Category: Running + Training

Random Thoughts Thursday 85

By , February 4, 2016 6:04 am
  • We actually have a close date – tomorrow! FINALLY! We have movers set up for Saturday! THIS SHIZ IS GETTING REAL, YO!


Why yes, this creepy room is in our basement!

  • Work has been nuts for a few months, but it’s reassuring to know that I can always let my boss know when I’m overwhelmed – and that she’ll get it and help me out. She’s been so understanding about the house and health stuff. I hope she’s my boss for as long as possible (people move around a lot at my office).
  • I haven’t run with anyone yet this year! But I have cycled six times with Steven and twice with Tina (and once with class). I think the run stat will change soon – my parents are visiting this weekend to help with the move, and it should be warm enough for my dad to cycle with me while I run. Yay! (Other than that though… I really enjoy my solo runs.)
  • Since I know you guys are super interested in my first no chip manicure (ha), I have to report it is no more. By Sunday five of the nails had peeled off, so I picked the rest off (which you are NOT supposed to do!!!). So it lasted two weeks and a few days. Even though it didn’t last a long time, I would think about getting it again, because it was nice not to have to worry about my nails chipping (just peeling off).
  • Do any other iPhone users have issues receiving texts from Android phones? Every few days I won’t receive an Android text, and I’ll know because a group convo won’t make sense, and because the messages show up a day later. Restarting my phone helps, so I need to remember to do that each day. But… wtf. It’s annoying.
  • Did you guys hear about that college that requires all the students to wear a Fitbit (article here, pdf here)? The students that go there have always been required to track their exercise via a point system each week, and now the mandatory Fitbit makes it easier to track. Interesting!

Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 84

I <3 this vest

By , February 2, 2016 6:16 am

My mom gave me this Gap vest sometime in fall of 2011. She probably gave it to me because it’s orange (my fave color). Ha.


I wore shorts for my run yesterday – on February 1, in Illinois! Crazy!

I remember when she gave it to me, I had NO idea what I’d use it for. What did the Gap intend people use it for? Hunting? Was it supposed to be stylish? Ha! I don’t think it’s intended to be fitness gear.

But that is what I use it for and I use it ALL THE TIME. Seriously, this thing is constantly in the wash, or hanging on the side of my laundry basket so it will be mostly dry when I use it the next day, heh.

The vest is great for keeping my core dry when running in the rain. Or keeping my core warm when it’s windy. Or keeping me the right temperature in the winter when it’s too warm for a jacket but too cold for only one layer. The two pockets are huge and can hold a ton – my phone, keys, chapstick, gels, arm warmers, a face mask, gloves…

Yeah, I love this vest.

And I’d like another (since I use this one so often). But all the ones I see for fitness are fleece or heavier. I want something nice and thin like this, that’s wind and water resistant. Let me know if you ever run across something like that! (And yes, I DO like obnoxious colors – visibility is good!)

Things I’m excited about in February!

By , February 1, 2016 6:23 am
  1. Moving (at some point)!
  2. Taking a few days off work to settle in at the new house (and finally showing it to you guys!!!). The long Presidents’ Day weekend.
  3. Seeing my parents… when they come to help with the move… I hope?! Ha!
  4. Seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens again (haven’t seen it since December 31st!!!).151231starwars
  5. Spending time with friends.
  6. Watching the Olympic Marathon Trials on February 13th.
  7. Valentine’s Day boxing class! I’ve been working on a fun playlist. (And really, I am excited for all my classes.)
  8. Setting up our home gym at the new house!
  9. An already scheduled pre-race massage, and151221massage
  10. My first race of the year!
  11. Documenting house projects/doing projects with Steven! I’ll explain more after we close, but we got a special type of loan that includes money for home improvements that will begin shortly after we move in! And there are MANY projects that Steven and I will do together (now, and over the years!).
  12. And… seeing what the month brings!

What are you excited about in February?

Training Week 328

By , January 31, 2016 3:28 pm

Highlight of the Week: Having fun running hills / a fantastic long run / teaching fitness boxing.


