sneaker∙therapy

I talk to God on the road. And He talks back.


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The FIRST Half Marathon Training Method

Hi friends! Long time no talk! Last week was a little crazy; I went to NY to help my mom with taxes the weekend before, so I didn’t get any weekend prep done to set me up for the week. This meant that I was doing laundry, prepping meals and food shopping during the week, while also studying for my C++ final and stats midterm and submitting several homework assignments on top of my full-time job. So that’s why this little blog went dark ;) I finished C++ and only have one class to focus on until fall semester starts up though, so hopefully I’ll have some time to put together some quality posts again.

In other news, I RAN AND IT DIDN’T SUCK! I was originally going to take all of last week off and start half marathon training today, but I figured it wasn’t smart to go from 0 to 3 days of running in a week. So I laced up my NB 890s Friday morning and cautiously set off to do a few miles on the treadmill. Guys, it’s official –the break-up is over and I’m in love with running again. I felt no pain for the whole 3.5 miles and I didn’t feel exhausted by the second mile the way I did a month ago. I deliberately kept the pace slow (about 10 min pace), but I felt that I could have run faster and longer. I got off the treadmill with a definite runner’s high that had me planning my next run for the following day.

To be honest, I started this summer feeling a little burnt out on running after a painful marathon and a minor injury (butt/ hip – never got it diagnosed) that left me feeling discouraged after nearly every run. I contemplated whether I wanted to train for a race this fall or even run at all. But after taking nearly a month off to focus on cross training and allow my body to heal, I am excited to start my next training cycle and eager to start running hard again! Last week’s runs brought me to that place of well-being, happiness and satisfaction that I can’t quite achieve through spinning or anything else -why else would they call it a runner’s high?

Fall Half Marathon Training Cycle: FIRST Plan

So my training plan for the fall starts today: I’m targeting the Woodrow Wilson Half marathon in early October, and possibly the Annapolis Running Classic Half in mid-November. In case you’re curious, my training plan is below. It’s based on the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training (FIRST) training plan, which has just 3 days of required running a week, but ALL hard workouts – a speed session, a tempo run, and a long run close to race pace. I thought this would be a good plan for me because: (1) it seems I get injured with higher mileage plans; (2) I’m traveling a lot through October, so fewer required workouts = greater flexibility; and (3) I like the idea of having planned paces for each workout, and I like speedwork. With any luck, I’ll end the cycle with a PR or two and (most important) no injuries.
half training plan 2014
A little translation: On key workout #1 days, “6X800” means 6 repetitions of 800 meters, and “RI” is the rest interval, a mix of jogging and walking. On key workout #2, ST means “short tempo pace” and MT is “long tempo pace”. On key workout #3, PHMP is “Planned Half Marathon Pace”. All paces are based off of your current 10K times (i.e. 800s are supposed to be done at 10K pace minus 45 seconds, ST are 10K pace, MT are 10K+15 seconds, etc). Here’s the chart of paces I’ll be aiming to hit for each workout (based off my 10K PR), to give you an idea:paces

I’ll post short training updates each week and give my opinion on the FIRST method at the end of the training cycle. If it works out, I’ll use it for my marathon training in the spring :)

Do you use/ like training plans?


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Run Washington Mention + Recent Eats

I got some exciting news yesterday – I’ve been quoted in a Run Washington article! One of the writers was writing an article about marathoners training through the winter, and she contacted me for a short interview because I tweeted about marathon training in March:
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I did a short interview over the phone and forgot about it after seeing nothing in the next magazine.  Well, the article was just published this week, and she used my interview (just to be clear, that’s not me on the article’s front page)!picture 2
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It’s both exciting and distressing to see my words in print, lol. It’s hard to come up with well-worded answers on the spot! Here’s the link to the magazine (it’s all available online) if you want to read the whole article.

Before I move on to last week’s eats, can I just say I LOVE the stormy weather DC’s been having? I’m a storm/ bad-weather lover (aside from the kind resulting in property damage)- the worse the storm, the happier I feel and the better I sleep.  It’s inexplicable, but there it is.  Any other storm lovers out there? It’s thundering right now as I type this!
PicMonkey Food 1

Breakfast

- I baked for the first time in ages: this chocolate zucchini bread from PaleOMG, made with homemade almond butter (I didn’t have any store-bought in the house). The texture was perfect, like a moist chocolate cake, but it was a little too bitter for my taste. I’m going to cut the cocoa powder and increase the honey a little next time.
- More yogurt bowls! I’m finally almost done with the two bags of puffed millet I bought from Vitacost over a year ago, and I polished off the last of the candied nuts from sister J.

Lunch

Lunch was a big, fat mistake this week. I was intrigued by the Sur la Table recipe for Pickled Watermelon Salad on Gina’s blog, and figured I would love it because I love watermelon salad and pickled things. Well, that was true for the first day I packed the salad…and then the watermelon (batch pickled on Sunday) began to shrivel until it resembled raw meat in texture. It’s a tasty recipe, just doesn’t work with my prep-all-the-things-on-Sunday style.

Dinner

- Whatever disappointment I felt over lunch was completely demolished by this dinner! I made a batch of Melissa Joulwan’s 5-Spice Slow Cooker Pork Ribs and immediately turned them into soup by boiling them in chicken stock with ginger, bok choy and scallions, per her suggestion. Added a poached egg and served with rice – I could eat this every day for a year.
- Miso-basted salmon another night – we both loved this recipe – with more corn. I’ve been buying 5-6 ears of fresh corn each week; love how cheap it is right now!

Snack

Worth a mention because I prepped a few healthy snacks last week (I get munchy when I study) – healthy fudgsicles and Martha Stewart’s chia pudding. Both good, although Mike didn’t love the “secret ingredient” in the fudgsicles and requested a “normal” version next time, lol. In all honesty, I haven’t been gobbling them down either…


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The Good, the Bad, and the Awesome

This weekend was full of ups and downs (rolling hills, if you will ;)  Let’s start with the good:

The Good…

We got brunch with some friends from out of town at Iron Gate!
036The food was really tasty, starting with their famous Greek yeast doughnuts with orange blossom syrup…040and the eggs and cotechino for me.  I actually didn’t like the cotechino (type of sausage) that much; next time I’ll stick with steak and eggs.  The fried potatoes though were perfect!
041We haven’t seen some of these friends since graduation! We had a great time catching up and exchanging stories from the past couple of years.044Mike and I also discovered a new favorite froyo place that evening – Crave! It has tons of candy toppings mounted to the walls, and the froyo is the best we’ve had in Virginia – perfect consistency and great taste.  The best part? It’s less than a mile from us :)046 048

The Bad…

As we left brunch, we discovered a parking ticket on the hood of our car =\ Tell me, does it look like we’re taking up two parking spaces!? We’re only barely past the meter (I’m planning to contest this, btw).

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We also had to skip small group Saturday night because we both weren’t feeling well, which is a shame because we really like the other couples in our small group and were looking forward to getting to know them better. We were cooking in a hot kitchen on a muggy day, and I think we both just felt nauseous afterwards.  Hopefully we’ll make the next one!

Now the worst of the bad – I accidentally downloaded a virus on my computer on Sunday and had to spend a good portion of the day restoring it (more accurately, Mike restored it…).  Thankfully, I was able to save all the important stuff (pictures and video files) before we had to wipe it! I’ll be installing anti-virus software this time around.

The Awesome!

Now for the little piece of mail that made my weekend! Remember that time that U.S. Airways lost our bag in Atlanta and we had to go shopping so that we could attend a friend’s wedding? What I didn’t mention at the time was that I filed a reimbursement claim for the clothes we had to buy (since we didn’t know our bag would be found). Our bag was recovered later that night so I didn’t really expect to get anything, but the lady at the baggage claim counter said it was worth a shot so I submitted it anyway.

Well, imagine our surprise when we received a check in the mail from U.S. Airways this weekend! It didn’t cover everything I submitted, but it covered most of our expenses (Mike’s suit and a few other things). We were incredibly grateful to the airline for responding and honoring our request! The lesson learned is that it never hurts to ask or try (my sister is the master of getting companies to give her free stuff).

Workouts Last Week

Despite my goal to get in some more workouts, I took a lot of rest days last week thanks to a stomach flu and a bunch of homework assignments.  I’m okay with it because my life is all about balance right now, so it’s okay if workouts take a back seat to school and other stuff going on.

