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5/24/13

Updates and Follow Friday!

So after a crazy, hectic, and emotional week I have finally gained the strength to update you all on my life happenings. As you probably noticed sadly #IcelandPlanks did not take place and we came back to the states ofter only 12 hours abroad. Long story short we did not have the best initial experience in Iceland and there was a death in my spouse's family. We came to a consensus that the time we had planned to be away from family was only best spent with those we love. Since moving to Illinois in August 2012 (leaving all friends and family behind in Texas) it has been a tough adjustment which makes seeing family that much more special. Life is short and being with those who mean the most to us outweighed being thousands of miles away. We will still travel abroad in the future (looking forward to our summer in Europe in 2016) but right now we are soaking up the Texas sun and massive amounts of Mexican food.

I want to thank all of you for your kind words and positive thoughts as we processed over 48 hours of travel and losing someone we love. I am so grateful for such a loving community of amazing souls.

Short and sweet posts can only be ended by sending love to some of my fellow bloggers. Be sure to check out these amazing and inspirational people!









Hope everyone has amazing Friday! 

Happy Running! 


5/16/13

Off to Iceland we go! (Weekly Recap)

Today we are off to Iceland! It has been over a year in the making which means I am super anxious/excited. I have planned out every day (directions, pit stops, food, excursions, etc.) and I just hope we have smooth sailing but I am sure we will get lost and take detours. Please forgive the shortness of this entry but I am trying not to forget necessities, like my toothbrush. As funny as it may seem, I just wanted to squeeze one last run in before my 15 day break. Someone please reassure me that my fitness won't be down to zero when I return.

Here is my Weekly Recap of running in Texas:

Monday: 2 mile easy run @ 13:09 pace & #plankaday 1:31




Tuesday: 3 mile hill run @ 13:20 pace & #plankaday 1:32




Wednesday: 2 mile run (.5 WU, 1 mile @ 5K pace, .5 CD) & #plankaday 1:36




Thursday: 2 mile run @ 12:58 pace & #plankaday 1:38



Don't forget to keep a look out for my #IcelandPlanks on Twitter. I will attempt to load them onto the blog each day but there may not be wireless available each night. If you are just learning about this here is the info: I will be completing my #Plankaday from various locales in Iceland. I may do a few a day depending on the scenery but be on the look out as I update each day. The hashtag is #IcelandPlanks and will begin tomorrow, May 17th. 

Although I won't be able to make a full post for over 15 days I hope you all stay in touch!


Happy Training, Racing, Vacations and Family time!

*P.S. If you were on the look out for the Under Armour 7" Compression Shorts, I am sorry to report that I was not able to squeeze in trying them out. I will be sure to get a review up (as well as other new gear) during the first week of June. 


5/14/13

I Run for Pizza.

There are some days when taking a day off is quite necessary. I, like many runners, find that those rest days help balance our training and life. Yesterday, was not one of those days for me. The main reason was that I would be consuming massive amounts of pizza with friends. So I woke up at 6:30 in the morning to take on my first run in Texas (my attempt to avoid the heat of the late morning). I took off on my 2 mile run through some pretty awesome rolling "hills" and enjoyed the amazing morning. 



I was lucky enough that the temperature was still in the 60s, which meant I wasn't moments from a heat stroke. A different climate and hilly terrain made me realize how unprepared I was prior to this run (even though I felt great). 

1. Ease into warmer temperatures. 
Try to plan runs before/after the hottest part of the day. After a couple of runs I, personally, like to slowly work in mid-day runs in the heat to add versatility to my training. 

2. Plan out your routes to verify that they are runner friendly.
There is nothing like running out of sidewalk or running into construction to throw off a run. Also, planning to run by a convenience store or drive thru can serve as a great hydration station on a long run.

3. Before you head out the door give family your planned route. 
My spouse has all my routes memorized (back home) so sharing just how long you will be gone (in a new place) is not enough. Becoming dehydrated or reacting to increased heat means a pick up mid-run may be necessary. 

4. HYDRATE! 
Growing up in Texas, I adapted to the heat but since moving to Illinois (I miss that weather) my body was not ready for the heat. Thus, I load up on water and use Nuun Hydration to add some flavor (and more importantly electrolytes). 

