Building Strength

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been working with a trainer 1-2 times a week for about a year now.  I credit the addition of these workouts to how well I was running last spring and to keeping me sane while I was taking a little break from the roads in the fall.  Our workouts are different each week – seriously I don’t think we ever do the same thing 2 weeks in a row.  That’s not to say we never repeat a move, but generally not weekly.  It keeps things interesting and helps us use/develop all parts of each muscle.  For illustration purposes, I’m including pictures of our last 2 Tuesday workouts (sorry, pics of print outs aren’t the best).  The first was a timed workout with multiple muscle groups included in each time set.  The 2nd was a more “traditional” workout in that each set included just 1 “body part” (i.e. legs, shoulders, etc) but it also included some not-so-traditional moves.

IMG_4318 IMG_4317

I know strength training is key to successful running and life for me.  For too many years I was so focused on cardio, I neglected strength.  In addition to working out with Stefani on Tuesday mornings, she writes a workout I do on my own on Thursday mornings (well, most of the time).  Thursday is usually a compliment to Tuesday and varies depending on what’s on my running/racing schedule for the upcoming weekend.

What about y’all?  Strength train yay or nay?

Posted in Training | 2 Comments

Bayshore Marathon – Week 1?

There it is, my spring marathon, Bayshore.  I had been considering this race for a while, and then I discovered some of my favorite people are also going to be there.  Couple that discovery with a successful #runstreak, and I knew I was ready mentally and physically to tackle 26.2 again.  The race is 15 weeks out (May 23rd) and since I’m not starting completely from scratch, I feel good about being ready come race day.  Here’s how last week shaped up:

Monday
Run: 40 minutes (4.9 miles; 8:13/mi)

Final day of my #run40for40 run streak – aka my 40th birthday!  I had challenged 40 people in my run club to come out and run with me.  I knew it was a long shot as Monday evening group runs are typically about 10 people.  While we didn’t have 40, we had a great group and I appreciate those who did come out!  My friend Debi said I should run 40 minutes.  She was tapering for the Tallahassee Marathon (spoiler: she ROCKED it with a 5 min PR) so we ran on feel and flat rather than bridges.  I brought cake (King Cake) and cupcakes (Sweet Theory) that we enjoyed post-run.  It was the perfect ending to my birthday (at some point I should recap my birthday weekend)!

birthdayrun

Tuesday
Strength: 1 hour
Run: 5.1 miles; 39:34; 7:50/mi

For the past year, I’ve been working with a trainer (who is also a very good friend and fellow runner).  She challenges me/us and mixes things up constantly so I don’t get bored.  We meet on Tuesday mornings for an hour of strength (weights, TRX, body weight moves, etc).  Often Batch and I will run before the workout but this week, we just went straight to the gym.  She also writes me an additional workout to do on my own later in the week when I want one.

Tuesday evening, Batch and I headed to the new MShack for the PRSRC social run.  It was fun to run from a new location and explore a slightly different route.  We’re also big fans of supporting a new neighborhood restaurant.  The weather here has been fantastic lately and this night was no exception.  I didn’t even look at my watch until we finished so it was nice to see sub-8 felt easy and conversational (I chatted with a friend the entire run!).

Wednesday
Swim: 2100 yards, 45 minutes (includes stops/a little chatting)

So the goal was to swim in the morning and head to track in the evening.  Well, it was pouring rain when evening track time rolled around and while I usually run anyway, we had a birthday party to attend so it was easy to skip this one!  The swim was good though and the first time I’d been back in the pool in almost a month.  Between travel and other activities, I just hadn’t made it a priority.  I met 2 friends at the pool and got my butt kicked on a great workout.

Thursday
Run: 7.5 miles; 1:02:01; 8:14/mi

I normally attend spin on Thursday mornings, but my body was screaming for more sleep so I listened.  Thursday was a beautiful day so I took advantage of not having anything else on my schedule and headed out for a mid-afternoon run and some vitamin D.  I didn’t really have a distance in mind when I left the house so just enjoyed running through the neighborhood.

