Weighty Wednesday

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I have a confession to make.

I have not been the healthiest of health/fitness bloggers lately.

I’ve also resorted back to my gluten-full ways.

It all started right around May 1st – I was moving, so it was easy to grab food on the run. Then I had a week full of appointments, so I decided again that it was easier to grab food on the run.

Then I had a race and Mother’s Day – so I ate out twice in one day and indulged in a few beers.

Then it was time for Reach the Beach and my system got all out of whack – post race? Burgers and beers. Then pasta and more beer with my parents.

Are you seeing the trend here? And it hasn’t stopped.

Sunday afternoon I felt like absolute death. Between Wednesday night trivia (chicken sandwich and beer), Friday night out with the bf and one of his friends (nachos and fries for dinner…and beer…), Saturday party at my house, Sunday grad party at a pool hall… OMG, I was in unhealthy food/alcohol overload.

Then I stepped on the scale Monday morning and wanted to scream. I knew I wasn’t where I wanted to be after I tried on 2 pairs of jeans and something like 3 or 4 shirts Sunday afternoon and couldn’t fit into any of them properly.

I was up 10# from May 1st. Whoops. How the hell did I let that happen? Now, I’m not going to give my weight here, or my goal weight, because I don’t want to start any type of discussion about that.

All I know is shit’s gotta change. And I started Monday – food only on Monday because I was still feeling overly sluggish and disgusting from the poor choices I had made for practically a month straight.

I’m back to gluten free.

I’m back to regularly scheduled workouts.

The best part is – I have plenty of accountability. My best friend watches my MyFitnessPal account like a hawk and yells at me when I screw up. The boyfriend is trying to lose weight so we’re in this together. My mom also follows my MyFitnessPal and we chat about our food choices.

With a 10 mile road race, 2 half marathons, and a marathon yet to come this year I have a lot of training to do and I want to be my healthiest. The number on the scale may not always reflect that, but I will know when my clothes fit right and I feel my best. Right now, that is not the case.

We are all a work in progress, sometimes the progress gets stalled. Sometimes you fall down. As long as you get back up and continue to strive toward the best you can be every day, it’s never failure. Just a stepping stone in this health and fitness journey.

Have you had any food/alcohol/exercise mis-steps lately? What did you do to remedy that?

Are you on My Fitness Pal? Follow me: runcupcake19

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June Goals

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I know it may be almost the middle of the month already but it’s never to late to announce your goals for the month, amiright?!

Goal #1) Hit 100 running miles for the first time since January 2012. Time to really rebuild my leg strength in order to get ready for the remaining races of 2013 – especially that ever important 26.2

Goal #2) Do a different speed workout every week. Speed workouts are so important to increasing your running speed, but also your strength. Mixing it up so your body doesn’t get used to the same thing every single week is also important. My first speed workout of June was 6 x 400m intervals – so I will not be doing that workout again this month.

Goal #3) Blog at least 4-5 times per week. I need to make more time to get my blogging done – it’s something I love so very much, so I must keep it going!

Goal #4) Create a REAL marathon training plan and STICK WITH IT. I would love to PR the next marathon – I’d like even more to shave a ton of time off so I can get closer to my dreams of one day running a BQ.

set and reach goal concept

What are you trying to accomplish this month?

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Cox Rhode Races: United Healthcare Half Marathon Recap

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This past Sunday I ran the Cox Rhode Races for the 4th year in a row! I can’t believe I’ve been running for 3 years already – where does the time go?

And is there a better way to spend your 3 year run-iversary than by running a half with one of your favorite people?! I’d say that there is not…

Kelly and I met around 7 a.m. to start getting ready for the race. I’m glad we got there early because the marathon started at 7:30 so the potty lines were already getting long! Once we got that out of the way we hid in the car until about 7:50 because it was a cool, rainy morning.

I could tell Kelly was nervous but we just chatted away the whole time, not about the race at all, so it kept us occupied. We made our way to a VERY crowded start line shortly before start time…or so we thought. For some reason (which may never be known to us) the race was delayed about 15 or so minutes.

