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Is 2 going to be my theme of the year?

5 Jan

Well, that weekend went pretty fast didn’t it??  I honestly made the very most of it, though.  One of my favorite parts of the weekend was FINALLY taking the time to buy new running shoes.  There are a lot of great running stores in Pittsburgh and I’ve been to a few over the years.  On Sunday, I decided to visit one of my favorites: True Runner in Shadyside.  If you’re not familiar with it you can find it on the corner of Aiken and Walnut.

2I don’t know a whole lot about running shoes since I’ve only ever owned a single pair.  Since I am a huge procrastinator, I waited far too long to invest in a new pair of running shoes.  As in, I bought the old ones in August of 2013.  At that time I had had my gait analyzed, so I knew that I was looking for a neutral shoe.  I even brought one of my old Saucony Progrid Mirage 2‘s to show the staff person just to confirm.  I didn’t realize how worn down they were until I saw the nice thick traction on the new shoes.  Ooops!

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So many options!  It’s hella overwhelming actually.  Luckily Danielle, the extremely friendly and knowledgeable staff member who helped me, made it very easy and brought me out a four pairs of neutral shoes for me to try out.  I explained my habits: I run on the treadmill when the weather is crappy and I try to almost always get my long runs in outside despite the temperatures; and also my goals for the year: train for and run two half marathons injury free.

She brought me out a pair of New Balances that I passed on (they just didn’t feel right in the arches), the updated Mirage (which was super tempting because I never had a single problem with my Saucony’s!), and then two winners:

The Brooks Ravenna 6

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These felt like a glove.  The support was in all the right spots, they felt great, and the soles are really durable.  I also fell in love with these Asics Gel DS Trainer 19 because they also felt amazing.  The Asics felt lighter than the Brooks, something I can appreciate on a longer run.

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Yeah, I bought both of them.  I don’t know why, but I couldn’t decide between them and I just wanted them both.  I NEVER splurge on things, so I don’t really feel bad for buying them both.  I’m actually such a combination of frugal and indecisive that make even the most experienced salesperson cringe. But you know what, 2015 is all about being in a good mental space so I just went for it.  I’m running 2 big races, I need 2 pairs of shoes?  Who knows how much mileage I will rack up by September!  They both may not make it to training for Zooma Cape Cod, but let’s still just go with the whole theme of 2 for now, mmmmkay? In all seriousness, I plan on rotating between the two depending on the length of my run.  Bottom line:  I’m really happy with my purchases and I was very pleased with my experience at True Runner.  Danielle was very knowledgeable, helpful, and positive; she wasn’t pushy or salesy at all.   I would 100% go back there and I would 100% recommend working with Danielle if you are in the market for new running shoes.

I am really sad to say goodbye to my old running shoes! 😦  We spent so much time pounding the pavement together in so many of my favorite Pittsburgh neighborhoods.  But, I’m really looking forward to all the new adventures that 2015 has in store for me and my new shoes!!!

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Questions of the Week (leave me a comment below!):

What are the best running shoes you’ve ever owned?

Do you have any rituals when you buy new running shoes?

 

Race Recap: Great Race

29 Sep

I don’t even know where to start with this recap other than to say this was such an awesome race!!  I had built this one up so much in my head that I had been nauseous for DAYS, I mean I’d been running but I definitely did not stick to my training plan.  Oopsie?  The night before I tried really hard to just relax, but of course I want to fuss over everything when I’m stressed out.  I ran down to the expo on Saturday and grabbed my bib, I did a few laps around and talked myself down from buying anything because I wanted EVERYTHING.  I did stick around and play with the kitties at the ARL booth and say hi to the Greyhounds.

Great-Race-2014-Expo-Bib

I made sure I ate something carbaliciously familiar the night before and somehow managed to get an awesome night’s sleep.  I woke up at 6:30 and at a pumpkin english muffin (who knew those existed?!) with peanut butter, a bottle of water, and a banana.  Then I paced around my house for several hours.  I finally decided to head to the starting line super early because I thought it would be better to just stretch and people watch.  As soon as I parked my car I realized that my phone armband thing was broken which was soooooooo annoying.  The stupid velcro just came completely off so it wouldn’t stick together anymore.  I guess if something had to go wrong on race day morning, I’m glad it was just that!

great-race-2014-starting-line

The starting line was insanity.  This was by far the biggest race I’ve ever been to.  The relay didn’t seem crowded to me because I started at an exchange point and the crowd was pretty small.  It looked like this in front and behind me.  I seriously could not stop people watching, I’m such a creeper!  The crowd started slowly walking towards the starting line and I was so so so nervous because this race starts with a hill.  As the people crossed under the start, the tempo picked up a little bit and they were blasting the song “Shout.”  It was seriously the perfect time in the song as I started, the way the crowd was picking up speed at that exact moment – I seriously can’t even explain how awesome that feeling was!  I was totally not nervous anymore and I killed it up the hill.

