Friday, December 27, 2013

What Year is it?

Um, wow, how time has flown! I can't believe my last post was Thanksgiving. This holiday season has been absolutely insane. And we're not done yet! The fiancé and I plan to head to Lake Placid for a few days, but we're not certain of our New Year's plans yet.
But let's catch up on the past month! This beautiful wonderful delicious creation is called a hootenanny pancake! Or a German pancake, depending on what you prefer. I like hootenanny. Much more fun. This glorious concoction kicked off my Christmas, and many more feasts followed! However, I wasn't as good about exercising as I had planned to be. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't terrible, but I skimped a little on the workout and overindulged on the consumption.
 
However, I must give myself credit because today was the second day this week that I got up and worked out before work! That hasn't happened in a long time, and I'm very proud that I did it twice this week! As far as my skimping goes, it's mainly been Christmas Eve and Christmas Day where I didn't do anything. At all. Like barely walked to and from the fridge. I planned on taking one of the days off, so that wasn't terrible. We stayed up north at my moms though and I forgot that it's usually colder up there and didn't bring enough cold weather gear. The time I planned to run, the temperature was a brisk -4 degrees and I only had base layers and light gloves. NO THANKS! I'm trying to forgive myself and move on though.
Oh, and my cat stretched with me. :) He's my yoga buddy!
Anyway, with New Year's approaching faster than an object in flight when someone yells, "head's up!" I've been trying to contemplate my next resolution. 2012 held no soda, and I succeeded. I wasn't too bad of a soda drinker though, so while it was a challenge it wasn't too hard. 2013 held no fast food. Meaning, no luscious, extraordinary, super-scrumptious McDonalds or other fast food chains. Now, you have to understand. I've lived in the country all my life where fast foods and even Walmart and grocery stores were always a 20 minute drive, minimum, going 60mph on back country roads. So when I moved to "the city" (a more populated town, lol) it was hard to resist fast food like 3-5 times a week. When you can get there and home within 5-10 minutes, dinner in tow, it's difficult to pass up! So I became slightly (okay, quite) addicted to McDonald's burgers and Taco Bell. So far I have not had any fast food this year. No Burger King, Taco Bell, Wendy's, McDonalds, Arby's, or anything of the sort! I have four more days, but I'm confident I can last that long, after 51 weeks and 3 days of abstaining.

I'm really not sure what goal to make for 2014. I'd like to say I'll cook two nights a week, but I'm not sure if that's doable with my schedule, and hopefully starting my MSW. I'll find out about that a few months into 2014. I'd also like to eat more veggies, but I'm not sure how I'd measure it. I already work out pretty frequently, and with my knee issues I'm trying to take it slow and steady. Well, I've got four more days to consider what I'd like to improve upon in the upcoming year. Suggestions are welcome!

Safe and happy running!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thanksgiving, Thanksgoing, Thanksgone!

Wow. So much running stuff to happen in one week! Shall we start with my Turkey Trot? I was met at the start by two friends and we couldn't wait to start running in the frigid air. It was 13 degrees and felt even colder with the wind chill.
Ignore the woman in capris. She was insane. I'm the one in red with the face mask and I was so cold! All in all it was successful though! Definitely burned off the turkey :)
The day after Thanksgiving I did another run because my fiance and I went for a second Thanksgiving at a friends house. My solo do-over turkey trot was 3.22 at a 9:37 pace. I'm making a comeback with my speed! And my knee has been feeling better. I've taken great care to listen to my body and be sure and stretch after my runs, even if only a little.

Then Sunday I enjoyed a wonderful morning run with the running group! Just two runners again this time, but one walker. Yesterday after work held a 1.89 mile run with Ziggy. All was good for the first mile but then I noticed him limping a little so we walk/jogged the rest of the way home. Once we got back to the apartment he was completely fine though, tearing through the rooms like he didn't just go on an almost two mile run/walk. A friend on Dailymile mentioned that perhaps he got some rock salt on his paw and the salt stung. I'm thinking he's right because yesterday was a warmer, slushier day so people definitely salted the sidewalks.
Once I dropped Zig home I went back out to get my heart rate up, since the run with Zig didn't really do it. 2.03 miles later at a awesome 9:01 pace, I was satisfied. I'm so happy I'm getting my speed back! It won't be too much longer before I start speed work and hills again and hopefully see a time drop! I'd like to be under 25:30 for a 5K by the end of next summer, maybe even under break 25 minutes! Meep! The possibilities are endless!!

