Monthly Archives: December 2013

Myrtle Beach Marathon Training: Week 3

Screen shot 2013-12-13 at 9.12.23 PM

This was a challenging week! It took some serious motivation and creativity to get some of my workouts done during the holiday and with family here visiting. But I got it done and I am [mostly] happy with how I did!

Screen shot 2013-12-29 at 8.36.37 PM

Here is how the week went.

Monday: Rest.

Tuesday: XT – Row (10:00) + Bike (20:00). It was sooooooooo hard to drag myself out of my house and away from my family who was visiting on Christmas Eve. I told myself to just do 30 minutes, get it over with and go back home. I split my time on the rowing machine and the bike and got out of there as soon as the clock hit 30!

Wednesday: Key Run #1 – Speedwork. 5 miles in 42:12 (8:26 average pace). Christmas Day run. I did it around 2 pm after a very busy Christmas morning. I guess cookies and champagne aren’t very good fuel, because this was HARD and I felt terrible. On the plan was a 1 mile warm-up, followed by repeats of 1200, 1000, 800, 600, 400, and 200 meters with 200 meters recovery between each one, and a cool down. I greatly underestimated how hard this would be, mostly due to the paces I was trying to hit and the short recovery time- just a little over a minute between repeats. The later start time and not enough good fuel didn’t help either. Also (since I’m full of excuses) the gym was closed so I did this outside on the flattest road I could find, which wasn’t really flat at all. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t hit ANY of my goals. My splits were 5:37 (goal- 5:28), 4:38 (goal- 4:29), 3:42 (goal- 3:31), 2:48 (goal- 2:33), 1:50 (goal- 1:40), and 0:55 (goal- 0:45). I really want to repeat this workout in a month or so to see how much better I can do. Even though I didn’t make my goals, I did give it all that I had on a day that I could have easily skipped my run and used the holiday as an excuse. I am proud of myself!

Thursday: XT – Cycle Class (1:00:00). This was my first cycle class in a LONG time! I was so excited to be able to take it with my favorite instructor who teaches on the weekdays, since I’m off for winter break and had my mother-in-law here to watch the baby. I was nervous since it’s been a while, but it all came back to me quickly. It was extremely challenging and exhilarating… I remember why I used to be addicted! I left super sweaty and feeling amazing. I can’t wait to go back!

photo 1

Friday: Key Run #2 – Tempo. 7 miles in 58:41 (8:23 average pace). On the plan was a 7 mile tempo run- 1 mile warm up, 5 miles at long tempo pace (8:02/mile), and 1 mile cool down. I did it on the treadmill very early in the morning and it was actually a great run. I decided to wake up a little earlier to get a little food and coffee in me first, hoping to avoid the issues I had with feeling weak during last week’s run that I did in the morning on an empty stomach. It seriously made ALL the difference. I kept my pace at 8:00 for all 5 middle miles and it felt comfortably hard- just like it’s supposed to. I left the gym feeling awesome, and it was definitely a confidence boost after Wednesday’s tough speedwork run.

photo 2

Saturday: Body Pump (1:00:00). Great pump class with Ashley, the instructor from the other week that I liked a lot. I think I’m ready to bump up my weights for a few tracks, now that I’ve been back consistently for a few weeks.

Sunday: Key Run #3 – Long Run. 12 miles in 1:47:55 (8:59 average pace). On the plan was 12 miles @ MP +30 (8:52 pace). I woke up with a little cold to pouring rain outside, which was forecasted to last until 3 or 4 p.m. I knew it probably wasn’t the best choice to run outside in the rain if I was getting sick, so I hit the treadmill instead. And it was TOUGH. Treadmill runs (especially long ones) always test me mentally and physically. I didn’t feel great and had a hard time keeping a decent pace. It didn’t help that I was next to a guy who was wearing sweatpants, a sweatshirt (with the hood up) and a winter hat. He was sweating up a storm and smelled soooooooo bad. It made my stomach turn. The treadmill turned off when I hit one hour so I had to start back up again, and then a little over 2 miles later I had to hop off to refill my water. I finally finished with an overall pace of 8:59. Not quite what I was going for but good enough for me, considering the circumstances. I hope I don’t have to do any more long runs on the dreadmill!

