Monthly Archives: February 2014

Wine Tasting and Kidney Foundation

Doug and I attended a Wine Tasting and Information Session with the National Kidney Foundation last night and we had a great time.  I found out about the event through the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce and was excited for the opportunity to learn more about the foundation, network with other local business people and, of course, taste a few new wines.

The evening kicked off with a bundle of information about what the Kidney Foundation does, light finger foods and a true/false game of kidney disease education.  In addition to meeting other local Hampton Roads professionals, I learned about the prevalence of wine tastingkidney disease in this area and the lack of knowledge not only I have, but that most other people do, too.  After a few activities, through which Team FitNice earned some Kidney Foundation swag, including a new coffee mug, a magnet and an adorable teddy bear, the informational portion of the evening wrapped up and we moved on to the wine tasting.

Our wine tasting portion of the night included four wines linked by the theme that each was a blended wine.  Presented by Total Wine staffer Rachel, our four wines were the crisp and easy drinking Kitchen Sink White Blend (my favorite of the four), the more acidic, edgy and citrus flavored Script and Seal White Blend, the earthy and aromatic Kestrel Lady in Red and, finally, the big bodied Sexy Wine Bomb Red Blend.  I left the meet and greet/wine tasting event excited about getting Team FitNice involved in the May 17th Kidney Walk and went overboard, cruising the aisles of Total Wine before we ending up with 8 new wines to try and a six pack of Bell’s Wheat Love Ale.

wine tastingHunger had attacked during our aisle patrolling, and we went nearby to Gringo’s Taqueria for a late-ish dinner.  A tiny, hole-in-the-wall, local spot tucked away at the Oceanfront, it’s famous for its fish tacos.  Although neither of us dined on fish tacos last night, my shrimp and steak fajitas special was fresh, tasty and filling and Doug’s fresh shrimp and pineapple salsa bowl was equally as crisp, fragrant and stuffing.  We really enjoyed our food, our drinks and the environment.  The west coast inspired food might be a tab expensive, but it’s all incredibly fresh and free of grease.  This little gem is definitely worth a visit when you’re in the mood for friendly, local fare.

Stay tuned as I’ll review each of the wines we bought last night after they’ve been opened, and keep you updated on Team FitNice‘s plans for the Hampton Roads Kidney Walk on 17 May, 2014.

Meredith

Do you know anyone with Kidney Disease?  What’s your favorite type of taco?

Say What? Running Terms

I recently wrote a post for the FitNicePT blog that went over basic gym terms a new participant might need to know.  I realized that while there are basic terms every gym has in common, a big chain fitness center doesn’t use the same phrasology a Crossfit box does or that you’d find useful in a yoga studio.  It’s impossible to compile, in a reasonably sized blog post, all the fitness related terms someone might want to know, but I gave it a shot.

While struggling to decide what to leave in and let out of that post, it was pretty obvious that running has its own language, too, and it might be difficult for new or non-runners to understand.  Here’s a guide to seven running terms that might throw a new runner off.

LSD – Long slow distance.  Endurance building runs, these are the longest run of a training week, done at a slower pace than all others and, as the foundation of half- and marathon training, are great for mental toughness.

Fartlek – Originating in Sweeden, fartlek is Sweedish for speed play.  This is a speed workout in which the runner increases pace for however long they wish alternating with slower paced segments.

PR or PB – Personal Record or Personal Best at a given distance.  This is your all time best finishing time in a race at every distance you’ve run and often, most runners are working towards beating their current one.

Spikes – Metal, plastic or ceramic studs that are screwed into track shoes to provide running termstraction and often used on tracks and cross-country courses.

Tempo – A sustained, faster pace run that is less than an hour and usually between 3 and 6 miles long.  Tempo runs are a great way to practice working hard without the pounding a session on the track can produce.

BQ – Boston Qualifier.  A life dream for many, running in the Boston Marathon requires an age group qualifying time that is often competitive.  A BQ time must be earned in a recognized race at 26.2 miles.

Negative Split – Running the second half of a race faster than the first.

Out-and-back – Running from a start point to a turnaround point and heading back to the start point.  These are great for training courses and can been seen as race courses as well.

With these running terms in your vocabulary, you’re sure to feel comfortable talking to anyone about whether their PR is a BQ or not!

Meredith

What running terms do you think might be good for a new runner to learn?

Shamrock Week 9 Wrap Up

Shamrock Week 9 definitely had its ups and downs, but all things considered, it could have been a much worse training week.  Monday’s run was excellent and I was felt great after a lighter than expected Week 8.  Tuesday and Wednesday were good as well, but things came a little unglued halfway through Thursday’s long run.  After having a rough time with my long run last week, I was ready to get it done with Week 9’s two hour outing.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work out this week, either.

