Monday, September 29, 2014

Weekly Recap 9/22/14 – 9/28/14

Dopey Challenge Countdown: 3 Weeks Down/15 Weeks To Go

Hey y’all! How was everyone’s weekend? I hope filled with great workouts and fun! Robert and I took a quick trip up to Dallas to visit family and had a great time! I actually finished the final DIY touch to my Wine & Dine half marathon costume…and by ‘I finished’ I definitely mean I watched my mom make it, haha! I am so excited about it. Robert and I will probably do his DIY costume stuff in the next couple weeks so I can show y’all pictures soon!

Before I talk about workouts,  did anyone watched the season premiere of Once Upon a Time last night? It was seriously perfection. I have a feeling this is absolutely going to be my favorite season yet! I don’t want to put any spoilers so I’ll dance around it, but is anyone else ridiculously excited about that object Rumple opened near the end of the episode? Robert and I are thrilled to see where the writers go with that!

Ok, now on to training…as I mentioned on Friday, my 2-mile Airrosti recovery run went really well! It was needed, too, after my runs on Tuesday and Wednesday. I’ll spare you the major details, but they.were.miserable. SO much pain the entire time. Now having two Airrosti appointments under my belt, and my third one scheduled for this upcoming Wednesday I am feeling a lot more optimistic for recovery.

My 6-mile long run on Saturday was up and down, but mostly up. Since we were in Dallas, the weather was an amazing Fall running temperature, and with low humidity! I did 2/1 intervals (run two minutes/walk 1 minute) for the entire time. The bad news is that I felt a lot of discomfort for the majority of the run, but the good news is that is never got to the point of pain where I had to stop an interval. This is a huge improvement from my earlier week’s runs! And while I feel as though I have a better outlook on running intervals than I used to, I still look forward to the day when I can just run without looking at my watch for when to stop and walk!

In addition to my running and Airrosti appointments, I am doing a TON of foam rolling, daily icing (and actual ice baths on appointment days), and stretching as well. Here’s to a very speedy and full recovery!

My workouts this week:

Monday: Yoga + IT Band Stretches + Airrosti Appointment #1 + Foam Rolling

Tuesday: 4.2 Mile Run + IT Band Stretches & Strength Exercises + Foam Rolling

Wednesday: 3.2 Mile Run + Foam Rolling + Stretching

Thursday: Airrosti Appointment #2 + Foam Rolling + Evening walk

Friday: 2 Mile Run + 1 Mile Walk + Foam Rolling & Stretching

Saturday: 6 Mile Run + Foam Rolling & Stretching

Sunday: Rest Day/Foam Rolling & Stretching

Monday Motivation!Persistence.  With extensive knowledge of local and international markets, Florida Realtor Michael Barrineau offers Florida beach condos and homes with expert service.  MLS listings powerful search for free at MB Luxury Properties at http://www.mbpropertygroup.com  Call or text 786.445.0160  New construction condos for sale in Miami.

QOTD:  Are you a fan of Once Upon a Time?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Getting my running ‘Mojo’ Back

Happy Friday everyone! Sorry for the bit of silence this week. I found that company I was looking for earlier this week – it is called Airrosti! I had my first session on Monday and my second one yesterday. Usually Friday’s are my long run days, but since I had my appointment yesterday, my doctor advised that I do a 2-mile recovery run today instead, and move my scheduled 6-miler to tomorrow. His advice for today’s run was to do intervals – 1 minute walk + 1 minute run at a normal pace + 45 seconds at a quicker pace. Since it was easier to keep track of intervals and time at the top of each minute, I added 15 seconds of normal pace running to each 45 second quick pace interval. This essentially made it 2/1 intervals for the duration of my run.

Today’s run went incredibly well – it gave me a ‘win’ that I desperately needed, and I feel like my running ‘mojo’ is starting to make its way back! I went over to The Woodlands Waterway path for my run today, and it was just gorgeous outside! The sun was out and the temperature was about 75 degrees. Perfection.

