Monthly Archives: February 2013

Running fast and Happy Kids

Since getting back on Sunday afternoon, I feel like I’ve been going a mile a minute and am in some serious need of downtime-weekend come quick! In the spirit of being speedy, I got back to the gym and tried some intervals on Monday.  I was able to run pain free, maybe because I rocked my bright purple compression sleeves, and could be easily spotted from across the gym in my lovely get-up.  I’m trying to stretch, foam roll, and ice every day whether or not I run, which will hopefully keep me pain free and running until April 15!

Today I had a short window of opportunity for running, and while I much prefer running outside, I figure better to stay dry than risk slipping in the monsoon outside.  I found playing around with the speed and incline kept me occupied for 40 minutes on the treadmill (I would’ve liked to run further but I might’ve passed out from boredom after that point!). Next up for workouts, strength training tomorrow and going for….12 miles on Saturday 🙂

I’m going to get super cheesy for a minute, but the best part of today was probably the last 20 minutes of the school day when I read aloud to my kiddos. I pulled out an Arthur Ashe biography (since we are teaching them about biographies) and told the kids that I really didn’t know anything about him and was excited to learn with them. The kids LOVED the story, as in everyone quiet with eyes glued on the pages, eager hands flapping in the air waiting to ask questions, and smiles when I closed the book. Arthur Ashe had an amazing tennis career, and instead of leaving the game when he had a heart attack he stayed on the court as a coach. Throughout his life he faced segregation and fought so other kids wouldn’t have to face the same challenges growing up.  It is really pretty cool when the kids are so excited and interested and want to keep asking questions and sharing their comments on a book when you’re done reading. Great end to a rambunctious, indoor-recess, monsooning, IPad obsessed (new in the classroom and the kids asked about 10 times when they could use them during reading) day.

More tomorrow on my cooking attempts with quinoa….

Bracing for Monday

After having such a great week at home, I was dreading the inevitable 8pm Sunday night crunch of needing to organize and prepare for week of work ahead.  During my break, I really allowed my myself to relax and got to spend time with my parents, cousins and friends.  I learned a valuable lesson from one cousin, “you don’t need to wear socks with pajamas because Ariel doesn’t wear socks when she’s in the ocean.” Obviously.

My parents treated me to dinners out and of course made some amazing food. My dad (who may or not have been hinting he wanted a little blog attention) wowed us all with his homemade pulled pork and barbecue sauce. Seriously YUM. I don’t think I’ve ever had barbecue sauce that didn’t come from a bottle before, and sadly, unless dad continues to make and send his sauce to me, I will have to return to the bottle. I am spoiled at home. And I love it. I provided my parents with quite a bit of entertainment, although I did slightly upset their empty nesters’ routines. And there may have been a threat of a certain toaster ending up in my bed if it didn’t find its way back into the cabinet. Oops.

Even with the relaxing I did at home, I accomplished some things too. I am on my way back into my marathon training groove, getting job applications started and starting to figure things out for life beyond June. Oh and did I mention I ate. A lot. Too much. But I guess that’s what vacation is for 😉

Tomorrow will bring 21 smiling faces, who may or may not have forgotten school routines, tired teachers who are seriously relying on coffee to make it through the day, and delicious leftovers from home. Bring it Monday. For the next few hours I’ll focus on important things–outfit planning, Oscar watching, roommate chats. Enjoy the last few hours of the weekend!

Trying a New Recipe: Granola Bars

As I read more and more blogs written with a focus on fitness and healthy living, I am continually inspired to cook and bake new things. I love packing bars in the car or in my work bag for a snack after school or a “just-in-case-I-get-caught-in-traffic-and-am-dying-of-starvation” kind of snack. When I came across this recipe for homemade granola bars, I raided my parents’ pantry for some ingredients and quickly went out to get whatever my parents didn’t have to make them.

In my excitement to make them I may have bombarded my mom in the kitchen while she was making a delicious dinner, but come on, that kitchen is big enough for the two of us. I decided to add a combination of chocolate chips, chopped raw almonds and dried cranberries to the original recipe and I have to say they came out delicious! For whatever reason, either poor mixing technique or not enough wet ingredients, they were more crumbly than I planned, so they are more granola shards than bars, but still AMAZING. Yum. And because granola is in the name they have to be healthy, right?

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Frozen: The aftermath of getting caught in freezing cold rain on a long run)

The dreary sky this morning did not help get me psyched up for a long run today, and I have to admit I was quite nervous about my shins. Thank goodness for a fabulous running buddy who was suited up and ready to tackle almost 9 miles this morning (I decided against 10 since this was my first long run in a while). Getting out, running the streets of my hometown was quiet and peaceful, with just our conversations filling the air. One of the perks of the run this morning was few cars on the road, meaning we could run side by side and get lots of good talk time in.

After about 4 miles, we tackled a giant hill that stretched about 1/2 mile, and I was not a fan. Hopefully I’ll become much more accustomed to hills before the Boston Marathon! After the hill it started to drizzle, which turned into a light freezing rain that lasted for the rest of our run. As soon as we finished I realized just how cold I was–and three hours and a hot shower later I still am! My bright idea to get a smoothie really helped with warming up ;). 

I am currently icing my shins, foam rolled and stretched earlier and will again tonight.

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Fingers crossed I stay pain free! It wasn’t my best long run, but it was a good start to getting back to training after a 2.5 week hiatus. Here’s to some great long runs in the coming Saturday mornings! I plan to stay warm and dry for the rest of the day, and enjoy my last full day at home as break sadly comes to an end.

What do you eat to recover after runs? Have you ever done an ice bath? (The idea is a little scary but I’m thinking of trying it soon).

Have a wonderful Saturday afternoon!

Back on Track

Remember when you were little and you really wanted that new toy, the one that looked so cool in the commercial and you HAD TO HAVE IT, but  your mom or dad said “No, you need to wait until Christmas and ask Santa for it.”? And then you realized that Christmas was a million years away (or several months)? Waiting is no fun. For anyone that’s been injured, realizing that you are hurt and need to stop what you are doing (running in my case) and take a break is so hard. Resting and taking time off from something you enjoy doing and need to be doing (so your body doesn’t fall apart when you attempt 26.2 miles) is overwhelming and frustrating.

I’ve dealt with horrible shin splints before, but this time was especially hard because I knew I needed to be training.  I ended up having to go almost 2.5 weeks no running, which felt like an eternity when I knew the marathon was less than 3 months away. I’ve read so much about recovering and coming back from injury, and wanted to share a few things that helped my shins so much and got me back into training.

1. Icing–I have two  ice packs that velcro around my legs (from CVS) that I try to use EVERY NIGHT. I’ve tried to make it a part of my routine, get ice packs, get dessert, sit in front of TV and multitask.

2. Foam roller–I can’t remember when I didn’t have my foam roller. If you don’t have one and you like to exercise, stop reading right now and order one-like this one.  Oh, and I recently discovered you can foam roll your shins. And it feels so good.

3. Stretching–I TRY to take a few minutes every day, either just after a workout or at night before bed, and really stretch. Quads, hamstrings, calves, hip flexors, back. SO IMPORTANT and can prevent injury (or so I think/have read/have heard).

Being on break this week has allowed me to really focus on recovery and getting back into running. I am very impatient but have learned that you can’t rush your body. Getting back into running or whatever activity you do before you are ready will only lead to more injury and more time off. Cope however you need to-substitute activity, candy/ice cream binges, Bachelor viewings (I didn’t do any of that), and just wait it out. I waited until this week, and what started out as baby steps on the treadmill turned into a full interval workout yesterday. Fingers crossed the weather cooperates and I successfully run 10 miles Saturday!! Snow, please hold off until I am finished with the run.

Thank goodness I didn’t have to wait until Christmas and ask Santa for healed shins. Happy Almost Weekend!

You aren’t from New York, are you?

The past few days at home have been pretty wonderful, I haven’t been over-scheduled (shocking), have eaten some amazing food, am on the road back to running and have been spending time with  people I love. Seriously, I’m feeling pretty lucky right now.  Image

Spice market at Grand Central Station

I spent yesterday exploring NYC with one of my closest friends and resident fashionista. Seriously, she knows what she’s talking about…check out her blog  http://karinamarcoux.com/. Anyways, one of the highlights of our day together was lunch at Luke’s Lobster–I thought I’d died and gone to comfort food heaven.

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Chowda and Lobster Grilled Cheese…my mouth is still watering…

We walked to the Met, explored Central park and I discovered the Alice in Wonderland statue (I didn’t discover it really, but first time I’d seen it 😉 ). I could stay in New York forever just walking around and eating everything in sight. Before getting on the train home, I ventured back into the Grand Central Market for some berries that looked and tasted amazing, even though they cost a small fortune (gotta love no price labels on anything). While waiting to pay, a man stepped in front of us and when he realized his mistake he asked “did I jump in front of you?” The response, “Um, yes, I think you did, thank you.” He continues to ask if I am from New York, and says that he’s sure I’m not because I didn’t demand that he give us our line spot and was polite.  Stereotypical and sad that people don’t expect politeness and are in fact shocked by it! (For the record, I technically am from NY, born in Brooklyn).

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Having an artsy Instagram moment with a photo from our afternoon stroll in the park.

Tomorrow I head back to the treadmill to keep up with my running comeback, but for today, I’ll keep eating great food, playing Thomas trains with the cutest three-year old boys and relaxing (or trying to).

I hope your week is off to an equally good start! xo

My frenemy, the treadmill

I have never really been a fan of the treadmill. I am used to being constantly on the go, so the thought of staying in one place for the entirety of a run is unappealing to me when I compare it to getting outside and exploring new places during a run.  Don’t get me wrong, I recognize many of the advantages of treadmill running, including a more forgiving and shock-absorbent surface, being able to control and change your running speed and incline at will, and being able to get a workout in no matter what the weather is like.

When I started thinking about coming back from shin splints and getting my body back into training, I knew I’d have to use the treadmill. Yesterday, I tried running for 15 minutes in between other cardio machines, and had no pain! Today, I pushed myself through the boredom to run for 30 minutes–in my fabulously bright knee-high socks.  The compression socks felt good, and whether or not they are the reason I was able to run pain free I figure I’ll keep using them.Image

You know this is the look you wish you could rock at the gym!

There are people who LOVE the treadmill, and go for miles without experiencing the level of boredom where if you are on for one more minute you might fall off the treadmill no matter how thrilling the episode of Law and Order is on the gym TV. I am not one of those people, but have a few tricks to get myself in the groove of running on the treadmill.

1. Set a time goal for yourself (I will run for 30 minutes), and stick to it. If you stop, so does the clock–I find this keeps me accountable

2. Intervals! I have been able to stay on the treadmill for way longer than I thought possible when I followed an interval workout (example: 1 mile warmup, 2 min at 6.6 (or whatever starting speed), jump off for 30 sec, 2 min at 6.8, jump off for 30 sec. Continue this-increasing speed by .2 each time for 5 intervals and then do them in reverse and end with a few minutes of cool down)

3. Awesome music! When my motivation is waning during a run, its usually because I’m not loving the song I am listening to-so I try to have great, upbeat music for every run. I will share some of my playlist soon 🙂

So, for now, the treadmill is more my friend than enemy, but my goal is to be back outside by Saturday. Have a fabulous Monday evening!