And finally, today I went 2.23 miles with my friend Heather and Ziggy. It was the first run with Zig that involved another person. He was pretty distractable and misbehaved for the first quarter mile but then he settled into it. Not only was it the best run Ziggy's ever done in terms of speed, it is the farthest he's ever gone too! I was so excited not to have to drag him the last mile. He kept the pace up and seemed like he was ready to go further at the end. In the next few days I'm pretty sure I can have him running 5Ks with me! I don't know if I'll take him for runs longer than 5Ks. Heather on the other hand misbehaved the entire run. She really didn't like being on a leash, haha! :p

Tomorrow the running group meets and hopefully I will have enough gumption to join them. I won't be running in the morning due to an early staff meeting for work so my day will start an hour and a half earlier than normal. I still really enjoy my job and am getting more comfortable and competent every day! I started teaching my first group of boys. It should make for an interesting few weeks.

Tell me about your Thanksgiving!
What goals do you have for the winter running season? Any big ones for the summer?

Safe and happy running!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Preparing The Human (for the turkey!)

Ahh the wonderful stench of the office after a lunch break run! Today I went out for a nice 2.1 mile jaunt with a co-worker. I haven't been eating to healthily to prepare for the giant Thanksgiving feast, though so every few miles helps.

Thankfully, there's a turkey trot up near my hometown that I can do tomorrow morning. It's too bad that it only covers the turkey's calories though! For today's post I wanted to cover some Thanksgiving basics. Mainly the food and the exercise it would take to burn it off. Let us commence.
Now, I got this from a totally different blog, so this picture is in no way mine. I found here: http://blog.walkjogrun.net/2013/11/18/thanksgiving-dinner-by-the-calories-and-miles/
However, I wanted to put it in my post to share with you all!

The reason a turkey trot is called such is because it pretty much only burns off the calories found in the turkey. Each mile a person runs or walks (notice it's regardless of speed) burns roughly 100 calories. Therefore, 8oz of white meat turkey is about 260 calories, or 2.6 miles of exercise to negate it. Dark meat is 3.5 miles. and a turkey trot is usually a 5K, or 3.1 miles, so there you have it! Give or take, the turkey trot burns off the turkey. However, this meal is on a smaller plate than Americans usually eat from. Our plates have gone from 8" in diameter to 10" in diameter in the last 20 years. I wouldn't be surprised if there were more Americans using 12" plates for this Thanksgiving!

This means that for a smaller 10" plate with proper portion sizes, one would have to run (or walk) 13.9 miles. That's further than a half marathon!! Keep in mind that that calculation is based only on the above plate, which doesn't include, eggnog, cider, wine, beer, cranberry juice, soda, milk, pumpkin/apple/pecan pie or any other type of pie one might eat. It also doesn't have the rolls and butter, or any butter one might add to say, mashed potatoes. PLUS, what you eat when you pick at things as you wait for the meal OR any after dinner mints or chocolates (like my family eats as a post-dessert).

So... Shall we revise our calorie count? We shall.
Now, this isn't my picture either, but I've seen it multiple places, so I'm not sure where to cite it. Either way, let's analyze it! This meal trades out the brussel sprouts for peas and adds in some beverages and desserts. It also has only one type of turkey. However, it is on a more standard looking plate, although the miles per food are slightly different. Now, this meal, if you can read the tiny writing, adds up to 26.2 miles! A full freakin' marathon! And still no dinner roll and butter (doesn't anyone else eat rolls and butter at Thanksgiving?)!
Moving on. The final point I want to make in this post is that portion control isn't rocket science! It can be daunting at first, but here is a handy little guide that can help you out. And it doesn't compare the sizes to random objects like dominoes or baseballs. You can do it all simply with your hands! Some might poke a hole in this theory saying, "but my hands are far smaller than Uncle Joe's!" To which I reply, Uncle Joe is probably a larger person in general than you anyway, and therefore his body will need a little bit more sustenance than yours does. So keep this guide handy... get it? Get that humor there? And enjoy your holidays!

