Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ghostly Halloween Circuit Workout

Yesterday was actually the blog's 5 year anniversary. How did that happen? I want to do a post sort of recapping the changes, the ups and downs, the accomplishments and changes I've shared over the years. Looking back? Wow, so much has changed. So much has been shared. But I also wanted to share a Halloween Workout for fun. It has been a bit since I've shared a workout. So I'll save the 5-year post for later.

Last year, I shared my Feeling Jumpy Halloween workout. This year I put together a Halloween Circuit Workout that includes both weights and cardio intervals.

As with all workouts, begin with a 10-minute dynamic warm-up to warm up the body, loosen up muscles and joints.

To complete this Halloween Circuit Workout:

  • Do each of the GHOSTLY weighted exercises for 8-10 reps moving quickly to the next with little rest. 
  • Once you complete the weighted exercises, move to the RIP cardio intervals completing each exercise for 12-16 reps moving quickly to the next exercise with little rest. 
  • Once you have completed the cardio exercises, rest 60 seconds then repeat 2-3 times. 



Video examples:
Goblet Squats
Hammer Curls
Overhand Rows
Shoulder Press
Triceps Kickbacks
Lateral Lunges (R then L)
Y with Band

Reverse Lunges (alternating) weights optional 
Inner Thigh Gate Swing
Plie Jacks


*Disclaimer: Although I am an ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer, you should consult a physician before starting any exercise program or diet plan. If you choose to do any of the workouts featured on this website, you do so at your own risk.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Soaring Wings Half Marathon Recap Course PR

I truly had good intentions of getting my Soaring Wings Half Marathon race recap posted Monday. But, yeah, well ... Let's just say I took the day off, went out for a recovery run and got a massage instead.

Saturday I raced my 9th half marathon, the 4th time I've done this particular race. It's usually one of the first cold runs of the season. It's usually a really good race because of that, especially coming off of a brutal summer. And there is usually a fantastic crowd support on the course. Usually is the key word here folks.

This year Mother Nature had something else in store. It was 60 degrees at the start of the race, sunny and temperatures quickly increasing. It was also nice and humid. A winning combo right?

I lined up in Corral B, which only had one pace group of 1:35. I knew I wasn't going to be able to hang with that time. It's a hilly course and then with the heat added into the mix ... well, I was doubting myself from the beginning. My fastest time for this course was just under 1:39, which I did last year. I was really thinking I would end up in the 1:40s, and totally ok with that to be honest.

The race got started and I went out fast. My "plan" was to wing it. Just go with how I felt for as long as I could. Best plan? Probably not, but it's what I tend to do. I tend to be very consistent and stick to a single pace the entire race rather than try to conserve then attempt to increase my pace. With this course, I knew that banking my time was my best bet. Mile 12 is at the top of one of the steepest inclines. Again, my strategy and not everyone else's.

Usually the first four miles fly by. Saturday, they did not. It was a fight from the start. It's bad when you're counting down your miles from mile one. But, I'm stubborn. If there's one thing anyone should know about me is that I am very very stubborn.

I skipped the first aid station but hit up pretty much every single one thereafter with the exception of one more. I actually felt like I had gotten the hang of drinking on the run without waterboarding myself. That's a huge accomplishment right there. But, by the 6 mile aid station, I was fading fast. I started walking through them to try to recoup and get in as much water as possible. By mile 8 I was getting really dizzy and just overall feeling bad. But I kept pushing on.

My Garmin kept buzzing a good tenth of a mile before the mile markers and was clocking me at a 7:29 average. Because it was early, I knew my pace was slower than that, but wasn't entirely sure how much different it was.

I won't bore you with the horrid details of my mental state, which wasn't good as you can imagine. I wanted to stop. I wanted to walk. I wanted to stop again. As in totally stop, pack it up, head on home. Mentally I wasn't in a good place. Physically I was fading.

As I mentioned, Mile 12 is literally at the top of a hill. And at the top, there was a photographer. Really? At mile 12. On a hill. How cruel is that? I wanted to push the photographer over to be honest. Yeah, lots of anger going down by that point. But I knew if I could just force myself to continue, I would finally be rewarded with a big downhill. I expected it to feel easy, fantastic. It was still hard of course. There were two women in front of me.  I wanted with all my heart to pass them. I just couldn't. I didn't have any gas left in the tank.

