I Scratched the Itch + WIAW

2013-11-04 19.50.51On Monday I spoke of my race envy. As you get to know me better, you’ll find out I don’t sit on something like that for too long. Hubby and I tend to make decisions really quickly, which in the case of races is probably a good thing. No chance to second guess ourselves!

As I was searching through spring races, the St. Pat’s 17K caught my eye. It is 10.5 miles and a dress up race! At least I have plenty of time to plan a fun St. Pat’s running costume. So, I sent off my form today! I also decided I’m all in for the Cellcom half marathon in Green Bay. It’s May 18th and I’ve heard a lot of positive aspects of the race (running through Lambeau, great crowd support)! So, even though I’m jealous of all those who are racing now, I’m super excited for upcoming races. It will really help to motivate me through this winter!

On the food front- today is What I Ate Wednesday hosted by Jenn at Peas and Crayons! I had an especially good food week. I’m trying to mix up my meals more (yah alliteration :)). So far, so good. Here are my favorites from my week!

Favorite Baked Good:

cookiesI made an extremely good batch of chocolate chips cookies. Of course I don’t do “normal” cookies, so I tried Zucchini Applesauce Oatmeal cookies  from Two Peas and Their Pod. I love how the zucchini keeps the cookies moist. They’re very tasty even 5 days after I made them.

Favorite Breakfasts:

2013-10-31 06.23.09Gluten free toast topped with Laughing Cow wedge, sliced avocado, and 2 egg whites with a side of kiwi and coffee.

pboatmealPeanut butter and jelly oatmeal. It’s made just like it sounds- mixed in pb and jelly (and chia seeds) into my oatmeal. How have I never thought of this before?! Sooo good.

proteinpancakesMy Banana Cinnamon Protein pancakes topped with Peanut Butter Co Bees Knees and lots o’ cinnamon.

Favorite Lunch:

2013-10-30 11.44.32Salad with hard boiled egg, spinach, kale, cucumber, shredded carrot, feta, sunflower seeds, and yogurt dressing. I never get sick of salads because it’s so easy to change them up!

Favorite Dinners:

quinoabowlI spread one tortilla with laughing cow and filled it with cooked quinoa, veggies, and chicken sausage. I also added some shredded cheddar cheese and topped it with avocado.

2013-11-01 18.20.44Quinoa with avocado, a wedge of laughing cow, sunflower seeds and the veggie/chicken sausage mixture from the previous meal.

It will be hard to top these eats from this week. So many good things! Enjoy your Wednesday, friends!

Are you planning on running any spring races? Which ones? What are you favorite salad additions?

pile-on-the-miles-2013

Pile on the Miles update: 9.5/40 miles

Be social & follow grab your kicks!

Twitter: Grab Your Kicks      Facebook: Grab Your Kicks     Instagram: Grab Your Kicks

 

Advertisements

Five Fitness Things Friday

Finally Friday! I’m ready for the weekend. You with me?

Here’s what’s new with me on the fitness front lately:

1. I’ve been eating a TON of spinach lately- pretty sure my veins have turned green. I have so much more energy for running/exercising and clearer skin than I used to. Yah for eating clean!

popeye-spinach-shirt

2. My core has gotten noticeably stronger lately. I’m definitely starting to get definition in my abs and I love it. All those planks, supermans, burpees, and squats are worth it!

2013-10-17 16.43.20

3. I missed running!!! As soon as I got on the treadmill yesterday I was ready to GO. I could feel the endorphins immediately and pushed myself as hard as I could for about 2 miles before Group Core started. I’ve never been a huge fan of the treadmill, usually preferring the open road instead. However, I didn’t mind the short run at all. It’s nice to know I won’t be bored out of my mind if I need to use it this winter.  I will get outside for a run long this weekend though and I’m really looking forward to it!