Friday
Rest day

My local Y has Master’s swim on Monday + Friday and I had plans of going this Friday, but a late text from a friend bowing out seemed like a good excuse to have a rest day.  (I should also add all 3 of us who swam on Wednesday felt a little “off” for the rest of the week – maybe the chemicals weren’t quite balanced??)  Having just finished my run streak, it’s been 40 days since I’ve truly just taken the day off.  I got some stuff done around the house, thought about going for an evening run, but knowing I was “racing” Saturday morning, I decided to just embrace the rest.

Saturday
Run: 10 miles; 1:21:33; 8:08/mi
Fight For Air Stair Climb: 42 flights, 6:47; 3rd place (female), 1st AG

I met the PRSRC group at 5:30am for some miles before the stair climb event.  I had originally wanted to run about 12 miles, but I needed to be downtown for the climb by 8am and knew I’d want to at least eat something and change clothes between events.  I ended up deciding mid-run to only go 10 to give myself a little extra cushion.  This turned out to be a good thing since I had a little accident on the run (a car didn’t seem to be moving over so I tried to jump a curb and caught my toe- wipe out!) and needed the extra time to regroup and make sure I was still ok to attempt the stairs.  We came home, I took a hot shower (I know, I know, but I was cold and my muscles needed to warm up to loosen up), put some traumeel on my back, grabbed a Picky Bar and headed downtown.

A quick group pic
stairsgroupbefore

and it was stair go-time!
  stairsgo

Back story, the Fight For Air events (they have them nationwide) are fundraisers for the American Lung Association.  Different cities execute the event differently, but here in Jacksonville, the climb is held at the Bank of America Tower and climbs 42 stories to the top.  The view definitely made the climb worth it! 
topview

As did our awesome PRSRC team!
stairsgroupafter

Sunday
Run: 2.5 miles; 20:10; 8:14/mi

Another gorgeous spring-like day so I made a last minute decision to go for a short run in the late afternoon.  I didn’t have much time as we had an evening commitment, but I was glad I at least got to shake out my legs and see how my back felt after the fall.  It’s definitely bruised (I hit my back on a concrete storm drain when I fell), but I don’t think there’s any “real” damage.

Recap
Overall this was a good week of training.  Looking back I see that I need to slow down some of my runs a bit to ensure I don’t burn out and/or get injured.  I definitely plan to slow down on my long runs once they get longer as I would like to run those 30+ sec/mi slower than my goal pace.  I also know I need to get in at least 1 day on the bike/spinning per week so I can’t skip that going forward.  I had actually run more miles in prior weeks (including 40+ the week I was in Seattle) so I’m not upset that my weekly mileage is only at 30.  I have time to build…now to actually put together a schedule to make sure I stay on track!

TOTALS
Run: 30 miles
Swim: 2100 yards
Strength: 1

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

New Year, New Focus

I originally started “thinking out” this post in late December/early January.  As has happened with many of my blog post ideas over the past year+, I never actually wrote it.  Rather than just moving on as I’ve done with all the others posts, I decided better late than never! 

Running

To catch you up a bit, I spent the last almost 2 years with my sole running focus being obtaining the elusive BQ.  In the process of chasing that dream, I lost sight of the joy in running – and sidelined myself with a few injuries along the way.  I also got caught up in the {unhealthy} competitive side of running.  Instead of celebrating my accomplishments, I allowed my focus to become “beating” this person or that person instead of just being the best ME.  This year, my focus is regaining the joy in running.  No, I haven’t given up the idea of a BQ, but I’m not letting it define me nor dictate my race schedule.  I actually started this renewed focus towards the end of 2014 by pacing a few races for friends and figuring out it makes me smile the whole time!!

Around Christmas, I figured out I needed a new goal to jump re-start my running.  Enter my #run40for40 run streak.  It just so happens there are 40 days between Christmas and my birthday, and it was my 40th birthday so clearly it was meant to be.  I’ve never done a run streak before, but I’m so glad I did that one!  Sometimes it was only a mile, but it helped me get my head back in the game in a healthy manner.  It also allowed me to build my base without pressure so I knew whether or not I wanted to tackle a spring marathon.  Turns out the answer is YES (more on that later)!