Thursday not only marked the day for my long run, but also started my 60BySpring journey, and I was both excited and fresh heading out into a beautiful day.  The first half of my two hour run was great.  The second half was a mess.  Around Mile 9, I hit a wall I’ve shamrock week 9never seen or felt before and my entire body started to say ‘NO!’.  I forced myself through an additional 5 miles for a total of 14, but those last few were brutal.  I collapsed on the floor as soon as I got inside and started shivering.  Sure, sweaty clothes, cold body, but after putting on dry ones, foam rolling, stretching and icing, I should have warmed up.  When I steamed up the shower and fought off chills standing in the hot water, I knew something was wrong.  My body had never felt like that before, even after my hardest workouts in the warmest and coldest temperatures I’ve experienced.

I woke up Friday morning with a fever, sore throat, chills and a canned 5 Mile Race Pace run.  The day was spent sleeping and sucking down fluids so I would hopefully feel better by Saturday morning for work.  It worked, and I felt well enough to not only work, but get in a surprisingly good shortened, only slightly slower than planned, 4 Mile Race Pace Run to wrap up Week 9’s mileage.  I managed to get 20 miles in towards to my 60BySpring goal in Shamrock Week 9 and can’t wait to keep moving forward in Week 10.

Shamrock Week 10 brings with it another two hour long run, and even though my last two have been less than ideal, I’m feeling much better and looking to turn things around on Friday.  I know I can cover the 13.1 mile distance I need to on 15 March, but I really want to get that new PR I’ve been working towards, and for my mental health, I need to get a good 15+ miler in before race day.  In addition to that two hour long run, here’s what the schedule looks like for my peak mileage training in Week 10:

Monday – Race Pace 5
Tuesday – Crossfit
Wednesday – Tempo 60
Thursday – Speed Work
Friday – 120 Minute Long Run
Saturday – Crossfit and recovery run
Sunday – Rest!

With Shamrock Week 9 and a bout with fever behind me, I’m excited to rack up the miles and keep chipping away at my 60BySpring in Week 10 before tapering in Week 11.

Meredith

How’s your Spring Race Training going?  How do you deal with being under the weather during a training cycle?

60BySpring Challenge

Hello all!  This post should have come out earlier, but I’m battling a fever and didn’t have a burning desire (pun intended) to do much of anything except stay still and drink fluids until a few minutes ago.  As a result of this gross miscarriage of Half Marathon Training Justice, I was forced to postpone a 5 mile race pace run that would have wrapped up the running portion of Shamrock Week 9 and gotten me closer to completing my 60BySpring Challenge.  ‘Your what?’ you say?60byspring

Well, I’ll fill you in!  FitNicePT kicked off a social media campaign called 60BySpring this Thursday, February 20 and it will be running (pun also intended) through the first day of Spring: March 20, 2014.  Participants have four weeks to log 60 running, run-walking or walking miles.  I’m really excited about it and have been tweeting with both @FitNicePT and @FitNiceRunner about the program for two weeks.  The goal of the 60BySpring Challenge is to help people kick off their beach body transformations, and as most people know, the hard work has to start before April.

The 60BySpring Challenge is not meant to help marathoners hit a new 26.2 PR, though it might, but to get people moving and thinking about fitness.  This Challenge asks only that people average 2.14 miles each day for a period of 28 days, and that 30 minute commitment can hopefully become an important part of their day.  Once fitness becomes a habit, it’s easy to stick with, and since it only takes 21 days to form a new one, 60BySpring is the best way I can help people get ready for swimsuit season.  Participants simply run their miles and post to Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #60BySpring to interact with fellow participants, ask Team FitNice questions and support one another.

I began logging my 60BySpring miles yesterday with a 14 mile long run, you’ll hear more about that in Shamrock Week 9 Wrap Up, and will hopefully get back to checking them off tomorrow.  Now it’s back to fluids, and bed not long after, so I can work and get today’s missed 5 mile race pace run done in the morning.

Meredith

How do you start getting ready for Beach Season?  Are you joining our #60BySpring Challenge?

Listen To Your Body with 3 Tips

It can be hard to listen to your body when you’re in the heat of training for a big race.  The fear of being injured, not wanting to take time off to let it heal and losing training time can all lead to making a bad situation worse.  I was forced to listen to my body during a not-so-good long run during Shamrock Week 8, and it was a good reminder that missing a day of training or taking an intense scheduled workout down a notch isn’t the end of the world.

