Half Marathon Training: Weeks 13 and 14

Two weeks left!  I’m excited for the race to get here, and excited to sleep in on a Saturday once training is over.  Oops… did I just say that out loud?

Tuesday of week 13 I used the Johnson and Johnson 7 Minute Workout app to get in a quick sweat session.  It may be only 7 minutes, but it sure gets your heart pumping!


Wednesday was the usual group run, but it was a little tough this week.  It had rained all day Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday so it was pretty humid.  My lungs were feeling it, and my legs were pretty tired too.  We got through six miles though, and it wasn’t a too awful pace.

Thursday after work before dinner, I decided to go for a walk.  No destination, just around a few blocks.  It was full of pretty fall leaves! Love it.


Saturday morning I was prepared to run 12 miles, but when I got there it had been changed to 11.  Woo hoo!  We were on track to run 13 miles for our longest run before the taper, which seemed a bit much to me, so I was fine with the drop to do 11 two weeks in a row and then 12 as the longest.  The weather was a little nuts.  I had eventually decided on a t-shirt, which I ended up regretting when it started raining.  Blech.  The last few miles were ROUGH.  Which was later explained by final pace: 10:03! WHAT?! I do NOT run that fast, especially for that far! Except for the fact that I did!  I got a little teary at the accomplishment, but sssshhhhh.


I then rewarded myself with this kind of afternoon:

fb11Sunday evening I did a little at home arm work out.  I did this Sexy Shoulder Workout from Erin over at The Almond Eater.  The squat / overhead press?  Love.  Fits in with my squat challenge slash operation-fix-the-knee-pain.  It adds some new variety to squats, and works shoulders.  Excellent.

Going into week 14, we’re getting down to crunch time.  There’s been a few weeks where I’ve only gotten in two runs, rather than the three I would prefer.  This is due to a combination of 1) being a bum, and 2) blisters and knee pain.   More like using the blisters and knee pain to rationalize being a bum.  Running with the group on Wednesdays has been longer runs during the week than I’m used to; my body wasn’t doing well with running 6/7/8 miles on a Wednesday and then 10+ on Saturday.  That wasn’t enough recovery time, so I decided to do similar mileage this week, but spacing it out to three runs rather than two.

I was sitting at my desk on Monday being impressed with the superstar pace from Saturday’s long run.  The thought jumped into my head that if I’ve gotten so much faster recently, that maybe I could break my 5K PR.  If I can run 11 miles at just over a 10 minute pace, maybe I could beat the 5K at a 9:20 pace.  I set it two years ago, and it was kind of a freak accident.  I talked briefly about it here.  Well, I don’t have any 5Ks coming up due to no-free-weekends-ever, so I decided that I’d try to break it after work.  Nothing like 4 hours of preparation.  Anywho, Monday at work kinda sucked, so I was grouchy when I set off on the trail, and busted out an 8:34 mile. WOAH too fast, though that’s probably a 1 mile record.  So the next mile was about a 9:51 trying to recover.  I was doing math and figured out what I would need to hold my pace at to get under 28:59 for my 5K.  Well I ran, and it hurt, but I did it!  Yeah, I know it’s unofficial, but I’m not too concerned, I just wanted to know if I could do it! Next time, I’ll go for more even splits!


Tuesday was a weights day at the gym with the boyfriend.  Productivity + my favorite person?  Not a bad evening.  Judging by the pain (in a good way) in my arms the next day, we had a pretty good work out too.

Wednesday I did my second 5K of the week.  I tried a new route, got creeped out in the woods, went back the way I came instead of completing my planned circle… I need to stop watching so much TV.  Still got in the three miles, even if the Garmin map looks like I am crazy.

I took Thursday and Friday off in preparation of Saturday’s final long run before the taper (YAY! Taper).  Got to give my knees and blisters a rest before 12 miles!  Saturday’s run ended up being pretty warm out.  I wasn’t properly hydrated, and I didn’t sleep very well the night before so it was a bit rough.  My knees ended up being OK, but my hips were killing me.  I just can’t win.  Regardless, finished!  It’s taper time!