I felt like I was pacing myself pretty well, which was easy since it was so crowded.  I tried to just find someone who looked experienced and was running around the same pace I wanted to be at, then just tried to stick with them!  That worked like a charm for the first 2.5 miles.  As we got into the Oakland, I was shocked that the first 1/3 of the race went so fast.  I started to struggle around UPMC because I felt like my bladder was about to pop – luckily that’s right where the 5K starting line was so there were bathrooms available.  I seriously wished there had been at least one other bathroom available  before the middle of the race.

The second half of the race was a LOT harder than the first for me.  It was getting really hot and there is not much shade from Oakland until you get downtown.  I made sure to walk through every water station.  The first actual walking break I had to take was right at the mile 5 marker because I started getting a side stitch.  My legs felt like jelly as soon as I started walking so I kept telling myself to push through it because ain’t nobody got time for that.  I think I SPRINTED down the hill on the Boulevard of the Allies and I knew I would be okay when I was still passing people as we pushed into downtown.  I just remember thinking – “OMG, this is the coolest thing EVER!” as I ran into downtown.  That was another big first for me!

As soon as I saw the finish line banner I gave it all I had and finished strong.  I was actually kind of nervous at the mile 6 marker that I would be crawling across the timing mat because I was just so done at that point.  Of course the crowds and the adrenaline wouldn’t let that happen though. 🙂

finish-line-photo-great-race-2014

It was really disorientating after the finish line because it was just a massive crowd of confused, tired, sweaty, disoriented zombies wandering around a grassy knoll.  I made a bee-line for the water station, which was really understaffed if you ask me.  All I wanted was a banana and people would. not. move.

Starving

I grabbed 2 bananas and an apple and headed directly for a shady spot closer to the point and away from the crowds.  I just laid there and couldn’t move.  You know I’m just exhausted when there is a squirrel within 15 feet of me and I literally don’t react.  (I do NOT like squirrels.)  I laid in the grass, ate my apple, and listened to my favorite cool down music.  I want to always remember those few minutes and that feeling:

great-race-2014-point-park-view

It was seriously so awesome!  My Garmin said I finished in 1:07:22, but my official time was 1:09:55.  Since this is my first official 10K, I’m considering this my PDR race AND since I ran basically this same distance in the relay in May – it was a PR too!  Just a great day all around and an absolutely awesome race.   Definitely didn’t have the energy for a full smile though!

great-race-2014-finish-red-face

I took the shuttle back to the starting line where my car was and I will NEVER do that again.  I underestimated how badly a city bus full of sweaty runners could actually smell.  I will run this race again and again and again though!

 

TGIF!

12 Sep

I freaking owned this week!

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I am hoping to do a full overview on Monday, so instead of hearing some shit come out of my mouth look at what I put in it this week:

Loaded-Banana-Breakfast

Loaded bananas for breakfast…I’m indecisive so one has sunflower seed butter, raisins, and pecans and the other one has Justin’ Chocolate Hazelnut butter.  I don’t love hazelnut butter, but I had to toss my Mara Natha almond butter after the recall.  First world problems y’all.

Justins-Chocolate-Hazelnut-Butter

I am usually all sweet potato all the time, but this week I was craving russet potatoes.  I grabbed 2 when I was pillaging the sweet potato section at Giant Eagle and I have a ton of frozen broccoli so this made sense for lunch a few times this week:

Broccoli-Cheese-Stuffed-Potato

And you know I had to take advantage of pumpkin spice being back – I allowed myself to get a dairy-based drink one time!  It would be more often, but Starbucks has yet to switch over to organic, GMO-free milk.  Which is a little crazy considering how much they charge per cup…I swear I’m parked and not driving while taking this picture! 😉

1st-pumpkin-spice-latte-2014

And then I forgot to take pictures of everything else. The end.

Remember that time I convinced myself that I could just workout at home and I would totes be fine?

povich

Since the Crunch Fitness that opened down at the Waterfront has early morning and late night hours, PLUS they now offer a Barre-based class I decided to bit the bullet.  You gotta do what you gotta do, right?  More on this later.

