Monthly Archives: May 2014

One Year Blogging Anniversary

Blogging.  This is a blog, and I guess that makes me a blogger.  A person who participates in blogging.  The blogosphere.  And this is the one year anniversary of my entry into the land of online writing.  A world unto itself, I had no idea what I was getting into when I launched this side of my business.  It’s been a fun and exciting journey and I can’t wait to see what the future brings.

I began this journey because I missed writing.  After graduating Delaware in 2006 with an English degree, I went to work and stepped away from writing more than the occasional anniversaryFacebook post, birthday card, email or training plan.  When I started my Masters program at Old Dominion University in 2011, I was back at my desk with some serious writing before me.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time as an ODU student as well as both the challenges and rewards it presented.  Upon completing my course work, I found I missed it.  So, there I was.  Wanting to write something but totally lacking direction.  Enter blog.

Here was an opportunity to write as much or as little was I wanted without any pressure.  Perfect!  I didn’t care if anyone read it, I just wanted to put my thoughts down on ‘paper’.  I haven’t the faintest idea what led to me think I was ready for the demands a blog places on its writer.  In fact, I most likely started it exactly because I had no idea what I was getting into.
Before launching, I narrowed the focus of my future blog and created the FitNiceRunner division of FitNicePT.  Always one for a challenge, I was excited to begin my blogging journey.  This is my first post.  Not really the pinnacle of content.  I had a long way to go and didn’t even know it.

With my plan to make this blog a place to express my passion for running and help others build a love for the sport, I started to build.  After learning some of the basics of WordPress, it was time to start the FitNiceRunner Facebook page.  Then it was Twitter.  I was faced with the new challenges of managing both the FitNicePT and FitNiceRunner blogs, Twitters and Facebooks and struggled.  I had a lot on my plate and put pressure on myself to blog constantly.  I had to learn to manage all of those accounts, my clients and my business while still eating and sleeping.  I knew that couldn’t go on for long, so thank goodness for HootSuite!

At the same time I started using HootSuite to help me schedule social media posts, I slowed down my blogging and began to get more involved in other community media, such as RunChat.  I slowly gathered followers and fans, interacting with amazing runners, bloggers, men and women who are a part of the blogging, running and fitness communities.  Not only was this blogginga more effective way to build my brand, every person I have interacted with since delving into the online running bloggers business has been amazing.  As a group, they are supportive, enthusiastic and altogether awesome.  With the support of my runners friends, I launched a YouTube Channel and had the honor of becoming an Ambassador for Girls Gone SportySweatPink and BioSkin in only the last few months.  I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Year One has been amazing.  My half marathon PR has dropped by 10 minutes, I’ve learned more about social media than I ever thought I’d know, or need to, and met some very wonderful people.  I look forward to growing as a runner, coach and person by meeting, helping and learning from more and more fellow runners and bloggers in Year Two.

Meredith

How long have you been blogging?  What are the most important things you’ve learned about yourself and the blogging world over the last year?

Dinner at Buoy 44: A Review

buoy 44Buoy 44 is Just off the water on Chesapeake Bay, in the former Virginia Beach location of Alexander’s on the Bay.  Destroyed by a nor’ easter in 2009, the lot was an empty building for four years as the owners searched for a new tenant.  Buoy 44 opened in April, 2014 and provides a casual, family friendly environment that rounds out the dining options in Chix Beach.

Before heading to the restaurant, I attempted to preview the Buoy 44 menu by searching the web.  I was unable to find a Buoy 44 website, but their Facebook page (link above) did provide some insight.  The menu seemed small but looked inviting and the week’s specials filled it out a bit.  Once we arrived at the location, complimentary valet parking meant we had no trouble getting to the door, and when we walked in, Doug, my mother and I were quickly seated inside by a friendly hostess.  We could see the deck and bay from our smoke free vantage point and watched many patrons enjoy the smoker friendly deck’s views.