My amazing husband had a smoothie waiting on me when I got home because he knew it would be a tough run for me! Love him.

My amazing husband had a smoothie waiting on me when I got home because he knew it would be a tough run for me! Love him.

Week 3 Total:

  • Run: 24 miles
  • Cross-Training & Strength-Training: 1 Cycle Class, 1 Body Pump classes, 10 minutes of rowing, 20 minutes on the exercise bike.

I did a lot better with stick rolling this week! And wow, did I need it. I definitely worked my muscles in a variety of ways, and I really loved it. I really enjoy this training plan and how it forces me to mix it up. My body is responding well to it and I already feel stronger only 3 weeks in. My goal for week 4 is to do the best I can through yet another busy holiday week. Then it’s back to normal for a little while!

Thought for the week…

1484192_729381147090860_1269108894_n

Revisiting 2013 Goals & Setting Goals for 2014

At the end of last year I wrote a post about my 2012 goals and whether or not I accomplished them. I also set some new goals for the upcoming year. I am naturally a reflective person and a big goal-setter, so I decided that I wanted to do it again this year.

Goodbye-2013-hello-2014-wallpaper

So let’s review what those 2013 goals were:

  • Run (at least) 1 race every month of the year. I accomplished this and really enjoyed this goal, because it gave me something to work toward and look forward to each month. Here are the races I completed in 2013.
  • PR in both the marathon and the half marathon. This one didn’t happen. I decided shortly after the new year to change my goals to PRing at every distance before baby #2 [we aren’t sure yet when that will be], not necessarily before the end of 2013. So far since having Kevin in September 2012 I have gotten a new PR at the 5K, 10K, 15K, and 10 mile distance. All that’s left is the full and half marathon, so that will definitely be one of my 2014 goals.
  • Re-commit to strength training. Yeah… this didn’t really happen. I had good intentions, really I did. But I got so busy with marathon training and work that when I had the time, I only wanted to run and not do anything else. This REALLY screwed me over in the end. I think that the reason why I kept getting injured and didn’t recover quickly because of my lack of strength training, which left my body unbalanced. However, I did start back up just this month when I started training for the Myrtle Beach Marathon. I’m going on my 4th week of consistent strength training and cross training, so that’s a start. Hopefully I can continue with that trend! I know it will pay off and improve my running and overall fitness.
  • Be smart with money. We did really well with money this year. We set a budget and really watched where our money went. We were able to afford trips and races and dinners out while still saving and paying for daycare. I call that a success!
  • Floss every day.  LOL. This one makes me laugh. I wasn’t perfect but I did floss more than any other year. And I didn’t have any cavities at my last appointment in October!
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. This one was a bit of a roller coaster. I am a type-A perfectionist, so it is very hard for me to NOT worry, over-analyze, and sweat the small/big/important/unimportant stuff. There were times this year that I impressed myself with my ability to go with the flow and not worry about things that I couldn’t control or that didn’t matter in the big picture. But there were also times that I lost it over things that weren’t really a big deal, now that I look back on it. Hindsight is 20/20 I guess. A family friend (who I am pretty sure reads the blog sometimes- Hi Colleen!) said something to me a month or so ago. We were in the midst of dealing with the flea situation and I was super stressed out about it. It was so frustrating and seemed like we would never get rid of them.  She just simply said to me, “Katie, this too shall pass.” I know that phrase has been around forever but it just hit me hard in that moment and I realized she was right. It wasn’t the end of the world. It happened, we just had to deal with it and move on. The end. I remember that whenever I feel myself getting overly anxious and it does help to calm me down and keep things in perspective.
  • Focus on family. This is a big CHECK! I really tried my best to leave my stress and work issues at work, and enjoy time with my family once I got home at night and on the weekends. This current school year has been especially nice so far. I am enjoying my new position as a reading specialist and have been so much less stressed as a result, which carries into my home life. I feel like I am a much better mom and wife compared to before when I hated what I was doing at work each day in my old teaching position.

