Monday, April 30, 2012

Week 8 Training Summary

Woo! The half marathon is less than one month away now!! I have to admit, a few weeks ago, I couldn't help thinking "holy crap, what did I get myself into??" But now, with each passing week, it's getting much easier to complete the long runs, and recovery is so mild that I can carry on with my day as if I didn't just run for 90 consecutive minutes. Crazy, huh?

I ran a total of 29 miles this week, including one cross-training session and two strength workouts. Here's a glimpse of my week 8 training summary:


Saturday night, I had my wedding dinner tasting, which worked out perfectly because I ate A LOT...

Corn and shrimp chowder, garden salad, apple stuffed chicken breast, beef tenderloin with mushroom sauce, twice baked potato, green beans, and a chocolate cake with ganache.

Okay so maybe 100% of all that was not consumed, but I'd say a good 70% was. Either way, I had plenty of stored energy for Sunday's long 10 mile run.

I mapped out a course through Waltham, Lexington, Belmont, around Fresh Pond, and back to end in Belmont Center. It was a gorgeous day for a run - a bit chilly even - and I have never felt stronger during a run! I completed the 10.14 miles in 90 minutes, which is faster than I anticipated. I did stop at mile 3.5 to walk up this crazy mother of a hill, but I carried on once I got to the top and ran the remaining distance.

Here's the 10 mile route I used:


I've been experiencing some pain on the ball of my right foot, which I'm hoping will dissipate once my new running shoes arrive. I'm very excited to show them to you! They should be arriving either today or tomorrow. And they are FAB.

Friday, April 27, 2012

(Splurge) Recipe of the Week: S'mores Cookies

For all of you out there dedicated to living a healthier lifestyle - no matter how far along you are in your weight loss/maintenance process or your journey to becoming fitter - you all deserve a moment of self-gratification every once in awhile. You owe it to yourselves. And it's important in your journey to have splurge moments to practice moderation. Need justification? Just think of all that hard work...

the slices of pizza you turned away for lunch
the fruits and vegetables you added into your diet
the piece of cake at your friend's birthday party that you turned down
the portions you have decreased
the miles you have jogged
the beers you replaced with a small glass of wine
the pasta you traded for quinoa
the hours spent transitioning from lifting those 5lb weights to now being able to lift 8lb weights
substituting french fries for the vegetable of the day at your favorite restaurant
the burn after those grueling ab exercises
getting out of bed on a rainy Saturday morning to workout instead of curling up on the couch
settling for healthy recipes on food blogs when all you really want to do try that mac-n-cheese recipe you saw the other day...I mean...

Well, I've got a really great treat today for all you especially hard workers. This is definitely not a low calorie dessert, BUT it's really not too bad if you only have ONE...so think of it as a cheat snack!

The other day, I was feeling creative - I also happened to be in the mood for s'mores (summer is right around the corner and who doesn't love those??)
So I concocted this idea of S'mores Cookies: Hershey chocolate wrapped in a graham cracker sugar cookie, topped with a light layer of Fluff. Yup, they are worth it.


S'mores Cookies

Ingredients
Cookie dough: (recipe inspired by here)
3/4 C butter, softened
1/2 C white sugar
1/2 C packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 C flour
1 C graham cracker crumbs (plus 2 Tbsp additional for garnish)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
Other:
2 Hershey bars (or more if you're like me and like to "taste-test" as you bake)
1/2 C Fluff

Dough Preparation:
  • Beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Blend in egg and vanilla. Add combined flour, graham cracker crumbs (made with food processor), baking soda, and salt. Mix well.
  • Refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours. **This step is necessary. The dough will be very sticky after initial mixing. Refrigerating it will allow it to better solidify to form around the chocolate in the next step.

Now onto the fun part...

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
Open up your Hershey bars, and break them into single pieces.


Next, take two 1 Tbsp spoonfuls of your refrigerated dough and sandwich a single Hershey chocolate piece in between the dough.


Seal the edges of the dough together so that no chocolate is peaking out.

Place onto ungreased cookie sheet, about 3 inches apart. I was only able to bake 6 at a time - these cookies do spread quite a lot, so be careful not to overcrowd the sheet!


Bake these bad boys for 8 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on the sheet for a few minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Once cooled, spread a thin layer of Fluff onto each cookie, and sprinkle with some graham cracker crumbs.