Crunch-Waterfront-Day1

Also, last night for the Steeler game we had a puppy play date with the emojii dog, Miss Vivien Leigh.  She is that ball of white fluff underneath Bea.  I could not get the girl to sit still long enough for a pic!   She is absolutely adorable and I think you should go follow her on Instagram.  Liberty supervised my flip flop and the puppy chaos.

Puppy-Play-Date-Vivi

Training Overview #sftsRUNS

25 Aug

Welcome to today’s 10K Training Overview!  This is a weekly series in which I document my weekly running progress, nutrition, photos, and mileage as I train for Pittsburgh’s 2014 Great Race on September 28th.  If you are on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook – you can also follow along using the hashtag #sftsRUNS.   These overviews are intended not only for me as a way to document my fitness journey, but also as a means to inspire other newbie runners who are ready to move beyond the 5K distance.

Training-Overview-SFTSRuns

Weekly Overview:

This week, I could feel myself mentally refocusing on fitness which is exactly what my goal was.  Actually, my goal was to not skip any training runs.  That goal was unreached this week, but I’m really happy with how the week went.  I tried to balance between the need to add mileage and listening to my body.  My body let me know pretty early in the week that we would not be logging too many miles too quickly.  I missed a few runs after all.  BUT, I’m happy with the quantity of miles I logged and also at the quality of my runs.  I’m feeling pretty confident going into this week!

Training Plan:

Planned Mileage:  13.5

Actual Mileage: 11.86

Longest Distance:  4.52

Training Miles to Date: 13.86

Weight Change:

I really dislike weighing myself when my monthly gift arrives because my body retains an unnecessary amount of water.  I have seen 10 lbs. fluctuations over the course of 24 hours, it’s actually insane.

Physical Condition:

I didn’t notice any issues this week, except that I think my shoes are nearing their end of life.  I was hoping they would last me through Great Race training, but I don’t know if they will!  I’m waiting a week or so to figure out if my feet are just readjusting to being active again, which is equally as likely right now.  Running in Pittsburgh is no joke, yo.  The unwavering humidity we’ve had, the endless steep or rolling hills, THE MADNESS.  Maybe I’m just not a summer runner…but I’m trying to be dammit!

Mental Condition:

My super power is that I curl up into a ball and wait for death every time I menstruate, so yeah.  I’m in my usual fog of complete and utter exhaustion, fatigue, hunger, and crankiness right now BUT I’m not letting it stop my fitness.  <- I actually talked to my doctor about this and she prescribed me a low-dose birth control which I will be starting soon.  Hopefully being on the pill will help regulate my hormones and I won’t be on such a crazy emotional roller coaster every month.  It should also prevent the hormone fluctuations which I think are causing my fatigue.  No more excuses!

Nutrition:

Somehow I managed to procrastinate grocery shopping for almost two full weeks, which meant scavenging for food when I was home and eating Subway when I couldn’t find anything.  I don’t feel like I ate particularly bad, but it wasn’t great either.  The summer heat does NOT motivate me to cook much, let alone eat much.  The good news is, I stocked my fridge and pantry back up so this should improve this coming week.  🙂  I had considered trying the paleo diet, but the doctor said that I should rethink it.  I’ve been reading a ton about macro-nutrients and IIFYM; I’m still sifting through all the info and I’m thinking this might be the one for me!  Right now I’m just focusing on preparing and eating healthy options.

Non-Mileage Training (but still running related):

Big zero in this column for the week!  I even skipped the last day of Yoga In The Square because I moved my long run to Sunday.  Ooops!

Impact On Real Life:

Someday I hope I look back on this post and remember this rookie mistake:  I started training for an end-of-September race in the beginning of June.  This makes absolutely no sense, but does explain why I was feeling so burned out by training by the time actual training was supposed to start.  I was technically training for a Firecracker the entire month of June, but mentally I was training for the Great Race.  A more experienced runner would’ve separated their 5K and 10K training into two different plans, with a few recovery weeks in between.  Hindsight being 20/20, I won’t make that mistake again.  But, last week I realized that I needed to reevaluate my training plan to get the most out of the time I have left.

Action Plan:

This week, I really need to dig deep and get every training run in. The only person who is going to be effected is ME, and why would I want to screw myself over?  I don’t want to screw anybody else over obviously, but I definitely don’t want to screw myself over!  I want to finish the Great Race, and honestly I’d like to run a better race than I did in the PM Relay.  I have a hundred thousand excuses for any and everything throughout the day – they no longer apply to my running.

