Week 11 Training Recap

Sometimes a change in scenery is all a person needs to put a little “pep back in their step”.  I was starting to feel grumpy about spending so many cold winter evenings running on my treadmill.  Even though I put a lot of miles in on my treadmill, I DESPISE it at times.  It seems so pointless running and running and running….for an hour plus and going nowhere.  And I have a hard time getting mentally in the zone when I don’t have pretty, shiny objects and squirrels to looks at.  This weekend was exactly what I needed, the amazing weather and two awesome trail runs, to get me out of my rut and finish off another training week strong.  I am proud of the fact that I logged all my planned training miles.  I slacked off on all forms of cross-training and even though kettle bells, TRX straps, and yoga mats are inanimate objects, I am positive mine missed me!  I have the tendency to fall into a pattern of neglecting (or just plain NOT doing) my cross-training so that is my goal for improvement next week.

Without further ado, as I’m sure the suspense is killing you ;-), a recap of my training week:

  • Tuesday: 5 miles on the treadmill
  • Wednesday: 7 miles on the treadmill
  • Thursday: Rest Day (Being ornery and refusing to get on the treadmill)
  • Friday: 5 miles on the treadmill (Forced myself, but I was NOT happy about it)
  • Saturday: 9 miles on BWI trail (Happily frollicking and relishing not being on my treadmill…see below for a pic of the causality of this run)
  • Sunday: 18 miles on Jonas Green Park/B&A Trail (Loving Life!)

Total Week Miles: 44

Total 2014 Miles: 237.6


My banged up knee from my graceful display during Saturday’s Run! 😉

And no, I really did not do an ounce of cross-training; not a crunch, not a jumping jack, nor a single stretch!! 😛

My random parting thoughts for the week:

1) Everyone’s life should have a soundtrack! (This week I had “The Moves Like Jagger”!)

2) Do everything with a purpose, that’s what gives life meaning.

3) Love and be kind always.  Apply this to everyone, including yourself.

4) Everyone is on a different journey, and everyone is at a different point on their journey.  Remember that, don’t judge, and be proud of others accomplishments.

5) Continuation of #4-Always smile and wave when passing other runners; give each other encouragement.

6) Be a strong woman and respect other strong women.

7) A woman’s uterus will not fall out if she runs a marathon.

(Based on reading history of women banned from marathons, I just found it funny!)

8) Stop doubting yourself, how many things have you all ready done that you thought you’d never be able to do?

9) Haters gonna hate.

10) “God help you if you’re a phoenix and you dare to rise up from the ash.  A thousand eyes will smolder with jealousy while you are just flying….” `Ani Difranco


Keep flying!

How was your training week? 🙂

Sunny Weekends=Happy Runners! :-)

Maryland is having a nice break from winter this weekend.  🙂 Today it was a sunny 60 degree day and tomorrow is supposed to be just as nice!  Perfect weather for running!  It’s funny how weekend plans used to involve deciding which bar/hot club/parties to go to, and now my weekends revolve around running; either getting long training runs in or competing in local races.  It’s such a good feeling to be done with a (Insert # of miles) run, and all ready enjoying coffee (I am huge a coffee fiend!!) before 9 am.  A healthy start leaves me feeling energized and healthy, and surrounds me in an (nearly) impervious “happy bubble” for the day.  This is the number one reason for my running fanaticism; it helps me maintain my inner “zen” and it teaches me a lot of lessons that I can apply to other areas of my life.

Being a natural introvert, running gives me the alone time with my thoughts that is essential to my mental well-being.  I enjoy the solitude and spend my runs day dreaming, looking at nature, soaking up the sun, and pondering life’s many wonders.  When I am feeling stressed, or am faced with a problem, I mentally engage in more productive problem-solving during my runs.  By the end of a long run I have either decided I am stressing about something insignificant, or I have come up with a solution (or at least the starting point for a solution) to a real problem.  My runs almost always bring me back to center, and I learn something about myself, or about life, on each and every run.