Usually I am crossing the finish with a group of men. But this time it was the 2 ladies ahead of me, then seemingly no one. I even heard the buzz when I hit the first mat then waited to see what they would do with my name. Shockingly, I heard it pronounced correctly, then I saw Amy running up to the finish smiling proudly. This year, she made sure they got it right! How's that for a finish? ;-)


So how did I do? It was a course PR for me with a time of 1:38:41. My overall PR is a 1:38:18 ... so close. I ended up taking 4th place in my age group too, something I had not expected. I'll brag on Amy for a second - she took 1st in age group with a time of just over 1:35. Holy cow right?


Reflecting upon the race, I honestly don't know how I managed what I did. I really don't. It was one of the hardest races I have done to be honest. I wasn't mentally in it. The weather conditions were less than ideal. But somehow I stuck it out and did it. Stubborn? Better trained than I realize? I don't know. I guess I will always be amazed at what people can accomplish when they just stick something out.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

One More Mile - Mental Marathon Training

This weekend I set out for my longest run to date - 18 miles ... on the 18th no less. That part wasn't planned, but I thought it was fitting once I realized the date.

I won't sugar coat the run, it wasn't great. It was definitely not the confidence-boosting run I wanted. I have had far worse though, so there's that I suppose. And, regardless, I finished the run. All 18 miles of it.

The truth of the matter is, I pretty much set myself up for failure on this one. I did not want to run the full length of the river trail, so in my head I was already unhappy about running. My aversion to running the full loop was honestly making me dread the run days beforehand. I could picture the route and didn't want to do it. Period.

Because we had plans Saturday, I had to get up earlier than I really wanted to get the run done in time. Another peg on my snit level. When I got up I decided that I was going to do a different route, what it was, I wasn't sure, but I was NOT running the giant loop.

I meandered around my neighborhood getting in 6 miles by the time I got down to the river, where it appeared a 5K walk/run was about to start. Nothing was blocked, however, so I continued on across the river and along the river trail, the one I was NOT running the full length of by the way.

My legs were heavy from the first step and never really wanted to cooperate. I tried to distract myself by taking in the scenery, saying "hi" to the other runners, trying to enjoy the moment. When it came to making the choice of continuing or circling back, which would mean more meandering randomly, I circled back and ended up running into, literally, the 5K race. Of course I started trying to race people, because that makes perfect sense to do when you're at mile 11 of an 18-mile run right?

I had to force myself to stop, step aside, let the bulk of runners go by so that I would stop trying to race a race I wasn't racing! I decided to try out a Honey Stinger Waffle and managed to get half of it down. Let's just say that won't be race day fuel.


I forced myself to start running again and made it back to the house at 14.5 miles in, at which point Jason was going to join me for the last bit. I re-filled my water bottle, took a Clif Gel, immediately got side cramps, but pushed on. I was getting to the point of just being angry. Angry at myself for not preparing better, for letting myself get mental about the run, angry that I was STILL running and it just wouldn't seem to end.

I was thankful to have Jason with me for the last few miles. He didn't say much, but it was nice not being alone finally. He congratulated me when I hit mile 17; I almost started crying. One more mile, one more mile, I can do one more mile was the chant in my head. And I did ... one more mile.

The second I stopped running, I knew I had not fueled well or had enough water. I was shaky and not feeling well at all. I got down more water, NUUN and a massive protein shake before heading upstairs to stand in the HOT shower. I was frozen, the protein shake didn't help that by the way. After showering and piling on warm sweats, I snuggled into my bed and napped.

I only had time to nap for an hour, but that was better than nothing. I was pleased that the only thing that was sore was my heel - not that I'm happy that it's still hurting, but happy that my muscles all felt good.

We ended up heading to the big tailgate party for the Razorbacks, not ideal recovery trust me. But it was a gorgeous day and fun visiting with friends and being up and moving was actually working in my favor. We didn't stay terribly long, I was fading fast.



When we got back home around 5 it was immediately back into PJs for me, then I became one with the couch with my feet propped up. I was sound asleep by 8:45 and slept until 8:45 the next day - only waking twice.

Sunday was spent still in recovery mode. I got on my bike for an easy spin, but honestly the only thing hurting was my heel, my legs felt perfectly fine - as in, I could easily have gone out for another run. At least my body is getting more adjusted to the higher miles. Now to adjust my brain.

I will say that I have sufficiently beat myself up over the run, but also got in great advice that I've taken to heart. I'm done beating myself up and am moving on. I know that running is more than just a physical challenge. It also requires mental conditioning. So, I'll chalk that run up to mental training.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fun For Friday - 5 Things to Smile About

Well Thursday totally got away from me. I had meant to do a post about dark-thirty safety, but I'll do that next week. It's Friday and I like to keep Friday light when possible. I mean, most of us are brain-drained am I right?

