Getting faster and stronger!

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated all my lovely followers out there on my own fitness journey. I left you last when I was getting ready for the Chicago Marathon, ready to train and kick some butt. Unfortunately, that race kicked my butt instead.

During my training I found myself dealing with an old nagging injury in my right hip, which left me unable to run, let alone walk or even sleep peacefully at night. I tried to keep my fitness up best I could because there was NO WAY I was going to Chicago and NOT running this race. But what little I could do just didn’t compare to full on marathon training. I thought about writing a race report, but it would have been sad and miserable and I decided to just move on to the next!

So what does an endurance athlete that has been injured almost all race season do in the off season? Well, get faster and stronger of course! So here are some things I’m focusing on to get back to where I was.

foamrollMobility. This is why I got injured this year in the first place. I really ignored warming up and treating my body right. So for two-three weeks after the marathon this is what I focused on, getting my body to move without pain. I foam rolled, focused on stability and mobility in my joints through a range of movements and stretched a lot.stretch

 

 

 

 

 

 

strengthStrength training. For the past month or so I’ve been working on building back up these muscles. Who ever said that endurance athletes didn’t need to be strong was WRONG. You’re using the same muscles over and over whether you’re swimming, biking or running so they need to be able to with stand all that motion!

 

 

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Base training. For an endurance athlete, I did very little of endurance this year. Actually, I did very little of anything, but you already know that story. So I’m paying the price now. My mile times are slower, swimming feels like I’m going through mud and my legs are lead on the bike. But I’m slowly, slowly working on building back up my base, mostly in swimming and running because biking is my strong suit and will come back fast.

 

It’s a hard road to go down starting over, but whenever you’re feeling discouraged, remember where you started and know that every day you’re moving forward. You have to love every step of the journey.

 

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Friday Five with #AwareWithPink!

This weeks Friday Five Favorites is a special post in honor of Brest Cancer Awareness month. You get to know a little bit more about me and what keeps me inspired on this long sweaty journey called life. 

1. Tunes that inspire! When I’m getting my sweat on the 3 songs and podcasts I listen to are: Hall of fame by The Script, Shake it out by Taylor Swift (I’m a not so in the closet fan of T.Swift!) and currently The Paleo women podcast. Since I run so much wireless headphones don’t last very long for me, they fizzle out from all the sweat and the batteries never last long enough for my long runs. I want win a pair of Aftershokz so I can keep getting my sweat on and still be inspired by my favorite tunes! 

2. Give back!? Volunteering is something that has always been important to me. I did a lot of it in college, but when I graduated adult life kind of took over. This year I decided I need to change that and if you follow me on Instagram, I started volunteering with Title IX girls running group. I help coach girls ages 9-15 in running and life lessons. We have 3 weeks until the end of season 5k and I love watching these girls become stronger with every step.

3. Self Care. Being healthy doesn’t just mean physically healthy, but mentally and spiritually as well. You all know fitness is an important part of my life (haha I know stating this obvious!!) but I keep myself healthy mentally and spiritually too in ways I don’t often talk about. I have my own sort of meditation that I do every night before I go to bed to help me unwind, I do yoga (probably not as much as I should!) and most importantly I have self love mantras that I tell myself when I start to feel down. I always tell my clients that they can’t just get results by working out, you have to love yourself and take care of yourself first, and results will happen. 


4. Inspiring threads! I live in work out clothes, so when it comes to shopping I get more excited about clothes I’m going to get sweaty in over a dress and heels. My favorites you ask? Well for all my triathlon, cycling and running gear it’s Coeur sports! Created by and for women, they inspire me every day to get out there every day and get moving! I also love Reebok, I love that they’re stuff is so cute and versatile that I can go from the gym to dinner in their gear and still look cute!  


5. Friends who inspire! This was a tough one for me. Over the past couple years the people I have decided to surround myself with are ones that hold the same vision as I do. They’re out there to inspire and empower women through fitness and make a difference. So I can’t pick just one. But for your viewing pleasure, here are my @bosfitgrls that are just some of the ladies I love being around and watching them inspire everyone around them!


Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by AfterShokz in an effort to spread awareness about their new Pink Trekz headphones, in partnership with Bright Pink to support and spread awareness around breast cancer awareness. All opinions and words are my own. I truly appreciate all of the brands the support the Sweat Pink community. 

The Tale of Two Races: Hyannis and Salem

I confess I have a slight race obsession. I just can’t help the love I have for the high I feel when I cross that start line with other people that love running just as much as I do (some probably even more!). There’s a certain exhilaration that you get when running through the streets that are usually filled with cars, not having to dodge pedestrians on the side walk and people that aren’t running staring at you like you’re completing some amazing feat. I mean you are accomplishing something big whether you win or come in last, whether it’s your first race or 100th. You’re doing something others can’t. Plus, I love the feel of the medal around my neck after I cross that finish line and search for the nearest bottle of water.

