Monday, August 18, 2014

Birthday Weekend and RnR Philly Half Week 6 Recap

Hey hey!  It's Monday, which can be a pain, but the good news is that it's my birthday!  I had an action-packed Saturday full of birthday celebrations, AND an 11 mile run that I did a kickass job (if I do say so myself!).   

Birthday Celebrations!  

Rock Climbing

I wanted to do something fun and adventurous on my birthday so I found a great deal on Livingsocial to go to a rock climbing gym.  Bret and my 2 girl friends were able to come and we learned how to belay and how to climb.  I've gone rock climbing a couple of times, not lately, but I never learned how to belay, that's a lot of responsibility!  Unfortunately at one point Bret was climbing and I realized I forgot to attach my anchor....scary!!  Thankfully, he survived, and I think he has forgiven me!    

This was an easy one, lol!

We had a great time rock climbing!

Included in the package was $10 worth of food and a free drink, sponsored by Apple Ale.  This took place at Franklin's, a local bar nearby, that we actually love during football season.  I had the most amazing nachos!  And the apple ale was really good too!

Nachos at Franklin's are dangerous!
Dinner at Zorba's

I like to consider myself a "foodie", so I was so excited to make reservations for Zorba's, an awesome Greek restaurant in my neighborhood.  My sister, more of my girl friends, and a few of my coworkers were able to join in.  I was pretty stuffed from earlier, but I still enjoyed the hummus appetizer and pork souvlaki for dinner!  I really had a lovely time.

New profile pic??

pork souvlaki zorbas
Hello Pork Souvlaki!

She drove all the way from Maryland for dinner!  Best sister ever!

dinner zorbas
Thanks to everyone!! 

House Party

We love having house parties.  Why we don't do it more often, I have no idea!  Bret was so sweet, he left dinner early to set everything up.  I should have taken a picture of the spread...lots of fruits and veggies (I've taught him well!)  By the time we headed over, there were already a couple of guests. We had a great mix of people.  I even had a couple of my kickball teammates drop by, and they were so much fun!  The big finale was when I was serenaded by the room and presented with a cupcake.  Thanks Jennifer and Bret!

Happy birthday, happy cupcake, happy me!

I had a great birthday celebration...mischief managed!  I'm still so thankful to everyone who came out...I'm opening my presents today!

Week 6 Workouts:

Monday 8/11:  Rest day, BUT I did do some pre-hab.  Two sets of 15 forward and reverse lunges, one minute clamshells, one minute leg raises. 

Tuesday 8/12:  3.20 miles on the treadmill.  After warming up, I started on 5.5 mph with a 0.5% incline.  After a while my left calf didn't like it, so I took the incline off and picked up the pace.  I was feeling a cold coming so I didn't want to run outside in the rain. 

Wednesday 8/13:  Core and More Class (I know, I know), but I'm taking it VERY easy now.  After work. Mark and I ran 3.3 miles at a very bizarre         pace, 11:51 average.  It was very breezy and it probably took 2 miles to find our sweet spot.  I don't know why but my instantaneous speed on my watch always shows up to be way faster than my average speed and it's starting to throw me off...

Thursday 8/14:  We had a playoff Kickball game.  We were having a pretty fun time until the sky opened up and we got rained out!!  We biked to and from the playground, which was around 4 miles.  

Friday 8/15:  I may have done some pre-hab exercises...can't remember!

Saturday 8/16:  11.14 miles at 11:43 average pace.  What a victory!  Bret and I ran the beloved Forbidden Drive and the weather was perfect.    My total time was 2:10, which is a huge accomplishment considering last week's 2:04 10 mile run.  This time, after talking to Coach Kristy, I took Clif Shot Bloks every 3 miles.  I do believe that it made a difference!   

Sunday 8/17:  After a crazy Saturday I was EXHAUSTED and didn't do anything productive until 11:30 am...seriously!  But I still had a run to do.  Thankfully Bret joined me in the evening for this 3 mile easy run, 10:43 average pace. 

