Monday Love: Early December Edition

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Good afternoon everyone! Can you believe it’s DECEMBER already? Neither can I…and I’m feeling the love today, so here goes!

1) It’s currently 59 degrees outside. On December 3rd. In Rhode Island. That’s 17 degrees warmer than the average high. Thank you global warming for giving me a great day to run outside with my doggy!

2) Downtown Jingle Bell 5k. My mother and I ran the Downtown Jingle Bell 5k in Providence yesterday and it was so much fun (as usual – it’s my third year running this race!). We even got to meet Santa!

Downtown Jingle 5k FinishMe Mom Santa

I was 54 seconds away from a PR – given how little I’ve been running I’ll take it!

3) Christmas Decorating. My brother’s girlfriend and I got out all of my Christmas decorations and decorated the apartment yesterday. I even got some cool Energizer battery operated candles to put in my candle holders that use tea lights so I don’t burn the apartment down Winking smile It looks so pretty and festive in here now, the only thing missing is a tree!

4) Quality time with friends and family. Ever since my birthday/Thanksgiving I have spent time with so many of my friends and family, and that continues this week. Tonight I am going to Wing Night at a local pub with Jen and Paul, Wednesday night I’m going to trivia with my bro and his girlfriend, Thursday night I am going to a Christmas Walk/Pub Crawl in Providence with Claudia that lives downstairs from me, Friday I’m going to a Christmas Walk/Dinner with my mom, Grandma, Aunt, and Cousin, Saturday is my annual Christmas shopping trip with my stepdad, and Sunday is family tree decorating day at my parent’s house! Phew! So much to do, but so much fun and quality time.

5) Moving up and moving on. I’m currently in the process of looking for my own apartment, because I prefer to live without roommates. I am constantly getting more hours at work. I feel really good about me and my life in this moment. It’s a wonderful feeling to be me, and be happy. I also have ideas for two tattoos that I want to get symbolizing this – one symbolizes freedom to me, and the other symbolizes self-confidence/self-control. Now I just need some extra money… Winking smile 

What are you loving on this Monday? Do you have lots of fun friends and family holiday time planned like I do?

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What a Week

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I decided that my second post-marathon week was a good time to get back into the swing of full blown workouts – a week off was quite enough!

I’ve started on my quest to be in what I refer to as “personal trainer shape.” I definitely lack in the upper body and core department! Here’s how Week 1 went down:

Monday: Upper Body Strength Training Day 1 (Chest, Shoulders, Biceps), plus 10 minutes on the elliptical to loosen up my lower body for stretching, and abs.

Tuesday: Ran 5 miles

Wednesday: Upper Body Strength Training Day 2 (Triceps, Back), abs, and 5 mile run.

Thursday: Power Basic Yoga

Friday: REST!

Saturday: Walked 3 miles.

Sunday: Ran/Walked 4 miles

Phew! I’m ready to take on Week 2 – but with a minor change to my schedule.

No running. My calf that I’ve been going on and on about all week is still not feeling like running for me. When I do try to run on it, my form suffers, and I get pain in strange places like my foot and shin. So, I am going to suck it up and take Monday through Friday of this week completely off of running. I will instead either ride the stationary bike, or the arc trainer.

Between no runs, and a massage that I have scheduled for tomorrow night, I’m hoping my legs will be up to normal running again come Saturday or Sunday. I’m playing it safe here because it is getting better. I can walk normal and stairs aren’t agonizing anymore – but it still acts up when I run, so I know that the only way to heal it 100% is to not run on it.

I’ll probably sneak in a couple of lunch time walks and/or doggy walks this week too – since it’s supposed to be gorgeous all week! Smile

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In other news – did anyone else have an incredible weekend like I did?

Yesterday started with that 3 mile walk, followed up by an amazing trip to Boston for lunch with Jess, Jolene, and Meaghan. LOVE these ladies – we had lunch at Snappy Sushi and chatted for a good 3 hours. It was so much fun – I feel like we’ve all been friends for so long, since we just fall into a perfect chatty friendly comfort zone. I’m pretty sure none of us wanted to leave, if only we could sit and talk and eat sushi all. day. long.