Monday: Body Pump
Tuesday: rest (did some planks)
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: spin class and planks
Friday: walked home from work (the bus broke down).  30 minutes of walking beats doing nothing!
Saturday: Body Pump – new release!
Sunday: rest

What’s your best customer service story?


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(No Running) Workout Log + Planks!

June 30-July 6 Workout Log (Running Break Week #1)

So…I took more rest days than usual last week – I think it was a combination of laziness and needing to study for stats (it’s a LOT harder than I expected). I’ve learned now that if I don’t get my workout done in the morning, it’s not going to happen after work. Sometimes afternoon workouts work great for me, but not this summer apparently :)

Monday: Aborted run (8 min), stairmaster (40 min)
This was the day that I decided to not to run during the month of July.

Tuesday: rest day

Wednesday: rest day

Thursday: spin class

Friday: stairmaster (30 min) and Body Pump!
I wasn’t getting sore anymore from weight lifting on my own, so I went to Body Pump for the first time in a couple of months to push myself to work harder. Well, it worked! I felt sore all over the next day. I’m going to try to make it to a class each week from now on.

Saturday: spin class

Sunday: rest day

I’m also incorporating planks holds a few times a week this summer – they’re great for strengthening the core and take little time to do. I got up to a 3 min hold last week – a new record for me! I started doing planks regularly about a month ago with a 1:30 hold, so I’m exhilarated by the improvement! Who knows, I might be up to 4 min by the end of the summer!?

My goal for this week is to make it yoga – it’s been 2 weeks and my muscles miss it!

The Hit and Run 5K!

You may remember that I ran the Hit and Run 5K a few weeks ago with my friend Mel and a bunch of her friends. One of her friends, Candace, was kind enough to come along to take pictures of us along the course with her amazing DSLR camera (and even brought snacks for us to munch on afterwards!). I got her permission to share some of the pics on the blog, which is great since I didn’t take any :) I’ve only used pictures of me or the group at large since I didn’t ask them if they’d be comfortable with their pics online.

Start of the race! I wore a Reebok tank top, running shorts, cross-training shoes (figured they’d dry fast since they’re light), and sunglasses I got for free in case I lost them (I didn’t!).
_DSC0158Going down the slide after the first obstacle!
_DSC0185 This was the funniest obstacle to watch – the “blocks” in the wall swing out at random, and people simultaneously throw dodgeballs at you. Some people ran across quickly to avoid getting hit; I decided to duck and cover :)
_DSC0359 Running to the next obstacle! I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but there was a decent amount of running from obstacle to obstacle. Normally I would have loved this – at one point, we got to run around the baseball field! – but not so much with my hip injury.
_DSC0412The third obstacle was straight up impossible, but a lot of fun anyway. It was set up as three large, fixed blue bouncy balls, and the goal is to jump from one to the next without falling off. In reality, it was hard enough to land onto the first ball and not fall off, much less make it to the 2nd and 3rd! Here I am, getting ready to jump onto the first ball…
_DSC0445And seconds later, with my butt literally in air as I bounced off the ball, lol.
_DSC0451 The last obstacle was crossing a balance beam across the water while avoiding giant rotating balls overhead! This one felt soo good given the 70+ degree weather – we went through it twice :)
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Thanks for all the pictures, Candace! Can’t wait to do the race again next year :)

And now I need to find a healthy “finger food” to bring to our small group on Saturday. Any ideas? I’m thinking mini meatballs or zucchini fritters, but I’m not sure either travel well…


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Kitty’s FOMO + Last Week’s Eats

Happy hump day! This week started off a little rough for me, thanks to a stomach virus that would not go quietly. I had to leave work early both Monday and Tuesday because I felt awful in the afternoon, but thankfully I was 90% better today :) I’ve been drinking soup by the bucket – it’s my cure-all when I feel sick!