This sunny weekend allowed me to get in a beautiful, blissfully mind wandering, 9 mile run on the BWI trail this morning.  Here are the ” introspective life lessons” gleaned from this today’s run:

#1) There is nothing like a good night’s sleep!

Last night Danny and I enjoyed a nice dinner after work, and I was in bed by 9:30. (Yes, in bed by 9:30 on a Friday night, I’m so cool! Lol) This morning I woke up early, with no alarm clock, totally refreshed.  I had time to enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee and a peanut butter/banana bagel before heading towards Baltimore for my morning run.  I had a great run, and I was full of energy the entire day!


#2) Company is cool, but it’s important to be able to keep yourself company.

The plan was to meet a friend to run this morning, even being the socially awkward introvert that I am, sometimes I like having someone to talk to and to push me just a little bit harder.  Well my running buddy overslept (perhaps he was up a bit later than 9:30 last night! Lol) and I ended up going on my run solo.  I was totally o.k. with running by myself, because I am always o.k. with being with myself.  In my early 20s, that was not the case at all.  I was incredibly insecure and needed to be constantly around people (or usually a person) who were validating my self worth.  It makes me proud to think of how far I’ve come over the last few years, with both confidence and independence.  


#3) Accept and make the best of the things you can’t control.

When I began my run this morning, it was an awkward, not quite sure how much cold gear I should be wearing, temperature.  There were also several icy patches left on the trail.  I made used my best judgement when layering up for my run, and slowed down in the slick spots.  All though it was not 100% perfect conditions, by the way there are NEVER perfect conditions, I focused on the things within my control and the positives.  End results=happy, positive run/experience.  🙂


#4) Sometimes you will fall (literally), brush yourself off and keep on moving!

Sooooo, as much as I have been gushing about this mornings run, there was on “tiny” mishap ….At mile 3 (out and back run), I was “speeding” on a downhill and looking out at an upcoming intersection, determining where and when I should cross the road.  I was running parallel to an airport shuttle bus, when suddenly my right foot hit a mini snow mound (speed bump) and I was catapulted into the air (I think my entire body was horizontal in the air at the height of my fall) and hit the ground hard (slid a few more feet while laid out on the pavement).  Oh, and as further evidence to the totally random, catastrophic nature of the universe (i.e. shit happens), the iPhone that I was running with for safety hit the ground and the front screen was shattered into a hundred pieces.  

For a quick recap; I totally ate dirt, in front of a lot of people, wind knocked out of me, knee throbbing, and iPhone dead.  I could have decided to turn back a mile and a half early or I could have just laid on the ground crying.  Instead I jumped right back up (probably in part to save face in front of the people on the bus lol) and kept running.  That part of the run sucked, but it would have sucked whether I quit or finished my run.  At least by choosing to NOT quit I had something to be proud of.  Having something to be proud of makes a bruised ego and a bruised knee hurt a whole lot less.  In life there will be times that we fall, metaphorically; it hurts, it is embarrassing, but we get to make the decision on how to react to it, and what to do next.  Whenever possible, get up and move on, you’ll be so happy that you did!


#5) What goes up must come down (And not just me! haha)

There were some nice rolling hills on today’s run, pretty much anywhere you run in Maryland has some kind of hills.  I actually LIKE running hills, because you can approach them with a work hard, play hard mentality.  When I approach a particularly tough hill, I focus on the other side of that hill.  There are a couple hills that I run that make every inch of my legs scream, my eyes tear up, and my heart feel like it’s going to pound through my chest.  Those hills are my favorite, not because I’m a masochist (that’s only part of it lol), it’s because once I reach the top, I get to “ride” the other side of that hill back down, and THAT part is a blast!!!

