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Planet Gear Giveaway…`

Well, Monday is almost over- Thank GOD! Is it Friday yet? This week is going to be tough since I didn’t get a weekend, but what can you do?

Since I was a snackface this morning, lunch was pretty light. I had a can of Amy’s veggie and barley soup.

This afternoon around 3:30 pm a second cup of coffee was in order. I got a grande skinny vanilla latte. Perfect on a dreary, rainy day!

Guess what?! It is giveaway time!!!! Get excited! When the awesome folks at Planet Gear contacted me about being interested in working with my on a giveaway I was so excited. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Planet Gear, they are specialize in outdoor, fitness and travel apparel. They have certain shops that last a few days where members are offered a discounted rate and it is 100% free to become a member. For example, right now they have a KSWISS shop up and starting tomorrow it is ROXIE (which I am super excited about). They are going to give one FFF reader a $30 gift certificate to use on any shop of their choice. So you can use it now or save it for when another shop you are interested in appears.

Here is how to enter:

1. You need to sign up to be a member (it takes 2 seconds).

2. Comment below and tell me what you like on their site right now.

Simple, right?

Ok- get to it and good luck! A winner will be picked at noon time on Wednesday!

PS- In case you missed it earlier today- I AM GOING TO BE AN AUNTIE!

Just Call Me Auntie!

Hello and Happy Monday! I am not going to lie, I am exhausted! I got a decent night’s sleep too, hours wise. But, I had this terrible dream and I think it messed my sleeping pattern up. I dreamt that Oscar  had cancer and was dying. The dream was so real and so devastating! I think I may have actually cried in my sleep. What on earth would I do if anything happened to my soul mate?

I made sure to give him about 1 million hugs this morning. He, of course, freely accepted the extra attention and treats I gave him.

Breakfast this morning was a little something different. I saw these are the grocery store this weekend and was intrigued.

I figured they could be either amazing or gross. This morning I had one of these sandwiches with some grapes and coffee.

The verdict: They were neither amazing nor gross. The eggs didn’t taste fake and the english muffin didn’t get hard like I thought it would do those are huge pluses. But, it was kind of bland. I think maybe adding a little hot sauce or ketchup would have made it so much better. Next time! At only 15o calories, it didn’t really hold me over until lunch either. I have a few snacks this morning.

Almonds:

Which were AMAZING!

and a pear:

Today’s Outfit:

  • Light gray pants (Express)
  • Aqua v-neck sweater (Gap)
  • Black pointed flats (Marshall’s)

I will be the first to admit this is a little on the boring side. This weekend and my nightmare wore me out. I had no energy or creativity this morning when getting dressed. I am entitled to a boring outfit here and there, no?

In Other News:

A few months ago I received some news and I have been waiting until the time is right (and I had permission) to share it with you guys. My older brother and his girlfriend Alicia are expecting a baby in Decemeber!

It will be the first grandchild for my mom and dad and the first niece or nephew on my side of the family (I already have 11 nieces and nephews on Adam’s side). We are very excited about this news. We will find out the babie’s sex in about 6-7 weeks! I think my brother wants a boy and Alicia doesn’t care either way as long as it is healthy. I am with Alicia on this one. They have mentioned some names, which I really like, but I have not gotten permission to share those yet! I can’t wait to meet our new edition!!!!

Hello! Well, I guess the weekend is coming to an end, huh? I am actually so glad this weekend is over. I never say that, but this weekend I worked the whole time so I am ready for it to be over. I am sooooo excited for a long weekend next weekend (and my half marathon!).

This morning was another early morning. I was in work by 7am. Breakfast was provided. I had a wheat cinnamon raisin bagel topped with honey, a plum and some coffee with half and half.

The day was super busy. Graduation is so much work and it is kind of a zoo. There were two difference graduation ceremonies that I worked today. In between we were served lunch. I had a huge lunch. Usually the day after a long run, I have such a huge hunger and this afternoon it hit hard. I had some salad, a small piece of chicken wrap, a small piece of  veggie wrap and some chips.

The second graduation was the best to work. I was doing student robing and I got to see all the kids that are in and out of our office all the time get all dressed up for gradation. I have such a knack for hooding and fixing tassels ;)

I realized I forgot to post photos of my outfit yesterday, so I thought I would post it with todays since they are both “I am working graduation” outfits.

Yesterday’s graduation outfit: 

  • Tan cropped pants (H&M)
  • White tank (Jacob)
  • Aqua and tan print cardigan (Target)

Cardigan print close up:

Shoes:

Tan Tory Burch flats

Today’s graduation outfit: 

All but the shoes are from Target. 

