June 29, 2015

My first "brick" workout....does that mean a triathlon is on the horizon?

Last Monday, I did something that I had never planned to do.  My usual forms of exercise include the gym where I use an elliptical machine or the stationary bike, some weights and the mats.  My outdoor activities usual consist of running, walking the dog, a neighborhood bike ride or playing golf.  Imagine my surprise when I looked at my workout schedule provided by coach Sami.  The workout for the day included biking outside and swimming laps in a 25 yard pool..  My plan showed a bike ride to the fitness center where I would do a 1000 yard swim workout followed by another bike ride home.  Tom actually suggested I take the car because my swim workout the prior week was not great.  In fact, I felt sick to my stomach for the better portion of it, and actually fell short by 100 yards of the workout.

The bike ride was just 2.5 miles and mostly downhill so I arrived at the pool feeling ready to tackle my swim workout.  The pool was so warm it felt like bath water, but despite that, there was a workout to complete and I was determined to get this one completed, every last yard!  Any outdoor activity done it heat and humidity will take longer and of course this swim was no exception.
My workout consisted of a warm up with arm and leg drills followed by some sets of 50's, up to 200's at certain speeds based on feel.  I really enjoy the shorter quick swims followed by a brief rest.  However, my speedy time, is probably like a turtle for most swimmers.  However, a turtle makes it to the finish line too! Post workout, I got on my bike and completed my brick workout in approximately one hour.  I haven't peaked at my workouts for this week, but I feel certain there will be another brick in my future.

Now the big question, will I enter a triathlon?  This is such a tempting thing, except I do not own a proper road bike.  A few weeks ago, several of my teammates and Sami raced a sprint triathlon called 3 little pigs.  This is the one and only triathlon I would be interested in because of the age group awards.  Sami earned her third "little pig" trophy this year and it is adorable.  So.....if I ever try a tri, it will be this one. Oh and yes, there was only one person in my age group this year!

Have you done a triathlon?  What is your favorite event of the three?

June 26, 2015

Friday Five: Getting on the healthy bandwagon!

It's probably not a big surprise that the wedding chaos threw my life into a bit of a tizzy...a very very good one! We were lucky enough to have some fantastic leftover food that our caterer properly saved for us and lots and lots of cake. For 4 days after the wedding, Adam and I enjoyed pulled pork sliders, sauteed veggies and cake for dinner. Every single night! It was tasty but eventually we both craved healthier food and the normalcy of our regular routines.

1. Abs and push-ups: When Adam and I first started dating, he was religious about a push-up, pull-up and sit-up routine.  I adopted parts of it like the core focus and push-ups. I was amazed at how fast my back and shoulder muscles developed from the push-ups so I stuck with it. And earlier this year I mentioned that I had been doing a lot more core work in the morning. I fell off the bandwagon in a big way just before the wedding and I can tell from the fact that my baby abs went back into hiding. We both agreed to spend 5-10 minutes each morning back on the wagon.

2. Cooking dinners: Nothing earth shattering here but we spent some time last weekend meal-planning and picking out healthy recipes for dinner. Our weekly meal plan looks something like this...
Sunday: Margharita pizza on the grill with Greek salad
Monday: Almond crusted halibut (I modified to do a light olive oil and herb mixture instead of the butter) with zucchini and salad
Tuesday: One pot Thai peanut pasta using protein pasta
Wednesday: Enchiladas with chicken, peppers, and onions
Thursday: Skinny honey lemon chicken with asparagus
Almond crusted halibut with zucchini topped with pesto
3. Gym dates: Adam and I have been making dates to hit the gym after work together. I enjoy the time we spend together and it's been a good motivator. Plus he always has some good ideas for strengthening exercises for my hips and quads.

4. Running dates: When Adam's back flared up, I lost my running buddy for a while. But now that he's healed (fingers crossed he doesn't have more issues), I have a running buddy which is fantastic! Marathon training is hard and I'm grateful to have someone by my side for some of the runs. We enjoyed a few miles together last Saturday and it was brutally hot so I was happy to have someone to help keep me motivated.

