Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday Five - My Treadmill Affection

Before I get into my Friday Five (which is a soapbox post for me), let me just share this...

Louis *rocked* his baseball game last night!  2 hits, 2 runs.  Superstar!  So proud of that boy!  Plus, he is awfully cute in that uniform, don't you think?

Linking up agian with Cynthia at You Signed Up For What? , Mar at Mar on The Run & Courtney @ Eat Pray Run DC for the Friday Five...

It must be coincidental, but there was a lot of chatter online among a couple of the running groups I belong to about treadmills.

For the last 2 years/training cycles, I have ran almost solely on the treadmill.  Some weeks 100%, some more like 75%, but the treadmill is a big part of my running routine.

Most people think I'm crazy when I tell them I've run 18 or 20 miles on a treadmill, not once, but multiple times.

Don't you get bored? How can you do that? They ask.

I hate the dreadmill. You're crazy! They say.

Well to all the treadmill haters (and fans) out are 5 reasons why*I* love running on a treadmill.

5.  Speed Workouts.

Speed workouts on the treadmill rock.  There is no constant glancing at my watch or phone ap to see what pace I'm running.  I set my pace and go.  Then I rest.  Then I repeat.  Now the haters may say that the speed on treadmills is more often incorrect than not, but whatever.  I am going faster and pushing myself harder than I would if I were running outside.

I like the control that this gives me over my speed workouts & I can feel good about hitting my paces every time.

4.  Weather.

Thunderstorms?  105 degree heat?  Doesn't matter.  Nothing will cancel my run, nor will I be dying at 6am in the morning in the already 85 degree heat for 18-20 miles.

I've done that plenty of times and do not desire to repeat those experiences.  In fact, the last 20 miler I did outside (which was in 2011) was so horrible.  My friend and training partner Robby were training for the NYC marathon and went down to White Rock Lake at the butt crack of dawn.  The first loop (9 miles) went ok.  Then on the second, I asked him if he was sweating.  Nope.  Neither was I.  Our mouths were dry, despite all of the gatorade and water we had been drinking.  We later sat at breakfast and just stared into space kind of deliriously.  I'm pretty sure we were both on the verge of heat stroke.

After talking to him the next day, both of us had spent the rest of the day lying around feeling awful. Now while running 20 miles may just seem like it would be exhausting in itself, it's not THAT exhausting.  That is one experience I don't wish to repeat.  I run cool/cold weather races on purpose.  I don't train in the heat because I have absolutely no desire to do a race in the heat. that won't happen in Texas, but I *have* seen this happen in MN!

3.  The "Me Time".

One of the reasons I love running on the treadmill is because I take my ipad with me - I get on the gym's wi-fi and I watch movies and tv shows I normally wouldn't have the time to watch.  I live with one in this house wants to watch a 'Pretty Little Liars' marathon or Lifetime movies when the TV is actually on.

I also love seeing all the people I've met over the years at the gym.  Most will stop and chat with me for awhile.  It really helps break up some of those longer runs.  While, outdoor running is also "me time", I only get to listen to music I've already heard dozens or time or the occasional podcast.  I like to save that stuff for races.

2.  Hydration/Nutrition

Running on the treadmill allows me to have all the hydration and nutrition I need at arms reach.  I don't have to worry about running out of drinks like I would if I were out running on my own.  I know these things aren't always "within reach" during a race, but I know they are always available soon (every 1-2 miles).

AND.... #1


I have made sizable improvements in my running since I did an experiment in 2012.  After the heat stroke debacle of 2011, I challenged myself to do all of my training runs on the treadmill.  I improved my marathon time that year by 51 minutes!  From 5:30 finishing times in 2010 and 2011 to 4:39 after one treadmill training cycle.  I cut almost 20 more minutes off during cycle 2 this past year (2013)...down to 4:22.  My half marathon time went down by almost 30 minutes. I am looking to take another significant cut off my times this year with a new and improved training plan.  I just don't think I could or would have made these kinds of improvements by staying with outdoor running only.