So after all that, some of you may be feeling a bit discouraged because you really wanted to stuff your face tomorrow. This post is by no means written to make you feel guilty or bad in any way. I absolutely want you to enjoy your Thanksgiving meal! The purpose of this post is to encourage you to make sure that eating isn't the ONLY thing you do on Thanksgiving. Keep your portions under control, do a turkey trot or a solo run/walk/skip/crawl/moonwalk before the festivities, play football with the family after dinner (unless your yard will be covered in snow like I'm sure mine will be!). Have fun, but prepare your mind and body before kicking off the holiday season so you can better enjoy yourself and not feel the post-holiday guilt that so many suffer from once the big meal has passed.

What is your favorite food at Thanksgiving?
Any crazy traditions you don't mind sharing?

Safe and happy running!

Monday, November 25, 2013

My Favorite Word is Consistency

I definitely have to thank Ziggy for getting me out and running more often. If it weren't for him I wouldn't have ran this past Saturday. Even if he does slow me down a bit. We did 1.64 miles together and then I did an extra 1.39 on my own right after.
He loves going to run with me!! :) Today's run was on my own though. A co-worker and I decided we might go on some runs together since we both have been looking for a running buddy. So since I haven't done a solo run in awhile I wanted to see where I was at.
Ziggy stayed home this time and played with his penguin :) It's okay though because Brian took him on a walk when he got home from work. So this run was [mostly] guilt-free.
He did give me sad eyes when I left though. As long as it's semi-warm out and not much wind tomorrow morning I will take him out for a mile or so before work.
This run didn't go as well as I wanted. First, it was definitely slippery. Even though there was only an inch or so of snow on most of the sidewalk, people around here don't seem to see the need for shoveling. Anyway, the footprints heated up enough and then refroze so that it was slick ice underneath the fluffy inch of snow. Not only that, but cars NEVER stop for pedestrians to cross! A good amount of time was spent waiting to cross to the side of the street with a sidewalk. Annnnd plenty of time was also spent hopping onto someones snow covered lawn because the shoulder of the road wasn't all that large and cars are oblivious. Better safe than sorry, but it still added time onto my run. I think I could have gone faster, but tip toeing around makes for a frustrating run. Either way I'm happy that I went after work. Anyone who knows me knows how much of a morning person I am, and anything after about 1 o'clock is a miracle if I do it.

Anyway, this run wasn't a total bust! I got some exercise in, got a rough estimate of where I'm at after a few months of incredible slacking on my running, and got a taste of winter again. All in all I guess it's not bad, but I'm absolutely hoping for some quick improvements in the next few weeks. I will definitely be at a good spot for running with my co-worker, and I'm very excited about that! Not only all of those positives, but between Ziggy, the running group, my co-worker, and my waning fear of knee issues, I'm starting to be consistent again in my running! I absolutely love consistency, because if you consistently do something it will become a habit and you can only improve that skill :)

Speaking of knee issues, (I'm sorry I'm all over the place; it's been awhile since my last post) part of the reason I haven't been consistent is because after my half marathon, my knee began acting up again. I must take the blame for it; I had stopped doing my physical therapy exercises, here's that word again, CONSISTENTLY. Therefore, I'd been slightly afraid to run because I thought my knee would hurt. I took some time off and mainly did Insanity, and it definitely helped strengthen my core and leg and relieve some of my knee pain. Now I'm back to my stretches and easing into running with Ziggy. He couldn't have come at a better time! I hope I continue to keep up with my stretches and improve. I think I will because it's something I want. I will make it a priority :)
Tomorrow holds a Wonderland Lights run. A local agency sets up a lights display where people sponsor or donate a light and the run kicks it off after the run the road is open for those who'd like to drive the scenic route and take in its splendor. It is a two mile route and the running group I've dabbled in is going, so I will most likely go with them.
Also, there is a Turkey Trot near my hometown on Thanksgiving morning. As far as I know I have 2 friends joining me, as well as my future sister-in-law and her husband and possibly their child, and mayyyyybe my future mother-in-law :) I've converted quite a gaggle of friends and family into runners, if only for holiday themed races! No complaining here, I'll take what I can get!