My view during the runimage

I also noticed the leaves on the trees starting to turn colors…hints of Fall are in Houston! image

Doing intervals this new way actually made me realize that intervals aren’t so bad. I have talked before about how it keeps me from getting in my zone, but I felt strong mentally and physically today. My runs earlier in the week were miserably painful, but today I never passed discomfort. Definitely a win in my world right now! My first mile pace was 10:58 and my second was 10:15 – I was ecstatic when I saw those times!

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Since my training schedule is a bit off this weekend, and I will be doing my long run tomorrow, today’s run was essentially replacing my 3-miler scheduled for Sunday. So after my 2 miles, I decided to just walk one extra mile for the books. Usually I really dislike walking – I always want to go FAST (if my husband or parents are reading this right now they are probably laughing because of how true it is)! Fortunately a few minutes into my walk, my brother video Skyped me from South Korea and kept me company for about 15 minutes while I got that last  mile done! Must have been that awesome brother/sister connection since he called at the perfect time - Thanks Brad!

Awesome motivational sign I saw on the path!image

Wish  me luck on my long run tomorrow! Those miles are getting DONE whether I need to run, walk, or crawl!

QOTD: Have you had a personal ‘win’ this week yet?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Weekly Recap 9/15/14 – 9/21/14

Dopey Challenge Countdown: 2 Weeks Down/16 Weeks To Go

Hey y’all, happy Monday! I am going to be completely honest with you, I almost didn’t write a post for today. I had yet another setback last week. Everything seemed to be fine until Friday; I went to the gym to do my 5 mile long run and started my usual intervals. I made it through 4.3 miles but then my IT band began to hurt…bad. I walked until the treadmill said 4.75 miles then went home feeling extremely defeated. As most of you know, I battled ITBS on my LEFT side for most of the summer. I overcame that, but Friday it was my RIGHT IT band that was hurting. WHAT GIVES?! Anyway, I was obviously very upset, but I think I have a plan.

On Friday I drove over to Austin to work the Bondi Band booth at the Camp Gladiator finals, which was a blast! But more importantly, they had a booth sponsor there that helps athletes with injuries and their average rate of success (meaning athletes go back to their usual workouts) is after THREE sessions. Sign me up!! The only problem is I can’t remember the name…it starts with an ‘A’ so I messaged Camp Gladiator on Facebook asking what the company is and am just waiting on a response. One girl I was speaking with before the event began said she battled chronic IT band pain for a while and after a few sessions with them she said she didn’t have any issues. So I’ll keep y’all posted on what I find out, but I’m optimistic!

In other great news, last Wednesday was mine and Robert’s 2nd wedding anniversary! We celebrated by going to lunch together, exploring around the Woodlands area, and finally had dinner. Robert was in charge of making dinner and I was in charge of dessert. He made Cajun spiced filet mignon, seafood stuffed peppers, Creole sautéed mushrooms, and mashed potatoes. I made chocolate pots de crème. Everything was absolutely delicious! I also got him a new iPod Nano, and my gift is actually still being made. I will get it in November… I can’t wait to show you all what it is!

Wine we had with dinner (Gabbiano Chianti) – highly recommend!image

Robert and I also got Houston Texans jerseys this weekend! He’s always been a Texans fan, and while I am still a hardcore Cowboys fan, there are a couple football players who I will always follow: JJ Watt from the Texans, and Peyton Manning from the Broncos. So for whatever team they play on, I will be cheering!

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Last but certainly not least, ONE MORE WEEK UNTIL ONCE UPON A TIME IS BACK!! That is all.

Monday: Yoga + IT Band Stretches & Strength Exercises + Foam Rolling

Tuesday: 4.2 Mile Run + Stretching & Foam Rolling

Wednesday: Rest Day (Anniversary!)

