Monthly Archives: January 2015

Yoga Challenge with prAna + Sweat Pink

pranaSweat Pink and prAna are kicking off a 30 Days of Yoga challenge and I’ve accepted the showdown.  I have a tricky relationship with yoga but know it’s good for me and am excited to have some yoga accountability.  The challenge begins with my first ever yoga mad lib!

When I think about yoga, the first thought that comes to mind is I should do more. Yoga stretches me out and makes me feel more mobile.

That’s why I am SO ready to participate in prAna’s Take The Leap 30 days of Yoga Challenge with Sweat Pink. I plan to standing split my way to a more balanced and flexible 2015!

For me, the biggest challenge when it comes to yoga is relaxing. Taking the Leap with prAna and Sweat Pink is a great way for me find a quiet mind.

My favorite place to yoga is on the beach because it is so peaceful.  Here’s a photo of me in my very best downward facing dog (tight calves!).prana

I tag Hollie at Fueled by LOLZ, Elizabeth at Train with Bain and Katie at Moms Little Running Buddies.  I want these fabulous bloggers to share their very best yoga pose photos, this fun madlib and of course, I challenge them to join me on this fun 30 day yoga journey.

Take the Leap with me!

Join prAna’s & Sweat Pink’s Take the Leap 30 Days of Yoga Challenge and be eligible to win $500 worth of prAna gear and / or be the lucky winner who gets to gift $500 worth of prAna gear to one lucky winner. They just launched their new spring collection so you best get on it!

If I win I would gift the $500 to my mom because she sometimes needs a little extra inspiration to work out.

Join the Take the Leap with prAna and Sweat Pink Facebook group / event which we’ll use for updates, sharing,and inspiration: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1525412337742204/ and event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/423377431152799

And join the challenge on Instagram, Twitter, and your blog using the hashtags:

#TakeTheLeap
#prana
#sweatpink
And of course, tag @prana @FitApproach

Meredith

Will you join me and do 30 Days of Yoga?

Feel Sick? When to Take a Day Off

It’s been a while since my last post and it’s not that I’ve been avoiding everyone!  I’ve been a little bit under the weather, taken a break from training and had that foggy brain thing where I can’t think of anything useful to share.  But my brain is starting to come around, even if my sinuses aren’t, and it’s a good opportunity to talk about what to do when you feel sick.

I was fortunate enough to have an entire week of rest/recovery scheduled after Rock n Roll Arizona when my fever broke out and I was forced to lounge about on the couch for two days.  Not everyone is.  Colds, the flu and sinus infections can strike without warning or being wanted.  Inevitably, feeling crappy makes getting the day’s workout done more difficult.  Hello?  Nap, please!  Even harder than taking one day off is taking more than one day off.  Running, feel sicklifting, stretching, it’s what I do.  Working in a gym makes it especially hard to walk out at the end of the day without getting sweaty.  Here are a few rules I use to decide when it’s time to bail on the gym and climb into my comfy bed.

Use the ‘neck check’.  Symptoms above your neck, like a slightly runny nose, sinus pressure, headache or dry, itchy throat, are OK to get sweaty with.  If you’re coughing incessantly, having bouts of chills, battling digestive issues or suffering from other ‘below the neck’ problems, stay at home!

Recognize that a fever is different.  It’s true that a fever is an ‘above the neck’ item, but it also goes hand in hand with one or more of those ‘below the neck’ symptoms that make you feel sick.  A fever means your body  temperature is already increased and bringing it even higher with exercise can be very dangerous.  Getting a good workout is almost impossible when your body can’t regulate temperature, breathe properly or hold fluids.

Recognize that fighting through a few days of poor training workouts isn’t going to be an effective way to train.  Letting your body recover as quickly and wholly as possible before getting back to work will leave you right where you left off.

Of course, the last place I want to be when I feel sick is outside in the cold.  The cold, damp winter air is just going to make things worse but if I’m still desperate to get a session in, and so are you, you could always go anyway.  Makes changes to your plan if you feel less then 100%.  Decrease the intensity of your session, stay very on top of hydration, steer clear of group classes and clean all equipment with sanitizing wipes before letting anyone else work in, share or use after you.

