Friday Faves

I feel like this week went by much faster than usual; anyone else feel that way? I made it to two OTF classes this week and my butt (literally, my butt) is so sore. And my back. And my abs. And my calves. I want to slather myself with bengay and go to sleep now. But first, Friday faves!

Holiday socks/ pajamas
I’m all about socks and slippers around the house this winter. I got this cute pair from Target and I slip it on as soon as I get home every night! I also have and love this flannel plaid lounge shirt – so cozy and festive.1201162019a_hdr

Candy Cane tea
Let’s continue with the holiday theme, shall we? This was an Aldi impulse buy and it is really good. Mint flavored teas are perfect after dinner – I feel like they aid digestion and stop dessert cravings.1205161806_hdr

We’ve been sucked in, and it’s SO good. Mike and I have fun making outrageous predictions about a character’s future actions or past or who’s controlling everything behind the scenes. I was shocked when he correctly predicted a major reveal in one of the last episodes (but we’ve also had a bunch of terrible guesses, lol).465_1024x411

Secret Santa website
Both our families are doing Secret Santa this year, and after several failed attempts to draw names from a hat without someone picking him/herself or spouse, I did some googling and found this secret santa website! It has all the features I could think of: you can tell it to exclude certain matches, people can fill in their wishlists for their secret santa, and the administrator can go in and see who has logged on and entered items into their wishlist.  Oh, and it’s free ;)captureAlso – winter is coming.  YASSS.


Jingle Bell Run 5K Recap

I have a quick recap of my recent 5K to share with you guys – no pics, because I forgot to bring a running belt and there was no bag check at the race so I left my phone in the car. All the same, I like typing up these recaps to think about what went well, and what to work on for next time. So here we go:


The race started at 9 AM, so I woke up around 7:30, ate some leftover oatmeal, got dressed and rolled my legs. I felt pretty tired from the late night before (company holiday party), and my legs were tired from standing all night so I knew my goal for the race should be conservative. The weather was pretty windy and a little cold, so I decided on a thick long sleeve shirt, shorts, fleece headband, and festive compression socks! After drinking some coffee and using the restroom, I drove over to Pentagon City about half an hour before race start.

The Race

I wasn’t feeling too great by the time the race started – I needed to pee again (no port-o-potties available at the race) and I was really cold from standing around in the wind for 15-20 minutes. The race started on time, and I started weaving around all the walkers for several minutes in the first mile, which was slightly uphill. Right away, my goal of a 9:00 pace went out the window. Mile 1 – 9:39

By mile 2, my calves were SO tight; they felt solid with pain and I had to stop several times to stretch them. I considered quitting, but decided to make my new goal just finishing the race with a sub 10 min time. It helped that mile 2 was mostly flat or downhill. Mile 2 – 12 something (I stopped my garmin while stretching)

Mile 3 was slightly better than the first two; my calves loosened up a little and I didn’t need to stop completely, although my pace definitely slowed during the uphill right before turning back into Pentagon Row. I focused on passing people one at a time and not letting anyone pass me (I think one guy sped by me, but I had zero chance of catching him lol). Mile 3 – 9:01

When the final stretch came up, I started sprinting as best as I could to get across the finish line, thinking about going back home to my warm house and hot shower. 0.10 pace – 7:35

Final time: 31:01 (9:59 pace)

Race Thoughts/Lessons Learned

While this was one of my slowest 5Ks ever, I was really proud of myself for pushing through windy and cold conditions and finishing the race. I’ve had a lot of DNSs (did not start) and one DNF (did not finish) this year, so starting and finishing a race is no small accomplishment right now.

On the short-term prep side, there’s a lot I could have done better: I should have hydrated properly the night before, rested my legs (no more races the morning after a party haha), and not piled up the week’s mileage in the days leading up to the race. Also, given the lack of a bag drop, I should have brought a trash bag to keep myself warm before race start (I’m also never running a race without restrooms again). Most importantly, I’ve learned the hard way that I really need to warm up before short races, especially in cold weather. If I had to repeat Saturday’s race again, I’d jog for 10-15 minutes prior to race start.

For long-term improvement, it’s become clear to me that I need to work on my speed and leg strength more diligently. My old 5K record was a sub-8 min pace, and I’ve backed off on my speedwork paces over the last couple of years and I can’t hold that pace for more than a minute or two now. I’ve decided to try subbing Orangetheory classes for my speedwork sessions in the hopes that I’ll build speed with coaching during the treadmill sessions, and strengthen my body all over with the cross-training portions of the workout (row and weights).  I know that I’ve had a hard time pushing myself on my own lately, so I’m hoping the OTF coaches and group setting will get my butt back in high gear ;)

Weekend Highlights and Training Log (18 miles)

We went to our first holiday party of the year on Friday – our company party, held in the Mayflower Hotel in DC!