5. Focusing on hydration: I kind of slacked off on hydration for a while and now that summer heat and humidity is here in full force, I couldn't ignore it anymore. I have my 24 oz. Starbucks Disney Parks tumbler at work that I fill with ice water several times a day. I also have been trying to drink 8-12 ounces of water when I wake up in the morning. For some reason it gets me in a good frame of mind and starts the day off right.

Hope you have a great weekend!

June 24, 2015

Jeff Galloway offers new tips for his run walk run strategy

Disclosure:  We are Galloway bloggers and receive tips to share with our readers.  There is no compensation received for this post.

We have been Jeff Galloway interval runners at many different times during our run training and race. Since my first marathon was part of the Goofy Challenge running a half one day and a full marathon the next, I used the run walk run plan for my training and race day.  And guess what?  You can do races on consecutive days and finish with a smile on your face.  Having a good race strategy is helpful and Jeff's strategy, especially for new runners works very well.

Recently we received some new running strategy tips from Jeff that we want to share with you.  With more research, Jeff has found that a shorter walk break will aid runners in keeping their pace consistent, yet achieving a stronger race with less fatigue.  Here is why:
Avoiding the Slow-down
Compared to running constantly, the 1-minute walk break still results in runners feeling better, staying healthier, and going faster, but it can get even better! Limiting walk breaks to 30 seconds, or in some cases even less, while cutting the run time accordingly, gives all the same benefits, with even less fatigue and even faster times.
The Bottom Line
If you are in already using a 30-second walk break or less, you don't need to adjust. If you are using an interval that takes a 1-minute walk break, keep the same ratio but cut your walk and run times in half. For example, a 1-minute/1-minute interval now becomes a 30-sec./30-sec. interval. It's that simple.

The 30-second Walk Break
 Jeff Galloway's Run/Walk/Run method was revolutionary for three reasons:
1 - Run/Walk/Runners felt better throughout the long run.
2 - Run/Walk/Runners recovered faster and got injured less often.
3 - Run/Walk/Runners went faster with the breaks than without.
Since his introduction of walk breaks in 1974, Jeff he has received feedback from hundreds of thousands of runners, allowing him to fine tune Run/Walk/Run to keep people feeling better, staying healthy, and running faster.
The greatest benefit of the walk break comes in the first 30 sec.
Our heart rates come down, the running muscles relax, we catch our breaths, and the fatigue melts away. After 30 seconds of walking, we tend to slow down. Here is a typical example of what happens with a 1-minute walk break:  A run/walk/runner averaging 10-minute pace in a marathon using 3 min/1min might walk at a 15-minute mile pace for the first part of the race.
As fatigue sets in, that walk gets slower, and by halfway, the runner may be walking at 18 min/mi. This means faster running is needed to stay on pace, which creates more fatigue at the end of each running segment, so the walk will get slower, and so goes the downward spiral at the end of the race.
Avoiding the Slow-down
Compared to running constantly, the 1-minute walk break still results in runners feeling better, staying healthier, and going faster, but it can get even better! Limiting walk breaks to 30 seconds, or in some cases even less, while cutting the run time accordingly, gives all the same benefits, with even less fatigue and even faster times.
In Summary
If you are in already using a 30-second walk break or less, you don't need to adjust. If you are using an interval that takes a 1-minute walk break, keep the same ratio but cut your walk and run times in half. For example, a 1-minute/1-minute interval now becomes a 30-sec./30-sec. interval. It's that simple.
When I ran Princess 2014 with Jeff and Barbara, we used a 30 second run, 30 second walk break interval for the entire race. And I will tell you that I was not one bit tired when I finished that race. It really does give you more energy to use run walk and I think you can achieve better time results with this method. If you use his method, do give this interval a test during your next long run.  You may be surprised at how well it works!

Thanks as always to Jeff for sharing his tips.

June 22, 2015

"Run like a Champion" giveaway

Disclosure:  Champion provided us with clothing for our race weekend in February.  we were given the option to giveaway any extras that did not fit either of us. 

Remember when we wore Champion clothing for the Princess Half Marathon race weekend back in February?  Champion sent us huge boxes of clothing and unfortunately, a few items sent to Christine were not the correct sizes.

I was a bit jealous Christine received two boxes!