And we were finally off! The rain had stopped but it was still super humid out. I’m so glad it was cloudy or it would’ve been brutally hot! I realized very shortly into the race that I had to pee again – whoops. I guess that coffee and Nuun was just a bit too much just before the race!

We were heading up toward Mile 4-ish – Kelly was struggling with breath thanks to the humidity and I really had to pee, so we stopped. One thing I really love about the Cox Rhode Races is that there are PLENTY of water stops and there’s potties at pretty much all of them. Unfortunately some people don’t care that we’re RACING and take their sweet time going to the bathroom! I swear it took 3 minutes or more just so I could pee quickly.

Then we were off again – Kelly used the opportunity to stop, catch her breath, fuel up and drink plenty of water while I was waiting for the potty. During that time it also started raining again, but it was just sprinkly and honestly it felt really good. We were both pretty grateful for it since the humidity was making it so gross and sticky out.

I was keeping Kelly posted on what to expect in the next couple of miles along the course (since I’ve run it twice, and used to live right down the street from the area we were in) when I heard someone say “Hey, I read your blog.” Well HOLY COW THAT WAS EXCITING! I’ve never met a blog reader in person (other than friends and family…) so that was such a cool experience for me! Huge shout out to Amanda for recognizing me and saying hi!

We kept chugging along – I was doing my best to keep Kelly occupied because I knew she was struggling. Between the humidity and her left leg screwing with her, she was having a rough time. Unfortunately this half is relatively hilly so that doesn’t help the legs when they’re already tired/sore.

I managed to only screw up on course information once – we were about 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile from where I thought we were…whoops! We did get a good laugh out of it though, especially when I told her we were REALLY at the location I thought we were at 1/2 a mile ago… hehe

Unfortunately by Mile 8 the humidity/leg was really getting to Kelly and we had to slow to a walk. She said she was dizzy and thirsty which automatically turned me to “worried friend mode.” We slowed down, and were able to rehydrate properly about 1/2 mile from there at mile 9. We started running again, knowing it was a lot of downhill from where we were. I also gave her a few Pink Lemonade Honey Stinger chews to help regulate blood sugar, and threatened her by telling her I was going to sing Justin Timberlake to her. It helped, I swear Winking smile 

At that point I told her that we could still make the time she was looking for, but she didn’t want to push it. Having been in her exact shoes during a race, I completely understood and told her that I’d just continue to run with her from there, at her pace, and we’d cross that finish line together. She was like “Oh that’s so nice.” to which I replied, “Well, I told you I’d run with you. You’re not having a great race, so what am I going to do? Ditch you and say have a nice life?!” We had a pretty good laugh after that…

The rest of the race was pretty uneventful – we ran more than we walked, I talked and Kelly nodded – I told her, I’ll do all the talking, you just focus on what you’re doing.

At Mile 11 one of the water stop guys commented on how I was still smiling – I was having a good time. Running a race at a pace a couple minutes per mile slower than I’m used to is actually really fun, and I really enjoy pushing my friends to finish and get to where they want to be!

Once we could see the turn toward the finish line, and the huge crowd of spectators, I could sense a change in Kelly. I knew she was excited that we were about to finish and she cranked it into high gear! We finished that final 0.36 miles at a 9:20 pace! Woohoo! She also saw her mommy and sister as she finished. My mommy was there too, and caught a couple of great pics, but I didn’t see her til we finished.

All in all it was a great time, I really enjoy running and pacing others! Turns out that even though it wasn’t a half marathon PR for Kelly it WAS a course PR, and a huge one at that!

Here are some of the pics from the day:

MeKelFinish

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Thanks to my mommy for taking pics for us! And since it was Mother’s Day I took my mom out for lunch at one of our usual post-race venues, Union Station Brewery, but I was clearly too hungry to photo my food! I gave up gluten free for the afternoon (obviously) and enjoyed 2 more craft beers and buffalo chicken pizza. It was amazing!

Now the countdown is on – less than 48 hours til Reach the Beach!

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Live Your Dream and Share Your Passion

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A favorite quote of mine, from my favorite “This is your life…” inspirational quote picture. This dawned on me today in the middle of yoga class. It’s been over 2 1/2 months since I last took a yoga class. While the sweat dripped off of my forehead onto my mat while in downward dog, I had an epiphany…

Don’t ever quit doing something you’re passionate about.