Thursday: Yoga + IT Band Stretches & Strength Exercises + Foam Rolling

Friday: 4.75 Mile Run + IT Band Stretches + Foam Rolling & Ice

Saturday: Worked all day then drove back to Houston

Sunday: Stretching & Foam Rolling

Monday Motivation, and something I need to remember right now!image

QOTD:  Do you have a favorite NFL team?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

2nd Anniversary

Two years ago today, Robert and I said “I Do” on a beautiful beach in Wailea, Maui. It was the greatest day of my life, and the past two years of marriage have been such an incredible journey. I love that I get to share in all of life’s adventures with him, and I look forward to many, many more years together!

I still love to look at our wedding photos and reminisce about that perfect day! Aside from marrying my best friend, one of the best parts of that day was when a sea turtle actually swam to shore where our ceremony was taking place, which is a Hawaiian sign of longevity. What an incredible gift from God! :0)

Start of the ceremonyLauren and Robert-0056

Saying our VowsLauren and Robert-0118

Lauren and Robert-0119

First kiss as husband and wife!Lauren and Robert-0138

First dance…we were serenaded not only by our incredible musician, but also our friends and family!Lauren and Robert-0205

Photo shoot fun!Lauren and Robert-0327 Lauren and Robert-0347 Lauren and Robert-0322

Lauren and Robert-0391

QOTD: What is your ideal wedding location?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Weekly Recap 9/8/14 – 9/14/14

Dopey Challenge Countdown: 1 Weeks Down/17 Weeks To Go

Happy Monday all! I have some great news…Houston actually received some FALL weather this weekend! We had some temps in the 70’s with clouds so it was almost perfect sweater weather. In fact, it inspired me to get a few little decorations from Hobby Lobby (it was packed there on Saturday – I guess the nice weather sparked decor interest in other people as well haha). I’ll post pictures when I have the apartment Fall-ready!

My first week of Dopey Challenge training went very well. I even found run/walk intervals that work well for me for now. I ran .9/.1 intervals for all 4 of my running workouts this week, and more importantly, I ran them without any IT band pain. I did almost pass on my 3 miler Sunday though – I was on my feet for nearly 7 hours on Saturday. I worked the Bondi Band booth at the Houston Wicked Wine Run which was a blast! They actually have a lot of locations for this race, so if you ever get the chance to participate, I highly recommend it! There is a 5K trail run and a 1K wine tasting walk, all followed by an after party with a live band and costume contest. The coolest thing for me, though, was being able to set-up my booth at the finish line…I love watching people’s faces when they finish a race!

In other fun news, Robert and I signed up for a local kickball league and our first game was on Thursday. Robert played last season with the same team (and they won the championship!) but since I was injured I couldn’t join. I am ready to play now though! We won our first game, and am looking forward to helping defend our championship title!

Lastly, I started making some ADR’s (advanced dining reservations) for when Robert and I are at Disney for the Dopey Challenge. So far I have a dinner at California Grill during Wishes, breakfast at the Kona Cafe (can’t wait to try their famous Tonga Toast), and lunch at Sanaa! Are there any restaurants, outside the parks, that you recommend at Disney World?

My Workouts The Past Week:

Monday: Yoga + Push-ups/Sit-ups/Squats + IT Band Stretches & Strength Exercises + Foam Rolling

Tuesday: 4.2 Mile Run + IT Band Stretches & Strength Exercises + Foam Rolling

Wednesday: 3.2 Mile Run + IT Band Stretches & Strength Exercises + Push-ups/Sit-ups/Squats + Foam Rolling

Thursday: Yoga + Foam Rolling + Kickball

Friday: 4.2 Mile Run + IT Band Stretches & Strength Exercises + Push-ups/Sit-ups/Squats + Foam Rolling

Saturday: Rest Day (Worked Wicked Wine Event)

Sunday: 3.2 Mile Run + Stretching & Foam Rolling

Monday Motivation!running motivation @Elizabeth Lockhart Lockhart Walton @Carly Reni AJ @Molly Simon Simon Wheeler @Julie Forrest Forrest Butler

QOTD:  Have you ever played in a ‘just-for-fun’ local team sport league?

