Friday, May 30, 2014

June Fitness Challenge

After reading many articles about causes of knee pain in runners, I have discovered that weak glutes are part of the issue, and actually quite common in runners. Therefore, I have decided that I need to kick my glutes workouts in to high gear because I want to be out running again soon! Squats are a great way to increase strength in that particular area of the body so I have come up with a June squat challenge for both myself and anyone who wants to join!

Squatting motivation, why I love my squat challenges

High Gear Glutes Challenge Options

Level 1: Do 50 squats per day for 30 days (with or without weights).
Level 2: Do 100 squats per day for 30 days (with or without weights).
Level 3: Do 150 squats per day for 30 days (with or without weights).
Gradual Increase: Do 50 squats per day for the first 10 days, then do 100 squats per day for the next 10 days, and finally do 150 squats per day for the last 10 days of the month (with or without weights).

I am dedicating myself to doing at least 100 squats per day with weights (more if I am feeling up to it). If I do find myself out of town and without weights, then that will be fine, but I am going to strive for ‘with weights’ as much as possible.

Not feeling it quite yet? How about a little motivation from Ryan Gosling!

QOTD: Will you be joining me for this June fitness challenge? How many squats a day is your goal?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Paddle Boarding in Maui, Hawaii

Whenever I go on vacation, I always like to make sure that, amidst my relaxation time, I incorporate fun fitness activities. From hiking, to running, to yoga, or water sports, whatever terrains to which my travels take me is how I decide what to do to burn some calories. While heading to your hotel gym is always an option, it is certainly not the most fun. Get creative!

When Robert and I honeymooned in Maui, Hawaii, we decided to try something new – paddle boarding. I knew it would be fun and difficult, but I had NO idea how great a core workout it would turn out to be! Learning to stand up on the board, then paddling while standing took an extremely engaged core (and strong legs as well). We even turned it into a game to see how long each of us could go without falling into the water, which made it even more fun! I ended up winning, but I personally think it is because I am shorter and therefore have a lower center of gravity, so it’s a bit easier for me to balance than Robert (he is 6’3’’ while I am 5’3’’)!

My parents were also enjoying the beach after our wedding the day before, so I recruited them to take some photos for us – here are a few!

If you ever find yourself on a vacation by the beach, I would highly suggest trying out this very fun form of fitness!

QOTD: Have you ever gone paddle boarding?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

New RunDisney Race – Star Wars Half Marathon

And we have a new runDisney race announcement! A STAR WARS weekend consisting of a half marathon, 10K, 5K, and Rebel Challenge (10K and half) to take place at Disneyland Resort, California on January 15-18, 2015!! Registration opens in two weeks on June 10th, 2014. May the force be with you in registering because I have a feeling it’s going to sell out faster than the Avenger’s Half Marathon!

Video from the runDisney YouTube site

QOTD: Will you be running the inaugural Star Wars half marathon?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Weekly Recap 5/19/14 – 5/25/14

Happy Memorial Day! I hope everyone is having a fun 3-day weekend! Whatever you may be doing, though, I hope that you take a moment to thank everyone who gave their lives for the freedom we have in this wonderful country. Thank you to our current military service men and women, our veterans, and especially those who paid the ultimate price for freedom, and to their families as well. It it only because of you all that we are able to enjoy this long weekend.

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I have to say this week was pretty good in the workout zone. I did not run at all, but I got back to swimming. I seriously forgot how great a workout it is – it made some of my upper body muscles sore that hadn’t felt sore in a long time! I did a bit of shopping for triathlon suits as well. I have a few late summer local Tri races in mind that I’d really like to do if my knee fully heals by then. Tri suits are surprisingly expensive so I am still in the market, so if anybody has some tips to find lower cost (two-piece) tri gear, I would be very grateful! I am also debating on if I want to continue to try and get my dad’s road bike fixed, or maybe find one that is fit for my own height. Thoughts, anyone?

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Some weight work was also done this week and my hamstrings felt sore for two days from the dead lifts! Obviously my muscles were (heck, who am I kidding, more like ARE) in need for some toning up so I’ll be doing more of that this upcoming week. I don’t really have a specific plan to follow, so I just do different exercises that use as many muscles as possible so I can get that full body burn!