What’s interesting about life, the ebbs and flows of negative and positive energy, are a lot like those hills I run.  I can’t think of a non-cliche way to put it, so I’ll be cliche, the hardest times in my life have always been immediately followed by the happiest times in my life.  The greatest blessings in my life have come along when I least expected them and felt like I was emotionally near a breaking point.  That experience and knowledge is what helps me stay focused and positive when it feels like life is really kicking my butt.  🙂


Are there things you learned by running that you can apply to life in general? What are your running/life lessons? I’d love to hear them!



What’s on your spring race schedule?

If you live in the Maryland/D.C. area and can squeeze another 5K into your schedule, check out the Barlow 5K in Millersville,MD!  It’s for a good (local) cause, the race committee (including my BFF!) is raising money to rebuild the neighborhood playground.  It’s going to be a great, family friendly race.  Ilana and I will be doing this one!   🙂





Week 10 Training Recap

Despite the cold weather, and thanks to my treadmill, week 10 of marathon training was a success!  I was able to recover from Sundays discouraging long run mishap, by extending my training week through today.  I decided it was OK to extend week 10 through today, since it WAS a 3 day weekend! Maybe not ideal, but sometimes training requires a bit of flexibility.  😉  This week I focused on having a mini goal for each individual run.  Here is a quick recap:

Week 10:

Monday (Planned Cross Training)-54 minutes of Power Yoga

Tuesday (Planned 4 Miles)-4 Miles Fartlek Run on Treadmill (Mini-Goal: Speed Training)

Wednesday (Planned 8 miles)-Rest Day (Busy “hunkering down” for snow storm!)

Thursday (Planned 4 miles)-8 miles on treadmill (Mini-Goal: Negative Split)

Friday (Planned Rest)-4 miles on treadmill (Mini-Goal: Strong Finish, “Ragnar-Style” Final Mile)

Saturday (Planned Run 8)- 8 miles on treadmill (Mini-Goal: Race Pace)

Sunday (Planned Run 17)-Rest Day/Mini-Meltdown! (See Below)

Monday (Planned Cross Training)-17.2 miles run outside through Davidsonville (Mini-Goal: Maintain Steady Pace)

Total Miles for Week 10- 41.2

Total Miles for 2014-193.6

And the long on the long run:

Sunday I ate a big bowl of cereal with almond milk and bananas and headed out at noon to do my long run; it seemed like a good idea since it’s been so bitter cold and that would be the warmest time of the day.  I had to make a quick stop to pick up a couple GU energy gels and NUUN tablets for my water.  Most of the trail reports from my fellow-running buddies were dismal, it seemed like most of the trails had not been cleared yet and were slick, covered in snow and black ice.  I headed to the BWI bike trail, thinking being a commuter trail, it may have been cleared.  I arrived at the BWI trail head at 2 pm, and found it had not been cleared at all.  



Shoot!  I headed to the Observation area, hoping the main trail loop had been cleared.  No such luck!  I felt frustrated as I started the 45 minute drive back towards Annapolis to give the B&A Trail a shot.  A friend told me that it hadn’t been cleared yet but it was passable….by the time I made it to the Bolters Way parking lot (1/3 mile from B&A trail), it was close to 4 pm, I was starving (realizing that bowl of cereal was the only food I had all day) and beyond flustered, so I made the tough decision to abort this run.  I am obsessive about getting my long run in and was upset that I had wasted half of the day driving around MD trying to find somewhere to run, so I felt like a failure as I drove back to my house.

By the time I got home, I had given myself my “it’s OK to be flexible” pep talk and decided I was just going to run from my house, sticking to main roads, first thing Monday morning.  I spent some time studying a map of Davidsonville on “Mapmyrun”, gathered all of my running gear so I would be able to find it easily in my early morning haze (I’m so not a morning person!), and set my alarm clock for 5:45.  I all ready felt much better!

