my last race for the month and that was the Wilma Dash 5k with many of the girls in my running group.  Our group had the most participants and we were rewarded with a party at the local brewery!  And many of us earned a podium finish and an age group medal.  It was crazy hot that night so there were no PR's, but the girls had a ton of fun and it will be repeated next year!

Yes, we were dressed in a sea of pink!

June was a tough month with a nagging calf injury and not much running. The best run in June was the "Runaway Bride" run in Virginia Beach the day of Christine and Adam's wedding.  This was made extra special with 5 girls who ran with the bride and me leading the way on a bike since I wasn't able to run!

Overall, this has been a great year and hopefully the second half will continue to be productive and fun.  Has 2015 been a good running year for you?

June 29, 2015

My first "brick" workout....does that mean a triathlon is on the horizon?

Last Monday, I did something that I had never planned to do.  My usual forms of exercise include the gym where I use an elliptical machine or the stationary bike, some weights and the mats.  My outdoor activities usual consist of running, walking the dog, a neighborhood bike ride or playing golf.  Imagine my surprise when I looked at my workout schedule provided by coach Sami.  The workout for the day included biking outside and swimming laps in a 25 yard pool..  My plan showed a bike ride to the fitness center where I would do a 1000 yard swim workout followed by another bike ride home.  Tom actually suggested I take the car because my swim workout the prior week was not great.  In fact, I felt sick to my stomach for the better portion of it, and actually fell short by 100 yards of the workout.

The bike ride was just 2.5 miles and mostly downhill so I arrived at the pool feeling ready to tackle my swim workout.  The pool was so warm it felt like bath water, but despite that, there was a workout to complete and I was determined to get this one completed, every last yard!  Any outdoor activity done it heat and humidity will take longer and of course this swim was no exception.
My workout consisted of a warm up with arm and leg drills followed by some sets of 50's, up to 200's at certain speeds based on feel.  I really enjoy the shorter quick swims followed by a brief rest.  However, my speedy time, is probably like a turtle for most swimmers.  However, a turtle makes it to the finish line too! Post workout, I got on my bike and completed my brick workout in approximately one hour.  I haven't peaked at my workouts for this week, but I feel certain there will be another brick in my future.

Now the big question, will I enter a triathlon?  This is such a tempting thing, except I do not own a proper road bike.  A few weeks ago, several of my teammates and Sami raced a sprint triathlon called 3 little pigs.  This is the one and only triathlon I would be interested in because of the age group awards.  Sami earned her third "little pig" trophy this year and it is adorable.  So.....if I ever try a tri, it will be this one. Oh and yes, there was only one person in my age group this year!

Have you done a triathlon?  What is your favorite event of the three?

June 26, 2015

Friday Five: Getting on the healthy bandwagon!

It's probably not a big surprise that the wedding chaos threw my life into a bit of a tizzy...a very very good one! We were lucky enough to have some fantastic leftover food that our caterer properly saved for us and lots and lots of cake. For 4 days after the wedding, Adam and I enjoyed pulled pork sliders, sauteed veggies and cake for dinner. Every single night! It was tasty but eventually we both craved healthier food and the normalcy of our regular routines.

1. Abs and push-ups: When Adam and I first started dating, he was religious about a push-up, pull-up and sit-up routine.  I adopted parts of it like the core focus and push-ups. I was amazed at how fast my back and shoulder muscles developed from the push-ups so I stuck with it. And earlier this year I mentioned that I had been doing a lot more core work in the morning. I fell off the bandwagon in a big way just before the wedding and I can tell from the fact that my baby abs went back into hiding. We both agreed to spend 5-10 minutes each morning back on the wagon.

2. Cooking dinners: Nothing earth shattering here but we spent some time last weekend meal-planning and picking out healthy recipes for dinner. Our weekly meal plan looks something like this...
Sunday: Margharita pizza on the grill with Greek salad
Monday: Almond crusted halibut (I modified to do a light olive oil and herb mixture instead of the butter) with zucchini and salad
Tuesday: One pot Thai peanut pasta using protein pasta
Wednesday: Enchiladas with chicken, peppers, and onions
Thursday: Skinny honey lemon chicken with asparagus
Almond crusted halibut with zucchini topped with pesto
3. Gym dates: Adam and I have been making dates to hit the gym after work together. I enjoy the time we spend together and it's been a good motivator. Plus he always has some good ideas for strengthening exercises for my hips and quads.

