Showing posts with label fitness friday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fitness friday. Show all posts

Friday, February 13, 2015


This week's Friday Five link-up, hosted by the DC Trifecta, is all about love...and in this past week, I've really learned how much love I have in my life. I could go on and on about how grateful I am for all the people in my life. Everyone that I know has helped me navigate a very difficult time.

But because this is a running blog, I decided to write about some of fitness-related things I am loving lately. And because I really want to stay positive!

1. I am absolutely loving the Sweatpink #TaketheLeap and #bringingbackyoga challenges. It's no secret how much I love yoga. I have been doing yoga for 17 years--since my oldest son was born. But now I get to share that love with all my Facebook and Instagram friends. It's been fun doing the daily poses and even more fun photographing them. I've never seen myself doing yoga, and while some of the poses look pretty good, others make me cringe! Here's me in Hanumanasana aka front splits, a pose which I haven't posted yet, but wanted you to see just how tight those hamstrings really are: 

Rock on Hanuman!
Anyways this challenge has been fun and has put a smile on my face every day, even lately, when I haven't had a lot to smile about. Although I won't lie, deciphering some of the poses has been tricky. IMHO, the sequence of poses is a little odd.

2. Can I also say how much I love the longer days? The sun is peeking out when I wake up at 6 am, and it's setting slowly when I leave work after 5. And even though we have a lot of snow on the ground, it's disappearing thanks to the warmth of the February sun. Although, as I write this, it's 11 degrees out. Mother Nature still likes to mess with us, doesn't she? We get a few teaser days here and there, and it's those days when I take it outside that I really get to fly. And I do love to run fast!

3. After much discussion with my husband, I made the very difficult decision to pull out of the Sarasota Half Marathon. Going to Florida to run, while we are dealing with my son's issues is probably not the best idea. Today, I sent an email to the race director explaining my situation and asking if there was the opportunity to defer the race or run virtually. I received THE NICEST response I could ever imagine. Can I say how much I love this race director? They will allow me to defer if I want, and offered to mail me my race packet. And this quote: "Everything in life is a marathon and not a sprint." I won't lie and say that I'm happy about this, but the kindness of the race director sure softened the blow of having to DNS. I will definitely try to run this one in the future. As my friend Marcia says, "unfinished business". 

4. And I love that I found another race to run that weekend here at home. Since I have been training and am prepared to race, I was unhappy with the idea of a DNS. The Get Lucky half marathon is on March 14 and it is not sold out. They also have the option of mailing my race packet. Can you say win? Even better, I love that my friends Karen and Sara will be there. I call that a huge win. Making lemonade out of lemons. The glass is half full. Ok, so the race in is Chicago, and it will probably be about 45 degrees. But there's green beer at the finish line. Get lucky? I think I did. In some small way.

Well..there's that. But only if they fold too...
5. Finally and totally superficial, I went to Marshalls today to soothe myself with some retail therapy. I love Marshalls and TJMaxx for my running gear and I was rewarded with another really cute Mondetta fleece lined top and a super cute RBX tank. Both bargains. I'm modeling the tank in the yoga picture above. The price? $9.99. And that is definitely something to love!

Happy Valentines Day to all my virtual friends near and far!  

I'm also linking with Jill Conyers for Fitness Friday!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Bringing flexy back....

I've been doing yoga almost as long as I've been a runner. But there are just some poses I'll never be able to master. I'm lacking in the flexibility department, for sure. And running doesn't help that! But I do yoga to help me recover from my runs, and my goal isn't to be a master yogi. My goal is to stay injury free. And to have fun in the process. Yoga has certainly helped me be a stronger runner, but it keeps me humble too!

I'm participating in the #prAna and #fitapproach #TaketheLeap 30 days of yoga challenge. Today is Day 5 and I'm excited to share my first 5 poses on the blog! It has been so much fun to showcase yoga and I love seeing all these runners' posting their yoga poses on Facebook and Instagram. I hope everyone keeps posting as the month goes on.

Cow Face Pose aka Gomukhasana. Do I look like I'm in pain? Because I am. I like to call it mad cow face pose. Talk about humbling! I've got really tight hips and I can't get my knees together like a good yogi. But I sure do feel this one! My arms are in reverse namaste, but you can also hold your feet, like motorcycle handlebars. Vrooooooom.....

Revolved chair aka parivrtta utkatasana. This one really opens the glutes and hamstrings. It's also a twist, so it feels great on the spine.

Camel pose aka ustrasana. I love backbending because they open my heart. We spend so much time leaning forward, running forward, and backbends pull us out of ourselves. This pose is also great for the quads and hip flexors, as well as the shoulders.

Side plank with tree pose variation aka vasisthasana with vrikshasana. I love side plank. I feel so strong and open in this pose. By, the way, I have "double jointed" elbows and so my arms are never straight. In case you were wondering.