Any holiday runs for any of you?
Does winter slow you down or bring you to a halt?

Safe and happy running!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Squirrel!!

Second run with Ziggy today! We went a little further and slightly faster :)
Today we ran 1.45 miles and I stopped when he stopped. Didn't sleep to good last night so I figured this was better than nothing. He did really well. We took a new route that he's not used to walking. There was this man walking a little terrier type dog that was NOT well behaved and it made nervous. I had him sit while they went by us. He was also really good with cars on the road and people walking by us. The only time besides the little dog that he almost lost it was when he saw a couple squirrels chasing each other. I don't blame him, but we got past them just fine. Literally a tenth of a mile from home.
I think Zig likes the runs. When we started today he wanted to take off and I had to reign him in and tell him, "My pace, or no pace, Pigs!" The cats certainly like investigating his leash and the rug by the door when we get back! The picture is of them scattering as I come over to take a picture. It seems as soon as I pull out my phone the animals stop doing whatever cute thing they were doing.

Oh, well. Short post today! I've got many other tasks to tackle on my day off!

Safe and happy running!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Ready, Set, Nap.

Today was my first run with Ziggy, the big lug of a dog living with us now :) I decided we'd try a mile and see what happened. It went quite well. Because he was running, he didn't take too much time to stop and sniff things. There were only a handful of times where I had to stop and make him sit so he could regain his focus. Mainly, those times were when we passed the strip where the fish market and pizza place were. I couldn't blame him, it was tempting for me to stop too! Yum!

However, when we got to about 8 tenths of a mile, he started to slow. I nearly dragged him the last 0.2 because he was getting tired. When we got back to the apartment, he was oh so ready to go back inside.
And here, we have Ziggy completely passed out after our one 11 plus minute mile. Hahaha he will have to up his endurance and speed if he wants to run with the humans! :p My goal is to get to 2-3 miles with him almost daily.
As you can see by the red circle, Ziggy and I went for a leisurely trot. The green circles are the miles I went back out and did after I dropped Ziggy off. I know it's yucky and starting to snow, and I don't like that aspect, but I do like the crisp, 30 degree temperature to run in. It feels so good to get outside in the brisk air. Really makes your lungs feel clean and renewed. Plus, it keeps you moving! If you stop, you start to get chilled to the bone :p

I guess that's all for today. I'm having a lazy Friday for now because the cable guy is coming early afternoon, I meet with the photographer to sign the contract at 3 and then dinner with a friend I haven't seen in FOREVER at 6 :) Until then, I'm going to plant myself on the couch, snuggle up with a good book and enjoy myself.

What do you do when you have a moment of free time?
Do you ever run with an animal? How does it go?
What's your favorite temperature to run in?

Safe and happy running!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Oh, Hello There...

So, I am ashamed that my last post was in August!
 What could I have possibly been doing since then, you ask? Job hunting. I spent all my free computer time searching and writing resumes and cover letters and all that good stuff. It definitely paid off though! You are looking at the new Educator/Care Specialist at ACR Health :)