Kitty’s had a major case of FOMO (fear of missing out) lately. She follows us from room to room to find out what we’re doing, and tries to leave the house when we do (she’s an indoor cat). I think she thinks we go somewhere amazing Monday-Friday and she’s determined to get in on the fun. Here’s her latest trick:048 Almost worked ;)
I got my first haircut in nearly a year on Monday! I hate getting my hair cut because I can’t stand sitting still for an hour plus. Luckily, this lady was fast and I was out in under half an hour (no shampoo, minimal styling). I can live with that. It might be hard to tell from the before/ after pictures, but I think I took off six inches! My head feels much, much lighter :)PicMonkey haircut
Okay, enough rambling about my life. My usual eats and workouts posts were getting too long, so I’m going to try splitting them up – eats today and workouts tomorrow. I’m also condensing the pictures because I’m starting to eat into my media space :) Might be time to look into self-hosting when I have some free time. Anyway, here are my eats from last week!
PicMonkey food collage

Breakfast

- I needed a change from smoothies and yogurt bowls, so I made some pumpkin hot cereal for the week! Inspired by a KERF recipe. Topped with coconut butter and almond butter – kept me full until lunchtime.
- I also tried a pumpkin smoothie (unpictured) to use up the rest of the pumpkin can.  It had the taste and texture of a cold, liquified pumpkin pie and was probably the worst thing I ate all week. I love pumpkin pie, just not cold and liquified apparently.
- Yogurt bowls on the weekend, eaten with a bowlful of cherries. I’m slightly allergic to cherries (my lips usually swell after eating them), but somehow that doesn’t stop me from devouring pounds of them each summer. #unstoppable

Lunch

More salads! This week was romaine topped with nectarines, avocado, fig goat cheese, kidney beans and grilled sausage. Paired with a Panera poppyseed dressing that I didn’t really care for (strong artificial sweetener taste).

Dinner

Burgers and lots of summer produce made for a couple of easy dinners! I also made a batch of our favorite jalapeno corn muffins with some cornbread mix from the pantry for some accompanying carbs.

Just for fun, what’s the worst thing you’ve eaten recently?

How regularly do you get your hair cut?


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Carnival+Fireworks!

Hi friends, hope you had a good weekend and fourth of July! It was awesome having 3 days to relax and catch up on schoolwork.  Thursday night started out with some more Fresh Market sushi – it has yet to disappoint!
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We were thankful that the weather was so gorgeous on Friday (after threatening thunderstorms all week), because we had big plans – the DC Carnival was in town! We were pleasantly surprised at how big the carnival was – there was a lion/tiger show, magic show, wolf show, a petting zoo, and lots of games and rides.
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And of course, carnival food! I didn’t have a burning desire to try deep-fried Oreos or funnel cakes, but the corn dogs were really good and I couldn’t say no to a frozen banana (which brings Arrested Development to mind – there’s always money in the banana stand!).
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Speaking of Arrested Development, Lance Gifford’s magic show was a sight better than Gob’s
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There were a ton of rides, but Mike and I both don’t do well on spinning rides (which is every carnival ride ever), so we stuck to bumper cars and games! We were surprised to find that this carnival rigged games in favor of the players, so even if you didn’t win, you usually got a prize.
017 019 020 023 20140704_161709 (1) 028 029 036 This weekend marked a DC first for us – our first time watching the DC fireworks! Although we’ve lived here for 5-6 Independence Days now, we’ve either been out of town or lazy =P This year though, I wanted to see the fireworks, so we grabbed dinner after the carnival and then metro-ed to the Pentagon, which is a prime location to watch the fireworks across the river! It was a spectacular show and an awesome end to the night :) We’ll definitely be back next year!
046 No pics from the rest of the weekend; Saturday and Sunday were reserved for the usual chores and LOTS of studying (my statistics and probability course just started up, and it is harder than I expected…). I was down with a little stomach bug on Sunday, but thankfully am feeling a little better today.

Did you watch the fireworks this weekend? Extra “points” if you launched your own!

From Around the Web:

What to Do When You Lose Hope (Yo Momma Runs)

12 Foods to Keep You Fuller Longer (Huffington Post)

MIT Wristband Could Make AC Obsolete (Wired) – random, but LOVE this since my office is always an icebox!


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Happy 4th!

Just popping in to say happy 4th of July, friends! Now that Arthur’s moved on (it barely touched us), we’re planning to enjoy the day outside! I think we’ll be checking out the D.C. carnival at the RFK stadium – yay (rigged) carnival games! – and watching the fireworks, which we yet to do in the six years we’ve been here! Hope none of you were too affected by the hurricane.

I leave you with this gem! (source) Maybe next year it’ll be Kitty in the costume…uncle_sam

Pet owners, do you dress up your pets? I’ve never tried, because I value my life.

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