These cookies have a slightly crunchy exterior with a soft, buttery middle - cookie perfection in my book! I think next time I would even try to fit 2 Hershey pieces in the middle for added chocolate flavor. Enjoy your splurge!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Exercise of the Week: Fartlek!

Fartlek. Seriously, saying this word is just as fun as doing it. I thought it was a typo the first time I came across it. The word is actually Swedish for SPEED PLAY, which is exactly what this workout is. It is used by many of the greatest runners out there to build their speed, and I find it a lot more enjoyable than typical speed interval training.

Speed interval training is usually run over predetermined distances of alternating short high speed running and slow jogging recovery intervals. While fartlek training follows the same high speed/slow recovery intervals, there is no predetermined distances for the intervals. You can set your own interval length and pace based on your response to the workload.

  • An advantage of this type of training is that it really stresses both the aerobic and anaerobic energy pathways, increasing your aerobic threshold and speed. 


  • Another huge advantage of fartlek is that it helps a runner to develop self awareness and pace judgement skills (i.e. when is the best time to pick up your pace during a race and remain strong). 

Even for the recreational runner (non racers), this technique can be quite helpful in developing self awareness by concentrating on how your body responds to running at various paces. How fast of a pace can you sustain before breathing becomes more difficult? When you slow down, how long does it take for your breathing to return to normal?

I'm still a beginner to this training myself. Here is a workout I found on Runners World that I have been following once a week and highly recommend for any runner out there looking to add some spice into their workouts!

Image from Runners World
Fartlek Workout

To begin:
Warm-up for 10 minutes at a comfortable jog.

Fartlek:
I think the best beginner's approach is the landmark method: pick a mailbox, telephone pole, sign, traffic light, boulder, fence, ANY landmark up ahead and run to it. On each high speed segment, gradually increase your pace so that you're running fast but not all out sprinting. For the last 20 steps, hold the fast pace, but focus on relaxing your body and allowing momentum to take over. Once you reach your landmark, resume a slow jog until your breathing is recovered. When ready, spot your next landmark and take off at a fast pace again.
Continue for a total of 10-20 minutes, based on your running experience.

To end:
Cool-down with an easy 5-10 minutes at a slow jog pace.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Week 7 Training Summary

Week 7 was a tough one - mileage was upped, which included a 9 mile long run, and it really hit me how time consuming training for this event is. Running can be fun, but lately, I feel like it's all I do! Oh, and eat. I do a lot of that now, too, thanks to all those miles. 

I ran a total of 27 miles this week! In between those 4 hours of running, I only managed to get one strength workout in, so my goal this week is to make sure I get at least two in - never underestimate resistance training! 

Here's a summary of my training for Week 7:


I typically do my long runs on Sundays, but when I looked at the weather and saw it would be raining all day on Sunday, I opted to move the 9 miler up to Saturday...and what a wise decision that was! Saturday turned out to be absolutely gorgeous: sunny, 70's, light breeze - perfect running weather!

You know what wasn't so perfect? Running 9 miles on a slight hangover. Brent and I made a spur of the moment decision to head into Boston on Friday after work to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather, and I may have had one too many martinis. Lesson learned. 

I set off from Waltham through Lexington, Arlington, Cambridge, and finally ended in Davis Sq, Somerville, where Brent came to pick me up. I only stopped once to grab some water from a nice little bakery on Mass Ave in Arlington, and continued on my way, finishing the 9.05 mile run in ~84 minutes. 


I then proceeded to go home and pass out shower and head to a friend's house for a cookout where I continued playing Just Dance for 3 hours. Yeah, I woke up a little sore on Sunday to say the least. 

How was your weekend??

Friday, April 20, 2012

Recipe of the Week: Chopped Vegetable Salad with Pita Chips

I didn't come up with this genius creation...Brent did. But since he lives at the same address as me, I feel it is partially my creation, too.



Hey, I stood around in the kitchen with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc in hand watching him make it and offering my help with toasting the pita - so technically I am co-chef...right?

Okay, maybe not. But it's going on my blog anyways.

Brent has been making this for a few years now. It's our go-to salad during the summer when we don't feel like turning the oven on. It's fun, colorful, refreshing, and the best part is it contains ZERO LETTUCE! Rejoice! Oh, and it's pretty healthy, too.