Week 8 of Shamrock Training kicked off last Monday with a really good Race Pace run and the trend continued with tough workouts Tuesday and Wednesday where I really pushed myself.  By the time I put my running shoes on Thursday, my legs were feeling slightly more tired than usual, but I wanted to keep the momentum going and worked hard to nail my speed work.  In spite of lots of stretching and rolling Thursday, I woke up Friday to legs that were saying ‘no’ to my planned 105 minute run.  I eventually dug deep and found the motivation to get my heavy legs outside, only to find that it wasn’t worth it.  My body felt listen to your bodyterrible.  I was plenty hydrated and my muscles weren’t tight or cramping, they were simply exhausted.  By the time I hit Minute 45, I knew I couldn’t, and shouldn’t run for another hour.  I cut the outing short and ran for another 30 minutes, getting in a solid 10 miler without injuring myself.  I collapsed on the floor as soon as I got inside and rolled, massaged and iced immediately to wrap up the day’s workout.

I felt better Saturday morning, though my muscles still seemed a little groggy.  Light strength training, a short recovery run woke them up, and after a very good night’s sleep, I felt better than back to normal Sunday morning.  This week’s training has been awesome so far and I feel like I’m coming back from a long rest.  It’s exactly what I needed heading into a pair of two hour long runs over the next two weeks and I’m so glad I listened to what my body was telling me.  Here are 3 Tips to help you Listen to Your Body, too.

1.  If it persists, stop it.  While you might not want something to be injured, if your soreness, tightness or joint pain doesn’t go away after warming up, it could be serious.  Lower the intensity of your workout or reschedule and take the day off.  One day of rest is better than two months of recovery.

2.  Mind your mind.  Motivation can be a serious issue at times, but it could also be your brain telling you it’s time to take a break.  Listen when you’re tired or sick and have muscles in need of more recovery, and change your workout plans for the day.

3.  Know the difference.  Knowing the difference between fatigue and a strained muscle is a key element in properly caring for your body.  Take small pains as warning signs and adjust your training by changing surfaces, intensity or modality in response.

I hope these tips can help you listen to your body and stay off the bench while training for your spring races.

Meredith

Do you take a day off or change your workout when your body hurts or push through?

Shamrock Sunday Week 8 and Virginia Aquarium

Time for my Shamrock Sunday Week 8 wrap up!  It was a decent week of training, with the exceptions being Thursday’s wet, windy and cold speed work that could have been better and Friday’s shortened long run.  Week 8 was also home to a quiet Valentine’s Day, a trip to the Virginia Aquarium and lots of Olympic coverage.

It had been a while since I’d been to the Aquarium, and with school in session Saturday for a snow day make up and a Buy One, Get One Admission offer running this weekend, it week 8seemed like a perfect time.  After work, Doug and I grabbed lunch at Taste Unlimited (yum) then made for the Science Center.  In spite of the rainy day, the Aquarium wasn’t too crowded, and a lot of the animals were active.  We saw a Komodo Dragon take a dip, a Terrapin chase a Turtle out of a good hiding spot, touched stingrays, watched a baby sea turtle attempt to eat his reflection and some very playful River Otters enjoying the rain.  The educational elements of the center are top notch and it’s always fun to learn something new.  As we made for the exit, there was a line out the door to get in and we were very happy to have missed the rush.

It was then back to the Olympics and today’s rest day.  My legs are feeling much, much better from Friday’s long run beat down after a strength training session with walking lunges and 400M runs yesterday.  I woke up this morning feeling ready to run, but was happy to quickly realize there wasn’t a workout on the calendar.  Wrapping up Shamrock Week 8 with rest today, I’ll head into Week 9 tomorrow with a 60 minute tempo run.

Week 9 means crunch time is here and my long runs stretch to two hours.  I’m officially dropping my third day of strength training each week and will only face speed work on Thursday.  After tomorrow, here’s what the rest of Week 9 Looks like:

Monday: Tempo 60 minutes
Tuesday: Strength Training
Wednesday: Speed work
Thursday: 120 minute run
Friday:  Race pace 4 miles
Saturday:  Strength and recovery
Sunday:  Rest day!

I’m fresh for my final few weeks of training before the first race of 2014 and am feeling ready to go!

Meredith

How’s your Spring Race training?  Have you visited the Virginia Aquarium?