Recently, I was made aware of an article that pointed out that treadmill training for any race was a huge mistake.  It obviously wasn't a mistake for me.  No, I'm not winning any majors, but I am winning my own personal race.  I'm improving and that is all that matters to me.  What the articles don't point out are some of the benefits of using the treadmill.  Like another runner stated, it does have its place in training.  If you want to improve, you can't jump on and do the same thing every. single. time.  Varying the speed and elevation are key.

Like I've told SO many others....treadmill training is not for everyone.  There are plenty of treadmill haters who have told me so.  :)  I read the "treadmill runners aren't "real" runners" a lot.  Oh really?!  My list of completed races would prove much otherwise.  Is it the best way?  Maybe, maybe not. I believe in doing the things that make YOU happy, not others.  I'll train MY way and run my races MY was because when something goes wrong I have no one to blame but me.

But, don't get me wrong...I love running outside too!  It's peaceful.  It's fresh air.  It's fun!

That's my Friday 5!

Have a great weekend!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

My 1st Blogiversary & A Liebster Award!

I was given the Liebster Award by Meredith at FunNiceRunner last week.  Today is my blog's first anniversary so I figured it would be a great day to answer her questions and spread the love!

Meredith is one of my SweatPink ambassador sisters who has an incredible goal of running 50 half marathons in 50 states! Liebster Awards are given to bloggers to increase readership…typically who have less than 200 followers, in order to help them grow.

Of course, there are rules:

1. You must link back to the person who nominated you.
2. You must answer the 10 questions given to you by the person who nominated you.
3. You must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award (just not the person who nominated you).
4. You must create 10 questions for your nominees.
5. You must go to their blogs and notify the nominees.

So, without further are my answers to Meredith's questions:

What’s your favorite thing about blogging?

I love putting my thought into words and sharing them with others!  One of my wisest friends told me early on that blogging would be therapeutic and while it can be a lot of work sometimes, she was right!  I also enjoy networking - I’ve met some awesome new friends through blogging who share my love of running, fitness and life!

Name one thing you can’t hit the gym without and explain why.

The treadmill.  I have a particular one that I run almost ALL of my miles on and have done so for years. I know it sounds silly, but I get upset when someone else is using it!

Tell me one international place you’d like to visit and what you’d do there.

Paris.  I really just want to go to Paris, but I would LOVE to run the Paris marathon someday.  That is an upcoming birthday wish.   Other than run there, I just want to peruse the streets by bike, eat a lot of bread and drink a few bottles of wine.

What’s your favorite book and why?

I’m not sure I could name just one.  I have a giant bookshelf stuffed with books.  It was a dream of mine to have my own personal library and I kind of do!  I used to read a lot of chick lit mostly because I like to turn off my brain outside of work, but since starting grad school, reading for fun has definitely been sidelined, now I read nursing lit.  No quite as enjoyable.  I am looking forward to getting back to reading for fun!

There’s one thing you love most about your job, what is it?

The fact that I work from home!  I mean, how many nurses do you know that have this privilege? My office mates are 2 dogs and one cat.  I can work in my pajamas.  Does it really get any better than that?!  I mean, I like helping people and all, but that part of my job really rocks.

What’s one fitness class/program/event you haven’t tried yet but are looking forward to in 2014?

So even though my mom is probably reading this, I’d have to say pole dancing.  Not to be a pole dancer of course, but because it is supposed to be a kick a$$ workout.  I am just really scared to try it and will need to go with friends so that we can laugh at ourselves.  A lot.

What’s your favorite social media outlet, outside of your blog, and why?

I’ll go with Facebook.  I love keeping in touch with my friends back in MN, the friends I've made in Texas and the friends I've met from all over the word.  It’s fun staying involved in each other’s lives even though we are so far apart.