But not all races are created equal. Yes, there’s 5ks and marathons, ironmans and road races. But even the body that you have prepared for that day may not be the same as it was the day before the weekend before. Boy did I learn that the hard way. 

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On February 28th I participated in the Hyannis Half Marathon down on the Cape. As you know, the weekend before I ran an awesome half marathon, I may not have gotten a PR or anything but it was fun and I felt great after running 13.1 miles. This weekend, not so much. The night before I was up late because I had a fundraiser event for the Boston Marathon. I didn’t eat my usual pre-race meal and I had a few (see: 3 ciders) drinks. This messed me up. Three miles into the race, I looked at my friend who caught up to me after I had slowed down significantly and said, “I don’t think I can run another 10 miles.”

Let me tell you, this is the only race that I have EVER seriously considered quitting. I was nauseated, IMG_2366dehydrated and I hurt all over. I was able to stay with her for the first seven miles after she generously gave me one of her shot bloks. But after that I just couldn’t keep up. Every step was more labored, my breathing heavy and my stomach volatile. I had my honey stinger gel which usually gives me a burst of energy, but even that failed me this day. I walked a lot, I promised Jesus (I’m not very religious but some times I can ask him for help) that I wouldn’t drink again until after Boston. Haha, silly but true. I did finally cross the finish line…the slowest I’ve ever done (even slower than the weekend before and stopping to take pictures!), but I finished. Then I threw up, three times.IMG_2363

Fast forward to two weeks later and I’m at the Salem Black Cat 20 miler. The longest run I’ve taken on to date (I will be breaking that this weekend as I take on the first 21 miles of the Boston marathon route…home field advantage has its perks!). I followed my pre race rituals to protocol. I had chicken parm for dinner, I hydrated properly all day and I went to black cat1bed early. I felt great and ready to go the next day. Aside from a minor slip up (okay, major), where my nutrition for the race (one honey stringer gel and one pack of clif shot bloks) fell out of my pocket at the start line, the run went really well. Since I had a lack of sugar in body, I did hit a wall at 16 miles and I had to turn to a run/walk. I ran as hard as I could for 2 minutes and walked a minute for the remaining 4 miles. I missed my goal by only 4 minutes which I don’t think is too bad considering.

Just goes to show, even though I did 6.9 miles more that weekend than I had 2 weekends before, preparation makes a huge difference. As I approach these final weeks of marathon training I’m sticking to my plan. I’m not drinking until post marathon (oh I can’t wait for that post race cider!!!) and before every long run I’m making sure I don’t disrupt my flow. Even though the road to Boston has not been easy for me between bad races, fundraising stress and injuries, I’m determined to get to that finish line feeling good about how far I’ve come!!! IMG_2410
And there is me cheesing as I cross that finish line!

Meal Prep 101

We’ve all heard the saying “Fail to plan, plan to fail.” Well, in light of the 21 day fix and general meal planning BLOWING up on my facebook news feed I thought I would write a post on my tips about meal prep and how I’ve found easier (and tastier) ways to make my life easier during the week.

I won’t lie, I used to be from the school of thought where you had to eat 6 meals a day and everything had to be carefully measured and portioned out for each meal. No salt, condiments or anything that would add any extra calories. Don’t worry. I have long since moved on from there. However, I do still meal prep. I work full time now as well as train clients after work and write programs for remote clients so cooking during the week is not very feasible for me unless I want to eat at 9:30 at night (ahem, I’m usually in bed by then). Meal prepping can be a daunting task, how do you pick what to make for the week? What do you cook ahead of time? What can wait? Will it go bad before you can get to it? Here’s some things that I have found to help me.

IMG_11301. Plan.
It seems obvious right? But I plan for the next week, probably Wednesday of the week before. I decide what I want to cook and make my grocery list. I make sure all of my meals are balanced, there’s always a healthy carb, protein and a good amount of vegetables. Also, I look at my schedule for the following week.

2. Keep it simple.IMG_0509

Don’t keep it so simple that you’re eating boiled chicken and steamed broccoli
everyday. But don’t try to make your own salad dressing and meat balls from scratch in one afternoon (Yes I did this and I was miserable). I pick dishes that are easy, tasty and healthy. My cook time on a Sunday is usually only about an hour long. Lately I’ve been on a kick with one pot meals, simple and less clean up!

IMG_10593. Get comfortable with eating the same things.

I eat the same meal for lunch and the same meal for dinner all week. But it doesn’t bother me as long as it tastes good. If the meal I’ve prepped is a flop, then it gets a little hard to swallow down. Same goes for the opposite. If I LOVE a meal I’ve prepped I can’t wait to eat it every day. I know a lot of people like variety, so do I. I usually never make the same thing twice in a month so that I can keep it fresh every week.

4. Don’t even try to MEAL prepIMG_0510

If you’re just starting out, don’t try to cook everything. I hate to cook everything on Sunday’s in fear of food going bad. If I have the rare night during the week where I have time to cook again, I’ll prep that food so it’s a quick into the oven or onto the stove. Any little bit helps, so if you’re making something that calls for chopping vegetables or marinating meat, do that ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. I even do this with smoothies, I’ll chop up fruit and put it in a bag until I’m ready to throw it in the blender so that in the morning when I haven’t gotten my coffee yet, I don’t even have to think about it.

5. Skip a meal.

I don’t know if you noticed, but I don’t prep breakfast at all. I love eggs as much as the next person. But honestly, it just one more thing on my plate. I used to do overnight oats as well, but sometimes at night I just want to come home and veg out. So I keep breakfast non-cooked. I’ll have oatmeal that I can just throw in the microwave or yogurt with my own fruit and granola added.

Here’s one meal that I made this week and was SUPER easy and quick:

Pesto Mozzarella Chicken w/ Brown Rice and Spinach (Makes 4 servings)IMG_1157

1 lb chicken
4 tbsp pesto (or you can make your own)
2 Tomatos
2 cloves garlic

1 Package Spinach
1 cup uncooked brown rice
1 tbsp Olive oil or any oil of your choice
4 slices of mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice tomatoes. Finely chop garlic. Place chicken breast in oven safe dish. Spread 1 tbsp pesto on to each chicken breast and then top with 2 slices of tomatos. Bake for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, remove from oven, place mozzarella on top of eat chicken breast and then continue to bake for another 5 minutes.

Add brown rice and 2 cups water to a pot, bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes. Once brown rice is cooked remove from heat, add tbsp olive oil, spinach and chopped garlic to the pot. Cover and let it steam, and stir everything together.

Then divide however you would like, Tupperware, eat it right away, feed it to the cat. Whatever you please but you just made lunch/dinner for 4 days!

Race recap: BAA Half Marathon

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This entry shall end my race recaps for 2015. I have one more 5k in a couple weeks, but that one is more for fun. I’m sad that my races are done for the year, but I’m also excited to get back into the gym and lift some weights. There a lot of things I need to improve on in order to become a better runner and triathlete and strength training shouldn’t be over looked.

My morning didn’t start off so well, my first Uber driver I ordered decided that after I waited for 15 minutes to not pick me up. I hate being late to races and I started to panic. Which is the last thing anyone wants to do on a race day. Finally another one did come and we picked up two other girls that were running the race also! One of the them got in the car and mysteriously had something sticky all over her jacket….which I found out later my Honey Stinger gel had exploded in my shirt pocket and got all over the car! So I had to do the race sans energy packets 😦

image2The course takes the runners from Franklin Park and in Jamaica Plain and along the Emerald Necklace. For those of you not from Boston, the Emerald Necklace is 1,100 acres of protected parks linked together by parkways and waterways and extends through Brookline and Boston. Even though you’re running through the city, you’re running through really scenic parts of it and it makes for a really great run. The end of the race is the best part because you run back through Franklin park….through the ZOO! I love zoos so it was the highlight of the race for me. I saw wart hogs, zebras,  and giraffes (oh my!)

The weather was perfect running weather, a bit chilly standing at the start line, but FullSizeRenderonce we got moving it was great. The course is fairly hilly, you start going down hill and there are plenty of those, but you quickly learn that you immediately go back up hill. I’ve run along these street before so it wasn’t a surprise to me and I knew that I couldn’t be fast enough to PR on this course. So I just decided to have a fun race. Especially since I just run Smuttynose the weekend before.

However, my foot started to hurt around mile 9 and at mile 10 I was in so much, for the first time ever I wanted to give up. I seriously considered stopped and getting picked up by the timing truck. But I knew I only had a 5k left so I pushed through. I did walk a lot and I met another fellow runner that had a painful foot as well. This is why I love runners, we became instant friends and finished the race together. He really helped push me and I probably ran my fastest at the end of that race than I have in any other race. Turns out he also lives nearby and gave me a ride home after the race so I didn’t have to pay another $20 to uber!

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Needless to say it was not my best paced race, but it was really well organized. Everything was clearly marked and even though a lot of people run this race it didn’t feel too crowded or packed. The shirts are really nice Adidas tech shirts and the medals are really nice (gotta look out for good swag!) I definitely want to try it out again next year! I actually might even do the BAA Distance Medley which is the 5k, 10k and Half!!!

Now let’s lift some weights!