Felt like I good run another mile!

Week 6 Report Card:

I do believe that this was my best training week ever!  Even though I did Core and More, I took things very easily and didn't work myself out too hard.  My legs were able to handle over 20 miles of running this week...just a few months ago I was barely running that much in a month!  My knees are not crying as much and I really do feel like a "real" runner again.  Grade:  A+!  Welcome back, Janelle!

How was your running weekend?  Do you like working out on your birthday? 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday: Dinner at Twisted Tail

Happy Hump Day, what a busy week!  Today I'm linking up with Jen at Peas and Crayons for What I Ate Wednesday!   It's a HUGE, fun link up where bloggers share their latest eats and delicious recipes.  So many of the dishes that I've made were thanks to my discoveries over there, you should check it out!  

It has been so long since I've shared some of tasty eats.  Cooking has been pretty un-extraordinary lately, as I've been so busy and try to make dinners as simple as possible between work, studying for my PE exam and training for the Rock & Roll Philly half marathon.  
But we did have a great dinner last Saturday night!   

Dinner at Twisted Tail

We decided to go out last weekend, and Bret found the Twisted Tail while internet surfing.  It is a "Southern-inspired Bourbon House and Juke Joint" in the Society Hill area of Philly.  We're always in the mood for "classy Southern cooking" haha.  They offered a four course dinner for $39 per person, and since the menu was so expansive, we couldn't resist!  

Charcoal Grilled Lamb Meatballs

I started out with an item from the charcoal grill:  lamb meatballs.  They had a great cumin flavor that added a bit of heat.  Bret and I shared these meatballs (he went with grilled shrimp which was so smoky and tasty!).  The first-first course was some bacon flavored popcorn which was quite addictive!   And to drink I had a mint julep.  Let me tell was strong!!  

Grilled lamb meatballs 

Maryland Blue Crab Cakes 

Appetizer time..I had to go for the crab cakes.  There have been so many times that I've had crab cakes and regretted my decision...not this time!  These were soo delicious!  The onions were a great complement to the meal.

The BEST crab cakes I've ever had!

Florida Shrimp and Grits and Skillet Cornbread

Finally it was time for the main course!  The shrimp and grits were absolutely delicious!  I do get a little bit weirded out about eating the "entire" shrimp....I don't like to see its eyes looking back at me! I loved the presentation of this dish.  I also got skillet cornbread as my "dessert" and it was a perfect combination.

Tasty shrimp and grits! 

Beignets for Dessert 

We actually didn't finish the entree course, we were stuffed!  But apparently not too stuffed for dessert!  They had so many options too....peach cobbler with blueberry ice cream, all kinds of sorbets, cheesecake and chocolate cake...but Bret went for the beignets, a New Orleans classic.  These were so good and pillowy, we knocked them out!   

We gobbled up the beignets! 

Our server, Anthony, was a riot, and made the whole experience fun!  We then headed upstairs so Bret could have an Old Fashioned and we could get a better view of the live blues music.  We had a great time! 

Where did you go for your last great dinner out?  What's your favorite restaurant cuisine?  

Monday, August 11, 2014

City Fit Girls and Rock & Roll Philly Half Training: Week 5 Recap

I hope you had a great weekend!  It's so funny that people are complaining that August isn't hot's been perfect for me, especially since I'm spending a lot of time running outside!  

I have just finished up Week 5 of my training for the Rock and Roll Philly Half Marathon.  Things are now starting to get serious!  This was my first week of running 4 days, and apparently I've survived!

City Fit Girls Ambassadorship

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I was selected to be a City Fit Girls Ambassador, which is definitely one of the most exciting things to happen to me!  

Last week we hosted a Twitter Party on Running 101 using the hashtag #FitRetreatPHL and I was able to participate with some really cool people!  I love the energy that everyone brought, as we got to share tips on how to start training for a race, what kind of gear we recommend, and the benefits of group runs!  I know that I'm no expert, but it was great to know that I had some worthy advice to share.  It was definitely the best Twitter Party I ever attended!  