Life

As you may recall, when we relocated to Jacksonville in 2013, I transitioned myself out of my job as Finance Manager (aka Director of Accounting/Controller) with Structure (a company then-based in Houston).  It was a bittersweet change, but the right one.  When we became involved in PRS Running Club, I was asked to serve as CRO of the club for 2014.  While that was a volunteer position, it required many hours per week and was a bit like running a small business (or herding cats).  I was originally asked to continue in the position for 2015, but I was ready to seek paid employment and knew I wouldn’t be able to manage (and excel) at both.  The job search is going slowly, but I’ve recently gotten a few leads that seem promising!

Fashion/OOTD

I’ve struggled with posting/talking about fashion trends and outfits since I’ve been home and in running clothes 75% of the time.  Making a conscious effort to put “real” outfits on everyday (or at least most days) is another one of the changes I’m making for 2015.  While many say, “embrace not having to get dressed”; for me, it’s all part of emerging from the cocoon I put myself in when, right after my last day with Structure, our beloved dog, Luke, passed away.  To say I suffered some severe depression would be an understatement.  I’ve made some changes and am getting better, so getting dressed and sharing those outfits is something I’m looking forward to doing again.  I also finally gave in and joined Pinterest.  I know, I know, I was probably the last hold out on the planet, but I just didn’t think I wanted to manage another social media outlet/time sucker.  Turns out, I’ve liked it so far and haven’t gotten too lost in the blackhole.  I also went back to receiving StitchFix shipments, so having a look/request board for them has been helpful.

There you have it, new year, new age group, new focus…AND upcoming blog posts.  Stick around or join me for the first time as I talk fashion, training and life at 40. ;)

Posted in Fashion, life, Races, Training | 3 Comments

At What Point Life?

I can’t believe I’m actually going to write about this publicly, but it’s real, it happens and it sucks.

I’ve seen a few posts from people regarding Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  If you know me, you know we do not have children.  That’s not our choice.  We tried, and tried, and tried some more.  For 10+ years.  In a move to ensure we had no regrets, (because I would have been deemed too old if we waited longer) we attempted IVF in 2010.  We were living in Houston, TX at the time and being treated at the #2 clinic in the USA.  Everything about the treatments and procedures were “textbook” according to the doctors and staff.  We had 15 eggs harvested and fertilized, the 2 that developed the most quickly were then implanted back into me.  Following the protocol, we went in for the pregnancy blood test a few weeks later.  The next day, when the phone rang, it wasn’t the good news we hoped for but instead heartbreak on top of heartbreak.  Not only were we NOT currently pregnant (implantation didn’t ‘take’), but the remaining 13 embryos in the lab had also died.

I don’t share this for sympathy, and definitely not for pity, but because I believe life begins at fertilization.  I choose to hope that even though I’ll never know them on this earth, I have 15 tiny beings waiting for me in heaven.  15 reasons to remember.

**NOTE: Obviously there’s a lot more to our story than what I’ve written here, I may or may not ever elaborate, sorry.  Also, this is MY blog and therefore MY opinions and beliefs.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

On Connecting the Head and the Heart

I realize it’s not only been a while since I’ve posted here, but even longer since I’ve talked about running or training.  I’ve been doing both.  And had some successes, some set backs and some {what I would consider} failures.  I may or may not get to the details of those, but for now, here’s the decision weighing heavily on my mind.

To Run Chicago or Not?!?

After my less than stellar race in January at the Houston Marathon, I took some time off, did “all the little things” and had a great spring.  So good, I {quietly} signed up for a late spring/early summer marathon.  Long story short, that race was cancelled due to thunderstorms on race morning, and I allowed my emotions to drive me to sign up for a difference race a few weeks later.  A race I had purposely not signed up for originally because it was too late and therefore didn’t allow enough recovery before Chicago.  I didn’t run that race well.  At all.  In fact, I haven’t run such a bad marathon since 2011.  I came back from that event broken, defeated and with only 2-3 weeks to “recovery” before jumping back into another training cycle.

I’ve had some ups, but mostly downs so far in training.  I took an entire week off before #birdcamp because I wanted to ENJOY every run there not be in pain the whole time.  I sat down with the legendary Lauren and downloaded my brain to get her sage advice. She confirmed (in much more eloquent words) what my head basically already knew- Chicago shouldn’t/wouldn’t be a BIG goal race.  There wasn’t enough time.  She gave me a few options, the primary 2 being: run it with a smaller goal (i.e. fast last 10K) or don’t run.  I came home and decided I’d continue training *for now* and play each week by ear.   I’m super simplifying my conversation with her and leaving out big pieces, but this is the relevant part to this post.