I get to run a youth group, and I go into schools and teach youth about HIV and STD prevention, healthy relationships, pregnancy prevention, body image/self esteem, suicide prevention, LGBTQ sensitivity, etc. A whole host of topics I am now knowledgeable on. So for the rest of August and all of September I was busting my butt at Dick's Sporting Goods and interviews and job hunting. Then on October 1st I started my new job.
I must admit, it was daunting at first. I had worked with youth a lot before, but not in such large groups (the schools usually have around 20 girls). My work had been mostly case management (one-on-one) and small groups of 3-5 or so. I have settled in nicely though and my boss was great about letting me get trained and comfortable. Now I go in and do everything all by myself :)
But wait, this is a running blog! I must admit I've been quite a slacker. I've been doing Insanity as best I can, yet I've been having to drive an hour one way for trainings while getting into my new job. It's been a struggle to get in what I want to get in. I'm pretty sure I'm going to do a Turkey Trot near my hometown on Thanksgiving (duh, lol), and maybe a First Snow run in the beginning of December?
Brian and I just got our big, playful, loveable dog at our apartment two days ago. He'd been living with my mom for the past two years, but now we have him. He needs a little refresher course on the leash, but I'm hoping within a few weeks I can run with him. Ziggy (the dog) can get his exercise and I can get mine!

Speaking of Brian, I've been moving forward with wedding plans. We've got the venue, caterer, florist, photographer, officiant, and save-the-dates done. Next up: my dress, bridesmaids dresses, invitations, and registry. Phew! It's been a whirlwind of wedding plans.

Hmmmn.... This blog is also about my social work adventure, so I guess I'll update you on grad school plans. I'm pretty sure I remember saying how I'm not going to SU (hence the job). I have already submitted my application for SUNY Albany, and just have to tweak my personal statement and I'll be all set to apply to Boston University's online program. I think I'm leaning toward the online program. It has one class right after the other all year round for 2 & 1/2 years. I'd still be done at about the same time, but will really be able to focus on each class and my work. Who knows. I'll take it as it comes. I've got to be accepted first!
Well, I think that's all of the important stuff for now. I apologize for the hiatus! Lots of stuff happened all at once. I am hoping on getting at least one post up per week. And I'm hoping to run more... Well, work out more in general but definitely run before the suuuper icy cold weather hits.

Does anyone have any tips for running with a dog (and a big one, at that!)?
What has everyone else been up to the past month? Any races, or just good news in general?
How much have you missed me?! :p

Safe and happy running!


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Busy Busy!

I have been extremely busy these past couple of weeks!

A lot of changes are happening and decisions are being made. I have decided not to go for my MSW this fall, but instead go next fall to a state school instead of a private one. Financially, it makes much more sense.
I have also been working 13 hour days for the past 3 consecutive days, so not much time to exercise, although I'm doing the best I can. I have to forgive myself for missing the miles and start over next week. Also, I have been looking for a job in my field and was called for an interview! That interview will be held today at 1:00pm, so be sending positive thoughts and energy my way! How cool would it be to have a job where I can use my degree?!

Job #1 also ends for me this Friday. It has been an amazing job for me, but unfortunately when classes start up again on Monday the position must go to a student, which I no longer am at this college :(
I've loved this job and will be sad to leave, but it will be nice to be only working one job and have some free time for family, myself, and my running. If I get the job I'm interviewing for today (a case manager at an adult day services program) then I will no longer need to work at Dick's Sporting Goods.
Also, Brian and I have decided to use this year off to plan our wedding! We've already been engaged for almost 2 full years, and the longer we keep putting off the wedding, the longer we will continue to put it off. I want his last name, hehe! We are starting to formulate plans and are waiting to hear back from the woman at our venue so we can confirm the date we'd like. Then we will be able to set out save-the-dates and get the ball rolling! I'm very excited!
So, like I said, a lot of changes and decisions being made for me just in these past two weeks! It is all very exciting and new, and I am at a happy place right now. Things are going good and I hope it continues this way. I am also probably going to buy a Keurig tomorrow! Which is exciting for me because I've wanted one for a while now. Mmmm coffeeeeeeee.

I've also been wanting to write a review of my Garmin FR210. I think I've had it long enough to give an accurate report of how it works for me and my running goals, so look out for that post in the near future.

Lately my knee has been acting up with this crazy work week of 7.5 hours straight of sitting and 5.5 hours straight of standing. It's very frustrating knowing that all I have to do is my physical therapy exercises and it will feel better, yet not having even a single spare moment to do the exercises!!

Just one more 13 hour day and then things will calm down for me!! Just one more day. I can do this!!