The recipe is inspired by Joy of Cooking. We occasionally make teensy changes to the original, depending on what vegetables we have, and it always comes out delicious. This time, we added a bunch of herbs as well as some nice diced chicken breast for added protein. Some other good additions would be Feta, carrots, corn, cabbage, or black olives (I'm determined to get Brent to like olives some day!)


Chopped Vegetable Salad with Pita Chips

Ingredients:
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 tsp salt
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
6 scallions, finely chopped,
1 small green bell pepper, diced
1 small red onion, diced
1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
1/4 C chopped parsley
1/4 C chopped basil
1/4 C chopped cilantro
1 chicken breast, cooked and diced
1 large pita bread

Dressing:
1/3 C extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 C fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Preparation:
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake pita bread until crisp and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • In colander, toss together cucumber and salt. Let stand in drain 10 minutes. Press the excess water out of the cucumber and blot dry.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients for the dressing, and set aside.
  • In large bowl, combine cucumber, tomato, scallions, bell pepper, red onion, chick peas, parsley, basil, cilantro, and chicken breast.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well. 
  • Add the pita toasts and toss again.
  • Serve immediately so that pita does not get soggy. 

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

10 Random Things About...ME!

1. I only eat the red, orange, and purple Skittles. I throw the yellow and green ones out. YUCK.

2. I have a ridiculously thick head of hair. When I was a kid, salons used to charge double for a haircut.

3. I've never had a pedicure. I hate feet, and the thought of a stranger touching mine freaks me out. I will be sucking it up for my wedding though and taking the pedicure plunge. YIKES!

4. I have been to Cape Cod every summer of my life. So it's kind of fitting I'll be getting married there in September!

5. I was blessed with very clear skin and hardly ever wear make-up. The only times I may do so are Friday and Saturday nights or if I have some event to attend; and even then, it's typically only mascara and a little blush. I never wear cover-up.

6. I have asthma, which makes running extremely difficult at times. I have to use an inhaler before every run. I hate it, but it's the only relief I've been able to find. Open to other suggestions!

7. I eat peanut butter every day. Whether it's on my toast, in my oatmeal, vegetable dipped, or a heaping spoonful right out of the jar. LOVE.

8. The first concert I ever attended was Aerosmith at age 11. My first CD was No Doubt - Tragic Kingdom. The last concert I attended was Kelly Clarkson. The last song I listened to was Eric Hutchinson - Watching You Watch Him. My current favorite running song is Nicki Minaj - Beautiful Sinner. I still don't understand my taste in music, so I just go with it.

9. This was the first year of my life I was not on the sidelines cheering for the Boston marathon runners. Being an adult really sucks sometimes.

10. In the past 8 months, I have not gone more than 2 consecutive days without working out. Seriously. And those 2 consecutive days were a one time thing when I was sick. I'm big on dedication.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Week 6 Training Summary

Wow, I can't believe I'm halfway through my training already! I'm excited and petrified at the same time...it means that in 6 weeks from right now, I have to run 13.1 miles. YIKES!

This week's long run was 8 miles, and I couldn't help thinking at the very end of the run "how the $*#@^! am I going to tack 5 more miles onto this without dying??" But you know what? I asked myself the same thing weeks ago when I began the training with 3 miles at a time, and now I can officially say I ran 8 consecutive miles. So I WILL tack on those 5 additional miles - and it will be amazing.

In my 6th week of training, I ran a total of 24 miles. I also included some kickboxing, interval training (including my first fartlek training!), strength training, and a whole lot of stretching. I'm kind of newly obsessed with fartlek training, so chances are, that will be the Exercise of the Week this week.

Here's a quick summary of my workouts for Week 6 of training: 


Like I mentioned, my long run was set at 8 miles this week. I'm here posting this on Monday morning, so I did not die! Quite the contrary actually. I ran it slower than my usual pace because I realized there's really no point in trying to run these training runs at race pace. And this made it fairly easier.

I mapped out a route from my apartment in North Waltham down to my old stomping grounds in Newton Centre:


I finished the run in 75 minutes, with a 9:19 mile average - thanks to the 8 major intersection traffic lights and 3 mile uphill extravaganza to end the run. There were two intense hills in the last 1 mile that I had to walk up, but all in all, I felt really great at the end of the run. So great, in fact, that Brent came to meet me in Newton Centre with the mastiffs, and we took them to BYOD for do-it-yourself grooming.