The long weekend has been wonderful. Robert was able to come home at noon on Friday so we did a date afternoon and went to lunch, got ice cream, and walked around the gorgeous Woodlands area near our apartment. This of course led to perusing running shops! I am really itching to get back out there! On Saturday I worked the Bondi Band booth at a mud run here in Houston, which was a ton of fun! There are actually a lot more cross fitters than runners who do those races. There were quite a few kids running too, which I thought was nice. I like seeing people encouraging their kids to live a fun and healthy lifestyle!

Sunday we had brunch with some family and played Disney Apples to Apples (so much fun!), then I did a little bit of work in the afternoon, and relaxed in the evening. Today is back to tough workout sessions so I can sweat out all those calories I ate over the weekend!

My Workouts This Week:

Monday: Yoga

Tuesday: 1 Mile Walk (treadmill incline intervals) + 3 sets of (250 Jump Ropes, 50 Squats, 1 minute plank, 25 stiff leg dead lifts)
   Note: Squats and dead lifts were done while holding a 10 pound weight in each hand.

Wednesday: 30 Minutes of Lap Swimming

Thursday: Yoga

Friday: Rest Day (walked around The Woodlands outdoor shopping center)

Saturday: Mud Run Expo (on my feet all day and moved boxes/suitcases – definitely a good workout!)

Sunday: Rest Day

Monday Motivation!(100+) nike quotes | Tumblr

QOTD: How are you spending your Memorial Day?

Friday, May 23, 2014

Reebok Spartan Race (and Discount!)

With all the mud runs and obstacle courses that are out there these days, how do you know which one is right for you? Well, allow me to paint you a Spartan Race picture – fire, mud, water, barbed wire, curve balls you could never expect. What words come to mind when you think about that? Crazy? Awesome? Maybe a heavy mixture of both?

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The Reebok Spartan Race has obstacle courses ranging from 3 miles to 26 miles. The Spartan Sprint is 3 miles with 15+ obstacles. The Spartan Super is 8 miles with 20+ obstacles. The Spartan Beast is 12 miles with 25+ obstacles, and finally, the Spartan Ultra Beast is about 26 miles with 40+ obstacles (you actually have to APPLY to be considered to run the Ultra Beast race).

There is also the Spartan Race Trifecta – you can earn a special Trifecta Tribe medal when you complete a sprint, super, and beast race all within one calendar year. And if that is not enough for you, then just know that you can actually get more than one Trifecta medal throughout the year! The race with a lot of buzz right now is the recently announced Trifecta Race weekend in Hawaii (Oahu) on August 16-17, 2014! This particular race weekend takes place at the Kualoa Ranch, which was also where Jurassic Park was filmed – as if the obstacles weren’t enough, now you need to watch out for those pesky velociraptors – haha! You can do any combination of the races this weekend, or even all three to earn your Trifecta medal in just TWO short days!

If you cannot make it to Hawaii this year, there are plenty of races through the United States, and even internationally. Click HERE to see the list of races, and HERE for some FAQ’s.

This obstacle race is quickly moving to the top of my bucket list for a few reasons:

1) It is different and challenging on a whole new level. It also really encourages you to become a well-rounded athlete between running, cross-training, and strength training!

2) You don’t have to be a cross fit guru or professional athlete to participate. As long as you train properly and respect the challenge, you CAN do it.

3) My favorite thing about the Spartan Race is the charity it benefits. This race actively raises money for Homes for Our Troops, a four-star charity that helps build homes for injured veterans. As someone who has a many family and friends who are active-duty military and veterans, I would consider it a great honor to participate in this race!

So, have I convinced you yet?! If you would like to participate in one of these awesome races, I have been provided with a 15% discount for you all! Just register for any of the Spartan Races through THIS LINK for the discount to be applied!

AROO!!

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Disclaimer: Although I was contacted by Spartan Race officials and provided with a free discount code for my readers, I was NOT compensated for this post. All opinions are my own and it was my choice to support the Spartan Race.

All photos and videos are from the Spartan Race Media website.

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QOTD: Have you ever done a Spartan Race? Is it something you would like to do?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Runner Spotlight

Hey y’all! Today my friend Kristy at Runaway Bridal Planner has interviewed me as her Runner Spotlight! You can check out the post HERE. Thank you Kristy!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

My Race Medal Display

I have always loved the idea of having a ‘race shrine,’ a special place to proudly display my medals. I never was sure how I wanted to display them, though. When I first started running races, I searched different running websites to find the perfect medal hangar, but I never made the plunge to purchase anything. I am very glad I didn’t because a little over a year ago, to commemorate my first half marathon, my parents surprised me with a specially made shadow box. They put a little glass slipper in there along with a plaque that they had engraved with ‘Lauren’s Glass Slipper’ on it. My parents are so amazing and have always been incredibly supportive of my goals and accomplishments!