1202162302a_hdrTruth be told, we spent little time at the party itself and most of the evening at a pre-party held at a co-worker’s apartment.  Great snacks and drinks :)

Saturday morning, I ran a Jingle Bell 5K in Pentagon City, and was definitely feeling the effects of staying on my feet and not hydrating well the evening before.  All the same, I was happy I ran the race and we spent a happy afternoon at Dave and Buster’s afterwards #kidsforever.  I taught Sunday school again at church (I have a much-needed break this week) and we met up with our small group for dimsum at Golden King after service.  I didn’t feel like we did a whole lot this weekend, but the time flew by!

(Nov 28-Dec 4) Training Log

I had the best of intentions to not cram my runs together this week…and then I caught a bad cold over the weekend and took the first three days of the week off, lol. In hindsight, I think I could have managed a few easy miles on a couple of those rest days because my cold symptoms tend to disappear during and after a run (as they did on Thursday). I’m sure I’ll have more colds this winter, so I’ll be experimenting to learn when to push through a cold and when my body needs the rest.

Mon-Weds: rest days (cold)

Thurs: 6 miles easy on treadmill (10:36 pace) – I didn’t feel up to a run in the morning, so I came home early and got on the treadmill armed with some podcasts. Surprisingly, my cold symptoms didn’t bother me at all, but my calves were really tight after 3 days of rest. They finally warmed up around mile 3 and felt fine the rest of the run.

Fri: 3 miles easy (10:38 pace) – My legs felt a little sore from the prior evening’s run, so I kept a really easy pace and stretched my legs a couple of times to help them recover for Saturday’s race!

Sat: 5K (recap coming later) + 6 miles on the treadmill afterwards (10:47 pace)

Sun: rest – I intended to run another 6 miles, but felt pretty tired after Saturday’s workouts so I took another rest day!

After some thought, I’m upping the intensity of my cross-training workouts (and adding them back in) this week, starting with an Orangetheory class tonight! My goal is to gain strength and speed through cross-training, because I don’t think my speed workouts have been all that effective over the last couple of months.  I’m going to give my new schedule a few weeks before deciding how I want to approach training for my marathon in April next year.  Wish me luck!

Friday Faves

We are off to our first holiday party of the month in a few hours – our company holiday party! I’m going bold with my wardrobe choice; blouse and pants instead of a dress since I’m tired of freezing my legs off while waiting for an uber/cab ;) But onto today’s post – it’s that time of the week where I share recent favorites around our household – running, food and other random stuff.

New Vacuum (for pet messes)
I mentioned a while ago that our cat Lucy has been sick, and one of the unfortunate side effects of her illness is that she’s been vomiting and making other messes once or twice a week. I had a small battery-powered hand vac that I used for messes previously, but it wasn’t able to keep up with the higher frequency and I wasn’t satisfied with the suction. So a month or two ago, I ended up upgrading to the Rug Doctor Portable Spot Machine and have been so happy with the purchase ever since. The suction is incredible, the large nozzle makes it easy to clean large messes, it takes only one or two passes to get deep set messes out of the carpet, and the dirty water tank is easy to empty and clean. Highly recommend for fellow pet owners.1118161618a_hdr

Holiday soaps
We don’t do a lot of Christmas decorations around the house since we’re usually at Mike’s or my parents’ place, but I love switching out our hand soaps for holiday scents! We both love this gingerbread one.1111160603_hdr

Mike bought me a travel scrapbook (it’s like the one from Up) years ago to document our trips and I fell behind sometime in 2012, lol. I decided to finish up our travel scrapbook this year with all the trips we’ve gone on in the past four years, and it’s been surprisingly relaxing and fun to work on (albeit time-consuming). We’ve enjoyed looking back on and remembering our trips, and I know we’ll enjoy the finished product for years to come.1118161618b_hdr

Yurbud 200 sport earbuds
I upgraded to the 200s after my old 100s died, and I love the slight upgrades on this model! The earbuds attach magnetically, which is great for storage or for keeping them around my neck when I don’t want music. I also think the soft earpieces (the blue part) are more securely attached on this model, which is great because my only complaint about the 100s was that the earpieces kept falling off and getting lost.1121161645a_hdr

This maple soy glazed salmon recipe
I’m always looking for new fish recipes because I know it’s good for us but I don’t love the flavor, so I tried this Skinnytaste recipe earlier this week. It was a big hit! I loved the sweet, salty and spicy glaze and Mike kept saying, “this is really good” while he polished off two pieces, haha.  We’ll be making this one again.1129161812_hdr

Any favorite fish recipes to share? Have you put up any holiday decorations yet?

Thanksgiving Weekend and Training Log (22 miles)

Hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving! We spent ours down in Richmond at my mom’s place with sister J and her boyfriend and some of my mom’s friends.dsc04771Mike’s and my contribution were appetizers (this wonky veggie turkey was the centerpiece, lol), and the apple pie a few pics below!
dsc04753My mom cooked a traditional turkey feast and we ate leftovers for dayys :)
dsc04765Aforementioned apple pie – baked beautifully but crumbled to pieces as soon as we started to slice it *tears*.  I think we’ll stick to a crumble topping next year!dsc04775All in all, it was a great holiday with wonderful food and company :)

(Nov 21-27) Training Log

Mon: rest day

Tue: Xtend Barre Circuit7 – this was a really small class – just 2 students (including me)! Definitely couldn’t slack off ;)

Weds: rest day – I meant to hit up another Xtend class, but ended up packing and relaxing at home to get ready for Thanksgiving.

Thurs: 5 miles easy (10:13 pace) – Done first thing in the morning before we drove down to Richmond for the weekend.  My legs felt slow and tired, as they always do after a few days off running.

Fri: 4 miles easy – We were down in Richmond at my mom’s place, so I started this run on the treadmill in her community gym, but moved outside because the exercise room had no airflow, lol.  Inside run was 2 miles at a 11:16 pace, and outside 2 miles were at 9:44 pace – I’m definitely an outdoor runner right now.

Sat: 8 mile long run (10:15 pace) – this was a super windy run, so I had to stop to stretch my tight calves several times in the beginning, but it got better when I turned around and had the wind at my back.

Sun: 5 miles on T/M (10:48 pace) – this was supposed to be a hill interval workout, but my legs didn’t have it after the long run the day before.  I decided to do mini-inclines throughout the 5 miles of 15 sec-30 sec, which helped break up the time and provide a little hill training.

Overall, this was a pretty solid week of training, but bunching all my runs at the end of the week was not the best plan, lol.  Still, happy I got the miles in!

Gratitude Wednesday

I was thinking about what to post today when I came across this post from Fit Bottomed Girls, and given the holiday tomorrow, a gratitude challenge sounded perfect :) Here are 20 things I’m grateful for right now, in no particular order.

  1. Sleep – it is so amazing to be able to fall asleep quickly (without meds!) and sleep 7-9 hours consistently every night, now that my thyroid levels have stabilized.  Given my long history with insomnia and recent hyperthyroidism diagnosis earlier this year, I’ll never take quality sleep for granted, and it’s truly an answer to many desperate prayers over the years.
  2. Mike – we’ve been together for nearly 10 years now, and it’s been so fun to go through different stages of life together – early adulthood, transitioning into working life, and lately, thinking about what comes next for our family.  He’s been there for me in all the crises of the past couple of years and I’m incredibly grateful for his support and love :)
  3. Family – ditto! I’m so grateful to have strong relationships with my sister and brother, and my relationship with my mom has improved in the past year.
  4. This blog – I’ve been on and off the blog the past year or so, but it’s so great to have this creative outlet to turn to, and I love interacting with the amazing blogger community.
  5. My faith – I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about what I want to get out of life and trying to rearrange my time and resources to match those priorities.  One of the big ones is a closer relationship with God, and He’s really been meeting me in the small steps I’ve taken towards Him lately.
  6. A healthy body – I’m so grateful to have this body that can run, jump, lift weights and do all sorts of amazing things.  I know I’ve gained some weight from my thyroid pills, but that doesn’t change the fact that my body is beautiful, strong and capable of enduring the challenges I put it through ;)
  7. An awesome project group I truly dreaded the group project aspect of my current class when I saw it on the syllabus, but I found a great group that has made this term project easy and fun.  The project isn’t due till early December, but one teammate finished coding the model and the other has written most of the final paper already, so we’re nearly done!
  8. My job It’s easy to forget what a blessing work is, but I’m grateful to have a wonderful job with great hours, decent pay, and a short commute.
  9. Supportive coworkers – My coworkers are incredibly hard-working guys and a joy to work with.  They were also concerned about me during my illness and covered for me during medical appointments.  I’m much younger than they are (by 30+years), so they’ve also been an invaluable source of advice for all my questions ranging from gardening to fixing appliances to house hunting.
  10. A warm house – with the cooler weather finally here, I love coming home to our warm house and cuddling with the cats while watching TV.  Can’t wait to turn on the fireplace when the temps drop a little more.
  11. Cooler running weather – in direct opposition to the above, lol – I’ve always been a cold weather runner; the cold makes me feel energized.  30s and 40s are my happy place!
  12. Bonding with my small group and church community – more community was one of my big prayer requests going into this year, and I’m so happy that our small group has grown closer together through activities, group texts, and more time together.  They’re such a great group!
  13. Time with friends – We’ve spent a lot of time reconnecting with distant friends and family this year through trips and visits as well as hanging out nearly every week with local friends.  I’m so grateful that we’ve been able to maintain relationships with our close friends from high school and college.
  14. New Glycerins ;) This will be my 4th pair! Runners know it’s no small thing to find a shoe that fits well, doesn’t hurt or cramp your feet, and provides comfort and cushioning mile after mile.
  15. Margin in life – I’m thankful for healthy finances that allow us to give generously and save for future needs, and more energy (see #1) and time to spend with people.
  16. Xtend Barre – I went to another Circuit7 class last night and left with wobbly limbs and a huge smile on my face.  Sometimes a new activity is all you need to reboot your fitness mojo.
  17. Our new dining table – the bigger surface area has been a HUGE improvement over our small round table.  It’s been perfect for scrapbooking, other projects and homework/work, and I can’t wait to host some friends!
  18. My mom moving to Richmond – it’s been so great to have her less than 2 hours away! I was able to spend her bday with her for the first time in many years this year.
  19. New running headphones! My old yurbuds broke 3 weeks ago, and I’ve been running with a spare skullcandy pair that I had lying around the house.  Well, sports headphones make a big difference – the skullcandies kept falling out of my ears and the sound got crackly as my ears got sweaty.  I finally ordered a pair of new yurbuds and did a happy dance when they arrived yesterday :)
  20. More time with Lucy – it’s been over 2 months since we went to the vet and found out that our cat might have lung cancer (or possibly just asthma), and while her coughing fits (and messes on carpet) continue, she’s still so happy most of the time and eating well.  We don’t know when we’ll have to say goodbye, but I’m just happy to spend a little more time with my beloved cat.