Monday | January 25, 2016: 8 m run + teaching strength class
Loc: Gages Lake/Gurnee, Temp: 28°/28°, Time: 1:12:48, Pace: 9:06 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, but sleepy
Strength: two dumbbells and cardio, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good

Tuesday | January 26, 2016: 14 m ride
Indoor Ride Time: 58:43, Pace: 14.3 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: too hot
Wednesday | January 27, 2016: 11 m run (incl. 5 hill repeats) + 15 mins strength
Loc: Heather Ridge, Temp: 24°/22°, Time:1:37:18, Pace: 8:51 avg, Difficulty: easy then harder, Felt: good
Thursday | January 28, 2016: 6.3 m run (incl. 4×800, 6×1:00)
Loc: Gages Lake, Temp: 37°/38°, Time: 53:01, Pace: 8:25 avg, Difficulty: medium/hard, Felt: held back by the wind
Friday | January 29, 2016: teaching strength class + 5.3 m run
Strength: Two dummbells and core, Difficulty: easy/medium, Felt: good, like we were working hard
Loc: Gages Lake, Temp: 27°/27°, Time: 46:14, Pace: 8:43, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, but too full!

Saturday | January 30, 2016: 6.3 m ride (w/Steven) + 15.6 m run
Indoor Ride Time: 25:14, Pace: 15.0 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: Around Grayslake, Temp: 43°/41°, Time: 2:15:42, Pace: 8:42 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: fantastic!

Sunday | January 31, 2016: 3.8 m run + teaching fitness boxing
Loc: hood, Temp: 36°/34°, Time: 32:05, Pace: 8:27 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Strength: boxing and body weight movements, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great


  • My class was hyper and chatty Monday night and it pumped me up! Sometimes people are having a Monday (understandable!), so it was nice to see everyone in a good mood!
  • 5K course PR training this week:
    • Wednesday: 5 1-mile hill repeats
    • Thursday: 4×800, 6×1:00. GAH, all but the last 800 were in to the wind. Good training in case the race is windy (it often is).


  • To take the photo from Friday’s run I walked up a hill that I thought was covered in snow, but the freeze/thaw cycle had turned it into a sheet of ice! I took one step down when I got to the top and fell right on my butt. Ha! My leg got the brunt of it (scratched in the photo below) but it was fine the next day. And I don’t regret taking the photo – the reflection of the sun was so cool off the snow/ice!


  • My long run this weekend was randomly fast for  me – it was a bit under marathon pace! I had to wait to cross several streets, and stopped to get water twice, so it’s not exactly a true test of pace (since the overall time was higher than moving time) but, it is encouraging! I was planning on going after my half marathon PR sometime this spring, so I seem to be on track for that!
  • Teaching fitness boxing really pumps me up (broken record)! I am happy I was able to teach a class this weekend (since we weren’t moving like we thought we’d be… maybe next week?!).
  • Monthly recap time! The first month of the year was stellar! In January I ran 230 miles and cycled 98 miles. I taught 8 strength classes, 4 fitness boxing classes, and 1 indoor cycling class. I rode my bike 10 times outside of class, and also did 6 strength sessions at home. My coldest outdoor run was -1°F and my warmest was 43°F.

Link to Training Week 327


By , January 25, 2016 4:03 am

The RABGRAI route announcement party was on Saturday night! And the course has gone to the southern part of Iowa, as many thought it would:


RAGBRAI is the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. It’s a seven day bike ride from the western to eastern side of Iowa. The course changes each year – in 2014 it ended in the town my maternal grandma lives in, and in 2015, the course went through the town my paternal grandma lives. Both of these courses went through northern/central Iowa, hence why many thought the course would go to the southern side this year.

You can sign up for the entire week of RAGBRAI, or get day passes, as we have in the past. In 2014, my dad and I rode the last day – Saturday. Last year, we rode the days before and after the overnight town that my paternal grandma lives in – Dad and I rode Wednesday, and Dad, Will (Christina’s husband) and Julie (Will’s sister) and I rode Thursday.

This year, I am really hoping we can ride the last day, Saturday. The tricky part is getting to the start, and getting home from the finish. The start is an hour and forty minute drive from where my parents live. If someone was kind enough to drive us there in the early morning (leaving at 6:00 am), we could start the ride around 8:00 am. Then if they followed us on course, and met us in Muscatine, we could all drive to my parent’s cabin in Guttenberg, after, which is just over a two hour drive… totally doable… if someone wants to follow us in a car (as they have in the past). Ha!


Or, I told my dad we could just ride our bikes there, ride the course, then ride back home. Ha. Ha ha ha.