Now moving on to my goals for the new year.

  • PR in the full and half marathon distance. Like I said earlier, my goal was to PR at every distance in between baby #1 and baby #2, and the half and full marathon are the two that are left. I ran 3 halfs in 2013- my first one ‘back’ at Myrtle Beach where I came very close to my goal, a bad experience at the overly crowded and poorly organized Rock & Roll USA Half that led to one of my slowest halfs ever, and the Nike Women’s Half which I ran with a friend. I was supposed to run the Wilson Bridge Half in October but it was postponed due to the government shutdown and I couldn’t make the new date. I ran my one and only marathon without a watch and with no time goals due to lingering injuries, and actually came within minutes of my PR. So needless to say I have some unfinished business to take care of in 2014! I know I can do it, so now I just need to DO IT.
  • Do more than just run! [Strength training and cross training]. This is so important, like I said earlier. I’m off to a good start with strength training and cross training 3x a week, so now I just need to keep it up. I love Body Pump and Cycle but I want to branch out and do some new classes and really try to incorporate more yoga too. I know this is what is right for my body.
  • Get my running coach certification and start using it to help people! I am SO EXCITED about this one. I recently signed up for an RCAA Running Coach Certification Course! I have been trying to do this for a couple years now, but the classes around me always fill up super fast. I received an email that one opened up an hour from where I live in Richmond, VA, and I literally pulled off the side of the road to sign up for it. It takes place over a weekend in April and I can’t wait! I’ve been helping my friends and family with running and training plans for years now, but this will  give me the credentials I need to officially coach others. I also hope to learn things that will improve my own running.
  • Spend quality time with my husband. I’ll be honest, Kevin and I rarely spend a lot of quality time together anymore as just the two of us. From talking to my mommy friends I have noticed I’m not alone in this. When you have a baby your life starts to center around your role as a mother and father, and the husband and wife roles get pushed to the back burner. This is especially true when you co-sleep (we did for the first 8 months), breastfeed (still going), and parent the way we do, where we always want to be with our baby and not necessarily leave him with a sitter. Life is so busy that by the time I nurse him to sleep, we clean up from dinner, and finally sit down, we’re both falling asleep on the couch. Romantic, huh? On our anniversary in November we talked about how we’re going to make more of an effort to have date nights and just spend more quality time together- even if that means watching a movie, going for a run, or just talking to each other. Now that Kevin’s older we are more comfortable with leaving him for periods of time, and we welcome a ‘break’ from our mommy and daddy roles. I’m so ready to reconnect as husband and wife!
  • Disconnect more. This goes along with the one above. I think in this day and age, we are all technology obsessed- myself included. I am always on my phone texting, looking at Facebook, taking pictures, and things like that. In the evenings I hop on my laptop to do blog posts or look at random things on the Internet. I read blogs and check Instagram on my phone while I nurse Kevin. I admit- I am a bit addicted. But I don’t want Kevin to think of his mom as always being on her phone or computer, and I know I need to disconnect more and focus on being in the moment. It’s just such an ingrained habit at this point, it’s really going to take effort!

I honestly can’t believe that it’s almost 2014. That number just sounds crazy to me. I have a feeling it’s going to be a memorable one 🙂

What are your goals for 2014?

Christmas 2013

I am still riding the high of Christmas 2013. It was such a special time spent with the people I love.

DSC03435

This year we decided to stay in Virginia rather than travel anywhere. Even though I love going to Pennsylvania to see my family and friends, I knew it was time for us to start our own traditions. Luckily both of our families were willing to come to us from Pennsylvania and South Carolina and spend the holiday here!