We have quite a few exciting events coming up so I'd love to tell you about them.  So if you're in Philly and you love clothes and/or working out, you should definitely try to come out to any of the events described below!  It's going to be so much fun!  Follow City Fit Girls on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter!  

Happy Hour Indoor Cycling with Flywheel on 8/11:

city fit girls flywheel

This is a very cool event taking place at Flywheel, an indoor cycling studio in Center City.  If you love spinning class, this should be a great challenge with fun music and a fully customizable experience.  

Tickets are still available!  I'm not going to be able to make it sadly, but if I could, I'd so be there!

Networking/Shopping at Loft with the City Fit Girls Ambassadors 8/18

city fit girls loft shopping

I am so excited about this event.  I recently discovered how awesome LOFT is to shop as I found some really cute clothes there before my Jamaica trip.  We'll be taking over the store from 7-9 pm, shopping and networking with wine!  I'll finally get to meet the founders of City Fit Girls (who are awesome by the way) and my fellow ambassadors (equally awesome).  

I hope that some of my female friends will be able to take the time to drop by LOFT!  Did I mention 20% off??  Spread the word! 

City Fit Girls Fit Retreat 8/23

city fit girls fit retreat

This is the big enchilada, the big event of the summer!  The Fit Retreat is an opportunity for women who are passionate about being fit and healthy to come together, learn new things, take new courses and have fun!  

Taking place on Saturday, August 23, City Fit GIrls are packing a TON of activities for only $25.  Yoga?  Check.  Running?  Check.  Kickboxing?  Check.  Healthy food discussions?  Check.  They're got great instructors from businesses throughout Philly so we'll definitely be in good hands!    

What's even more exciting (and definitely scary) is that I will be helping at the 1 pm Training Tips session as a "facilitator" of sorts.  What a wonderful opportunity!  

Again, I ask my friends in the Philly who love fitness and being healthy to register and join in on this awesome event!!

Week 5 Training:

Monday 8/4:  Rest day.  No problems from Sunday's run, but I think the squats that I did (hold for a minute, 3x) caused some pain in my lower back!

Tuesday 8/5:  So I was supposed to do my 3 mile run.  It was really hot out and I wanted to wait until later in the evening so I could run with Bret closer to home.  Well, it didn't happen.  Sometimes I have to accept that my journey to the half marathon is MY journey.  I can't set expectations for other people.

Wednesday 8/6:  For the first time in weeks I went to Core and More Class...I jumped in late and kicked my butt!  After work I had a 3.13 mile run, 10:53 average pace.  This was really tough and there were points I wanted to quit.  I did use my new water bottle and that worked pretty well but the sun was SO strong I had to drink more than I anticipated.  When I got home I did 50 donkey kicks on each leg and 15 reps of front, reverse and side lunges.  The good thing is I can actually feel my glutes working while I run, so I guess I'm doing something right! 

Thursday 8/7:  My whole body was aching...yesterday was too much.  Still I had a  3.1 mile run, 11:06 average pace.  While slower than Wednesday, my pace was much more consistent and the weather was much more manageable.  I was  SUPER sore from Wednesday and glutes sore post-run, and my feet needed some TLC.  Our last kickball game was that night and I played pretty badly, so I didn't do much running, thank goodness.  

Friday 8/8:  Core and More Class.  I took it very easy as I still had some lingering soreness.  

Saturday 8/9:  The big moment...10.1 mile run, 12:20 average pace.  All I can say is WOW!  This was the first time I ran over 2 hours since the Philly Half Marathon in 2012.  Since then I've had a stress fracture and later, plantar fasciitis.  It's been a long road, needless to say!  Bret and I started out very slow and things felt pretty good.  As we got to 5 miles, I was feeling great.  Took the Shot Bloks and felt a burst of energy, but around 6.5 to 7 miles, it was a struggle.  My knees also felt really bad for a stretch, and we briefly stopped so I could shake it out.  There were so many highs and lows as we ran, and thankfully we were able to end the last mile and a half strong.  I'm so happy and grateful! 