Safe and happy running!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Losing Steam

I always hate the time after a big race when there are no more races to look forward to. I'm in that post-race slump. At first it was nice to take about a week off and focus on the crazy 8:30am-10:00pm work days I was doing. However, now I just feel lazy not running, but I am lost without my training schedule when I do run.
I did an easy, flat 3 on Saturday because I was so ready for a run. I also found $5 on this run, so that was really awesome :)
Then on Sunday I did a longer run. I got my routes mixed up though, and did a little over 7 instead of the 5 or so I thought I was going to do. It went well at the beginning, but then I was out there longer than I anticipated and it got hotter than I'd planned for. I had to stop at a local hotel for some water before continuing home. Also, it was much too far to go without my knee brace, and my knee was pretty unhappy by the end. I got it feeling okay again with some physical therapy, but it was all really just poor planning on my part.
Today I forced myself out of bed regardless of the weather. when I started it was a nice sprinkle but quickly turned into a heavier rain. Not that I mind the rain, but it was difficult to keep in a good mindset. My jacket was heavy with water (even though its water repellent) and my toes were squishy by the end.
I imagine I looked something like this when I returned home to Brian. Anyway, the point is, I'm lost without something to train for! I think I might make a new training schedule just so I have something to go by. I love having my workouts planned out in advance and being able to cross workouts off. I'm definitely not an off the cuff person.

Do you need a schedule to train, or do you wing it?
What weather is off-limits for you for running (or any outdoor activity)?

Safe and happy running!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Colorado Springs Part III: Wrapping It Up

After the race, we were all about food. We went to this restaurant called The Melting Pot, which was 4 courses of fondue.
First, we had to have our post race drinks! Melissa and I ordered the "Wine Train" which was a glass of a different type of wine with ever course. Yum!
We all had a great time.
And while all of the food was amazing, I think dessert was my favorite!
Sunday morning held ziplining across a 12 story ravine. Notice our proudly displayed shirts! Our legs weren't too sore thanks to the hot tub at the YMCA :)
We harnessed up...
And began to wonder if this was really such a good idea. Especially with my fear of heights.
 But we hopped in the Bronco anyway.
I took a trust fall backwards (literally) off the first edge, and there was no turning around.
But we lived! And actually started to enjoy ourselves after the first terrifying zip.
Enough to let go of all my inhibitions!
I think I've conquered my fear of heights...
video
Enough to complete the fastest zipline of the day upside down! With a little victory dance before landing on the other side :)
After ziplining came Garden of the Gods, full of beautiful rock formations.
The red rocks were incredible.
And we even saw a snake! Not a rattler, though. Mark informed me that if they have circle pupils, they're not poisonous. If they have eyes like cats with the vertical slits, then you have to worry. Circle pupils here, thank Garden of the Gods!
And of course we had to do the nerdy tourist picture of holding up Balancing Rock :)
 Garden of the Gods concluded Sunday, and Monday was some relaxed shopping followed by food highlights. This was my ice cream at a place called YoYogurt. You walk in and there is a wall of self-serve frozen yogurt flavors and then there is a bar of candies and fruits, much like a salad bar. I tried pretty much everything, and my giant bowl weighed enough at the end to be a frozen treat costing over $7! I loved every bite.
Sunday night concluded with dinner at Texas Roadhouse, compliments of my Gramma. Here, the kids are lined up for an applesauce eating contest where no hands are allowed! :) Max stood up after about 2 mouthfuls, realizing he doesn't like applesauce. Maddie came in second :)

And that's all there is! Melissa woke up ridiculously early with me to take me to the airport so I could catch my 6:20am flight. I spent the better part of the day on a plane and arrived back to my apartment a little after 7:00pm. My mom and I waited on the stoop for around 15 minutes because I didn't have key. Finally, we decided to check the knob, just to make sure it was locked. The door popped open, and after laughing hysterically and our stupidity, we trudged inside to unpack.

It was a wonderful vacation and break from reality. Everything went as best as it possibly could have. I had a fantastic time and hope to return to Colorado soon with the fiance in tow! Just perhaps not for a mountainous race next time... :)

Safe and happy running!