4. Running dates: When Adam's back flared up, I lost my running buddy for a while. But now that he's healed (fingers crossed he doesn't have more issues), I have a running buddy which is fantastic! Marathon training is hard and I'm grateful to have someone by my side for some of the runs. We enjoyed a few miles together last Saturday and it was brutally hot so I was happy to have someone to help keep me motivated.

5. Focusing on hydration: I kind of slacked off on hydration for a while and now that summer heat and humidity is here in full force, I couldn't ignore it anymore. I have my 24 oz. Starbucks Disney Parks tumbler at work that I fill with ice water several times a day. I also have been trying to drink 8-12 ounces of water when I wake up in the morning. For some reason it gets me in a good frame of mind and starts the day off right.

Hope you have a great weekend!

June 24, 2015

Jeff Galloway offers new tips for his run walk run strategy

Disclosure:  We are Galloway bloggers and receive tips to share with our readers.  There is no compensation received for this post.

We have been Jeff Galloway interval runners at many different times during our run training and race. Since my first marathon was part of the Goofy Challenge running a half one day and a full marathon the next, I used the run walk run plan for my training and race day.  And guess what?  You can do races on consecutive days and finish with a smile on your face.  Having a good race strategy is helpful and Jeff's strategy, especially for new runners works very well.

Recently we received some new running strategy tips from Jeff that we want to share with you.  With more research, Jeff has found that a shorter walk break will aid runners in keeping their pace consistent, yet achieving a stronger race with less fatigue.  Here is why:
Avoiding the Slow-down
Compared to running constantly, the 1-minute walk break still results in runners feeling better, staying healthier, and going faster, but it can get even better! Limiting walk breaks to 30 seconds, or in some cases even less, while cutting the run time accordingly, gives all the same benefits, with even less fatigue and even faster times.
The Bottom Line
If you are in already using a 30-second walk break or less, you don't need to adjust. If you are using an interval that takes a 1-minute walk break, keep the same ratio but cut your walk and run times in half. For example, a 1-minute/1-minute interval now becomes a 30-sec./30-sec. interval. It's that simple.

The 30-second Walk Break
 Jeff Galloway's Run/Walk/Run method was revolutionary for three reasons:
1 - Run/Walk/Runners felt better throughout the long run.
2 - Run/Walk/Runners recovered faster and got injured less often.
3 - Run/Walk/Runners went faster with the breaks than without.
Since his introduction of walk breaks in 1974, Jeff he has received feedback from hundreds of thousands of runners, allowing him to fine tune Run/Walk/Run to keep people feeling better, staying healthy, and running faster.
The greatest benefit of the walk break comes in the first 30 sec.
Our heart rates come down, the running muscles relax, we catch our breaths, and the fatigue melts away. After 30 seconds of walking, we tend to slow down. Here is a typical example of what happens with a 1-minute walk break:  A run/walk/runner averaging 10-minute pace in a marathon using 3 min/1min might walk at a 15-minute mile pace for the first part of the race.
As fatigue sets in, that walk gets slower, and by halfway, the runner may be walking at 18 min/mi. This means faster running is needed to stay on pace, which creates more fatigue at the end of each running segment, so the walk will get slower, and so goes the downward spiral at the end of the race.
Avoiding the Slow-down
Compared to running constantly, the 1-minute walk break still results in runners feeling better, staying healthier, and going faster, but it can get even better! Limiting walk breaks to 30 seconds, or in some cases even less, while cutting the run time accordingly, gives all the same benefits, with even less fatigue and even faster times.
In Summary
If you are in already using a 30-second walk break or less, you don't need to adjust. If you are using an interval that takes a 1-minute walk break, keep the same ratio but cut your walk and run times in half. For example, a 1-minute/1-minute interval now becomes a 30-sec./30-sec. interval. It's that simple.
When I ran Princess 2014 with Jeff and Barbara, we used a 30 second run, 30 second walk break interval for the entire race. And I will tell you that I was not one bit tired when I finished that race. It really does give you more energy to use run walk and I think you can achieve better time results with this method. If you use his method, do give this interval a test during your next long run.  You may be surprised at how well it works!

Thanks as always to Jeff for sharing his tips.