Sunday 8/10:  Thankfully I had an easy 3.14 mile run, 11:01 average pace.  My feet felt a bit heavy at first but as I warmed up I found my sweet spot.  No complaints here! 

Couldn't have run 10 miles without this guy!

Week 5 Report Card:

To be honest I have to say this was the worst week that I've had, but it still could have been a lot worse!  While I didn't skip any runs, I should have run on Tuesday as per my plan.  That and doing Core and More twice gave me way too much physical activity between Wednesday and Friday.  Now I see why Coach Kristy said I should stop doing Core and More...even though it does provide some of the strengthening I need with the squats and lunges.  

The good thing is that Kickball is over until September, so I don't have to worry about compromising my training by being sore from all that kicking and sprinting!  I've also been doing my prehab, so that's good.  

I'm very proud of the long run, so with that alone, I give Week 5 a B.  Good, but could have been better!  

Would you go to Fit Retreat if it was in your area?  What do you do about sore knees?  

Monday, August 4, 2014

Chasing Joy and Rock & Roll Philly Half Training: Week 4 Recap

Happy Monday!  I hope you had a wonderful weekend!  Mine was nice and long, but definitely could have been longer!  Rock and Roll Philly Half Marathon training has been going really well!  It's not exactly perfect, but I'm still just grateful that my body is strong enough to run! 
Chasing Joy Brunch and Learn
On Saturday I attended a Brunch and Learn hosted by Arlett at Chasing Joy discussing The Law of Attraction.  The Law of Attraction is that you are like a magnet, and the Universe (stay with me here, lol) gives you what you focused on/attracted to.  So if you are focused on doubts and negativity, this tends to be what is drawn to your life.  There were presentations by S.H.A.R.E Couseling and Therapy Services focusing on this concept, and the speakers talked about stress management, wellness and goal setting.

Stress can be a killer, right?  Making sure that you have a balance in your social, emotional, physical, and spritual attributes is so important, as they are all interconnected.  And when it comes to setting goals, you can have all the best-laid plans, but have to be ready to take them on! 

We also talked about the benefits of journaling, vision boards, and using mantras to keep attracting the things that we want in our life.  I want to be more proactive inhaving a happier life and keep working towards all of my numerous goals.  After this meeting I realized I have even a few more personal goals to tackle!  

chasing joy august event
Arlett and I at Chasing Joy Brunch & Learn

While the material sounds a bit heavy, this event was so much fun!  It was great to see a nice sized group of women that were open to learning strategies to handle stress and "chase joy".  Everyone was so friendly.  It was also nice that there were lots of raffles for great giveaways.  I was lucky enough to win some corkboard to use for a new vision board!  Thanks so much Arlett for putting on a great brunch and learn--and Maggiano's was delicious!   

Week 4 Training Recap:

Monday 7/28:  Good old rest day.  

Tuesday 7/29:  3 mile easy solo run at 10:50 average pace.  It's funny because it felt like I was moving so much faster than that!  The weather was in the 70's so for once I wasn't a sweaty mess post-afternoon run!

Wednesday 7/30:  I donated blood to the Red Cross at work.  It's something I really should do more often!  I felt fine afterwards, but realized I was pretty beat when I got home.  Lots of napping!

Thursday 7/31:  A night of kickball.  It was a fun game and I got 2 runs, but we lost by one point.  It's always a good workout sprinting around the bases! 

Friday 8/1:  No scheduled workouts.  My quads were so sore from kickball...I need to foam roll after my games! 

Saturday 8/2:  5.10 mile run with Bret at 11:41 pace on Forbidden Drive.  It started out slow but then I found that sweet spot.  It really is my favorite place to's so scenic and peaceful, especially on Saturday mornings!

Sunday 8/3:  3.10 miles solo at 10:31 pace.  It was a misty day and I was feeling like a rock first!  I wavered between feeling perfect and feeling good, but at least there was no pain!  I also had some Bruno Mars to keep me company, which helped.  Pre-run, I finally did my exercises:  clam shells, leg raises, one legged squats and regular squats. 