When I woke up this morning to run, it was a bone chilling 17 degrees!  I hate, hate, hate the cold, but NO WAY I was NOT going to get this long run done!  So I added an extra layer and headed out the door.  To say it was cold, would be a major understatement!  My face and lungs burned, and I considered turning back home after making it 2 short miles down the road.  I took of my headphones, stuck my iPod in my pocket, and just focused on running and being in the present.  I focused on my form and maintaining my pace (slow, but steady) by controlling my arm swing, and pushed myself to keep going.  I also let my mind wander a few times, day dreaming about everything from my post-apocalypse survival plan to eating a delicious bowl of lamb and potato stew to wondering where the heck I was!  Yes, I have a horrible sense of direction and get lost on a lot of my runs! It’s part of what makes running so much fun for me!  I love exploring and winding down back country roads.  Some of the views of the woods, farm houses, horses, frozen streams, and snow covered fields were breath taking! Oh yeah, I’m still running, remember to breathe!  On another random note, to add to the rest of this randomness, peanut butter GU is delicious when it’s frozen!  All though I did feel like a dog with peanut butter stuck on the top of my mouth trying to eat it! Lol  

Finally, after over two and half hours of running, I was home, overwhelmed by a strong feeling of satisfaction that I had finished that run!  Time to shower, relax, and enjoy the rest of my day off!  As I took of my layers and layers of running clothes, I noticed that my sweaty pig-tails were frozen solid! Haha  Oh, then Ilana and I went and saw the movie Frozen, that was the theme of the day! 🙂


This is what frozen work-out hair looks like! 😉




It’s a Winter Wonderland!

The East Coast got hit with another nasty Winter Storm a few days ago.  I am beginning to wonder if my daughter and I are going to school and work again before March!  Not that I’m complaining, I’m enjoying the extra quality time snuggling up with hot chocolate and movies.  🙂  I slipped outside a couple of times Wednesday and Thursday, excited to hop around in the snow, to be quickly persuaded by the freezing winter air to slip back INSIDE and stay there! Last night it finally seemed warm enough to go play in the snow, perhaps in part because of the red wine I enjoyed with dinner. Haha

We got a big bonfire going in the yard and Ilana, Danny, and I spent a couple of hours playing in the snow. Ilana and I decided to build a snowman; I’m not a big fan of the snow and I HATE being cold, so it had been a long time since I built a snowman. I started by forming a compact ball of snow and rolling it up and down the large piles of on either side of the driveway….Whew! I forgot how much work building a snowman is! Granted, I grew up in Texas, so my snowman building technique may be less than perfect! Lol As my snow balls increased in size, and I lifted them up to pile my three not so symmetric mounds on top of each other, I began to feel a slight burn in my abs, obliques, shoulders, and arms. Danny noticed my effort and joked that I needed to do more cross fit! Probably true! Lol It did make me wonder how many calories you can actually burn building a snowman, and of course being the dork that I am, I looked it up later that night. I was happy to see that all of my playing in the snow, while not as high intensity as my normal cardio sessions, actually burned off the couple glasses of wine I indulged in at dinner. 🙂 Burning calories was not my primary goal, but it was a nice added benefit and a reminder that sometimes play=exercise.

So in case you were wondering how many calories you can burn playing in the snow, here are some numbers:

-Building a snowman=285 calories an hour
-Having a snowball fight=319 calories an hour
-Making snow angels=214 calories an hour
-Sledding=468 calories an hour
-Snowmobiling=234 calories an hour

Some ideas of more intense snow activities/work-outs:

-Snowshoeing=450 calories an hour (Seriously considering renting some snowshoes from REI to give this a try!)
-Cross-country skiing=510 calories an hour
-Skiing (Downhill)=594 calories an hour
-Snowboarding=428 calories an hour
-Shoveling Snow=414 calories an hour (Ok, so this one isn’t fun, but it’s ok to count it as your daily workout!)

(Note: All of these numbers are based on 150 lb person and of course vary depending on intensity)

Since a lot of us still have several weeks left of crazy snow, lets make the best of it and get outside, have fun, play in the snow! 🙂

Building my Snowman!