Friday can also be a good time to look back on the week, especially on the things that made you smile. Here are 5 things (for Friday of course) that made me smile this week:

1. Unplanned 10-Mile Run

On Sunday, I set out on a run with very low expectations. However, I finally got out of my head and 10-miles later I was in a much better place (and I don't mean sitting at home with my rear on the couch).

2. Quiet Cool Evening

I guess this is technically last week, but it's been nice having cooler temps in the evenings finally. Saturday evening I was home alone, well, except for the crazy maniacs (AKA Maddie and Heath). I loved being able to pull on my fuzzy socks and prop my feet up.


5. Email from Friend

You ever have those days when someone emails you at just the right time? Or maybe it's a call or a text, either way, it kind of makes your day. It's nice feeling like someone is thinking about you, cares about you, misses your company. Thanks Jess!

4. Healthy Bites

I recently won Lindsay's contest for some Healthy Bites and they arrived Thursday. Seriously, the girl is a genius with flavor combinations. I received Pumpkin White Chocolate Coconut Butter and Strawberry Vanilla. One word: YUM


5. Midday Run with Jason

Jason and I don't run together very often any longer. He has dealt with his own running injuries and just sort of got into a running funk. He also doesn't like getting up and running in the early hours. So, it's a rare treat to run together. AND it's been way too hot to run midday anyway. But Wednesday the temps finally felt more like fall, so we headed out for a lunchtime run. Even though the wind was gusting, it was a nice run together.

What's something from this week that's made you smile?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Chipotle Chickpea Tempeh Burgers

I tend to make a lot of veggie burgers. For one thing, homemade veggie burgers are a lot cheaper. Also, you know exactly what's going into them. Plus, you can flavor them however you prefer. I think once you have a general technique down, you can really play around with so many different flavor combinations.

One flavor that I've been enjoying is a smokiness from chipotle peppers combined with chickpeas. For this recipe, I use tempeh to boost the protein, but it could easily be omitted, just use a second can of chickpeas.


Chipotle Chickpea Tempeh Burgers
Ingredients:
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 package tempeh
1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (depending on heat preference)
2 tbsp tomato paste
Liquid smoke, to taste
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (may need more if too thick)
1 roasted red bell pepper
To taste: salt, black pepper, cumin, chili powder, ground red pepper, garlic powder, onion powder (note: it's ok to be heavy handed with spices other than salt and maybe red pepper)
2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
2/3 cup oats, grind into oat flour
1/3 cup oats, left whole
1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with olive oil spray or you can use a silpat sheet.

Grind your oat flour and start your flax egg.

In your food processor, blend together all ingredients up to the seasonings. Once blended, transfer into a large bowl with the remaining ingredients (spices through the flax egg).

Mix well then form into patties and place on your prepared baking sheet. I prefer larger patties and usually am able to get 6 out of a batch.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes then flip and continue to back another 20-25 minutes, or until golden and firm.

I freeze these to keep on hand for a quick, easy dinner.

Do you like to make your own veggie burgers? What's your favorite flavor combo?

Monday, October 13, 2014

2 A Day Running

Last week I tested out 2-a-Day runs. I have done plenty of 2-a-Day workouts, but never run twice on the same day before. If I do 2 workouts in a day, they tend to be a run in the morning then weights in the afternoon or perhaps weights and a bike ride. Being injury prone, I never thought running twice in a day would be ideal for me, and it was something I never considered until recently.

Last Tuesday I decided to test the waters with a 5 mile run in the morning then 3 miles at lunch with Jason. Running a shorter distance in the morning meant that I could head out a bit later when it felt a little less dark/scary then run an easy run later. And honestly, it went really well. I enjoyed running the shorter distances.

Friday I decided to try it again in order to get in my long run for the week. The forecast was calling for severe storms starting in the early hours of Saturday and pretty much throughout the day. I knew I couldn't get in 14-16 before work without starting much earlier than I cared to start. I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to divide up the run when I started out that morning. But, I knew it was going to be close to 90 degrees by the afternoon. This meant it would be smarter to get in the bulk of the miles in the morning.

Morning Run - I ended up getting in 9 fairly good miles. It was crazy humid and warm. I feel like I'll never not say that at this point. Though the storms we did have over the weekend are supposed to be cooling us down to more fall-like temperatures.


Afternoon Run - My afternoon run was around 2:15 after a hair appointment. It was hot, humid, windy. But I knew I didn't have "that many" miles to go. I could take it slow and steady, which I did. The first half a mile my heel was super tight and I was thinking that I'd made a huge mistake. But, my heel loosened up and the miles clicked by. I ended up hitting 5 miles for a total of 14 for the day.