2013-10-17 16.39.50

4. I’m narrowing in on my next race. I’m thinking the Cellcom half marathon in Green Bay on May 18th. I’ve researched a little bit and it sounds like a similar race to the Fox Cities half. The weather may be a toss up, as the last couple years it’s been really hot or really cold. I would love to have a race to look forward to because I push myself more if I’m training for a race. It would be pretty cool to run through Lambeau Field too. Have to follow up running through Miller Park somehow, right?

CGBMLogoBig

5. I’ve noticed such a difference in my energy levels after I work out. I used to have the mindset that I was “too tired” to exercise after work, however, now I look at exercise as an investment in increasing my energy. I’m more awake and alert at night if I’ve exercised during the day. I sleep better and wake up more easily in the mornings. I’ve made running and exercising a habit and I no longer look for excuses not to go. I actually have the opposite reaction now and have difficulties with restlessness if I don’t exercise. Ask my husband- I get a little cranky on rest days. 🙂

2013-10-13 20.49.04

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. Take time to breathe & invest in yourself; whether that’s running, group fitness, walking your dog, or taking some “me” time.

What new with your fitness lately?

Fox Cities Half Marathon Recap Part 2

Time to recap the best part of the race-the actual run!

2013-09-22 06.51.44

It was a chilly start to the half marathon last Sunday, as the temps were in the low 40s. I shivered up until a couple miles into the race. I was really happy with what I decided to wear because as I warmed up I didn’t get hot.

Running Gear for Race Day

  • Mizuno Wave Elixir 8s
  • Garmin Forerunner 10 GPS watch
  • Pro Compression socks
  • Nike Filament Dri Fit compression shorts
  • Flipbelt
  • Champion long sleeve semi-fitted shirt
  • Koss FitClips
  • Fingerless gloves from Dollar Tree (bigger spender, I know)
  • BandIt Headband (Etsy)

One mistake I realized right away was that I should’ve worn my sunglasses. The sun was so blindingly bright it threw me off a bit in the beginning. It was difficult to see too much in front of me. I guess that happens at 7am on a fall morning.

I tried my best of remember information I learned at the Good Form Running clinic over the summer; namely to keep my upper body loose and use quick, short steps. I felt comfortable right out of the gate and settled into my race pace. I hit about a 9:00 min/mile pace for the first 8 miles. Before the race, I was guessing that’s the pace I would keep as I always run faster on race day (I train at 9:30 min/mile usually). I also attribute my quicker speed to all those fabulous signs out there! My favorite of the run: “Running is a pain in the butt, but you guys sure do have nice butts!” 🙂

My splits:

  • Mile 1: 8:53
  • Mile 2: 9:01
  • Mile 3: 8:46
  • Mile 4: 8:52
  • Mile 5: 9:06
  • Mile 6: 8:59
  • Mile 7: 9:07
  • Mile 8: 9:20
  • Mile 9: 9:37
  • Mile 10: 9:50
  • Mile 11: 10:13
  • Mile 12: 9:43
  • Mile 13: 9:39
  • Total time: 2:02:46

As you’ll notice my pace slowed as I got deeper into the race. This was because I began to feel my right hip tighten and begin to hurt. I was fighting through some pain, however, it was a blip on the radar compared to the pain I was in last year. As I passed mile 8, I thought of the debacle that was last year’s half marathon. I thought to myself, I’m not that same girl anymore. I’m a fighter. I also happened to see a sign that said, “Pain is only temporary.” Yep, keep truckin’ Nik. At mile 11 my music decided to stop and I could’ve reset it, but thought, why bother? I could see the park where the finish line was by then and decided to run the last 1.5 miles without music; just body and mind pushing myself to the end. I never realized the mental battle that goes on with runners before I called myself one. Yes, running is physical, but it’s also very mental. That’s one of the {many} beautiful things about running; it gives you confidence, that I can do anything mindset. And that’s why I love running.