Sounds pretty simple, right? This is my life and it starts today.

Living my dream:

Building RunCupcake Fitness. I started RunCupcake Fitness because I want to help people reach their goals – whether it be weight loss, run a 5k, chase a PR, just get fit, or anything else in between – I want to be the person that helps people live their dreams.

Become an efficient yogi. I was at a point about a year ago where I was taking 90 degree power yoga every Thursday night, and I was strong enough to get into and hold tripod headstand. I want to get back to and beyond that.

Run better, run stronger. Notice I didn’t say run faster. I’d like to do that too – but it’s not as important to me as becoming a better, stronger runner. Right now I still suffer from pain in my right IT band from the injury I sustained after running RnR NOLA LAST YEAR! Unacceptable – leg strength, leg stretching, foam rolling, are all becoming integral parts of my fitness routine.

Live life for me. It’s taken me a long time to come to grips with this – I always want to help people, do for people, bend over backwards for people – and it kills me. No more.  I will ALWAYS be there for my friends and family, don’t get me wrong. But I have to put me first. I started that last week – going gluten free, scheduling my workouts around the rest of my life so that I don’t miss them, yet making sure I have time to see my parents, my best friend, etc… It’s a lot easier than I ever thought it would be. I’m even taking myself on a mini-vacation by spending the entire Boston Marathon weekend in Boston – with a 10 mile run on my schedule, it’ll be so nice to explore Boston on foot!

I announced in January that 2013 was going to be an amazing year – it’s had a couple of minor less than pleasant moments so far, but certainly nothing that’s going to knock me off my feet. I am bringing my dreams to life, living my passion, and enjoying my life to it’s fullest.

What are you doing to live your dreams and share your passions?

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The Second One

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Yesterday I ran my 2nd long run for Cox Rhode Races – which will be my 10th half marathon, and also my 3 year running anniversary, and 4th time running the Cox Rhode Races! The race is 7 weeks away, with my final long run for the race being the inaugural Newport 10 Miler on April 28th. I have a lot of prep to do between now and then!

I ran my first long run last Sunday – 6 miles. I can’t say it went badly because I finished, but I can tell I’m out of the long run game. I looked back at my Garmin and Daily Mile logs to see when the last time I ran long was – a 5 miler on 12/22/12, and before that, nothing longer than 4 miles since the Rock N Roll Providence Half in August!

Although the splits for my run last week were much more even:

Half Marathon #10 - Long Run #1

Yesterday’s run brought back some confidence:

Half Marathon #10 - Long Run #2

3 sub 9 minute miles, with mile 7 being my fastest mile. This run was also an average of 15 seconds per mile faster than last week.

I need to go into this weeks 8 miler with the idea of negative splits in mind – finishing strong is very important to me! Both of these runs have had just the opposite of negative splits – so I am going to figure out paces that I can start at, negative split the run, and still come in with a faster average per mile pace than my 7 miler. I’d like to get back to my sub 2-hour half marathon paces before May.

Part of the problem with yesterdays run was my shoes – I tried running in my New Balance 630v2 – they’re not meant for long runs. My right ankle starting talking to me about 5.5 miles, hence the really slow mile 6. I’m also fighting this mid-upper ab cramp, it feels like someone is stabbing me right underneath my ribs. It wasn’t as bad  yesterday as it has been, but it was still there. Hopefully this is just my body getting used to the stress of all this running again.

To remedy the shoe/ankle situation I ordered a pair of Kinvara 3s – I’ve been wanting them since they came out last year, but didn’t need them yet, so I’m so excited to finally have ordered a pair! They should be here Wednesday, just in time for  speed day!

Saucony Kinvara 3

I hope everyone has a great Monday! My workout today is going to consist of back and shoulders, with a little bit of recovery cardio thrown in too.

How did your runs go this weekend?

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Tour de Patrick Race Reports

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Sunday marked the third and final race in this year’s Tour de Patrick. I can’t believe it’s over already, but it was a perfect way to start my 2013 racing season.