DSC03317

We celebrate Christmas starting at the beginning of December. Before I get into Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I want to recap some of our pre-Christmas traditions. First, we always go pick out our Christmas tree and decorate it together.

1471153_10105604686714784_851687804_n

1491654_10105628153447264_1819159094_n

We also take our picture in front of it after we are finished decorating. This year we added our 5th picture to the collection. I can’t believe we have already celebrated that many Christmases together! Here they all are below: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.

2009 2010 2011 2012

2013

Another thing we have done yearly is visit the Bull Run Festival of Lights. Kevin first took me here in 2009 when we met, and we’ve gone every year since. Last year Kevin slept through the whole thing, but this year I knew he’d enjoy it more because he is infatuated with lights. It is a 2 mile long light show that you drive through. Since we only go about 5 mph, I took Kevin out of his car seat and let him ride in the front in my lap. This way he could see everything much better, since he is still rear facing in his car seat. He absolutely LOVED it, and he also had fun running around the carnival at the end.

DSCN2199

DSCN2205

Finally, this past weekend we went to see Santa at the mall (along with every other child in Northern Virginia). Since we waited until the Sunday before Christmas the line was super long, and we waited for over an hour. Last year Kevin was only 3 months old so he was kind of indifferent about Santa. This year we weren’t sure how he would react, since he doesn’t like anyone to hold him except mommy and daddy. He was also getting a little cranky since it was almost nap time. He didn’t cry, but he wasn’t exactly excited either. He just looked kind of… scared. Haha. Maybe next year we’ll get a smile!

IMG_4069 IMG_4071

Now onto Christmas Eve. My dad and sister came in late Monday night after I was already asleep, so I was excited to wake up to them on Tuesday morning! We all had a lazy morning just hanging out and spending time together.

DSC03340

Kevin played in his tent, which we got him when we found it for a great deal. It wasn’t technically a Christmas gift so we gave it to him this past weekend. He loves crawling in and out of the tunnel!

DSC03303

He also spend some good quality time with his Poppy and Aunt Lauren.

DSC03392

DSC03378

Later that afternoon my sister and I started prepping dinner. We kept it simple with ham, our family’s special recipe for macaroni and cheese, and roasted vegetables. It was so yummy!

DSC03411

After dinner I made some chocolate peanut butter chip cookies for “Santa” and Kevin opened his Christmas Eve gifts. This is a tradition we hope to continue each year. He opened a pair of pajamas and a Christmas movie. We didn’t have time to watch the movie that night since it had gotten late, but we did let him have the cookies that he was supposed to eat with it.

DSC03426

For some reason he did not want to eat the cookie! We finally got him to taste it and then he realized it was good and wanted more.

DSC03432

DSC03441

Then he just started feeding it to us!

DSC03450

After our cookie snack we got ready to take him up for a bath. We always let him have a little ‘naked time’ before his bath, which he absolutely loves. We’ve only had two ‘accidents’ so far 🙂

DSC03465

After bath daddy read him “The Night Before Christmas,” which he also did last year.

photo 1

2012

IMG_4215

2013

After we got the baby to bed it was time to get to work! We had a kitchen to put together. It took almost 3 hours and a few drinks, but finally it was finished. This picture is deceiving though, because it was really Kevin, my sister and my dad who did most of the work. I only helped at the end because I was busy doing dishes and cleaning up the house 🙂

DSC03475

DSC03479

I wish my kitchen was this nice!

I woke up the next morning at 7:30 and realized the baby wasn’t up yet. Of course he decides to sleep in on Christmas (probably the last time that will happen for a long time!) I was too excited so Kevin and I woke him up and brought him downstairs. He had some breakfast while we got the video camera and everything set up in the other room.

DSC_5278

Finally it was time! We let him walk into the living room on his own to see all the gifts.