Olympic Inspiration and A Valentine

If the Olympics are good for anything, it’s inspiration.  Sochi 2014 coverage has been littered with tales fortitude and stories of individuals fighting through injuries, lack of inspirationfunding and personal tragedies to reach the pinnacle of their sport.  This piece really explains why.  Olympic stories are a great place to find the inspiration to drag yourself out of bed for a frigid early morning run, get back on the court after a bad game or fight to recover from an injury, but I don’t always need that much.

I’ve been lucky enough to stay injury free for the last two years, with nothing more than a serious dose of muscle soreness to keep me from training and racing.  While I don’t have to fight every single day to get out there and go, it doesn’t mean all of my training is a cake walk.  There are plenty of days I lack motivation, had a bad workout or am distracted with life and those are the times I take a look around and realize that the thing holding me back is nothing compared to what some people have to compete with.

inspirationThis morning, in fact, I was in need of a little dose of inspiration.  My Monday and Wednesday outings had been really, really good, but I had also pushed my body really hard, and probably as a result, yesterday’s speed work was good, but could have been better.  I knew I would pay today, and as expected, my legs were feeling fried when I rolled out of bed.  Waking up to Fit Friday with a 105 minute long run on the schedule this morning, I knew my run would be tough and I had to get it together before putting on my running shoes.  Luckily for me, it’s also Valentine’s Day.  Feel good stories of love are everywhere you turn and I definitely needed one.  While scheduling tweets, writing workouts and catching up on Olympic news, I came across this story.  I recalled it being mentioned during last night’s event coverage, but I was too busy saying ‘oh, my knees’ every time a skier landed a 100+ foot jump to really listen.  Well, that was all I needed to turn my motivation frown upside down.

The canines of Sochi had been a prominent pre-Olympic story line, and with all of the other unreadiness that ran rampant in the city, I wasn’t surprised this was the solution.  Fortunately for the dogs, there are people like Gus Kenworthy and these guys struggling to save their innocent lives.  It’s a reminder that it doesn’t take much to do the right thing and inspire people.  Not only are these animals adorable, they are safe and sound thanks to a few citizens with big hearts who knew these dogs wanted to see Valentine’s Day, too.inspiration

With a smile on my face, at least two hours worth of inspiration and a tail wagging Jordy rescue dog I knew would be happy to see me when I got back, I went out to run.  Even though I ended up cutting the run down from 105 minutes to 10 miles (1:15:34) due to tired, angry, oh-no-we’re-not legs and the 20 mph head winds I ran into for 6 of those miles, I feel good heading into next week’s 120 minute outing.  Better to listen to my body and shorten a training run than hurt myself.  Hopefully lots of foam rolling, massaging and ice will pull my legs out of this rut and I’ll have no problem wrapping up Shamrock Week 8 tomorrow with strength training and a short recovery run.

Meredith

When do you need inspiration?  What is it?  Do you have a rescue dog?

Sochi 2014 Begins

Sochi 2014 has begun as the 22nd Winter Olympiad kicked off in Sochi, Russia this weekend and as a proud American, I’ve watched.  After hearing horror stories of black widow terrorists, hotels lacking floors and joint toilets that were so ridiculous they made me laugh, I wondered how the Opening Ceremonies and early events would pan out.

I caught about two hours of Thursday night’s coverage and saw exactly what I had expected.  The stands were fairly empty, which wasn’t surprising for the preliminary rounds, with the crowd inside the Figure Skating area watching the Team Competition larger than the one outside for Men’s and Women’s Slopestyle Snow Boarding Sochi 2014qualifications.  I did observe, however, the slickness of the snow and a few patchy spots on the course’s edge.

Friday evening, I clicked on the Opening ceremonies and was glued.  A massive and incredible show taking viewers through 1,000 years of Russian history, it began with a technical glitch that resulted in only four of the five Olympic Rings being displayed.  The production was very well done and it was a great way to kick off the competition.  I’m not a qualified Olympic judge, but one of my favorite parts of each Olympiad’s opening is to judge each country’s uniform.  As for the USA, the chunky sweater were, from the front, a mess but from the back or side, sochi 2014awesome.  Germany with the red pants was a go, with the white pants, not so much and the home country’s couture was lovely.  Other opening ceremonies notes include Putin looking bored and wonder how dizzy I would have gotten walking or dancing over all of the moving images on the floor.

I missed Saturday evening coverage to have dinner at Luna Maya with friends and attend an Admirals game.  Not Olympic Hockey, but it was a great way to spend a night.  I got back to the Sochi 2014 games Sunday afternoon and am enjoying watching every event I can as the coverage continues.  My favorites include snowboarding, speed and short track skating, figure skating and downhill skiing.  My DVR is set, let’s go USA!

Meredith

Are you loving the Sochi 2014 Olympics?  What’s your favorite sport?