12MInstaI’ve been happy with how this training has been going, but I’ll be glad when it’s over!  I’m getting tired!


Friday Five: It’s My Jam!

With my half marathon coming up, I’ve been thinking about refining my running playlist.  And then I had quite the succession of phone problems, and have now lost my the running play list.  Boooooo.

Anyway, imagine my surprise when the theme for this weeks’ Friday Five Link Up was Top 5 Running Songs.  Woo Hoo!  Thanks to the DC Trifecta, Eat Pray Run, DC, You Signed Up For What and Mar on the Run, for hosting! I’m certainly going to be checking out the other links… I need a new playlist!


Now, beware, my taste in running tunes can be a little all over the place.  You’ve been warned.

1) Chelsea Dagger – The Fratellis.  Now maybe it’s because I’m a Chicago Blackhawk’s Fan, but this song is great to run to.  I can’t help but sing along!

2) Mambo No. 5 – Lou Bega. Ha! Judging me yet?  I hope not, because this is also a way fun song to run and run-dance to.  Run-dance… is that just me?  Waiving your arms around like a crazy while running down the street, dancing to tunes only you can hear? Yeah, that’s me.  Ya know those people who say they’ll start running once they see a happy runner?  Clearly they haven’t seen me jammin’ to Lou Bega.

3) Tearin’ Up My Heart – N*Snyc. Ok… Now I’m starting to embarass myself.  Only not too much… Everyone needs a little middle school dance style running song.

4) International Love – Pitbull.  I LOVE Pitbull.  Side note: I need to get me some Fireball by Pitbull to add to this mix.  And some Enrique, preferably Bailando.  And some Pitbull and Enrique in the same song, because that’s the dream.  I so wanted to go see them when they were in Chicago.  (Get back on track, Kat, sheesh.)

5) High Life – Brad Paisley.  To round out the variety of genres, add a little country!  I love Brad Paisley; my birthday present was tickets to see him in Indy, and it was awesome.  There is also some Zac Brown Band and Keney Chesney residing in the playlist as well.

I told you my music tastes covered the spectrum of genres.  Although, writing it out pretty much cemented it.  Ah well, it’s fun to have it on shuffle.  I never know what I’m going to get, and it’s a fun surprise!

What’s your favorite running song?  I need some new music!

Half Marathon Training: Weeks 11 and 12

Less than one month left until race day!

Monday of week 11 I set off for 4 miles after work.  It was a perfect fall day.  Cool weather and crunchy leaves.

Fall Run

Wednesday for the group run, we knocked out 5.5 miles (AKA “one loop”) and then headed to a local Mexican restaurant!  Corona and enchiladas… my kind of running evening.

Corona Run

For Saturday’s long run, we got a break!  Only eight miles!  I love it when I get to the point where “only” prefaces “eight miles.”  It doesn’t happen very often.  Even though we got a mileage break, we certainly did not get a weather break.  It was cold… 39 degrees!  It was windy.  It was raining… luckily not the whole time.  And there was the occasional time where there were snow flakes instead of rain drops.  SNOW!  But we survived.  More than that… we were pretty fast!  Eight miles at a 10:13 pace.  I’ll take it!

Cold Run

To start off week 12, the boyfriend and I hit the gym for a weights session.  I’m going to keep working on these arm muscles!  *Flexing emoji*

Wednesday with my group, I wanted to do six miles.  Then I was talked into 6.5… and eventually 7.  When all was said and done we did 7.25! Tricked!  But the run felt good.

Saturday’s long run had weather in the upper 30s again.  However, there is apparently a HUGE difference between 38 and windy/rainy and 38 and sunny!  Luckily this time we had 38 and sunny.  This run also felt really good.  I didn’t want to fall into a heap until mile 9.  Nine of 11 feeling good?  I’ll take it.  Those last two miles though… whew.  We made it though.  And the pace was AWESOME.  I’m getting pretty excited.  I feel faster than I have in the past, which is a great feeling.