Of course, the best way to know you won’t miss any gym days with a head cold or the flu is to prevent them altogether.  Washing your hands consistently, using hand sanitizer and getting a flu shot are both great preventative measures.

Meredith

Do you workout when you feel sick?  When do you stay home?

RnR AZ 2015 Race Day!

RnR AZ 2015 kicked off my year of racing.  It was a two day event full of running fun that included getting state #10, Arizona, checked off my list.  You can check out how Day 1 at the expo and my first tweetup went here.

RnR AZ 2015 Race Day started with breakfast, an E2 and a short drive to plenty of free parking next to Sun Devil Stadium.  I parked in a lot with plenty of space 50 minutes before the official start time and began walking to the starting area with a sea of fellow runners.  While replying to a good luck text from Doug, I realized my GPS watch was still on its charger.  Oh well, the let’s see what happens race would end up being just that.  I still wanted to come in under 1:40.00 but am not too great at pacing myself with race day distractions around and wouldn’t be crushed if I missed.  I walked past the Start line, 22 corrals, four massive groups of Port-a-Potties and dropped my gear with a friendly volunteer.  After emptying my hands of pre-race clothing, phone and bag, I jumped into a Port-a-Potty line that moved at a reasonable pace then found some space to warm up.

Stretching, jogging and three strides sent me Corral 2.  It had been chilly after shedding my hoodie at gear check and standing in the open air potty line but crammed in there with a few hundred other runners, things warmed up a bit.  The Corral 2 start was a bit late due to a passing light rail train and we were let loose at 7:58.  I settled right into a comfortable racing pace and figured I would ask someone near the Mile 1 marker how I had been doing.  My plan worked out passing the Mile 1 marker when I came up on another female runner who was moving along at roughly the same pace I was.  I asked her what she had clocked, 7:20, and we started to chat. She wanted to PR by breaking 1:40.00 with the goal of averaging a 7:30 mile for the entire race.  We stuck together through the flat and fast first 5k in 23:16.  Enjoying one another’s company, we continued to chat for the next 11 miles.  A Phoenix local, she had run this race before and was familiar with the course, which I thought was fantastic.

Now, to be honest, after that first 5k, the rest of the race is kind of a blur. Between chatting and not having my watch to look at, I was mostly just enjoying my first race with a buddy.  We grabbed some fluid at Mile 4 still clicking right along at our target pace and had settled in nicely to hit our sub-1:40.00 goals.  I’m guessing it was around Mile 5 when I came across a gentleman wearing a shirt I recognized from RnR Las Vegas.  As we passed, I asked him if he was indeed the gentleman I had seen in November wearing the Lt. Joe Kenda: Homicide Hunter tech shirt.  I had made note of the shirt during that race because Doug and I are big fans of the show and I had never seen one like it before.  He (this super runner) replied that yes, he was, as I exclaimed that Doug and I love the show.  As I came up to his side, he stated that he plays Lt. Joe Kenda on the show and when I took a second glance to my right, I was so excited!  I told him we are big fans and wished him luck on the rest of his race.

Next up was a water stop my buddy was able to run through while I walked to avoid choking.  I picked up the pace a bit to catch up and we ran a 7:40 as we climbed another short, steady grade into a right turn and the 10k mark (46:28).  Near the Mile 8 marker we finally got around to introducing ourselves.  Neither of us had ever run with a buddy before and we both agreed running, chatting and passing the miles with a pal was definitely more fun than without.  Megan is a super runner mom to three little ones who had qualified for and run Boston a few years earlier.  We had lots of the same strategies, such as telling ourselves 10k was halfway plus a little speed work and chatted for 80% of the minutes we spent side by side.  The exceptions were a few moments where I was playing catch up after slowing through one of my three water pauses or we were both puffing up one of those ‘flat’ hills.