While perusing the menu, we were offered cocktails but not told the evening’s specials.  As we waited for our drinks we found the specials listed on a chalkboard and when the cocktails were delivered we were finally told about them by our friendly server who seemed not particularly stressed out, but somewhat distracted.  The three of us also quickly noticed the noise level that resulted from a combination of low ceilings, a hardwood floor and metal tables and chairs in the dining area.  It was loud.  Our Cheesesteak Spring Rolls, one of the specials, came out with average speed but were quite delicious.  After the shared appetizer, I ordered the shrimp pasta, Doug ordered a steak and my mom ordered the crab stuffed flounder, another of the evening’s specials.

As we waited for our main dishes to be delivered, our server returned to the table to tell us they had run out of the flounder special.  Very apologetic, she was quick to offer a menu and suggest another option.  As Mom scanned the menu for another meal, the server stepped away.  Only seconds later, she returned to say that she was wrong and the crab stuffed flounder would be arriving shortly.  It did, along with Doug’s steak, though my pasta was slow in coming, dropped off close to Buoy 44five minutes later.  Awkward.  There seemed to be a very serious lack of communication between the wait staff, the kitchen and whatever system kept track of the kitchen’s inventory.

In spite of the troubles actually getting our meals to the table, we enjoyed the food.  Not one of the best meals any of us had ever had, but each plate was tasty and exactly as expected.  After wrapping up our meals, I made a visit to the restroom.  They seemed to have missed out on the renovation.  The Buoy 44 Ladies Room featured one regular stall and one wheelchair accessible stall where once white floors were worn black in high traffic areas and paper towel pieces could easily be found on the floor.  My stall door featured a wooden hinge repair, but the large vanity and two sinks were clean and brightly lit.

I returned to the table in time to decline dessert, order the check and be issued another apology from our server.  Not a place I would return to in hopes of having an exquisite dining experience, Buoy 44 does offer great views of the Bay and a deck I can definitely see myself enjoying as the warmer months roll on.  It’s the perfect spot for an outdoor happy hour with a view as long as you don’t mind the possibility of getting a nose full of cigarette smoke, though if the breeze is on your side, it wouldn’t even be noticeable.  The large bar inside would also make for a nice happy hour spot, especially for those who don’t enjoy a smokey environment.

Pluses:  Location!  Views!  Social, family friendly atmosphere.

Minuses:  No boat access, loud dining room, small menu, no website.

Will I go back?  There are numerous locales I find preferable, but it’s certainly on the list when I’m in the mood for something casual, not feeling picky about my meal and ready to talk a bit louder than normal.

Meredith

Training Check In: Six Weeks

It’s Sunday Funday and a long weekend both mean it’s the perfect time for a training check in.  I’ve been feeling really good lately, and this week’s 40 miles are all wrapped up.  It’s also Memorial Day weekend, and while Doug is off playing golf this morning, I’ll be prepping for a few friends and some grub from the grill.check in

I’ve been doing a good job of being flexible with my schedule as I increase my mileage and that was really helpful this week when I suffered my first runjury of this new training program.  As part of my ‘running is fun‘ mantra, I’ve mixed up my training a lot over the first six weeks of base building.  It’s been great.  I’ve started doing new workouts (3200M repeats), workouts I haven’t done in a loooong time (Michigans), gotten back to running in the sand and moving days around without a worry.  No better time to damage yourself then when everything is just fine.  And I’ll admit it could be much worse.

I have been suffering from a pair of matching rubs on my second toes.  No, you don’t want to see a picture.  I got them while running barefoot on the sand at Chick’s Beach Monday evening and they really surprised me.  For the first few miles I thought the sand was unusually firm and rough but shortened my stride and felt good.  Exfoliating, yay!  By Mile 3.5 of 5, I was pretty irritated, so I pulled up and took a look at my sand covered foot.  I didn’t notice anything sticking out of a bloody stab wound and after a splash in the bay’s salt water, I was off again.  Moments later, I had to check in with my foot again.  The pain was getting worse and this time I noticed the bleeding, blistered toe on my right foot.  One mile to go.  I had to get back to the beach access anyway and I was off, running right on the edge of the water so the injured foot would stay on soft, wet, salt water covered sand.  Then my left toe started to do the same thing with bandaidshalf a mile left.  This is not happening.  I powered through the end of my run, hobbled off the beach and took a look at my busted toes.  Great.  Bring on the Band-Aids.