Can we say hilarious


Brent managed to get Casey and Max up into these gigantic tubs, and luckily, the anticipated chaos was actually not so bad. Max only shook himself off twice - which was about 5 times less than I expected. The girl next to me with her bulldog/bull mastiff mix did not have the same luck with her pooch, as you can see:


And I only had to talk Max off the ledge a few times.


All in all, it was a great success! How was your weekend??

Friday, April 13, 2012

Recipe of the Week: Creamy Avocado Pesto

I think about food....a lot. Don't you guys?

Really though, this whole training thing has got me EXTREMELY hungry lately - seriously, I'm consuming a few hundred calories more per day now to curb my uncontrollable appetite! I get home from work, run my 4-7 miles, eat dinner (typically lean protein + vegetable), and an hour later, I'm feeling like I need to eat again.  I realized that I eat pretty much every hour now, and I'm trying to keep it as healthy as possible. I also started incorporating more carbs back into my meals at night for added energy during my runs.

Which brings me to this week's recipe...

CREAMY. AVOCADO. PESTO.

Nope, there's no cream in the recipe. The dish gets its creamy texture totally from the avocado - and it's SO much healthier for you!

I made some adjustments to this recipe I found to make it more of a traditional pesto.

Forgive the heaping pile of Parmesan - what can I say, I like my cheese

Go buy a nice ripe avocado and a big bunch of fresh basil on your way home, and MAKE THIS. It takes all of 15 minutes, and it is absolutely DELICIOUS

Creamy Avocado Pesto

Ingredients:
1 medium sized ripe Avocado, pitted
3 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C fresh basil
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 box of pasta (I used traditional spaghetti)

Preparation:
  • Bring water to a boil in large sauce pan. Add pasta and cook until al dente. 
  • While pasta is cooking, place avocado, garlic, salt, basil, and Parmesan cheese into a food processor and blend until creamy paste is formed. 
  • Slowly add olive oil until smooth. Finally, add lemon juice and process until completely smooth.
  • When pasta is cooked, strain and transfer to large bowl.
  • Pour the creamy avocado pesto over the pasta and combine well to evenly coat pasta.
  • Serve with extra fresh grated Parmesan cheese. 

*The pasta kept well for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Exercise of the Week: Resistance Band Workout

Like I promised, today's Exercise of the Week is all about the Resistance Band!

If you don't already own one, I recommend hitting up your local Target and making this purchase:

Image from here.

It comes with a stability ball, pump, resistance band, and really great workout DVD - and I think I paid less than $20 for it.

Image from here


Why should you own a resistance band?

  • You typically get a bang for your buck with these things. They're one of the least expensive exercise tools out there.
  • It doesn't matter your fitness level - bands come in many resistance levels (light, medium, heavy) and you can adjust the amount of resistance during exercise by giving more or less slack on the band.
  • They require minimal storage space, as opposed to typical strength training equipment. You can coil them up to store in a drawer after your workout.
  • Since they are small and portable, they're convenient to take with you when you travel. 
  • They provide a safe strength-training workout without the risk of dropping heavy weights on your feet, particularly if you workout alone. 
  • You can get a GREAT total body workout with a resistance band. By combining it with other equipment, such as a stability ball, you can work your upper and lower body simultaneously. 
Here's a total body resistance band routine I found on About Exercise:

Total Body Resistance Band Workout

Side note: the exercise model is using a resistance band with handles in the instructional pictures. If you have the band without handles like me, just make sure to wrap the band around your hands to get a good grip while performing the exercises.

Enjoy!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Week 5 Training Summary

I hope you all had a fabulous weekend filled with tons of delicious Easter food and candy - I'm pretty sure I ate my weight in Rolos yesterday!

So I sat down this morning to tally up my mileage for the week, and for once, I actually impressed myself! And then I came to the realization that people out there run my weekly mileage in ONE race...crazy? No. Inspirational? Absolutely

I am proud to say I conquered a total of 26.8 miles of running this week! I also snuck in 2 strength training workouts, some ab work, and a whole lot of stretching. The reason my mileage was so high this week was because I postponed last week's long run to Monday instead of Sunday, and I also completed my week 5 long run this weekend to get myself back on the training schedule. 



Confession - when I finished my 6 mile run last week, as happy as I was to be able to say I did it, I was somewhat dreading this week's 7 miler. Why? Well, I thought maybe it was a fluke I was able to run 6 miles no problem, and I was skeptical I'd be able to do it again, especially with the added mile. 