If you could have a super power, what would it be?  Why?

Super Dog Rescuer Woman.  J  I’d find a deserving home for every homeless pooch around. It would be so awesome. 

What is your proudest accomplishment so far, and what’s next?

My son is definitely my proudest accomplishment as a human being.  I am so blessed to have one 
of the really good kids.  So sweet and kind, funny and clever.  I like to think he takes after me! ;) 

The ten marathons I’ve completed would have to be my second.  I set out on this running journey with intention of running ONE marathon and hanging it up.  It was kind of like a bucket list thing (even though I don’t really have an official list).  I didn't want to do just any marathon - I wanted to run the NYC Marathon.  I got in on the first try, had a lot of difficult times during that year (think divorce, poor nutrition, toxic person overload), but I finished.  I ran through Central Park in 2010 thinking I never wanted to be in this moment again.  I hurt. I was miserable.  I felt like I was going to die.  I cried more than a few times. Looking back, I felt defeated in a moment where I should have been ecstatic. 

What a difference a year makes - 2010 on the left, 2011 on the right.

BUT, I knew deep down that I had to do it again.  Now, I’m so happy I stayed the course.  If I had given up running I wouldn't have all of the wonderful people in my life that I do now.  I  have so incredibly supportive people in my life, it would take more than all my fingers and toes to count them all. The victories are so much easier.  I KNEW I had to go back to NYC in 2011 and as luck would have it, I was blessed with that opportunity. 

Cake or ice cream?  Or both?

Definitely cake. Specifically cupcakes. 

Even more specifically Nicole Jones’ cupcakes.  They are divine! That is all.

Here are my 10 nominees:

Amber @ Mother Pumper
Aliah @ Get Fit Diva
Megan @ Run Megan
Kelli @ The Happster

Here are my questions:

Why did you start your blog?
Who is your hero?
What is your favorite color?
What is your dream job?
Dog person or cat person?  Both?
What is your favorite quote?
What is the most delicious food you’ve ever eaten?
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?  Why?
What is your favorite Trait about yourself?
What do you do for fun?

Check out their blogs and show them some love…they all have super fun blogs with great content! I can't wait to read all of your answers!

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Weekly Chase #12

I hope everyone is enjoying their long holiday weekend & remembering the true reason for the day.

Another week has flown by (they always do).  We are now down to 8 days of school (will it ever end?!?!)  I cannot WAIT until summer vacation!!  Sleeping in.  Pool time.  Vacation.

2.5 months of bliss.

It also means the start of marathon training!  I am really excited to being this even though it is still a good 2 months away. Until then, I'll just continue to maintain and build strength.

Last week in workouts looked like this.

Monday - Barre

Tuesday - Barre + 3.1 miles with Letty and Lifetime run, 1 mile with Louis

Wednesday - The Social Run with Luke's Locker took a nosedive because of a migraine, but I managed to get to Barre earlier (pre-migraine) in the day.

Thursday - Barre & a *really* awesome 6.5 mile run OUTSIDE in the HUMIDITY!  This is the best run I've had in the humidity in a really long time.  I was excited about this for days!  I actually stayed at a steady pace for once!

 Friday - Complete rest!

Saturday - 5 miles at the gym + 20 minutes on the stair climber

Sunday - Complete rest!

Weekly Total Mileage - 15.6 - again a little short of the predicted mileage, but at this point in the game I'm ok with that.

I also took a rest day yesterday because I had a 10k this morning!

This week looks like this:

Monday - Stonebridge Memorial Day 10k - this is one of my favorite races of the year!

Tuesday - Barre & 3-5 miles

Wednesday - 6 miles + 1 mile with Louis

Thursday - Barre + 1 mile with Louis

Friday - Barre

Saturday - Barre & 6 miles

Sunday - Barre

Total Mileage - 23-25 miles

Other goals: 

Finish all of the training plans for my MRTT group (a bigger response than what I had anticipated which is SO *awesome*!!  I love helping people meet their goals!!  