A good rinse and clean in the shower, I left the toes out to air dry and start healing.  A pair  of bandages Tuesday morning and they were bundled up for that day’s 3×2 mile repeats.  I knew I’d have another bloody right sock when I finished, but they actually didn’t hurt much during my workout and there was a lot less red on my white sock than I expected when I was finished.  Winning.  I let my feet see as much sun and fresh air as possible Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, wrapped them up tightly for workouts and felt like they were moving along with the healing process.  After a quick check in, I was sure they were good to go Friday for my long run.  I put on a fresh pair of Band-Aids and, because it was hot, a thinner than usual pair of socks.  Big mistake.  As soon as I started to sweat the right toe protector slipped off and, seconds later, a bloody toe followed.  Long run not complete, I gave the bleeding right toe a bit of TLC while dreading the fact that I would now have to rise and shine at 4am the next morning to get that long run in.  I did go out in the heat with a fresh pair of both Band-Aids and socks for a short speed workout Friday afternoon to at least get some serious miles in.  The toe made it, thanks to the fresh socks.  Bring on the early morning long run.

Yesterday’s long run (13.15) was early.  There was also perfect weather with the benefit of quiet while watching the sunrise over the ocean and toes that didn’t bleed or hurt.  A solid long run left me happy with how Week Six’s running went in spite of the latest runjury and I finished the week with an afternoon strength training dose of deadlifts.  My legs are ready for Week 7’s 42 miles and I’m ready for these toes to finish healing.

Happy Memorial Day!

Meredith

How’s your training going?  Any injuries?  What are your Memorial Day plans?

Liebster Award Love

LIebster AwardI was given the Liebster Award by Montana at Pretty Lil Mudder last week and was happy to receive it.  She’s a fellow Girls Gone Sporty and SweatPink ambassador who has Rock n Roll Savannah on her Race Bucket List.  I hope she has an opportunity to run it soon, it’s a fabulous race and a great city.  Liebster Awards are given to bloggers who have small followings, usually less than 200, to help their readership grow.

Of course, there are rules:
1. You must link back to the person who nominated you.
2. You must answer the 10 questions given to you by the person who nominated you. 
3. You must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award. 
4. You must create 10 questions for your nominees.
5. You must go to their blogs and notify the nominees.

Here are my answers to Montana’s questions, my Nominees and my questions for them:

1. When did you start your fitness journey?
I ran track and cross country in high school, but I really focused on equestrian sports until college.  I had a job in Student Rec at Delaware and that’s where I really got into fitness.

2. What’s your favorite way to be fit?
Running!  I Crossfit because strength training is a huge part of helping me reach my running goals and enjoy a good mountain bike session every now and then.

3. How do you normally spend your weekends?
I work Saturday mornings, then usually take a big nap, especially if I got up at 4 or 430am to run beforehand.  Sometimes I’ll hang at home, play some backyard games and grill, and every now and then Doug and I will have a date night.  Sundays are pretty laid back with NFL when available, hanging out on beach when it’s warm and definitely sleeping in.  That’s all, of course, assuming it’s not a Race Weekend.

4. Where did you go on vacation last?
Nashville!  The Country Music Half Marathon was a destination race (State #7) but also a fun road trip and cool city.  Read all about it right here.

5. Who would you say is your biggest inspiration in life?
Eek!  There are lots.  With it being Memorial Day Weekend, I’m doing Murph on Monday, and getting lots of inspiration from our military and their families.  They give up so much to protect everyone and everything we love about America and they deserve much more gratitude than they get.  (See Lone Survivor).

6. What’s your favorite quote and why?
‘It’s today,’ squeaked Piglet.  ‘My favorite day,’ said Pooh. – A.A. Milne  Sometimes I can be quite the Eeyore and at others I’m most definitely Team Tigger, but there are lots of times I would like to be more like both Pooh and Piglet.

7. When did you start blogging?
My first ever post was 3 June 2013.  Almost one year anniversary time!

8. What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment to date?
Building my business, getting my Master’s Degree and helping people reach their fitness goals every single day.

9. Tell me about your fitness goals for the year.
liesbter awardI already hit my Spring PR goal (break a 1:40 half marathon), and for the Fall my goal is to run a 1:37.30 Half Marathon at the Myrtle Beach Mini in October.

