Just Livin’ That Lovely Life

Over the winter, when I thought about the whole marathon training + working + planning a wedding + staying social thing, I knew it’d be a little busy…but I had no idea! It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, a good one, and I’m in my own happy little version of Oz.

The Green Bay Marathon is quickly approaching: Only about a month away now! I’m so ready. I’m excited, but I have to admit that I am fully looking forward to it coming, and then going and being done. Staying in alone Friday nights, then getting up at the crack of dawn and running for 3+ hours on Saturday morning isss getting a little old. I love, love, love running—why else would I run a marathon?! But all the time that training’s taking away from the rest of my life…well, I’m ready to get that back. ;)

That said, training’s been decent. I did my 18-miler two weeks ago. I felt great for it all, ’til what I thought was my hip flexor, but I now suspect was perhaps my groin(?), was pretty tight for the last 3-4 miles. I finished without pain, but had some dull aching that night and the following couple of days. I took off Sunday—Thursday, then did a 2-mile test last Friday. I didn’t want to push my luck, so I only did 9 miles as my long run this past weekend (instead of 19 miles). I have a 20-mile run on the docket in two weeks and I think I’ll be golden for it. In the meantime, I’m looking up hip and groin stretches and strengthening exercises to help keep me feelin’ good ’til that finish line is in my crosshairs.

In other news: Work + wedding + social life have been fabulous.

I earned a promotion at work a few weeks ago, something I’ve been working towards for almost two years, so that’s exhilarating and motivating. YAY! Of course, that means big projects + personal goals to make things even MORE uber-awesome now, which means I’ve been putting in some extra hours lately. All worth it, though! Can’t live, or work, without a little extra passion. Amen.

I wish I could say I’ve been just as on top of wedding planning.

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I was feeling good about it, like I was ahead of the game, and then the last 2-3 weeks have positively FLOWN by and suddenly my to-do list is glaring at me. Eeeek.

Hope to do some real updating and more in-depth recap on my training lately…stay tuned!

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How do you balance it all? 

Monday Aspirations

While I’d like to say nothing is ever “all or nothing,” it’s always nice to have a proverbial clean slate on Monday, isn’t it?

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Last week, I took a bit of a hiatus with my running. And for the last couple of weeks, I’ve also foregone my weight loss efforts. Don’t get me wrong, with marathon training hitting its peak month, it’s hard to fall completely off the wagon. But, I did skip two runs last week, and while I ate semi-healthy (as my normal diet isn’t so bad), I definitely let myself add in a lot of extra treats. Like brownies and pizza and wino happy hour.

Even though I know the “Oh, well I just ran 6 miles” excuse to eat crap IS crap, I still find myself turning to it. Bah.

So, I made up my mind last night that it was back to the 6am wake-up calls this week, no excuses: Get up early, do pilates, make coffee, pack my HEALTHY lunch, and start the day off on the right track. It’s been a good morning around here already!

We’re checking things off the wedding to-do list and it’s starting to loom into the territory of…REAL. There are only two months until I have to take my dress in for alterations. I’d like to be at my “ideal” weight by then so that (a) the dress fits right on my wedding day—not too big or too tight; and (b) then I only have to maintain!

Here’s to Monday—a fresh start, and a good week. Cheers!

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What’s your goal this week?
How do you like to start your week (or day) on the right foot?

Now that it’s not pitch black all morning, I love taking 10-15 minutes to enjoy my coffee while I watch the sun rise over the lake. Okay, I can’t quite see the lake, but I still see those spectacular colors…and they are something to marvel at. :)

Confessions of a Mid-Week Slacker

Okay, usually I post about all my workouts and how great they’ve felt, how wonderful I feel to have them done, yadda yadda.

But not today.

Last night, I skipped my workout. I was sooo tired in the afternoon, that once I got home from work, I laid on the couch and napped for almost an hour. I am not normally a nap-taker, so maybe I needed the extra rest? I feel like my long run on Sunday has thrown me all off-schedule.

Then Matt and I went out to dinner for Mexican food, and you KNOW there was no running happening after that.

Thennn, this morning, I was supposed to wake up to get my run in before work. I have important plans after work {you know, to go to happy hour}…

And then my alarm went off, and I hit snooze, and went back to sleep.

Several. Times.

Which means I didn’t ever get up and run. So my new contingency plan is to have one singular (is that possible?) glass of wine at happy hour…

wino wednesday

And then come home to run.

Bets, anyone? Any takers?

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How do you keep yourself motivated, especially when you’re tired and busy during the week? 

What do you do to get out of a slump? 

Weekend: Piano Bar, Brunching & Running

What more does one need?

I guess an extra day in the weekend to recover from all the fun, but don’t we all wish that…

Matt and I started out the weekend by heading on an impromptu trip to Milwaukee on Friday night. First stop: Transfer Pizza for dinner. We’ve eaten there twice and both times loooved their pizza. My favorite so far is the “Katalina Pizza” — it has a garlic cream sauce, cheese, artichokes and salami. Definitely not a healthy option, but oh-so-delicious. So delicious, in fact, that I didn’t even take the time to snap a pic before devouring it…

After chowing down, we met up with my friend and then cabbed it to Lucille’s Piano Bar in downtown Milwaukee. This is our favorite place to go when we’re in Milwaukee. Dueling pianos are theeee best! If you have never been to a dueling piano bar, basically two people are playing at pianos/singing across from each other. The audience can take up their song requests (with some money to speed along their place in the queue). It’s popular for birthday parties, bachelorette parties, etc. because you can make the guest of honor sit up on stage while the piano players sing and play them a special song. You can imagine how this can be interesting (and hilarious) for the bachelor/bachelorette parties! Ha

Funny moment, off the bat, was when someone paid them $5 to play “Oh, Canada”—then someone brought up $10 to make them stop and play the US National Anthem instead. And because this is Milwaukee, you bet everyone stood up, put their hand over their hearts (with beer in their left hand) and sang along. Haha!

Singing the National Anthem at Lucille's Piano Bar

Singing the National Anthem at Lucille’s Piano Bar

We were out late, so Saturday morning had an equally late and slow start. Nursing some slight headaches, we headed out to brunch at a new (to us) place: Café Centraal.

Brunch in Milwaukee at Cafe Centraal

Uhhh, amazing brunch! I mauled the Chile Rojo Corn Cakes: Cornmeal pancakes topped with fried eggs, chorizo, white cheddar cheese, chile rojo, salsa verde, housemade pico de gallo, and chipotle sour cream.

Brunch in Milwaukee at Cafe Centraal

Sooo tasty. Kelsey got a yummy omelette, but Matt’s French Toast stole the show and we helped him eat it: Fresh berries on top of cinnamon coated challah French toast, layered with creamy mascarpone cheese and topped with basil.

Brunch in Milwaukee at Cafe Centraal

Last vestiges of the best french toast ever…

OMG, best french toast any of us had ever had. Go. Try it.

After brunch, Matt and I headed home for some errands and grocery shopping. We made dinner (Matt’s specialty, beef stroganoff) and then watched American Hustle. WOW, what a funny and great movie! I know it’s gotten all sorts of acclamations but it really is all it’s cracked up to be.

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And I love J Law. And Bradley Cooper…

Ended the night reading some of my latest book, A Thousand Splendid Suns.

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Had to force myself to put it away to go to sleep!

Snoozed away until this morning, then I spent a little over 3 hours (!!) getting in my long run for the week. Rest of the day’s forecast: Eat, take a nap, and relax! I’ll just leave all that house cleaning for, uh, tomorrow I guess… Why can’t the weekend have three days in it?

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What was the highlight of your weekend?
Favorite book/movie of the moment?

Week 12 Workouts {Green Bay Marathon}

YAY! Week 12 is done, and with it, a huge long run.

Sunday, March 16th: Yoga
Did a nice little 20-minute series at home to get stretched out.

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 4 miles (10:11/mile) + abs pilates
I finally started to add pilates back into my weekly workouts. I love pilates!

The 4-mile run was fun. I met up with a group of runners after work and busted them out at a pretty good clip, considering it felt pretty “easy.”

Wednesday: 4 miles 2 miles + buns/thighs pilates
My legs were tired and semi-sore from my morning pilates. By the time I got home, I was so not motivated to run on the treadmill, but I made myself hop on to at least do something. I actually thought once I got going I’d be fine, but I just wasn’t into it. Oh well, better than nothing.

Thursday: 7 miles (10:50/mile)
Another post-work run outside. Ran with a couple friends; nice to have company and nice to be outside again.

Running along Lake Michigan

Let’s pretend it’s summer…

We got to run down near the lake, now that the mounds of snow & ice have finally melted. Lake Michigan went from 90% frozen to completely clear in what seemed like a matter of days!

Friday: Rest
Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 16 miles!!! (11:37/mile)
Okay, this is technically part of next week since it’s Sunday, but it was “this week’s” long run. My training partners were busy yesterday so we opted to do our long run this lovely Sunday morning instead. We started at 7am (nicer than our 6am start times as of late) and although it was still chilly and a bit windy, the sun was shining. That always makes us smile, after this long, dreary winter.

We split the run into two parts: an out-and-back 10 mile run, which put us back at the starting point to meet up with a couple more people for the last 6 miles. Splitting the long run up into “two” runs makes it SO much easier mentally! I just focused on taking an easy 10-mile run, then by the time we got to the second part, the 6 mile run, it wasn’t weighing so heavily over our heads. Granted, we were still tired and ready to be done by the end, but mentally I felt on top of my game, and my body feels pretty good, too. I’m going to try to do this with the rest of our long runs going forward, I think.

I had stomach issues the entire run, which were pretty annoying. This has happened to me a couple times over the recent month, so I wonder if I need to start being more careful with what & when I eat leading up to my long run. Perhaps my spicy Mexican brunch yesterday was a bad idea. Of course, having a wild Friday night out with lots of drinks probably didn’t help, either. ;)

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This week’s workouts:
Sunday: 16 miles (am) + yoga (pm)
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 4.5 miles
Wednesday: 4.5 miles
Thursday: 8 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 13 miles (yay for step-back week!)

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How were your workouts this week?
Are you able to start getting out in the “spring” weather?
What’s your favorite carb-loading meal before a long run or race? 

Return to Normalcy (and a gigantic cookie)

It’s been nice to get back to normal this week. No longer feeling under the weather, I’ve been able to get my butt up when my earlyyy (5:45) alarm goes off and do Pilates in the mornings. I hate the early wake-up call, but it’s nice to have some “me” time before trotting off to work to cater to the rest of the world all day. Just sort of helps center myself before jumping into the day-to-day doldrums.

I’ve also enjoyed a few runs outside this week, which makes me happy! It’s finally gotten up to 40 degrees a few afternoons. Hotttt. Ha. Tuesday night, a group of about 8 ladies got together and I ran a solid 4 miles at a decent pace. It felt good, and easy! Crazy how these days a four-miler is my “easy” run.

I had a rather boring 2 mile run (was supposed to be 4 miles) on the treadmill yesterday. Slacker, but I got my 7 mile run done tonight so I’ll give myself a big pat on the back for that.

And this huge ass cookie.

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Because clearly my diet is back on track, errrr…

Happy almost Friday, friends!

My Secret Workout Weapon

This week, I added in a secret weapon to my workout schedule. As I write this, may I add, that my bum is on fire…

No, that’s not a personal issue, it’s just what happens when you add some Pilates to the mix!

Pilates are not what I’d think of first to add as strength training. The DVDs I use are fairly quick (only 20 minutes or so) and deceptively easy. At least for the first few minutes… then suddenly, ouch! These suckers are a workout. Quick + effective + do at home? Yes, please.

These aren’t new to me, I guess I just forgot I had the DVDs. I got them in high school (err, almost 10 years ago) and for a few months did the workouts several times a week. I remember feeling very strong, lean and my butt lookin’ good! Plus, I never once got injured during track and cross country season. So, lets hope that happens again this time. ;)

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I am going to try to alternate two specific workouts: abs, and buns & thighs. The abs workout is great to strengthen your core, of course, which is important for any runner. The buns and thighs really seem to target the hips, and the fact I’ve had trouble with weak hips in the last few years alone is enough to get me on this train. My piriformis was also burning this morning, so I know those moves are getting the booty, too.

Bored with your workouts or don’t have time to go strength train at the gym? (Or like me, feel intimidated by all the muscles while you hold your measly barbell?) Try Pilates! They’ll definitely give you the extra boost of strength and toning you need. Added bonus: You don’t need any equipment for these specific DVDs.

Be forewarned: These are serious workouts in disguise. I do some ab work usually, but yesterday morning I could barely keep up with the abs DVD. By noon, my abs were sore. That’s when you know it’s a keeper!

You can find the abs DVD on Amazon here and the buns & thighs here. (Buy them used, much more affordable!)

And no, I’m not paid to promote these, I just love ‘em that much.

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Do you use any workout DVDs?
What are your favorite ways to get strength workouts in?