Heading uphill towards Mile 9, I again walked for water, still managing to choke, and powered up the hill to a tight turnaround as I caught up to Megan just before the 15k marker.  We stuck together through the next few miles as some banking started to bother my knee a little bit and the tough workout I wasn’t mentally, or physically, prepared for began to take its toll.  We hit the Mile 10 mark at 1:15.22, exactly where both of us wanted to be.  I planned on cruising in and told Megan she could go for her PR whenever she was ready.  She stuck with me until the Mile 12 water stop, where I came to a complete stop to avoiding choking on water and she hit the gas to get her PR.  I struggled to start running again on legs that weren’t happy to have stopped but cruised through an easy last mile to hit my sub-1:40.00 goal and finish in 1:38.54.

After collecting my finisher’s medal, water, chocolate milk, pretzels and PowerBars, I picked Megan out of the crowd and congratulated her on her amazing run.  It was so awesome to share that with her.  Next up was watching the marathon winner cross the Finish, collecting my Desert Double Down medal to commemorate my running of both RnR Las Vegas and Arizona and stretching out on the grass a bit before calling it a day.rnr az 2015Overall thoughts:
* The course was well prepared with hydration stations and Port-a-Potties on the sidelines as well as rocking bands at each mile (or so, I think).
* If anyone ever tries to tell you this course is flat, it isn’t. Maybe compared to Boston, the Philadelphia Marathon, Run the Bluegrass or Richmond.  I’ve run flatter here, here, here, here and here.  True, it’s not hilly in the traditional sense of steep climbs followed by coming down the other side.  It’s more subtle than that.  With long stretches featuring 7-10% grades at several points on the course, it can get challenging if you’re not mentally prepared.
* Getting parked before the race was free and easy.
* Getting back to the parking after the race, not so much.  There were a number of racers wandering around trying to find our way back to the Start so we could then navigate to our cars.  It added a nice long walk to shake everything out post-race but if you’re not in the mood to stroll around ASU’s campus and don’t know where you’re going, study the map.
* The weather was great for the half (50 at the start, 62 at the finish) but might get a little warm for the full.  It’s dry and mostly sunny on the course, so hydration is important.
* The tech shirts, medals, post-race goodies and party are high quality as expected from Rock n Roll.

I still have 41 places to race to accomplish my goal but RnR AZ 2015 makes me think about heading back again next year, especially because the medals for the next three years will fit like a puzzle with this one to make one giant Arizona shaped prize.

Meredith

Have you raced in 2015 yet?  Which one?  If not, when’s your first?

Rock n Roll AZ Day 1

My racing kick off to 2015 was this past weekend in Phoenix, Arizona (state #10!) and it began with Rock and Roll AZ Day 1.  If this race weekend was any sign, I’m looking forward to an awesome rock n roll az day 1year.

I arrived at the expo after skipping one full $12 parking garage and finding a spot in a second, $10 garage.  A short walk to the massive Convention Center was definitely worth the $2.  After entering the expo area, I breezed through packet and number pick-up then headed to the stage for a RocknBlog TweetUp with Katie, Tina and Jeremy.  I got my first sample of Nuun Hydration, grape flavor, and am looking forward to giving it a try when I get back to long runs in a week or two.

Our RocknBlog group hung out for a while then went over to CityScape for fresh air, sunshine, more prizes, photos and tweeting with Run, Eat Tweet AZ.  There were gifts from lots of cool companies, including Fleet Feet Scottsdale, Huppy Bar and Girls Run Fast.  Everyone rock n roll az day 1got a raffle ticket and after I grabbed this pair of throw away gloves care of Lisa from Fleet Feet, I was lucky enough to have my number picked for a super cute pendant and chain from Girls Run Fast.  Home to handmade jewelry from Megan Strong, the line is a great place to find prizes, gifts and rewards for all of your female running friends.

