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!

Week 7 & 8 Workouts {Phoenix Half & Green Bay Marathon}

Life these days: Work, eat, run, eat, work, sleep. Repeat.

I’ve had lots of long hours at my desk lately {fulfilling, but draining}. In the past, long hours on the job meant I skipped my workouts and spent that free time vegging to rest my brain. This time, I finally managed to break for a run—even when I felt like “I just don’t have time”—because I knew the mental break would be invigorating. And it was. I’ll try to remember that in the future, when stressful projects & precious free time collide again.

Here’s a recap of the past two weeks’ workouts, leading up to my half marathon in Phoenix, Arizona a short week away. (Ohh, so excited!)

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– – – – – WEEK 7 – – – – – 

Sunday, February 9th: Stretch + foam roll

Monday: 3.5 miles 3 miles + 10 minutes bike
I got to 3 miles on the treadmill and boredom struck hard, so I bopped to the bike for the rest of my workout.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 3.5 miles
Another easy treadmill run.

Thursday: 6 miles 5.5 miles
First run on my new treadmill! Even though I complain about the ‘mill all the time, when my friend put hers up for sale for $150, Matt sprung to get it for me so I could have a treadmill at home. Woo! What a great fiancé.

It’s so nice to be able to watch my own TV shows, play my music without headphones, and work out at home whenever I want. Even with all those perks, getting to 5.5 miles was still a struggle against boredom; an hour on the treadmill is a long time! It was a good workout, though. I played around with speed and incline to keep my mind busy and test the waters of my new toy treadmill.

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 11 miles
What a fantastic run! It was really cold yet again—barely above zero, I think. Meeting up to run with four other ladies (including a new running club member) sure helped make the miles fly by, though. This run was a major win with NO SNOW on the roads. I forgot how much easier it is to run when there aren’t a couple inches of snow mucking up your footing.

With that, my longest pre-half marathon run is complete!

– – – – – WEEK 8 – – – – – 

Sunday, February 16th: Stretch + foam roll
Hi, major knot in my left IT band. Meet my little friend, the foam roller. Ouch.

Monday: Rest
Switched my usual rest day to Monday, so I could work some extra hours in the evening.

Tuesday: 4 miles (10:52/mile)
AH! It was 44 degrees outside and it felt like heaven. Ha.

I met up with a handful of my running buds for a post-work run (one of those “I don’t think I have time, but I need to do this for me” runs). It felt glorious to actually be a little too warm with all our layers on. My face didn’t feel like it was going to fall off. I could actually feel all of my limbs. It was a nice run.

Wednesday: 4 miles 3 miles (10:33/mile)
Working at home ‘til 11pm Tuesday + getting up at 5:30am to get s* done in the morning = I felt like a zombie when I got home Wednesday evening. Despite that, I craved a little run to clear my mind. It was still 40 degrees out (heat wave!) and I knew if I didn’t go for a run, I’d sprint to a glass of wine instead. Glad I opted for the healthier alternative.

Taking a moment to breathe & enjoy the view on a dusk run.

Taking a moment to breathe & enjoy the view on a dusk run.

Thursday: 6 miles Rest
The late nights, early mornings and stress finally caught up to me, I guess. When I got home, I was kind of exhausted and drained of all motivation. I spent a relaxing, low-key night on the couch with DVDs of “The West Wing,” and Matt, instead.

And maybe some wine.

Friday: Rest
My “real” rest day. I was still pretty tapped out from the week—I seriously wanted to go to bed at 7pm. Yawn.

Saturday: 8 miles 7 miles
My step-back “long” run before the Phoenix Half Marathon. YAY, I can’t wait! Sunny weather, warm temps, and my sisters. I’m already daydreaming about landing there on Friday.

This run was good, because I got to meet yet another new member of our running club, and we enjoyed a relaxed run. On the not-so-good part, my stomach started feeling funky around mile 3, so the last two miles were pretty stop-and-go as I had to walk a lot. I cut the run a mile short because of that, but I’m not worried about a lost mile.

Note to self: Mexican food the night before a long run? Never again.

– – –

This week’s workouts:
Sunday: Yoga + foam roll
Monday: 4 miles
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 4 miles
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 2 miles (shakeout run)
Saturday: 13.1 miles, Phoenix Half Marathon!

– – –

Do you squeeze in workouts, even when life pummels hectic curveballs your way?