I started off the week with King dancer pose aka natarajasana. I was challenged by Run Salt Run, (who coincidently coined the term #kickasana) to do this pose. This is a balance pose but it is also a backbend. I am not very flexible, and even though it feels like my leg is extended really high, this is as high as I can get. And yes, I'm wearing my pajamas. Just like yoga pants, really.

As one of my instructors once told me, you get as much out of a pose as you put into it. It doesn't matter how deep or how far you go. In fact, if you go too far, you can hurt yourself. Do what you can do. Be where you are.

Are you participating in the yoga challenge? Do you practice yoga? If not, why not? And if so, what are your favorite poses?

Don't forget to check out my PowerDecal giveaway! It ends 2/11/2015 at midnight! You can jump in here:

Today I'm linking up with the DC trifecta aka CourtneyMar, and Cynthia for Fitness Snapshots!
I'm also linking up with Jill Conyers for Fitness Friday!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Four Seasons of Running

Over the weekend, I took my run to the bike path where I did so much training this past year. I won't sugarcoat it, it was cold. The thermometer read -2F when I headed out. The sun was shining and the winds were light. When you live in the midwest, you get to experience extremes in weather. A runner's life is planned around the weather. Heck, there's even an app that tells you if it's going to be a good day for a run! But even a bad weather day could still be a good run day. I've been doing it long enough to know how to dress for it if I want to get out there. And I do. There's beauty in every season. Which is why I like to run outside all year around. I've been giving this a lot of thought. I do my best thinking on those long runs. And I thought a lot about running on this path through the seasons.

Winter is that time of year that makes it tough to be a runner, at least where I live. The weather is notoriously fickle. Actually, the weather is pretty fickle here all year round but winter brings the most intolerable running conditions. The past week was full of below zero temperatures and even lower wind chills. Schools were closed--some for three days--although that was subject to debate. Even though I live 25 miles from Lake Michigan, we still feel the effects of that big body of water. I check the wind direction when I'm heading out for a run, so I know what to expect. An easterly wind blowing over the lake feels colder than one from the west traveling over dry land. That same wind, aka the hawk (I wrote about this last spring), bracingly cold, can also be the cause of some heavy snowfall--although people who live on the east side of the lake, in Michigan and Indiana, get way more snow due to the lake effect than we do. In the winter, we get snow...and sometimes ice... and not a lot of sun. I will admit that there is pretty much nothing better than running when it is snowing. It feels so peaceful and calm. I do my best to get outside as much as possible in the winter. The fresh air and natural light does my psyche a lot of good and goes a long way towards preventing seasonal depression. So do vitamin D supplements....


Ah.....spring in ChicagoFor runners, spring is our reward after enduring runs in the cold and on the treadmill. The temperatures start to rise and the snow starts to melt. Spring weather can also be fickle, and we get teased with a day or two of warm, sunny days followed by a blizzard. Spring can really mess with your head. But spring is also a season of beauty and hope. After being socked in by clouds, cold, and gray days; after staring at dirty, brown, melting snow and salt stained cars, that first peek of green grass, a tulip poking through the dirt (or snow), or blossoms on the trees; hearing the birds singing--all this can melt even the coldest heart, and remind you that better days are coming. We can take solace in the fact that any snow that falls in spring will quickly melt under the sun's stronger rays. I just love getting outside in the spring and breathing in the freshness that seems to be in the air. Puddle jumping is kind of fun too! Spring is the time of new beginnings. 
Summer (at the retention pond)
And as extreme as winter seems, summers in Chicago are at the opposite extreme. Sometimes I compare the weather here to South Florida, and in July and August, there doesn't seem to be much of a difference! It can be blisteringly hot and so humid that just stepping outside makes you break a sweat.  No matter, I'll take summer over winter anytime. In the summer, I love to get up before the sun comes up and head out for a long run. Early morning runs bring the treat of watching the sunrise. Nights are nice too. Running in the summer rain--as long as it isn't a stormy downpour--is an unexpected pleasure. There comes with the warm weather the hazard of insects, though. Stop for a selfie and the mosquitos are at the ready for a snack. Occasionally clouds, and I mean clouds of gnats fly around and if you run through them, they stick to your sweaty skin. I breathe with my mouth open when I run and yes, I've swallowed my share of gnats. Protein, right? One run, I was stung in the eye by a yellow jacket. He flew right into me. I couldn't help but think what if he flew into my mouth? Scary! I've tried running with my mouth closed and that just doesn't work. A topic for another blog post. Besides the bugs, summer is race training season for me and there is no better feeling than sweating it out on a long run. And let's face it, getting dressed to go out for a run in the summer is a win. One layer, done.

