Thursday, December 27, 2012


A nice Christmas Day run sounded like the perfect gift to myself, but for many reasons, I didn't make it out the door that day. I'm totally okay with that, because it was a special occasion.

Even on an average day, it can be tough finding motivation to lace up your sneakers. Even though my 9 mile run this weekend was awesome, I definitely dragged my heels getting out the door.

It was cold, and I was cozy in bed. I am reading Ultrarunner Scott Jurek's book, and I was enjoying reading all snuggled up in my bed. I got through a couple chapters when I started reading about one of his morning training runs in Minnesota in winter. He talked about all the layers he bundled up in and how he ran despite sinking down in the snow. I thought about how it wasn't nearly that cold out today. It was only partly cloudy and all I'd need was a light pullover. 

One of the reasons I'm even reading Jurek's book is to pull inspiration for my training efforts. He's an amazing athlete, and I've been inspired by books written by other runners so I'm not surprised that it got me out the door.

Yesterday, before my 5 mile run, I was happy sitting on the couch watching Gossip Girl. I decided to try on a pair of running tights that were a Christmas gift. They're really loud and I lost my nerve to wear them out of the house, so I opted to put on another outfit. I put on another outfit, but still needed another little push. Cue my 26.2 headband!

This reminder helped me focus on my goal. I had to think about how these 5 miles were going to help me get to the marathon finish line. After that I went out and dominated my 5 mile run, including some steep hills in Beacon Hill. (That name is no joke!)

The ultimate inspiration though is knowing that I'm running for a bigger cause. Today, before heading out on my 3 mile run, I did some work on my fundraising efforts. That was the best reminder of why I'm running. These steps are just a small way that I can contribute to the fight against childhood cancer. 

It wasn't pretty. In fact it was a tough run. Even when it was hard, I thought about MGH and my mission. That helped me push beyond laziness and through any discomfort. This race and my training are about so much more than just crossing the finish line, and I can't think of anything more inspiring.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Nine Holiday Miles

Hope everyone enjoyed the holidays. I've been away from the blog for a few days, thanks to a fabulous Christmas.

Mmm, Christmas breakfast

I took Christmas as a rest day, but I got in some great workouts in the days leading up. I went to my first body pump in over a month, and on Sunday, I did a 9 mile training run.

The run was awesome. My Garmin magically picked up a signal moments after I turned it on. The air was cool but not too cold. I ran out and back along the river, and I was surprised to see how few people were out. Then I got next to the water and felt the wind. Boy, it was strong! I pushed through, promising myself a nice latte from Starbucks as my reward.

There were only a few runners out on the pathway, including a couple of guys who seemed to be holding a decently quick pace. Before I knew it, I was comfortably on their heels. I rode it out a bit, but it was a tad too slow for me, so I kicked it up to get ahead. I hope they didn't mind getting chicked!

I finished 9 miles in just under 1 hour and 20 minutes.

I was in a low-maintenance mood, so I didn't carry any water or fuel. I think 9 miles is about the most I can do without any fuel, so this weekend will mark the start of prepping for my runs with more than just my watch and my ipod.

I had Christmas Eve off, and so I decided to hit up a lunchtime yoga class. The instructor did a ton of stretches for our hip flexors. It hurt so good! I left the class feeling great. I seriously need to keep going to yoga.

It was the perfect kick-off to Christmas. Santa was good to me, bringing me several running accessories and garments.

Peppermint Stick Gu? Yes!
Crazy printed compression pants= Awesome
And of course some generous donations to my marathon fundraising. What a happy holiday!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Running To-Dos

I have no clue what I did to myself on Monday, but I had a weird pain in my hamstrings yesterday. I figured I should practice smart running and skipped my scheduled 3 miles run. I worry that I'm making excuses, but I think I was really just trying to avoid exasperating the problem.

I'm fortunate enough that my office closes between Christmas Eve and New Years Day. This means next week will be devoted to Running related things!

My to-do list includes:

  • Write donation letters
  • Buy new running shoes
  • Contact local businesses about fundraising events
  • Get in every single workout (runs, strength, yoga)
  • Finalize Disney costume
  • Spend my City Sports Groupon (I'm amazed it's lasted this long) 
  • Use slow cooker (ok, so this is not at all related to running but I have yet to use it and want to be home the first time in case I have a model that burns down the house or something)
 Maybe I'll use some of my free time to check out Recycle Studio or the Bar Method. The holidays have been so hectic that I haven't had time to focus on too much on the marathon. I can't remember the last time that I've had a staycation like this, and the timing is perfect!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Returning Champions

I sat down and officially laid out my Boston training plan last night. It never seems so bad in the beginning, but talk to me again during peak week.

It's a good thing I'm ready, because John Hancock just announced the return of the defending champions.  Sharon Cherop, when you feel that breeze on April 15th, it will just be me passing you.

Cherop's Marathon Monday 2012

Me on Marathon Monday 2012

My schedule consists of two shorter easy runs sandwiching a mid-length run and then the long run on the weekends with cross training/rest on non running days. My goal is to do at least 2 days of strength in there as well as a yoga day. The running I can handle. The bonus workouts give me pause. I think I'll to be more flexible on those and schedule those on a weekly basis rather than right now (why do I feel like those are famous last words?).