Are you looking forward to any races on your schedule? 

Hell’s Frozen Over, aka, An Enjoyable Treadmill Run

Chaos, email flurry, meetings galore. Monday was a hectic start to the week, so I couldn’t wait to get my sweat on and clear my head. But only 5 minutes after I got onto the treadmill, I was feeling very ho-hum.

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Borrrring. This cold weather (as in, negative wind chills again this week) is really getting to me, and it’s tough being stuck inside all the time on the dang treadmill. Nevertheless, I grimaced and kept chugging along, human hamster on the treadmill, slapping my three miles out.

I had my scheduled rest day yesterday, which was perfect timing—I was working until almost 8 o’clock at night. Talk about brain dead! There’s no way I would have had the determination to run after that. I did have the willpower to stick with my new diet, though: On days I don’t work out, my calorie intake is pretty limited, so I have to eat very smartly to make sure every calorie counts to help me stay full. I went to bed exhausted, but happy with myself for stickin’ with it, even on a crazy day.

Today, I turned another corner.

Once again, I was looking forward to my post-workday run to clear the jumble of design, code, tight timelines and other nonsense from my mind. At the gym, I hopped on the treadmill {…again} and decided to try a programmed “interval” workout. I wanted to up the effort since Wednesdays are my “speed” days. After a few minutes warming up, the program had me run 5mph easy for a minute, alternated with 1 minute at 6.5mph. At first, I didn’t think the effort was hard enough, but by halfway through, I could tell it was giving me a decent workout; harder than usual, at least. For the final few intervals, I upped the speed to 6.8mph for the fast minutes, so perhaps I could have upped it a little more the whole time. Next time!

Now here’s the “Whaaaaat?” moment of today’s story:

I actually enjoyed the speed workout. The treadmill workout.

Is that hell freezing over?

Nope, it’s just the polar vortex of doom. Again.

But, really. I have been so sick of the treadmill, especially for easy pace runs where I just want to space out. Now I’ve found that when it comes to controlling speed, it’s much easier on the treadmill to push the pace (after all, you gotta keep up or you’ll, you know, completely wipe out and fall on your face). It’s also easier to make sure your “recovery” pace is actually on target, too. I always had a hard time doing speedwork outdoors; I was unable to keep the right paces, usually pushing too hard, too early, so I’d burn out halfway through. So, I think it’s safe to say I am now a fan of the old ‘mill when it comes to speedwork.

Yeah, yeah. I can’t believe it either. But the time just flew by, and I was done before I knew it. I even considered running a few extra minutes. Really! Then I was like, “Helloooo self, you’re on the treadmill, don’t you wanna get off by now?” and so I did.

Besides, I have 5 miles to bust out on the indoor track tomorrow. We’ll see if that’s any more fun than the hamster wheel.

Do you find workouts help you de-stress?
What are your tricks to fool yourself into {gasp} enjoying treadmill time? 

Week 4 Workouts {Phoenix Half & Green Bay Marathon}

How to sum up this week? A couple good runs, a guilt-ridden but necessary skipped run, and an extra-hard long run to round ‘em all up. Read on.

Monday
Rest

Tuesday
3 mile run
Treadmill time. Ran 3 miles on it, climb-up & back down in speed, 5.5mph to 6.5mph.

Wednesday
3 mile run
Treadmill again. Tried a pre-programmed activity of “rolling hills,” which I expected to mean incline changes, but just jumped me back & forth between 5.5mph and 6mph. Felt strong; good workout.

Thursday
5 mile run DNR
My neck had been hurting me since last Saturday, giving me irritating headaches and pain that ran up and down my neck into my shoulder. Super awesome, let me tell ya. I was feeling out of it, as haven’t been sleeping great, and my neck was still bothering me, so I skipped the run. (Excuses, excuses.)

I tried to make up for it {at least a little] by doing lots of core/hip/leg work while watching TV in the evening.

Friday
Rest
I felt a little guilty for skipping Thursday’s run, until the afternoon when I realized my neck had NOT been hurting anymore! Finally. Taking the day off had actually helped, so I was glad I made that decision after all.

Saturday
8 mile run (8.02mi/11:27 pace)
Ohh, this run. Let me start out with: I am so glad I finished it, as it was yet another lesson in perseverance, and I won’t fall behind on my weekly long runs before my half marathon. I’m grateful to my friend June for running with me; she really pulled me through, even though she probably didn’t realize I was having such a tough time.