Although it took me quite some time to put my shadow box together, I finally did, and decided to use it to commemorate my first half marathon, and my first full marathon. Here are a few pictures from the area in our new apartment dedicated to both my race medals, and my husband’s!

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The left hangar displays my medals, and the right side is Robert’s image

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I am considering the idea of putting our race bibs on either side of the shadow box as well. What do you think?

QOTD: How do you display your race medals?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Weekly Recap 5/12/14 – 05/18/14

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. I know I did – I worked the Bondi Band booth for the Cleveland Marathon Expo! I know I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but I love being immersed in the racing atmosphere while representing such a fantastic company.  Bondi Band not only creates fun and functional running gear, but they are truly dedicated to their customers. And the race expos are always so motivating and energetic – I enjoy meeting people who are making their fitness goals a reality, and doing what I can to help put smiles on their faces!

On Saturday, our area here in The Woodlands hosted an Iron Man triathlon – the Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas. Robert decided to volunteer with the Team RWB aid station on Saturday late afternoon/evening! He said it was incredibly inspiring, and after hearing about his time there, I know that someday I will tackle a race of that caliber! But first I really need to 1) get over my fear of open water swimming, 2) learn more about biking and get used to sitting on a bike seat for a long time, and 3) race an Olympic distance triathlon and half ironman.

Here is a picture from the Ironman aid station – photo credit to the Team RWB Houston Facebook page.

In other news, our apartment is pretty much done being organized (I know, I know – finally)! Here are a few photos; you can see our medal display area in the first picture, which I will do a separate post about on Wednesday!

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Workouts this week were pretty up and down. Like I mentioned last week, my knee still bothers me when I run, so I am trying to decide how I want to proceed the next few days. I am thinking definitely yoga mixed in with some incline walking on the treadmill and lap swimming!

My Workouts This Week:

Monday: 0.4 Mile Treadmill Run (cut short due to knee pain) + 30 Min Elliptical (hill training – one big hill) + 50 Squats (holding two 10 lb weights) + 10 Push-Ups

Tuesday: Rest Day

Wednesday: Yoga

Thursday: Rest Day (Travel day to Cleveland, OH)

Friday: Race Expo

Saturday: Race Expo

Sunday: Rest Day (Travel day back to Houston, TX)

Monday Motivation!True words! Mind over matter

QOTD: Do you have any suggestions for some fun workouts to do while I let my knee heal?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Patience is a Virtue

It’s no secret that I have been battling knee pain for a while. After sticking to the elliptical and other means of physical fitness for a while, and yes, participating in the Nike Women’s Half Marathon not too long ago, I have been rather patient with my injury. Even through my frustration, I understood that it happens to many people and that I guess I had to learn the hard way to take a step back and figure out what was wrong in my running journey. There are two big factors which I should have done differently, and will make sure I do differently in the future.

1) Hills. I need to incorporate more hill training so that I will not be susceptible to injury when running them. I the extreme downhill portions of the Alamo 13.1 half marathon was a big part of my downfall.

2) Recovery. Although I did take the steps to properly recover after my first full marathon, I did not allow enough time for recovery after the Woodlands Marathon. I did easy running the week after, then went and ran another half marathon three weeks later. I should have taken a week or two off completely. Not only that, but after I ran the Alamo 13.1, I drove 3 hours from San Antonio to Houston. Sitting for that long after all that running probably was not the best idea.

All this realized and being said, I feel like my patience is running low. Random little things that normally wouldn’t stress me out, do in fact, stress me out. I NEED running in my life to keep my body from building up stress. Sweating alone isn’t enough. Yoga isn’t enough. I need the peace that running brings to my mind, body, and life.

I am writing this now because this past Monday, after a week and weekend full of packing, moving, unpacking, cleaning, and organizing, I needed a run. I went to the gym and stepped on the treadmill full of hope and nervousness and pressed the start button. I ran an easy pace – 10:30 min/mile. I made it a quarter of a mile before I felt a twinge and stopped at 0.4 miles. I couldn’t even go half a mile. I wanted to just sit and cry. I chose to sweat it out instead, so I hopped on the elliptical for 30 minutes then went home and tried to keep myself distracted from wallowing in my own disappointment.

I feel like I am doing everything I need to – stretching, foam rolling, yoga, strength training. I guess I need more time. Time that I just do not want to give. I can only hope that what I am doing will heal me soon!

Be patient in Physical Therapy for running injuries.

QOTD: Have you ever felt frustrated in being sidelined from running?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Disney Castaway Cay Challenge

RunDisney has made a new announcement today! If you run any (or all) of the races during the 2015 WDW Marathon weekend that take place January 7-11, then choose to set sail on the participating Disney Cruise and run the Castaway Cay 5K, you get a special medal commemorating the inaugural race challenge.

The participating cruise is a 4-night Bahamian adventure from Port Canaveral, which takes place January 12-16, the day after the marathon weekend events! The Disney Castaway Cay 5K is the  morning of January 14, 2015. Not only do you get to run on Disney own private island, but according to the announcement, you will get a special VIP treatment on board the ship. These include “exciting activities, special merchandise offerings, and featured menu items.”

You can book your cruise on the Disney Dream today by going to Disneycruise.com, then register for the Castaway Cay Challenge on Active.com on May 23 at Noon EST.

Make sure to use the promotional code RUN at the time of booking your Cruise. Don’t forget to enter your Cruise reservation number when you register for the race.

Photo from the Disney Cruise Line FaceBook page 

QOTD: Will you be participating in the inaugural Castaway Cay Challenge?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Weekly Recap 5/5/14 – 5/11/14

Happy Tuesday y’all! Sorry for the late recap post this week. Robert and I moved into our new apartment this past weekend, and I just now got internet back this morning. We haven’t quite finished decorating yet, so no pictures today, but should be done soon! I’ve even scouted out an area to make a shrine to running (aka my medal display area).

We ended up moving from a first story apartment to a second story, which I am thrilled about it. Not only will it give me extra little workouts every day, it gave me a major workout during the actual move. Robert and I did most of the moving on our own and only used an actual moving company to take care of the furniture to help minimize expenses.

Also, this is our new view. It is beautiful and peaceful. I open the door to the patio with the screen door closed (don’t need bugs getting in!) so I can hear the birds chirping and wind chimes going, and it is perfect for my yoga sequence. It really helps transport me to a very relaxing state, which I need right now. I’ll probably end up writing more on this later, but this not being able to run thing is really getting to me. It is frustrating and upsetting, and I’ve realized that running isn’t just an extra ‘want’ in my life, it’s something that I truly NEED.

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day on Sunday. Although mine was quite busy, it was very enjoyable spending it with my husband and puppies! They gave me an adorable card, and my parents sent me beautiful flowers and a teddy bear! I’ll be re-potting the flowers today so I can keep them around longer than just a couple of weeks. I feel so blessed to be a daughter to the best mom ever, and to be a mom to the two cutest, and sometimes mischievous, pups!

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I have to say my workouts went pretty well this week. Even though I wasn’t able to run, I still sweat a lot and did some stretching and foam rolling. I also spent some time each day packing up the old apartment then Friday, Saturday, and Sunday was spent moving/unpacking/organizing/cleaning.

My Workouts This Week:

Monday: Yoga + 3 Sets of (250 Jump Ropes, 50 Squats while holding two 10 lb weights, 1 minute plank)

Tuesday: 30 Minutes Elliptical (Hill Training – One Big Hill)

Wednesday: Yoga

Thursday: 4 Sets of (250 Jump Ropes, 50 Squats while holding two 10 lb weights, 1 minute plank)

Friday: Moving/Unpacking

Saturday: Moving/Unpacking/Organizing/Cleaning

Sunday: Unpacking/Organizing/Cleaning

Monday Tuesday Motivation!

QOTD: How did you spend Mother’s Day?

Friday, May 9, 2014

Washington D.C. Photos

In case you missed my previous recaps from my fun weekend in Washington D.C.:
Nike Women’s Half Marathon Expotique & #RunnersLove Meet-Up
Nike Women’s Half Marathon Race Recap

During our weekend in Washington D.C., Robert and I did the tourist thing of course and went to visit the National Mall and Smithsonian. We had a blast and took a few pictures along the way. Today I thought I would share them with you all – Enjoy!

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World War II Memorial100_1035

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Lincoln Memorial100_1044 100_1045

Presidential Selfie!image 

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Reflecting Pool100_1051

White House100_1053

Natural History Museum100_1071    100_1075

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Girl Power!100_1082

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U.S. Capitol Building100_1086 100_1087

National Air & Space Museum100_1089 100_1090 100_1091 100_1092

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QOTD: Do you enjoy visiting Museums?