Sub-8’s

This weather has been brutal. As a Vermonter, I know that we are not truly past winter until the end of April. However as a runner that’s kind of over the icy, snowy, negative temperatures, I’m disappointed every time I look at the weather forecast. It hasn’t been pretty lately… Okay so maybe it has been visually pretty, but really unappealing for running.

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We had a tease of 50-70 degree days and then it went back to snowstorms, ice, and negative temperatures. So, it has been a matter of accepting it and just trying to work around what winter is throwing at me. I try to run 5 days a week and sometimes only get in 3-4, but I make sure those runs count. I include speed work, a long run, interval/hill training, and 1 easy pace day on the weeks I can’t make it outside 5 times.

I’m happy to say though the speed is finally coming back. I finally did two entire runs this last week at a sub-8 minute pace. One was a 10 miler and the other was an 8 miler. The 8 miler I got closer to an average of 7:30 while the 10 miler was closer to 7:55.

I haven’t been able to do that since my knee injury in October, but I’ve been signing up for races and training, so it was time to get out there and get closer to the pace that I want to race at. Despite the fact my training has been allllll over the place for this first race, I’m feeling like I’ll run a decent time. Maybe not a PR, but we’ll see on race day! It’s less than 4 weeks out so I’m trying to make the next 2.5 weeks count before tapering.

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Here’s the plan for this week! We’re supposed to get hit hard Tuesday/Wednesday with a snowstorm, but I’m hoping to get out early in the morning on Tuesday and then late in the evening on Wednesday. Then we’re supposed to get more snow Saturday and Sunday (winter please stoooooop…please). I need to get that 14 miler in though so hopefully it’s not too brutal.

Dear Vermont, Finn would like it to be summer already too. How can you say no to that face?

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To Work or Play

Can we all just agree that adulting is a little ridiculous sometimes…most of the time? I’m constantly in go-go-go mode so it’s really hard to break free from that. I accept that because of all the extra things I’ve taken on in my life, I will be busy more often than not, but that doesn’t mean I can’t and shouldn’t designate time for fun.

So when Tuesday was a holiday off from work, I knew that it needed to be fun day despite the rainy gloominess. I started off with a relaxing morning drinking coffee in my pajamas before taking Finn pup for a looooooooooong walk. He had a blast running around and wore himself out – so proud of this pup for working on his off-leash skills. We weren’t sure he’d ever get to this point when we first rescued him, but as always – he surprised us with his mad skillz.

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He also has mad napping skillz.

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Then after stopping quickly at my friend’s apartment to take care of her plants, I did a long yoga session.  I generally just have time for 10 minutes of yoga here and there, but it felt so good to take an hour and a half to really stretch out and then do some meditation on top of that.

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After spending some time signing up for two of three certifications I’m working toward this year, it was time for a run in the rain. It actually was kind of nice despite the crazy wind and rain along the lake.

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After that, Finn pup was up and ready for another walk so we headed out again for a second hike. I’m so lucky to live in such an incredibly beautiful place.

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I decided to relax a little under an electric blanket while I ate a chocolate peanut butter smoothie bowl with homemade granola on top and worked on school work.

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And then after a couple hours, I made dinner (Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai).

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Unfortunately on Tuesdays, I don’t see Damir until 9 at night so I put his dinner in the fridge, packed my breakfast/lunch/snacks for tomorrow, and cuddled up on the couch with the pup while doing some more school work. Then when Damir got home we all cuddled up together until I crashed into bed. The perfect way to end an active, relaxing, and fun day.

It’s so easy to get caught up in everything we “have” to do. Both my work and home to-do lists are miles long and never-ending, but that makes it even more important to take time to yourself. Sunday is designated as fun day in our house and sometimes no-phone Sunday which is incredible. Then when I have a random holiday or day off from work, I often just work through it, but taking the time to just enjoy the day was the right call. I highly recommend it!

Happy Wednesday!

 

Being Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

Remember how I threw out my running plan last week? Yeah I still don’t have one and I’m okay with that. This Vermont winter has been unforgiving with the snow, ice, and negative temperatures and while I run in it as much as possible, I also recognize when it’s not safe for my health to be out for extended periods of time. This has meant it’s been really hard to follow the running plan I designed for this first race of the year.

My training has been all over the place, but that’s okay. It’s the first race of the year and the first race helps you get back in the swing of things and remember what’s it like to race 13.1 rather than just run it leisurely.