But man, this 8 miles was rough. First of all, we had winds at 25mph, gusting up to 40mph. It was 23 degrees when we started, with a “feels like” of 2 degrees. TWO. And the temps actually dropped after that, to below zero. So that was swell.

On top of that, it had snowed several inches overnight, so the roads were mostly not cleared—which meant we were running on a sand-like consistency most of the time. Two miles in, I could tell this would be a hard run, but I tried to push those thoughts out of my mind and just enjoy the fact that I was outside running, and not on a treadmill.

By the time 5 miles had passed, I was plugged into my headphones trying to tune everything out. Running on snow not only makes your legs tired, but it wears on your hips, calves (so sore today!), lower back, core… It’s like a full-body workout. Despite the cold, I was sweating under all my layers, and I was thirsty. Luckily, I had some cash in my pocket, so when we passed by a mini mart, I ducked inside for a bottle of water. That seemed to help a bit.

We kept trudging through the snow back to our starting point, but we were only at 7 miles total, due to a shortcut we had taken on a non-snow covered road on the way back. I was so ready to just be DONE, but June said, “I guess we’ll just run another half mile out and back, right?” Right you are… So we kept going, and got the 8 miles done.

Coffee afterwards never tasted so good. The warmth! We then stopped by the indoor farmer’s market, and everyone was pawning us samples. We must have looked hungry. I picked up some homemade veggie burgers and raspberry jam, and headed home, content, tired, and proud. Nap time.

– – –

Here’s what’s on tap for this week:

Sunday: yoga
Monday: 3 miles easy
Tuesday: rest
Wednesday: 3 miles tempo
Thursday: 5 miles pace
Friday: rest
Saturday: 9 miles {please, God, better weather!}

– – –

How were your workouts & runs this week?
What do you do when you have an especially tough time, or want to quit?

I just try to remember my goal and how whatever I’m doing will help me to get there—and how it will hurt me if I quit. Setting yourself up for success by running with others always seems to help give that extra push, too.

Workplace Positivity + Treadmill Fun

We made it halfway! Well, for me, I just have one more day ‘til the weekend. Woo. At work, we’ll soon have two web designers on maternity leave, so before I get to train and oversee their freelance fill-ins and things get hectic, I thought I’d take a day off for ME. It will be full of homemade breakfast and wedding designing.

And maybe some wine, because my boss told me to. Ha. My kinda vaca day!

How has your week been going? Mine’s been okay—I had a rollercoaster of a Monday, which prompted me to give myself a little inspiration:

workplace inspiration

I was having a rough morning (for no real reason), so at lunchtime, I found these colorful & positive messages on Pinterest, printed them out, and hung them in eyesight. I guess it was just one of those days, but I am already loving peeking up at those peppy messages every day.

“You gotta stay positive.”
“Choose to see the good stuff.”

Staying positive and finding the good in things just makes life so much easier! (And happier.) 🙂

I had some good workouts yesterday & today on the treadmill. It’s been another arctic week here in Wisconsin, so outdoor running is a no-go. I’ve been trying to keep the treadmill interesting (and dare I say, fun?). On Tuesday, I had 3 miles on the schedule, so I did my usual climb up/climb down starting at 5.5mph, going slowly up to 6.5mph, and then back down. Changing the speed up and down by .1mph every minute or so helps me break up the run mentally, I guess.

Today, I had another 3 miles on the docket, so I tried one of the pre-programmed workouts on the ‘mill. It was a “rolling hills” workout, which I must have set up wrong because the incline never went up from 0 like I expected. Ha But, it did give me an easy warm-up before jumping back & forth between 5.5mph, straight up to 6mph, then straight back down to 5.5mph. It went up or down like this at every minute for about 25 minutes before an easy cool down. I liked the mix of easy running with a burst of speedier effort, it made me feel strong and the time went by quickly.

Cheers to the approaching weekend (and a very cold 8-mile long run on Saturday)!

– – –

How do you keep your treadmill (or other gym workout) interesting?
Do you have a favorite motivational quote or saying? 