Friday, September 12, 2014

IN Refresh Electrolytes Review

A few months ago, a company called Ignite Naturals contacted me and asked if I would be interested in doing a review on their IN Refresh electrolyte product. After briefly researching their company, I agreed to give it a try and write a review. Unfortunately due to my injury I was not able to sample it immediately, so over the past few weeks I have been testing it. Some days I drank it before I run, some days I didn’t – this was to see if there were any differences in workout quality. Spoiler Alert though, this product is definitely going to stay stocked in my home!

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Let’s talk about the facts first; the first thing that drew me to the company was that everything they sell is completely natural. Straight from their website, they say “No GMO’s (genetically modified foods). No stimulants. No artificial sweeteners or processed sugars. No hormones. And no unnatural fillers – just an impressive list of antioxidants and real food ingredients.”

These days there are so many options for energy gels, chews, and electrolytes, but they did not always exist. I think runners in my generation wonder how runners from previous generations were able to get through long distance races without them. You know what they used? Natural foods! I think a lot of companies out there are starting to grasp that concept and Ignite Naturals, along with other brands of energy sources for runners, are bringing those options back into the market.

To review, they sent me their 10-pack box with three different flavors – Blueberry, Dragonfruit Lemon Lime, and Tangerine Passion Fruit.

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After testing them all out, I can tell you all that LOVE this product. Here is why:

Taste – The blueberry was my absolute favorite, followed closely by the tangerine passion fruit. The lemon lime was just ok, but then, I’m not much of a lemon lime fan anyway. I did not feel like any of the flavors were overly sweet. That being said, the directions say to mix with 8-12 oz of water, but if you do that it is a bit too sweet in my opinion. I often mixed mine with 17-20 oz of water and I felt that it has an optimal taste (for me) at 17 oz.

Energy – As I mentioned earlier, I alternated running days between drinking an IN Refresh electrolyte and not to see how my workouts differed. I can honestly say I felt a difference. There were a couple days where I was experiencing stomach cramps, and this helped me get through my running workouts much easier! Even on days where I was not feeling sluggish before running, I felt as though I had a stronger run.

Price – Although I try to stick with healthy, natural foods as often as I can, I think we can all agree that they seem to priced much higher than more processed options. Ignite Naturals IN Refresh electrolytes have two purchase options. The first is a 10 pack box (such as the one I received), or a 30 serving tub.

Price Breakdown (shipping average is $4 for comparison, but you can get free shipping on orders over $75)
One 10-Pack Box = $11.50 + $4 shipping = $15.50 which is $1.55 per serving
One 30-Serving Tub = $26.95 + $4 shipping = $30.95 which is $1.03 per serving
*Bonus Option* Three 30-Serving Tubs (3 month’s worth) = $80.85 + $0 shipping = $0.89 per serving

While the only ‘con’ of In Refresh electrolytes is that they are lesser known in the retail world at the moment, I can see them becoming an power house that gains much of the market for athletes. I really encourage everyone to give them a try if you are looking for other energy sources with which to experiment!

*Disclaimer: I was provided free product samples by Ignite Naturals, but did not receive compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.

QOTD: Have you tried any products by Ignite Naturals? Is this a product you would want to try?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

DIY Craft for Runners

A few years ago when I graduated from college, my mom made me an awesome gift that I could proudly display in my own home – see below photo (Wreck ‘em Tech!). I have always thought this DIY gift from her was an amazing idea, so around last Christmas I had an idea to make one of my own to represent running.

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I had plans to give it to my BRF (best running friend) Stacy in February to commemorate our one year anniversary since the Princess Half Marathon (it was our first long distance race and runDisney event)! However, as easy as a project it is in theory, it is quite time consuming, so I only just recently finished it and will get it to her soon! I put a 13.1 with a tiara on top to represent the Princess theme of the race.