Instead of returning the clothing to Champion, they offered us the chance to give away the clothing that did not fit to our blog readers. With all the wedding preparations and hoopla, we are just now getting around to posting the giveaways.  That's right, there are two separate outfits we are giving away!  The first outfit is the same one I wore when I ran a PR at the Princess Half Marathon.  The top is the Absolute Women's tank in teal with matching Marathon shorts also in teal.  I absolutely love this outfit, and you will too.  We are giving away a size medium outfit (tank and shorts).

This outfit is not only good for earning race day PR's, but also for assorted other cross training activities such as walks on the beach and bike riding!

The second outfit we have to give away is the Women's Champion sport short  in printed patrol red with a matching Powertrain v-neck shirt in solid patrol red, both in size medium.  While neither of us has this exact outfit, we do have these shorts and tops in other colors and they are great for the gym, running or any activity.

Please note that this contest is only open to US residents in the lower 48 states.  How to enter?  Leave a blog post comment and answer why you want to "run like a Champion!"  That's all and good luck.  We will randomly choose winners on Friday, June 26th!

June 19, 2015

The un-recap of our wedding

I figured that I would be really excited to share some details from our wedding after the fact. After a bit of reflection, I've decided that I won't be sharing the nitty gritty details of our wedding, unlike our race recaps! I'm sure this comes as a bit of a surprise since we readily share information about other aspects of our lives, but there are some things in life that are personal and I've decided this is one of them. 

Adam and I spent 10 weeks, give or take a few days, planning a billion details for a day that was precious to us. We shared our ceremony and celebration with 40 of our nearest and dearest in an intimate day that reflected us...southern hospitality with Midwestern and New England roots. It was a really special day and I still smile when I think about exchanging unique vows, twirling on the dance floor with one of Adam's best friends, and indulging in southern fare with my new husband (!!). I'm excited to begin my new life as a wife and as a team (one of the lingering themes from our wedding).

With the return to work, life has returned to normal but with a joy and excitement that wasn't there last week.
{Christine, now a Mrs.}

June 18, 2015

A "runaway bride" fun run

Last Saturday was a big day for the We Run Disney girls.  Christine was getting married that afternoon and the morning was going to kick off with a fun run of about 3 miles with 7 runners.  Bright and early we met at the Church Point Manor in Virginia Beach for the start of the run.  I ordered shirts ahead of time from an Etsy shop, Run with perseverance and they came out great.  Dressing up a visor from Michael's with hot glue, some tulle and lace from Michael's and a Lululemon skirt finished off the bride's running outfit.  I had intended on making a bib for her to wear, but time slipped away from me. if you plan one of these events, you could come up with a cute idea for a bib and then print it off your computer!

The staged photo!
Not a clue what was so funny!
After our pre run photo shoot, we were set to go at about 7:45 am.  It was already really hot, so I carried a backpack with a couple bottles of water in case anyone needed it. By the way, I was the only one that could not run, so I was the biker in charge of water and keeping everyone on the planned route.  We could not afford to have a lost bride and her friends roaming the streets of Virginia Beach!

Church Point Manor is located in a beautiful residential area, so we passed many lovely homes along the way.  As cars, bicycle riders and pedestrians passed our group, we heard many comments!  Several people wished us a great day!

After departing the neighborhood, we entered Baylake Park which gave the runners a respite from the sun with some lovely shade trees.  After another 1/4 mile, it was time to turn around and head back to the manor house!

Soon we were all back in the air conditioned dining room at the bed and breakfast and it was time to enjoy some homemade coffee cake, cut fruit and Gatorade.  Everyone enjoyed the run and the shirts from Run With Perseverance were perfect for the occasion!  Now it was time to get ready for the main event of the day after showers and some nice clean clothes!
Post run treats and smiles!

If you are attending the wedding of a bride that is a runner, this is a great way to relieve some stress the morning of the wedding!

June 12, 2015

Five favorite summer activities

Thanks to the lovely ladies of DC, Mar, Courtney and Cynthia for the Friday linkup to our favorite summer activities!  My list will be quite unique since it revolves around a wedding weekend!

1. A Wedding:  My best running buddy and only child is getting married on Saturday. It will be a wonderful day of celebration as Christine and Adam tie the knot in Virginia.  We are beyond excited about celebrating with all the family and friends who will be in attendance!