RAGBRAI ends the day before my birthday this year, so maybe I’ll pull the “but it’s my BIRTHDAY” card to get everyone on board. Nah, I think they’ll want to do it, despite the hassle. It’s a total blast to ride RABGBRAI!

Training Week 327

By , January 24, 2016 6:53 pm

Highlight of the Week: A kick arse tempo run / teaching two full weekend classes at the studio.


Monday | January 18, 2016: 8 m run (incl. 7×4 laps (457m)) + 7 m ride (w/Steven) + teaching strength class
Loc: Lindenhurst Park District Indoor Track, Time: 1:07:49, Pace: 8:29 avg, Difficulty: mostly easy, Felt: good
Indoor Ride Time: 26:18, Pace: 16.0 mpg avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, tired legs
Strength: medicine balls, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great

Tuesday | January 19, 2016: rest
Wednesday | January 20, 2016: 10 m run (hills)
Loc: hood, Temp: 14°/14°, Time: 1:33:54, Pace: 9:23 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, careful on the fresh snow
Thursday | January 21, 2016: 10 m ride + 20 mins strength + 7 m run (5 m progressive tempo)
Indoor Ride Time: 39:38, Pace: 15.1 mph avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: good
Loc: around Gages Lake, Temp: 26°/23°, Time: 8:17, Pace: 58:03 avg, Difficulty: easy/medium, Felt: fantastic!

Friday | January 22, 2016: teaching strength class + 8.2 m run
Strength: Two Dumbbells and some cardio burst, Difficulty:medium/hard, Felt: good but a bit spent
Loc: hood, Temp: 23°/23°, Time: 1:14:45, Pace: 9:07, Difficulty: medium, Felt: SPENT

Saturday | January 23, 2016: 3.3 m run + teaching cycling class + teaching fitness boxing
Loc: hood, Temp: 24°/25°, Time: 29:29, Pace: 8:56 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, needed to shake out the legs
Indoor Cycling Time: 55:06, Pace: 17.4 mph avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: good, pumped
Strength: boxing and body weight movements, Difficulty: medium, Felt: great

Sunday | January 24, 2016: 14 m run + 8.7 m ride (w/Steven)
Loc: around town, Temp: 26°/27°, Time: 2:08:48, Pace: 9:12 avg, Difficulty: easy/medium, Felt: good but tired
Indoor Bike Time: 34:50, Pace: 15.0 mph avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: happy Steven was biking


  • 5K course PR training this week:
    • Monday: 7×4 laps on the indoor track
    • Wednesday: hills
    • Thursday: I was going to do an even split tempo on Friday, but I needed a stress relief sesh on Thursday and I ended up with a nice 5 mile progressive (negative) split tempo that felt fantastic. I’ll take it!
    • I liked having my focused runs done early in the week so I could do some junk miles (my fave, ha) for my last few runs of the week.
    • I’ll have a limited schedule next week so I am not sure if I’ll get in these three workouts each week, but I’ll definitely do my speedwork.
  • My Friday strength class this week was challenging! It was a simple two dumbbell workout but I put combos together that were challenging – heavy weights then cardio to jack up your heart rate, and core stuff too. FUN! I was so spent on the run after class though – the entire thing felt like the last few miles of a marathon, ha! (and I had to roll out of bed the next morning)
  • When I was putting together my playlist for fitness boxing, I looked at an old Destiny’s Child album and was reminded how much I LOVED this song back in the day (and still do love!):

  • I was on such a high after teaching cycling and fitness boxing on Saturday! I had full classes, and everyone was working hard and pushing themselves – it was such a great vibe! My next weekend class isn’t until February 14th – I reserved the next two weekends off for our potential house move. When I find out when we close, I may have to add a class on the weekend we aren’t moving – I’ll miss not teaching for that long!
  • One of the reasons I love teaching fitness boxing is because it’s fun for me to develop new punching/kicking combos for the students to do. However, I think I need to be more diligent about keeping a majority of the basic, simpler moves in each class so they’re easy to follow and people can focus on their strength rather than trying to remember a combo.
  • My brother-in-law gave me a Kohl’s gift card for Christmas and I used it to get this schweet Star Wars workout top! I first saw it in the store, with BB-8 on the front, which I loved, but that one was the wrong size. When I ordered this top, it didn’t show BB-8 in the pictures at all, so I am happy he made it to the back!


Link to Training Week 326

Track time

By , January 19, 2016 6:05 am

Schweet, I found another use for my knitting row counter:


Counting laps at the track!