So, how did it feel running 14 miles broken up? It didn't feel like I had run 14 miles period. My legs were never tired, definitely not sore. The only thing that was bothering me was my heel. I wasn't fatigued. I didn't feel like I needed to nap. I felt almost too good!

That left me thinking, how effective was that for a long run for marathon training? Shouldn't I be teaching my body to run totally fatigued? Maybe, maybe not. Elites use 2-a-day training in their plans. Yes, I know, I am not an elite.

There are definitely some advantages to running twice per day like more efficient recovery, easier to fit in a long run when broken up, and running in a glycogen depleted state, which is said to help your training adaptations. You can also use double runs to get in two different workouts such as a speed workout then later an easier recovery run (or swapped of course).

For me:
The upside is that I got in the miles and there was time for some partial recovery between so my body didn't feel quite as beat up, but I was still running in a depleted state for the most part. It was great not feeling completely fatigued, having an easy recovery run to loosen up my legs again, and not feeling like I had to cram the run in all at once. I also like the option for allowing me to run later in the mornings then enjoying a rare run with Jason midday or even in the afternoon.

The downside for me is my injury prone body. While the run loosened up my heel for the time, it certainly didn't allow for any recovery and rest for it.

I guess I'm still a bit on the fence about double runs. I think that, for me specifically, they are more ideal for breaking up an 8-10 mile run during the week. However, I do think that when you workout twice a day, with any type of workouts, you can easily burn out physically and mentally. I can see that they could lead to overtraining as well if not done carefully and being certain to vary both duration and intensity levels of the workouts.

Do you do 2-a-day workouts? Have you tried running twice in a day? 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Never Say Never Especially as a Runner

Once upon a time, I was a dancer. 

I didn't start ballet at a super young age like many girls. I never touched a ballet barre until I was in the 5th grade actually. From the moment I walked into that ballet studio, I knew that's where I belonged. I never thought of myself as an athlete. Though now looking back, I realize just how athletic dance really is.

I started running merely for exercise and on a treadmill. I never wanted to run outside. That'd just be crazy talk. And running more than 5 miles? Oh that's just flat out insane. I did some 5Ks (hated them). I started to run a bit farther, then a bit more. I was always proud and impressed with myself, that I could do more than I imagined. Then ... Half marathon? Sure, I'll get wild and crazy and shoot for the moon.

I'll never run a full marathon. Never say never right? Oh, nope, not me, never really means never I said, over and over again. Six years after beginning my journey as a runner, I did what I swore I'd never do. I did that and more.

Last year, I actually decided to become a running coach when RRCA was having a course here in Little Rock. Me, the dancer, never the runner. I'm actually a certified Running Coach. Who'd have ever thunk that one? Running Coach AND signed up for my first full marathon? Yeah, never say that word, "never." It'll always come back to bite you in the butt I'm convinced.

As I've embarked on my own journey into marathon training, I know it'll help me as a coach as well. I'm determined to enjoy this process. I want to learn from it, grow from it. It's not easy. But is anything ever easy in life? Anything really and truly worthwhile?

I know I'm still just at the beginning. I've laid out my plan more loosely than I might for a client. But that also gives me so much insight as to how to tailor plans for clients as well. Some people really like the strict structure. I've learned that as much as I do like routing, when it comes to running, I want to love it always. Strict plans start to suck that love out of it for me. But everyone is different of course.


This last week was supposed to have been a back off week for me. And it was for the most part. I cut out one day of running and speed work. My long run was going to be 12-14 miles. But, we might be out of town next weekend. So, I decided to play my long run by feel.

I was feeling good. The temperatures were so much more manageable (hello 45 degrees). I started to re-think my plans and decided to go for 16-18, with 18 being the ultimate goal. I did 16 last weekend. You'd think that somehow adding "just" 2 more miles would be no big deal right? Lesson: after about 14 miles, 2 miles really feel like 5.

The run was really good until mile 14, then it started to be a struggle. I was going up hill and into the wind and had not paced myself very well. My body was tapping out. Or, maybe it was my mind tapping out. I got back to the house and then had that inner dialog/fight about finishing out 2 more miles.
You can do 2 freaking miles.
No I can't.
Yes you can.
I'm done.
Wimp.
Done.
There's the old Heather that would have been a) pissed that I didn't finish 18 or b) slogged it out and finished the 18 "just because." There's now the new and improved Heather that knows I did the smart thing  by stopping. I've set out a plan that has allowed for several back off weeks AND for any bad runs that I knew would happen.

I'm certain that any type of training ensures that you start to learn more about yourself. What has your training taught you?