Week 3 Workouts {Phoenix Half & Green Bay Marathon}

I’m going to start numbering my weekly workout recaps up to the Phoenix Half Marathon, then the Green Bay Marathon. It will end up being a 20-week cycle by the end, when I reach my second 26.2-mile goal. 🙂 I hope you follow along with me! {If you missed my training plan, you can find it here.}

Let’s get to it: Last week’s workouts were great! I actually hit all my workouts, so that’s always a plus, huh?

Monday
3 mile run
I popped onto the dreadmill at the gym and, while it did feel a little less dreadful than the last few weeks (maybe I’m just getting back into shape), I shall still call it the dreadmill out of principle. Followed up with stretching & some hip/core work at home.

Tuesday
Rest
Enjoyed a second birthday dinner out with my man! I’m glad he insisted. 😉

Wednesday
4 mile run
The ‘mills were all taken up when I got to the gym, so I hopped on a stationary bike for 25 minutes until one opened up. I followed the biking with 2 miles on the treadmill, where I made it count with some speedwork. I started at 5.5mph and got up to 7.5mph before brining it back down to 6-6.5mph for the last 5 minutes. I felt strong! Did some hip & core work at home.

Thursday
3 mile run {3.11 mi/10:45 pace}
I ran outside with my friend Liz (who saved the day because I was ready to bail on this workout). We get to geek out with some Garmin stats again, finally: We ran 3.11 miles easy pace, which was a 10:45 average. (Spot on with what I want my marathon pace to be.) Weather was 30 degrees and kind of spitting snow, but it was better than the treadmill.

Friday
Rest

Saturday
7 mile run {7.01 mi/10:30 pace}
I had to go all out to bundle up for this one! I thought I wore a lot for this run a few weeks ago, but I had to go buy a balaclava and winter hat on Friday in preparation for Saturday’s run. The windchill was a few degrees below zero when we started! My legs felt pretty much numb most of the run, and I had icicles on my eyelashes most of the time. I wish I had taken a better picture, but if you look closely at this one, you can see the icicles in my hair on the right… Ha!

runner icicles outside

I felt great during this run, and we didn’t pay attention to the pace. I was surprised to see we ran it at 10:30 min/mile!

long run 7 miles splits

I know I should not worry about pacing during my long runs, but this is a faster-than-usual pace for me, and considering it felt “easy” I am proud of it. I’m glad my friend June could keep me company & truckin’ along!

Last Week’s Workouts

Now that the holidays have passed, it’s nice to get back to working out and feeling healthy again. Here’s how my workouts went this past week:

Monday–Wednesday:
Family in town, didn’t work out.

Thursday, Jan. 2:
20 minutes treadmill (5.5mph-6mph, an “easy” pace)
10 minutes elliptical
15 minutes body strength

I planned to do 30 minutes on the treadmill, but my right knee started acting up at almost 20 minutes. Rather than chance anything, I hopped off onto the elliptical for the last 10 minutes. I don’t know why my knee was bugging me {very slightly}, other than perhaps from sitting all day at my desk and the fact I hadn’t run in 10 days, it was tight?

For my body strengthening, I just did a bunch of core exercises, some push-ups, squats and my hip exercises.

Friday:
Off, rest day before long run.

Saturday:
5 mile long run
Hip exercises

I’m starting my long runs for my half marathon training schedule. {I’ll post my full schedule for you to see soon.} I was only going to run 4 miles, but I joined up with my running club to run yesterday morning, and my friend Tom talked me up to 5 miles instead.

The run was challenging, but good. It was “feels like” 8 degrees out with the wind chill, but with the right clothes it wasn’t bad at all. {See my “what to wear for winter running” post!}

You know it’s windy out when the flags are blowing straight out…

flags in windy winter weather

The toughest part of the run was the varying road conditions. Forget the sidewalks—a lot weren’t even shoveled—so we were relegated to the roads. Some parts were clear, some had slush, but the worst parts still had about an inch of snow on them.

snowy roads for winter running

The snow wasn’t slippery, but it felt like running in sand! Phew, what a workout. Those parts definitely slowed me down, and towards the end of the run, I just wanted to walk through them, but I kept chugging along.

Despite all that, it sure was pretty out…

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I was definitely spent after the run, but it felt good to be out in the fresh air, chatting with some friends, and getting in a good run…all before 9am!

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{I need to get better at my selfie skills. ha!}

After my run, I came home and did some foam rolling (owww) and some hip exercises to help keep my knees happy.

– – –

What were your workouts this week?
Would you bundle up and run in those conditions?