Shoes: 

I forget where I got them- sorry. My co-worker Jason told me, “They remind me of the bride of Frankenstein, but in a good way.” I took it as a compliment. I was so exhausted when I got home. My feet and legs were killing me, after my 10 miler yesterday and almost 9 hours in heels I was ready to put my feet up.  Adam poured me a delightful glass of pinot noir when I got home. PERFECT! 

I didn’t feel like cooking, so Adam and I ordered dinner. I got a spinach salad, it was spinach mixed with tomatoes, feta, capers, and peppers. 

I also had some veggie soup. 

Dessert was a few dark chocolate covered pretzel thins. Perfect with red wine. 

Well, I am ready for bed. Got to get a good night’s sleep and start the week over again. Oh well, 5 more days and I get a day off :) Night! 

10 Mile PR!

Hello! I hope your weekend has been great so far. My Saturday was super busy, but fun. I got up at 6 am because I had to be in work at 7:30 am. I was working a graduation ceremony. Breakfast was provided, but I wanted a Green Monster for some extra energy. I also had some coffee, fruit and a small piece of banana bread from the breakfast buffet at work.

My co-worker Tory has been interested in trying a Green Monster for a while now. We both decided graduation weekend would be the perfect time for her to try it out since she would need the a little extra energy. Here is Tory with her smoothie- such a cutie :)

Graduation went well, they have it pretty much down to a science. It is a stressful day, but once the ceremony starts you can’t help but be emotional, excited and inspired. The commencement speaker was Peter Smyth the CEO of Greater Media. His speech was pretty awesome. At one point he said, “Never let anyone tell you that you can not succeed in something you are passionate about.” I felt like that was something I needed to hear at that moment.

After graduation I did a little shopping around the area that graduation was in. I stopped into Marathon Sports and Trader Joe’s – two of my favorite places :) When I got home, I had lunch which was leftovers from last night’s dinner.

I spent the rest of the afternoon doing laundry, hydrating and watching the Bruins game (which they lost :( ). Around 4 pm our friends Ibelis and Dan came over and Adam got home from work. We all changed and got ready to head out for our last long training run before the Half Marathon next weekend. Before we headed out for the run we all drank a Gatorade prime. Cheers!

While we were stretching, Oscar gave Dan an quick pep talk.

Here are Adam, Dan and I pre 10 miles.

And their off…

I felt amazing the whole 10 miles!!!! I felt pumped up, strong and soooooo happy to be running. It was great to run with Adam and Dan, the 10 miles flew by since we just chatted non-stop. Around 3 mile we ran into a huge crowd along the Charles River. We were running through the crowd just as everyone was trying to leave it was so hard to weave in and out of the crowd. We soon realized we were running right through Earth Fest. Oops! It was our slowest mile, but still not too bad. Around mile 7 Dan and I split a Vanilla Bean GU.

We ended up doing the 10 miles in 1:35:56 which was a 10 mile PR for Adam and I by about 10 MINUTES !!!!!

Splits:

  • Mile 1- 9:43
  • Mile 2- 9:24
  • Mile 3- 10:03 (dodging Earth Fest goers)
  • Mile 4- 9:26
  • Mile 5- 9:40
  • Mile 6- 9:38
  • Mile 7- 9:47
  • Mile 8- 9:24 (right after the GU)
  • Mile 9- 9:24
  • Mile 10- 9:18

See the difference after the GU? I heart GU! Best way to fuel during long distance in my option! Here are the 3 of us celebrating our 10 miles!

The Run Paparazzi (our friend Ibelis) snapped this shot of our victory kiss while we were stretching. My favorite running partner :)

I can’t believe how amazing I felt during this run. I am hoping that I feel like this next Sunday during the race. I am amazed at how much faster and stronger I am now. I am still not even close to 100%, but I am feeling better due to treatment. I have so much fight in me right now from being sick for so long that I refuse to let my body quit on me. I think that pushing through running while I was unknowingly sick really gave me the ability to keep pushing myself now that I am feeling a little better. I can’t imagine how I will be when I am back to 100%. I am back and better than ever, people.

After a stretch and a shower, I drank a victory Sam Summer- just one, I have to be in work at 7:20 am tomorrow for two more graduation ceremonies tomorrow.

Ibelis and Dan stayed for dinner. Adam grilled Ibelis, Dan and I some shrimp skewers for an appetizer even though he is allergic- ha! What a guy?!

Dinner was homemade turkey burgers. I had mine on a whole wheat and flax seed sandwich think topped with cheddar cheese, mustard and pickles.

I also had a handful sweet potato fries with some natural ketchup for dipping.

The rest of the evening has been spent hanging out with Ibelis and Dan (which basically means laughing our butts off all night). I am going to head to bed soon. I feel on top of the world right now. It is amazing what a significant PR can do for you :)

Night, blog friends!

Hello!!!! How has your Friday night been? Mine was been so much more relaxed than usual. I have to be in work tomorrow earlier than I usually wake up for work on a week day. Yikes!!!!!