Building my Snowman!

Case of the Mondays? Time to Get Recentered

Last week I had “one of those weeks”! I was off kilter, bouncing from thing to thing; doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that….and a little bit more of this.  Until I was spinning in frenzied circles, making myself dizzy, forgetting what both this and that were.  It all came to a head yesterday, with me feeling totally overwhelmed and sitting on the floor pouting, wondering why my house and bills couldn’t just take care of themselves.  When I reached the point where my mental reasoning was on par with a toddler, there was only one thing left to do, take a nap! Or at that point in the night; go to bed, wake up fresh, and start over again.

So today being the beginning of a whole new week, I decided it was time to re-center myself and start this week off right!  First things first, I stopped pouting and cleaned my house.  (It’s hard to de-clutter the mind when surrounded by clutter.)  Then I lit some candles, rolled out my sticky mat, and got my yogi on! Not only is yoga great for toning and stretching out those sore running muscles, it is great for the mind.  Yoga teaches you to focus on the present moment and quiets the mind.  I could tell by how I was wobbling on some of my balance poses that I wasn’t in the right place mentally.  But as I continued to focus on my breathing (On an immature note, it makes me giggle every time Bryan Kest says “Don’t be a mouth breather.” Lol) and finding focal points for my eyes, I began to relax and ease more comfortably into poses.  By the end, I had not been transformed into a glowing unicorn (Bryan Kest’s soothing voice makes that seem like a REAL possibility), but I felt a lot better.  Not a bad start to a new week!  🙂

“All poses are endless. That’s why we have to be where we are at because we  are already there.” ~Bryan Kest  (Umm…what does this mean?! Lol)

P.S. In case you didn’t notice, I’m in love with Bryan Kest! Lol



Are you a yogi? What do you do to re-center when you’re feeling stressed?




Training for Garden Spot Village Marathon

I’m getting ready for the Garden Spot Village Marathon in Lancaster, PA and it’s just 9 weeks away now!  I’ve been reading the reviews for this race and it sounds amazing.  The course takes you through Amish Farming land at the foothills of the Welsh Mountains.  This will be my 4th marathon, with my first 3 all being in Virginia.  I’ve recently decided to take on the 50 state challenge, since so far I’ve only ran in ONE state, I have a lot of exploring left to do!  Haha  So this race will get me a little closer to my goal, with TWO whole states under my belt and 48 more to go! Woo hoo! Who knows if I’ll make all 50, but it sure will be fun to try! 🙂


 Oh, I hope I at least one horse and buggy during this race!!! *Fingers Crossed*

Training isn’t always pretty, I’ve made A LOT of training mistakes.  Here are just a FEW examples:

  • “Oh, I guess beer isn’t the best for carb loading!”
  • “Wearing mascara on my long run was such a bad idea!! My eyes burn!!”
  • “Ouch the chaffing!”
  • “Maybe I actually should have brought water on this run….”
  • “Did my toe-nail just fall off? Ummm…yeah…damn it!”

That is one of the great things about training, when done properly you will find your limits and be able to adapt to overcome those limits.  Training is a great time to make as many mistakes as possible!  Then by the time you get to the race it’s all just about the execution of what you have done over and over again.  If you are training for a race of any distance, start with finding a good training plan.  There are a lot of great training plans online for free (I like free!), my favorites are Cool Running and Hal Hidgon training plans.  Here is the training plan I am currently following (1/2 way there!!!) and some tips based on my not so professional training experiences….