DSC_5267

 We tried to keep Kevin’s gifts simple and follow the “something he wants, something he needs, something to wear, something to read” idea like last year, but we ended getting more than we planned originally. His wants were his kitchen and play food (it’s his favorite toy at daycare), plus some wooden puzzles, his needs were some plastic utensils and a reusable plastic placemat for when we eat out, something to wear was a snowsuit and Christmas pajamas, and for something to read he received two lift-the-flap books and one ABC animal bag/book with velcro animals for each letter. He also got a stocking full of some of his favorite treats, teethers, and other small items.

He wants to eat his play food!

He wants to eat his play food!

My dad got him this amazing wagon, which was by far his favorite gift of them all. His face when he saw it was priceless!

For me?!?!

For me?!?!

I knew he would love it because there were 2 little girls at his old daycare who  lived in the same neighborhood, and everyday their mom would let them ride home in a wagon. He loved it and always wanted to get in and go with them.

Infatuated.

Infatuated.

He loved the wagon so much that he insisted on opening most of his presents while sitting in it.

DSC_5301

We all took turns opening our gifts from one another. Like usual we all spoiled each other and bought way too much. The biggest shock of the day was when I opened our gift from my dad. He knew that my MacBook that I’ve had for over 6 years (our only computer) was giving us issues. It would randomly shut off and the screen was constantly flickering unless it was tilted just right. I was finally about to drain our savings account to buy another one when he surprised us a beautiful new MacBook Pro. I couldn’t believe it when I opened it up and immediately burst into tears. Such a generous gift. I love my daddy!

DSC_5354

The rest of the morning was spent playing with all of our new toys, eating breakfast sandwiches and drinking Poinsettias (champagne and cranberry juice).

DSC_5345

IMG_4263

photo 2

My dad and sister sadly left in the early afternoon. We put the baby down for his much needed nap after all that excitement, then I headed out for my run. Unsurprisingly, after a few too many cookies and glasses of champagne, it wasn’t my best run. But at least I got it done! Afterwards I showered and when the baby woke up, we headed over to Kevin’s sister’s house to do Christmas with his side of the family.

photo 1

Unfortunately at that point Kevin was pretty much done with Christmas. He was pretty cranky and unhappy for most of the evening. We stayed there for a few hours, opened gifts and had dinner, then called it a night. We were all exhausted!

The last picture of the day, after a long and overwhelming day. This is the best “family picture” we got 🙂

photo 3

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

DSC03484

Merry Christmas!

Screen shot 2013-11-30 at 9.18.35 AM

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday with the people you love. I know I did!

I’ll be back soon with a recap of our amazing Christmas, which I think has been the best one ever!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Myrtle Beach Marathon Training: Week 2

Screen shot 2013-12-13 at 9.12.23 PM

You guys, I am LOVING this training plan. It challenges me every day and it’s awesome having such a variety of workouts throughout the week. As my favorite instructor at the gym says, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” I repeated that to myself many times this week!

Here is how the week went.

Screen shot 2013-12-23 at 9.38.53 PM

Monday: Rest. Loving and savoring my only rest day!

Tuesday: XT – Body Pump (1:00:00). I couldn’t believe it but I actually made it to the 5 a.m. Body Pump class! It felt amazing to get it done early since I’ve been struggling to get up and work out in the mornings lately.

