My two current vices: cats on my lap and coffee in my mug
I have been wanting to do a What I Ate Wednesday post for awhile so here is my first try! Especially timely for anyone who may be thinking of giving up sugars and grains, or eating lower carb/lower GI.
Breakfast was eggs with spinach and avocado, cooked in butter and topped with salsa. And a delicious breve latte. I could hug my espresso machine.
Snack was another breve latte (they know my name at the neighborhood coffee shop. Sad, I know.)
I forgot to take pictures of dinner! Some blogger I am. I had some almonds and roasted chicken when I got home as a snack and then ordered baked salmon and miso soup from a sushi restaurant for dinner.
Today was a rest day for me which was lovely. My left hip has been sore for a few days so I’m glad to give it a break.
How many rest days do you take per week? Do you plan them or just take them as needed? Right now I’m taking 2-3 days of rest per week and I plan them out beforehand.
I really don’t have a strong handle on this off season stuff. As soon as I think I have a plan and a direction, I throw a wrench in it. Ha. One of my original off season goals was to break my half marathon PR from last year’s Ole Man River. After a few sluggish long runs I decided I’m not in shape to run another sub-2 hour half yet so I nixed that idea in favor of Plain Ole Training.
Wednesday: 1100 yard swim with Coach C and Brian
Thursday: 3 mile easy run and 60 minute Body Sculpt class
Saturday: Spin class and 1000 yard swim
Sunday: 10 mile run
I’m still trying to focus on swimming, running, and strength this off season but I know I can’t completely ignore my bike so I figured a spin class once a week would be enough.
Saturday was my second spin class and I was feeling grumpy the whole time. To cheer myself up before heading to the pool, I stopped to get a small coffee.
The barista must have heard ‘tall’ and thought ‘silo’. Or maybe it was just a message from the Coffe Fairy to drink up and suck it up! Either way, I was grateful for it and I perked up enough to get through my swim.
Improving my swimming was also one of off season goals and with Coach C’s help, my pull is getting significantly better. This come accompanied by sore shoulders and lats.
Which leads to my strength training goal. I downloaded an app that Ben Greenfield recommended maybe a month or so ago: Safari Fit. Mo and I both got it and took the fitness test and are both level 2 (Springbok). All of the levels and exercises are names after animals. After taking the test, you get a series of workouts on your level. They are mostly body weight exercises so we can do them at the house or gym. Each exercise has a video and a description that goes along with it. I like that each workout is about 30 minutes and has clear instructions. I also like that they can be done anywhere and that when you start the workout you get to check off each exercise as you finish. I don’t like that I don’t seem to earn points for each workout to get me closer to the next level. I guess I have to either go through all 40 Springbok workouts or retake the fitness test to move to the next level. I’ve done four workouts so far and I’m going to try to get at least one, maybe two a week, depending on what else I have strength wise that week.
One last thing-it’s holiday season! We put up our tree and busted out the decorations. Including instruments of cat torture.
Jolie looks totally dejected. I really had to chase her down to get the pretty Christmas collar on her. Koko wouldn’t take off the Santa one though. Mo is convinced she hates but I’m not so sure…
Well I meant to blog more during my week off (yay for being a teacher) but the holiday got the best of me.
I did however run the Turkey Trot and took 0 pictures.
It was cold. I wore almost exactly the same outfit I wore to run in Minneapolis, minus the ear warmers. I ended up taking off the gloves during the race and by the fourth mile I’d unzipped the vest a bit, but for NOLA it was quite cold (re: upper 30s/low 40s).
I made a bet with our school’s PE teacher about each of us reaching our Turkey Trot goals. I bet I would beat last year’s time, without looking up what last year’s time was. Dumb. He bet he would run under 50 minutes which I was sure he would, given how he was running.
When I looked up my time from last year, turns out it was 43:11. Oh snap.
I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to make that. I didn’t break last year’s time at the Saints 5k ans I certainly haven’t been feeling fast. Tuesday before Thanksgiving I did a treadmill tempo run at 8:15 pace for 2.5 miles and it beat me up.
My parents came in town but my dad decided to just run in City Park and skip the race so I had no excuses.
Since it was so cold and I had already picked up my race bib at Louisiana Running Company we didn’t get to the race til 30 min before the race. I warmed up and worked my way to the front of the start line. Turkey Trots bring out the fast runners, but it also brings out the walkers and jog germs who want to start right at the start line. For a race like this I judge people’s pace based on the following scientific data:
1. Move two spaces ahead of a lady in full makeup.
2. Stay behind high school kids wearing cross country singlets.
3. Get ahead of people obscenely over dressed for 40 degrees weather.
4. Stay behind people obscenely underdressed for 40 degree weather.
Costumes are not a good indicator of speed. At least in New Orleans.
There is no timing mat at the start so I knew to start my watch when I crossed. About two feet past the start line, a guy came behind me, grabbed me by the shoulders and said “Excuse me,” and physically moved me out of his way. So weird. That was definitely a first for me.
My plan was to hit 8:45 miles for the first half and just let loose in the second half. I ended up keeping a decent pace for the first three miles and started really pushing in the last two.
When I crossed the finish line at 43:09 I was so thrilled (I’m not sure why my watch said 43:09 but Garmin connect says 43:10? I’m still claiming 43:09 because that’s what my watch said at the end, I swear). I couldn’t believe I beat last year’s time. It was seriously a painful 43 minutes but it was worth it. I know I barely beat it it, but it was a sweet 2 seconds for me.
And as for the bet? I won a gift card to out local coffee shop. Breve latte for the win!
I mentioned a few posts ago that I have made a pretty big change to my diet recently that has lead me to cook more often. I’m by no means a chef and I only cook from a recipe. I get most everything I cook off of Pinterest. But I figured every once in awhile I could share a few good pictures of what I’ve been cooking lately.
So lots of vegetables, meat, and fats. Yummy!
What are you cooking this week?
Thursday we had a field trip and then an open house for prospective parents at our school. I didn’t have enough time to go home and run in between so I ran from school and “wet wiped” off before open house (sorry prospective parents and my colleagues!).
This required so serious planning. I packed a running bag and an open house bag. That means I went through three pairs of shoes, two bras and one Garmin over the course of the day.
Totally worth it though. I got in my 7 mile easy run made it to open house, and got my copies ready for Friday.
But I was beat at the end!!! This is me, wiped out, camouflaged by bean bag chairs (photo by a fellow teacher).
Last time I checked in, I had finished a beautiful run in downtown Minneapolis, which was actually on Thursday. The only other thing on my schedule was a swim on Saturday.
Before we left NOLA, I checked out the hotel gym and pool on the web (it was the Hilton on Marquette, if you are curious) and everything looked good. In reality, the gym was great but the pool was too small, which shouldn’t have surprised me.
I didn’t want to miss the swim. In comes the Swim Radar app. I first read about it on DC Rainmaker’s site and downloaded it. It uses GPS to tell you where the closest pools are, how big they are, if they are indoor/outdoor and the contact information for the site. I have used it a few times and it’s really handy. The only downside is that I haven’t had success entering an address in and use that to search for nearby pools so I can’t scout out pools in advance.
The closest pool to our hotel was the YWCA, only .1 mile away. AND they have one day passes for hotel guests for $10!
Done and done.
The YWCA was pretty standard and I’m kind of a germaphobe about gyms and locker rooms so I just hurried up and hammered out 1500 meters and swung next door for a coffee. In New Orleans, everyone drinks PJ’s or CC’s but Minneapolis had a chain I hadn’t seen before called Caribou Coffee. I drank several delicious breve lattes from them over the course of the trip.
Are you a coffee drinker? I’ve become one this year. I used to only drink iced coffee but I’ve branched out a tiny bit. Do you have a favorite drink or coffee shop?
Greetings from the Arctic Tundra, aka Minneapolis, Minnesota! I’m on my way back from a conference.
I was truly intimidated by the thought of training on the road, in the cold. I know that for some of you that is par for the course but it’s a rarity for me.
We stayed in downtown Minneapolis so I started googling running routes in the area the first morning and found this:
I wanted something close by, pretty, and around 7 miles. I also decided to run during my lunch break so it would hopefully be light and there would be plenty of people around. Plus, if I ran during lunch, it should be the warmest part of the day, right?
I ran in pretty much the same thing I did during my long run last week, plus a vest and gloves. When I’m out of town, I usually bring cash, my driver’s license, my cell phone, and maybe credit card when I run, just in case of emergencies. After a quick detour to Target, I even had ear warmers. This course crossed the Mississippi River several times, so I had to do some bridge running, which I’ve sworn off since this summer. But it was cool to cross the Mississippi in a new state!
Once I crossed the bridge the run became much less urban and more residential. I’m guessing it was a college area. I actually saw a lot of snow/ice on the ground! I felt warm enough though.
Once I got back to the other side of the Mississippi River, I was feeling a little more comfortable and adventurous so I hopped off my planned course to an area called Heritage Trail, which ran parallel to the river. It was beautiful. I was running on a nice path with lots of different colored leaved trees. I kept thinking a) this is why people talk about liking running in the fall (although it felt more like the dead of winter to me) and b) this is what Robert Frost must have been looking at when he wrote about two paths diverging.
I went about a mile along the river to the north before turning around to head back. I was having such a blast, running easy and enjoying the sights. Around .5 mile from where I originally got on Heritage Trail I saw a pedestrian bridge that crossed the river and jumped on it. There were some beautiful views of the dam from there.
Next I found some ruins from a mill that the city had built a whole park around. I took some video and still pictures so I could show my kids when we learn about the Industrial Revolution.
After that I did one more loop over the bridge and back so that I could hit my goal mileage. It can be a little tricky to hit the right mileage in an unfamiliar area and I’d rather run a little far than short so I was happy to hit 7.65 miles when I got back to the hotel.
Next challenge: finding somewhere to swim on the road.
Finally back in the double digits for my long run! After a month of heart rate training and rolling out a brand new speedwork plan, I’m excited to be back to running long by feel.
Something about leaving the house to run 10 miles on a cool fall morning just feels right.
Although it felt a little less right after a lower body boot camp class Saturday morning. My legs were not as thankful as my mind.
And it was finally cool enough to wear a long sleeved shirt. For my friends in other parts of the world, I know you may have been bundling up but in New Orleans this was my first workout this fall in a long sleeved shirt. But I did see plenty of people running in short sleeves or tanks so I know I’m a bit of a wuss.
I really like the super long sleeves, thumb holes, and wintery design of this shirt.
This poor put upon cat thought that bathroom selfie time also meant faucet drinking time. She was mistaken.
Do you run long on Saturday or Sunday? Or are you a rebel and run long during the week?
How do you get fast?
There seem to be two theories to that: heart rate training and speedwork.
Lately I’ve been reading a lot of positive stuff online about Heart Rate training. It sounded great. Abandon speedwork and train your heart to run a faster pace at a lower rate!
I’ve never been too big on speedwork of any kind. I dread the track, and even half way through Time Crunched Triathlete, I abandoned the interval running (both times) which I still preferred to track workouts. Maybe it comes from an unstructured ‘upbringing’ as a runner. I only worked with a coach briefly in high school and my dad and I always ran for distance and fun, but rarely if ever followed any plan more complicated than “make your long run longer than last week and have fun.”
And it was a pretty fantastic ‘upbringing.’ After 15 years I’m still in love with running.
But since becoming a triathlete, I’ve looked more into structured training. And one day, I might even work with a coach. But for now, I’m reading and researching on my own.
Which brings me back to Hear Rate Training. I first heard about Zone 2 training on The Angriest Trainer Podcast. And lots of people on one of my FB groups, “Vinnie Tortorich’s No sugar No Grains group” train this way too. So I pulled out my heart rate monitor and tried to run keeping my heart rate between 145-155, which would be my Zone 2 range according to Dr Phil Maffetone. I listened to some podcasts, read what I could online, and did everything except buy the book (which, admittedly, might have helped, but I wasn’t ready to 100% commit to this the more I found out). In the end, after about 3 weeks, I had more questions than answers.
My biggest concern? Heart Rate Training is slow. And it’s a time investment. To give you an idea, I was running 1.5-2.5 minutes per mile slower than I was used to. Talk about checking your ego at the door. And you need to be ready to commit to that for a number of months, anywhere from 2-4 months, to see quality results. And, from what I could find out it works best if you give up anything that pulls you out of that Zone 2 heart rate.
Obviously, I’m not an expert, or even a reputable source on this type of training. This is simply my experience.
But after three weeks I’ve abandoned Heart Rate Training for two reasons.
It conflicts with Off Season Goal #1: Sell some tickets to the gun show. I don’t want to give up my beloved boot camp class and it’s how I’m planning on hulking out my upper body.
It also conflicts with Part 2 of my dad’s original training plan: have fun. It’s what he used to say before every race I ran and every softball game I played. It’s what I tell my students before debate tournaments. Have fun.
And I was not having fun heart rate training.
I’m sure heart rate training is effective and I know I didn’t give it the time it deserved. But life is short and I’m only running 3 days a week. I want to love every one of those days.
So I’m turning off the heart rate alerts on my Garmin and going to give speedwork a try. Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.
Do you use a heart rate monitor? Do you just track the data or use it to determine your training? Favorite speed workouts?