    Source: Quote Fancy

What’s one thing you’re grateful for this year?

Weekend Fun + Training Log (22 miles)

We had a nice, low-key weekend in DC – Saturday was spent studying (Mike had a final, I have a class project) after my morning long run, and then we grabbed spicy noodle bowls at A+J’s, a Taiwanese restaurant highly recommended by friends. Love the burn of the Sichuan peppercorns!1119161109a_hdrI was so, so sore after my morning run – I picked a pretty hilly route, so I spent the evening foam rolling while we watched TV and then took an epsom bath that night, which really helped.

I managed to get in my run on Sunday morning before church, which hasn’t happened in a while (usually I end up on the treadmill in the afternoon).  After teaching Sunday School and eating an early Thanksgiving meal at church (mashed sweet potatoes, yay!), we studied some more and then went bowling in the evening – $2 games on Sunday nights!

(Nov 14-20) Training Log

I had a great week of training last week – got in 2 cross training sessions and 22 miles in 4 runs. I’m really enjoying this balance between running and barre and can feel the benefits of training my body all over through barre when I run.

Mon: light yoga – basically a rest day, but my legs felt a little stiff after several days of not running so this helped prep them for the week :)

Tue: FitnessBlender barre video – I missed my barre class at the studio because DC’s metro system is so terrible right now, so I went home and did this short barre video instead.  It’s a good one!

Weds: 6 X 400 meters on the treadmill (5 miles total) – A pretty typical treadmill workout for me – I’ve been working on getting some speed back by increasing the speed a little every 2 intervals or so!

Thurs: Xtend Barre Circuit7 class – I’m obsessed.  I meant to try one of their regular barre classes, but love this cardio/HIIT version too much to try a different class.  I’m going back this week!

Fri: 4 miles easy (10:02 pace) – this one got done after work, and I really enjoyed watching the sunset and the transition to twilight.

Sat: 10 hilly miles (10:46 pace) – oof, this run was no joke.  My legs felt good so I opted for the hillier loop behind my house, and after weeks of flat terrain, I was really struggling.  I had to stop on the hills several times, but felt proud of myself for not quitting and finishing the run.  Also, negative splits for the win! My first mile was 11:20 pace, and my last was 10:32 :)

Sun: 3 miles easy (10:18 pace) – This was my first run with earwarmers and a vest, but the cold actually felt great because it numbed my legs and helped them feel less tired.

And that’s a wrap.  I’m hoping to get in another 2 barre classes this week, and pretty similar mileage – my goal is to add 2 miles every 2 weeks until I start marathon training in late December.