Bike Needs a Name

Holy heat wave, Batman.  We have an expected high of 107 today.  In all my years of living in the St. Louis area, I can’t ever recall it getting that hot in my lifetime.  Granted, I’ve experienced a Heat Index of 110.  St. Louis humidity really is the best, I tell you. Fortunately, the humidity is staying low. So instead of the oppressive heat/humidity combo we normally deal with, this week we are only dealing with dry, oven-like heat.  No complaints here.  It CAN always be worse.

My appointment with the orthopedist is this afternoon.  He’s going to give me some magic pill or exercise for my thigh to make the pain go away and make me a runnin’ fool again.  Right…?  Ok fine, but maybe he will have SOME positive news and start me on an aggressive physical therapy to get me back ASAP.  I’ll be sure to keep you posted.  You may want to brace yourselves for a few sappy posts if the appointment goes poorly.  Fair warning.

In the meantime, I want to introduce you to the newest member of my family.

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Isn’t she a beaut?!

I’m excited about my new purchase for a number of reasons.

  1. In case I’m on the DL running list for a few weeks, I can keep up my cardio through my pretty bike
  2. I would much rather ride this than my 15-year old Huffy from Target
  3. I won’t feel like a poser on the bike trails
  4. I’d take riding outside vs. inside on the stationary any day!
  5. It’s the perfect shade of blue (color is of the utmost importance)
  6. I can go crazy fast on this thing!
  7. I can’t wait to spend insane amounts of money to upgrade my cycling apparel (not…)
  8. I can’t wait to name her!  Any suggestions?
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Conditioning Tuesday, Quad Issues

Happy Conditioning Tuesday!  Today’s conditioning boot camp was a killer.  I walked in, saw the “line up” on the board and thought about turning around and going home.  Here was the 35/4 (35 seconds, 4 rounds) line up:

  1. Sprint in place/Wall drills
  2. Burpees/Squat jumps
  3. Med Ball Slam/Mountain Climbers
  4. Jumping Jacks/Jump Rope
  5. Hurdles/Side In & Out
  6. Iso Roll Out/Plank
  7. Box Jumps/Step ups

We went through one whole round #1-7 then switched to the alternating exercises.  This one was killer.  I was good-n-sweaty!  Squat jumps = not my friend.  I’ve never liked doing squat jumps, but I’m experiencing a bit (aka a lot) of pain in my upper/inner right quad so these were not so fun for my sad, injured quad.  I know, I know.  I shouldn’t have even done them and should have improvised, but I didn’t.  I also want to make an announcement that I successfully completed an 18-inch box jump for the first time.  I’ve actually never done box jumps because I’m terrified I’ll miss and land right on my face.  So I started with 12-inches then got brave and did the 18-inches the 2nd round.  YAY!

I normally squeeze in a 2-3 mile run after conditioning, but I took 3-4 strides and decided my leg hurt too bad.  I was really looking forward to the run, too so I was extra bummed.  Who doesn’t love an extra endorphin kick/calorie burn?! I have an appointment with an orthopedist to figure what my next steps are with this darn injury.  I’ve had it before and, from experience and reading internet articles (sooo reliable!), it takes a long time to heal.  Hope he knows “no running/no activity” isn’t really an option in my book.  I’ve got a marathon to dominate in October! 🙂

 

Staycation Recap, Chicago, & Saturday Runday

Hi long lost blog friends!  Vacation makes me lazy, especially staycation, so I didn’t update my blog as much as I’d wanted to.  It was a pretty awesome week off.  I deep cleaned my apartment (I’m not really a messy person, but when I only have Sundays to clean, things don’t always get done), read, crossed movies off my “must-see list”, met up with a colleague/former supervisor for lunch, had lunch with my mom (at Bob Evans! HA!) and just caught up on life. It was a fantastic week.