As I rounded the corner into the park at mile 13, it rushed over me that I was about to finish. I was about to reach my goal. You work so hard for 5 months and then….it’s over. It’s bittersweet really. I loved training and I loved racing. My excitement radiated as I saw my dad waiting for me at the finish line. I couldn’t help but feel elated and emotional. Running will be forever tied to the loss of my mom. It has been a form of therapy for me. To see my dad and know the support he gives me; it’s hard to describe how much that means to me in words. My mom was always my biggest cheerleader with my dad being a close second. In some way, I feel that even though she’s gone, I can still make her proud.

2013-09-22 09.37.29

I was adorned with my finishers medal, grabbed my shirt, and headed to the finish line to wait for my hubby. My dad was sent text messages with our ETAs so we had an idea of when hubs would finish. I was amazed to see him cross right around his predicted time, a very respectable 2:29:59. I am SO proud of my husband. I’m the one who has pushed us to pursue races and luckily he’s always right by my side. I’m a pretty lucky girl, I know. 🙂

finishcollage

Many runners get that “now what?” feeling after a race. I am of course looking forward to the Brewers 10K this Saturday, but also enjoying the accomplishment that was my second half marathon. I proved to myself that I can do anything if I set my mind to it. Honestly, I felt defeated after last year’s half, but without that struggle this half marathon would not have been as sweet as it is.

And how sweet it is. 🙂

afterrace

Fox Cities Half Marathon Recap Part 1

There is so much to awesome running stuff to share that I am breaking up the weekend into two posts!

2013-09-21 12.07.12

Last Sunday my hubby and I ran the Fox Cities half marathon in Appleton, WI. This was our second half marathon, the first being Fox Cities half marathon ’12. It was an exciting, exhilarating experience that I will not soon forget. I had a personal best of 2:02:46 which was 52 minutes faster than last year (yep, it was that bad). What made the difference this year was figuring out the puzzle that is my digestive system. I FINALLY feel like I have control over my body and how I feel during running. Being regular has helped stave off stomach pains and the need for a restroom stop during the run. After the run my stomach felt great! I believe it was a combination of eating and hydrating properly before and during the run that led to my success.

The day before the race hubby and I picked up our packets and checked out the expo.

expo2

Some of the notable booths included a pole dancing exercise program (pole and everything…), Bondibands headbands, Fleet Feet, Run Away Shoes, and Blue Sky Run. Blue Sky Run is a relatively new company that sells headbands, posters, jewelry, and medal hangers related to running. I love the half marathon word collage posters they put together. They will even create a personalized poster with your race/finishing time! Check out the poster I picked up at the expo here.

expo3

I stopped at the a chiropractor booth to check the alignment of my spine. Apparently, the bones in my neck are misaligned (?). Not sure if I agree with that. I also checked out “the stick” roller which felt really good on my calves.

prerace2

The night before the race I laid out all the running gear I needed. I ate a stir fry of chicken & veggies over spinach and quinoa for dinner. I don’t believe in consuming large amounts of pasta and meatballs the night before. That just doesn’t work for me. The thought alone would slow me down on race day. I ate something I would normally eat to ensure no “surprises” on race day. Do what works for you, right?

racemorning

One of my favorite parts of race morning is the excitement from my husband. He blasts “pump up” music at 5am and it really does help wake me up and get me ready to run! The morning was a cold one is the low 40s, so I kept my jacket on as long as I could. The atmosphere was electric and corrals were packed. 5,000 fellow runners took to the roads on Sunday in either the half marathon, full marathon, or relay.

sunrise

It was an absolute beautiful morning with blasting sunshine coming over the horizon (didn’t wear my sunglasses=newbie mistake). I reminded myself frequently that I put in the training and did everything I could have done to physically and mentally prepare. The community support for this race is amazing, with people lined on almost every street. It makes a huge difference to hear someone call out your name with encouragement!

I will be recapping the actual running in an upcoming post. Stay tuned, friends! 🙂

What’s your favorite running mantra? What’s your perfect race temperature? 