So now that you’ve seen the finished product, let’s talk about how to make it! I know you all want to display one of these in your homes now, right?! :0)

What you’ll need:

Styrofoam Ball: I bought a medium sized ball but you can get whichever size you want; just keep in mind you’ll be covering the entire thing with sequins so the larger the ball, the longer it will take.
Vase: This will be the base on which the final product sits.
Pins: The pins hold the sequins and small beads and are then pinned into the Styrofoam ball. Make sure to get the larger/longer ones so they won’t fall out.
Sequins: I bought small multi-colored sequins for the 13.1 and top part of the tiara, and large silver ones to cover the rest of the area.
Small Beads: I used these for the bottom portion of the tiara, and just to add some extra umph to the final product.They go onto the pin first, followed by the sequin, then are pinned into the ball.

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How to make it:

Assemble all your pieces and choose your colors. Take a pin and put a small bead on first, followed by a sequin. I did the 13.1 and tiara first so I could make sure everything lined up nicely. Start pinning your main design until you are happy! I did mine in turquoise at first, but once I started pinning the silver sequins around it, I realized it was very hard to read. I decided to change the design to royal blue instead and it stood out MUCH better. Try to use contrasting colors so your design will really pop! Once your design is done, start putting the background bead/sequin colors on the pin, and pin until the remaining area is covered.

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Once you are done, you now have a gorgeous new home decor item to proudly display in your home, OR you can gift it to your BRF! They will definitely love it!

QOTD: Do you enjoy DIY craft projects?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Weekly Recap 9/1/14 – 9/7/14

Dopey Challenge Countdown: 0 Weeks Down/18 Weeks To Go

The Dopey Challenge countdown has officially started y’all! Training starts today, and I could not be more excited! This week has been a very positive one overall. I’ve had no pain while running and I even got a sports massage to get ready for the start of being on a set training plan again.

I’ve been steadily increasing my running intervals and am currently up to a 1.8/0.2 interval. I workouts consist of a warm-up followed by 2 sets of 1.8 miles of running/0.2 miles of walking and of course a cool down. As excited as I am about this, I am so ready to be off intervals altogether. While they may work for some, they cause me to look at the treadmill time/distance or my Garmin far too often instead of getting lost in the run itself. I prefer to just go and walk when I need a quick break. Does anyone else ever have this issue with set intervals?

In other news, who is excited about Fall?! Football season has officially begun, and Pumpkin Spice Lattes are popping up everywhere! Now if only the weather would get the memo; it still feels like the middle of summer here in Texas. Oh well – I think I am going to put up Fall candles and decorations at the start of October whether or not the weather has cooled down haha! I think what I am most excited for, though, is Once Upon a Time FINALLY coming back. My Sunday evenings just aren’t the same without my favorite show ever – 3 more weeks! :0)

Lastly, I have TWO Pinterest recipes I have tried over the past couple weeks and they were quite successful so I wanted to share. The first one is Blackened Chicken with Cilantro Lime Quinoa; Robert and I changed it up a bit though. We used brown rice instead of quinoa since we already had that in the pantry, and also added a serving of kale chips, which were a perfect side!

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The second recipe is a dessert, and while I do not have a picture, I think the description is enough to make you want to give it a try; Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Cookies! They are light, fluffy, and 100% delicious!

I know I did a recap recently last week so this one is short and sweet, but I have a super fun post coming up for y’all on Wednesday – a DIY race gift to make yourself or your BRF (best running friend)!

My Workouts The Past Week:

Monday: 4.2 Mile Run + Yoga + IT Band Stretches + Foam Rolling

Tuesday: IT Band Stretches & Strength Exercises + Arms + Push-ups/Sit-ups/Squats + Foam Rolling

Wednesday: 4.2 Mile Run + Yoga + IT Band Stretches + Foam Rolling

Thursday: IT Band Stretches & Strength Exercises + Arms + Push-ups/Sit-ups/Squats + Foam Rolling

Friday: 4.2 Mile Run + Yoga + IT Band Stretches + Foam Rolling

Saturday: Sports Massage

Sunday: Stretching & Foam Rolling

Monday Motivation!