On Friday, a friend and I took a quick jaunt up to Chicago to visit some of our friends that now live up there.  Since the train tracks are being maintenanced for the new “high-speed rail” that is to make our trip to Chicago 1-hour shorter, the trip up included catching a 6:30am bus (3-hour ride) and then transferring to the train that would take us to Chicago (3.5-hour ride).  What’s normally a 4 to 5-hour train ride took us nearly 8 hours with our train “layover”.  Woof.  Fortunately, my friend and I can make any long trip seem short with our silliness 🙂

A few pictures from the trip:

FRIDAY

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Friday night, we met up with a friend and her boyfriend for drinks at Millennium Park.  See the Bean?! 🙂   That’s my attempt at an artistic shot of the city through The Bean.  Eh, you can only do so much with a camera phone.

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For the first time in my life I finished my beer.  I’m not much of a beer person.  I like the taste for the first few sips, then I’m set.  While my accomplishment is noteworthy, my cup is the smaller cup.  Everyone else got “big kid” cups and finished those with ease.

SATURDAY (run day)

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Ah, my glorious view during my Saturday run.  Since we’d be traveling home early Sunday I had to improvise and complete my long run 1 day earlier.  I LOVED running in the city.  The community of runners/cyclists was so neat to be a part of.  I’d take this view over the snakes, possums, & deer I deal with during my runs any day! Naturally, my GPS wasn’t working so I had to run for time.  I ran somewhere between 9 & 10 miles.  Solid.

I had a fantastic runner’s high.  As great as it is to crash on the couch all day after a long run/workout, it felt just as great to hit up some of the shops to catch some deals.  I turned up empty handed, but I love looking, regardless!

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My view during lunch.  We ate at a yummy restaurant/pub in near Lincoln Park. The address of this building/apartment is my dad’s birthday!  March, 1933.  How cool!

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After lunch, we walked to the beach.  It felt so good to soak up some Vitamin D and people watch.  The water was insanely cold so we just put our toes in.  It was a great afternoon of food, friends, and laughing.

My legs were pretty dead on the way back from the beach.  My friend’s apartment is only about 1 mile from the beach.  But after my long run and laying down on the beach, my legs started tightening up and letting me know they were done for the day.  “Too bad”, I said. My friend (travel buddy) and I were dying for some Giordano’s pizza.  We only had an hour wait, but oh my goodness, it’s worth any amount of time spent waiting.  Gosh, I still drool when I think of it!

SUNDAY

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This awesome meal was my lunch on the train.  My “purse/carry-on” was nicknamed “my pantry” because I had TONS of snacks and fruit in there.  I’m never one to be caught hungry and without food.  And since I didn’t know when/where we’d be eating I wanted to be prepared with some healthy options.  The bagel & cream cheese was left over from our Starbuck’s breakfast (oatmeal w/peanut butter, blueberries,  banana, & skinny caramel macchiato..YUM!) . That water bottle cost me $2.25 on the train (dumb, but I always have to have water or I convince myself I’ll die of thirst).  I am in love with the packets of salmon.  They make for easy lunches during the work week and (obviously) on vacations!  I had an apple, grapes, and a reduced sugar Quaker granola bar for dessert.  I told you…I had an insane amount of food in my bag! 🙂

The Best Thing You’ve Done…

Recently on Run The Edge, they asked their followers “what was the best thing you’ve done to improve your running?”.  Many answered with “getting fit for the right shoes”, “developing a good nutrition plan”, “sleeping 8 hours each night”, “taking rest days”, etc.  My answer?  I gained weight.  Healthy weight.  Through weight training and eating more protein and more intentional calories.  Sounds counter-intuitive. As runners, we’ve been trained to think “lighter = faster”.  In my case, I just didn’t have enough juice to GET faster without running myself down or injuring myself.  I was healthy and eating a healthy amount of food.  By no means was I starving myself.  After I took the “underwater fat test” back in January, the results showed me where I needed to be as far as nutrition goes (consumption of carbs, protein, calories, etc.).  Granted, I’ve only gained 3 pounds since January (although 3 lbs on my small frame does make a difference, especially with my clothes!). But because of the muscle mass, I feel so much better and stronger (literally and figuratively) during my runs and workouts and I feel like I have extra energy for that extra push to do MORE.

