Turkey Trot Recap & It’s My Birthday!

2013-11-28 11.26.47Wishing you & yours a happy Thanksgiving yesterday! I hope you took the advice floating around the blogosphere and enjoyed your food and the people around you. As others have said, one meal will not “make or break” you. It’s habits over time that make a true impact. So today, we’re back at ‘er; living happy and healthy lives (not that we ever stopped…). Oh, and it just happens to be my 27th birthday. I’m linking up today with Jill at Fitness, Health & Happiness, Clare at Fitting It All In, Lauren at The Lauren Elizabeth, and Jennie at Diary of a Real House Wife

Yesterday, hubby and I got up early and readied ourselves for the Turkey Trot in Appleton, WI. By “ready” ourselves, I mean throw on some Pro Compression, tights, layers, hats & mittens. Cuz baby, it was COLD outside!

2013-11-28 06.48.10The temperature at the start was 21 degrees with a wind chill of 15. Not actually too bad for a November day in Wisconsin. We elected to do the 5 mile run and had signed up pretty early in September. For only $18 we got a long sleeve shirt and a 5 inch pumpkin pie. This was our first ever Turkey Trot in Appleton and surprisingly, parking and crowds were not bad at all. There were a lot of people there, but it was well organized. I really appreciate well organized events because makes such a difference!

I’ve been nursing an IT band injury for the past couple weeks, so I didn’t have high hopes as I began the trot. I wasn’t worried about my pace, but wore my Garmin to keep track of our mileage. Sure enough, about mile 2.5 I started feeling knee pain spread across my knee cap. Hubby stuck with me (what a guy, I know :)) and we walked the rest of the way. We finished in a little over an hour.

turkeytrot

Five Things About My Injury

1) Want to know how to drive a runner crazy? Make them walk while others around them are running. It was only slightly mentally painful (note: sarcasm) to watch others pass me when I know I could’ve easily passed them a couple months ago. I know, I know “compete against myself” blah, blah, blah. 🙂

2) It’s been mentally tough to go through an injury like this. I just want to run like I used to and I hope, hope, hope to get back to that point sooner rather than later.

3) I feel taking some time off from running and focusing on spinning, centergy (yoga+pilates), core, and possibly group power (weight lifting) may be to my benefit. I still love running and that’s part of the reason I feel I may need a little break. I know I’ll run again, but my body is telling me something. I need to get stronger to be the runner I want and know I can be.

4) It was ironic during the run because I’ve trained my mind throughout my half marathon training to push through almost anything. I don’t give up when running. I’ve mastered that mental toughness needed to push past pain. However, with my IT band issues it seems that mental toughness may be a hinderance rather than beneficial. I could push past the pain, but it’s likely I would only make my injury worse.

5) So instead, I’m focusing on—>staying warm by the fireplace.

2013-11-28 09.47.55Rolling out those calves with my new birthday present. Hubby may have let me open a birthday present early. Opps! Oh wait, we do that every year. 🙂 He got me this Gaiam Pressure Point Massager that I had been eyeing at Target.

2013-11-28 06.19.14If any of you are part of the “crazies” as I like to call them, good luck with Black Friday shopping! I’ll be doing some shopping online in my sweats.

Tonight for my birthday hubby is taking me to a fancy shmancy restaurant that I’m excited to try. Other than that, no big plans for the bday which I’m A OK with. Hope you have a wonderful weekend and get some sweat sessions in!

Do you Black Friday shop? In stores or online? Anyone else Trot? How did it go??

Be social & follow grab your kicks!

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?

Brewers 10K Recap

This past Saturday, hubby and I participated in the Brewers 10k race in Milwaukee, WI. This race was a combined “mini-marathon” and 10k. We signed up for this race first because of the awesome perks (running of the field, Brewers ticket voucher, race medal, tech shirt, beer after the race) and then decided to participate in the Fox Cities Half Marathon (which was the weekend before). There were 6 days between running the half and the 10k, but I took it easy during the week and all went well! Last week I went to Centergy, Core, and ran on the treadmill for a couple miles.