The first race, the Irish 5k, took place last Saturday. I was hoping for a PR, but was off by 1:04. Official time: 25:30 – 176 of 934 participants. I can’t complain about that considering I didn’t train, and my shoe came untied mid-race!

Irish 5k After

Me and my friend Kelly, post-race. She PR’ed by 2 minutes, hence the very proud look!

Next up was the St. Pats 5k in Providence. Me, Kelly, Megan (my roommate), and our friend Tania decided we’d run this race together, and I’d run it at their pace since it’s always crowded and kinda hilly. I’m glad I decided that in advance – there was no way I could’ve PR’ed this race unless I started at the very front of the pack with the elite runners. It was so difficult to dodge the crowds of over 3200 runners! Toward the end of the race I had told the girls we should pick up the pace – the crowds had thinned a bit and we had more room to move. Tania took that as an opportunity to go like hell and she beat me and Megan by 40 seconds! Megan finished in 31:07, a fantastic time for someone who ran for the first time this year the Monday before race day! And, Kelly PR’ed – AGAIN!

Pre St Pats 5k

Kelly, Me, Megan, and Tania before the race!

Then there was the Guinness Celtic 5k – the race where I was supposed to PR. Welllll again I say – you can’t expect to PR if you don’t train for it. Plus it was pretty cold at the start and I haven’t done much outdoor running this winter due to multiple snow storms clogging up my favorite run paths.  I was on target for a PR during Mile 1 and Mile 2, but suddenly the cold air caught up to my lungs and I just couldn’t breathe. Mile 3 ended up so much slower than the first two, but I still ended up with a 25:31 overall time.

The best part is – even without running at my peak performance level – I placed 84 out of the 279 people that ran the entire Tour de Patrick! Imagine what I can do if I actually train?

So, what do you do to celebrate the end of a fun 5k series, even if you didn’t PR (but your friend did – Kelly PR’ed AGAIN at the Celtic 5k – she’s amazing!). Well, you find an Irish pub along the parade route in Worcester and party!

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Clearly we’re having fun…

Now I start training for real – my next race is the Newport 10 Miler on April 28th. I’ve never run a 10 mile race before, and I’m still trying to calculate my anticipated finish time…

What’s next on your race agenda?

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Time for Training

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So Reach the Beach is in 3 months. Tour de Patrick starts in 11 days. And I think I’m going to run the Cox Half Marathon again this year, as it would be a great final long run prior to Reach the Beach.

And I haven’t started training for any of these yet…

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been working out 5-6 days a week as I always do, but with no specific goal other than to stay fit and in shape. Which, by the way, is truly fantastic.

I think I continue to put off training for these events because I’m enjoying my lack of training plan. All through 2011 and most of 2012 I trained and trained for events, followed plans, long runs, tempo runs, interval runs, you name it… I was always “stuck” to a plan. I haven’t been training for anything specific since August, but just going with the flow of whatever my body wanted to do – run long, run short, run fast, run slow, spin, weights, yoga, whatever.

I’m going to start tomorrow. It’s supposed to be 39 degrees and sunny around 10 a.m., which is when I should be able to get my run in. So it’s time to start – step 1 is training for Tour de Patrick. I would REALLY like a 5k PR – I did not get one in 2012 (I also only ran 2 5ks so there is that…). I’m not aiming for any specific time other than a PR – I was going to try to break 24 minutes but I don’t want to put that kind of pressure on myself with only a couple weeks to train. The best part about Tour de Patrick is that I have 3 opportunities to PR. The first race was a PR race for me in 2011 and so was the second. I know the second race has fantastic PR potential because it’s a flat out and back, so I’m going to try for it the hardest on that race. The third race is the most popular, usually super crowded, and has a couple of really nasty hills, so I’m just going to run that one for fun!

Here’s my plan:

Tuesdays: Intervals (1/4 mile @ 7:30 or better, 1/4 mile recovery) – whatever distance I cover with a proper warm up of course.

Wednesdays: Recovery run – again, whatever distance. Most of my running courses take me at least 3.5-4 miles so I’m not really worried about not covering enough distance.

Fridays: Tempo run. At least 3 miles, at least 7:55 or better if I want to PR.