An Ultra Marvelous Monday

Feeling ultra marvelous today because my half marathon was yesterday! I’m still in the post-race glow; in awe of what I accomplished. I feel so blessed to have the body and mind to complete 13.1 miles. Surprisingly, I felt like 13.1? No problem. It doesn’t seem that far to me anymore because it’s obtainable. I finished in 2:02:46! A whopping 52 minutes and 10 seconds faster than last year’s half marathon. I’d call that progress. 🙂 And no stomach issues to report! High five!

I will do a more in depth recap of the race this week, but for now just a snipet of the excitement I felt yesterday!

FCM13

Other marvelous things that happened this week…

Marvelous is…new Mizunos! Sara at LovingOnTheRun mentioned this great deal on Mizuno Wave Ronins from Running Warehouse. Because I’m also a PaceSetters member (local running club) I got an extra 15% off! The shoes came to a total of $24.88, not bad for a pair of Mizunos. They’re a little stiffer than my Wave Elixirs, but I think they’ll be good for speed work.

shoes

Marvelous is…the energy I get from exercising. I can feel a significant difference at night if I haven’t worked out during the day. In the past, I would’ve assumed exercising would make me more tired at night, but I find when I’m eating nutritious foods and running I have much more energy. Besides running, I have continued to attend my favorite classes at the gym including Group Core and Group Centergy. These classes complement running beautifully, as Core helps to strengthen problem areas (i.e., glutes/hips) and Centergy builds strength while stretching out my tight muscles. Because I attend core regularly, I went on Saturday before my half marathon without feeling sore for the race.

watch

core

centergy

Marvelous is…seeing this face after running 13.1 miles. He makes me smile. 🙂 I am definitely one of those obsessive dog owners who takes way too many pictures of her dog. #SorryImNotSorry

Murphy

Marvelous is…fall shows started! I am a huge fan of New Girl and The Mindy Project. Morgan on the Mindy Project is my favorite character on TV. So many good one liners. In fact, someone put together “27 Reasons Morgan from The Mindy Project Is the Best“. My favorite is “He Loves to Work Out.” I also love that we have Hulu Plus and can watch episodes anytime we want!

tumblr_mgp9g1wNvZ1qzw6dco2_500

What a glorious weekend! It was much needed after a hectic week. I’m definitely back into the swing of things with speech therapy and IEPs. Oh joy 🙂

Hope everyone has a great week! I am already looking ahead to our next race which is the Brewers 10K in Milwaukee this Saturday! It’s like Christmas around here with all the races going on!

Anyone have a fall race still to come? Which one? What is your favorite fall TV show? 

Half Marathon Playlist

Happy Friday! Finally the weekend! And not just any old weekend…race weekend! Half marathon is finally {almost} here 🙂

In training for the half marathon this Sunday, a key motivator to my training over the past 5 months was new music. I used to measure my success in the number of songs I could run through and I hated running to a song that wasn’t motivating. Now, I measure my runs in miles/time, but still find that running to music I love makes a huge difference in the numbers I see on my garmin.

I love perusing other running blogs for new music. It’s something I frequently do to keep new music cycling through my playlist. As far as music service goes, I use google music. We had a free 30 day trial and then I decided to continue with it. It’s $8/month and completely worth it in my opinion. I can add pretty much any song I can think of to my playlist. My playlist automatically updates on any other device I use (i.e., my phone for running). I’m undecided whether I want to keep paying for it after the half marathon. I’m thinking yes because I would really miss the great music I’ve added. I used to buy each song from iTunes, but that gets expensive or boring if I bought a limited number of songs each month.

This is the playlist I will be running to during my half marathon this Sunday. Music tends to be very personal, so you may or may not have similar taste in music. I tend to like pop/current songs the most. Oh, and rap music. I’m that girl out there, running and singing to my favorite songs on race day. I really don’t care who hears me. When I’m “in the zone” my body and mind are focused on the race. I sometimes feel like I’m flying; body and mind being pushed by the music pumping through my earbuds. It’s such a exhilarating feeling. Just writing this is getting me pumped for that experience on Sunday!