Monday, December 17, 2012

Burn Results

This morning was the final morning of my Burn Challenge!

I have to admit, I did not end on a strong note. I have definitely been logging more miles (yay!) but I haven't kept up my strength training the past two weeks (outside of the Monday morning sessions). I've also been enjoying the holidays and all the treats that come with them. Between cookie exchanges, holiday candies, and decadent dinners, my eating habits haven't been totally healthy these past two weeks. This totally showed on my end results.

Final Assessment:

Sprint: I was only 4 seconds faster in my sprint. I think I must have counted something wrong the first time though, because I know I had the treadmill set to a faster pace this morning, so I should have had a much faster time. Oh well, something to work towards I guess.

Plank: I also held a plank for about 30 seconds longer than my previous one. Not a huge improvement, but I honestly think this is mostly a mental thing for me. I get so bored during planks.

Weight: I am down about 5lbs from my previous weight! Obviously, I'm really happy about this, but over all, I'm disappointed in my results. Don't get me wrong, I totally got what I put into it. I indulged in holiday treats and skipped workouts. It's easy to forget that these things add up, and the results show it.

Lessons Learned:
- I need more strength training. I know this will only help my running
- I need a plan. The first few weeks, our trainer emailed us "homework." I was actually great about getting these done. The last two weeks, we were on our own, and that's when I started skipping weight training. It was just easier to lace up my sneakers and knock out 4 miles than to research and find a workout plan before hitting the gym. I need to not only go to the gym with a plan, but have one ready to go a day or so before.
- You are what you eat. When I eat lean, green and clean, I feel great and want to workout. When I start to snacking on holiday treats and skipping my vegetables, I feel sluggish and lazy. All I have to say to myself is duh.

I don't want to over extend myself, but I'd love to sign-up for more small group training. I need that push to get me to the gym, and I need that plan to actually make the weight training happen.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Going Long

There are a lot of runs involved in marathon training. The staple being the long run. 

This is just the first week of my training, so the schedule called for 6 miles. I am running the Disney half in January, which is before the schedule really picks up. The schedule is very beginner level, so I'm upping the milage a bit early so that I'll be up to 13 by Disney and can get in more than one 20 mile training run.

I'll admit, I dragged my feet getting out the door for this one. (Just how I want to start the long journey to the Boston starting line, yes?) My goal was to run 7 miles, which is pretty low milage for a long run. With milage so low, I left my Gu and water at home. I think once I hit 10 miles, I'll start packing fuel options. For now, I am enjoying the simplicity of just heading out with keys and my ipod.

I got out and waited for my Garmin to load...and waited...and waited. My Garmin has been so slow recently! I finally just wanted to get moving, and as I did 6 miles last weekend, I figured I'd run a bit farther than what I previously had done and that would be good enough. Usually my watch will get a signal a quarter mile in, so again, thought it would be good enough.

About 5 minutes in, my watch asked if I was a. indoors or b. over 100 miles/km farther away than its last use. The answer was no to both, so I knew that time would be about all I could really track.

I stuck to running along the Charles River, cranked up my music, and zoned out. I was actually brainstorming fundraising ideas, when I stumbled over a tree root and almost face planted on the sidewalk. Luckily I caught myself and stayed mostly upright. Phew!

About 30 minutes into the run, I turned around. Heading back it was pretty windy which wasn't fun. Surprisingly I kept up a quick pace, and plugged along even though I started getting a tad bored with my route. Clearly, I'll need to explore some new route options during the upcoming weeks. 

The best part was that about a quarter mile from home, I saw my-coworker and her husband. It was great to chat with them, and if I hadn't stuck to this route, I wouldn't have seen them!

I used Daily Mile to track my milage, and while I didn't turn around at a very notable point, I figured I ran approximately 7.5 miles. Not too bad!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

1st Team Meeting

Last night I attended the first team meeting for the Mass General Marathon Team!

I really couldn't be happier about being selected for this team. It's an amazing cause, and the staff members seem so dedicated and happy to help. It was great to hear from all of them, and to learn more about what our funds raised will go towards.

The meeting was held in an auditorium at the hospital, and they gave us a packet with forms, a training plan, staff contact information, and a few other resources. I'd say about 40-50 people were at the meeting, which is about half the team.

They went over some administrative stuff, but basically walked us through what kind of support they provide to the runners and gave us fundraising ideas. We also learned about the Patient Partner Program and watched a few videos. I was near tears at several points during the meeting!

There wasn't much interaction among the runners, but it seems like there will be plenty of training runs and other activities where I can get to know my teammates. I think one of the benefits to running with a team will be having other people to keep me motivated and focused during the fundraising and training. They'd also be great people to bounce ideas off of or even collaborate with!