I only remembered to take a picture after I already collapsed into the car 🙂

I was struggling through this whole training thing for a few weeks.  I was feeling like I was always tired, never getting to sleep in on Saturdays, fitting in these longer runs… it was bumming me out.  But looking back on these last few weeks, it’s making me feel better about it.  Seeing results is quite the motivator!

How is your training?  Do you have any fall races coming up?

The Fit Dish: Top 3 Healthy Living Tools

The topic for this week’s Fit Dish link up is “Top 3 Healthy Living Tools.”  Thanks to Jessica Joy at The Fit Switch for hosting!  Go check it out and #Dishthefit!

1) Love my Garmin!  This weekend Garmin and I hung out for 11 miles.  (I posted this on Instagram; are you on Instagram? I am now!) I like being able to see how far I’ve gone when I’m out for a run.  Not to mention when I get back home and plug it in it makes graphs and maps.  I love maps and graphs!  I’ve also worn it hiking, biking, boating… any where I can really, just to get the maps!


2) I also love my Fitbit.  Apparently I’m a fan of wearable items.  Want to be Fitbit friends? Find me here!  I need to work on getting in more daily steps, though.  It’s a work in progress.  🙂  But I do love big numbers from long run days!


3) Another favorite has to be my water bottle.  I feel so much better when I’m drinking enough water, and I’m much more likely to drink enough water when I have a cute, water-holding side kick! This isn’t the first time this guy has made an appearance here!


Some other things that could made this list are my RoadID, hydration belt, flip belt, and of course all of the adorable work out clothes I can’t seem to stop buying!

What are your favorite fitness accessories?

Goals: October Update

Back at the beginning of September, I recapped how my 2014 goals were going and now I’d like to do it again!

Goals Upadate

So how was September?

1) Meal planning.  I know I am never going to be super planner, at least not now, but I’ve been doing pretty well at eating pretty delicious and healthy meals, so I check this one in the win column.

2) Vary my workouts.  I started a squat challenge to hopefully strengthen my legs and take some strain off my knees.  I haven’t been able to do the squats daily like I had hoped.  On days when my knees already hurt like on days I’ve ran, I don’t do the squats so I don’t aggravate them more.  I also headed back to they gym a few times to work on some arm strength!

3) Half Marathon Training.  This is going great! Next to the knee pain, of course.  I have worked up to a 10 mile long run with the group two weeks ago, and this past Saturday we got a reprieve with only eight miles. Woo!  Here are recaps of weeks 7 and 8, and weeks 9 and 10.  I can see my paces staying steady as the distances get longer, and sometimes even picking up.  Always good to see progress, which is great inspiration to keep going forward!

For October, I’m not looking to change much.  Meals have been pretty good lately.  Cross training isn’t too bad; I wouldn’t be upset with more, but don’t want to burn myself out during half training.  And the half training itself… going great.  Just keep on going!

I’m linking up with Jessica Joy at The Fit Switch and Nicole at The Fit Pepper for the Fit Dish!  Go check it out and #Dishthefit!

How are your goals going?

Half Marathon Training: Weeks 9 and 10

Half marathon training is plugging along! Six weeks to go!
When we left off at week 8, I had big plans for week nine!

I am join yesterday’s Fit Dish link up with Jessica Joy at The Fit Switch and Nicole at The Fit Pepper!  Go check it out!

My running group meets on Wednesdays, but a running buddy couldn’t make it that week so we met up after work on Monday to get a run in. We ran 5.5 miles around my work. I haven’t run that far leaving from work before, so we ventured into uncharted territory. Our scenery turned out to be some biiiiig houses. I decided for the sake of not-being-a-creeper, I wouldn’t plaster pictures of strangers’ houses all over the internet, but seriously. Mansions.

Tuesday I had every intention of running with a friend, and then going to get wine and dinner with her. Wellllll, we went straight to the wine and food. Worth it.


By Wednesday I was having a crazy week and for mental health’s sake as well as knee’s health’s sake I skipped out on group running and had a night in to myself. It was seriously needed. A run may have helped the stressfulness of the week, unfortunately the nearly 2 hours of driving involved to get to the group (thanks rush hour) do not help the stress.

Thursday I made up for it, and ran somewhere between 4 and 5 miles around work. Ever pause your Garmin at a stoplight and then forget to start it again? Yeah, that’s the “between 4 and 5 miles” bit. I went yet another route this time and found this crazy building. I tend to get distracted by shiny things and paths I haven’t been on before. I knew the general idea of where this path went, but then there was a fork that I didn’t know existed. I just had to take it; I can’t help it. 🙂


Saturday’s long run started out OK, then the whole knees-hurting-business. Ugh. This was a run that may have turned into a walk if it weren’t for my running buddy. I was encouraged along by renditions of Shakira and Meghan Trainor. (Love)

Monday of week 10 started off with a after work walk with boyfriend. Mondays can be dumb, and getting to be outside and just chat with him improved the Monday-ness.

For Wednesday’s run, some of the group was doing 8. Now I don’t know about that came about. It seems to me that if the previous week’s long run was 9, we don’t need to be doing 8 on a week day. Not when I have to do 10 coming up! This seems a little high, for my liking and my knees liking, so we knocked it down to six. My knees were over it by mile 4, so I’m glad that wasn’t the half-way point!  It was pretty dark by the time we were done, so I was OK with that choice.  I did get to try out my new shoe lights!


Thursday I went to the gym! I haven’t been there in a while. Like… over a month. It’s been too nice outside! We did an arms work out, and let me tell you did I feel it the next day. I gotta go to the gym more often!

I mentioned last time that Saturday’s long run was 10 miles. Always feels good to get a double digit run under your belt!  For the most part, it was pretty uneventful.  It was oddly humid, which made it a bit of a struggle, and there were certainly times that I wanted to lay down and take a nap.  My knees held out for 4 or 5 miles before they started hurting.  I was tired afterwards!  And I had a full day of travel and fun for the rest of the day, and I was only a little loopy from being tired with no nap!

We are getting closer to to the end of training and I’m getting excited! Six weeks to go!

Drop it Like a Squat

Happy Tuesday!  Hopefully your Monday and return to the work week weren’t too painful.  To kick off Tuesday I am going to link up with Jessica Joy at The Fit Switch and Nicole at The Fit Pepper for The Fit Dish link up!  Last week was the first week and there were a lot of great links!  Here’s to week two!

I’ve mentioned a few times that through this half marathon training my knees have been hurting.  This doesn’t really surprise me that much because I’ve got crazy knees to begin with.  I played soccer for about 10 years, which is hard on your knees to begin with, and I got hurt once.  It was high school, so the crutches weren’t used as much as they should have been.  My dad has bad knees as well, so yay genetics!  At the same time, I don’t recall them hurting this much last time I was training for a half.

So I consulted Dr. Google.  Yes, yes, shame on me, but I figured I’d check it out first.  A few articles, Runner’s World and the like, and a few videos later (This one was quite informative), I’m all educated and ready to fix all my ailments. (Ha!)  Stretch, foam roll, and strengthen your quads.  Yes, nothing new.  But why oh why didn’t I hurt like this last time.  And then I remembered.  Last time around I was doing one of those squat challenges that floats around the interwebs.  Maybe I was preventing injury to my knees when I was really just hoping for a nice tush (who wouldn’t!).  The more I thought about it, I remember being impressed with my new found leg muscles when I was training, but maybe it was the squats!  Sometimes I’m a little slow on putting it all together.  So…. I’m going to do the squat challenge again! Hopefully strengtheing my legs will help out my knees, along with keeping stretching, icing and rolling. (I have The Stick.  Loooove it!)

I’m doing this one from Popsugar.  It’s the same one I did last time.  It includes 3 different squats, and then two variations, so 5 different squats which is nice for 1) working different muscles and 2) fending off boredom.  I’m not about to do 200 typical squats.  Booooring.  Make me do a sequence of different variations and I am more likely to stick with it!  I started Sunday evening, so today is day three!

Want to join me? I’ll be squatting away in my room.  On the chevron rug for a little extra cheer.  Here’s the PDF to download and print.  We will all have pain-free knees (hopefully) and excellent bums.  It will be a good time!


Last.  I’d like this.  Just in case I didn’t have enough work out tops.  

Have you ever participated in a Pinterest / Facebook / etc fitness challenge?  Apparently it was a good thing I did last time!

Half Marathon Training: Weeks 7 and 8

Half Marathon training is plugging along. Just under two months to go!  Here’s the first month, and Weeks 5 and 6!

To go along with this recap, I am going to link up with Jessica Joy at The Fit Switch and Nicole at The Fit Pepper for their first The Fit Dish Link Up!  So Exciting!

Week 7 kicked off Labor Day, which meant the long weekend was filled with lots of yummy food and drink. Back at it on Tuesday though, with a few miles up and down a hill by my apartment.

Wednesday with the group we ran “one loop” of our trail, which rounds out at 5.5 miles. This was the same distance we had run for the long run the Saturday prior. The time on Wednesday was about 20 seconds different from the Saturday prior. I was impressed with our consistency!

Saturday’s long run I was hurting a little for. Just under 7 miles, and my knees and hips were bugging me (not good). Luckily I had a big day of nada planned after the run. I did a little shopping, and a lot of relaxing. Excellent recuperation!

Week 8 of the training plan was a disaster of a week at work. Not really an excuse not to work out, but it is what it is.

Wednesday rolled around and I hadn’t worked out yet. When I left for work the weather was AWFUL. All day long it was beyond dark, gloomy and just gross. I was so excited that I didn’t have to go run! HA, says the weather and it got sunny and beautiful about an hour before I was supposed to leave work. Go figure. So I hauled my bum over to go run and, go figure, I had a good time. Imagine that. A few miles in there was this cloud, though. It was not gradual at all, just a cliff of cloud. I wanted to take a picture, but I didn’t take my phone in preparation for downpour. It started misting and it got pretty dark, but that’s all it did was mist. I was worried we were going to get whipped off to Oz! Can you click your Saucony’s to get back home? Anyway, it was a pretty good run. It was so much cooler than it had been, and we were flying! We ran six miles in one minute more than we had been running 5.5. Woo! Improvement! (Or cooler weather, either way). I was hurting again, and iced my knee when I got home. Only one though, I only had one ice pack in the freezer. The rest of the week my other knee has been hurting. I don’t know if it is hurting just because (it does that sometimes) or if it really could have used some ice too…

Saturday’s long run was COLD.  I was not prepared for 42 degrees! The first few miles were less than fun, but after two miles or so, I got the feeling back in my fingers and powered through 8 miles.

8 miles

I felt pretty good; eight miles is the longest I’ve run since my last half marathon in May.  The knees though… I need to figure out what to do about the pain in the knees.  latte

These two weeks were OK. The quantity of runs was meh, but the quality of the runs was pretty good. Week 9 though, this girl has plans! A running buddy can’t make it to the group on Wednesday, so we got together on  today .  Then I have a run-then-wine date with another friend on Tuesday. Wednesday and Saturday, group runs as usual. Excited!

Friday Five: Bloggers!

