Best Damn Race 2014

Yes…this post is long overdue…but better late than never right?

Everyone has that race…the one they don’t train for. For me that was last weekend’s 10k at Best Damn Race.

It wasn’t intentional. I was fully prepared to train for a 10k and was glad that I chose an achievable distance that I could work on PRing at. For those who aren’t familiar with Best Damn Race they are known for opening up their registration price for races at $1 and going up $1 as time passes. I don’t remember how much I ended up paying for the 10k, but I know it was a steal. The first year they did it their site broke down because of all the traffic! They do registration early…almost a year before race day…so by the time it nears it kind of sneaks up on you.

Anyway, long story short, Jon and I ended up getting invited to a wedding on the same day as Best Damn Race. So since we planned on going to the wedding I was going to give up my race entry and not race. But then last minute Jon had to work and Massage Envy was actually a sponsor of the race and was doing chair massages so I had to work too.

I went back and forth between wanting to race or not. I hadn’t been running AT ALL since my half in November (how’s that for a break?). But the night before, at a co-workers encouragement I decided to run anyway. Training or no training.

My alarm went off at 5 a.m. Whew, I had not seen that hour in a lonngg time.

Driving wasn’t bad at all. At that hour no one else is around…things slowed down a bit as I neared the race site. I drove around for a bit trying to find parking and eventually ended up in a dirt lot, which wasn’t far from the race start.

As I started towards the start line I found a few friends and we chatted until it was time to race. However, there were some snafus, which caused the race to start late.

Once we finally got going I tried to start off at a good pace. Eventually I had to allow myself to take a walking break. Once I took that first break I knew it was going to be a long walk/run race. I just took it little by little, mile by mile. I purposely left my headphones at home since I wanted to just experience the race in full. I loved hearing the rhythmic pounding of everyone’s sneakers hitting the pavement. And people watching as we made loops. There were some boring parts though as we ran up and down streets with no cheerers or spectators in sight.

Eventually the end was near. I could hear cheering and an MC yelling out people’s names. The finish line was in sight and I pumped out all I had and crossed the line at 01:09:41.

Definitely not a PR that I would have originally hoped for months ago. But considering I walked a good amount of the race I was pretty happy with that time!

After I crossed the finish line I headed towards the massage tent where I remained for the next few hours working the Massage Envy table and getting people loosened up with chair massages. It was a great morning!

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The day after the race an email came into my inbox from the race director that was to everyone who ran the race the day before. It was lengthy and explained all of the snafus that happened, why they happened and how they were going to fix it. This only begin the second year of the race there are bound to be some things that need to get worked out. But I was SO impressed that he took the time to write that email and it really showed how passionate he is about making the Best Damn Race…well, the best damn race! Looking forward to next year!

Did you run Best Damn Race?

Key West 2013

About a week before Christmas I got a call from Jon’s sister Tori asking me if I wanted to spend the weekend after Christmas in Key West. Ummm…YES! Word to the wise: never turn down a trip to Key West. It’s guaranteed fun!

Unfortunately Jon had to work and couldn’t take time off. I drove down to Cape Coral Friday morning and did some work until everyone was all ready to get on the road.

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Key West here we come!

Jon’s sister Alyson is in the drivers seat. In the back we have our friend Nick, Jon’s sister Tori and her boyfriend, Adrian.

From Cape Coral to Key West it’s about 6 hours. We ran into traffic and took quite a few stops so it took us about 7. It sounds long…and it is…but it’s always fun with friends.

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This was a surprise trip for Adrian. He lives in England and had never been to Florida before. We had fun going down Alligator Alley and trying to spot alligators for him.

We even pulled off at a rest stop where we saw one in the water!

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We didn’t have time to stop for dinner so we got fancy and made sandwiches out of the back of the car.

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#thisishowwedo

It was after 8 p.m. when we got into Key West. We arrived at The Garden House, where we were staying the for the weekend. We unpacked and rallied for a night out on the town.