I still can't believe that I'm actually going to run the Boston Marathon! I totally geeked out while filling out the application. I suppose I shouldn't get too excited until my registration fee is out of my checking account, but still, I swear holding the application was magical.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Running and Painting

Before heading out to a Dress for Success fundraiser last night, I got in a 3 miles run. I'm not going to lie, a big part of me didn't want to go. Luckily, it was cold enough and dark enough for me to bust out my new "what the fluff" pullover.

You know you're bright when your door woman makes a comment about "wow, that's yellow." Good. I can't tell you how many times last night I didn't see a runner until we were practically on top of one another.

Since I was tight on time, I wanted to know how long I was out of the apartment for rather than my run time, so I didn't pause it when I stopped to cross streets and such. I kept getting stopped at lights, so that was really annoying, but I must have been going pretty quickly, because I know I lost at least 5 minutes to stops, and I did a little over 3 miles in just 30 minutes.

I am so glad I went for my run last night. The city was beautiful with all the white Christmas lights sparkling away. Plus they were filming some movie near the Common so there was lots of activity.
I totally loved the pullover by the way. It was so cozy, and helped me stay warm at the beginning of the run, then as I warmed up, I was able to unzip these underarm vents. That was just enough to totally cool me down! Plus, I felt I was visible for when I had to maneuver around traffic.

After the run, I showered and prepped for the event at Paint Bar. The picture for the night was of a dress on a dress form. We got there and were able to set-up and grab a drink before the instructor started.

The instructor led us through painting the background bits, and I followed just as she said. We took a 15 minute break for things to dry, and I wasn't crazy about the model painting, so I thought about how I wanted to customize it.

Hung out to dry

I ended up opting for some different colors, and I'm really happy with mine turned out. I thought all my friends' paintings looked amazing! Its funny how different they came out even though we were making the same thing.

I really have too much fun at these things. Pretty soon my apartment will be filled with my artwork.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Quick Workouts

If you're like me then the holidays have you crunched for time! It can be tough to get in workout, but I find this is the time of year when I need it the most. Not only for my waistline but for my sanity!

Yesterday was one of those days. I only had about 30 minutes between the time I got home and the time that I had to be out the doors, so I threw on some workout clothes and did the HIIT the Beach workout from the Beach Babes DVD. I was surprised to find I was sore today. Guess I must have pushed myself during those 20 minutes!

This got me thinking about some of my favorite workout to do when I'm short on time. Here are a few of my go-to options.

Workout DVD
My favorites are the Beach Babes or Jillian Michaels-30 Day Shred. I love these because you can go on auto-pilot and just follow along. Plus you know they only last 20 minutes, so you don't have to watch the clock. Plus they're fun, and a great option when you don't even have the time to get to the gym.

Speed Work
I am a big fan of hard and fast speed sessions on the treadmill. By upping the intensity, you can really get sweaty in a short amount of time. There are a ton on Pinterest, or you can easily make up your own. Bonus points if you throw in some hills.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is basically when you have high-intensity bursts of work. So say you do 30 seconds of burpees followed by a minute of strength training, then 30 seconds of jumping jacks followed by another minute of a different strength move, then 30 seconds of jumping rope followed by yet another strength move. (I think you get the point) Anyway, these are easy to customize and just like the treadmill workouts, you can easily get tuckered out even with a short workout!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

2012 Reading Challenge

So back at the beginning of the year, I set a goal for myself. The Goodreads website had up something about their 2012 Reading Challenge, so I put in 52. I figured a book a week would be an attainable goal.

I definitely wasn't used to reading books so quickly (I think I read a little over 20 books in 2011), but I knew this would be a way to force myself to read more at home. I got off to a slow start, but while on my honeymoon, I practically read a book a day. This helped me catch-up. I think the Kindle helped with this too, because often I'd have some down time between when I finished one book and purchased or checked-out another. With the Kindle, it's really easy to just start something new.

Flash forward to the end of the year, and I'm now just a few books away from my goal. I've looked back on the books I've read this year, and I was shocked to see only one running book on the list! How can that be? Some of my favorite books have been about running. Dean Karnazes' books are funny yet inspiring. Born to Run was eye-opening. Bart Yasso's My Life on the Run was so entertaining that I've retold some of the stories to other runners.

Anyway, I'm especially in a running spirit with Boston around the corner, so I am going to make sure that at least one of my remaining books in 2012 is about running.

Luckily Goodreads has an entire list of Running (non-instructional) Books on their website. I'm thinking Marathon Woman by Katherine Switzer, but there are many great ones to pick.

Have you read any great running books?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tis the Season

I have "liked" the Mass General Marathon Team's facebook page, so we are now official. 

I'd love to say that I haven't been writing because I've been savoring all the good news, but that's actually not the case.

It's been a crazy week. Some of it stressful but some of it totally fantastic. I ended up breaking my running streak on Friday. Between working and traveling that day, I just ran out of time. As tempted as I was to start running laps in the airport, I was worried TSA might frown upon that and that could have put a kink in the festivities. Anyway, let's focus on some of the fantastic things, shall we?

  • I went to the Boston Common Christmas tree lighting last week, and it was really fun. A lot more crowded than I remembered it being a few years ago, but still a great way to kick-off the Christmas season!