Wednesday: Key Run #1 – Speedwork. 4 miles in 33:50 (8:28 average pace). This was one of those challenging workouts. I was able to get up before work again though, so that’s a plus! On the plan was a warm up, 3 x 1600 @ 6:59 – 7:22 with 1 minute recovery between, then a cool down. My first thought when I saw that was, WOW that’s fast with not a lot of rest in between intervals. I knew I would never get to the lower end of that range (right now) so I decided to shoot for the 7:22 pace. I was nervous going into it because it just seemed so fast. My first two repeats were okay, but it felt REALLY hard, especially with only 1 minute in between. Toward the end of the second one I started to feel weak and light-headed, probably from lack of fuel since I hadn’t eaten anything before. I recovered for an extra minute or so and contemplated stopping there. But I told myself I had to at least try to do the last one. I made it a quarter of a mile before I realized I couldn’t do it. I felt like I was going to fall off the treadmill. I ran slowly to cool down for a bit and finished with 4 miles. I was disappointed that I didn’t do the workout in its entirety but hopefully when it comes around again in week 6 I will be able to complete it and feel stronger! And I’ll make sure to eat before- lesson learned! The problem is that I have to wait at least 30 minutes to eat after taking my thyroid pill in the morning, and since I already have to get up so early (4:45!) it’s really hard for me to get up any earlier. I’ll have to figure something out though, because I can’t be feeling like that again!

photo 1

Thursday: XT – Exercise Bike (30:00). One of the reasons this week was so challenging was because I had a few very late workouts. This was one of them. I got home late after sitting in a lot of traffic, and by the time we made dinner and put the baby to bed (he still nurses to sleep), I was exhausted. I forced myself to go to the gym and told myself I would just do 30 minutes on the bike- that’s it. I did another hill workout and thankfully the time went by quickly. Afterwards I was so happy I went. These late night workouts are tough though, and I really prefer morning exercise so I don’t feel so rushed and crazy at night.

photo 3

Friday: Key Run #2 – Tempo. 6 miles in 52:33 (8:45 average pace). Another late night workout. It’s crazy how my Friday nights have changed. On this night after getting home from work, eating dinner, and putting the baby to bed I went to the gym for my tempo run at 8:00 p.m. I had to do 1 mile easy, 4 miles at “marathon pace” of 8:22/mile (still not convinced that should be my goal pace but since the running calculators say so I’m going to train for it) and 1 easy. I did it on the treadmill because it was late, and I don’t really like doing fast-paced runs in the dark since I am obviously clumsy and fall a lot. It went well and I was able to maintain an 8:20 pace for the 4 miles. The pace felt challenging like it should in a tempo run, especially on the treadmill which is always hard for me. I was really happy to have a successful run after cutting my speed repeats short on Wednesday.

photo 4

Saturday: Body Pump (1:00:00). It was a little tough to get up and go the 8:30 a.m. class after running late last night, but so glad I did! The instructor brought back some really old tracks and it was a lot of fun.

Sunday: Key Run #3 – Long Run. 10 miles in 1:32:01 (9:12 average pace). I knew this was going to be tough. It was 70 degrees when I left the house at 8 a.m. (on December 22nd!??! Didn’t we just have snow days less than 2 weeks ago?) It was also very humid because thunderstorms were looming and the clouds were so dark and heavy looking. Last weekend I ran 8 miles at an 8:52 pace almost effortlessly and this week I struggled to keep my pace @ MP +45 (9:07), which was my goal. I was doing okay until the 6 mile mark and then I lost steam. I ended up finishing with a 9:12 average, which is MP +50. Even though it was a little slower than I wanted, I was proud of myself because it was one of those runs that I felt like I fought for every mile. I’m ready for winter weather to come back now!!!

photo 5

Week 2 Total:

  • Run: 20 miles
  • Cross-Training & Strength-Training: 2 Body Pump classes, 30 minutes of cycling.

Even though this week was tough, I’m happy that I was able to push myself and test my limits. I knew this training plan wouldn’t be easy! My goal this week was to stretch more and use my stick roller. I did stretch a lot but didn’t stick roll at all. So I’m making that my goal for this week. I also didn’t do well at cleaning up my diet. There were multiple tortilla chips and cheesecake consumed, I won’t lie. But it’s so hard right now during the holidays! That goal may have to wait until after the new year 🙂

Thought for the week… Maybe this will motivate me to get up and get my workouts done in the morning!

photo 2