Expo Day wrapped with lunch a Grabba Green.  It was delicious.  Much like the rest of the weekend, I failed to have my camera in action, but for $10+tax, you get an amazingly filling amount of locally sourced, good-for-you food.  I opted to make my own mix and included shrimp, brown rice, tomatoes, kale, broccoli, bean sprouts and cheddar jack cheese with miso ginger dressing on the side.  As I munched, i sucked in social media tips and thoughts, race plans, race recommendations, life stories and laughs from Corine, Elizabeth, Briana and more.  By the time I rolled out of there, I was stuffed full of pre-race fueling goodness!rock n roll az day 1Rock n Roll AZ Day 1 was a blast.  It was so nice to meet some fellow BibRave contributors and traveling racers.  I’m looking forward to more tweetups, more learning and more friendships as the year moves along!

Meredith

Have you done a tweetup before?  What did you think?

January 2015 Right Now: A New Year!

It’s time to really kick off the new year.  My January 2015 Right Now features what I’m eating, scheduling and reading.  I’m excited about what the new year has in store and look forward to sharing some of favorites with you each month.  Here’s what I’m loving right now:

This recipe.  It’s easy to make, filling and a great way fuel my long run each week.  It also works wonders when it’s cold, rainy and all gloom and doom outside.  Hello, warm!  It takes some time january 2015 right nowto cook but makes a great freezer meal.

My spring race schedule is set!  I’ll kick off 2015 with Rock n Roll Arizona this weekend then have a break until serious training starts in February and racing again in March.  Rock n Roll DC and Shamrock, where I’m pacing the 1:52 group (yay!) are back to back in the middle of March and things wrap up with my target spring half in May.  I’m excited to have chosen the Prairie Fire Half Marathon in Wichita for both my Kansas race and target spring race then wrap things up with the EquiKids Cross Country 5k.

I’m reading Mark Divine‘s The Way of the SEAL for the second time.  My first read was just that.  I read and took what I could from the book.  When I cracked it open for the second time, my intentions were to start practicing the techniques and skills described in the book to see how I could benefit.  From the moment I began to reread the first chapter, I knew it wouldn’t be that simple.  I’ve reassessed my goal of implementing all 12 methods at once and have elected to work through two chapters each month.  I spend 30 minutes, twice a day specifically working on the principles Coach Divine describes is his best seller and sporadically during the day.  As I work to have better control over my thoughts and emotions, I’m excited to share my progress as the year moves forward.

That’s what I’m loving in my January 2015 Right Now and I hope you give the stew a try while registering for a spring race and settling down to pick up a good book.

Meredith

What’s your favorite winter recipe?  Are you reading something good?

I’m MAD Excited for #NoExcuses 2015

noexcusesIt’s Race Week and thanks to non-stop rain yesterday, I traded my 30 minute tempo run for 45 minutes of mobility drills, stretching, core work and a few yoga poses.  One upside of not wanting to get wet and catch a cold was a few minutes of extra time to work on my SweatPink #NoExcuses challenge.  I’m all about pushing myself and having the chance to win cool prizes for tweeting, Facebooking and blogging with #NoExcuses seemed like a good idea to me!

One of the #NoExcuse challenge’s first tasks was to do to any variety of 30 second planks yesterday.  I did 3×30 second regular planks and 3×30 second L-sits on paralettes.  After my little core workout, it was on to the first blog challenge!  I’ll be filling out this Mad Lib and asking you to join me in the #NoExcuses challenge with your own.noexcuses

  • Hey 2015, it’s me Meredith (nickname, spirit animal, real name, blog name)

  • This year I would like to break 1:35.00 in a half marathon, cook a wider variety of meals and read more.

  • It would also be super duper awesome if I also take a real vacation this year. It’s not a resolution, though, just a reminder to myself to try and have the best year yet because racecations don’t really count.

  • The thing I am looking forward to most this year is learning!

  • I’ll use the one thing that truly gets me out of bed in the morning which is work to help me get up, get moving (verb) and get after my #NoExcuses 2015.

  • Speaking of excuses (ahem), my very favorite excuse is the weather and I have used it to get out of doing workouts and chores on more than 15 (number) occasions.

  • I vow to move my body and be more healthy this year even if it means I have to get wet, cold and sandy.