Proof I don't make this stuff up!

Week 4 Report Card:

This past week was a step-back week with a 5 mile long run, and because I had a huge running gap between Tuesday and Saturday (it's so funny to say that now...), I have to admit that I slacked off since I had "nothing" to do.  I didn't do my prehab exercises nearly as much as I needed to, and with my knees feeling creaky these days, it's not a good move.  I really need to try to work up to doing them every other day.  So for that, I only give myself a B.  But that's not that bad!  I'm very excited that my new water bottle is coming in the mail and I'll get to play around with it.  Week 5 is even more exciting because I am moving to four day a week runs:  Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.  I will be up to 19 miles a week, and going up from there, I still can't believe it!  

All runs should be happy.

What fun things did you do this weekend?  How was your running and workouts?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

RnR Half Marathon Philly Training: Week 3 Recap

I hope your week has been going great so far!  It's so strange coming back home from vacation with weather in the 80's...I'm so relieved to have a break from the oppressive temperatures, especially as a runner! 

It's hard to believe that the Rock and Roll Philly Half Marathon is less than 2 months away!  That is definitely scary...but training has been going very well.  It really has reminded me of what I love about running.  It was so hard not being able to be out there because of injury.  I don't want to deal with that ever again.  So how did last week's training go?

Full of emotions on 8 mile running day!

Week 3 Training:

Monday 7/21:  Rest Day.  Much needed after that calf discomfort after running on the beach in Jamaica!  But I did do some hip strengthening exercises.

Tuesday 7/22:  Lots of walking at the Montego Bay, Atlanta, and Baltimore airports!

Wednesday 7/23: 4 mile run at 11:47 pace.  For whatever reason I can not simply run 11 minutes per mile, I am either too fast or too slow.  The humidity was unbearable on this evening run with Bret.  By the end my legs felt heavy and tired, which is very unusual.  I blame dehydration and lack of good food during the day. 

Thursday 7/24:  Kickball day!  It was great to see everyone again since being on vacation.  I recruited a few friends to join us, unfortunately I didn't get much of a workout since I never made it to first base...

Friday 7/25:  I forgot all about Core and More Class, oops! 

Saturday 7/26: 8.11 mile run at 11:35 pace with Bret.  I was so full of anxiety because this was the first time I had run 8 miles in over a year and a half.  It was a rough morning. Thankfully Bret snapped me out of it and it went great!  3 miles in in began to rain, hard.  We were almost done and we ran into JoAnn, one of my former coworkers who's now retired (and always an inspiration to me)...we did a speedy quarter mile together and then it was all over!  She invited me to do Zooma in Annapolis next year...I'm in!      

Sunday 7/27:  4 mile solo run at 11:01 pace, much more on target and I felt the difference!.  I had a busy Sunday so I didn't get to go out and run until after 8:30 pm.  It was definitely scary and I prayed the whole way lol. 

Saturday's post-run brunch:  A feast!

Week 3 Report Card:
This was an interesting week in my training.  I really wanted to get my 4 mile run done on Tuesday but I was "stuck" in Jamaica and the only working treadmill was in use.  But I'm glad I had the Wednesday run, even though it was a struggle.  I'm most proud of myself being able to run 8 miles with no major problems.  On Saturday's long run my knees felt worse than they have in years, but Coach Kristy has given me some exercises to do 4-5 days a week including squats, hydrants (it's exactly what you think it is), and donkey we'll see if that helps.   

I'm definitely staying more on target with my pace goals, which is great, and I continue to do my prehab and step that up.  I still need to get my hydration system working (I'm thinking of buying this) but I've done everything I'm supposed to.  Week 3 grade: A-!  Now I'm in Week 4 which is a bit of a step back since Week 5 onwards will be 4 days a week of training.  I look forward to it!

What are your favorite exercises for injury prevention?  Have you conquered any tough distances or courses lately?   

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