I have all of this week and all of next week to complete these before the first race, then another week to complete them before the next two races. I’m going to add in yoga on Wednesday nights and kettlebell training on Thursdays and either Saturday or Sunday. One rest day per week, of course, it’s necessary.

It’s a very loose plan, but after being stuck to such stringent plans for so long, I’m just feeling like being a bit more free. Once it comes time to really crack down for Reach the Beach and (potentially) Cox Half, my plans will become more organized.

I also need to really start thinking about my Tough Mudder and Spartan Race training – but I think I’m going to leave that one up to the bf, since he’s experienced in these kind of things.

How do you train? Do you find you train better with a strict plan or a loose plan?

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Tutu Hot to Handle Thursday!

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Good morning friends! How are you all doing on this fine Thursday?

First off – I want to thank everyone who has donated to my fundraising efforts for Reach the Beach and the Alzheimer’s Association. Your generosity means the world to me! If you haven’t donated yet, and are interested in doing so, you can do that right here!

You can also join us for 50/50 February! It’s not too late to enter for your chance to win some cold hard cash AND help a great cause at the same time!

And in other Team Tutu Hot to Handle news – We’re hosting a Virtual 5k/10k – The Race to Remember. 

We have some AMAZING sponsors on board with TONS of great prizes for running this virtual race! We have Nuun, Pretzel Crisps, Team Sparkle, Bendiful Watches, Bia, Perform Pain Relief, and Naked Wines, just to name a few. 

The prize pool is valued at over $1000!!!! So what I want you to do is head on over and visit Janine at The Purple Giraffe. She’s our team captain and has outlined EXACTLY what you need to do to get registered for this amazing race! We even have medals AND bibs for all of you! The race will run from March 1st through March 15h – so get training and get running for the Race to Remember!

racebib (1)race2remembermedal


In other Reach the Beach news – I have finally started training! The race is only 3 months away after all.

Monday I was going to do my first run, after shoveling for over an hour – I figured it’d be a good way to get my body used to the fatigue it’s going to experience when I have to run 3 legs of a relay totaling a little over 17 miles in 24 hours. But then all of my clients cancelled for the day, and I got too lazy to drive to the gym (it was still too nasty out after Nemo blew through here to run outside…).

Tuesday I did manage to get my butt on the treadmill. It sucked. I couldn’t breathe, I had stomach pains, and my IT band was flaring up from that nagging injury I’ve had since last March. I did manage 2.5 miles though…

Meh Run

I am enjoying that ALL of my runs lately are at a sub-9 minute mile pace. Thanks to all the kettlebell training and running break I took earlier this year!

Then yesterday I finally had a run I would deem worthy enough to be called a good run!

Gorgeous Winter Run

I am loving not relying on my Garmin for pace too. The bf challenged me a few weeks ago to wear the Garmin but not watch it because he thinks I let it hinder my ability. I think he’s right – I didn’t even wear it on this run – I turned on the Nike+ on my phone and just went. The only time I knew my pace was as I hit each mile, and each mile I managed to push a little faster and went a little harder. It felt so good!

Yesterday’s run put me on treadmill boycott… I am going to make it a point to run all of my runs outside from now on, so Mother Nature better not get in my way! I always feel way better running outside than I do on the treadmill.

Then I took a much needed yoga class and also foam rolled the crap out of my legs again. I believe I need to get back into a weekly yoga habit and a daily stretching/foam rolling habit in order to keep this unruly IT Band happy!

Since I’m completely new to relay race training – who can offer me words of wisdom, advice, tips, etc?!

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The Return of Red Meat and Running

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Quite a while ago (a little over a year now…) I declared that I was (mostly) quitting eating red meat and pork. Food documentaries and health concerns had me convinced that I just didn’t need it. And I made it an entire year. I didn’t avoid red meat or pork completely (the only pork I really eat is ham and bacon – I don’t like pork chops, ick). Once in a great while I just want a steak, or a burger, or bacon, so I eat it. But I didn’t plan it into my weekly meal plans.