Pre-The-Gift

Training Overview #sftsRUNS

18 Aug

Welcome to a half-hearted installment of my 10K Training Overview!  This is a weekly practically-defunct series in which I document my weekly running progress, nutrition, photos, and mileage as I train for Pittsburgh’s 2014 Great Race on September 28th.  If you are on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook – you can also follow along using the hashtag #sftsRUNS.   These overviews are intended not only for me as a way to document my fitness journey, but also as a means to inspire other newbie runners who are ready to move beyond the 5K distance.

Training-Overview-SFTSRuns

Weekly Overview:

Well, well, well.  So we meet again Weekly Overview.  Tbh, I thought of you as my nemesis for a few weeks there, but it’s time to face those fears.  I literally (and by that I mean, in theory or probably or supposedly) have a psychological condition in which I put so much pressure on myself to do something that I freak out and sabotage myself.  I think I have a fear of being successful.  Sad, really.  The worst part of this psychological condition is that it’s made up, so the only remedy is to get over it.  Combine that drama with a few weeks of depression and it made for a whole lot of un-training.  Or counter-training.  Per my usual routine, I took a two-week break from running right smack in the middle of my training program.  I didn’t run a single mile from 7/27 – 8/9.   You know, just long enough to lose fitness and want to shoot myself in both feet.  Unluckily, I was born with the gene that loves to make myself suffer, but LUCKILY it came with the freakishly competitive gene that has to come out on top.  So my training program, my overview posts, my dignity, and my goal will all be salvaged.

Training Plan:

Since I’ve taken 2 weeks off, this section is insignificant this week.  I will be writing a TON here next week I’m sure as I reevaluate my training program yet again.

Weight Change:

My weight loss goal is 150 lbs.  By August, my goal is to be down to 175 lbs.  I weigh in immediately after I wake up on Monday mornings.  This morning I weighed in at 185 lbs.!!!  Only 10 lbs. to go by the end of the month.  Since I’ve been mostly sedentary, I know that reaching my summer goal weight is still very much a reality.  Over the weekend, it felt phenomenal to go shopping with my sister and know that I wasn’t relegated to the small sections marked “XL” anymore.  I actually bought a pair of size MEDIUM yoga pants from Victoria’s Secret.  Last summer, I couldn’t even wear the brand at all – this was a huge victory for me!!!  I’ve said it a hundred times and I will keep saying it:  progress happens in the kitchen!  Clean eating is 100% responsible for my continued weight loss progress.

Physical Condition:

I went for a 2 mile walk yesterday with my mom and I felt like it was the jump-start I needed.  I was actually winded from walking up a baby size hill and that scared me.  Turns out, I think it was just my allergies, but it lit that fire under my ass!

Mental Condition:

I’m getting there.  It’s true what they say:  the more active you are, the more active you want to be.  The reverse is also true, the more lazy you are, the more lazy you want to be.  I know that each decision I made to be inactive fueled the vicious cycle of inactivity.  Our habits really are just a series of decisions that create results.  It’s a big powerful thing when you realize that you pick the results you want by simply making the decision that matches up.   I think that’s why healthy living suits me – the practice of it follows the same principles that the practice of sustainability does.  Be mindful, be accountable, and think of the bigger picture.

Nutrition:

Even when I’m not sticking to my clean eating routine, I still eat pretty healthy.  Even on a bad day, I’m having a better day than most people.  Even though it took me YEARS of trial and error to teach myself how to eat/think about nutrition, the struggle is worth it.  The journey has been hard and it will never really be over.  I imagine that little itch, EDNOS and/or binge eating, will always be in the back of my mind, always too far out of reach to be scratched.  The last 2 weeks took a significant downturn for me and I was finding myself stuffing my face with Nutri-Grain bars (1 is healthy, 4 at one time not so much) and Chex Mix Muddy Buddies.  I ate my favorite meals over the weekend and now I’m mentally ready to buckle down.

I spent the weekend reading about the paleo diet and I’ve decided to give it a try.  More on this during the week!

Non-Mileage Training (but still running related):

I continued to attend yoga throughout my running break, along with riding my bike a few times.  This week, I’m focused on mentally pushing myself to get in every training run.  That’s my #1 goal for the week.

Impact On Real Life:

I’m just happy to not be curled up in a ball watching Lifetime movies at this point.  One day at a time!

Action Plan:

Obviously, I need to be very specific with my goals.  This week, my goal is to stick to my training plan 100% and not skip anything.  That’s all I can ask of myself right now!

 

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