So then when I had to wake up at 7:30am Easter morning to go out into 40 degree cloudy weather to run 7 miles, I was MISERABLE and extremely pessimistic. Thank goodness Brent is supportive and quickly talked me out of my self pity. 

I mapped out a nice route, fully equipped with some rolling hills because I've realized it's impossible to find a "flat" route in Waltham, and I embarked on my 7 mile run. 

Do you want to hear some awesome news? I thought so!

I ran the entire 7.2 miles - no stopping - AND I finished in 62 minutes...that's a 8:37 mile peeps! So not only did I complete the run without dying, but I completed it a lot faster than I would have expected...and it felt EASY! Well, minus the fact mile 7 was entirely uphill...that hurt a bit after.

Here's the route I used:

Friday, April 6, 2012

Recipe of the Week: Veggie Frittata Muffins

I've been quite a busy bee in the kitchen this week.

On Sunday, Brent and I had planned to make a big frittata with all our leftover chopped veggies, sweet potato, and black beans from Friday's Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadilla dinner. But then I thought hey, why don't we try to make these into mini muffin frittatas??

 

My goodness, these were delicious - and super easy! These are a great meal option at the end of the week when you have veggies leftover that you want to use up before they go bad (at least that's what we typically do on frittata nights!)

Our chopped veggie mix included: corn, green onion, carrot, celery, jicama, black beans, and spicy sweet potatoes.

Veggie Frittata Muffins

Ingredients
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 C low fat cottage cheese
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1.5 C chopped vegetables
- 1 C reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese
- nonstick cooking spray

Preparation:
  • Preheat oven to 350F. Coat a 12-muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a large (4 cup) measuring cup, whisk the eggs together. Add the cottage cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Whisk together to mix well.
  • Spoon 2 Tbsp of chopped vegetables into bottom of muffin cups. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp shredded cheese.
  • Slowly pour the egg mixture over cheese in each cup. Fill to a little over 3/4 full. (Frittata muffins will definitely puff up while cooked, so I recommend putting a layer of foil under the muffin pan just in case). 
  • Bake the frittatas until they are puffy and the edges are golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. 
  • Use a butter knife to run along the edges to remove frittatas from the pan. Makes 12 frittata muffins. 
I'd say a serving size is 2. I may have had 3 though...


This week, we also tried Eat, Live, Run's recipe for Balsamic Chicken with Mozzarella and Pesto, with a side of haricot verts, pearl onions, and cherry tomatoes in a white wine sauce. Can we say AMAZING! This is going to be my favorite summer night 'throw on the grill' meal:


We also made this:

Stuffed green peppers with lean beef, couscous, basil, tomatoes, and panko crumbs topped with melted mozzarella and pesto

Then there was my absolute favorite meal of the week, starring avocado, basil, and pasta - but I'll save that for next week's Recipe of the Week because it deserves its own post. It's THAT good.

Best Easter Gift EVER

You should all feel REALLY bad for me.

So...my best friend's mom got me the BEST Easter gift in the world.

And it is consuming every ounce of willpower I have left NOT to devour the entire thing in one sitting.

So what if it's 6 ounces of pure sugar? Don't underestimate me...



That's right, folks. It's a giant Reese's peanut butter egg.

We all know how amazing the original sized ones are that we grew up eating. But imagine 5 of those all combined into one large MEGA EGG. Be still my heart!

I began by cutting off a small slice on Wednesday night. And about 1/2 hour later, I found myself going back for sliver #2. And by last night, I decided to quit being dainty and just take a huge bite out of it (X3..oops). Oh well, at least I ran 4 miles yesterday?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

My Personal Trainer

First off, I apologize for not having posted a new exercise of the week in awhile. I've been really focused on keeping up with this training schedule - which obviously revolves around running mileage with some strength training and cross training mixed in - that I've kind of fallen behind on experimenting with new workouts. 

When I made my stability ball purchase awhile ago, it came with a resistance band and a pretty awesome workout video. When we moved last year, it got packed up in a random place, and I just found it the other day. Now my goal is to get back into that starting this weekend. So tune in next week if you like resistance band workouts - I'll make sure to post a good one! 

On another note - I think one of my dogs is inspiring to be my personal trainer. No, he may not run, but he definitely thinks he can instruct...