It was -11°F (with a -29°F “real feel”) yesterday when I wanted to do my run, so I decided to go to an indoor track I’ve heard my friends talk about before.

14 laps to a mile?! Eek!


Since I was going to be inside on a flat track, I decided to do my speed work: 7 x 400 m. Only, the lap count was odd for that, so I ran 7 x 4 laps, which equated to 457 m intervals.

The run went by surprisingly fast. That usually happens with speed work though. Here’s what I’m planning for speed work for my 5K course PR training (with some tempos and hills thrown in):

Week 1: 6×400
Week 2: 3×800, 4×1:00
Week 3 (this week): 7×400 (7×457)
Week 4: 4×800, 6×1:00
Week 5: 8×400
Week 6: 5×800, 8×1:00
Week 7: 9×400
Week 8 (race week): 6×1:00

The only bad part about running on the track was the tight corners. I think my right hip will be feeling that today.


Okay, also, the dude who was walking in the run lap most of the time. But, oh well.


Everyone else there was walking, and they were all super nice to me. One lady told me I look really tan and asked if I just got back from a vacation. Ha, I should’ve told her I just got back from Iowa! I had a nice conversation with her.

The next lady asked how far I was going and told me I was inspiring. That made me feel great! And the last guy I talked to also asked how far I went, and told me he admired my pace. I had a nice convo with him too! Talking all those nice people made me want to go back! I’m sure I will. I bet we’ll have a few more days where the temperature and wind chill are cold enough to make me run inside, ha!

Training Week 326

By , January 17, 2016 3:37 pm

Highlight of the Week: Cycling with Tina/feeling awesome on my long run!


Monday | January 11, 2016: 8 m run + teaching strength class
Loc: hood, Temp: 11°/12°, Time: 1:10:49, Pace: 8:51 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, but stomach was crampy
Strength: medicine balls, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, but low on energy – had to drink a Vitamin Water

Tuesday | January 12, 2016: 11 m ride (w/Tina)
Bike Time: 43:43, Pace: 15.1 mph avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: good to do some intervals!
Wednesday | January 13, 2016: 10 m run + 20 mins strength
Loc: hood-ish, Temp: -1°/-1°, Time: 1:30:58, Pace: 9:06 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, frustrated my phone died (but my fault)
Thursday | January 14, 2016: 5 m run (incl. 3×800, 4×1:00) + 6.5 m ride (w/Steven)
Loc: hood, Temp: 34°/38°, Time: 41:44, Pace: 8:21 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: good
Indoor Ride Time: 24:41, Pace: 15.8 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good

Friday | January 15, 2016: teaching strength class + 18.5 m run
Strength: medicine balls, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: Gages Lake/Gurnee, Temp: 38°/40°, Time: 2:52:30, Pace: 9:19, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great, after mile 5

Saturday | January 16, 2016: 3 m run
Loc: Cedar Falls, Temp: 5°/5°, Time: 25:57, Pace: 8:39 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: great, warm!
Sunday | January 17, 2016: rest


  • A few people asked if I would talk about my 5K course PR focused workouts, so I’ll highlight them each week until the race. My plan this week was hills on Wednesday, and speedwork on Thursday (no tempo this week because I was traveling – hopefully next week!).
    • The hills only partially happened, because I got out on the route and my phone died (due to low temps), and I didn’t feel safe at that time of day without it, so I ran back to the house to grab another phone. Ha. But I did get some hills in!
    • Thursday I ran 3×800 and 4×1:00, with no goal pace, on a hilly course. Challenging, but good for me!
  • This week Steven asked me why I am running so much – if I was training for something. Just that 5K course PR. But yeah, I know I don’t need to run this much. I told him why I am though – it’s the only thing keeping me sane while dealing with the house and work stress. I do foresee less running at the end of the month and beginning of February when commuting for work and moving will take up more of my time.
  • A new student tried out one of my strength classes this week! Our classes have regular enrollment (students sign up for the month), so you typically work out with the same people month after month, and year after year. It’s fun to have your core workout group like that, but I think it’s good when new people come from time to time – it mixes things up AND makes it more challenging for me, as the instructor, to adjust workouts as I learn the new person’s capabilities.
  • This week was my first run of the year in a different state – Iowa! I didn’t get to run with my dad though – it was a bit too cold out to be riding a bike, ha! Hopefully next time I see him he can ride with me!