5. Be Positive! 
On a new route, new elevation and new temperatures means you should not expect a perfect run. Your pace may change slightly or your body may not enjoy heat but don't be discouraged. This is just one more challenge of your running journey.

Following my run, I attempted to stretch before heading out the door to spend another day with the mom. Of course, I had to take a few minutes to complete my #Plankaday. I struggled a bit (probably due to the whole not hydrating enough) but I did what I could. 



I headed to chop off my long locks (in preparation for Iceland) and eat lunch with the parents. I have to stop and share a picture of my childhood cat that is 18 YEARS OLD


I introduce Simba, King of the Indoor Cats. 

After our lunch reunion, we headed to grab more gear needed for Iceland and to treat myself to a much needed pedicure. I have heard so many runners indulging in massages before/after races or even monthly, which I thought "my muscles are great" why bother? Well, I ate my words and the pedicure was not only amazing but needed. My poor tender shins, calves and arches were so grateful and my toes now look presentable in sandals. 


 Advice: Post-race/monthly pedicures are a great treat for your muscles. 

My day concluded with an amazing dinner shared with some of my college sorority sisters. 


Did I mention how much I love pizza? 


Happy Running! 


How do you prepare for training runs away from home?

What are your rituals to treat yourself after a hard run?

Any pizza toppings you can't live without?
Give me pepperoni, mushroom, and goat cheese any day!


5/13/13

Happy Mother's Day.

I love little holidays where a special person in your life is celebrated. If I had it my way I would celebrate everyday, but I guess then the novelty would wear off. As many of you may know, this is the first time in my life when I don't live within an hour of my parents. So it was important for me to spend as many minutes of the day reminding my mom just how AWESOME she is. Now, one thing I must note about my mother and I, we love to shop! Which means in between meals on special occasions we ransack some store and come out champions! (If you are curious, YES, Queen is playing in the background as we triumphantly exit store after store.) In order to celebrate my return to Texas (at least for the time being), we did Mother's Day proud. 




Started the day with an amazing lunch of Mexican food goodness. Yeah that's right, I saved the first bite of Mexican food (IN OVER 4 MONTHS) with my parents and spouse. They should consider themselves lucky because it was beautiful and perhaps slightly nauseating watching me stuff my face. 

Afterwards, I volunteered the spouse to perform photography duty while my father avoided the camera. I guess mom and I are the photo hogs in this family. 

Can you tell we are smiling through the pain of full bellies?







We then proceeded to head over to Pinkberry (best frozen yogurt!) and partake in mini yogurt & fruit goodness. You know to top off the Mexican food in our already stuffed bellies. Next stop, an outlet mall in search of things I am sure we don't need...until we see it. I am quite certain we should receive medals for our ability to spot items from across the room that are perfect for an important occasion that hasn't been planned yet. However, there were necessities for the upcoming trip to Iceland, so I raided a Columbia. Don't worry I left some things for other shoppers. I then proceeded to NEED some more compression shorts. I actually am going to compare the Reebook 7" Compression Shorts and Under Armour 7" Compression Shorts. I am quite curious and will have the results for you very soon! 

So what should anyone do after a fun filled afternoon of shopping? Eat again! But really, we met up with my MIL and BIL for a dinner at a local favorite restaurant. I decided to attempt some self control and order a somewhat "good for me meal" I say that because it is served with vegetables in order to balance my massive lunch. 


We then had to end on an even higher note.


All in all I would say that Mother's Day was a complete success. I spent time with those I love and ate way too much (but it was amazing!). I am so thankful to have such an amazing best friend and mother who has always been a rock in my life. I only hope that each and every year I am able to share how special she truly is in my life and heart. To all the mom's out there, I hope you had an amazing day, all about you!


Happy Running! 



Weekly Recap


This week was one of those weeks where despite all the craziness going on at home, every run felt glorious.

Monday: 2 mile easy run @ 13:24 pace and #plankaday 1:00


Tuesday: #plankaday 1:05

Wednesday: 3 mile run @ 12:58 pace and #plankaday 1:10

Thursday: #plankaday 1:15

Friday: 4 mile tempo run @ 13:04 pace and #plankaday 1:20


Saturday: #plankaday 1:25 (Travel Day)

Sunday: #plankaday 1:31 (Happy Mother's Day)

Looking forward to cramming in 4 more runs before taking off to Iceland on Thursday! Lucky for me I will be using the summer heat and mild hills to add some flavor to my workouts. Hope you all have a fantastic week!