Finish painting my new office coming soon. It's going to be awesome (I hope!). 

Thoroughly enjoy my last week off from classes. It's about to get real.  For real. 

Have a great week!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Friday Five

This Friday I'm linking up with Cynthia at 'You Signed Up For What' and Heather at 'This Is Me' for the Friday Five.

Cynthia challenged the Sweat Pink sisterhood to share five places where we'd like to run - super fun (and super easy!) idea!

So...where do *I* want to run?

As the wise, Dr. Suess might say....Oh! The places I *want* to go!

1. New York City.

I've seen some spectacular sunrises here!

Technically I have already run here, but I will never say no to an opportunity to run this awesome city again.  There are so many reasons why, but to put it simply. NYC wins.  Every time.

2. New Orleans

I have also ran in this city, but I've never done a race here, and I really want to!  I love so much about this city.  I mean, even the cemeteries are beautiful!

The Garden District, the French Quarter, Riverside and the City Park.  All seriously stunning.  The architecture here blows me away.  Cafe Du Monde is never a bad idea for a good carb load. It's been way too long since I've had a beignet.

3.  Paris.

Paris is *always* a good idea.

One of my BRF's is running the Paris Marathon in 2015 and I have insane race envy.  This is one of my *must travel too* places in my lifetime and what better way to explore the city than on foot.

4.  Vancouver.

I've wanted to go here for *forever*.  It looks so beautiful.  The air looks so clean *and* you can see whales?  Yes, please!  The same friend that is going to Paris is also going to Vancouver for the Lululemon SeaWheeze Half Marathon in August.  I do wish I could go (especially to get some of the limited edition clothes that I could later sell on ebay to pad Louis' college fund).

5.  Maui

So this is happening in exactly one month!  We have been talking about going since last summer and this summer it will become a reality.  My Hawaiian dreams are coming true! I cannot WAIT to go for a run in this beautiful piece of paradise!

and finally an honorable mention...

My hometown.

There is just something I love about running there.  It's really one of the things I most look forward to when I go there.  I LOVE running out on the peaceful country roads or just running from one end of town to the other (it takes less than 10 minutes) to see how it's changed since I was there last.

Sometimes I even think about running to another nearby town just to say I did it.

So where is YOUR favorite place to run?

Where would you like to run?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Relax & Refresh! Fun Summer Drinks.

One of the things I love the most about summer is lounging in the pool with a cold drink in hand.

I'm not much of a beer drinker, but I do love a good, crisp, fruity drink.  One of my Sweatpink Sisters, Annica @ lifemodifier is featuring fun summer drinks on her blog today...check it out!

Here are a couple of my favorites...

**Peach Sangria**

This is my all time favorite sangrias and it is *so* easy to make!


1 750ml bottle of sweet white wine - Moscato or  Chardonnay are both great choices

This is a great one to use.

About 3/4 of a 2L of Ginger Ale

1 cup of sugar (I usually cut this back just a bit)

1 cup (or more if you desire) of Peach Schnapps

Stir until all the sugar has been incorporated into the liquid.

Add sliced peaches, strawberries, pineapple and oranges - raspberries are good too.

This can be served immediately or can be left to "marinate" overnight.  I think it gets more fruity flavor when left over night from the diffusion of the fruit.

Another one of my all time favorites?

Cactus Cooler

This one is really easy too!


32 oz (4 cups) of Pineapple Juice

32 oz (4 cups) Cranberry Juice

16 oz (2 cups) of Dekuyper Peach Schnapps

You can easily cut down this recipe for a single serving by using 2 parts of each juice and 1 part of the Schnapps.

Mix well and serve over ice.  The colder this drink is the more refreshing it is.

And finally...

Cheers to that!!

Thrill of the Grill 5k Race Review & I Met a Marathon Superstar!