Day before race meal– Dunkin Donuts egg white sandwich & pumpkin iced coffee for the drive down on Friday. I was starving after work and knew it would be a while before we ate dinner. We dropped the furry guy off at our doggy darecare place to board him for the night. I may or may not have shed a tear.

dunkin

We headed right to Miller Park to pick up our race packets (no expo, sadly). We did get to take a sneak a peak of the field while we were there though. I’m always in awe. So cool.

brewers

Night before/morning of race meal- We ate at the restaurant inside our hotel, Jimmy’s Island Grill & Iguana Bar. It had a lot of personality for a hotel restaurant. I loved the caribbean decor in and outside of the place. I ordered the Caribbean Jerk Chicken Salad, which was huge, but tasty. Morning of the race I had a cup of coffee and a banana with peanut butter.

eatsWe left about an hour before the 7am start time, however, because all the traffic for the race was taking the same exit, we ended up waiting for 30 minutes just to exit. I had a slight panic attack that we weren’t going to make it on time, but thankfully, we did. The race organizers also took note of the traffic and delayed the start time of the race by 10 minutes (thank you!). The race was very well organized!

morningThe actual run was much hillier than I was anticipating. I felt good physically right from the start. My hip, which I was concerned about post-half, was not a problem. At about mile 2 we ran right through Miller brewery buildings and you could smell the hops in the air. I wasn’t thinking PR before the race because I ran the half the weekend prior, however, as I neared mile 5 I thought I might be able to break it. I pushed myself as hard as I could at the end, not leaving anything left in the tank. It wasn’t quite enough, though. I finished in 53:38, 16 seconds off of my previous 10K PR. If it wasn’t for those hills, I feel I would’ve hit a new PR. Oh well, next time, right!

My splits:

  • Mile 1 8:22
  • Mile 2 8:17
  • Mile 3 8:25
  • Mile 4 8:50 <—large, gradual hill, not my friend
  • Mile 5 8:48
  • Mile 6 8:41

I finished 168/1766 for total men & women, 70/1235 for women, and 15/244 for women 25-29. I feel really good about where I finished! 🙂

2013-09-28 08.34.49

I have never seen so much food after a race! As we exited the corrals, we were given Air Pops chips, chocolate milk, granola bar, banana, cookie, water, and gatorade. I took most of it, but ended up eating just the banana and drinking water. We also had two drink tickets for beer, but I wasn’t feeling like beer at 8am after a race. It was a nice idea though.

medalOverall, our first “travel to” race was excellent! I have a bit of the post-race blues going on, but I’ll snap out of it. Races are just so much fun to look forward to! And after two in a row, I’m getting a bit spoiled. I’m a goal-oriented type of person and knowing there’s a goal ahead of me tends to push me harder in training. I’m not giving up running after the races this year though. It’s such a different story compared to last year and I truly have made running a part of my life. I couldn’t imagine giving it up now. I’m just going to enjoy running around my neighborhood for now and then, who knows? That’s the exciting part, right?! It could be anything! Because I’ve proven to myself that once I’m committed, there’s no stoppin’ me. 🙂

Do you get the post-race blues? What keeps you going?

I’ll Be Running & Smiling

tumblr_mcb8rvYV051r87fh4

Yah! We made it to Friday! What a long freakin’ week. Sometimes I am seriously jealous of my dog who gets to lay around all day. Although I wouldn’t want to be in a crate all day, I think there would be some definite perks to the life of a pup. Especially a cute one that I shower with kisses all the time.

marathon

We will be heading out of town to Milwaukee today for our 10K run. We got a hotel for tonight since the race starts at 7am tomorrow. This is my first time traveling for a race, so I’m hoping everything goes well (food, sleep, etc). We have to pick up our packets tonight, so we really didn’t have a choice. I’m hoping there’s an expo to check out! The run finishes on the warning track inside Miller Park which is pretty sweet for a couple of Brewer fans like my husband and me!

2013-09-26 17.58.56

2013-09-26 17.59.14

I’ve been participating in some twitter chats lately (something I never thought I’d do!) and look what I won! Designer Whey sponsored the Fit Fluential chat and I was selected to receive a free tshirt! I was thinking they would send an oversized large tshirt, but it’s a M and actually fits me well! Score!

I didn’t take any protein supplements or load up on protein of other artificial forms when training for my half marathon this summer. If anyone has any insight into protein supplements for runners, I’d love to hear it! I know Designer Whey is popular among bloggers, but I’m not sure if it’s something I need. I would consider it if I started lifting weights regularly. Not sure if it’s necessary right now, though some of those protein shakes out in blogland look delicious!!!

My workouts this week have been shorter and less frequent following my half marathon last Sunday. I went to Centergy Tuesday night which felt AMAZING for my hips. On Thursday, I ran at an easy pace for a couple miles and went to Group Core afterwards. My hip is still hurting slightly when I increase my speed, so I’m trying to take it easy. It doesn’t hurt anymore when I’m just walking, so I’ll take that as a good sign. 🙂 Crossing my fingers for the best on the Brewers 10k, but predicting I probably won’t hit a new PR (previous 10K PR: 53:22).