2.  A rehearsal dinner that includes games:  Yes, after a fun and casual dinner, there will be games, lots of games including corn hole, bocce ball, croquet and a few others.  It will give everyone a chance to mingle and get to know each other before the wedding.

3.  A fun run for the bride:  I have a special run planned for Saturday morning with a bunch of other running friends, all female and a few surprises to make it unlike any other run.  Not quite costumes, but our outfits will be fun!

4.  Heading to the beach:  We hope to have some down time in between our jobs and activities to at least enjoy a lovely walk on the beach.  Since moving closer to the beach in NC, I am there at least once if not twice a week to soak up all the beauty.

5.  Stand up Paddle board:  I am so excited that someone in my golf group wants to do stand up paddle boarding with me this summer.  We plan to go when I return from all the wedding festivities and hopefully we can make it a weekly activity.

Are you adding any new activities to your calendar this summer?

June 10, 2015

Motivation renewed: I'm marathoning for Fisher House!

The other night I felt the spark reignite. I am ready to start marathon training again. Sure, my knee is improving but still not 100%. Sure, I'm still unsure how I'll approach this marathon. But there's something more this time...the support for our uniformed service members and their families. They need Fisher House.  And Fisher House benefits from runners who fundraise.

A few weeks ago, I was really stressed out about running a marathon again. My knee was a wreck, my motivation was at an all time low, and I couldn't wrap my brain around how I might make it happen. Adam and I chatted for a few minutes and our conversation went something like this...

Adam: Why are you worried?
Me: My knee, my interest level, letting Danielle down, letting myself down.
Adam: Ok, let's break this down a bit more. What are you doing about your knee?
Me: Focusing on strength training, taking a break from running and listening to my body.
Adam: Ok, that sounds good. Why are you worried about letting people down?
Me: I might not run a PR. I might not be ready to train for a sub-4:00. I always want to run my best and especially since I'm running with a Fisher House jersey, I want to run well.
Adam: Who cares if you don't PR? Do you think Fisher House cares? Let's talk more about what it means to run for them...why do you want to run for them?
Me: (long pause) For you...for Lisa's friends...for people like Aaron and Eliza...for anyone who couldn't otherwise be with their injured service member....I know this matters a lot more than a stupid marathon PR. (long pause) 
Adam: Ok. Now you know why you're running, right?

I do. I know what matters. What matters isn't my time this go 'round. Sure, I would love to PR! Sure, I would love to run a sub-4:00. But being an active fundraiser for Fisher House to help them raise money and awareness for their cause is more important. I run for the families staying at a Fisher House...just like the one I pass each day on my way to work. Sometimes you just need a little perspective. I still don't have my training plan or strategy nailed down but somehow I'll cross the finish line in October!

If you would like to support my fundraiser, you can donate online here. No matter the value, your donation makes a difference!


June 4, 2015

Wilma Dash 5k recap with lots and lots of pink!

Last week the 7th annual Wilma Dash took place in downtown Wilmington, NC.  Supporting the local group called Pretty in Pink, an organization helping women with cancer, it is obvious women here love to participate to help such a worthy cause. This is an evening race, starting at 6 pm and it was not only hot and sunny but very humid.  Our group met up before the race for a photo opportunity and with loads of pink and tutus, we were quite a sight.  I opted out of the tutus in favor of letting the younger girls enjoy them!

After a few trips to the bathroom and lots of chatter, it was time to line up for the race start.  We heard the National Anthem and then it was time to go!  5k's have never been my favorite races, and as we were lining up, I was still considering why I wanted to torture myself, especially after having my calf issue.  But start I did and right behind one of my Without Limits teammates Kelli,  She shot up the the first hill like a rocket and Lynda and I stayed behind not going nearly as fast.  Our downtown area is quite hilly and this was my first time to run the hills!  After rounding the first hill, we settled into some gentle hills and then another big hill.  At this point, I was already very hot and sweaty, but pacing myself at 8:40 for the first mile.  The next mile was easier and I completed it slightly faster hoping to really pick up the pace for the final mile.  Nope, that was not happening with my calf.  it tightened up horribly after mile 2, and despite this being the easiest mile of the race, I talked myself out of pushing it too hard. It was mentally hard to give in to my leg, but I knew I would be really upset if I put my running in jeopardy for a local 5k.  So I didn't and I finished in 26.59, my personal worst in the 5k.  Time isn't always the most important factor and when you consider the weather that evening, it really wasn't a bad race.  And Kelli and I crossed this finish line at the same time!