So this was a pretty last minute sign up (at least for me).  I registered for this 5k last week as I specifically wanted to run a 5k this past weekend to see where I'm "at".

What intrigued me to actually do THIS race was the fact that my friend Luisa was doing it as well as another frunner from MRTT AND the opportunity to meet one of my running heros, Dean Karnazes!

Frunners Ready To Run!

So Dean was supposed to be at packet pickup, which I thought translated to the actual packet pickup, which was in a tent outside.  When I got there, I asked the volunteers where he was (he was supposed to be there from 3-5pm Friday afternoon.  They looked at each other and had NO idea who I was talking about.  Epic fail.  One volunteer would ask another who would ask another and another.  Not cool.  I didn't have a lot of time to spare, so I decided to leave.  Turns out he was INSIDE the store that was primary race sponsor.  Apparently no one told the volunteers.  I was really disappointed and hoped to at least catch a glimpse of him at the race.

Other than that, packet pick-up was pretty unremarkable.

Race Day

Saturday was just the perfect day to race.  That is all.  It was cool, not humid and there was a little breeze.

There were around 2,500 people at this 5k.  Definitely the largest 5k I've ever done (ok...this was only my third, but it is still a lot!).

One of the proceed recipients was the school district so many schools had plenty of representatives as their school would win extra money if they had the most people register/race.

So I walked from a nearby parking lot to the start to go and meet my friends,

and then I saw this....

OMG.  Dean Karnazes.  Just the most famous ultra marathoner ever.

If you don't know who this extraordinary runner is, just know this...he ran 50 marathons in 50 days in each of the 50 states, the last being in NYC.  He won the Badwater Ultramarathon in 2004.  Badwater is a 135 mile (ALL AT ONCE) race across Death Valley.  In the summer.  In 120 degree heat.  He also ran across the United States in 2011, running 40-50 miles per day, from Disneyland to NYC.  This took him only 75 days.  These feats are just in my friend Alicia's word, "amazeballs".

So how can he do all of this crazy cool stuff? He is able to reduce the build-up of lactic acid in his body and can keep himself under his lactate threshold, converting lactate to energy instead of pain and tiredness.

He also appears to have like 0% body fat.  He is freaking chiseled.

Anyway, I was able to catch him before the race and get a picture with him.

I was seriously stoked and *knew* I was going to have a great race!

As Luisa and I lined up we spotted him again so she could take a picture with him and we were able to chat with him for a few minutes.  We told him all about our thriving MRTT group and he seemed impressed!  He was so genuine and nice.

Luisa rocked this 5k - 2nd place in her AG!!

On to the race...

Because this was only my 3rd 5k, I was really going into it hoping to PR.

Weather & rest were both going for me.

Mile one - KILLED it - 8:08

Mile two - 8:38 - still not bad at all (at least for me!)

Mile three - 9:08 - lost steam on a couple of inclines

Over all I was SUPER happy with my finish (top 10 in age group out of 146, top 300 overall) AND I PR'd!

After the race there was a band and Central Market, the grocery store sponsor, was serving breakfast.

The line looked really long and I had to leave so I decided to forgo the food.  I'm never terribly hungry after running anyway.

Overall this race this race was pretty fun!  Even though it was kind of a bigger 5k, people were pretty good about lining up runners in the front, walkers in the back.  I never felt over crowded.  Dogs were also invited to run/walk so it was super fun to see that too!  I would probably do this race again.

One of my goals this spring and summer was to learn to like 5ks.  I really never thought 3 miles were worth getting up that early for (in my world 20 miles isn't worth getting up for - I'm a night runner). I have to say, I'm kind of hooked!  I am already perusing around for my next short distance race before the summer heat sets in.

My next goal?  Place in the top 3 in age group.

I'm looking forward to broadening my running horizons and work on getting faster!  I might be a runner, but I am definitely not a racer.  I need to work on that!

What are your thoughts on 5ks?