Our first stop was Irish Kevins, a favorite of ours. They always have awesome entertainment and a great vibe.

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Next was Sloppy Joes, which also had a fun group playing.

Then it was Captain Tony’s Saloon, where we tried to get coins in the fish’s mouth. I never knew this was a thing!

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We tried to go to The World’s Smallest Bar, but it was already a bit crowded (ha). So we decided to get some pizza…

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…and call it a night.

The next morning we headed to the beach, which I had never been to in Key West. It was a bit windy and a little chilly, but the sun poked out a few times.

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And Nick tried to go spear fishing…without much luck.

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When lunchtime rolled around we headed to another favorite spot, Hog’s Breath Saloon. I was so hungry I didn’t get a pic, but I had the Chicken Dinner, which came with rice, beans and plantains. Yum!

After lunch we stopped at Flying Monkey for the typical Key West frozen drink.

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Mine was a mix of pina colada and a rum runner…mmm!

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We headed back to the B&B for some pool time and to get ready for that night’s festivities.

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For those who have been to Key West before you’ll know that it’s a very…colorful, place. I call it the Vegas of Florida. We hit up all of our favorite “colorful” places that night, including Garden of Eden and Bourbon Street. But the experience of the night was bull riding at Cowboy Bill’s.

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How classic is my face??

This was my first mechanical bull riding experience. In a dress no less! Let me just say…that ish hurts!! I had bruises on my thighs for a week.

I am the least adventurous person I know, even when it comes to stuff like this. When I got on the bull I felt like I was high up and then when it started moving it moved faster than I thought. And then I just wanted off because I didn’t want to get thrown. I tried to let the girl who was controlling it know I wanted her to turn it off, but she wasn’t having it. I eventually got thrown off, but all was good! What an experience and what fun!

You know you’re getting old(er) when you’re ready to hit the hay at 11 p.m. We made it an early night, but we had had a long day.

In the morning we packed up the car and headed out. But more adventures awaited us!

We had to stop at Robbie’s so Adrian could feed tarpon!

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If you ever got to Key West this is a must stop place. Touristy but fun. We stop each and every time.

Our next stop was in the Everglades…

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We were going on an airboat ride! This stop was a surprise to me and Adrian. I’d never been on an airboat tour so I was very excited.

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Our boat captain was a lot of fun and he told us some cool stories. We zipped and zagged through mangroves and saw another alligator. And the captain even pretended to throw me overboard to fed me to the gator haha.

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If you ever have a chance to take an airboat ride, I highly reccommend it. It’s one of those typical Florida things I think you just have to do.

And that’s another Key West trip in the books!

 

 

 

Lately

Even though I haven’t had a chance to sit down and write some actual posts I still wanted to give an update on some fun things that have been going on. So here’s a rundown!

New Years Day Party – My friend Lora had her annual New Years Day party. This is one of my favorite parties throughout the year. We gather with friends and enjoy champagne, collared greens, black eyed peas and all those other foods that are deemed to bring you luck. Always a fun time!

Yoga with Lora – Lora taught a fun class at the Timothy Raines art gallery in downtown St. Pete. I hadn’t done yoga in so long and this class was tough for me. But I was glad I got some stretching in.

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Sick – The day after yoga I realized I was sick. Ugh. Luckily it only lasted about a week with a few days of me feeling pretty out of it. Luckily puppy cuddles helped.

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Mayoral Ball – The Junior League of St. Petersburg hosted the Mayoral Ball for new mayor! It was a fabulous night and made me so proud to be a part of such an amazing organization.

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Karen’s Birthday – My friend Karen celebrated her birthday! We had a yummy sushi dinner and then drinks at Mandarin Hide. And no birthday is complete without champagne with a sparkler!

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KIND – I have a new side gig! I’ve accepted the position as a Brand Ambassador for KIND. They had called me for a phone interview around the time I accepted my position at Massage Envy. It’s a part time job so I figured I’d do the interview to see if anything came of it. Fast forward a few months later and here I am! As a brand ambassador I’ll be representing KIND at local events and in store demos, as well as helping them with KIND acts in the community. I’m so excited to be a part of another amazing brand and will keep you up to date!