Happy Running! 



This week was a great running week despite all the craziness going on at home. 

Monday: 2 mile easy run @ 13:24 pace and #plankaday 1:00


Tuesday: #plankaday 1:05

Wednesday: 3 mile run @ 12:58 pace and #plankaday 1:10

Thursday: #plankaday 1:15

Friday: 4 mile tempo run @ 13:04 pace and #plankaday 1:20


Saturday: #plankaday 1:25 (Travel Day)

Sunday: #plankaday 1:31 (Happy Mother's Day)

Looking forward to cramming in 4 more runs before taking off to Iceland on Thursday! Lucky for me I will be using the summer heat and mild hills to add some flavor to my workouts. Hope you all have a fantastic week!

Happy Running! 

How did your week turn out?

Anyone participating in the #plankaday challenge?


5/12/13

Deep in the Heart of Texas.

I am thoroughly convinced the I could road trip anywhere in the world. I have taken on the task of driving from Texas to California, Washington D.C., Virginia, Nevada, and Illinois. Every trip has not been my finest moments (lack of make up and loads of caffeine aren't good for anyone). I will share this little relationship tip: if you can survive with your significant other in a car for more than 10 hours, you should probably marry that person. I only say this because close quarters, lack of sleep and food, combined with psychotic drivers can make anyone a little crazy. The mere fact that I can walk away from each road trip with the spouse laughing, just makes me realize how genuinely lucky I am in life. 

Here are some little tidbits from the road:



Hour 1: Caught Bear snoozing and attempting to get comfortable. 


Beautiful Illinois/Missouri wild prairie flowers that literally went on for miles.


Success! First attempt photographing both sign and arch in the same frame. 


Caught the opening pitch of the Cardinals v. Rockies game. (via car)


By hour 4 Bear was quite content with taking up the entire backseat. 


After approximately 15 hours of potty breaks, drive thru's and stretch sessions, we arrive in the great state of Texas. We ended up eating dinner around 12:30, which had to include Whataburger. If you haven't had it you are missing out and if you have MMMmmmmm. After we inhaled our food, caught up with family then realized it was TWO O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING! At that point I realized an early morning shakeout run wasn't going to happen because Mother's Day festivities began at 10am. I am just so happy to be home spending much needed time with family.

Happy Running! 

5/10/13

Run Like You Have Wings and Follow Friday.

This morning was quite possibly one of the best runs I have had in quite a long time. Since I am not in "official" training, my goal each week is to meet a mileage between 9-14 miles. On the schedule today was a long run of 4 miles at a painfully slow pace which I absolutely hate majority of the time. I headed out my door and the first mile literally flew by and I ran 1 minute faster than my long run pace. Oops. Oh well, I took lemons and made lemonade. I ran each mile about 10 seconds slower than my half marathon pace. YAY! I cannot even believe that 4 miles felt great because I used to despise anything over 3 miles! To top it all off I had a PR!
Did I mention how much I love my Garmin? Considering a Garmin or a new runner looking for an awesome piece of gear? Head over to Pavement Runner's Blog, to check out the giveaway sponsored by Garmin. 

So back to my awesome run. Yeah, I will be riding this high for quite a while. I even had my on my Today's Miles shirt which I am convinced gave me wings. Runners red bull? 

Once I cooled down and dragged myself upstairs I celebrated by foam rolling for about 20 minutes and of course my #plankaday. Yes, it was quite painful and I may never do it again or until my legs hurt so bad I can't walk. If you have any stiffness or tight muscles after a run, I would highly recommend looking into foam rolling. It may not help everyone but it was my lifesaver. 

PR on day 10 of my challenge!

Did I mention we are heading out the door in about 8 hours? I am wisely utilizing my time to write this blog and plan future blogs before leaving for ICELAND! I may be a little excited but I think it is masking my sheer horror of visiting a foreign country. Who knows I may come back speaking Icelandic. Remember that huge to do list? I finished the list and we are ready to go. I had to celebrate the occasion with a luggage photo op (and Bear made a cameo). 
Top left: Everyone needs a backpack when you travel.
Top right: Iceland gear (2 weeks of my life shoved into a backpack). 
Bottom: Texas bag which mainly consists of running gear, hence my best friend...Mr. Foam Roller.