2013-09-14 09.30.54Honestly, I’m just excited and blessed to be able to run this much. I try my best to be a well-rounded runner by incorporating yoga and core with regular running. I’m considering taking up Group Power classes to build more muscle as well. I used to go to Body Pump at my previous gym and enjoyed it. I do mostly body weight strength training right now, but I’d love to commit to weight training regularly and see if my body would change even more. Gettin’ buff over here, errr trying, watch out 🙂

Have a wonderful weekend! Enjoy the weather, take time to breathe, and enjoy the people around you. 

I’ll be running and smiling. 🙂

Have you ever won anything? Do you run and lift weights? Running plans this weekend?

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

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?

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?

Taper Time

2013-09-04 09.06.28

More about running. What else, right?

Actually, that’s the first bulletin board I put together in my speech classroom. Not the best, but give me a little credit as there’s not actually a bulletin board there, just a wall. I’m going to have the kiddos write on paper marshmallows and add them to the sticks. We can’t actually eat s’mores at school because of (obv) lack of a fire and the “no sweets” policy.

I was excited to see the PaceSetters newsletter awaiting me yesterday. The opening article highlighted how it’s now time to taper and be okay with where we are physically at this point before fall races. Tapering is fine with me right now, as my days are a little busier. While I’m still running, I’m not running as many miles as I was a month ago.

2013-09-04 16.49.24

Running newsletter. All things running. Yah!

As I was watching Extreme Weight Loss (season finale :() Tuesday night, I heard this great quote by my boy, Chris Powell.

This got me thinking. With tapering being my focus right now and the half marathon coming up (2 weeks from Sunday!), what the heck am I going to do afterwards?! I’ve done a million times better this go around with training, but I’ve never gone past the training. I’ve never incorporated running into my life without having a future goal or race in mind. I was pondering these thoughts and then heard Chris’ quote above. I know too much now about how great I feel to ever go back to my sedentary lifestyle. It’s just not an option. I can doubt myself and worry that I’ll give it up. But that wouldn’t do me any good. It’s kind of like running. During my run today, I was doubting if I could finish strong without walking and then I just made up my mind. Done. Not quitting. It’s just not an option.

         2013-09-03 17-1.10.18   2013-09-03 17-1.10.06

Doesn’t hurt to have this beautiful trail so close to my house either. I most likely won’t run as far when I’m done with the half marathon, but I will continue to run. For one, I’m running the Brewers 10k the following Saturday and two, more importantly, it’s just not an option. Runners don’t just give up. We persevere, yo.

Another reason and more motivation to keep running, is this little black “pebble” attached to my left shoe. My husband’s work supplied the pebbles, really cool looking pedometers, to encourage more active lifestyles. I can set how many steps per day I want to achieve. It has little green lights that glow and once they’re all lit up, I’ve reached my goal for the day (10,000 steps). The current challenge is to earn the most running steps from September through November. Bring it on Mr. GYK. You’re going down.

2013-09-04 17.30.37

So while I could worry and fret that I’ll stop running after my races this fall, I’m just going to believe in myself instead. 

Are you doing any fall races? How’s your training going? Do you continue to run through the fall/winter?

My Butt Needs Work

Hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

Saturday morning I completed my last long training run before the Fox Cities Half Marathon this month!! I ran with the PaceSetters, which is a local running group here. We had 11 miles on the schedule and though some miles were mentally tough, I did it! At about mile 9 it really hit me that I’m doing this and I’m going to do it well this time. Last year’s half was a bit of a disappointment because of my body, but this year I have new determination to not only finish, but finish strong. I’m pretty excited about the race on September 22nd. I tend to get overly excited during races where I just want to slap high fives with spectators and yell to everyone around me, “We’re doing it!!! We’re almost there!” I wish I could bottle that feeling, that sense of accomplishment I get during races.

2013-09-02 10.59.11

The best part of my run was meeting a new running buddy (keep finding new ones at every run :)), Debbie. We were both keeping a 9:30 min/mile pace and just fell into sync next to each other. We ran and talked the last three miles together. I learned that Debbie has been running for 20+ years and has completed 12 half marathons. She took second in her age group last year at the Fox Cities Half Marathon. I was guessing her age to be in the later 40s…only to find out she’s 61! I couldn’t believe how great she looks! When we finished our run, Debbie mentioned every run she writes down someone’s name and runs one mile for them, every mile except for that last one that is. Debbie said, “That mile is always for me.” 

2013-08-032

Debbie and I after 11 miles.

Running is so much more than running. Running gives you a connection to other runners, an understanding that you’re a fighter, you’re driven, you’re willing to put effort into something, you’re willing to keep going even if it’s difficult. A running mindset, that I can accomplish my goals if I just keep trying, can be applied to many facets of our lives. That’s what I love about running. Debbie noted running helped her through many difficult times in her life and I can relate. I had just met Debbie and already felt open enough to discuss my mom’s passing and she shared that she lost her mom when she was 20. We all have heard the phrase, “Running is cheaper than therapy.” True that.

After my training run, I took advantage of the physical therapists they had on hand. I mentioned to the PT that I have been having hip pain once I get about 6 miles into my longer runs. I have ben trying to strengthen my hips (i.e., Centergy classes) and increase my cadence. She questioned how I increase my cadence. Honestly, I just try to think about taking short, quick steps and repeat in my head to “pick up you feet, pick up your feet.” (Read more about cadence and good form running here) She checked my hip alignment which was good. Then she checked my glute strength. I’ve been so focused on strengthening my hips, I didn’t think about my glutes being weak. Sure enough, when she asked me to resist while she pushed, I folded like a weakling. I have a weak butt! She recommended resistance band exercises and doing plank jacks.

We spent the rest of our weekend at my parent’s cottage on the lake soaking up the last sun of summer.

2013-08-31 14.44.47

2013-08-31 12.54.12

Pro compresh and leg draining in the car.

2013-08-31 18.56.02

Murphy basking in the late afternoon sunlight.

2013-09-02 10.57.54

2013-09-01 13.20.01

Murph loved kayaking with us.

2013-09-01 13.04.00

Tomorrow is the first day of school for the kiddos, so I’m back to working full time. After a summer full of running, getting my body on track, farmer’s markets, trips, and seeing friends/family, I’m ready for the challenge of a new school year. I haven’t been present for a first day of elementary school yet, so I’m looking forward to the excitement!

Enjoy the rest of your labor day!

Do you get overly excited during races? Any suggestions for good exercises or videos to strengthen glutes/hips? What did you do over the long weekend?

Race Recap: New PR!

This weekend I participated in a small, local 10k race, the Grunski Runski. Growing up, I had always heard of the race, but I wasn’t a runner in high school so I hadn’t previously attended. I was excited to take part in a local event! It was close to home, short bathroom lines, and familiar streets to race on!

runski2

My splits:

(1) 8:27 (2) 8:32 (3) 8:37 (4) 8:38 (5) 8:43 (6) 8:22 (very happy to run the last mile faster than the first!)

Total time: 53:34 (I forgot to stop my watch right away, so unofficial time, but pretty close) New PR!

I always start out faster than I anticipate. When I train, my average pace is around 9:30 min/mile. There’s just something about race day that gets me pumped! While I was running, I tried to maintain a 8:30 min/mile pace, as that’s what felt good at the time. Repeating reminders about my form from the Good Form Running Clinic  in my head kept me focused and able to push myself. I continue to surprise myself during races. I’m amazed at what my body and mind can accomplish! I feel blessed to be able to run. 🙂 I ended up cutting 4 1/2 minutes off my previous 10k PR. I took 4th for women age 20-29. See, there is a reason to train!

Another plus about this local race was that I ran around my home town and it reminds me of my mom. My mom passed last year from ovarian cancer. The race started and ended near the school where my mom used to work. This past June we dedicated a memorial in her name at the school. During this race, and all races really, I picture my mom on the sides of the streets cheering me on. She was my biggest cheerleader and I know she would’ve been at the race if she was still here. She always seemed to be more proud of my accomplishments than I was.

bench

Memorial bench and surrounding flowers in memory of my mom

Even though my mom was not physically there, it felt good to run in a place that reminds me of her. It’s no longer unbearably sad, but brings a smile to my face.

runski3

Students at the elementary school made bricks to surround the bench. My mom was a secretary in the school district for 35 years.

My next thought when I ended the race was, “Omg, now my next race is the half marathon!” I am super excited to run it this year. Last year I didn’t train well and, surprise!, it didn’t go so hot.

After some much needed Centergy, foam rolling, and stretching with the pup this weekend, I’m set to get back to my half marathon training schedule!

murph

Good stretch, mom!

Question: What’s your next race? What distance do you prefer 5k, 10k, half, full marathon? Why?

My next race is the Fox Cities Half Marathon. 10k’s are becoming my favorite distance. Long enough to get into the run, short enough to do some sprinting.