Then a couple of weeks ago I noticed I was getting a lot of dizzy spells. I thought it was blood pressure – so I checked, it wasn’t that. I thought it was dehydration, so I started really forcing myself to be more diligent about my water consumption – it wasn’t that either. I mentioned it to a coworker and she said it could be an iron deficiency. So last week I started to make sure I take my multivitamin every day, I’ve been making smoothies with spinach, and I ate red meat once (after mentioning that I needed it, the bf made me tacos for dinner in an effort to get me to eat the red meat, and it worked, I do love tacos.) While grocery shopping the other day I saw a package of 6 pre-made beef sliders in the meat department at Trader Joes. I only thought about it for a minute or two before picking them up.

It turns out that large amounts of exercise can in fact lower your iron levels – not something a woman really wants to worry about. Given that I’ve been working out a lot harder than my body is used to, I am willing to bet that lots of workouts combined with iron deficiency were the cause of my dizzy spells, because they’ve subsided.

That had me a tad bit scared so I’m glad I got it figured out pretty quickly!

Other awesome things lately? I’m RUNNING AGAIN! I took 23 whole days off of running, and when I came back to it, this is what happened:

Return to Running

I honestly thought I was crawling – the path I run on was snowy and icy in spots so I was being very cautious of my footing. I kept my Garmin under the sleeve of my coat the entire time so I had no idea how quickly I was moving until I was done – boy was I shocked.

Compared to a 5 mile run that the bf and I did back on December 22nd – 8:44 average pace which felt hard toward the end. Well the bf did tell me that all this kettlebell stuff was going to make me a stronger runner, but I had no idea it would happen that quickly.

Now I’m going to try to run at least 3 times per week in order to get ready for Reach the Beach in May – but I’m also still going to keep up my kettlebell workouts as well.

I’m looking forward to seeing how much faster and I stronger I continue to get!

Have you ever taken a hiatus from running to focus on strength and come back and surprised yourself like I did?

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Competition Progress: Check in #1

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So, I’m still not 100% sure if I’m even going to do a competition this year. After much consideration, I first decided that if I do compete it will be in bikini not figure. The reason for that is muscle size – figure competitors are just one step down from body builders and I do not want to have that much muscle on my body. I want to be strong and toned and have low body fat, but I do not want to have actual large muscles. With that being said – there’s a good chance I may not even end up doing the competition, but that will not be decided until much later in the year. The reason for that is training.

Sure I could dedicate 100% of my training time to getting my body into peak bikini competition shape.  But I’m an endurance athlete. 3 Marathons, 9 Half Marathons, countless miles upon miles spent conditioning my body to endure hours on the road. I’m not willing to give that up to focus solely on some cardio conditioning and mostly strength training. I have worked too hard for too long to get my endurance where it is, and I’d like to keep it there.

I also plan on running at least two Tough Mudder’s this year and probably a couple Spartan Races and who knows what else with the bf and his friends. I am running Tour de Patrick in March – a local series of 3 5k’s centered around 3 different cities St. Patrick’s Day parades. I missed it last year because I was running the Rock N Roll New Orleans Marathon and I don’t want to miss it again. I’m also running Reach the Beach Relay in MA in May. So, as you can see, LOTS of running events (duh, I AM a runner after all!)

To be honest with you – I hadn’t thought of any of this before having a chat with the bf. He was talking to one of his friends about all of this and they came to the conclusion that training for both endurance/running events AND a bikini competition isn’t the best thing to do in the same year. They advised me to pick one or the other – and running events are a top priority for me. So then the bf said – why don’t you train for the Tough Mudder’s and any other running events you want to do, continue with your strength workouts (I’ve been doing a LOT of kettlebell stuff with him – 3x a week lately, and feeling so much stronger) and then when we get closer to September you can decide if the bikini competition is in the cards for me or not.

Meanwhile, I am going to continue to track my progress – weights, measurements, and photos. Apparently all this kettlebell stuff is going to give me killer abs… I hope so! I will check in with you guys on a biweekly basis with updates on all of that. Here’s week 1:

1-20-13 Front1-20-13 Back1-20-13 Sidew

I’m also going to try to keep up with writing more often – I’ve been a wicked slacker lately!

What are you guys training for this year?

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