Kelli and I near the finish line

Final results
Official time: 26.59
Overall Place: 86/847 finishers
60-64 Age Group: 2/74

The best part of this race is the after party in the convention center.  With tons of local vendors and wonderful food spread out over numerous tables, we had fun sampling and eating many things including Coastal Cupcakes and yes, I had two! We also received two coupons for adult beverages as part of our race entry and with the drinks (only one) and a plate of snacks, my dinner was complete! Unfortunately, I did not bring my cell phone so no photos of the goodies!

The presentation of awards is done after all the runners have enjoyed the party and air conditioning inside the convention center.  I was surprised to learn I had placed after having not my best race.  So many in my group made podium and we were all thrilled to cheer for coach Sami who crushed her age group finishing first!

Sami makes friends with everyone!

Photo from Wilma Dash

All in all, this was a fun evening and the best news occurred when our team was awarded the largest team award thanks to our leader Shawn who got the group together.  Our prize is a $500 gift certificate to spend at the brewery for a party and that will include lots of fun and laughs!  Now it is time to plan our next girl's race adventure!

Have you ever run a female only race?

June 2, 2015

(Running) Relationship Status: It's complicated

On Sunday, I went out for a short run around the neighborhood. I still have a bit of knee pain but it's improved a lot and is tolerable. So off I went! I made it 3.5 miles at a pretty decent clip and I contemplated my running status...how I feel, my goals, my interest level, etc.

During this run it finally hit me that my relationship with running has been like that good old Facebook relationship status, "it's complicated." I love running for the endless mental and physical benefits but I just haven't been feeling it lately. And if I'm being truly honest, I haven't ever gotten my groove back completely following my epically terrible day at the Richmond Marathon. Sure, I've moved on from the deep disappointment I felt and I've embraced running again (even earning a 10k PR in February) but it hasn't been a major player in my life.

It's a weird feeling. I've built a network of friends though running. My social media feeds are dominated by running so I've been eschewing them a bit. I almost feel like I don't belong anymore...in the online world I created for myself! I'm not looking for pity - it is what it is. I'm enjoying alternative activities and still staying fit. It's been a little strange to feel disconnected and disinterested in running.

After reading my friend Megan's recent post on running being a hobby, I couldn't help but relate. While I love running, it doesn't pay my bills or take care of me, etc. It's just a hobby. I was probably letting myself feel a bit inadequate about my running unnecessarily. If I'm enjoying it, I do it and if not, find something new. It's really that simple!

In just a few weeks, I'll be lacing up my sneakers to start training for Marine Corps Marathon as a member of Team Fisher House. I know that will give me adequate motivation to move from "it's complicated" to "in a relationship" with running again!

How do you handle lulls in your running?

June 1, 2015

Arranging a wedding morning fun run

If you follow us on the blog or Facebook, you know that Christine will be getting married in less than two weeks.  With a 4 pm wedding, what better way to start the day than a run with your girlfriends and relatives.   Planning a fun run has been easy with help from some of the girls who will be running around with us.

Melissa Bliss Photography

Christine's attire was one of the most fun things to organize and my crafting skills have been put to the test.  And when I told her recently she only needed to bring her socks and sneakers she asked, "Is this going to be a naked run?".  Hardly, but I am not giving any clues as to her attire.  Also, her protective friends who need to keep her hidden from Adam will be in appropriate attire for wedding day.

Because Virginia Beach is not a place where I have spent much time running, I called upon the assistance of the B and B management to give me suggestions and a route for running.  They were extremely helpful so that detail has been taken care of. But since I worry,  the day before our run, Tom will join me for a walk around the area so I know exactly where we are going.  C's wedding day is no time to get lost on a run.

A post run snack is really not necessary after just a 5k, but my baking skills will be in action for a few little treats!  Of course the usual items like water bottles, Gatorade and fruit will also be available.

Most of all, I want this to be a fun stress relieving run to start the day for all the girls.  And should the day be rainy, we might just have to sing in the rain and run anyway.

Have you ever planned a fun run?  Any tips of some fun extras to include?