I only wish I learned the art of efficient packing before I went on multiple trips requiring me to check my huge amount of luggage. You live you learn? Great, now I am going to be worried I didn't pack ENOUGH for the country located a mere 50 miles from the Arctic Circle. Speaking of the cool locale that is Iceland, did you hear about my #Plankaday commitment? Check it out and visit the blog each day (between May 16-31) for a new photo showing off the gorgeous Iceland scenery with a plank or two! I am really excited to share this with you all, plus it's Iceland! If you have seen Prometheus you will understand, if not here is a sneak peek. 

Dettifoss, Northeastern Iceland

Oh don't forget to check out these awesome blogs featured on my Follow Friday! If you love blogs as much as I do then you are in for a treat!










Happy Running to all! 








5/9/13

To do lists are taking over my life. (#plankaday announcement)

In approximately 35 hours my spouse and I will be leaving our little home in Illinois for a month. After a very stressful semester, we are in desperate need of a vacation and time with family. Oh and did I mention we are going to ICELAND for 15 days for our 1 year anniversary/honeymoon? Yeah I am so excited (it will be my first trip over an ocean) but terrified at the same time! I keep having flashbacks of scenes from Taken (except the kidnappers have giant parkas and skidoos) which doesn't comfort a newbie international traveler. But after months of preparation and attempting to pronounce all of the city names, I think I am as well prepared as I can be.

So to fill my time today, (since no running was scheduled) I attempted to put together a large list of things I need to accomplish before Friday evening.

Itinerary

May 11-15: Spending time in Texas with family/dropping off Bear-dog with Grandma.

May 16-31: ICELAND!!!!!!!

June 1-10: Enjoying delicious Mexican food in Texas (maybe squeeze some family time in).

Needless to say there is a lot of different climates and occasions to pack for during our month away. So I utilized a giant poster board to jot down my various lists in an attempt to stay organized. In reality I think all it did was make me want to curl into a ball and cry. Funny enough, I made the list then began writing this post, so procrastination may be the theme tonight.


While I realize, unless you own a microscope, this is quite impossible to read, I felt I needed to share my accomplishment. YAY, I put it all on paper and now I have to figure out how to fit it in the car. Let the panic attack begin. I would just like you to note in the bottom left hand corner...yes, there is a Bear Packing List. I am convinced he has more "items" to pack than the humans in the house. I am also sad to report that I will not be doing any running in Iceland. During my planning, quite literally every hour was planned, (yes, even potty breaks) in order to see the ENTIRE country. Plus, majority of our time will be spent hiking, walking and swimming which put me at ease about not getting a run in. So, I have something fun planned for my readers while we are exploring the country!

As many of you may(or may not know) I have jumped on the #Plankaday bandwagon! 

Today's plank was a PR! YAY! 

So to share our amazing trip with you I will be doing my planks at various scenic locations EVERYDAY from Iceland! Each day I will post a picture of me planking in front of an amazing site in the country (maybe two or three, if we pass too many amazing sites I won't be able to chose one). This will be a fun way to include my readers but more importantly to share that I am keeping up with my #plankaday commitment. If you happen to miss the post I will also be tagging pictures/posts with #ICELANDPLANKS. I will be post more details about the trip once I return to states and recover from being Dora the Explorer. 

Interested in joining the #plankaday community? Just take a picture of your plank time and post it with the tag #plankaday. There is an amazing community out there of very dedicated plank-ers who are undoubtedly plank superstars! Can you plank over 4 minutes? Head over to Running with Ollie she has created a Plank Leader Board and I pretty sure the leader has held a plank for over 11 minutes! Crazy I know, but she is awesome because she is from Texas so go check out her page!

I am looking forward to a 4 mile run tomorrow (another method of packing procrastination) and breakfast with the spouse! I hope everyone is doing fantastic and ready to enjoy some warm summer weather. 

Happy Running! 

What are your "must-have" items when traveling?

Do you run or exercise while on vacation?