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Enterprise Dog Park – Jon and I have been wanting to take Maddie to this park for quite a while and we finally decided to go. It was one of those perfect weather kind of days and Maddie loved the change of scenery. The park has a trail that you can walk along and is much more fun than just a plain open area of grass.

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Lone Survivor – I saw Lone Survivor with my friend Ashley. It was really good, but much more graphic than I expected (lots of blood and such). If you go see it bring tissues. What an amazing story.

Neuhaus Chocolates – My aunt in NY always sends us Neuhaus chocolates at Christmas. They are the BEST chocolates I have ever had. Seriously. Go buy a box. Or two.

JUICE – I love it. That’s pretty much it. Oh, and I wish it wasn’t so darn pricey. To buy and to make.

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CrossFit Games – Yup, I am officially crazy. I signed up for the CrossFit Open. Our coaches have been encouraging everyone to sign up and since I thought of myself as still “new” last year I didn’t sign up and promised myself I would this year. I like that on their site they say that the open is literally open to everyone. And I’ve heard they’ve scaled back the first couple of workouts so that everyone can feel more comfortable in participating.

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Dinner with Kyle and Jesse – We had a lovely dinner at our friends, Kyle and Jesse’s, house. We brought Maddie with us and she and their dog Barkley played like crazy while we feasted. My contribution was a homemade lemon tart with a rosemary crust that was made with greek yogurt. I over worked the dough a bit and the crust was chewy, but it was still great tasting!

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Car Troubles – Oi vey. When it rains it pours. I’ve had to do SO much to my car lately. I fixed two oil leaks, got new tires and then my serpentine belt broke on me. Hopefully my poor car doesn’t have any other repairs in the near future.

Family – My family was just here this past weekend for a little family reunion! My aunt and uncle from NY came and so did my uncle and his girlfriend from Texas. I hadn’t seen my uncle from Texas since I was maybe 10 years old, so it was especially great to see him and get to know him better now that I’m an adult. We all had a great weekend catching up, learning Texas Hold’Em and having fun!

 

Adjusting

I know it’s been silent over here, but I promise I’m still alive :) I’ve been adjusting to a lot lately. A new job with a new schedule. Coming off of half marathon training and back into CrossFit full time. And truthfully, October through December are hard months for me. My dad passed away 3 years ago in October and since then the holidays have been hard for me.

I have never been one to adjust well to change. I am a person who lives by my schedule and I feel comfortable with “the norm”. My new job, however, was a BIG change. I am absolutely loving it, but it has taken me about 3 months to adjust to everything. Especially my schedule. No more sitting at a desk from 9-5. I’m either working from home or going from meeting to meeting or to an event. It’s crazy but I prefer it to sitting at a desk all day!

I am so happy to have accomplished my first half marathon, but my running schedule took me away from CrossFit, which is my true fitness love. After the marathon I let my body rest before I headed back. And once I went back I was reminded how a few weeks off can feel like a few months off. I wasn’t able to lift as much or move as fast. Sure it bothered me some, but I constantly reminded myself that I would get back to where I was. I just needed to be consistent.

Now that I feel like my head is more above water expect for this blog to go back to regularly scheduled programming :)

Have you ever gone through an adjustment period? How did you get through it?

 

Radio City Christmas Spectacular with The Rockettes

Growing up in Connecticut I was only an hour and a half train ride away from New York City. And although my family and I saw a number of Broadway shows, we didn’t ever make a trip to Radio City Music Hall to see the famous Rockettes. So I was thrilled when the Straz Center offered a group of Tampa Bay Bloggers tickets to their Radio City Christmas Spectacular show!

12 Days compressed

I immediately knew I wanted to take my mom along as a Christmas treat. She knows more about the Rockettes then I do! She told me about how they used to perform before movies and how the show used to have an organist.

On the night of the show we left St. Pete with plenty of time to spare…or so we thought. We hit traffic…a LOT of traffic. We ended up being about 20 minutes late and were those people that climb over you while you’re trying to enjoy the show…doh!

Since I’ve never seen the show I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was fantastic! The whole show is a series of Christmas themed scenes and dance sequences. There’s a scene where Santa turns a non-believer into a believer with a visit to his toy workshop. There’s a few nativity scenes that tell the story of baby Jesus.

Parade of the Wooden Soldiers -- Fall

The Rockettes were fabulous! My absolute favorite scene was the New York scene. The girls boarded a double decker bus and digital images played behind them as they “drove” through Rockefeller Center. I loved getting a taste of Christmas in New York…it definitely made me home sick!

New York at Christmas

This is definitely a show that the whole family will enjoy and is the perfect holiday outing. Take a break from shopping and wrapping and have a night out at the Straz! The theater was packed opening night so if I were you I’d jump on getting those tickets ;)

See the Radio City Christmas Spectacular Dec. 12 – 29. For showtimes and dates, as well as to buy tickets, visit their website here.

Have you ever seen The Rockettes?

Women’s Half Marathon

I did it!

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I ran my FIRST half marathon. The Women’s Half Marathon in downtown St. Pete, this past Sunday.

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I am still a bit amazed as this is something I NEVER thought I would do. But I am so glad to have accomplished this goal and am pretty proud of how it went.

I know I have missed a few race training week recaps, but let’s just say there was nothing really eventful. I had a great long run, but then the next weekend I had a really bad one. I was so glad when taper week came. My body needed a break and I think it really helped me come race day!

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On the night before race day I laid out my running clothes and gear. (I never trust my brain to work correctly at 5 a.m.) I also put together a gear bag for the first time. Since this was my first half and I knew I’d be getting brunch with friends after I wanted some things to help me freshen up. I packed a washcloth and deodorant. Also, some Nuun in case I needed extra electrolytes after the race.

I had a terrible nights sleep. I tried to go to bed early, but didn’t actually hit the sack until 11 p.m. I kept waking up and tossed and turned. When 5 a.m. came, it was hard, but I got up and got moving. I rinsed off, got dressed, chugged water and ate a pumpkin spice bagel with cream cheese as my pre-race fuel.

I was out the door by 5:30 a.m. I was determined to park in the lot closest to the starting line. It was $5, but totally worth it to me as there’s no close parking to where the race was that isn’t 2 hour parking. Luckily there were still plenty of spots when I got there.

I checked my bag at gear check and used the dreaded porta potty. Both of which took no time at all. Shortly before the race my friends showed up. We took a few pre race pics and then headed to our corrals.

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Like my shoe wings?? :D

Before the race I was considering doing a walk run method to help me get through. In all of my training runs I had been taking walk breaks and wasn’t sure I could run the whole race. Once I started the race though I decided to just go by how I felt.

I took the race mile by mile and I was feeling great. I walked through the water stations. I chose Gatorade every time it was offered and had a Gu when it was offered at mile 8. The aid stations were spaced apart well and I never felt dehydrated.

I also loved the cheer stations and people rooting us on. Their cheers and funny/inspirational signs really helped! The hardest miles were 9 through 12. We ran up a long stretch of Central Avenue and back. There wasn’t much to look at and the cheerers were scarce…that’s when we really needed them!

When I saw the mile 12 marker I tried not to get too excited. 1 mile to go! I can do this! I’m doing it! When I figured I had about a half mile to go I started to push, and when the finish line was in site I ran my heart out.

Final time: 2:23:53

My goal was 2:30 and I wasn’t even sure I’d do that so 2:23 was great news to me! AND I took no walk breaks. I ran the whole time! I was so proud of what my body had just accomplished. However, as soon as I stopped running my knees and hips started screaming at me. I had trouble walking for the rest of the day, but that’s pretty normal after a half.

After I was handed my medal I grabbed a water, a banana and a bag of mini muffins. I scarfed down the banana as I tried to find my friends. They had some fun stuff at the end of the race. A Bubbly Lounge with champagne, massages, a freshen up station…I decided to skip it all though. I have a full massage booked for Tuesday and the most important thing on my mind was getting a meal in my stomach!

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Post race mimosas!

Overall, I really enjoyed the race. Besides the long stretch on Central Avenue, the course was great and there were plenty of aid stations. And even though I didn’t take advantage of the after race festivities, I thought they were all great ideas! And of course, the volunteers were awesome as well.

I kept telling everybody that this was going to be my first and only half marathon. I am just not a fan of training. Getting up early for long runs and having to skip CrossFit workouts for runs was just not working for me. And my body is just not built for running. I’m not fast. But most importantly, I don’t enjoy it. I’m one of those people who likes to go for a run if I feel like it, not because I have to. And training is something that you have to do and therefore becomes unappealing to me. But that is just me! I’m still going to do 5ks and 10ks…those are more manageable distances to me and ones that I can excel more at. But is another half marathon in my future? Who knows. Crossing that finish line was pretty amazing, so I’m not going to completely write off the possibility, but I’m also not rushing to sign up for more.

Did you run the Women’s Half? What’s your favorite distance to run?

October Highlights

I know we’re well into November right now, but I am clearly a bit behind :) Here’s some fun things that happened in October!

A Wedding

Our friends Kyle and Jesse got married!

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It was a beautiful ceremony and reception at the Mirror Lake Lyceum in downtown St. Pete. I had never been to an event at this venue and it was perfectly done. I loved the intimacy of the space. It was also great to hang with friends and dance to awesome music!

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An Anniversary

Jon and I celebrated 7 years on October 20! With Jon’s work schedule it’s hard to plan a true celebration, but I made a not so fabulous dinner for us.

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It looks good, but the spaghetti is undercooked and the chicken didn’t turn out how I liked.

 

But then a few days later we tried the new Rococo steakhouse in St. Pete, which was wonderful and we counted that as our anniversary celebration :)

An Open House

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CrossFit9 also celebrated an anniversary and along with it had an open house. It was a great day! We did a fun workout and then there were a bunch of great vendors that set up. Everything from Fitlife Foods to chair massages to info on kite boarding…there was a little bit of everything. Chipotle catered for lunch and I had a big, delicious rice bowl. At the end there was an awesome raffle (lots of cool stuff!) but per usual I didn’t win anything :(

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Halloween

That same night Jon and I and some friends went to a Halloween block party.

I was so very proud of our costumes this year.

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A mermaid and a fisherman!

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Jon kept getting called the Gordon’s fisherman, ha.

I am not one to buy an overpriced, cheaply made store bought costume so I was determined to come up with my own mermaid costume.

My “tail” was a green maxi skirt I bought off of Amazon. I looked absolutely everywhere for a green maxi skirt and could not find one! Who knew that would be so hard to find?

I went back and forth on a few top options, but ended up with a white bikini top that I glued small shells on to. I love how it turned out!

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Finishing touches included a starfish headband I made, fishnet tied around my waist, a cheapo blonde wig from WalMart and stick on gems with my makeup.

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Maddie was a “horse” haha.

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On actual Halloween I went to CrossFit, where we were encouraged to dress up.

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Hipster Cavewoman!

What were your October highlights?

Half Marathon Training – Week 9

This was a GREAT run week! I’m thrilled since the past few weeks have not been so great.

I had a 5 mile, 4 mile and 10 mile on the agenda for this week. My 4 mile run ended up getting nixed because of my schedule. But I also thought my body needed a break before I made it go 10 miles (!)

My 5 miler felt amazing. I actually felt like I could have kept going! It has really helped that the weather has cooled down in FL lately. It makes for MUCH more comfortable runs.

1
11:11 11’11″/mi
2
21:51 - 0:30 (4%) 10’40″/mi
3
32:43 + 0:11 (-2%) 10’51″/mi
4
43:19 - 0:16 (2%) 10’35″/mi
5
*Fastest
53:44 - 0:10 (1%) 10’25″/mi

And then there was the 10 miler…so like I mentioned I totally missed my past 2 long runs. My last run had been 8 miles so I decided to do 10 miles since my last long run before race day will be 12 miles. I was pretty nervous since I have never run farther than 8 miles. I was fully prepared to take multiple walking breaks.

But I felt great and just took one mile at a time. I had my Gatorade with me and stopped every 2 miles to take a few swigs. But I started right back up. Towards the end I started to stop briefly at every mile. But once I would start up again I felt like I was flying!

And the numbers don’t lie! I had an average pace of 10:55, which I am so proud of. My usual average pace is around 12:00 so this feels like a huge accomplishment!

1
11:19 11’19″/mi
2
22:05 - 0:33 (4%) 10’46″/mi
3
33:27 + 0:35 (-6%) 11’21″/mi
4
44:33 - 0:14 (2%) 11’06″/mi
5
55:43 + 0:03 (-1%) 11’10″/mi
6
1:06:50 - 0:03 (0%) 11’06″/mi
7
*Fastest
1:16:42 - 1:14 (11%) 9’52″/mi
8
1:28:14 + 1:39 (-17%) 11’32″/mi
9
1:38:59 - 0:47 (6%) 10’44″/mi
10
1:49:09 - 0:34 (5%) 10’10″/mi

I feel that I’m learning more about myself and my relationship with running while training for this half marathon. I’ve learned that my body responds very well to rest and that I should continue to listen to it when it feels like it needs to slow down.

Here’s to one more training week, then taper!

Weekly Meals and Fitness (November 4-10)

Let’s hop back on this bandwagon shall we?

I’m still getting used to my new schedule. I don’t adjust well to change…I get overwhelmed…so planning out meals hasn’t been on my to-do list. That being said I’m going to change formats to where I just list meal ideas for the week. Because, let’s be real, the days never always go as planned.

Fitness

Monday – Rest Day

Tuesday – Rest Day

Wednesday – 4 miles

Thursday – CrossFit

Friday – 3 miles

Saturday – CrossFit

Sunday – 12 miles

Meal Ideas

Pork Tenderloin with Raspberry Cranberry Sauce with Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Chicken, Bacon and Artichoke Pasta with Creamy Garlic Sauce

Cauliflower Pizza with Chicken Sausage

 

Half Marathon Training – Week 7 & 8

*sigh*

Training really has not been going as well as I had planned. The hardest thing has been trying to keep up with CrossFit while training. I love my CrossFit workouts and refuse to give them up so I’ve been going as much I can…usually 3 times a week. The thing is is that they effect my runs. If we do a heavy focus on squats in CrossFit and I have a run on the agenda the next day, my legs are NOT happy. So there has been some missed runs or shortened runs as a result.

I have missed two of my long runs in the past two weeks. One was the morning after a friend’s wedding, which I knew was going to be hard to do. I was so tired and just wanted to go back to bed. So instead of my scheduled 9 miles I did 4 miles.

Last weekend my long run was again scheduled for Sunday…10 miles. I had gone to a Halloween party the night before and it was a late night. So as soon as my alarm went off I took Maddie out and just went straight back to bed. My eyes were barely open and I wasn’t about to force myself to run 10 miles. It had also been a LONG week, what with starting a new job and all, and I felt like my body needed sleep. Another “excuse” would be that I had a fire ant bite on my foot that was very swollen and I knew from being in sneakers half the day Saturday that my foot would not be happy tied up for 10 miles.

At this point, I am not sure what will happen on race day. I’m adjusting my last two long runs to be 10 miles and 12 miles. Luckily I’m still fitting in my short runs during the week. I would love to be ale to run the full 13 miles on race day, but am ok with doing a run/walk if my body needs to.

Here’s to hopefully a more successful training recap next week!

Have you ever had any road blocks in your training? How did you adjust or overcome them?

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