10. Are you a dog or a cat person?
Dog.  I’m allergic to cats.

Here are my Nominees:
Kelli at Mom 4ce
Heather at Josh’s Mama
Mallory at My Camo Painted Life
Jolene at Southern Fried Soul
Jil at Running thre Wit
Vanessa at Glitter Girl Runs
Mindi at Build Your Dream Body
Molly at In A Nutshell Nutrition
Katelyn at Swim Run 4 Life
Smitha at Faux Runner

Questions:
1.  What’s your favorite thing about blogging?
2.  Name one thing you can’t hit the gym without and explain why.
3.  Tell me one international place you’d like to visit and what you’d do there.
4.  What’s your favorite book and why?
5.  There’s one thing you love most about your job, what is it?
6.  What’s one fitness class/program/event you haven’t tried yet but are looking forward to in 2014?
7.  What’s your favorite social media outlet, outside of your blog, and why?
8.  If you could have a super power, what would it be?  Why?
9.  What is your proudest accomplishment so far, and what’s next?
10.  Cake or ice cream?  Or both?

I can’t wait to read the Liebster Award answers of these 10 great bloggers!  Be sure to check them out and give a follow.

Meredith

Right Now: Recovery, Booked, Visited

It’s time for the May edition of Right Now!  This is my second post in this category and as promised, I’m covering three new topics.  I’m doing something new for recovery, booked a trip and visited a local art museum.  Here’s how I feel about each of them:booked

Recovery:  One of my 2014 running goals was to get better at recovering from long runs, races and every training session.  In my efforts to accomplish this, I accepted an invitation to the BioSkin ambassador program and received a complimentary pair of Calf Skins.  I’ve used compression capri tights, but never used compression socks during or after I run, and want to give them an honest try before reviewing them.  I’m still in the process of playing with my run/post-run routine and it’s been really hot (100% humidity for last week’s 14 miler!).  I haven’t wanted to run with any extra clothing on due to that, so I’ve used to Skins exclusively for recovery.  When it cools off a bit, I’ll go for a run in them and soon after, fill you in on everything Calf Skin!

Booked:  My trip to Vegas for the Rock n Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon.  I’m excited for the trip and since it’s not a target, PR attempt race, the race’s notoriously huge field shouldn’t bother me.  Hopefully I’ll be able to start from the first or second corral to give me even more running bookedroom on the flat course that wraps up with a run down the Strip while it’s all lit up.  I’ve heard good things (other than the large number of participants) from friends who have participated in the past and the 4:30pm Start Time, though unusual, makes this event special.  Nevada will be the 8th State checked off on my Run 50 States + DC Map, and I’m ready to keep plugging away at the list.

VisitedThe Duck.  This giant rubber duck is not only adorable, it’s world-famous and guaranteed to make you smile.  Stationed in Norfolk for the week, Florentijn Hofman’s Rubber Duck helps celebrate the re-opening of the Chrysler Museum of Art with its second appearance in the United States.  The Chrysler recently underwent a $24 million renovation and since I wanted to see it, the Duck seemed like the perfect reason to head over.  I hadn’t been to the old building, so I have nothing to compare it to, but it was great.  With free admission everyday, the Museum is home to a wide variety of exhibits and beautiful artwork as well as a glass blowing studio where you can let your creative juices flow.

bookedMeredith

Do you use compression for recovery?  What’s your 2014 destination race?  Does the duck make you smile, too?

Green Thumb Runner: Plants Step One

I bought plants.  I like flowers, plants and greenery just as much as the next girl, but with Doug’s allergies, anything that blooms was a no-no.  Being a girl who likes these things, however, doesn’t mean I know anything about them.  Luckily for me, I have plantsa friend with a Master’s Degree in Horticulture who was more than willing to help me out.  I gave her the criteria: non-blooming, not needy.  She asked about sunlight (all levels available) and recommended a few different green things.

Last week while my Mom was in town, I took the plunge.  We went to McDonald Garden Center and got all the necessary supplies.  Plants, pots, bases, potting soil, watering can.  We packed up the plantscar and brought our procurements, one hanging Boston fern, one table top Philodendron and one big potted dwarf palm for the front entryway, home.