QOTD:  Do you enjoy running set intervals for training/racing?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Dopey Challenge Training

Monday marks the official start of my Dopey Challenge training schedule! After a lot of research, I decided to go back where I began. For my very first marathon I used my own modified version of the Marathon Rookie training schedule, and so that is what I am doing again.

Marathon Rookie is great because it is 16 weeks long, calls for 4 training runs per week, and has a fantastic gradual increase in weekly mileage. When I was researching I noticed that a lot of plans, such as the Hal Higdon and Jeff Galloway Dopey training, either called for running 5 times per week or jumped around in long run mileage every other week. I am uncomfortable with both of those – I don’t see why it is necessary to run 5 times a week; it just increases risk of injury in my opinion. As for jumping up and down in mileage for long runs, I don’t see the point as mileage should really only increase by about 10% each week.

After looking at the Marathon Rookie training plan again, I made a few modifications to tailor it more towards getting ready to run 48.6 miles over the span of four days. First of all, I added two weeks to allow for extra time, made sure I noted any races I had so I can make sure to get all my miles in each week, and finally added in simulation weeks that will help prepare me for running four days in a row.

At the moment easy runs are scheduled for Tuesdays and Wednesdays, long runs on Fridays, and speed work (when I feel ready for it) on Sundays. Rest days on Saturday are strictly rest – only foam rolling and stretching allowed. Mondays and Thursdays can be used for strength training and yoga.

My Schedule:

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I am so excited to get started!!! Dopey Challenge, here I come!

QOTD: Have you ever had to modify a training schedule or create your own?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

My Unexpected Hiatus

Hey y’all! Sorry I haven’t written in over three weeks now. I have been keeping up with everyone’s blog posts, but lost my writing inspiration for a while. A few weeks ago I was in Dallas pet-sitting for my parents and had a pass to use the gym near their house. I was so excited to go to some exercise classes for cross training! So one morning I went to do two classes – one hour of strength training followed by one hour of Zumba. By the time it was over and I had made it back to my car, my IT band was in pain. Bad pain. I took over a week off of running and cardio in general to let it heal. Unfortunately it caused my confidence to take a pretty big hit, and that is why I have not felt like writing recently.

Since I took that time off from over-using my legs, I’ve been easing my way back into running and things seem to be going very smoothly. I’d be lying if I told you my mentality has caught back up though. Every time I go for a run I feel stressed out because I am afraid I will feel a tweak in my IT band. I know that with each successful run my confidence will grow a little more, but I hope it is soon because Dopey Challenge training starts next Monday!

Pictures from my Labor Day run this past Monday – happy to be 4 miles stronger!image

I don’t plan on doing a full workout recap from the past three weeks, but just so you know, in addition to my running, I am still being very consistent in my stretching, core/glute strengthening, foam rolling, and icing. Here’s to hoping the road gets better from here on out! The countdown to fall/winter racing is ON!

On a much lighter note, I am so excited about mine and Robert’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon (and Jingle Jungle 5K) costumes! We decided to move our Ratatouille costumes to the 5K and change up who we’re going as for the half marathon. I can’t wait to show you pictures; I wouldn’t be surprised if I revealed them early, because I’m no good at keeping exciting news to myself!

Did everyone have a good Labor Day weekend? Mine was packed full of fun! Robert and I went to a concert by the Houston Symphony (free to listen from the lawn area…just needed to bring a picnic blanket) – they played movie music from classic Disney films! There were some amazing singers who performed along with them as well – everything from Pirates of the Caribbean to Mary Poppins to the Lion King!

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On Sunday we went to a baseball game to watch the Astros play the Rangers. I’m not a huge baseball fan, but I do love the atmosphere (and food) at the stadium!

So overall, definitely a fun long weekend! Also, I really want to give shout outs to all who participated in any (or all!) of the Disneyland half marathon weekend a few days ago; I am loving all the pictures and costumes! And again, sorry for being away for so long, but it was definitely a needed break. Hopefully y’all are still out there! :)

QOTD: Have you ever taken an unexpected break from blogging?