MeaghanSamJessSamMeaghanJo

Pictures shamelessly stolen from Jess Winking smile

Awesome times, can’t wait to see these ladies again – SOON!

Then I had to rally for fun times #2 of the day – dinner with Jen and Paul. They made an incredible boiled dinner – complete with corned beef from Whole Foods. I’ve never had Whole Foods meat before – holy, it was delicious. We sat, and ate, and talked, and ate some more for a good two hours! Then me, Jen, and Alison (sorry if I spelled your name wrong!) walked to the Irish pub down the street from Jen and Paul’s house for a couple of beers, where we sat and talked and talked and talked some more.

Funny how that’s what us girls do, isn’t it? I never get tired of talking LOL

Today I woke up (kind of late – staying out til 1:30 a.m. will do that) to a beautifully sunshiny day! After studying for a couple of hours, I headed out into the beauty for some yard work (aka cleaning up after my dog and filling in all the holes she dug!). I was in running capris and a tee shirt all day – amazing!

My legs felt great thanks to this little contraption that I used at Jen and Paul’s house:

Medidyne Pro Stretch

Medi Dyne Pro Stretch

But, alas, not good enough to run the entire 4 miles. Hence, my decision to take a few days off. I also bought one of these because it feels amazing.

I wound down the afternoon with some stretching out on my deck, with a “tropical slushy” that I created!

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Then later in the afternoon it was a beer on the deck with mom before dinner! I love being able to spend so much time outside!

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How was your weekend? Anything exciting or particularly awesome happen to you?

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Monday Love: Spring Fever Edition

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Happy Monday everyone! What a great day – and with spring just about a week away, why not celebrate with a Spring Fever edition of Monday Love?! Here’s what I’m loving today:

1) The Weather.  Did you expect anything else? A record was broke in the old weather record books today, where a high of 72 degrees was recorded at the airport! 72 degrees, in Rhode Island, in March?! HOORAY FOR GLOBAL WARMING! Winking smile

happy20sun

2) Lunch Time Walks. See #1? Right – I was walking in a SUNDRESS and SWEATING. It was amazing. I walked 1.63 miles in 28 minutes – not really a speed walk, but my legs needed to loosen up. They’re still feeling the effects of post-marathon, yesterday’s 7-miler, and my first yoga class. I also spent 10 minutes on the arc trainer at the gym – then stretched and foam rolled. Things are feeling MUCH better.

3) A new weights workout. My little bro is helping me get into what I call “personal trainer shape.” I figure if I’m going to train people how to work out – I better know what the heck I’m doing right? He sent me to the gym with three sets of three exercise each for my chest, shoulders, and biceps, along with some pretty serious ab work. I completed it all in an hour and fifteen minutes – and I feel AWESOME.

Arnold

4) Daylight Savings Time. I am so happy that it stays light out now until 7 p.m. That means NO MORE TREADMILL! All of my runs will be in the great outdoors!

Daylight Savings

HAHA This cracked me up. I FEEL GREAT!

5) Saturday lunch with the girls. I cannot WAIT, like beyond excited, to see Jess and Jo again, and to FINALLY meet Meaghan. Lookout Boston, you don’t know what’s coming your way!

And finally:

6) Lights by Ellie Goulding. This song is incredibly addictive. It makes me happy. It makes me want to sing and dance, crank the music, open the windows, and just celebrate life and beautiful weather!

What are you loving on this Monday?!

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The First One

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Today I ran, for the first time since Rock N Roll New Orleans.

This run reminded me of a few things:

1) I am not Superwoman.

2) Always go outside before running, to check the weather.

3) My neighborhood is freakin’ hilly.

I checked the temp around 12:45 this afternoon and it said 48 degrees, feels like 42. I knew it was windy and quickly decided on tights, tank, and jacket.

Fail! I was too warm by about a mile in.

I practically bolted out the door, excited to finally be running again. I immediately slowed down to my intended pace (10:30-10:45, aka long run pace).

Success! Pre-run decision to keep it slow and easy.