  • Even if my alarm clock gets eaten by the dog in the middle of the night, I’ll still wake up at 450a.

  • I will stop blaming the ______ [ex: kids, dog, husband] for eating the rest of the ____ when everyone knows it was really me. (This has yet to happen.  But the dog did clean out a few Cheerios left in a bowl on a table once.)

  • My desire for naps are not the reason I make excuses. I will show my naptime who’s boss this year and get my run on.

  • I know that any exercise is better than none.

  • I will reward myself by eating cake.  And drinking wine.

  • No Excuses 2015 has just begun and already I am imagining myself a winner. I can’t wait to rock a hoodie from Augusta Active. I can’t wait till my sweaty friends are jealous of how fresh, clean and fragrant I am between workouts with help from ShowerPill body wipes. I can see myself rocking thrusters in new Capri Me leggings from Actio926 and looking fit and fly while doing it. And of course, I’ll be taking my workouts to the next level and improving my nutrition with my new ActivMotion Bar to help me train for my next half marathon with Sasquatch Racing.

  • Oh, and let’s not forget how amazing my sports bra will smell in my / during my long run after washing with some WIN Detergent. And lastly, I’ll keep rocking my 2015 with clean eats and nutrition from Beaming with Health!

  • Tag, Tweet, shout-out, call, text, fax or email 3 friends to take this survey and share how they will have a #NoExcuses 2015. Remind your friends to simply fill in the underlined parts!

  • Use the #NoExcuses hashtag and post to win prizes from Augusta Active, ShowerPill, ActivMotion Bar, WIN Detergent, Actio926, Beaming with Health, and Sasquatch Racing.

Meredith

Will you join me in the #NoExcuses Challenge?!

See What Happens Race Week

It’s my first Race Week of 2015 and I’m excited to get the year kicked off with Rock n Roll Arizona next Sunday!  I’m heading into my first race week of the year following my tried and true race week schedule then looking towards the race itself with a ‘let’s see what happens’ let's see what happensattitude.  If I feel good race morning, I’ll run hard.  If I’m feeling off, tired or like my legs don’t have it, I’ll opt for having some fun instead.

This past week’s training was all rearranged, but it worked out perfectly.  My ten mile run on Friday was better then I expected (1:16) on my one day rested legs and the exact same pace as my taper ten mile run before setting my current 13.3 mile PR.  Having such a solid outing on a windy, 40 degree day is what really made me think it might be worth shooting for a PR if I feel good in Phoenix.  Prior to this run I hadn’t been too sure about putting my pedal to the metal at this race because my training had been shifty and kind of inconsistent.

Let’s see what happens race week’s training has fewer miles than the last but remains intense with heavy lifting today, interchangeable cross training and a 30 minute tempo run on Monday (100% chance of rain at the moment) or Tuesday, a short interval workout Wednesday and two race pace miles Thursday.  Friday and Saturday are rest days but after flying I might need a teeny tiny shakeout jog before heading to the expo Saturday morning.

Speaking of the expo, I’m excited for it!  I’m pretty sure it’s the first time I’ve ever been excited about a big, crowded expo but this Saturday will be my first TweetUp.  It’ll be nice to put faces with the names I chat with all the time online, have a chance to win some cool running gear (maybe a Rock n Roll race entry?) and possibly find a racing buddy.  I’ve only run a race with buddies when I paced and would love to have the experience of working with another runner in a racing situation.

So, here I go.  Race Week #1 of 2015 is on its way and I’m ready to see what happens for this first race of 2015.  I’m pretty sure no matter what I decide on race morning, I won’t be going wrong.

Meredith

What’s your first race of 2015?  Did you already run it?  How was it?

Back in Action and Awards

I’m back in action!  A rough run on Saturday had me staving off more until today but thanks to the weather, things got shuffled around a bit.