Happy Friday!  And can I say FINALLY?  Wowza this was a long week.  Work was hectic…  they’re rearranging our cubes at work so I was evicted to a conference room with a couple other ladies.  Which hasn’t been too bad, it’s just a little extra stress.  Ah well. Weekend!  And there is FUN in store! Yay!
But before we get to the weekend, here is some fun for Friday.  This week’s Friday Five hosted by the ladies of Eat Pray Run, DC, You Signed Up For What and Mar on the Run is all about bloggers!  It was SO HARD to narrow it down to five!  So without further ado… in no particular order… some new blogs for your feed!
1) Back to Her Roots.  I first started reading Cassie’s blog back in 2011 when a friend sent me a link to one of her A Day In My Life posts.  After that, I never looked back.  I’ve been an avid reader of not only her blog, but it was a gateway into all of my blog reading (and eventually blogging myself!)  Cassie shares great stories about her adventures living in Southern Indiana with her family, growing her own food and taking gorgeous photographs of all of it.  She introduced me to overnight oats!  On her blog along side her delicious recipes focusing on real whole foods, she shares fun DIYs and has great thoughts on life.  She is all about seasons of life, and understanding that priorities and goals change along with these seasons.
2) Pearls & Scissors.  Hanna’s blog is on a completely different note!  I also quite enjoy reading DIY blogs.  Hanna lives in Estonia and sews and refashions adorable clothes like this.  And this.  Also, she just got married and you can read about Estonian wedding traditions (which was really cool).
3) PreventionRD.  Nicole blogs about food.  Lots of it.  My love of baked donuts is because of her blog.  She always shares nutrition stats, and I love it when she gives a “husband approval.”  Some of my favorite recipes of hers are Spicy Thai Noodles with Shrimp and Parmesan Lemon Orzo which we made along with chicken.  Seriously, I will never run out of recipe ideas with her site.  She has published two cookbooks; I have the Everyday Healthy Cooking and love it.  Also, she is currently adorably very pregnant.
4) Olives’n’Wine.  Becky both cracks me up, and motivates me.  She is basically a rock star.  She’s training for the Chicago Marathon, just completed Body Pump training, and has the cutest wardrobe.  Her antics running around Chicago (soon to be Florida! Jealous!) are never ending fun.
 5) Life Half Full.  Katie’s blog’s tagline is “living a balanced life with a positive attitude” and she strives each day to live this out.  Throughout each post she shows how she works towards balance in her life.  She posts Weekly Refresh posts, to reset and set goals for the week, which has inspired me to set mini-goals each week as well.  She has a lot of fun in Chicago too, and I enjoy reading about here new adventures and new workouts!
Fave Blogs

Be Awesome

I’m heading off for a Saturday long run, but first, some motivation.  The half marathon I am running in November sends our a newsletter each with tips, advice and race update information.  I usually read through these to see if I can pick up any new information.  Through these newsletters I have learned things like… the shirts are pretty cool.  And that there will be Gatorade on the course, which got me thinking maybe I should train with Gatorade to see if it helps. (Conclusion… Nah.  Water has always been there for me, we’re old pals and we will stick together.)  And this time the news letter rolls into my inbox titled, “Get Ready for AWESOME.” …. OK!  Who wouldn’t be excited?!

The AWESOME turned out to be three tips from the Race Director, Pat Leonard, on how to be… you guessed it… AWESOME.  And ya know what?  She was totally right.  Her three tips made me laugh because they’re so simple, and just so right.

How to be Awesome in just three steps, Courtesy of the Edward Hospital Naperville Marathon’s Newsletter:

1) Your Workouts
2) Your Nutrition
3) Your Sleep

These are all things I know.  For workouts, stick to the plan.  There’s a plan for a reason. Follow it and all will be good.  For nutrition, she says, “Garbage in and you will feel ike garbage during your training runs.”  Lean protein and veggies, lean protein and veggies.  I can do that! Sleep.  Who needs a reason a reason to sleep more?  Well I do apparently. Everytime I tell myself I’m going to go to bed at a reasonable time, and then this, that and the other thing happens and it’s an hour past reasonable.  Ugh.  I need to focus more on sleep!

I hope this provides you some more inspiration like it gave me!

I’m off to be awesome and run my long run!  Have a great weekend!
Head on over HERE to see this edition of the news letter, and HERE for the whole archive!