I never mentioned this in my post-marathon recap – but I couldn’t walk normal for 3 days after the race. My right leg felt very weird, to the point on Monday I was limping, Tuesday I was kinda limping, and by Wednesday I was walking mostly normal. It felt like pain through my knee, down around my calf, to the inside of my ankle. I figured I tweaked something – a lot can happen over the course of 26 miles!

The twingieness (new word!) was still there yesterday before yoga, but it was gone after. This morning, it was there again.

1.5 miles into my run I stopped and stretched (to no avail). All of my muscles were sore – I definitely hit them in yoga like I don’t normally do! I almost threw in the towel and headed home, but figured it was too early in the game to make that decision, so I chugged along.

By 3.5 or so miles the legs finally loosened up but I could tell they still weren’t happy. It was too late by then, I was halfway through my intended 7 mile loop so I kept on.

About 4.5 miles in I had to stop again – this time to undo the zippers on the bottoms of my tights – I was just too warm.

The rest of the run went okay. I’m glad I did it. I won’t run tomorrow – then I start again, hopefully with no aches, pains, or otherwise, on a regular run schedule on Tuesday.

I’m still pretty sore right now – and when I get up from sitting I’m pretty stiff. Hopefully I can ease some of this tomorrow with some stretching after strength training so that I can run on Tuesday!

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In other news – I had an incredibly productive weekend.

I am now blogging to you from my desk, rather than the dining room table! I finally cleaned it up, took apart the old desk top computer, and got it all set up so I can study/blog/etc. comfortably.

I also cooked and baked! For dinner I made Iowa Girl Eats’ Buffalo Chicken Quinoa “Mac” and Cheese. Holy crow, this was so good! I will definitely be making it again!

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I also made a Cherry Almond Irish Soda Bread, inspired by a recipe from Gina at Running to the Kitchen. She made hers earlier this week, and I had literally been thinking I wanted to make one. When I saw she modified her recipe to include raisins, sugar, and other goodies – I knew exactly what I would do – cherries and almonds, two of my faves.

Here’s my take on the recipe:

Cherry Almond Irish Soda Bread

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 eggs, beaten 
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a Dutch oven or cast iron skillet.
  2. Combine flours, salt, sugar, cinnamon and baking soda in a large bowl.
  3. Add in cherries and almonds and toss to coat in flour mixture.
  4. Combine milk, almond extract, and egg in a small bowl and then pour into large bowl with the flour. 
  5. Bring wet and dry ingredients together with a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula.
  6. Turn out onto floured surface and knead 5-10 times until dough just comes together, don’t over handle the dough.
  7. Form into a ball and place in Dutch oven or skillet.
  8. Score bread making an “X” on top with a serrated knife.
  9. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
  10. Let cool on a wire rack.

Notes:

Buttermilk can be made using 2 tablespoons lemon juice with regular milk.

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Hope you guys had as awesome of a weekend as I did! I’m looking forward to this week – temps in the 60’s ALL. WEEK. LONG.

WOOHOO!

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Sweat to Street Sunday: Week 2

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Welcome to Sweat to Street Sunday’s!

Each week my fabulously fit co-hosts and I will link up with one everyday outfit AND one fitness outfit that we love!

"Fashion" "Fitness" "FitFluential" "Fashion Link Up" "Fitness Clothing" Meet Your Hosts!
Family and Life in Las Vegas (Emily)
Wild Things RUN Free (Charlotte)
Running and Cupcakes (Samantha)
MCM Mama (Erika)
Boobs, Barbells, and Broccoli (Tenecia)

***IF YOU WANT TO FOLLOW SWEAT TO STREET ON TWITTER OR PLAN ON TWEETING YOUR POST, PLEASE USE THE HASHTAG #SweatToStreet***

Sweat to Street has been created as a place to link up your favorite outfits of the week as a new Sunday blog feature. The idea is to have some fun and change it up! Each week we encourage you to post one workout outfit and one outfit you wore that isn’t fitness related.

Every week we spotlight one awesome blogger who links up with us in the previous week! Our way of thanking you for sharing your fabulous/fun/fitness style!

This week’s featured blogger:

Madeline from Food Fitness Family

"FitFluential" "Fitness" "Featured Sweat to Streets Blogger"


Link-up Suggestions:

Remember if you don’t link up, we can’t choose you to be next week’s featured blogger!

We are so excited to see all the fashions that are shared each week!

This week we had some RIDICULOUSLY (awesome) warm weather, so I busted out the spring clothes!

Tank Tops

Tank Tops Bacj

Whole Outfit

And, since I’m still recovering from New Orleans, there wasn’t much sweating going on this week. I did go to yoga class yesterday, but forgot to photograph my outfit entirely. So, instead of an entire outfit, I’m going to share with you one item that I think (hope) is going to be crucial to my next marathon.

Saucony Mirage 2 – These shoes are VERY similar to my Kinvaras in that they have a 4mm heel to toe drop, and they’re light; however, they’re a little heavier than the Kinvaras because they have a bit more cushioning, which will hopefully help with the foot pain/soreness I had in New Orleans. I’ll be testing these out for the first time this afternoon, stay tuned for more details!

Mirage II-1Mirage II-2Mirage II-3

So, what did you wear this week?! Show me whatcha got!

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Rock N Roll New Orleans: Race Recap

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Some of you may already know how this story ends – some of you may not. Either way, it’s a great tale to tell. Sit tight and enjoy the ride! I’m only recapping the actual race right now, the rest of the weekend in another post!*******************************************************************

Sunday morning I rolled out of bed somewhere around 5:30 a.m. My first thought – why is it so early? I still managed to get up and get dressed – slowly but surely. Super Coachy delivered me a cup of coffee – he’s awesome and knows me well enough to know my caffeine addiction runs deep (so does his for that matter, probably why he was up gathering coffee so early in the morning…). While finishing up getting dressed and strategically applying Body Glide and Vaseline, I drank my coffee and ate my Luna Protein Bar and banana.

I met Coachy and our friend Tim and his girlfriend outside the hotel around 6:15. Again thinking, why so early? I didn’t realize it until race morning – the hotel was 2 blocks from the start!

It was a chilly 43 degrees at the start – since we were so close to the start, I went back to the hotel to use the bathroom one last time, no lines and much cleaner than any port-a-potty I’ve ever been in. Winking smile

We all made our way to our respective corrals around 6:50 a.m. While standing in my corral, I started looking around to see if I knew anyone else. Well, what do you know? I saw Heather, fellow FitFluential Ambassador, Running Skirts sales-rep, and all around super sweet girl.  I hung with her and her hubby while I munched on a package of Honey Stinger chews for extra fuel.  It was great finding them and having someone to chat with, since I was getting a pretty bad-ass case of the pre-race jitters.

What seemed like an eternity later – our corral finally got to start, at 7:20 a.m. It was really crowded and slow going at first but I managed to break free for a 9:52 Mile 1.

I knew that was too fast – my goal for this race was to start around a 10 pace, for 5-6 miles, pick it up in the middle if I was feeling it, for as long as I was feeling it.

I slowed it down but kept around my intended goal pace for the next few miles. I was feeling great and really enjoying the scenery down St. Charles Avenue – HUGE trees lined the road, as well as old homes and scenic buildings.

After turning around on St. Charles we headed back toward the French Quarter and Canal Street. I was starting to feel a little crummy – I was frustrated that we were still with the half marathoners because it was exhausting fighting crowds – crowds for water, crowds on the street, a LOT of people slower than me were in front of me, and walkers were taking up half the road (no offense to walkers, but PLEASE move over to the side and don’t take up the entire road!). I couldn’t wait for the split. I still managed to keep pace through all of this, but it was exhausting.

We hit the Half/Full split at Mile 12 – and all I could think was “Why the hell am I running the full? I really wish I was running the half right now, then I’d be almost done!”

That was also my slowest mile in the first half of the race.

I forced myself to snap out of that nonsense frame of mind immediately. I still felt tired and I was getting sore, but with 14 more miles to go I chugged on. I also popped a couple of Advil to help from getting too sore.

I reached the half in 2:11:41 – perfect for a sub 4:30 marathon, right? At this point 4:30 still felt within my reach – but it is a marathon. I knew I had a good cushion, but wasn’t sure how the rest of the race was going to go.

I slowed way down on Mile 15 – the only part of the race that I really felt a substantial gap in the water stops. I was getting hot and thirsty, and I needed fuel. I always get to a point during a long run or race that I can’t fuel any more without water.

Once I got to the water stop, I fueled up on a few Honey Stinger chews and allowed myself a longer than usual walk break. I literally just bit my chews in half and swallowed them with water like they were pills. I started fueling at almost every stop at this point, smaller portions, of course, but the water made it easier. I still had plenty of cushion for 4:30 at the end of that mile.  I also took the time to plug in my 2nd headphone – up until now I had been running with one headphone out, so I could pause my iPod and listen to the bands along the course as I went. But now I needed to focus.

Miles 17-19 were beautiful – we ran along Lakeshore Drive, overlooking Lake Pontchartrain. Since this was a really long out and back, I could see all the faster than me runners headed in the opposite direction. I occupied my brain by trying to spot Coachy along the course. While running down this out and back I was also bopping along to all of the awesome songs I had on my playlist (I’ll have to share with you – it was AWESOME). People look at you funny when you’re bopping your head and half dance-running while mouthing the words to the songs in your iPod during a marathon. I didn’t care, I was having fun.

FINALLY I spotted Coachy at Mile 19! Exciting because he  was around Mile 22 – and he started in Corral 5 – so I knew I was kicking some Marathon booty!

That gave me a serious surge of energy and I ran a 10:07 Mile 20 – SAY WHAT?! How did THAT happen?! More bopping, word mouthing, and dancing.

I slowed down again after that, and began to really get sore. My lower back and feet were hurting – and my thighs were chafing. I literally stopped at every single person handing out Vaseline on the course. I decided very last minute to wear shorts, which was a good decision for the temperature, bad decision for my thighs.

Mile 21, however, was not so pretty – at 11:52. I started to really slow at this point. I pushed myself as hard as I could – never giving in to walking, except through the water stops. It was hard to keep running, but I would not allow myself to walk. If I gave into walking other than water stops, I would not have been happy with myself, or proud of my race, and I knew this would be my best marathon to date no matter what, so I wanted to finish proud and with a giant smile on my face.

As I started to get close to Mile 23 I realized I wasn’t going to break 4:30. I knew at that point I could either give up and just finish the race comfortably, or I could push myself and finish the best I could.

I chose to push. I gave myself a Plan B race goal at that split moment. And by the way, doing math in your head 23 miles into a marathon is tough. Really tough. I knew that I could still break 4:45 and still have a killer PR if I just ran my butt off the best my legs and feet would carry me for the next 3 miles.

That decision gave me an 11:17 Mile 23 – which, given how my legs and feet felt, was pretty freakin fast.

I got my final big surge of energy when we entered the park area and I saw Mile 25. I ended up running an 11:06 mile 26! I was psyched that I was “this close” to finishing my 3rd Marathon.

Once I entered the finish chute all of those feelings of pain, soreness, tiredness, you name it, faded as though they had never existed and my legs just started flying. I ran a 9:55 pace to finish Marathon #3.

9:55 after 26 miles?

9:55 on sore, tired legs?

YES PLEASE I WILL TAKE IT! Open-mouthed smile

I was beyond thrilled when I crossed the finish line. And Coachy was waiting for me at the end! I was so glad to see him there when I crossed – I knew he’d be so proud of what I had just done!

Sure I didn’t make my original goal of a sub 4:30 race – but I was so close. I know I’ll get there in May.

But May doesn’t matter right now, this is what matters:

OFFICIAL TIME: 4:40:14

A 42 MINUTE PR!

More than 48 hours later I am still riding high. That’s going to take a long time to go away. Winking smile

I leave you with this:

Rock N Roll New Orleans was a beautiful race. I would run that race again in a heartbeat. The entire course was beautiful, the spectators were fantastic, the weather was perfect. After the race we were entertained by a band called Flow Tribe – they were funky and soulful. Perfect post race music that was 100% what you would expect to hear when in New Orleans.

Sorry this post is so long! I’ll fill you in on the rest of the trip, along with pictures, another time!

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The Return of Monday Love

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Happy Monday everyone! Time to bring back an old favorite of mine, random things I am loving for Monday!

1) Lemon Water. I cannot get enough lemon water. I crave it. Which is funny because Christine wrote a post on this exact same thing last week, go read it, it’s very informative and interesting!

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2) Re-making restaurant recipes. I’ve recently re-made Carabba’s Chicken Bryan, Panera’s Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup, and I have plans to re-make Ruby Tuesday’s Zucchini “sliders”. Recipes on the soup and sliders to come soon!

3) Newly downloaded music!

Monday Love New Songs

Yes, I downloaded Selena Gomez. I can’t help but move to that song, it’s too catchy!

4) Compression everything. I now own two pairs of compression socks, a pair of compression calf sleeves, and a pair of compression shorts. These have made my life so happy. I’m even running New Orleans in the calf sleeves! The rest of my super awesome outfit will have to remain a surprise though!

5) Tapering and NO MORE TREADMILL! Daylight Savings Time begins on March 11th, and it’s already light enough at night for me to run after work this week, because I’m tapering, so my runs aren’t going to be any longer than 3 or so miles.

6) Race Day Weather – and really the weather for my entire trip. It looks great!

Race Day Weather1

What are YOU loving this Monday?!

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Weekend Workouts

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Alternate titles for this post: “Defeating Mother Nature” or “Meteorologists are Overpaid and Don’t Know What They’re Talking About”

I went to bed Friday night, completely prepared to be running by 7 a.m. because, according to the local weathermen, “Rain, turning to snow, heaviest beginning around 10 a.m., through the afternoon.”

Given that it was 50 out on Friday, I knew I had a good chance of getting my last long run in before New Orleans before the snow covered the ground, it wasn’t even supposed to drop below freezing overnight. I planned on going to a bike path, so I would be safe from the road crews. Boy was I surprised when I got out of bed at 5:40, and looked out my bedroom window:

THE GROUND WAS COVERED IN SNOW!

Say what? That wasn’t supposed to happen. So I went back to bed, not wanting to risk slippery conditions a week from one race and three weeks from another.

I still got my long run in! How you ask (Knowing how much I loathe the treadmill – I did not run all of my miles on the treadmill).

Coachy helped me with this workout concept last winter when I was training for the Charlottesville half. All of you New Englanders know how crappy last winter was – there was NO WHERE to run outside. So next time Mother Nature tries to foil your plans to run outside, try this instead:

Arc Trainer Intervals
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Arc trainer intervals. This workout is great because when the resistance is way up, it really ramps up your heart rate. With the resistance down, and the incline up, you give your heart a chance to recover while really working the quads.

Then I did this:

Treadmill Workout
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I was supposed to do 3 tempo miles at race pace – but my legs said no. I had already done two tempo runs in 3 days, so I listened and just threw in the quarter miles at race pace to break up the monotony of an otherwise steady state treadmill run.

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Mother Nature tried her hardest to screw with me on Sunday as well. This time in the form of freezing cold temps and wind. I hate wind.

Windy Cold Run

Wonder what happened at Mile 5? A 116 foot climb STRAIGHT into the wind. I felt like I wasn’t moving. If I couldn’t see the houses and everything else on the road pass as I went by I would’ve been convinced I really wasn’t moving.

I am feeling really awesome about the rest of this run though! To keep paces like that the day after a 2 hour stint at the gym? It used to be unheard of for me. I was actually holding sub 9 from 3-3.5 miles, until I hit the beginning of that dreadful hill that killed my mile 5. It was all I had in me to stick to pace and push out a 9:20 for that mile.

The moral of this story? Be damned Mother Nature. We runners are a hard core bunch and will ALWAYS find a way to defeat you.

How did your workouts go this weekend?

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