We re-potted, watered and fluffed each of the green guys outside on the deck and watched each one perk up as it sucked in the sun.  After each of the plants had absorbed its water, it was time to install them inside.  The fern hangs in Plantsthe kitchen, the Philodendron resides on the kitchen table and the dwarf palm took up residence in the front entryway.  Even though they lack to bright colors of pollen bearing flowering plants, these three do dress up the place a bit in all of their plain green glory.

I’m hoping these plants will help keep the house’s air a bit cleaner, and bring some sunshine inside with them.  I’m also hoping I can keep them alive.  I’m not much of a green thumb, mainly from a lack of trying, but I don’t have much faith in myself.  While not as challenging as a child or as difficult as a puppy, these plants might find a way to stick it to me.  I’ve put a reminder in my phone to water them regularly and that half of the battle is won.  It’s the pruning I might struggle with.  How much do I cut?  What’s too much?  When should I re-pot it in a bigger pot?

I’m sure the plants and I will be fine.  Jordy hasn’t tasted them and he doesn’t seem to have plans to bury any bones in the dwarf palm’s potting soil, so here we go!

Meredith

Are you green thumb?  What plants do you have in your house?

2014 EquiKids 5K and Run with the Hounds

2014 marked the third straight year Doug, Jordy and I participated in the EquiKids 5K and One Mile Run with the Hounds.  I love this event not only because it’s family friendly, but also because it supports one of my favorite charities.

Volunteering at EquiKids is one the most rewarding experiences I have on a regular basis, and supporting the riders in lessons and in the barn is always fun.  The staff, my fellow volunteers and riders are all amazing people with huge hearts that make the EquiKids family one you’re 2014 equikids 5khappy to be a part of.  Being a part of the EquiKids family makes running, and doggie dashing, on the second Sunday in May a can’t miss, incredibly fun event each year.

During the course of our adventurous Friday, Doug and I were able to squeeze picking our packets up at Running Etc in on our way to the Oceanfront Spring Crawl Volunteer Appreciation Party.  It was really fast and easy, and since we had registered early enough to be two of the first 200 and, as a perk, received awesome tech shirts instead of cotton.  Skipping to Race Day, Doug, Jordy and I got ready with breakfast and running gear, then piled into the car for our drive to the farm.  I fueled up with my usual GPS E2 on the way, feeling good and ready to go.

The farm is usually fairly quiet when I arrive on my normal Tuesday afternoon, then fills up as the day moves on with activity and laughter from volunteers and riders alike.  On Race Day, however, the farm bustles with runners instead of riders.  It’s awesome to see all of the people, most of whom don’t regularly get out to the facility, support the program.  As we pulled into the farm, we were pointed from one helpful volunteer to the next as we reached our parking spot in the grass.  Surrounded by other SUVs, all of the sedans were being parked in the dressage 2014 equikids 5karena.  I thought this was a great idea, a good way to prevent someone from getting stuck or digging up the grounds.

We had arrived early enough to have plenty of time for every member of our party to use the restroom, or grass, walk around a bit and stash the fruit salad I had made for the Volunteer Appreciation Picnic in a fridge.  In addition to the facilities regular restrooms, additional Port-a-Potties were installed for the day’s affairs and provided plenty of line free locations for everyone.  After a quick trip to the Volunteer Lounge’s restroom, I ran a short warm up while the little ones were trucking adorably through their Half Mile Pony Run.  During this short warm up I started to notice the humidity and wished I was wearing shorts.  Oh, well, no time to change.  A big group start, I hovered near the front as the 2014 EquiKids 5K participants lined up, listened to a few announcements and got ready to go.

The race went off as soon as everyone was in order, which was actually a little before the scheduled 8:20 Start Time.  No lines at the toilets and an early start?  It’s almost unheard of.  I faced a bit of traffic at the Start with the start-fast-then-faders around me and some of the quicker runners having started behind me, but it sorted out by the time we hit the woods for our first lap.  Twisting and turning as guided by volunteers through the woods, I was impressed with the levelness of the debris-free trails.  There were small pockets of not-quite-mud that were easily avoidable and I felt good passing the Mile 1 mark.

