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?

– – –

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.

032314-american-hustle-poster

And I love J Law. And Bradley Cooper…

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

032314-thousand-splendid-suns

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?

– – –

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. 😉

– – –

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!)

– – –

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.

20140320-210602.jpg

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. 😉

20140319-065824.jpg

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.

– – –

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

Week 11 Workouts {Green Bay Marathon}

Last week’s training was…kind of non-existent. I started feeling under the weather Monday and it all went downhill from there: Flu, followed by some cold/sinus junk. After a whole week of not running + lots of sleeping + way too much [needed] couch/TV time, I finally felt halfway decent on Saturday. Just in time for my long run of the week! Here’s how it went.

Sunday: Yoga + foam roll
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 4 miles sick 😦
Wednesday: 6 miles sick 😦
Thursday: 4 miles sick 😦
Friday: Rest {still sick}
Saturday: 15 miles 12 miles (~12:30/mile pace)

I wasn’t sure if I should just jump out there and try for my long run after a whole week off + being sick, but my running club peeps {who uses that word anymore?} told me I should try and simply “listen to your body.” My head was still congested and I had an annoying cough (nothing in my chest, though). I figured by 6 miles my body would tell me it was done.

Thanks to the recent time change, we started out in the dark and got to watch the sun come up…
031714-sunrise1

031714-sunrise

Not so bad. 🙂

Around 3-4 miles, I did start feeling pretty tired, but I just slowed down the pace a lot (from 10:30 pace to 11:30-12 min/mile) and took lots of walking breaks as needed. Surprisingly, I ended up feeling pretty good and kept going for a total of 12 miles. I even considered trying for all 15 miles… Then decided I had probably pushed myself enough; I’ll just surpass 15 miles when I hit 16 on my long run next weekend!

Running with the remnants of a cold/sinus congestion was kind of annoying—I went through a LOT of tissues—but at the end of the day, it did help clear all the crud out.

I should have taken the rest of my Saturday easy, but instead I ran around doing errands for a few hours, and only napped one hour before meeting some friends for dinner and bowling. By the time we were bowling around 8pm, I was exhausted! I had possibly the worst bowling scores of my life. HA. I could barely lift the dang ball at the end.

Note to self: You can run while you’re sick, but make sure you get extra rest and take it easy everywhere else!

Here’s hoping this week is back to normal! 🙂 I still really want to post a recap of my time in Phoenix, so keep an eye out—it will be a fun post!

This week’s workouts:
Sunday: Yoga & foam rolling
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 4 miles
Wednesday: 4 miles
Thursday: 7 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 16 miles

– – –

Have you ever run while you’re sick?
What are your cures for flu/cold season?

I take my “drug cocktail” every day when flu season hits, especially when I feel a little under the weather: Garlic pills (yep, for real), Echinacea, vitamin C, and zinc with lots of water. I swear it makes a difference! I also loooove me some hot peach tea with honey when I have a sore throat.

Week 9 & 10 Workouts {Phoenix Half & Green Bay Marathon}

Now up: Training for the Green Bay Marathon in May!

I had a good race at the Phoenix Half Marathon (you can see my recap here), and followed it up with a solid training week as I shifted goals from 13.1 miles, to a full 26.2.

Sunday, February 23rd: Stretch + foam roll

Monday: 4 miles
Solid jaunt on the treadmill.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 4 miles
I can’t remember exactly why I skipped this workout, other than I was probably just being lazy…

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 2 miles
After a 4-hour flight, I arrived in Phoenix with my sisters. That afternoon, we went on a little shake-out run to loosen up for our big race the next day.

We ran from our hotel…

tempe palms hotel

…to nearby Tempe Beach Park, which had a convenient running path along Tempe Town Lake.

running path along temp town lake

We enjoyed the views and the weather. It’s been so long since I’ve run in a t-shirt and shorts and actually felt the sun heating my skin. It was glorious, and made me itch for spring even more.