June 22, 2015

"Run like a Champion" giveaway

Disclosure:  Champion provided us with clothing for our race weekend in February.  we were given the option to giveaway any extras that did not fit either of us. 

Remember when we wore Champion clothing for the Princess Half Marathon race weekend back in February?  Champion sent us huge boxes of clothing and unfortunately, a few items sent to Christine were not the correct sizes.

I was a bit jealous Christine received two boxes!

Instead of returning the clothing to Champion, they offered us the chance to give away the clothing that did not fit to our blog readers. With all the wedding preparations and hoopla, we are just now getting around to posting the giveaways.  That's right, there are two separate outfits we are giving away!  The first outfit is the same one I wore when I ran a PR at the Princess Half Marathon.  The top is the Absolute Women's tank in teal with matching Marathon shorts also in teal.  I absolutely love this outfit, and you will too.  We are giving away a size medium outfit (tank and shorts).

This outfit is not only good for earning race day PR's, but also for assorted other cross training activities such as walks on the beach and bike riding!

The second outfit we have to give away is the Women's Champion sport short  in printed patrol red with a matching Powertrain v-neck shirt in solid patrol red, both in size medium.  While neither of us has this exact outfit, we do have these shorts and tops in other colors and they are great for the gym, running or any activity.

Please note that this contest is only open to US residents in the lower 48 states.  How to enter?  Leave a blog post comment and answer why you want to "run like a Champion!"  That's all and good luck.  We will randomly choose winners on Friday, June 26th!

June 19, 2015

The un-recap of our wedding

I figured that I would be really excited to share some details from our wedding after the fact. After a bit of reflection, I've decided that I won't be sharing the nitty gritty details of our wedding, unlike our race recaps! I'm sure this comes as a bit of a surprise since we readily share information about other aspects of our lives, but there are some things in life that are personal and I've decided this is one of them. 

Adam and I spent 10 weeks, give or take a few days, planning a billion details for a day that was precious to us. We shared our ceremony and celebration with 40 of our nearest and dearest in an intimate day that reflected us...southern hospitality with Midwestern and New England roots. It was a really special day and I still smile when I think about exchanging unique vows, twirling on the dance floor with one of Adam's best friends, and indulging in southern fare with my new husband (!!). I'm excited to begin my new life as a wife and as a team (one of the lingering themes from our wedding).

With the return to work, life has returned to normal but with a joy and excitement that wasn't there last week. 
{Christine, now a Mrs.}

June 18, 2015

A "runaway bride" fun run

Last Saturday was a big day for the We Run Disney girls.  Christine was getting married that afternoon and the morning was going to kick off with a fun run of about 3 miles with 7 runners.  Bright and early we met at the Church Point Manor in Virginia Beach for the start of the run.  I ordered shirts ahead of time from an Etsy shop, Run with perseverance and they came out great.  Dressing up a visor from Michael's with hot glue, some tulle and lace from Michael's and a Lululemon skirt finished off the bride's running outfit.  I had intended on making a bib for her to wear, but time slipped away from me. if you plan one of these events, you could come up with a cute idea for a bib and then print it off your computer!

the staged photo!

Not a clue what was so funny!

After our pre run photo shoot, we were set to go at about 7:45 am.  It was already really hot, so I carried a backpack with a couple bottles of water in case anyone needed it. By the way, I was the only one that could not run, so I was the biker in charge of water and keeping everyone on the planned route.  We could not afford to have a lost bride and her friends roaming the streets of Virginia Beach!

Church Point Manor is located in a beautiful residential area, so we passed many lovely homes along the way.  As cars, bicycle riders and pedestrians passed our group, we heard many comments!  Several people wished us a great day!

After departing the neighborhood, we entered Baylake Park which gave the runners a respite from the sun with some lovely shade trees.  After another 1/4 mile, it was time to turn around and head back to the manor house!

Soon we were all back in the air conditioned dining room at the bed and breakfast and it was time to enjoy some homemade coffee cake, cut fruit and Gatorade.  Everyone enjoyed the run and the shirts from Run With Perseverance were perfect for the occasion!  Now it was time to get ready for the main event of the day after showers and some nice clean clothes!

Post run treats and smiles!

If you are attending the wedding of a bride that is a runner, this is a great way to relieve some stress the morning of the wedding!