Last week I technically ran my entire schedule, including a 20 miler.  If you consider sitting at a water stop for ~15 minutes, debating getting in a friend’s car, then deciding to shuffle back to the start on foot, running my 20 miler.  Yes it’s hot and that’s a factor, but it’s not the only thing going on.  I’ve dropped all tempos from my schedule leaving only a weekly track workout for speed.  See, my head (and body) knows the answer is to back out of Chicago.  My body is tired.  Bone weary tired (and maybe a little broken).

BUT my heart still wants to be out on the course with so many friends.  And Chicago has been a bucket list race for years for me.  In direct opposition to this is my heart’s desire to have some BIG PR’s at other distances this winter/spring.  Something I don’t think will happen if I continue down the Chicago path.

So this is basically a word vomit where I plead with you to weigh in friends.  Give me your best advice.  Help me figure out where the marriage of my head and my heart lays.

(P.S. I’m coming to Chicago regardless so cowbelling will occur if I don’t run!!)

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Friday Fashion- Stitch Fix #4

The good news about posting my 3rd Stitch Fix so late, is that it was already almost time for my next one!  This fix was one of the best I’ve gotten style-wise.  After my 2nd fix, I specifically requested a stylist whose fixes I liked on others and now that I have the same stylist each time, I feel like my fixes are getting better and better.  I definitely recommend requesting the same stylist each time as it really helps to have someone learn your style without having to read your profile each time.  So all this good news must mean I kept all 5 items, right?  Well, you see, my stylist did a little TOO good of a job of nailing my style.  In case you missed this gem on Insta, check it out:

IMG_3738

That’s right, of the 5 items, I already owned 3 (jeans, necklace, cardigan).  Hysterical!  Here’s a breakdown of my box anyway so you can actually see what I got.

IMG_3714

A color palette that’s very “me”- love greens!!

Just Black Adora Skinny Jean– RETURN

IMG_3734

These are the top jean in the above picture (also seen on me in the comparison picture at the beginning of this post).  I had said no skinny jeans in this fix, but my stylist thought I’d love the color of these since I requested more green items.  She’s right, I do love it.  So much so that I’ve owned a pair of green skinny jeans since 2012 (the COH pair shown on the bottom of the picture).  Honestly, I like the shade of green in the pair I already own better and probably wouldn’t have kept the Stitch Fix version regardless as the color felt more “fall-like” than year-round or even summer.

Splendid Ruben Tab-sleeve Open Cardigan – KEEP

IMG_3723

While I did already have a white open cardigan in my closet (shown in the first picture), it was new w/ tags so I was able to return it (Banana Republic for those curious) since both Batch and I liked this one better on me.

Bay to Baubles Lanie Gem Stone Long Necklace- RETURN

IMG_3727

 

I like this necklace (on right), but already had the one on the left.  Yes, they are different, but I have others in my closet that are turquoise so I couldn’t justify keeping it since I decided to keep the cardigan.

Loveappella Carlita Jersey Maxi Dress – RETURN

IMG_3715

I requested a maxi with a fitted waist of some type.  This one is cute and the color is great, however the material is such that when I moved, you could literally see every bump/bone, dent and line in my body.  Um, NO.  Warning, TMI: I tried on 5 different pair of underwear trying to see if any would work and the answer was no.  I would have to go commando or wear spanx every time I wore this dress so it got returned.  (Double boo because it actually looked great on my top 1/2 which is rare for this A-cup.)

Papermoon Wynn Mixed Dot Print Front Pocket Blouse- RETURN

IMG_3731

 

I wasn’t sure about this top at first, but once I tried it on, I really liked it.  It’s definitely different from anything I already own and the cut/material would make it possible to dress up or down (it’s shown here as described on my style cards).  Unfortunately, there was a manufacturing defect on the right shoulder seam that made it impossible to comfortably wear the shirt.  You can see how one shoulder seam is straight and one curved in the below picture.