Saturday: 13.1 miles, Phoenix Half Marathon! 2:17:38 (10:30/mile pace)
phoenix half marathon medal
Felt strong and ran my last four miles progressively faster, with the last mile the fastest of all. Overall I was happy with my race and my time. This was no PR for me (I think a 2:08 is my best) but considering I haven’t been doing any speedwork, a 2:17 is pretty decent in my book.

Sunday, March 2nd: Rest
My “rest” day included hiking this beast, the “Tempe Butte” (aka “A Mountain”) in Tempe.

tempe butte, also known as A Mountain

Doesn’t stack up to the other hiking mountains around Phoenix, but we still felt the burn walking up this guy.

tempe butte

Monday: 3 miles easy
It was our last day in Arizona, and the weather was so refreshing (sunny + 60-something degrees) that we had to get one more run in. After all, we were heading back to single digit temps and snow. We went for another jog along the Tempe Lake path, this time crossing a footbridge and exploring the other side of the lake.

running in tempe, phoenix, arizona.

[thanks to my sister for the Instagram]

I wasn’t sure that a jog so soon after my half was wise, but I actually felt really strong and wasn’t sore at all. Success!

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 4 miles 2 miles
Back in the arctic tundra in Wisconsin, I reacquainted myself with my treadmill. Five minutes into the run, my left knee started bothering me a bit. I hopped off and foam rolled/stretched for a few minutes. I got back on the ‘mill and the naggy pain was gone, so I think my IT band was just tight since I hadn’t rolled in a week (I normally do it at least every other day). I didn’t want to push my luck, though, so I hopped off after 2 miles and just stretched/foam rolled some more.

Thursday: 6 miles
I got outside for this run, thankfully. I felt strong and actually had to keep slowing myself down, as I was pushing close to a 10-minute pace, which isn’t my “easy” pace at all!

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 14 miles
The temps were in the 20s for this long run, which hasn’t happened in a long while—heat wave! The wind was pretty severe, but I could still feel all of my limbs and exposed skin, so I count that as a win.

I felt really tight during most of this run.  My running partners did too, so we stopped every couple of miles to stretch, which helped us get through it. We hit a few treacherously icy stretches of road, which makes you run differently… I noticed after one particularly long bout on the ice, my hip flexors were super tight. I finished the run fine, but at the end I couldn’t have pushed it any faster, my legs just wouldn’t loosen up.

I was pretty tight and sore, especially my hips and knees, after this run. Even two days later now, my knees are feeling a little tender. I have a tendency to over-analyze pain due to all of my hip/knee related injuries in the past, so I’m trying not to freak myself out. 🙂 I’ve been foam rolling and icing my knees just in case. I’m also taking today off instead of tomorrow. (I was going to cross train, but I’m actually feeling kind of sick. Bleh.)

On a fun note, during the long run, my friend June found a $20 bill half-frozen into the ice on the side of the road.

030914-money-in-ice

We used a car key to chip it out, and then June bought us coffee with it after we finished the run. The bill was totally soaked and dirty, and I wish I would’ve gotten the poor cashier’s face when she pulled the bill out to pay. Hahah!

– – –

This week’s workouts:
Sunday: Yoga + foam roll
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 4 miles
Wednesday: 6 miles
Thursday: 4 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 15 miles (eep, starting to get up there!)

Depending how my knees feel, I might replace some mileage with cross training.

– – –

Do you overanalyze your aches and pains?
What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever found while out on a run/bike ride/walk?

The funniest thing I ever found while on a run was discovered during a high school cross country practice… We were running around some trails and found a “road closed” sign in a huge ditch near the woods. Thinking it’d be funny to use it as a prank somehow, my younger sister and I got the sign after practice and took it home. When my mom saw it, she totally freaked out on us because apparently taking road signs is illegal. Oooops! I mean, it was in the ditch, not even on the road… If that was the worst thing I did in high school, my mom is lucky. 😉