  • On Friday, I traveled back home, and my dad and I watched the BU vs. BC hockey game. So much fun to watch with my dad, and it didn't hurt that BU won.

  •  I went to my friend Katie's baby shower. She's such an awesome friend who went above and beyond her maid of honor duties, so I'm happy I could be there for her. She and her husband are two of the most wonderful people that I know, so I'm happy there will be a little one of them in the world. Come to think of it, they should really have like 10 kids.
  • Last night, my mother-in-law invited the women in the family over to decorate gingerbread houses. She, my sister-in-law, and I had a blast designing our houses and chit-chatting. It was the perfect end to the day. And because I know you're all dying to see my masterpiece...

 The roof is totally my favorite part. I know what you're thinking, and no, it is not for sale. I'm sorry.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fantastic News!

So I'd previously mentioned that I was hoping for a big race in the spring. I can now say that's official!

I will be running the 2013 Boston Marathon as part of the Mass General Marathon Team! I couldn't be more excited. I've previously applied twice to run the Boston Marathon on behalf of charity, and I was not accepted. My sister-in-law ran for Mass General last year, and so I figured I'd give it a shot.

Last night, I got myself to the gym by figuring I could grab a turkey burger from B. Good on the way home. So I did a few miles on the treadmill and then spent some quality time with the foam roller. I then headed to B. Good for my reward. As I was waiting for my order, I started to scan through my email and saw the "you've been accepted" subject line. Holy cow! I was very excited.

Our first team meeting is in a few weeks, so I'll have more details then, but I will be documenting my preparations here. I have a feeling that in the coming months I will be able to talk about nothing but the Boston Marathon. My apologies in advance.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sweaty Savings

I'm a sucker for workout clothes. Well, honestly I love all clothes, but I really love workout clothes. Not only are they motivation to workout but they are comfortable and often really cute.

The one think I am not a fan of is the price. $80 for a pair of pants that I'm just going to sweat in? I've done it, but still I sometimes have difficulty justifying it to myself.

So when I heard about PV Body, I was intrigued. I've been hearing about subscription boxes like Birch Box and PopSugar Must Haves, and I'd been wanting to check-out something similar.

According to their website, PV Body describes themselves as the following:

"For $39.95/month, we ship a new fitness outfit right to your door. Each box has a retail value of about $139. Avoid the mall, look good, feel great and have our personal stylists shop for you. Shipping is free and you can cancel your order any time."

The clothes seen on the website looked cute, and if you got something that you didn't like or that didn't fit, you could just exchange it or return the whole order for a refund. I had a discount code, and I figured it was a good time to test it out. I took their free online style quiz, created a profile, and signed-up to get my first order.

About 10 days later, a shiny pink package was on my door step.

I couldn't wait to open it, and inside, I found a bright pink tank top and a pair of black pants. I have to admit that initially I was a bit disappointed. It wasn't that I didn't like the items; they were just kind of boring. I already own black pants and there was nothing special about the pink tank top.

After taking a closer look at the pants, I realized they might be a keeper. They felt comfortable and had a thick waistband, which I love. They were actually pretty similar to my favorite pair of yoga pants which were starting to wear a bit thin. The best part? These pants have a tiny pocket in the waistband! I knew it would be perfect for my keys, ipod shuffle, or even a Gu.

I tried on the items, and I realized the pink tank top would make a great base layer for under running jackets or pullovers. It was form fitting but not too snug, and I'd feel comfortable wearing it to the gym. Now that I'm weight training more, I prefer to wear sleeveless tops to the gym. I love the mobility they offer, and since I have yet to get a sleeveless shirt from a race, there is a lack of them in my collection.

I decided to keep both items, and I worked out in the outfit a few days later. Overall, I was really comfortable in the clothes, and I thought they looked cute.

I had a coupon and got the outfit for just under $32, which isn't bad considering a tank top like this usually goes for around that amount. It's like getting the pants free! 

Since PV Body mentions the average retail price of a package is $139, I decided to do some exploring. 

The pants is American Apparel Performance Sportswear, so those were easy enough to find. They retail online for $48. 

The tank top is by Nux, a brand that I was unfamiliar with. I am pretty sure I got their Focus Tank which retails for $45. Over all the outfit retails at $93. That's almost 3 times what I paid!

The subscription is really easy to pause/cancel, but I think I'm going to give it another shot in December. I loved the surprise element, and while the clothes might not have been something I would have picked out on my own, I think they'll be great staples going forward. Plus I loved getting a bargin!

If you want to try out PV Body, you can get your first package for 20% off.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Running Streak Update

Hope everyone had an awesome Thanksgiving!

We flew down to my parents' bright and early on Thanksgiving morning. (aka no turkey trot for me this year. sad face.)

I played a game of Scrabble with my Dad and then promptly passed out on our couch until it was almost dinner time.

This means I started my RW Running Streak the day after Thanksgiving. Man, was it a beautiful day! I wore a tank top and shorts and 4 (very hilly) miles.

Saturday, around 5pm, I still hadn't gone running and joked to my brother about how that was the shortest "streak" ever. He looked at the clock and said "well, you still have time." That was all the motivation I needed to get out and conquer 3 speedy miles.

I squeezed in a run last night, and then we did intervals during Burn this morning, during which I hit well over 2 miles. So the streak is alive and well! Now that I'm a few days in, I feel totally invested and I want to keep it up. It's definitely given me motivation these past few days, and I'm really excited to continue!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hug A Runner!

It's Hug A Runner Day!

We're hugging...sort of
This morning I got an email from Lululemon with the subject "What the fluff?" In lieu of giving myself a hug, I got myself a little present instead.

How are you celebrating Hug a Runner day?

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Power of Protein

This morning, I had a second Burn Challenge class! Boy it was tough, but I felt so great afterward. I definitely slacked off last week in the fitness department, so I was mad at myself as the other girls recapped their previous week's activity. It makes me want to step it up this week!

I have to say, the challenge did help me make some better choices eating wise this week. I ate out a ton this week but made smarter choices when ordering. I'd opt for a veggie loaded omelet over pancakes or started with a big salad before indulging in an appetizer portion of pasta.

After my workouts this past week, I have definitely been diligent in proper recovery. I have taken time to stretch and foam roll, and I have been consuming protein within one hour of working out. Protein goes hand-in-hand with working out as it helps repair and rebuild those muscles you just worked.

One of my favorite ways to get protein after a morning workout is to add a scoop of protein powder to my morning coffee! This morning I treated myself to a venti soy latte from Starbucks, and as soon as I came home, I added in my favorite protein powder. You still get a taste of the protein powder, but I mostly tasted my yummy latte. Another favorite is the "Protein Pancake" recipe on the back of the bag. It's easy and since it's a pancake, you feel like you're indulging. You can add this vanilla flavored protein to a smoothie for an extra boost or use a chocolate protein with some milk and peanut butter for a milkshake type treat.

How do you sneak protein into your diet?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Holiday Running Streak

The Runner's World Holiday Running Streak is back!

For those of you not familiar, the holiday run streak is where you run at least one mile a day from Thanksgiving to New Years day. The streak is designed to help you stay motivated and fit during the chaotic holiday season.

I may already be doing the Burn Challenge, but I kind of want to do this too. I think it goes hand in hand with what I'm trying to accomplish through Burn, plus I've been wanting to recommit to running. Hopefully, I will have some big Spring races to train for and this would be a perfect spring board for those.

the best part? A mile is totally an easy thing to cram on days where I am over scheduled, sleepy, or stressed. This week alone, I did not workout Tuesday (whoops!). Thanks to staying up too late watching Homeland last night, I did not wake-up early enough to squeeze in a workout this morning. But a mile? I could have done that.

Runners, are you going to join in the streak?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pret A Manger

I was pretty excited when a few weeks ago I saw Pret A Manger signs just a few blocks away from my apartment. They serve up sandwiches that are made from fresh, natural ingredients. They're an easy grab-n-go option for busy folk, and they also do good works in the community by donating unsold food to charities.

As if that weren't enough, tomorrow they are giving away free food at their two new Boston locations. I seriously can't wait for their opening, and I know I'll become a loyal customer quickly. If you live/work near by, I high recommend checking it out. Yum.  

I have a soft spot in my heart for this place, basically because I ate one of their veggie sandwiches the day before the NYC Marathon. It was delicious and clearly magical as I PRed with a 4:04 marathon the next day.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Feel the Burn

I don't know if I've talked about it on here before but my gym offers what they call "Burn" classes. They are small group training sessions lead by a trainer, and they typically consist of treadmill intervals and strength training. They're usually "drop-in" style, so you just sign-up for one class at a time. They're a great way to mix-up your workout routine and they give an extra boost

Recently, my gym announced that they were going to run a "Burn Challenge" during the holiday season. You sign-up for a 6-week Burn session, and they track each participants results. The participant with the greatest percent of change and most visits during the six weeks wins a free small group training session!

The free session instantly intrigued me, and I knew it would be great motivation through out the challenge. As a runner, I'm definitely competitive, and with the holidays around the corner, I know I need something that will make me say "no" to the extra helpings of Thanksgiving treats.

The other problem with the holiday season is that schedules fill-up early and quickly. So initially, I couldn't make a commitment to any of the session. I was bummed. Then they added a Monday morning class...

So now for the next six weeks, I will be feeling the burn Monday mornings at 6am!

The first session was this morning, and my trainer Tara took down our BMI, body fat %, and our weight. We also held a plank for as long as we could and did a half mile sprint. I held my plank for just a little over a minute (My core is so weak!), I did the sprint in 3:10 (whoooo!), and I won't share the rest because my weight really doesn't need to be on the internet.

I think it will be so helpful to have tangible numbers to beat. Plus our trainer is competitive too, and she told us that she wants her group to be the best, so I'm looking forward to that extra motivation!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Bright Lights, Cold City

My co-worker knows I'm a runner (probably because I talk about running way too much), so when she saw the November 2012 issue of Competitor magazine, she grabbed me a copy.

I don't usually read Competitor, but I was instantly impressed with it. There are lots of great articles and very few ads. I will definitely be reading more of this magazine in the future.

As it's now getting dark in Boston at 4pm, the "Running in the Dark" section especially piqued my interest. They had a ton of cool night gear. I instantly was drawn to the yellow down pullover. Most of my night gear is pretty thin, and most of my cold weather gear is dark colored. (Have I just missed the bright AND warm clothing or does it not exist?)

I was not surprised to see that Lululemon was the creator of this pullover, as their clothing is so smart. I swear any workout clothing issue I can think of, they somehow seem to overcome. Like how I would love to run in just a sports bra when it's hot out, but I would die before showing off my pale flabby tummy. Oh hey, they designed a breezy running singlet/sports bra combo that tackled this problem and was cute to boot.

Anyway, I instantly popped over to the Lululemon website, but couldn't find the pullover. I utilized their handy chat feature and a friendly rep named Jill told me that it wasn't out yet. She did sign me up for new product alerts so that I would find out when it's available. How helpful is that?!

Do you have favorite night gear or winter gear? Or (gasp) winter night running gear?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Frozen Legs

For the first time all week, I actually feel warm. Perhaps that's because I stopped denying the dropping temperatures and wore my winter coat and fleece lined tights to work today.

Or perhaps it's because last night I foolishly wore my shorts home from the gym. This wouldn't have been a big problem except it was sleeting and the route between the gym and my apartment might as well be a wind tunnel. I could barely feel my legs by the time that I got home.

By the time I got to the gym, I could only really work out for 30 minutes. So I came up with a very creative speed workout. I did it on a 1% incline while watching the Friends episode "The One with the Flashback."

*Friends episode optional
As you can see, my "Treadmill Workout" is quite complicated. I go faster every minute until I want to die for 7 minutes. Why 7 minutes? Mainly because 9mph seemed like a good stopping point. You'll also notice my lengthy "cool down" of 1 minute. I just figured walking 4 mph for 5 minutes would be a great cool down, then at 28:30 I figured I should go for an even 30 minutes. So that last minute I went progressively slower. If I'd been thinking I would have done 9.5 for 30 seconds so I could have an even 30 minute workout. Maybe next time or sometime when my legs are nice and warm from being in flannel tights all day.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What Happened to Fall?

Hi. It's been awhile. I'm still trying to figure out exactly where October went. I feel like I blinked and suddenly I was older...

Obama was elected for another 4 years...

And now I'm wearing fleece tights and a winter coat to work. Sheesh!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Highs and Loews of Traveling

I try not to complain about being busy because everyone is busy, so rarely do people care how busy you are.

Though in all honesty, this month has been insane. My office spent all of last week in Atlanta running a conference. The event went amazingly well, but made for some really long days. Most nights we ate dinner later than my standard bedtime. I am unsure how exactly I survived.

The conference was at the Loews Atlanta Hotel, and I simply cannot say enough good things about the hotel. Not only was my room gorgeous, but the entire hotel was modern and beautiful. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable. Not to mention their event space was state of the art and perfect for all of our needs. The food was delicious and innovative, and the best part was the people we worked with truly went out of their way to help us put on the best conference possible.

Beyond the incredible employees and luxurious room, I have to say their watermelon infused water was the highlight of my stay. It was that good.

After the conference, I was able to stay with my parents for a few days. Always fantastic to see them! Sadly their internet was down so I fell very behind on so many blogging!

I had tons of delicious food last week and little time to workout, so this week I had to get back on track. Last night I hit up a spin class at the gym and then this morning I did 4 miles on the treadmill. Luckily, my gym has on demand programming on some of the treadmills, so I was able to catch-up on "How I Met Your Mother" during my run. I can't tell you how easy that made it to get out of bed this morning!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Week 1: Fail

Yeah, so this week has been a big, fat fail on the workout front.

After a crazy weekend filled with becoming an aunt, attending a good friend's wedding, and being awoken by a neighbor knocking on our bedroom window at 3:30am, there was little sleep being had. Couple that with a crazy week at work and tons of post-work commitments, I overwhelmingly opted for sleep over cramming in a workout.

I'm actually mostly okay with my decision. While I really would love to become more of a morning person, I recognize that perhaps this was not the week to do it. Sometimes life just gets in the way. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

New Habits

When it comes to habits I want to develop or want to break, the list is endless. Take the task of healthy living, for example. This consists of tons of habits in itself. Going to bed earlier, working out more, eating more vegetables, skipping dessert, etc. Just listing it all out sends my head spinning. It's no wonder that every time I give myself the task of "being healthier" that ultimately something breaks down and I fall into old habits.

Months ago I read a post on one of my favorite blogs the No Meat Athlete. Matt wrote a post titled Limitless. I highly encourage reading it, but basically my take away was that rather than try to conquer numerous goals at once, just take a month at a time to adjust to each new habit. As Matt stated, if you change one habit a month, then in three years you'll be up to 36 new habits.  Heck, after a year you'll have 12 new habits!