HalfplaylistMy favorite songs are “Wake Me Up”, “Shawty Got Moves”, “We Own the Night”, and “Magic.” They are guaranteed to pump me up when running! It also helps that I know the words and can sing along. I figure that singing while running is helpful because I take deeper breaths and if I can hold a “conversation” (i.e., sing to myself) then I know I’m not pushing myself too hard. I have to remember to pace myself when I start!

Now, if you’re next to me on race day and hear me, I apologize because it more than likely will not sound good. If this bothers you, speed up or slow down because I can’t promise you I’ll care and stop singing to be nice. When you’re in the zone, you’re in the zone. 

Have a wonderful weekend! I am looking forward to recapping a great half marathon next week. Fingers crossed!

P.S. GYK got a little facelift 🙂

Your turn amigo! What are your favorite songs to run to? Do you like new music you’re unfamiliar with or oldie but goodies?

Last Long Run & Fall Fest {MIMM}

What a beautiful Saturday! The weather here was finally more bearable for running. This weekend was my last “long” run in preparation for the half marathon on September 22nd. I decided not to run with the group since it was only 6 miles. I slept in an extra half hour and then hit the pavement.

sep14I felt great during the run. It was nice to break out my running tights for once. It was in the low 40s when I left, but in sun it definitely felt warmer. I took the run at an easy pace, trying to practice my goal pace of 9:30 min/mile for the half and not start too fast. At the end of the run I felt I could’ve gone farther. High five because I’m feeling mentally and physically prepped for next weekend! Bring it on half marathon!

2013-09-14 09.30.54After my run, I headed to the gym for group core. After I learned of my weak glutes, I am making more of an effort to attend core regularly like I used to. I love that the class is only 30 minutes and it’s always a great workout!

fallfestThe rest of Saturday was spent at Fall Fest, which is an amped up version of the usual Saturday farmer’s market. The market had lots of handmade crafts, music, veggies, and some delicious Caramel Apple kettle corn (pictured above). Where did half the bag disappear to already? No idea 🙂 . I first thought it was “Packer” popcorn because of the colors, but happy to discover it’s a new kind of kettle corn!

2013-09-14 12.24.27I picked up this cute, crocheted hat from Fall Fest for $5! Not quite cold enough to wear it yet, but I know that weather will be here before we know it.

2013-09-14 10.42.39

Hubby ordered this pizza from a local vendor, Firefly Woodfired Pizza, at the farmer’s market.

Firefly Woodfired Pizza is a mobile wood-fired brick oven that serves fresh, made-to-order pizzas at private catering events, festivals and farmers’ markets. Ingredients are from local sources.

He chose the breakfast pizza with scrambled eggs, bacon, green pepper, and cheese. Within 5 minutes of waiting the pizza was ready. I stole a piece and it was so good! Loved the eggs and cheese on a crispy crust.

For lunch we headed out by the mall and stopped at Panera. It’s one of our favorite lunch places, but unfortunately there’s not one too close to our house (about 20 minutes). I’m still on my salad kick and decided on the Fuji Apple Chicken Salad. I’ve previously tried the Thai Chicken Salad, which I love. I still on a mostly low-FODMAP diet (read more about the diet here), so I try to limit the amount of apple I consume in a sitting (apples are high in fructose). This salad went over fine, but I have felt stomachaches after eating too many dehydrated apple chips at one time.

2013-09-14 13.27.45The salad was lightly dressed with apple vinaigrette, which I appreciate. There’s nothing I hate more than when a restaurant douses a salad with too much dressing. I prefer my veggies with dressing, not my dressing with veggies swimming in it. After trying both salads now, I prefer the Thai Chicken Salad because it’s something so different that I wouldn’t make at home. I might throw something together at home that is similar to the Fuji Apple Chicken Salad. It was still really tasty though!