Link to Training Week 325

How Bad Do You Want It? Book Review

By , January 12, 2016 4:44 am

I received this book as a holiday gift from my father-in-law, and liked it so much I want to share my thoughts here. This isn’t a sponsored post.

Yay! I actually finished a book in a normal amount of time (two weeks) – which means I can cohesively comprehend what I read! Ha ha.


How Bad Do You Want It?, by Matt Fitzgerald, is about how endurance athletes can learn to cope with discomfort and stress while performing, to achieve their best results. The book is heavily focused on the psychobiological model of endurance performance – that the mind and body are deeply connected, with the mind being in charge (as opposed to previous models which believed endurance performance was mostly biological, not psychological).

Well, that makes sense, right? Our brain runs everything! But it’s more than that – it’s the concept that in order to become a better endurance athlete, it’s NOT so much actual effort you have to learn to deal with, but perception of effort – how your brain reacts to what you are doing. Only then, can you push yourself further and further to your limits.

IF you want to. I mean, the title of the book is “how bad do you want it?”!!! I know I’ve been in races and given up toward the end, deciding I didn’t want what I was going for (and truly not being upset about it). I’ve been beaten out of first place (in age group and overall) by less than 10 seconds a few times and said to myself – “yeah, she wanted it more than me and she worked for it, good for her!”

But… what about when you DO actually want it bad enough to go for it?! This has happened to me as well (thankfully, ha) where I had my mind so set on something that I pushed for it and got there – and if it’s happened to you, you know it’s one of the best feelings in the world! This book is about how to achieve that.

The book is twelve chapters – an introduction and conclusion, and ten chapters in between, each one going over a different coping (with the pain of working hard) mechanism, using anecdotes about endurance athletes from the past forty or so years.

I like that it was anecdotal. Stories tend to stick with me – I remember the examples from them better than reading straight up research. And each chapter does have a lot of research in it – but sandwiched between the story (each chapter seemed to start with the story build up, then there’d be the research-y/science-y stuff, then you’d get the conclusion to the story, after).

I did NOT like the goofy analogy throughout the whole book of endurance training being like a fire walk – you know, when people walk on hot coals. That’s just not relatable to me. It felt cheesy and forced.

I also thought it was funny that Pre is on the cover, but he is not even brought up until the final chapter! I was getting worried he wasn’t going to be in there at all!

But the book was definitely effective. Since reading it, I’ve already thought to myself during workouts, “how bad do I want this?” to push myself a bit more. I think I’ll review each chapter’s “coping mechanism” and my highlighted notes from time to time, to see if I am retaining what I read… and if I am using it!

Continue reading 'How Bad Do You Want It? Book Review'»

One race, one goal

By , January 11, 2016 6:22 am

I’m signed up for exactly one race (so far) this year. A local 5K at the end of February. And I have a goal for it.

I don’t often set race goals, but I always seem to with this race! I’ve tried to PR on it (bad idea, it’s hilly) and I’m always trying to win my age group (I’ve been in first place 4 of the 7 times, and in second the other 3 times… it’s a small race, ha!).

This year, I am going for a course PR.


I ran it last year in 22:58. My 5K PR is 21:48. Should be a piece of cake, right?!

Ha! Not if I keep eating pieces of cake. Ha. Ha ha. Sigh.

I see three potential things holding me back from a course PR: weather/route conditions (a BIG if in February), hills, and diet. The first one is out of my control. But I can train for hills (I already have my speed and hill work planned out).

And… I can alter my diet?!


Since the marathon, I’ve been eating like I am not training for anything (because I’m not!) – healthy, but not as diligent as in marathon training. Maintaining weight loss, but only losing a few pounds since the marathon. It’s time to get back with the program! The race is just under seven weeks away – I could make some major progress before then, and run faster with less effort, if I was lighter!

Or, should I start at six weeks, after my family Christmas?

Or, after the move? Yeah, that will definitely be stressful and mess with my eating. But how many weeks away is that?

Ha ha ha. JUST kidding… er…

I guess it’s really one race, TWO goals: course PR and shed a few pounds to get there. Here we go!

I usually don’t talk about weight loss on here. It’s such a different journey for everyone, and I don’t like people paying attention to what I weigh. But, I bet a lot of people are in the same boat as me after the holidays, so why not share?

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