Not gonna lie…I still cringe every time I step on the scale and I see the numbers are higher than MY ideal weight.  But I keep remembering that it’s only helping me.  That’s where my BodyMedia arm band is playing a HUGE role in my understanding of my calorie expenditure.  I’ve been wearing it for 1 1/2 weeks and after the first week I noticed a big theme:  I was burning WAY more calories than I thought I was.  Since I’m smaller than the average woman, I’ve always been told I burn considerably less calories.  Because of that, I know I don’t have the luxury of eating as much food daily as everyone else.  But, I didn’t realize how much my workouts really ramp up my calorie burn.  Of course, I KNEW they did, but I didn’t realize just how much more wiggle room I had in my diet.  So, I’m on a mission to eat a little bit more each day.  One extra piece of fruit here, a spoonful of peanut butter there…and it’s amazing how much better I feel mentally too.  I’m eating to FUEL my body…and it will do the rest to carry me through my workouts and my almighty runs.

Yay food!

Now, the next thing I need to work on (according to my BodyMedia) is to get more sleep…right.  Maybe if my BodyMedia could give me an extra hour or two in my day that would have a greater chance of happening. HA!

Sunday was the official kick-off of marathon training with an 8-miler.  The weekly runs/cross-training is pretty relaxed.  I need this.  Instead of obsessing over mileage, my training plan focuses on time.  30-45 minutes of XT or 45-60 minutes of running.  I can run as fast or as slow as I want, depending on what my body is telling me that day.  Finally, a relaxed training plan! 🙂

 

 

 

Yes, I ate 3 cupcakes today…Whatever…

Um…I haven’t exactly been the model “eat healthy” spokesperson lately…especially today.  I went to The Cup this morning after some serious, serious cleaning with the intention of getting ONE cupcake.  The Peanut Butter Cup.  I’d been planning it since early last week.  Well…you know how you go to Target with the intention of picking up one non-expensive item, like deodorant, and end up spending $50-$100…?  Yeah…this cupcake experience was just like that.  I ended up getting 3 cupcakes with the other intention of just eating 1/3 of each since I have the rest of this week of “staycation” to enjoy them.  BAHAHA.  That’s funny.  They are now completely consumed.  I know, I know…SHAME!!!  The reviews:

Cuppa Coffee Cake:

CUPPA COFFEE CAKE

Call me a senior citizen, but I love coffee cake.  It reminds me of sitting around the kitchen table at my grandparents’…I guess we did that a lot…? Any way, this mini coffee cake was moist, with a delicious & sweet cinnamon crunch top.  And who doesn’t love drizzle icing?  I mean, really…

Peanut Butter Cup:

PEANUT BUTTER CUP

Um, wow.  I know I’ve mentioned I’m a sucker for coffee/mocha flavored sweets, but I just turn to mush when someone mentions chocolate AND peanut butter together.  This cupcake consisted of a moist dark chocolate cake w/a delicious peanut butter butter cream frosting.  Honestly, the cupcake would be great with just that.  But oh wait…the chunks of peanut butter cup on top and O-M-G.  There are no words  – this is by far my favorite one so far.  I don’t know if any others will top this one.

The Muny/Name TBD

Photo: Wondering what you should do while you anxiously await the 2012 Muny Season??<br /><br /><br />
Help The Muny and The Cup - CWE, St. Louis, MO name this delicious treat! Described as a "Refreshing lime and strawberry sherbet swirled cake topped with tangy orange buttercream and a custom Muny fondant," this special Muny cupcake needs a name! The winner will receive a gift card for free Cupcakes and pair of Muny tickets! Post your name suggestions here on The Muny Facebook page through June 14th.

This one is the center of a “naming contest” on Facebook so for now it’s just “The Muny” cupcake.  The Muny is St. Louis’ wonderful outdoor theater that showcases several outdoor musicals throughout the summer.  It’s a key St. Louis summer activity.  Anyhoo, the cake itself is a raspberry & lime swirl. The icing is a sweet fruity flavor (orange-ish, maybe?).  While delicious, it fell 3rd on my list of 3 for today.  But, I did still manage to scarf it down so it was still note-worthy!

Sunday Runday & workout post soon (obviously since I have 3 cupcakes to work off!)…

Another Cupcake Challenge Update…

Remember how I said I wasn’t going to get the Holey Moley…?  Well, I didn’t, but my awesome coworker stopped by and bought one while she was buying one for herself.  Too cool!  And uh…remember how I said it’s JUST yellow cream-filled cake w/chocolate dipped icing and a donut on top?  WAY better than I ever would have thought.  The simplicity of this cupcake made it decadent and delightful.  So yes, that’s right.  2 massive cupcakes in a 24-hour period.  Oh the shame!  My pancreas probably hates me.

HOLEY MOLEY

Have I mentioned I’m on vacation next week?  Because I am! I have a whole list of things I have planned to do but I’m not posting the list on here for fear that not only will I see my failures for not completing the list, but you will too.  So to spare you all from my boring, underachieving list, you’ll just have to wait to see my updates.  I know, the suspense is probably killing you…I do live quite the exciting life, let me tell you!

 

 

Cupcake Challenge Update

Cupcake Challenge Update:

WIPEOUT!

This adorable cupcake is called “Wipeout”.  It wasn’t on my original list for the Cupcake Challenge but I’ve been craving a cupcake ALL week and already have one lined up as a treat during my “stay-cation” next week.  Don’t they say to eat what your craving (in moderation, obviously) if the craving doesn’t subside in 15-20 minutes?  Well, how about in 3 days?!  I had every intention of only eating half and giving the other half to my coworker that is just as obsessed with these cupcakes…buuuuuttttttt the pleasure centers in my brain went a LITTLE crazy and I ate the whole thing.  For lunch.  With a salad.  Lunch of champions 🙂  Fortunately, my coworker understood my lack of ability to control my “stop eating tasty treats”.  I didn’t know if I’d enjoy the chocolate chip cupcake like I do the other exotic cupcakes that I’ve had.  And while it was delicious (obviously) it’s one of those cupcakes that will be easier for me to pass up than others I’ve had.  The thin layer of icing was ideal…call me crazy, but I’m not a big fan of a huge mountain of icing.  I’m a ganache/whipped cream gal.

THIS glorious cupcake is being offered today through Saturday in honor of Father’s Day.  It’s called “Holey Moley”.  Vanilla/yellow cream-filled cake with a GLAZED DONUT HOLE on top!  The drizzly goodness on top looks so decadent, eh? 🙂  Goodness…since I’m not a fan of cream-filled cakes, I may have to pass on this one…I’m disappointed in myself too.  Passing up a donut?!   Insane.

HOLEY MOLEY

P.S.  That awesome running quote from yesterday’s post was from Kara Goucher’s “Road to London” blog Run the Edge.   Check it out!

Today’s workout was a classic Thursday workout: bike intervals for 50 minutes, arms & abs weights/work, 15 minutes of intervals on the stair climber.  The bike and stair climber reminded me that my legs felt so dead from previous workouts.  Whewie!

 

If this were easy…

“If running were easy, it would lose its seduction as an exclusive club reserved for the fit and tenacious.  If it were easy, tens of thousands of people who pay money to register for local 10K runs or who commit huge chunks of time to train their bodies to withstand the pounding of an ultra-marathon would choose other, more challenging pursuits. Yes, running is hard, and that is exactly what makes it so irresistible to those of us lucky enough to understand.”

Quotes like this are what keep me motivated.  You know the old saying “If it were easy, everyone would do it”?  I always remind myself this when I take on a task or goal that eventually leaves me with the “I want to quit, why am I doing this?” thoughts.  It’s easy to get down on yourself (at least it’s easy for ME to get down on MYSELF) when tackling big goals.  Things like getting up between 3:30am and 4:15am to squeeze in a run & workout (seriously…I know it’s insane), not sure your legs will carry you from the car to your office, going to bed tired & waking up tired, not being convinced I should’ve stayed in bed for extra rest until I’m 2 miles in to a run, pushing through the first 10 minutes of a run even though I feel exhausted and my body hurts, only feeling a runners high 3 times out of 5…these things can bog you down.  But why do I keep doing it?  Why am I always searching for my next race before I’ve even completed the 5 others standing in its way? Because it’s always tough, it’s always challenging, and it’s always teaching me valuable lessons.  It’s never the same, day-to-day. Even when I can barely keep my eyes open during an afternoon meeting and I have nearly 10 more hours of things keeping me from my bed, I still think “it’s ok, I get to run tomorrow” and all is right with the world.

But until Sunday Runday, when my glorious training plan and I are reunited, I shall crosstrain.  Argh!

Randoms, Look-Alikes, Body Media Intro

Did anyone else catch the Disney weekend on ABC Family this past weekend?! This moment of enlightenment came to me this weekend when I was watching Aladdin (which had me completely in a trance).  Hobbes = Raja, Scout = Abu.  And once I realized this I couldn’t stop laughing.

Hobbes: Sweet, caring, protective, thoughtful, enjoys his role of being our “companion”, often looking at Scout like this:

 

Scout: Smaller than Hobbes (for now), feisty, ready to play/fight, side-kick.

HA! Now I just need to get her a little hat.

Today was Circuit Training Tuesday and is normally followed by a quick 2-mile run, but today my running buddies didn’t show to class.  I was a little bummed at first, but given my quad is still sore, I saw it as a sign that running wouldn’t have been a good choice today.  This led me to the brilliant idea of keeping this week as a cross training week before my marathon training starts next week.  See how smart I’m getting?!

Another random:  I’m trying the BodyMedia Core thing-a-ma-jig.  You know, those things that measure activity, body temperature, calories burned, sleep quality & efficiency?

I don’t even notice I’m wearing it (even when I sleep), plus it is easily worn under a cardigan too in case you don’t want others constantly asking you “what’s that on your arm?!” a million times a day (which is what happened to me yesterday).  I’m a little skeptical since it showed me burning nearly 1500 calories by 6pm…I guess that’s possible but I didn’t work out yesterday so we’ll see.  I did enter my age, gender, weight, & height…hmmm…I’m at a point where I don’t know if I’m eating enough to keep my metabolism revved up…I’m watching calories (among other things) but not seeing any changes…so perhaps my body needs more to speed things up but has been slowed due to lack of consumption.  It’s a toss up – hopefully this thing will be fairly accurate.  I have a free 3-month subscription so I’ll be updating you as I continue to wear it.  It will be interesting to see how things change once my mileage increases!

 

Sunday Run…er…Cross Training Day…?

Ah yes…it wasn’t a traditional Sunday Runday.  I thought it’d be best to cross train yesterday instead of having my feet pound the pavement.  Since my Saturday race is similar to my recent Sunday “long runs” (7-8 miles) it seemed overzealous to do another long run the day after a race that was longer than 5 miles.  YAY for learning my lesson with my stress fracture and giving my body time to rest.

I thought for sure I’d feel uneasy and left “wanting more”, but it was so refreshing to switch things up.  I started with 1 hour of intervals on the elliptical, followed by 1 hour of weights (legs on Sundays), and finished with a 30-minute bike ride of intervals.   My weight session focused slightly more on abs work since my right quad still felt sore & tight from the mysterious injury and my quads were just sore in general from the race.  This is always so funny to me…I can run the same distance and same pace during a training run and feel so much less soreness as I do after a race.  Bizarre.

Sunday is my favorite day of the week.  Aside from the awesome Sunday workouts (which are always rejuvenating and empowering), I always leave the day wide open.  So I can take as long as I need to at the gym, relax through breakfast & coffee, avoid with the hair dryer & make-up, and plan to catch up on relaxation the rest of the day.  There’s usually some serious grocery shopping involved, but the opportunities that Sunday brings are endless.  Lunch and supper are always going to be deemed “extra awesome” on Sunday because I’m always starving after my Sunday workout.  Reading, zoning out to the TV, and vegging with the dogs.  Is there anything better in today’s insanely over-scheduled lifestyle?

Marathon training commences next Sunday…ready…set…go!