Out of all the seasons, and there is something to love about all of them, fall is my favorite. Nature puts on a big show for us in the fall, changing the colors of the leaves on the trees. I love the sound of dried leaves crunching under my feet as I run on the bike path. The air in the daytime is still warm, even with the hint of crispness and the promise of cold weather ahead. Cooler mornings make for some speedy miles. And no bugs! There are a lot of dry, sunny days in the fall, and that means a lot of outdoor runs and races. All the prep that I've done over the summer comes to fruition as I head to the starting line of whatever big race I've committed to. But as always, the weather can be unpredictable, and that October marathon starting temp could be 30F or it could be 75F, as it was in 2011 when I ran my first marathon. You do your best to be prepared, because living in the midwest, you never know what you're going to get.

What's it like where you live? Do you get to experience the changes of the seasons? What's your favorite season?

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Welcome 2015! Goals, plans, and stuff...

This is the time of year when everyone posts their list of New Year's resolutions. I've never been much of a resolution kind of gal. If that were the case, I would never have run that Chicago marathon last year. I had a couple of halfs on the agenda for the year, but that was it. After I bombed my first marathon, I always said I would never do another marathon. But as this year moved forward and I got stronger and more confident, I decided to go for it.

And that's kind of how I live my life. I've never been much of a planner. When I went back to school to be a nurse practitioner, it was something I'd been thinking about, but never really made big plans to do. But when I decided to do it, I jumped in with both feet and never looked back. Same with the marathon. I won the entry, and said, what the heck?

Worked out pretty well for me, didn't it? I had been training anyways, so it wasn't like I just went from the couch to the road....

Anyways, on to 2015. I have some ideas and things I'd like to accomplish. I do. I just haven't worked out all the details. But here goes nothing...

1. I'd like to stay injury free this year. Don't laugh. This includes continuing to work with Becky and my weight training. I'm convinced that the work she gives me--the heavy lifting, the HIIT--that is what kept me injury free and contributed to the success I had on the road this year. I'm going to stick to the relatively low mileage that I always do because it seems that everytime I ramp up my miles, I start to hurt. 

Hopefully not with my eyes closed!
2. I'm going to run another marathon. It was pretty funny, besides this picture, after I ran Chicago, my husband (who isn't always supportive of my running) made a comment about "the next one". I almost fell over. Who is this man? But when asked, he commented on the training I did, that I didn't complain about having a tough time, that I didn't get hurt, and that my training didn't interfere with any family activities. Ok, then! I'd like to do Chicago again, if I get in the lottery this year, and I'd like to best my finish time. If I don't get into Chicago, there's always Fox Valley, Milwaukee, and Prairie State. Dare I even hope for a sub-4 hour marathon? Ok, it's a goal. Wouldn't that be something? A girl can dream, right?

3. I feel the need...the need for speed! Along those lines, I'd like another sub-2 hour half marathon. I've had a few. The last one was in the fall of 2013, a spur of the moment half that I signed up for the week of the race. See how that lack of planning worked out for me? Regardless, I'd like another one, and I need to get my head around the whole heat and humidity thing, because those summer and Florida halfs aren't bringing me speedy finish times. Hopefully, as I continue to get stronger, that will be less of an issue for me. We'll see.

4. I need to do a better job of managing my mama drama. I write this as my 17 year old is pondering his options for New Years Eve. This year showed me that raising teenagers is way more difficult than running a marathon. I have to keep reminding myself what good boys I have. Even when they do stupid things. Remind me of this the next time I'm sitting in a courtroom with one of them. I'm working on getting my husband on board with shouldering some of the worry and disciplining.... this is a work in progress. He needs to stop waking me up in the middle of the night to share his angst with me. Deal with it, mister man! I will say that running really helps me manage my stress, though. And so back to #1. I can't not run. It's my therapy.

5. I want to continue to grow my blog. I love to write. Can you tell? As a matter of fact, I was a journalism major in college before I changed my major to nursing. Writing is such a great outlet for me. I wish I had more time to spend writing. Blogging has also introduced me to some of my new running friends, many of whom I've met and spent time with in 2014. I hope to meet more of you this year!

So what's up, running-wise, for 2015?

So far,  I've registered for one race, the Sarasota Half Marathon. I've got a couple local spring halfs in consideration: Great Western Half marathon, Springfield Half Marathon. There's that awesome CARA Lakefront 10 miler in April.  I'm looking at running another late summer/early fall half and a fall marathon. I don't want to run too many races, because I don't want to risk injury. Plus I'd like to continue to work on speed. I wouldn't mind doing that Fall 50 in Door County, as a relay. Anyone interested?

Quality over quantity.

Regardless of my goals, what I really look forward to the most is more running!

What are you planning for 2015?

I'm linking this post up with the DC Trifecta for Friday Five! 
And with Jill Conyers for her Friday Blog Hop!
And with MCM mama, My No-Guilt Life, and Run the Great Wide Somewhere for Tuesdays on the Run!