A water stop somewhere between Mile 1 and Mile 2 was very well manned with volunteers sporting their EquiKids t-shirts and it was great to see familiar faces cheering me on as I ran my first loop through the woods.  Leaving the woods at the halfway point, I noticed the air was moving again.  It had been still and humid in the woods but I didn’t realize it until I was out of them the first time.  Not looking forward to Lap 2.  I picked up my pace after my watch beeped for Mile 1.5 and raced my way back into the woods with my sights on picking off two ladies I could see in front of me.

I caught one of the women at the Mile 2 mark as I kicked up one more gear to finish my last mile.  I didn’t have the kick I wanted and my legs felt a bit heavy, probably because of a combination of cocktails Friday evening and the dirt course.  All of Mile 2 was in the woods and it was hotter, more still and more humid that the last trip.  Popping out of the woods just before the Mile 3 mark felt awesome and I passed the second woman I’d been chasing just before rounding the final turn.  I ran hard, but still managed to smile, for the last 0.2 miles and crossed 2014 Equikids 5kthe 2014 EquiKids 5K Finish Line with a chip time of 24:17.

I met up with Doug and Jordy who were getting ready for their own race, chomped on a banana and drank an ice-cold bottled water.  Watching the final 5K participants cross the line, I stretched out, cooled down and put on dry socks.  Next thing I knew, dogs were pulling their people off the Start line and the One Mile Run with the Hounds was on.  Doug and Jordy did a great job, taking two minutes off of last year’s time with the help of Jordy’s now repaired CCL tendon.2014 equikids 5k

After the boys crossed the Finish Line, we munched pizza, drank a few tasty adult sodas and socializing with fellow dog owners, runners and EquiKids volunteers while waiting for the results and Award Ceremony.  My chip time put me in 30th place overall and second in the 30-39 age group.  While it wasn’t exactly the pace or race I wanted to turn in, I was happy to have a good run, especially on the dirt and mud and hit my goal of placing in my age group.  And yes, I also know the margaritas and adult sodas I had Friday night didn’t help me out any.  The Awards Ceremony went smoothly as both humans and canines hammed it up for 2014 equikids 5kthe camera and I happily headed to the podium to receive my medal.

With the Awards Ceremony wrapped up, the indoor arena began to clear out and we moved tables to prepare for the Volunteer Picnic.  It was nice to sit down and relax with my fellow volunteers, and Jordy definitely enjoyed his share of the widely varied, delicious offerings of the pot luck buffet.  A successful day in the books for all three of us, I picked up my Volunteer Appreciation Gift (this awesome, thick beach towel) then met Doug and Jordy at the car.

Meredith

Do you work with any charities?  How often do you run on cross country courses?

Busy Weekend, Monday Catch-Up

It’s time to catch-up!   First off, Happy Monday!  I hope you all day a wonderful Mother’s Day and great weekend.  Luckily, the busy week I mentioned last Monday wasn’t quite as busy as I had planned it to catch-upbe, resulting in a stress free weekend of fun.

Let’s start the Busy Weekend Catch-Up with Thursday.  Doug and I were supposed to attend a dinner party with several of his work associates.  Unfortunately, Doug came home Wednesday evening with a swollen face, draining sinuses and a fever.  Even though he felt a bit better by Thursday evening, a dinner party wasn’t exactly the first activity on our list and we ended up not going.  I was actually glad to have the quiet night since my Friday was going to be extra busy with clients due to the EquiKids 5K instead of work Saturday morning.

Doug felt better Friday, and we resumed our busy weekend schedule.  First thing after work Friday, we went to the Volunteer Appreciation Happy Hour for those of us who had helped with the Oceanfront Spring Crawl at Side Street Cantina.  We didn’t plan on being there long since it started at 6 and we had tickets to the Led Leppelin Symphony at 8, but immediately got into a pair of margaritas, chips with salsa and two orders of delicious tacos.  By the time we said goodbye to our friends and fellow volunteers, we had both downed three margaritas and filled our stomachs to the brim.