Seriously, I do kind of wonder what he's thinking when he does this. 

Alright, you're right. He was really just begging for attention. But Brent and I still thought it was kind of funny!

Max has his infrequent moments when he loves hamming it up for the camera - but most of the time, this is what he does: 


But alright, enough about my dogs. I tried a bunch of new recipes this week, and I'm still trying to narrow down which one to post about tomorrow - hmm decisions, decisions...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Fashion Forward Tuesday

With all the fun wedding events I have coming up this summer (bridal showers, bachelorette parties, weddings...), I find myself constantly on the lookout for cute seasonal dresses. No joke, logging onto Rue La La right at 11AM when they open their new daily boutiques is seriously becoming an obsession for me. Yet still, even when I log on right away, dresses I want are somehow SOLD OUT already - wtf??

Anyways, I just wanted to share some of my favorite apparel I've come across lately that I'm completely in love with this spring season:


[A] Jessica Simpson Belted Halter Dress in Rosalie Sulphur: $98 at Amazon
[B] TART Collection "Sydney" Dark Animal Print: $69.90 at Rue La La (I made this purchase a few weeks ago, and it finally came in yesterday. All I have to say is WOW, best purchase I've made all year! It is so figure-flattering, comfortable, and hugs all the right curves - seriously, it makes you feel like Sofia Vergara in it!)
[C] J BRAND Twill Skinny Jeans in Coral: $169 at REVOLVEclothing (made famous by Kate Middleton - LOVE her!)
[D] Forever 21 Colorblocked Swing Dress: $19.80 at Forever21
[E] Levi's Juniors Trucker Jacket in Sandstorm: $44.99 at Amazon
[F] Michael Antonio Loveme-Pat Pump in Coral Patent: $31.92 at Amazon
[G] G by GUESS Trespasser Denim Jacket in White: $54.50 at Amazon
[H] Chinese Laundry Hotness Pump in Nude: $59.95 at Amazon

What are your favorite spring fashion trends?

Running Ramblings

So, yesterday was my first >5 mile run I've done outdoors for, well, let's just say quite a few years. I know, I know, terrible to admit. 

For the past year and a half I have transformed into a dedicated runner but mainly on a treadmill. Why? While I love my nice little apartment complex, I do not love some of the surrounding - sketchy - areas of Waltham. Playgrounds used to symbolize fun and innocence...now, I find myself trying to run past them as quickly as possible to avoid being confronted by a group of male teens (that apparently were not taught how to properly speak to a lady!) 

Any other female runners out there know what I'm talking about?? 

Anyways, I'm trying to navigate and figure out the best long-distance running routes in Waltham. I planned out a nice 6 mile loop for my run yesterday, and set off with a goal of completing in an hour. 



Bad news? A good portion of the route was void of sidewalks and I came inches from being hit by a utility van - VERY dangerous and scared the @#^$! out of me. Good news? I did not stop at all, even with the ridiculous mile-long uphill trek before the 3 mile mark. 

Guess what - I completed the 6 mile loop in 52 minutes! AND IT FELT EASY! Kind of awesome, huh? Yesterday was probably the first time during the course of my training so far that I thought "hey, I think I can actually run 13.1 miles and not die after!" 

Huge step up in my book. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Week 4 Training Summary

Alright, so this week of training didn't go QUITE as planned. I managed to get 2 strength training sessions in, some cross-training (XT), and I ran a total of 15.7 miles - unfortunately, I was supposed to be at 21 miles total this week, so I fell short. Sunday was supposed to be my long run, but by the time I got home from errands and had time to get to my workout, it had started raining out, and I honestly had no desire to run 6 miles in that. I was also ridiculously exhausted and questioned whether I'd even be able to make it those 6 miles!

I felt extremely guilty and considered just biting the bullet and doing it on my treadmill; however, experts highly advise to do the long runs outdoors because it better prepares you for running the long mileage of the half marathon, which will also be outdoors - not on a treadmill.

So instead, I did some intense kickboxing, and I have postponed my 6 mile run to today after work. All in all, it could be worse. When I started this training, I went into it knowing there would be weeks like this where mileage would be under and some weeks where I might feel really ambitious and go over my goal mileage. The important thing is listening to your body and knowing when it's telling you it needs a break. I haven't been so good at that in the past, but I'm really trying to get better!

So here it is for you all, my week 4 training summary: