Sunday, February 26, 2012

Weekly Sweat Report (2/19 - 2/25)

Last week was another good week!

Sunday - rested & enjoyed this:

Monday - Ran 10 miles in 1:46 (10:38 pace). This was the first time that I have run double digits since hurting my back last October. It was really great to be able to do that! I ran in the hilly neighborhood that I like to run in during the week sometimes, so that added an extra challenge. I had 811 feet of elevation gain throughout the run. I walked up some of the tougher hills because they were too beastly to run up to be able to conserve my energy for the run.

It snowed the day before but it was really warm on Monday, so there was a lot of melting. It was still pretty running around with snow on the grass. This was pretty, too:

Tuesday - rested.

Wednesday - Ran 2.5 miles in 25 minutes (10:00 pace) on the treadmill. Although that pace doesn't sound particularly speedy, I was did some speed work on the treadmill. I walked 1/2 a lap, then did one lap at my normal, comfortable 10:00/mile pace. Then I did some 1/2 lap speed intervals separated by 1/2 a lap at my normal pace to recover. I gradually increased the speed of the interval, starting at 6.5 mph with the first interval and ending at 8 mph for the last interval. I cooled down with 1/2 a lap at my normal pace then walked 1/2 a lap. It was fun to be able to run fast and I hope to be able to do this workout more often to help me get faster.

After getting my sweat on, I lifted weights and did a little core work for 40 minutes.

Thursday - Rode 12.26 miles in 51 minutes (14.6 mph). It was nearly 70 degrees outside on Thursday so I figured it would be a great day to ride outside with my clipless pedals for the first time. I was nervous about falling (because everyone does eventually), but I am happy to report that I didn't fall! It was a little awkward trying to get going but I'm sure I'll get better at that with practice. Andrew was really patient with me and helpful at teaching me how to get clipped in without falling. I could definitely tell a difference riding with clipless pedals and cycling shoes vs. normal pedals and running shoes. It makes riding more efficient, and I see how these could help me go faster and climb easier.

Friday - rested. I worked a 10 hour day at work so I was beat.

Saturday - Rode 10 miles in 46 minutes (13.1 mph) on the indoor trainer. Since I didn't do anything on Friday, I just wanted to do a little something to keep my legs moving. It was cold and windy (20-30 mph) so I didn't really want to run or ride outside. I knew that I would be doing a long run the next day so I tried to take it easy.

I got my long run done today (Sunday) and it was great! It was one of my best long runs in a long time. Of course you'll have to wait till next week for all of the juicy details :) On the agenda for next weekend is the Explore Your Limits 5k, which will be my first trail race.

Have a great week!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

If you want to _____, you have to _____.

I was thinking this week about some of my goals for this year. One of my goals is to run a faster half marathon. Another is to get stronger. I started thinking about how I am going to reach these goals, and I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes from Dave Ramsey:

"If you want something you've never had,
you'll have to do something you've never done."

While Dave Ramsey is an expert on financial advice, I think this advice can be applied to pretty much anything we want to do.

If I want to run faster, I have to run faster. If I want to get stronger, I have to lift more/heavier weights. I won't get any faster running at the same slower pace that I have become accustomed to. I won't get any stronger by lifting an amount of weight that seems easy. I have to do something I've never done.

If you want to get out of debt, you have to spend less money than you make. If you want to lose weight, your "calories in" have to be less than your "calories out". If you want to live in a spotless house, you have to clean it. If you want to get more sleep, you have to go to bed earlier. You have to do something you've never done.

Anything worth achieving isn't going to just happen. You have to work for it. You also have to want it; achieving the goal has to matter to you. Otherwise, you'll find an excuse. You'll revert back to your same way of doing things and you'll get the same results you've always gotten.

But wanting to reach your goals doesn't make the journey easy. There will still be roadblocks. You will be tempted to take the easy road back to your old habits.

Running slow is easy. It's easy for me to say that it's not convenient or exciting for me to lift weights. It's so easy to rationalize spending money on something you don't really need.  It's easy to just keep eating whatever you want. It's easyto let the dishes and dust bunnies and laundry pile up. It's easy to stay up past your bedtime.

When you're tempted to give into your excuses, you have to remind yourself that it will be worth it. When I can run faster and look at myself and tell that I am stronger, I will know that it was worth the hard work and sacrifice. When you're out of debt, when you've lost weight, when your house is always clean, when you're always well-rested, you'll know that it was worth it.  Use your desire to reach your goals as motivation to keep going. Be patient and remind yourself that nothing is impossible.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Weekly Sweat Report & A New Toy

Last week was really great for me in terms of running. I felt like all of my runs were pretty good and I actually had more running miles than cycling miles, which hasn't happened in a while. I did my long run for the week today (Monday) so it won't show up on my Sweat Report until next week. But I am happy to report that I ran 10 miles today, my first double digit run since October 23rd when I ran 20 miles and hurt my back shortly thereafter.

Something else exciting about this week is that Andrew and I started trail running! So far it has been a lot of fun, but definitely a lot slower than pounding away on the pavement.

Sunday - Rest (this was the day after I rode 26.2 miles on the indoor trainer)

Monday - Ran 6.5 miles in 1:09 (10:33 pace). I started off slow and kept my run at a comfortable (slow) pace for most of the run, but I managed to finish it off strong with a kick. It was cool, cloudy, and quiet on this run like it is before it's going to snow (it didn't actually snow, though).

Tuesday - Rode 14 miles on the indoor trainer in 1:02 (13.6 mph). Then did a quick circuit of a 30 second plank + 10 push ups + 10 lying leg raises + 10 tricep dips. I did this 4 times and it took about 10 minutes.

Wednesday - First trail run! Ran 3.09 miles in 35 minutes (11:15 pace).

Thursday - Ran 6.5 miles in 1:08 (10:30 pace). This was another great run. It was cool and wet out (but not raining). Since it was cloudy and later in the afternoon, I wanted to be seen. Do you think I was bright enough?

When I got home I did a circuit of a 30 second plank + 10 push ups + 10 lying leg raises + 10 tricep dips + a 30 second wall sit + 20 lunges (10 each leg). I did this 3 times and it took about 15 minutes.

Friday - Rest!

Saturday - Second trail run! This time we did a 5.5 mile loop. The loop had lots of ups and downs and some parts were also pretty rocky, so we were forced to walk a little bit more because of this. Really it was more of a run/speed hike (14:00 pace).

I am really proud of Andrew for sticking with me the whole time. I should remind you that he is a cyclist, not a runner (well, ex-runner), so for him to go all 5.5 miles was really great.

It was a really nice day out and really warm (61 degrees). Of course we were expecting a snowstorm the next day so it was strange to be out in a tank top.

On Sunday I rested and enjoyed catching up on my laundry, cleaning, and sitting by the fire. We watched as the snow fell and fell and fell. This morning we woke up to about 6-7 inches of snow and some of the most beautiful sights.

It all melted away pretty quickly because the temps quickly climbed up to nearly 50 degrees. We both already had the day off from work so it was nice to be able to spend another day together. We actually went out to Best Buy and bought a laptop for me! I have wanted one for a while so that I can sit downstairs and work on the computer (and by "work" I mean blog and be on Facebook) instead of spending a lot of time on the computer upstairs away from Andrew. It will also be nice to be able to take on trips. I definitely didn't need one, but if I'm going to work mandatory overtime I think I can justify spoiling myself with a few things that I want.

So that my new laptop doesn't get jealous of the introduction that my cycling shoes and running shoes received on this blog, I would like to introduce you to my new laptop, also known as Little Baby Lappy (LBL for short).

I am writing this blog on LBL right now and so far I am loving it!! I think LBL and I are going to get along great.

Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

PureFit Bar Review

A few weeks ago I was introduced to a delicious nutrition bar from PureFit.  I was very excited to try these bars because they boasted to be "the all-natural, gluten-free and wheat-free, dairy-free, vegan, kosher, high in protein, diabetic-friendly, that tastes great nutrition bar."

How Did They Taste?
PureFit Bars come in 5 delicious flavors: Granola Crunch, Almond Crunch, Berry Almond Crunch, Chocolate Brownie, and Peanut Butter. I honestly really liked all of the flavors, but I think peanut butter was my favorite. They all had a very similar taste and texture though, if that makes sense. One thing I will note is that the texture is pretty thick and chewy, so you will probably want to have something to wash these down with. This isn't necessarily a bad quality though...kind of like eating a peanut butter sandwich!

Nutritional Facts & Thoughts
One bar contains 210-220 calories, 24-25 grams of carbohydrates (10-14 grams of sugar), 2-4 grams of fiber, 18 grams of protein, and 6-7 grams of fat.

I really appreciate the nutritional breakdown of these bars. They follow the "40/30/30" ratio of the Zone diet (40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fat). I also liked how they had a high amount of protein but still had a sensible amount of calories in them. A lot of bars that I see are unfortunately just the opposite; too high in calories and too low in protein.

The ingredients in PureFit bars (can be found here) are all-natural. PureFit bars do not contain any artificial sweeteners, trans fatty acids, or hydrogenated oils. PureFit bars also do not contain any wheat, gluten, or dairy. This is important because these ingredients can easily cause tummy troubles, whether you are allergic to these things or not. They also have a low glycemic index and they are diabetic-friendly, meaning that you won't crash after eating one. PureFit bars are also Kosher and Vegan, making them a great choice for pretty much anyone.

PureFit bars also claim to not melt in their packaging, so they are great to take on the go.

I tried using these bars for my shorter weekday afternoon runs and they worked great.  I ate half of a bar before my run because I'm always a little hungry and tired after work, and I ate the other half after my run to hold me over until dinner was ready. They didn't cause any tummy problems and gave me the energy I needed to not feel tired on the run.

Although I didn't try these while biking, they also seem like they would be a great snack to take on a long bike ride, especially since they don't melt.

The price of a box of 15 PureFit bars from the PureFit website is $34.35. That comes out to $2.29 per bar.  In my (very cheap) opinion, this is a little pricey. However, remember that you get what you pay for. When you order additional boxes the price per box goes down (4-6 boxes is $32/box, 6-9 is $30/box, and 10+ is $28/box). There is also a sample kit available for $9.95 which contains 5 bars (one of each flavor) if you aren't ready to commit to a whole box.

If you would like to order a box of PureFit bars from the PureFit website, you can use the coupon code PROMO25 for 25% off of your first order.

I did a little searching and found that you can buy a box of PureFit bars from Amazon for $27.99 with free shipping, which takes the price down to a more reasonable $1.86 per bar. There is also a "subscribe & save" deal on Amazon where you have PureFit bars automatically delivered on a regular basis (you choose from every 1 to 6 months) and the price goes down to $26.59 per box ($1.77 per bar). It looks like this is only for the Berry Almond Crunch bar and the prices are different for each flavor.

Final Thoughts
Overall I really liked these bars. I loved the nutritional aspects as well as the taste.  If I could find a good deal on these bars I think I would eat them on a regular basis.  One thing I wish PureFit would sell is larger boxes with multiple flavors because I feel like I might get sick of one box being all one flavor.  Other than that minor detail, PureFit bars definitely get my stamp of approval...

They also get a stamp of approval from someone else...

On the back of the PureFit bar wrapper: 
"Millions of dogs and cats are euthanized each year because shelters can't find homes for them.  Rather than buying your next pet, PureFit encourages you to consider adopting from a shelter and save a life."

Legal mumbo jumbo: I was contacted by PureFit and asked to try these bars. I was sent 5 bars free of charge and I was not otherwise compensated for this review.  The opinions expressed above are my own.  I did not feed my cat any PureFit bars. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Weekly Two Weeks of Sweat Reports 1/29/12 - 2/11/12

I was rather absent from blogging (and reading blogs) this past week. Sometimes I feel guilty when I don't get to blog as frequently as I would like, but then I remember that there are only a million things above blogging on my priority list. My husband, my family, my job, exercising, preparing healthy meals, church, sleeping, and relaxing (plus some things that I'm sure I'm forgetting) all rank way higher than blogging. So when those things start to consume more of my time than usual, blogging gets pushed to the side (as it should).

This is what happened this past week, and what I feel will be the case for a while now. We were informed this week at work that we are required to work 20 hours of overtime a month from now through likely the end of September. So, needless to say, there goes another 5 hours of "free" time each week that I was pressed for in the first place. I'm bummed about having to work the extra time, but I think I've figured out a way to work it in a way that will have a minimal (but still negative) impact on my schedule. In any case, I will probably have less time for blogging, so don't be surprised if you don't hear from me as often.

I was behind in posting my workouts from two weeks ago so I just decided to do two weeks at once...

Week of 1/29/12 - 2/4/12
Sunday - Rode 15 miles on the trainer in 1:08 (13.2 mph pace). Finished it off with my (30 second plank + 10 push ups) x 4.
Monday - Rest
Tuesday - Ran 5 miles in 52 minutes (10:22 pace, which is really good for this neighborhood). It was so nice and warm outside that I wore a skirt and a tank top! (I know I'm still wearing my jacket in this picture...but I promise I shed it after running for like 2 seconds).

skirt from Running Skirts that my awesome husband got me for Christmas

Wednesday - Rest (I was busy buying my new running shoes!)
Thursday - Rode 14 miles on the trainer in 1:02 (13.6 mph pace) while watching the Biggest Loser
Friday - Ran/Walked 3 miles in 39 minutes (12:50 pace) and lifted weights for 25 minutes. I was running in my new shoes and they felt great, but I was just exhausted so I just wasn't feeling it. It could have been that my day started with stepping in poop.
Saturday - Rode 10.5 miles in 45 minutes (13.9 mph pace). I woke up early to get a quick ride in before we went out of town for the weekend.

Week of 2/5/12 - 2/11/12
Sunday - Rest. We were traveling so I didn't get a long ride/run in this weekend.
Monday - Rode 15 miles in 1:04 (14.1 mph pace). Did my (30 second plank + 10 push ups) x 4, then did (10 lying leg raises + 10 tricep dips) x 4.
Tuesday - Ran 6 miles in 1:02 (10:15 pace - fast (for me) in this neighborhood). This was my first run outside in my new shoes and it was a SUPER run. I think it was the pack of peanut M&M's I devoured at work. This is what it looked like when I was done running:

Wednesday - Rode 14 miles on the trainer in 1:02 (13.5 mph) while watching the Biggest Loser.
Thursday - Rest. I know this is a huge excuse, but I didn't have time to work out on Thursday.
Friday - Rest. Again, no time.
Saturday - Rode 26.2 miles on the trainer in 1:56 (13.6 mph pace). This was my longest ride on the trainer to date. It wasn't terrible, but I was definitely wanting it to be over towards the end!

Andrew and I were going to break in our new trail shoes this weekend, but it was freezing and super windy, so we spent most of the weekend indoors. We (yes, both of us!!) are signed up for the Explore Your Limits 5K, which is on trails but described as "a great race to introduce runners to trail running." It is on March 3rd, so I'm sure we'll hit the trails at least once before then.

I hope everyone has a great week!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Happy Friday!

I just wanted to do a quick post to direct you over to my very first guest blog post! It is on what many of you would call a "non-running" blog...but fear not! It's still about running. I decided to write out my top 10 tips for those who were new to running or walking. Please check it out HERE.

On a completely unrelated note, I just wanted to share something humorous (though it did not seem so humorous at the time) that happened to me today. I was on my way to work and I started to smell something funny. Like poop funny. When I was almost to work I was cringing because I was 99% sure that I had stepped in dog poop in the 15 (non-grassy) feet between my door and my car. Seriously? I was furious at the irresponsible person who didn't pick up after their dog.

So I got out of the car at work and sure enough, I had stepped square in some poop. And I had also gotten it on my floor mat in my car. Awesome! I texted Andrew to tell him about this and he informed me that I hadn't stepped in dog poop. No, I had stepped in CAT poop that was right INSIDE the front door.

AAaggghhh. CAT!

I tried to clean off my shoe in the bathroom at work, but it was still super stinky (shocker! poop = stinky!). Then I remembered that I had packed my new shoes in my gym bag so I went out and changed into them. I was glad I had decided that today would be a gym day!

I was thinking that the day could only get better, but my motivation at work was seriously lacking, as it usually is on a Friday. This was only compounded by the fact that we lost all of our power right after lunch. It came back on pretty quickly, but we didn't have any network connections and none of our programs would open up for about 45 minutes.

So that was my HAPPY's to hoping that the weekend will only get better!

Oh, and here's an awesome video about Fridays. This is a good look into what a lot of my Fridays feel like. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Introducing: New Running Shoes!

Remember how I introduced you to my pretty new cycling shoes a while back? So as to not make my first sweaty love (running) jealous of my second sweaty love (cycling), I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to not one, but TWO new pairs of running shoes.