Once the warm weather hits, it’s going to feel great to train again. Until then, I have a solid base of mileage that I’ve been maintaining. This week will be a 45 mile week! Crazy! Here’s the plan for the week that I literally decided two minutes ago (I had to move last Saturday’s 14 miler to the beginning of the week due to a wind chill advisory over the weekend).

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Sure, I’m going to want a PR in this first race of the year, but let’s be real… If you want to race at a certain time you have to train at that time too and I have not been until the past couple weeks. Recently, I pushed myself for about 5-6 miles of an 8 mile run to go at a fast pace I haven’t done since last year before my knee injury. It DRAINED me (shh don’t tell the fast people in my running group that… because you know… runner’s ego).

It felt great at the same time though. I miss speed work and pushing beyond my comfort zone with my running. The greatest lesson I’ve ever learned with running is to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. As soon as I embraced that (and it took me quite awhile to embrace it), my times started dropping considerably. If you don’t push yourself to that point, you’ll never know what you’re capable of in a race.

Of course, that being said. You should never push yourself through injury, sickness, or if something just doesn’t feel right. There are limitations and taking care of yourself is more important than a PR.

Happy happy Monday!

A Spring Weekend

40 degree weather two days in a row this weekend? Oh my goodness, running was such a blast in the warm weather. After feeling frustrated with winter training that’s exactly what I needed to feel confident again with my training. Annnnnd then today it was back to the cold and ice. 🙂 Oh Vermont….

This week is looking promising weather wise and I’m feeling good about the training plan this week. My first race of the year is always a hit or miss. Sometimes I’m unstoppable and sometimes it’s a learning experience and a way to ease into racing season. I think once I get closer to the race, I’ll have a better idea of realistic time goals, but for now I’m just enjoying getting the miles in.

Here’s the training plan for this week!

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As for the rest of the weekend, I’d love to say I was productive. I cleaned the house quite a bit, ran errands, made some yummy food, and tried to catch up on mountains of school work. To be honest my long run left me exhausted and once I sat on the couch it was game over. Once I start getting to 12+ milers after taking a break from those distances, it takes awhile for my body to adjust and it takes me awhile to remember how to fuel and refuel properly. Finn loved the cuddle couch time though so all is good!

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I’m hoping to catch up today OR maybe just enjoy the sunshine and forget about being an adult for awhile. 🙂

Happy Monday. If you have it off go enjoy it! The sunshine is definitely calling my name.

Just Do the Best You Can

I had every intention of getting up at 4 am to run, strength train, and do some yoga before work yesterday. I even got myself to bed before 9 pm. Then life happened. Our rescue pup decided he didn’t want to sleep through the night or sleep in his crate and he let it be known. So when that 4 am alarm went off, it was mostly definitely shut off. Let’s just say I got to work without those happy running endorphins and looking almost as lost and confused as Finn does during the 5 am hour.

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Mornings are rough.

 

The point of this story is that life happens and sometimes plans needs to change. If I got upset over every time my schedule didn’t play out according to plan, that would be crazy because it happens several times a week. Instead, I just get creative with it and do the best I can.

Did strength training and yoga happen today? Absolutely not. Did I throw my running gear in my bag and do speed work during lunch? Yes. So I’m going to call that a win.

Some days yoga and strength training happen in 5-10 minute increments. Some days I sleep 5 hours instead of 7 or 8 and skip morning workouts.Some days my running clothes are the most ridiculously mismatched colors because I put the outfit together at 4 am (Green, teal, neon running shoes, and purple polka dot socks totally go together, right?). Some days I get so busy at work trying to help others that I forget to hydrate, eat, and take care of myself. I accept those moments, try to figure out a solution to the situation, and alter my plan accordingly.

 

If you’re not a professional athlete who can dedicate their life to training, then don’t beat yourself up that you can’t pull out the same mileage or fitness routine as them. Do the best you can.

Happy Wednesday!

Winter Running: Getting Out the Door

It is SNOWING! What a fun snowstorm! 🙂 My partner and I ran around in the snow and walked down to the lake late last night. No one else was outside and the snow just kept falling and falling. It was so much fun. We had the best intentions to bring our cameras out early this morning, but sometimes the electric blanket wins. 🙂

As an all season runner living in Vermont, I know it can be a struggle to get out the door and get your mileage in during the winter. There have definitely been days where I procrastinated until the last possible second. Here are some tips that make it easier to get out the door:

1.) Have everything ready to go. If my running clothes are ready, my watch is charged, etc then it makes it that much easier to get out the door.

2.) Sign up for a spring race. I’m running a race at the beginning of April. Winter seems to last through April in Vermont so I have no choice, but to train in the winter.