1 Cross 3 m run 5 m run 3 m run Rest 5 m pace 8
2 Cross 3 m run 5 m run 3 m run Rest 5 m run 9
3 Cross 3 m run 5 m run 3 m run Rest 5 m pace 6
4 Cross 3 m run 6 m run 3 m run Rest 6 m pace 11
5 Cross 3 m run 6 m run 3 m run Rest 6 m run 12
6 Cross 3 m run 5 m run 3 m run Rest 6 m pace 9
7 Cross 4 m run 7 m run 4 m run Rest 7 m pace 14
8 Cross 4 m run 7 m run 4 m run Rest 7 m run 15
9 Cross 4 m run 5 m run 4 m run Rest Rest Half Marathon
10 Cross 4 m run 8 m run 4 m run Rest 8 m pace 17
11 Cross 5 m run 8 m run 5 m run Rest 8 m run 18
12 Cross 5 m run 5 m run 5 m run Rest 8 m pace 13
13 Cross 5 m run 8 m run 5 m run Rest 5 m pace 20
14 Cross 5 m run 5 m run 5 m run Rest 8 m run 12
15 Cross 5 m run 8 m run 5 m run Rest 5 m pace 20
16 Cross 5 m run 6 m run 5 m run Rest 4 m pace 12
17 Cross 4 m run 5 m run 4 m run Rest 3 m run 8
18 Cross 3 m run 4 m run Rest Rest 2 m run Marathon
Hal Hidgon’s Marathon Training Schedule: Intermediate 1

Tips (aka my 2 cents!):

1. Establish base mileage before starting a marathon training plan.

If you have never ran before, please don’t wake up one day and decide you are going to run a marathon!  Build up your running base and start out with some shorter races first.  Once you are running 20-25 miles a week consistently for two or three months and can do a 8 mile run without suffering (too much), you will be ready to start training for a marathon.

My lesson learned?  After almost a year of sporadic 3-5 mile runs every now and then, I decided to jump into a marathon training plan with a friend.  First, it made me hate running; most of my runs sucked and my legs hurt constantly!  Even worse, I ended up injured, plantar fasciitis that had me “walking like a cowboy” and not running AT ALL for several months.  😦

2. Follow a training plan appropriate to your running experience level. 

There is no shame in following a beginners training program if you are new to running.  If you train, you will make it to the finish line, which is something to be proud of!

My lesson learned? See #1?  Like it wasn’t stupid enough that I jumped into a marathon training program after a year of non-running?  Oh, did I mention, it was an advanced training program?!  I am sure that also contributed to the misery of that experience!

3. Ditch the all or nothing attitude!  Stop stressing and be flexible!

Most of us are not professional athletes; this is supposed to be fun! Lighten up, breathe…it is O.K. to be flexible on your training plan!  Despite our best intentions life happens.  You may have to work late, finish a paper for school, go to your kids dance recital…Make your training a priority, but if you have to miss a mid-week run, shuffle some miles, or do your planned track work-out on a treadmill, your training will not suffer for it.  The key is consistency!  Make sure you run at least 3-4 days a week and get that long run in, the rest of the plan you can put an *ish* on.

My lesson learned?  I used to get so OCD about following my training plan that I gave up my social life and would let one set-back totally derail me.  I was the kind of jerk who would blow off my best friend’s birthday party to go for a run.  Or I would get sick and miss 2 or 3 days of training, decide I blew it, and quit completely.  End result was I was constantly frustrated, burned out, and running stopped being fun for me.  Life has been better and my running has improved since I started to chill out about training.

That being said, there is one exception to rule #3…..

4. NEVER miss a long run! 

The long run is the most important element of marathon training.  It gets your body ready to run for the 2+ (if you can run a sub-3 hour marathon, wow!), 3+, 4+, 5+….hours it will take you to run your marathon.  And there is a gradual build up to the grand finale of your training, your 18-20 milers.  If you miss your 12 and 14 mile runs, jumping to 16 miles is going to be more than a little uncomfortable.  If absolutely necessary, you can break up the total miles of your long run into two shorter runs on the same day.

My lesson learned?  I missed my final long runs (thanks to Maryland’s “Snowmagedon” that year and my lack of motivation to do a long run on the “Dreadmill”) when training for my 1st marathon.  I ended up running the race with my longest run being 16 miles, 2 months before my actual race.  I have never hit the wall harder and hated a race more in my life!

5. Invest in proper the proper gear.

One of the nice things about running is it does not require a lot of gear, but make sure you don’t neglect the few things you do need.  You can get away with running 3 miles in sweats and a pair of chucks, but when you’re logging longer miles the wrong clothes/shoes will=lots of painful chaffing, overheating or frozen fingers, aching feet/joints, and some busted toe nails!  Main rule of thumb is no cotton anything (not even socks), dry fit materials (I like Underamour), and good running shoes.  Get fitted for proper running shoes at a local running store and get new shoes every 500 miles, or when you are starting to notice an increase in foot and knee pain (which ever happens first).  Once you find a shoe that works for you, you don’t HAVE to buy them at a running store.  You can usually find the same shoe (or last seasons model) for much cheaper online.  If you’re training outside during the winter, get good cold gear.  Think layers! With moisture wicking base, wind/water resistant outer layer, hat or ear warmer, and a pair of gloves.  An optional item is a fuel belt; it’s nice to not have to carry a water bottle and they have nice little pockets to store energy gels and car keys.

My lesson learned?  This was an easy one…a few runs in my every day work-out clothes was enough for me to learn chaffed arm-pits/thighs/lady parts (yeah, I went there! Lol) and blistered feet suck!  I went to a running store and got some real running clothes and shoes!

6. Eat right and hydrate!

You are expending a lot of calories during training and forcing your body to tap into different energy stores.  It is so important that you are eating enough and eating the right things to fuel your work-outs. The key is to find what works for you, and to eat well at least 70-80% of the time, EVERYDAY not just the day before or day of an important run.  The same is true for hydration.  It takes time and consistency to really start to feel the benefits of healthy eating and proper hydration.

In addition to your everyday nutrition, there is the carb loading (what to eat 2-3 days before a long run and your pre-run meal), and you will have to fuel yourself DURING your longer runs.  After running for over an hour, you have burned through most of your glycogen stores and if you don’t replenish them you will start to crash.  Getting used to running and eating at the same time is not easy, there is a fine line between hitting the wall and getting sick from running with a sloshy stomach….And if you’re like me, chewing and running at the same time is a nearly impossible challenge! Lol  So training is the time to figure out what that balance is and what works best for you.  Never try anything new during a race!

My lesson learned?  This one was (is) not so easy.  I’ve made the mistake of eating too much crap, thinking that running gave me a free pass to drink all the beer and eat all the chili cheese fries I wanted…and then suffering from varying degrees of volcanic bubble guts during a run! On the other end of the spectrum, I was trying to follow a super restricted diet and was not getting enough calories, then I was running out of energy during a majority of my runs.  I finally learned the importance of balance, but I am still fine tuning my diet to overcome dips in energy levels during some of my longer runs.

7. Rest!

You know those rest days in your training schedule?? Don’t be an over trainer! Take them!  Rest days are just as much a part of your training program as the run days; your body needs time for proper recovery for you to perform at your best.  And get plenty of Zzzzzs!  You need them!  There is nothing more glorious than a late morning, post-long run, Sunday nap! ❤

My lesson learned? I used to get frustrated if I had a bad run and I thought the answer to getting better was to run more.  So I added mileage to my training program, refused to take rest days, and sometimes even did twice a day work-outs.  And you know what happened?  I started having MORE bad runs, until I over-trained to the point that I had ALL bad runs.  Not every run is going to be a good run (Fact), but once I started taking my prescribed rest days and making sure I got plenty of sleep, my overall running improved significantly.

8. Add Variety to your training

If you are running the same distance, same pace, same terrain every day; not only are you not going to see much improvement in your running…you’re going to get bored!  *Yawn* Add some speed-work at a local track, find some big hills to tackle, join a local running club….anything to mix things up, push yourself a little harder, and to keep running fun.  🙂

My lesson learned? For years I ran the same distances every day, on the treadmill at 6.0 with no incline, and I could not understand why I was unable run faster than a 10 minute mile or why even the slightest hill in a race kicked my butt….duh!  Running became a lot more fun when I started exploring new running trails, running with groups, and incorporating speed and hills into my training.  And I got better at running without even feeling like I was trying to get better at running!

Whew! That was a lot longer than I was expecting!  If you actually made it this far; 1) You are such a nice person, 2) You are probably my mom! Haha (Hi Mom! I love you!), 3) Seriously, thank you! And I hope you found some of these tips useful!  What is the next race you are training for?  Do you have some training/running advice to share?

Marathon idiot


Gym?!? I don’t need no stinking gym!!

Like a lot of people…I have an incredibly hectic schedule.  Between working a full time job, three hour daily round-trip commute, raising an eight year old daughter, and chauffeuring her to gymnastics and dance classes, I have very little free time.  For years I spent hundreds of dollars on gym memberships and tried to solve many problematic logistics, allowing me to squeeze in 3-4 gym sessions a week.  I went through multiple gyms looking for the best child care and extended hours.  I tried to decide if I should join a gym closer to work, closer to home, or somewhere in between?  At the end of a long work day, driving an extra 20 minutes out of my way, making my 3 hour round trip commute closer to a 4 hour round trip commute, competing with crowds of people for machines, then sitting down to dinner with my daughter at 9 pm seemed like too much to manage.  And I can’t even tell you how many times I forgot to pack a crucial item in my gym bag, then trying to decide between running without socks, a sports bra, running shoes… (hmmm I can do yoga in jeans, right?) and saying, “Damn it! I’m Just going home!  I finally accepted that going to the gym did NOT fit into my schedule!  However, I decided not to let this be an excuse to not exercise and not be in shape.


Mommy and daughter ready to workout! 

I rearranged some furniture and converted a small corner in my living room into a home gym.  It ended up being the best thing I ever did for my health and sanity!  Since setting up my gym two year ago, I have been consistently working out 4-6 days every week and have dropped 25 pounds.  🙂  Working out at home doesn’t work for everybody; some people enjoy the social experience a gym provides and have a hard time getting motivated to work out on their own.  But if you are in a situation similar to mine, a home gym might be a great option for you.   All you need is a few key pieces of equipment, internet access (You would be amazed how many great work-outs you can find online for FREE!!), and maybe a workout DVD or two and you are all set!

Here is what I have in my home gym:

A treadmill.  I love this treadmill the way some men (and women) love their cars!  Running happens to be my favorite form of cardio, but walking (especially with some speed and hill intervals) will help you shed unwanted pounds.  If running isn’t your thing, or you don’t have the budget to get a high quality treadmill (don’t go cheap, you end up wasting your money in the end for a really fancy clothes hanger), any piece of cardio equipment will do the trick.  If you are on a really tight budget, simply start walking/running outside, or grab a cardio based work out DVD or two.


Oh, how I love you!! ❤ ❤

For strength training, I have a few kettle bells and TRX straps.  Old fashioned dumb-bells and calisthenics can whip your butt into shape too, but kettle bells and TRX straps are my favorite for a variety of reasons.  First, they don’t take up a lot of space, I can even toss my TRX straps in my suitcase when going on vacation or in my car to take advantage of impromptu workout opportunities through out the day.  Second, they are great for performing compound exercises for quick and efficient workouts!


Russian gymnast use these for a reason!


Suspension training is great for the core!

Last, I have a simple yoga mat and workouts downloaded to my IPAD (again, great for travel!).  Yoga is great for flexibility and mental clarity.  I have a few quick 10 minute yoga routines that I do after a tough workout or when I am tight on time.  Some of my favorite workouts are P90X/Insanity (Tony Horton kicks my butt!), Bryan Kest’s Power Yoga series, Anytime Yoga, Jillian Michaels Kick Boxing, and “The Goddess” belly dancing workouts for when I feel like being silly with my daughter.  🙂