When I got home from work today I decided to do for a shorter run that included hills. Before heading out I sipped a coconut water.

I did  2.25 mile in 21:06. I haven’t run hills in a while, sometimes it is fun to do a short hilly run as a challenge.

Splits: 

  • Mile 1- 9:16
  • Mile 2- 9:32
  • .25- 2:17

After my run I enjoyed an iced coffee with cream.

While I sipped my coffee, I spent about 30 minutes with this guy.

I foam rolled my quads and IT bands. It hurt so much, but I felt so much better once I was done. I think I need to spend more time with my foam roller for the next week or so.

For dinner I made Annie’s whole wheat mac and cheese I threw in a little broccoli and some leftover chickpeas from earlier this week for a little veggie power and protein.

After dinner, I showered and went to the grocery store to get some food for the week. I highly recommend going to the grocery store at 10 pm on a Friday night. It was empty and I could shop in peace. It was glorious!

After I got home and put away the groceries, I enjoyed a hazelnut truffle that was a gift from my friend Dan. He raved about how awesome they were so I saved it for when the time was right. After a busy, but relaxing Friday I thought it was the perfect time.

Dan was right, this thing was AMAZING!!!! I need to track these guys down!

Today I received the following comment from a reader:

I have been a silent reader for a long time and I love your blog! I am so inspired by your race training and up until now I have only even participated in a 5k race at my university.  Me and my roommates are thinking about signing up for the Columbus Half Marathon that is in October.  Since we have never trained for something like this is there a schedule you can suggest or any other tips? Also I don’t own a Garmin to track mileage but I want to run outside so I am ready for the outside conditions…any suggestions on how to keep track while outside?

I decided to do a post on this rather than just answer her question individually because I get a lot of e-mails on this topic. It is also a longer answer than I would want to write in a comment. I think when to begin “official training” really depends on how much you have been running and how much distance you normally run. If you are starting from scratch I would recommend starting 4 months out. If you feel like you can do 5 miles, I would recommend starting 12 weeks out.

From my experience (I am not an expert by any means, I just know what works for me) running 3-4 days a week and strength train 2 days a week really was the best combination. The strength training is something that I think a lot of people neglect  and really shouldn’t. Building strength in your legs is super important because the muscles you use for squats and lunges are different than the ones you use running. If these muscles are strong they will help support your running muscles when they fatigue. I found that strengthening my back and abs helped me a lot in the last leg of races because their strength kept me from hunching which helped my breathing.

As far as the running portion of the training, I would recommend finding one day a week for a shorter quicker run, a mid length run and then a long run. Your long runs should start around 5 miles and increase one mile a week until you get up to 12 miles. The week leading up to the half marathon you will want to taper your milage. You can read my post on tapering for more information about that.

There are a few ways to track you milage while running outside without a Garmin. If you are a runner and are interested in seeing you pace as you are running, tracking you heart-rate or seeing your splits, I really, really recommend purchasing a Garmin. But if you are just interested in tracking you milage there are tons of apps you can download if you have a smartphone. I have used  the RunKeeper  app before and it works pretty well. You can also time yourself using a watch and map the milage using Map My Run. You can see your distance and if you time yourself you pretty much know you average speed. Map My Run also has runs of various distances saved so you can see popular loops in you area in case you are unsure of where to run.

I hope this info helps. If you guys have anymore questions, please feel free to comment or e-mail me. Again, this os just based on my experience. I am sure different runner will tell you different things.

Tips for the Taper

Hello! Are you excited Friday is almost over? :) My day has been busy, but for some reason the end of the day is drrrraaaagggggiiiinnnnngggg!Almost there!

Lunch today pretty much the same exact thing as yesterday. Sorry to be boring, but it was quick and easy to make it this morning. I had a turkey sandwich with mustard on a whole wheat flax flat bread with salt and vinegar popchips and fruit: grapes and blueberries.

I decided to try out the Chia iced tea that Tazo sent me on Monday.

I really, really liked it! I will say that it does have a strong spicy flavor so I don’t think it is a good idea to drink it with food that also has a  strong flavor, like salt and vinegar popchips. Chia and vinegar do not mix well.  I think I would like it much better on it’s own. Even though it had a spicy flavor, it was still super refreshing which I think is kind of difficult to pull off.

Around 3pm, I had an afternoon snack of a mini Larabar.

This weekend I will be doing my last long run (10 miler) before the Run To Remember Half Marathon on May 29th. After I complete that run I will be in taper mode. The strange thing about tapering for me this time is that since I was so sick for that last few months, I haven’t really been able to get my mileage up to the numbers I would normally be comfortable with. So it almost feels like I am tapering before I even began my training for real. I am not feeling under-trained though. I can do 13.1 miles. It will be challenging, but I can do it.