2013-09-14 13.29.22

After lunch we stopped at TJ Maxx and JanSport Factory Store. I love the JanSport Factory Store because they have super cheap tshirts and sweatshirts. The clothes are technically “misprint” items, but usually you can never tell!2013-09-15 09.37.26

I bought this off-the-shoulder sweatshirt from JanSport for $10 (anyone know where the U of Richmond is? Love that their mascot is the spiders!) and I picked up these comfy, cotton lounge leggings from TJ Maxx for $13. I just had to get the leggings because of this sign in the dressing room…

2013-09-14 14.25.32

Talk about suggestive retail.

Centergy2

Sunday was mostly a rainy, dreary day. I started the day with Centergy (yoga+pilates class) with my favorite instructor. I’ve been doing this release since July so I’ve memorized pretty much the whole thing. I loved that the instructor gave us new suggestions to make it more difficult. This class feels so wonderful after running! I hope to get certified soon, just waiting on the gym to host another training weekend. 🙂 Rest of the day we watched the pack take home a win!

Hope everyone else had a great weekend! I’m looking ahead to a marvelous week (check out other lovely ladies marvelous Mondays here) and trying not to fret about the half marathon this coming Sunday too much. I put in the work over the last 5 months, now it’s time to just get out there and enjoy it!

What’s your favorite food/drink to order at Panera? How was your run this weekend? Anyone racing soon? What’s your favorite local festival?

13.1 Miles of Dedication

FRIDAY! Feels like such an accomplishment to get to Friday after a week working with my speech kiddos again. Though I’m busier, exercise and eating right is definitely helping me not fall asleep at 8:30 like I used to! Yah, energy!

The half marathon I’m running is one week from Sunday (!), September 22nd. During one of my training runs for the half marathon, you might remember me mentioning Debbie. She’s the 61 year old who I had a hard time keeping up with! Debbie has run 12 half marathons and told me that she runs each mile for someone. I thought this will be a great way to make each mile memorable during the half marathon. I want to savor each step, each block, each mile. I am dedicating each mile to a close family member, friend, or someone I may or may not know.

Print

Mile 1…is for my husband. I never thought he would take up running with me. I am SO proud to call him mine and to have him next to me on race day. How did I get so lucky?

brewersgame

Mile 2….is for the lady who left us all too soon, my mom. She was my rock, my hero, my heart. I miss her terribly, but hope she is there with me in some way on race day. Love you forever, Mom.

Mile 3…is for my Dad. I have seen changes in him in so many positive ways. He has slowed down his hectic lifestyle and better appreciates the people around him. He is stronger than I ever thought.

Mile 4…is for my brother. I hope he finds happiness and content in his life.

Mile 5…is for my grandma. She’s about to turn 88 and still drives to her cottage and back. She’s spunky and can talk your ear off (in a good way :)).

Summer-Christmas 2011 013

Grandma, Me, my brother, my mom, and my dad from Christmas ’11. My mom was confused what her present was….yup, that was my mom, silly as can be.

Mile 6…is for my speech kiddos. They’re the reason I get out of bed every morning. I promised myself growing up that I would find a profession I love. Done.

Mile 7…is for the residents I used to work with as an SLP at a nursing home; those with dementia, Alzheimers, dysphagia, and stroke survivors.

Mile 8…is for those fighting ovarian cancer. Cancer sucks.

Ovarian-Cancer-Header

September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness month.

Mile 9…is for those who have ever lost someone close to their hearts. I feel your pain.

The rest are for me to savor my surroundings and recognize how blessed I am to be able to run 13.1 miles. All the doubt, difficulty, pain, tears, it’s all worth it in the end. I’m about to change “I’m going to do it” to “I did it.” What’s better than that?

camping

Happy dance! Excuse the no make-up. We were camping!

Have a great weekend!!! 🙂

Who would you dedicate a mile to?