It was a quick drive to the Town Center area for the Led Zeppelin Symphony where there was quite a hustle and bustle of activity as pre-prom dinners began, the Virginia Arts Festival continued with street performances and concert attendees lined up and entered the Sandler Center.  The concert was amazing.  The Virginia Symphony was excellent, and not having been to the Sandler Center for music before, I was impressed with the concert hall’s acoustics.  We catch-uphad seats 15 or so rows from the stage, right in the center and I’d definitely recommend seeing Brent Havens conduct the 2+ hour show if you have an opportunity.

Walking out of the Sandler Center post-concert, we happened upon a large crowd gathered around a group of performers hanging from, riding on and pedaling the most interesting rigging I’ve seen.  Arriving just in time to see some serious feats of strength and muscle control, Doug and I sat on a bench and watched the Cirque Mechanics for about twenty minutes before heading home.  It would have been great to catch the wonderful performers’ entire show, but hopefully I’ll have another chance.

A short walk to the car and we were homeward bound.  As I hit the hay around 11:30pm Friday evening, I did admit to myself three margaritas followed by two adult sodas at the concert were not two of my best Race Prep ideas.  I drank another glass of water, hoped my mild headache went away by the time my 6am wake-up call came around and quickly fell asleep.

Race Day dawned with the threat of rain, some heavy humidity and warm temperatures.  Doug, Jordy and I piled in the car and drove to the EquiKids farm.  Our third consecutive year participating in the 5K (me) and One Mile Run with the Hounds (Doug and Jordy) was a big catch-upsuccess and you can catch my review and recap later this week.  Post race, all three of us took nice long naps while we waited for my Mom to arrive in Virginia Beach.  After she got in, we grilled tenderloin fajitas with black bean salad for dinner, indulging in another round of Mexian inspired food, and watched The Words before heading to bed early.

Mother’s Day began with an easy 5.5 mile run to wrap up my 36 mile week with a dose of warmth and humidity.  After the run, Doug, Mom and I went to Rudee’s for brunch in the lovely outdoors and had a tasty meal.  Mom is here for the next few days, and I’m sure I’ll have some exciting activities to report on, so thanks for the catch-up and stay tuned!

Meredith

What did you do this weekend?  How did you celebrate your Mom?

Two A Days Are Back

Two a days are back, and I’m actually loving them.  I expected them to be a drag, as they have been sometimes in the past, but without an upcoming race, the ability to shuffle workouts and, maybe, skip a strength training session every now and then, is keeping me excited and fresh.

As I ramp up my training mileage, I’m trying a lot of new things keep me interested.  Running is fun.  But not if you get bored.  Two weeks ago, on the first of many Two a Days in this new training plan, I did my first Michigan run since high school cross-country, and even though I came out of the gate a bit strong and struggled towards the end, it was a blast.  I have the same workout on the calendar for next week, and hopefully I’ll do a better job of pacing myself because I know I can.  My long runs are also getting ‘crazy’.  When I was sticking steadfastly to a program, they were 90, 105, 120 minutes or 13, 14, 15 miles, but now that I have a weekly mileage goal and the ability to run those miles however I want, they’ve been 13.4, 12.1 miles and 11.5 miles (this week, because it’s Race Week!).

I mix up my Two A Days by doing strength training and a hard run, usually on Tuesdays, and a double dose of running on Wednesdays or Fridays, depending on the weather and my schedule.  That second day of two workouts is typically a 4-7 mile easy run followed by speed work.  As with my long runs, I was sticking to a pretty rigid schedule of 400, 800, 1600M repeats for those speed days and tempo runs on other days, but now have room to play.  Those two a days Michigan runs are awesome, and I threw in a 4×1200-400 workout yesterday.  The variety is fun and I really like being able to try new workouts without worrying if it will mess with my training.

My strength training sessions on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays are most often a Crossfit workout or heavy power lifting, and they’re fun, too.  I know working to get stronger throughout my entire body has helped my running a ton by increasing my durability.  As a coach, I try to help my runners understand that doing some form of weight training, whether it’s heavy lifting or bodyweight exercises, is an incredibly important part of a well-rounded program and plan.  I know my ability to stay injury free, even as I increase my mileage and have multiple Two a Days each week, is due to my strength training.

Meredith

How do you keep your training schedule varied and prevent getting bored?