Shamrock Saturday Week 7 and Sadness

My first race of 2014 is sneaking up on me and I can’t believe it’s only five weeks away!  I’m excited to get back to racing, and I’ve been working hard to beat my current PR (1:43:32).  A busy Week 7 of Shamrock Training went well, and yes, I know I only posted once, about my new NutriBullet, and I’m posting my Sunday training post on Saturday.  I will get back on track in Week Eight!

Downpours Wednesday led me to shuffle my schedule and I week 7ended up dropping a strength training day this week while not having to move my long run to Thursday.  Yesterday’s 105 minute long run was satisfying after three weeks of 90 minute outings, and this mornings strength and recovery sessions finished another good week of workouts.  Other highlights of Week 7 included a date to 80/20 Burger Bar Wednesday night and the start of Sochi 2014.  With the Olympics as inspiration, I’ll head into a Week 8 of Shamrock Training that looks like this:

Monday:  Race Pace 5 miles
Tuesday:  Strength training
Wednesday:  50 minute tempo run
Thursday:  Crossfit and speed work
Friday:  105 minute long run
Saturday:  Crossfit and recovery run, 2-3 miles
Sunday:  Rest

With four solid run workouts this week, what’s this mention of sadness all about?  Here it is:  this article from the Pilot came out and I have to say it’s upsetting.  With so little time before the race, it’s very unfair and, as a runner, the last think I want to see is higher race entry fees.  I’m not planning on running Shamrock next year because I hope to be in Washington, D.C., checking the Rock n Roll USA off my 50 States plus One District list, but this is a Virginia Beach staple.  The race has been here for over 40 years, bringing millions of dollars and thousands of people from all over the country to the seaside destination each spring.  I will be sad to see entry fees rise, the race go, if it does, and people stop coming into town if this doesn’t get fixed.

Meredith

How’s your Spring Race Training going?  What would your reaction be as a Race Director to news like this?

Brand New NutriBullet Review

I’ve recently been reading a lot about juicing diets because I’m always looking for something to mix up my meal plan.  I was also interested in the weight loss and metabolism benefits of juicing for a few clients, so I figured it was time to take the plunge and find out for myself.  The Team FitNice house hasn’t been home to a blender for a while, and I somehow, with a surprisingly few words, got Doug on board with this juicing, let’s-have-smoothies idea.  I thought about what we would (margaritas), could (anything) and should (smoothies) use a blender for and tried to find the perfect fit.  After more than half an hour but less than an hour with the internet, I discovered the NutriBullet would meet our needs just fine and off we went to bring one home.

NutriBullet ReviewWe picked up the NutriBullet for $99.00 at Target and were excited to see what it could do.  Opening the box we found 12 pieces of equipment: one 600 watt, single speed blender base, one tall cup, two short cups (one with a molded on handle), one interchangeable handle, two resealable lids, one flat blade, one emulsifying blade, two cup rim protectors and an instructional manual with recipes.  The base was heavier than I expected but with all that power, I wasn’t surprised.

NutriBullet prides itself on being able to extract all nutrients from the foods it blends and leave them in their “most absorptive state” so your body can get every ounce of goodness.  Unfortunately, we didn’t spend our first few minutes with the machine making good-for-you smoothies.  We spent it making smoothie cocktails.  We were delighted to see it demolish the ice and blend fresh orange in little more than a second and spent SuperFunBowl Sunday using the brand new NutriBullet to make orange infused, ice filled vodka smoothies.  They were delicious, but also not the sole reason we invested in this product.  Other blenders and food processors are notorious for leaving chunks and bits unblended foods in the pitcher or container.  Not the NutriBullet.  Every single ounce nutribullet reviewof solid or liquid put into the cup is chopped and diced into a smoothie with excellent consistency.  The taste of your smoothie depends on the recipe you choose to use, whether it’s one of your own or one of the many suggestions in the NutriBullet manual, and no matter what you choose, the NutriBullet will get it to you quickly.

The portable, closable cups are awesome, and I love the way the blades are fully protected at all times.  To blend your smoothie, add ingredients and place the blade on top of the cup.  Screw the blade onto the cup, flip the now closed container onto the base, then turn the cup until it locks in and the blade, which is completely protected, blends your smoothie in seconds.  Identical to the Magic Bullet, this is certainly one of the safest designs I’ve seen.

I’m excited to start juicing with the NutriBullet and look forward to recommending it to my clients.  I’ll be sure to share my recipes and experiences as they come :).

Meredith

Do you own a NutriBullet?  Do you follow a juicing diet?