3.) Make an AWESOME playlist. I rarely listen to music when I run, but sometimes the only thing that can get me out the door is knowing I can space out and listen to music. So I made an awesome playlist and have it ready for those days I’m struggling.

4.) HAND WARMERS. Oh my goodness! I went too many years without hand warmers, but in the last couple years they have made winter running so much more tolerable. I hate when my hands are cold on a run.

5.) Run your routes differently or drive some place new. Winter running sometimes bums me out. I can’t be out on the trails and my routes are VERY limited. So when I’m getting insanely bored, I run my route differently. Or I pick a main street and turn down different roads during my run and see where it leads me. Sometimes just a little change can make it that much easier!

6.) Warm up first. I have a rowing machine, some strength training equipment, and a yoga mat so on days where it just seems too cold, I do a quick warm up before I head outside.

7.) Wear proper layers. It definitely is a lot of trial and error about what works for you, but wearing the proper amount of layers is key to winter running.

8.) Have fun with it. Running with snowflakes falling around you and hearing the crunchiness under your feet can be pretty magical! Enjoy it! 🙂

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After a long run on Saturday, I was unable to get out yesterday due to the snow. I used to run in any conditions, but am finding running in snow and ice really hurts my knee. I’ll try to get out there today so I can stick to my plan, but we’ll have to see what the weather does. I might just have to switch Friday and Monday up.

My plan for this week is as follows:

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How do you get out the door during the winter?!

Starting New After a Tough Week

Happy happy Monday. It’s a new week! Can we just hit the refresh button on last week and start new? I had a pretty difficult week with training, life-balance, and just feeling healthy in general, so I’m looking forward to a fresh start this week.

I felt really sluggish in training all last week. It could be numerous things so I’m trying harder this week to get a full nights sleep, fuel properly for training, and reduce stress so that I can focus on feeling stronger. My pace was really all over the place and my knee was irritated almost every run so I’ve decided now that Sunday absolutely needs to be a rest day after my long runs on Saturdays. If the knee keeps hurting then I’m going to cut down to a 4 day running/3 day cross training plan temporarily. For now, this is what the fitness plan looks like:

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As for sleeping – I just need to stop staying up to do schoolwork, photography work, wellness work, etc and accept that things will get done at a later time. So my goal for this week is to get enough sleep in hopes that sluggish feeling will go away. I’ll also be meal prepping for the week (check out a meal prep post later this week) so that will allow me to fuel properly and not skip snacks and meals.

The great thing about having a tough week is it really allows you to take an honest look at what happened and how you can make it better. I let myself get too overly stressed and overbooked. My work schedule had me out of the office and I skipped meals. My school work was very intense this week and had me working past my bed time. In the end my running definitely suffered and I didn’t get around to the strength training, yoga, or rowing. Now I know what I need to do this week to get myself back on track!

I’m feeling great about the week ahead though – it’s going to be a good one! What’s your method for getting back on track after a tough week?

 

 

 

 

Practicing Gratitude

I used to be great about writing in a journal when I lived overseas. I wanted to document my experiences and have these great stories to remember for a long time. After I got back to the States, I didn’t keep up with the daily habit. Lately I’ve been wanting to journal again and more specifically write down what I’m grateful for every day.

Practicing gratitude can be such a helpful way to relieve stress and appreciate what you have around you (which unfortunately many of us can lose sight of during our busy days).

This week hasn’t been pretty. Like many weeks my schedule has been booked solid from 5am until I go to bed. The stress from that, work, commuting, school, training, and recovering from an ill-timed cold got the best of me. Last night I was stressed beyond belief crying about how I’m coaching people in life balance and not practicing it in my own life and my partner made me point out things I’m grateful for. He kept making me point out things until slowly I started feeling better.

Though I’ve encouraged practicing gratitude with my own wellness coaching clients, I haven’t been practicing it as much as I should in my own life. I’ll be the first to admit, wellness coaches may know exactly what to do for a better life balance, but we also have trouble following through with it every week (we are human after all)! So this week, I’ll be starting a gratitude journal. Additionally, I’ll be trying to incorporate little moments throughout my day to do a quick relaxing yoga session, walk in the fresh air, and definitely schedule some much needed me time before I go absolutely crazy!

In case you’re wondering, today I’m thankful for:

1.) A loving, supportive, encouraging, sweet, inspiring, and all around amazing partner.

2.) A cuddly, sleepy, and often adorably grumpy puppy that loves to love and only wants to be loved.

3.) The weekend – even though it’s busy, there will be pockets of time to practice self-care, run, spend time with the pup and my lovely partner, and sleep a full 8 hours each night.

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