IMG_3739

I emailed Stitch Fix help, and of course they were understanding (to be clear, this was NOT their fault), but there wasn’t a replacement they could send me.  They also offered to credit me my styling fee since at the time I emailed them I didn’t think I would be keeping anything in my fix since I already had 3 of the items.  In the end, I’m keeping the cardigan so it all worked out.  If you ever have an issue with your Stitch Fix, email hello@stitchfix.com – their customer service is great and very responsive!

So there you have it, my 4th Stitch Fix received and reviewed.  I’ve been trying to keep up with my Pinterest board and I really think it’s helped me get fixes closer to my style (hint, you link to a specific board in your style profile).  I’ve also been pretty specific in what I need/want to see in my boxes (i.e. I asked for green items and a maxi dress).

Stitch Fix has grown a lot recently, but they’ve also made several improvements to their website and style profiles which I think will greatly help both new and existing customers.  If you’ve been a “fixer” for a while, I encourage you to revisit your style profile as there are some new/more specific questions that may help you love your boxes even more.  If you’re new to Stitch Fix (shameless plug for my referral code), it’s a fun way to get 5 items a month delivered to your doorstep, try them on in your own home with your closet at your fingertips for comparison/outfit combo purposes, and easy returns.

Happy Shopping!

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Tuesday Style- Stitch Fix #3

So you might notice, that I only posted my first Stitch Fix and didn’t really say anything about my 2nd delivery.  I’ll be honest, it was VERY disappointing BUT I provided a lot of feedback, emailed with their awesome customer service department, and this time around was so much better!!

Here are the pieces I received:

Le Sample Kahlo Embroidered Racerback Tank: KEEP!

 

IMG_3622 P1040372

I had seen this in a few other fixes and liked it so I was happy to receive my own.  I’m a sucker for a cute racerback tank- especially in our FL weather.  This one is different than any of my others in that it does have a slight high/low hemline going on (more on that below), but it’s not too dramatic and I think it actually works well for this top!  The pic on the right is when I received it, and on the left is how I wore it recently.

Denna Colored Skinny Jean: KEEP

IMG_3625 IMG_3621P1040368

After not really liking the jeans I was sent in my last fix, I was leery of receiving another pair.  Let’s face it, it’s hard to find a well-fitting pair of jeans!!  While these fit me well, I wouldn’t exactly call them skinny jeans (I have the Mia style in this same brand for skinnies).  They fit me more like straight leg pants, but I still kept them because I loved the color and they are super lightweight which is nice for indoors in the summer (hello over-a/c much!?)  The top pics are me trying on my fix and the bottom is how I styled the pants recently for a night out with friends.

Corinna Striped Dolman Top: KEEP

IMG_3629

Again, I had seen this top in other fixes and actually requested it.  It’s super cute and the fabric is much softer than I expected.  I can see this being a year-round top for me!  It’s simple, casual but also looks put together without much effort.  My kind of wardrobe piece!

Shanon Colorblock Highlow Maxi Dress: RETURN

IMG_3633

 

I liked the color blocking and the racerback style (hello rut much?), but the high/low hemline on this dress just felt a little too dramatic- especially for the casual nature of the dress.  I’m not a huge fan of the high/low trend to begin with and this dress just didn’t work for me.  The back was so long it felt like a train.  I know I could cure that with simple wedges but for the cost of the dress, I just didn’t see myself feeling comfortable enough in it to wear it all the time.  I also spent some time thinking of ways I could possibly alter the dress (make the hemline even), but in order to accomplish that, it would have basically removed the tan color block.  Sadly, I had to send this one back.

Hanover Stone Chandelier Earrings: RETURN

IMG_3631

I actually loved these earrings, but when I decided I couldn’t justify keeping the dress (and therefore wasn’t going to get the 25% off), it didn’t make sense to keep these when I found a similar pair at Target for WAY less.  Again, if the dress had worked out, I would have absolutely kept these earrings!!

So there you have it, a fun Stitch Fix this time around.  If you haven’t tried them yet, the links in this post can help you get started (and yes, I’ll get a referral credit, but only if you sign up/order).

Fun fact: Stitch Fix now offers fixes 3 different delivery options:

  1. As requested (you log on and say when you’re ready- no minimum)
  2. Monthly
  3. On a 2-3 week interval

Happy Shopping!!

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments