A Confidence Boosting 16-Miler

We were supposed to have a wild and crazy storm pass through this weekend but the weather ended up being really tame. The lifeguards put out red and purple flags but a few people still waded out into the water and looked pretty safe.

One red flag indicates high surf, dangerous currents or both. Two red flags indicate that the water is closed to the public. A purple or blue flag indicates that dangerous marine life has been spotted, usually jellyfish or sharks.

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I slept in on Sunday and headed out for my run in the middle of the afternoon. That’s nearly impossible most weekends but thanks to the cloud coverage the weather was “nice.” By nice I mean there was only a light drizzle and slight breeze most of the day.

Somewhere along the way the heavens did open up for a few minutes and I got stuck in a downpour. I know a lot of runners enjoy the rain, but I really don’t like it. I hate when the water gets in my eyes and loathe running in soggy shoes.

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I had 16 miles on the schedule for the day, but I ended up only doing 8 of them at the beach. After the downpour my socks were soggy and I could feel a blister coming on so I headed home to quickly change into dry clothes before finishing up on the treadmill.

All week I was really looking forward to this long run because 16 miles feels like a “real” marathon training distance to me. I am so happy to have this run under my belt! Immediately afterwards my legs were sore but my spirits were really high! I LOVE RUNNING!

Around mile three my right achilles felt really tight. I had to stop for a minute to stretch it out but after that it felt fine. Other than that (and the soggy socks) I don’t think I could have had a better run.

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I nailed my fluid intake and my fueling which is a big deal since I’m usually really bad about that. I drank 1.5 Gatorades, had 1 Gu and about a bag of Honey Stinger chews. My run lasted 3:55 at 14:41 pace – my long run pace is about 1 minute slower than race pace on purpose. I felt like I could have easily picked up the pace and I actually reined myself in a few times when I noticed I was going too fast.

This was definitely a confidence boosting run!

Drinking Gatorade or Powerade is something new I’m doing during long runs this training cycle. I still drink Ultima most of the time since it’s sugar free and I love the taste of the cherry flavor. However, when I have to drink Gatorade or Powerade during races they mess with my stomach (and make me burp A LOT). This training cycle I thought I would drink Gatorade and Powerade during my long runs to get used to it since those are the brands offered at most races. I’m happy to say I didn’t burp one time during yesterday’s 16-miler… YAY!

While I was out running Cecil was doing this:

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How is he so cute? It’s bananas.

When I get home from work tonight I plan to follow his lead and do the same. I think I’ve earned a night of rest!

How was your weekend? Any other FL runners get stuck in the rain?
Raise your hand if you watched football OR if you followed along with UTMB! 

5 Things to Know About Me!

Hey there! On Friday night I filmed a trailer for my YouTube channel. If you’re not familiar, a trailer is a dedicated video that shows up for people who visit your channel for the first time. You’re supposed to take a few minutes to explain what you make videos about and why someone should subscribe to you.

I’m still trying to nail down what my channel should be about. I initially thought it would be running focused but then I realized that my blog is running focused so my videos were just explaining the same information and that’s boring. For the time being I’m going to experiment with different video topics – but all of them will be related to things I love.

In my channel trailer I talk about the top five things I love and that I’ll probably be making videos about!

You probably know ALL of these things about me but you can watch if you’d like :) .

I’m planning to post two new videos per week in addition to four or five blog posts here! So basically you can’t escape me because I’m going to be ALL OVER THE INTERNET! Just kidding! I do like creating videos though because it feels so much more personal.

Subscribe to my channel if you’d like (just click here) and you’ll be notified when I post new videos. Once I get to 1,000 subscribers Adam will be in my videos so that is now my life goal!

Hope you have a great rest of the weekend!

Fun in the Sun!

It’s FRIDAY, arguably the best day of the week! I love Fridays because you still have the whole weekend ahead of you. Last Friday I was on my way home from the sunniest place in the world, La Romana.

I had so much fun beach bumming around, finding interesting things inside the gym and drinking lots of piña coladas to stay cool under the Caribbean sun!

Now that vacation is over I am laser focused in on Chicago. In June and July I ran a lot of miles on the treadmill which kind of felt like cheating since I had the a/c and a bathroom at my disposal. I’m done with the ‘mill and I am now back to outdoor running 100%!

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When the humidity is low and there’s a breeze coming off of the ocean, my beach is one of the very best places to run. I am falling in love with it all over again after time away!

This weekend I’ve got my longest run of the training cycle so far: 16 miles! I can’t wait to get this longer run under my belt and to hopefully feel like I’m really training for a marathon! You know I like those long runs :).

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Long runs are great for so many reasons: the feeling of accomplishment at the end, the way food tastes 10X better when you finally dig in and the amazing guilt-free nap you can take afterwards! Honestly, what’s not to love about the long run?!

I’m looking forward to it, but first I need to crack on with Friday… I hope you have a great day!

How many miles do you have on tap for this weekend?

PS: Guess what? Cecil has turned 8! HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the best son I could ever ask for!

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Cecil, I am so proud of everything you have accomplished so far – like (almost) catching the red dot, sleeping 10 hours straight and mastering super advanced yoga poses :) .

Running Entertainment!

What can I tell you about last night’s run? I’m sure I could find some words to describe it, but instead I think I’ll let this picture do the talking for me:

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89% humidity! That’s just too much. On the flip side, you may have heard we have some hurricane-y weather coming our way in South Florida, and the clouds provided some relief from the usually relentless sun.

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I just recently started listening to the Psychobabble podcast during my runs and I am IN LOVE with it. The podcast is hosted by Tyler Oakley and Korey Kuhl, two gay best friends who are also popular YouTube personalities. Tyler is an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights, has about 8 million subscribers on YouTube and can brag that Hillary Clinton follows him on Twitter. If you know anything about Hillary than you obviously know she follows less than 150 people on Twitter so that makes Tyler kind of a big deal.

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Tyler is the shorter one. He’s a runner too!

I love Psychobabble because Tyler and Korey are HILARIOUS. In each episode they dissect the latest in pop culture news (usually celebrity gossip … like Katy Perry vs Taylor Swift drama). Normally I wouldn’t care about Katy vs Taylor type news but these two guys make everything so funny. The podcast is labeled by iTunes as Explicit because they frequently curse and make jokes that are sexual in nature. If that sort of thing turns you off then the podcast isn’t for you… but it’s totally for me!

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Listening to this podcast makes my runs feel way too short because I want to keep listening! I frequently laugh out loud really hard making other people give me strange looks. Oh well!

I just wanted to tell you about Psychobabble in case you’re looking for something lighthearted to listen to during your easy runs.

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I also recently started listening to the Learn French Words album on Spotify during some runs. I took French in college but have forgotten almost everything so this is kind of fun. I mostly just think it’s so cool that Spotify now offers language “courses” and I want to take advantage of that!

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I’ve only listened to one episode of French so far but I am proud to say I can count to 12 again (LOL). I can also tell you how to say simple things like, “Hello Brother,” in case you need to know that.

(It’s “Bonjour frère!”)

Okay, I’m heading out for now. It’s time to tackle Thursday head-on!

Au revoir!

Are you fluent (or semi-fluent) in multiple languages?
What are you currently listening to during your runs? New album? Good podcast?

Why I’m Freaking Out About Chicago

This past weekend a friend asked me how marathon training is going. I’m sure she expected me to just smile and say, “Great! I’m feeling ready!” but instead I found myself pouring my heart out.

I haven’t written a proper update about Chicago training in a couple of weeks and I thought I’d let you know why: I’m freaking out about it!

asd

I am all of these people ^.

I honestly didn’t realize I was until this weekend.

Due to some scheduling conflicts with vacation, my long run last week happened between Sunday (8 miles) and yesterday (10 miles). That’s a total of 18 back-to-back miles, but to date my longest single run has only been 14 miles.

I’m seven weeks out from Chicago and my longest run has been 14 miles!!!! Holy &^$#! Last year my race was a week before Chicago and I ran my 14-miler the first week of July! I feel like I’m a million miles behind schedule, even though cumulatively I’ve run just about the same number of miles as last year.

As you know, this year I’m training using a modified version of Hanson’s which specifically calls for split long runs.

Here’s why split long runs are a good idea for most recreational runners:

“Scientific research has shown that runs of over 3 hours offer little additional aerobic benefit compared to runs of 2 hours, while significantly increasing injury risk.

As such, rather than cramming your marathon training schedule with multiple 20-22 milers that increase your injury risk and decrease recovery time without decisive aerobic advantages, you should instead focus on improving your aerobic threshold…”

(source: competitor.com)

I’ve been reading up on a lot of bloggers who run about my pace and have had great success with split long runs. I just honestly don’t feel like it’s for me.

I don’t feel mentally prepared to tackle a marathon.

This coming weekend I have a 6-miler on Saturday and a 16-miler on Sunday, so maybe I’ll feel more prepared after that. 16 miles feels like a “real” marathon training distance. I know that sounds kind of silly, but you know what I mean right? I equate 14 milers with half marathon training. Call me a long distance elitist but I like my long runs to be looooong.

Okay, so “long” is relative. To a 100-mile specialist 20 miles is a nice short distance.

100 miles…

The future ultramarathoner in me just wants to do looooong runs. I understand why a slower marathon runner like myself should do shorter back-to-backs, but I am the most motivated by the long run. It’s my favorite run of the week and it’s the one that makes me feel the best about myself.

Aside from the distance of my long runs, there is another reason I’m suddenly freaking out about Chicago.

I’ve committed to running my easy runs really easy this training cycle – this includes my long runs. I very recently flipped through my notes from last year’s training cycle and in 2014 I was running my long runs about 40 seconds per mile faster than I am this year!

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Just like with the “shorter long runs” I know that keeping my easy miles easy is all part of the master plan but it’s FREAKING ME OUT! 

Race day always represents a big unknown and right now I feel like Chicago is this giant blackhole about to suck me in. Will I be prepared? Will I meet my time goal? Should I adjust my goal? Will I even finish this race?!

Okay, I know that’s crazy talk. Of course I’ll finish the race unless something drastic happens, like my foot falls off or something.

I think what I’m discovering is that this type of marathon training plan isn’t for me. That doesn’t make it a bad plan. In fact I know that it is a very good plan! Heading into Chicago training this year my goal was to experiment with a new training philosophy and that’s exactly what I’ve done.  I am committed to seeing this marathon plan all the way through because I am curious to see what it nets me in the end. If I run a sub-3 in Chicago then I’ll follow this plan again every year for the rest of my life 😉 .

All kidding aside, I am trying to pull myself together. Chicago is less than seven weeks out and I’ve got a PR I need to knock out!

How do you deal with doubt during a training cycle?
Have you used a training plan with split long runs?

Island Life in La Romana

This time last week Adam and I were jumping on a jet and making our way down to La Romana in the Dominican Republic! We had a short layover in Puerto Rico and then it was on to my new favorite Caribbean island where the sun is just as strong as the Piña Coladas are!

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We arrived to our new home at around 1pm and were completely taken aback by how beautiful the resort is. We ended up staying at the Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville Don Pablo Collection which is an adults only resort nestled within the exclusive Playa Neuva Romana property.

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Adam and I have never stayed at an all-inclusive resort before and we have never vacationed in the Caribbean (with the exception of cruises) so we weren’t sure what to expect. I had read a lot of reviews on TripAdvisor before we left, but I was still really impressed with the property and amenities. The water at the pool was sparkling and warm – the perfect temperature for diving right in at 8am (which I did every single day).

There was a lovely pool bar that you could swim right up to, and all of the drinks were included. I’m not much of a drinker, but I had my fair share of Piña Coladas to stay cool and refreshed!

Our resort was adults only which meant the pool was always a really calm and relaxing place to be. One afternoon Adam and I wandered over to the sister resort (the Grand Bahia Principe) which was kid-friendly and there was way too much jumping and splashing for my grumpy old lady taste :). I like to float around with no one bothering me!

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Around noon each day Adam and I would walk a few steps over to the outdoor lunch buffet before strolling down to the beach to catch some afternoon rays.

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I cannot tell you how impressed I was with the beach. I have never in my life seen sand so perfectly smooth. I am actually embarrassed to tell you how many pictures of the sand I took!

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We had planned to go on a couple of excursions and do some snorkeling while we were in La Romana, but Adam ended up getting a little bit of sunburn and had to stay under the umbrellas and canopies after day two. Both his mom and dad have had skin cancer so we take sunburn very seriously. If we had done all of those things though I doubt we would have had such a relaxing time!

I am now feeling so refreshed and ready to go! There are seven weeks until the Chicago Marathon and I am EXCITED! My legs felt good the entire trip. I’m not sure if it had to do with the extra rest or just that I had the perfect running route along the beach that included this pier. Because the sand was tightly packed I was even able to get in some miles right along the ocean which I hardly ever do here in Fort Lauderdale!

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The plane rides did leave me with a tight right hip, but I’ve been diligent about deep stretching and that has been my savior!

As soon as we got home Cecil jumped into my lap and begged to see what we were up to so I shared one of our vlogs with him:

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You can watch the video, too!

I promised Cecil I will try to make more money to afford a private jet so that he can fly with us next time. If you know of any jobs that pay millions of dollars annually please give me the hookup so that my cat doesn’t have to stay home while I vacation. Thank you in advance!

(Actually, I was surprised by how pet friendly JetBlue is now! I saw a handful of people traveling with their dogs right in the cabin…. Hmmm.)

Before I end today’s post I thought I would just be totally upfront about the one thing I HATED about this trip: the mosquitos! Those damn bugs were everywhere and I returned home looking like I have chicken pox.

I was disappointed that the resort didn’t seem to have any process in place for shielding guests from getting bitten (and the gift shop didn’t offer bug spray). The resort is in a really remote location so it’s not like I could just pop out to Walgreens and go buy some spray on my own. I bet the resort would make a fortune off of selling bug spray! This was my one major complain from the trip, and it’s the most common complaint I heard others talking about. The other frequent complaint I heard was that the employees of the resort didn’t speak English well… but by dusting off my old high school spanish I was able to survive!

Hasta mañana!

PS: To all of my teacher friends who are going back to school today I hope you have a great first day!

Summer Vacay: La Romana, Days 1 & 2

I have reluctantly returned from paradise where I spent a lot of time here:

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Doing THIS (aka nothing):

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(^ not my cigarette tray, they just had them every where but no one really smoked.)

I have a lot of life stuff to catch up on today, but I did have time to edit a couple of videos on the plane last night! Give the vlog a watch if you like pretty beaches and let’s catch up tomorrow morning :)

I hope you had a great week, talk soon!

Before I Go

Hey there! I’m typing this up in between packing my bag and tidying the house for the cat sitter (aka my mom)! Adam and I will be heading out to La Romana in less than 24 hours and as usual, I’ve left EVERYTHING to do at the last minute.

Yesterday mi madre and I went out on a little shopping spree to pick up all the things that I had forgotten to get leading up to this weekend.

You know what? I like doing things last minute. The pressure spurs me into action and I get stuff done in a really efficient manner!

All of this last minute craziness reminds me of late night cram sessions in grad school. My friends and I would stay up until 5AM Skyping with each other trying to get our 20+ page papers finished before class. I would then sleep for 60 minutes before hopping out of bed to get ready for work!

Oy! Those were “fun times” but I don’t exactly miss them. I much prefer last minute cramming for a fun vacation :).

I should probably stop distracting myself here on the blog and go finish up with packing and cleaning.

I’ll have a recap of my long run + weekly training tomorrow and after that lots of pretty pictures from the DR! Talk to you again soon!

What is the top item in your travel essentials list? 
– I need to make sure I’m not forgetting anything important!

The Runner’s Stretch That Saved My Hips (+ a New Vlog)

HAPPY FRIDAY! Guess what? I have some really great news on the “why does my hip hate me” front: it might not hate me that much!

To open up my hips and keep them flexible I’ve always done Pigeon Pose:

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Pigeon Pose | Photo: PopSugar Fitness

I used to hold the pose for 60 to 90 seconds thinking that was enough, but just three days ago I tried holding it for a full five minutes at the recommendation of my coach. THE LONGER HOLD HAS CHANGED MY WORLD! My right hip no longer feels super tight and uncomfortable!

I’m now holding Pigeon for five minutes in the morning and five minutes again at night.

I also mix in:

This combination of stretches seems to be working like a charm for me! Hallelujah! :)

I’m really glad to have found something that loosens up my hips before the weekend because I’ve got 5 miles on the schedule for Saturday and 14 miles on Sunday for a total of 19 miles. <– Lots of miles!

It’s really weird to think that this 14-miler will be the longest run of my marathon training cycle so far. Last year I did my first 14 mile run right before 4th of July weekend. My coach keeps reminding me that I shouldn’t compare last year to this year though. I’m following a completely different training methodology and one that has been proven to work great.

My intent when seeking out a new coach was to try out a new training method, so I just have to trust the process!

I’ll be thinking about and doing a lot of running this weekend, so I thought we could chat about some other things for a little bit:

In my new video I talk about the book I’m reading now, the movie I saw FOURTEEN TIMES in the theater and my favorite drink before bed! I hope you like it :).

Have a great weekend! The next time we talk I’ll be in the Dominican Republic!!

Hasta la próxima!

What is your all time favorite movie?
What book are you reading right now?

This Dumb Hip of Mine

Last night I was out for a really beautiful, relaxed run after work. The temp was a cool 81 degrees, there was a nice breeze coming off of the ocean and I was listening to a new playlist.

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I was lost in thought about my upcoming vacation. Taylor Swift was singing in my ear, “grab your passport and my hand, I can make the bad guys good for a weekend…”

Okay, it wasn’t random that Taylor was singing something so appropriate. I purposefully put “Blank Space” on my playlist for this run!

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I was totally zoned out when suddenly I realized something was off. My m-f’ing hip didn’t feel right. Many of you know that I dealt with hip bursitis earlier this year which means now anytime my hip feels anything but 100% I freak out.

I was only three miles into a six mile run but I cut it short and walked back to my car. Talk about throwing a wrench into an otherwise perfect run!

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I’m stretching, I’m rolling (which I hate doing), I’m keeping up with strength training and yet this dumb right hip feels super tight. Ugh.

My hip is not painful like it was when I had bursitis. My lower back doesn’t hurt like it did when I had bursitis. I can lay on my side without feeling like hell. I’m hoping that this is just tightness that I can work out with even more stretching. Honestly, I’m doing hip stretches for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I feel like I have been super attentive to my hips ever since I had bursitis. It’s very frustrating that this is happening right now.

I spoke to my coach and she said no speedwork until the hip feels 100%. Tomorrow I’ll be doing active recovery and stretching every chance I can get. BLARGH!

Can someone send me some magic dust to sprinkle on this hip? If so, please email me and I will send you my address and pay for overnight shipping. Thanks in advance!

…on the brightside, it was a beautiful night to take in the scenery yesterday.