The thing  is, I  struggle with in tapering under normal circumstances, is really difficult for me mentally. I just have a hard time sitting still and not working out. But, this time, I had to take so much time off from working out that I feel like I am now finally getting back into a grove just in time to taper!  I do, however, completely understand and believe in the importance of tapering.  About one week out from a race like this, anything I do will hurt me rather than help me on race day. I know that, cognitively I get it- yet it is still hard for me to slow down.

Luckily, this is not my first time having to taper for a longer distance race. I have done it before so I have developed some tips. If you have a hard time tapering like I do, here are some of my tips:

Do something else: During the times you would be running or working out do something else. Take your dog for that nice long walk you never have time for. I actually plan on trying to hang out with some friends that I never get to see when I am training because I am so busy. I will probably read more, blog more and maybe actually get the laundry under control (hahahaha- yeah right).  Do other things you love that you have to put on the back burner when training.

Remember what it all for: When you want to go out and pound the pavement or do other workouts remember how long you have trained and prepared for this race. Imagine if you did that one silly run and then ended up at the start line without100% rested legs. When you really think about it, that seems silly, right?! Think about your goals whether they be to finish, PR or qualify for another race and remember how important tapering is to get you there.

Use Others for Support: Chances are you know someone else running the race or preparing for the event.  If you don’t, I bet you know someone that has done a race like that in the past and can commiserate with you about how hard it is to taper.  Lucky for me, I have a large group of friends running this race with me and can count on them to understand how I feel and bring me back to reality when I think it is a good idea to just get in an “easy 3 miler” the day before my race.

Enjoy it: Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our training and our workouts that we forget how awesome it is to do nothing. I mean literally do nothing.  There is a small part of me that is excited to come home from work for a few days and just relax. I am looking forward to it a little bit.

Have you had to taper for a race? Are you fine with it or do you find it difficult? What are your tips for the taper?

Scenes From The Bus

Gooooood Morning, my loves! Are you all glad it is Friday? I have to work this weekend, but for some reason, I am still relieved to know it is Friday.

This morning I had a pretty boring breakfast. Boring for you, not for me- I love cereal :) I had 1 cup of Kashi GoLean Crunch, 1 cup of fat free organic milk and a handful of blueberries.  I can tell I love this cereal because last night I burned the roof of my mouth on pizza and this cereal has a lot of jagged edges, so it was painful to eat in a way but I still ate it. I heart Kashi :)

I also had coffee with half and half in my Dachshund mug.

I had a rather fun bus ride this morning (well as “fun” as public transportation can be). Upon getting on the bus I was greeted by an intoxicated man who informed me my jacket made me look like Sergeant Pepper. I took that  as a compliment.

Hmmm, not sure I see a real resemblance- but I guess it is close enough.

Since I wanted to drown out said intoxicated man, who thought my half smile to his Sergeant Pepper comment was an invitation to tell me his life story, I put in my headphones and opened my Run Like A Girl book.

I know you are thinking, “She is still reading that?”. Well, I cannot get through this book  like a normal book. I will use another scene from bus this morning to explain. (Warning- I am about to put my Associates Degree in Theater to good use, this scene will we written as a play script.)

Scene: Ali sits with her iPod on, Run Like a Girl on her lap as she feverishly highlights, uses a tri-colored pen to make comments in the margin (red ink- for questions she has about the author’s thoughts, blue ink- ideas that she has as a take-off from the author’s point, black ink- things she wants t to do additional research on), and a pad of post its for longer notes not suitable for a margin sits on her left thigh. The book has about 30 post-it’s sticking out of it, pages are dogeared- this book has A LOT going on.

Man sitting next to Ali, taps her on the should. She pulls out one ear bud- with a look on her face that says, “that is all you are getting from me on a Friday.”

Man: Run Like a Girl, huh? What class are you taking that assigned you that book, just curious?

Ali: It’s not for a class, it is a book I am reading for fun.

Man: (Laughs) You seem too serious about it for it to be fun with all your school supplies. Can you run?

Ali: No, and I don’t know how to read either.  (puts back in her ear-bud and ignores Man’s puzzled look).

This book has brought out my general nerdiness and my running nerd to create  an explosion of epic nerd proportions and therefor, this book is taking me forever to finish…but I love it!!!!!!

Today’s Outfit:

  • Dark matchstick jeans (J Crew)
  • White cami (H&M)
  • Red print sheer shirt (TJ Maxx)

Shirt print:

Confession: I hardly ever wear this shirt. It makes me feel like a clown. I have to wake up in a really silly mood to feel like I can pull it off. It just has a lot going on: busy print, the bow, the button neck, the ruffles, the puffy sleeves.

Shoes:

Nude bow flats (Anne Klein).

What brings out your inner nerd?

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