The post really resonated with me, but there was always some excuse not to try something new, to hold on to old habits, or to the need to try to correct everything all at once. With October starting Monday, I feel ready to tackle a new habit. Even now, knowing that baby steps are the key, I find myself unable to pick one habit for October. Do I want to bring my lunch every day or do I want to wake up earlier? Should I try to foam roll each day or do I want to start by kicking my soda habit? So many decisions!

Right now, my thoughts are to start waking up earlier. It's no secret that I've struggled with becoming an AM gym-goer, but it's something I really want to conquer. I know that preparing everything the night before doesn't cut it. Classes help but still doesn't always give me the push that I need. Even knowing that is my one and only chance to get in a workout doesn't do the trick.

In the spirit of baby steps, I will take one Monday morning. I will simply wake-up one hour earlier. I don't have to go to the gym (though there is a spin class I'd love to attend), my primary goal is just to wake-up. I'm hoping that just forcing myself to get out of bed will be a step in the right direction. I mean the choice between snuggling in bed with Rob or getting out of my warm bed to push myself through a workout is a hard choice. If I'm already out of my comfy bed, maybe it won't be so hard of a choice.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Show House

On Monday, I went to a General Membership Meeting for the Boston Junior League. I can't believe this is already my 5th year as part of the League!

I primarily joined the Junior League as a way to meet women in the city and to have the opportunity to attend fun events at exciting places around the city. As a member I found that hands-down my favorite part has been the community service aspect!

Each year JLB members are given a placement and become part of a committee with a specific mission. I've always been a part of one of the community service committees and taken away so much from each placement. I worked a personal shopper for Dress for Success Boston, and eventually lead this committee for two years. I also served as part of the League's Kids in the Kitchen initiative, and this year I am on the Healthworks Foundation placement. While each of these placements had their own goals, they all ultimately are geared toward improving the community. What's not to love about that?

The League is a non-profit and hosts a variety of fundraisers to help it fund the volunteer training and operation costs that go into these and other community projects. This year, the Junior League of Boston is bringing back one of its most popular fundraisers, the Show House!

Ever since I joined the League, I've heard about Show House, but this is the first time they've held one since I've been a member. The basics of this Show House are that 35 designers have donated their time to transform a historic home in Newton. Each has decorated a space in the home, and for one month the house is open to the public for viewing! If you're in the Boston area Oct. 16th- Nov. 18th, buy a ticket to see the house and to support the Junior League of Boston!

To read more about this event visit:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Snack Attack

This morning I went to a 6am Body Pump class. As I was leaving my apartment, there were three people coming home from their night out on the town. I have no idea what these people were doing out so late on a Wednesday night, but I'm sure they have some epic stories. In a weird way it inspired me to continue the morning workout routine. I mean, if I'd stayed in bed, I would have missed seeing these party people.

Anyway I live in a high foot traffic area, so often promotions people will be passing out samples on my way to the train. Who doesn't love getting free samples of new products? They're especially nice when they are from brands you already love or are products you've been curious about. Last week, I managed to score Larabar's Über bars and Kind granola!

The sample Über bars were about half the sized. They are all natural and made from whole fruits and nuts. They actually remind me of Kind bars because both are made with whole nuts. One of the fun things about Larabars are the flavors. The Über bar flavors I got were "Cherry Cobbler" and "apple Turnover." Obviously these are much healthier than their namesakes. I'm not a huge fan of charries but I really enjoyed the cherry cobbler as a snack. I thought the mix of sweet and salty was spot on. I was expecting to love the apple turnover, but it was just ok. Maybe it needed some more of the spices that make apple turnovers and apple pies so yummy? Both were great snacks because the protein and fats helped curb my hunger until my next meal. They also make a Bananas Foster flavor and a Roasted Nut Roll flavor. I'd probably try the Nut Roll kind and would eat the cherry cobbler one again. I think I prefer Kind Bars or normal Larabars, just because those flavors are more my taste. I'm pretty obsessed with the Cashew Cookie and Peanut Butter Cookie Larabars, so until they come out with an Über bar featuring chocolate, it wouldn't be my first pick.

I actually hung onto the Kind Granola for a little while. I either had other snacks packed or just wasn't in the mood for it. This morning, I needed something to carry me over until lunch, so I dove in. Granola isn't really a staple in my diet because most packaged kinds have so much sugar and just taste okay. I instantly really liked the Kind Granola! It was lightly sweetened with honey and bits of coconut, and it had just the right amount of crunch. 

I looked at the nutrition facts and was pleased to see only 6 grams of sugar per serving which is 1/3 of a cup. I know other granola brands are 1/4 cup serving sizes and have more sugar, so Kind granola is definitely a good option! I had the Oats & Honey Clusters with Toasted Granola, but I really want to try their Peanut Butter Whole Grain Clusters! The Vanilla Blueberry Clusters with Flax Seeds and the Dark Chocolate & Cranberry Clusters also sound delicious. 

With the $1 off coupon, I will definitely be picking up some Kind granola to sprinkle on yogurt or eat as a snack on its own! Yum!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Love for the BAA

Registration for the Boston Marathon opened yesterday. Runner's World reported that the BAA received 2,300 applicants in the first 24-hours! Mind you, with the rolling applicant system, these are people who have beat the qualifying time for their age groups by 20+ minutes! Holy cow!