I went to Fleet Feet last night and as usual, they were so helpful in suggesting shoes that would be right for me based on my foot, gait, etc. Although I have always been a loyal Asics customer, I walked out with two pairs of Brooks! I haven't actually run in either of these (except in the parking lot in front of the store), so I can't really say I love them yet, but I am very optimistic.

First, the Brooks Ghost 4:

When I was trying them on I loved how cushioned they felt and also how light and springy they seemed. The Asics I wore before could feel heavy and clunky at times, so this might take some getting used to (or I could ask myself why I waited so long!). I'm definitely excited about logging some miles on these shoes. I'm hoping that these will help with some mild big toe pain I've been feeling as I've started to run again after hurting my back.

Up next, we have the Brooks Cascadia 6:

These are a bit similar to the Ghost, except they are made for the trail. These also felt surprisingly cushioned when I tried them on. I'm really excited about these shoes because one of my goals for 2012 was to buy some trail shoes (check!) and start doing some trail running. While I actually haven't run on a trail yet, I can no longer use the excuse of "but I don't have trail shoes!". I think I have also successfully convinced my husband to go purchase some trail shoes too and start chasing me around in the woods running with me on some trails.

I also tried on the Saucony PowerGrid Cortana (a road shoe) and the Saucony ProGrid Xodus 3.0 (a trail shoe similar to the Cortana). These both come with the 4mm heel-to-toe offset that everyone is raving about right now since it is supposed to be more "natural". I could definitely feel that difference in the offset when I ran around the parking lot in them. Both of these shoes also felt super cushioned and comfortable.

It was a tough decision, especially since I am really indecisive. But in the end, considering all factors of how they fit my feet, how the felt when I ran, as well as looks and price, I decided to go with the Brooks. Hopefully these will work out for me, but the great thing about running shoes (expensiveness aside) is that if you don't like them, you only have to live with them for 300-500 miles before you can try something else. I'm hoping to try out my Ghosts on a short run tomorrow, and maybe by next weekend I'll be ready to test out the Cascadias.

Have you found your "perfect shoe" or are you still on the hunt?
Obviously I'm still on the hunt! I think finding the perfect running shoe can be harder than finding the perfect pair of jeans.

Are you loyal to one brand or do you like to mix it up?
I have run in Asics for quite a while. When I first started seriously running about two years ago I wore the Nimbus 11 and it was the first shoe that let me go long distances without a lot of knee pain, so I figured it was the right shoe for me (ha! Really I could go longer distances because I was consistently running and slowly building my base). Naturally I got the Nimbus 12 next (x2) and I was pretty happy with them. Then I switched to the Kayano 17 and I haven't been that happy with them. I realized it was silly to only consider one brand so I was very open to trying on Brooks and Saucony shoes this time around. When I was in middle and high school I was a fan of Adidas and you weren't cool unless you had a pair of the New Balance 802s. I think that was just a fad at my school but I definitely went through a few pairs of them.

Have you tried either of these shoes that I got? Thoughts?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Looking Back on January

I can't believe it's already February!

I started the year off on the wrong foot by having the stomach flu for the first week of January. That meant not doing much of anything. To make myself feel a little better, we signed up to do the National Capital Tour de Cure 50 mile ride on June 3. It is a charity ride that supports the American Diabetes Association. I would really love your support (if it is within your means)!

So that I could consider myself a real cyclist (ha!), I converted to using clipless pedals and cycling shoes (I have yet to wear them off of the trainer though so I can't cross that goal off the list yet). In mid-January I was able to run 7 miles pain free and it made me have crazy thoughts about doing the Blue Ridge Marathon. I think I have (mostly) talked myself off of this cliff. This past weekend I ran 9 miles by myself and I really enjoyed it.

Although it didn't start out so great, January was a pretty good month. I have been LOVING the very mild winter that we have been having but I'm sure as soon as I say that it's going to turn cold and snowy. Honestly I'd be perfectly happy if we didn't have much of a winter. If it's not snowing enough to get me out of work, I want it to be warm enough that I don't have to bundle up when I go outside!

Here were my monthly totals...
Running Miles: 37
Cycling Miles: 113

I'm a little behind in even meeting my "B" goals for yearly running and cycling mileage, so I'm definitely thinking that my "A" goals are not going to be happening this year, and that's okay! I still think the "B" goals are very attainable, especially since I'm more active in the summer than in the winter.

Bye bye January! Hello February!

How are you doing with your goals so far?