I actually spend an evening with the BAA (and like 50 others) at a training clinic for their upcoming half marathon. They reviewed the course, a BAA trainer spoke about preparing, and then they did Q&A.

After seeing their plans last time, I was relieved to hear that they only expected 1 or 2 people in the room to follow their Advanced plan. It was geared for more of the individual who was gunning for some prize money. Definitely not me!

Another treat? The president of the BAA spoke. I thought he was awesome! Well spoken and funny, and yet humble and appreciative of all the runners' support.

I think the biggest takeaway for me last night is that the course is HILLY! I've run it before, but back then I lived in a hillier area. Now my runs often happen along the esplanade, which is quite flat. With a month remaining, I will be getting in some hill work!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bosu Challenge

I went to Bosu Challenge last night, and wow, it totally kicked my butt!! The instructor jumps right into 10 minutes worth of non-stop abs. It's pretty intense and since so much of the bosu work challenges the core already, its no wonder that my abs are sore.

We did a lot of movements that required leaning over (things like tricep kickbacks, reverse flies, and bosu lifts). I don't know why but these moves really bothered my lower back.  It's kind of a shame because I had to pause from some of these moves, even though the muscle it was supposed to target wasn't fatigued. I think my form is pretty solid, so I wonder if it's a sign of a weak core?

While I loved this class because it was HARD, I don't think I like it as much as Body Pump. The instructor was great because he walked around the room the whole time so you felt like you couldn't quit or slack on the moves. The downside to this is often he'd yell out a move and it would take a minute for the class to figure out what movement he was talking about. While most classes include a warm-up and a cool down, this instructor kept us moving and working the entire hour, so you have to include time to do the warm-up and cool down on your own. The kicker for me was that I felt like I was watching the clock throughout the class. 

Not my favorite, but definitely a great class to make you work!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Little Pro and a Little Con

It's been awhile since I've done pro,con,con,pro, so you get a little dose this AM.

Pro: The weather cleared up yesterday so I was able to get out and run!

Con: I started off feeling pretty good on the run. It was a beautiful evening, and it was my first run since DC. Sadly, as I kept going I just felt sluggish. I also went out without any sort of plan, and this is kinda killer for me. I only did 3 miles when I should have done more.

Con: On the run, I saw the most gorgeous view of the sunset. It was peaking through the trees and reflecting in the river. I left my phone at home during the run though, sooooo the con is that I don't have a picture to show you.

Pro: I could pick the really amazing peach I just ate, or the fact that I will see my family this weekend, but instead, my final pro will be that tonight I'm going to a Bosu Challenge class at the gym. The instructor is awesome, so the class usually fills up before I can snag a spot. This week I'm in, and I'm oddly excited for some sore muscles tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Best Laid Plans...

It's a rainy Tuesday here. Doesn't this just make you want to curl up in bed with a good book? Is that just me?

I woke up with every intention of going for a run this morning, but then I saw the weather and happily snoozed for another hour. So fingers crossed the weather clears up a bit before this afternoon or that I feel motivated to run in the rain. I actually don't think running in the rain is all that bad, but it makes me want nothing more than a hot shower and some quality time with my couch. So I find that it's not the best pre-work option.

Speaking of failed plans, my mother-in-law and I had been wanting to check out the new Make Meaning store at Legacy Place. The store offers all sorts of crafty activities like jewelry making, cake decorating, and pottery painting. Sunday was finally a day that worked for both of us, so we made the trek to Dedham to check it out.

With 7 different kinds of activities, there was certainly a lot to look at! It was fun to look at the examples and the different craft options. I was first discouraged by how some of the crafts couldn't be picked up until 4 days later (like pottery and glass items that needed to be fired). Then I saw the prices, which were a little on the steep side. Plus most of the fun add-ons were several dollars, then I found out there is a sitting fee for non-members. You add that up and you're looking at some very expensive items.

We left Make Meaning and ended up just walking around Legacy Place and grabbing some iced teas. It was a beautiful day, so it was fun to explore. Still disappointing that our big adventure didn't quite pan out.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Kindle for the Win

For the record, I love my Kindle. I love that it's so portable and light. It makes it perfect for reading on the T or traveling. I also love how as soon as I finish a book, I can instantly start reading another.

I discovered yet another reason to love my Kindle last night. I got the gym about a half hour before Body Pump, so I hit up the elliptical for some cardio. I am in the middle of an interesting book, so I brought it along in the hopes I could read while working out.

I've never been really good at reading while on any sort of machine. I'm usually bopping around too much to really focus, but I keep seeing other women pull it off. I honestly just felt like zoning out on the machine with a good book, so I decided to give it another shot.

Sure enough I got on and couldn't focus, just when I thought it was a lost cause I remembered that you can adjust the font size on the kindle. After a one that was too big and one that was too small, I found just the right font. I was able to read a chapter before Body Pump, while getting in a good sweat. Win!

Do you read while working out?