After fighting a little with both of my ankles over the weekend I reevaluated my schedule and Sunday night decided my legs were feeling well enough to stick with it.  Until I read the week’s weather forecast.  A predicted high of 27 on Thursday.  While I don’t mind running in frigid temperatures, it would be my first genuinely cold run of the season and I didn’t want my final long run before Rock n Roll Arizona to suffer because of it.  Luckily I was able to adjust my training schedule to accommodate winter.  Here’s what the week will end up looking like:

Monday – Strength training
Tuesday – Rest  Shakeout run with 2x 200M strides
Wednesday – Interval Work
Thursday – Long Run (10 Miles)  Rest
Friday – Shakeout Run  Long run (10 miles)
Saturday – Race Pace Run (4 miles+)
Sunday – Heavy lifting

My legs were beaten up after a heavy dose of front rack walking lunges Monday and the shakeout ended up being exactly what I needed.  It was a day earlier than I had planned on running again but a short jog before heading out let me know my ankle would be fine.

I’m happy to be running pain free again and am even happier to have received some cool awards.  They’re awards I earned in 2014 but I waited to share until they all arrived.

My age group award from the Heart of Ghent 10k print with a plaque commemorating my 10k PR.  It was very hard to photograph with my phone!awardsRock n Roll Series Heavy Medals!  Rock Encore and Triple Crown earned for Rock n Rolls in Nashville, Virginia Beach and Las Vegas.  The Triple Crown is HUGE!
awards

Meredith

What cool awards or medals did you earn in 2014?  How do you decide if you’ve recovered enough to run?

New Year, New Ankle Injury

It’s a brand new year and with it comes a brand new ankle injury.  Two of them, technically.  They also are technically not new because there isn’t an old ankle injury.  I’ve never had ankle problems other than a lack of dorsiflexion.  Not a sprained one, not a broken one, nada.  Yes, I’ve had the step in a hole, trip over something tugs and pulls but nothing has lasted more than a few hours or stopped me from doing anything.

Unfortunately, I’m currently stopped from doing something.  My goal to get better at pistols has meant working on calf and Achilles tendon flexibility by doing this stretch.  It’s been effective at stretching the posterior side (back) of my leg and, apparently, equally as effective at crunching the everything between both my right and new ankle injuryleft side talus and tibia.  Put that daily dose of squishing together with eight hard miles of speed work on pavement in light shoes Friday and I’m not surprised to be dealing with a bit of anterior ankle impingement on both sides.  Oh, hey, new ankle injury!  I am, however, hoping it will heal quickly.  As in ‘before Wednesday’.

I have strength training scheduled today and tomorrow with rest on Tuesday.  Wednesday is my next scheduled run and I’d like to be able to actually run it.  I stretched after that tough session Friday but had a little pain and stiffness in both ankles at the start of my scheduled 13 miler yesterday.  I thought I’d be able to get my blood moving, stretch the legs and run out of it.  I was wrong.  My legs were doing fine but my ankles wanted no part of it, even in more supportive shoes.  Because I don’t actually want to be injured, I quit the run after 2.5 miles and called it a day.

With a semi-serious goal to break 1:40.00 at Rock n Roll Arizona, last week’s 15 miler under my belt, two weeks and one ten miler to go, I’m OK with skipping this long run.  Hopefully a light Saturday run, three days of massaging, anterior ankle stretching and sticking to straight leg posterior leg stretches will help me quickly shake this new ankle injury and get back on track.

Meredith

What do you do when you get a new ankle injury?  How did you recover?

A Few 2015 Running Goals

I did a pretty good job of accomplishing the things I set out to in 2014.  My 2015 running goals include a little bit of everything.  I’ll be increasing my distance, improving speed and most importantly, having fun.

Run 1,500 miles.  I ran 1,446 in 2014 and had a very successful running year.  I don’t want to run into an injury or end up over trained so I’m upping it a little bit while still giving myself some flexibility.  This is an average of just under 29 miles a week if I ran a steady number over each week of the year, but that won’t be happening.  There will be a few rest weeks of less than 15 and some heavy weeks of more than 50 to balance things out.

Run my first 20 miler.  Then maybe a few more.  A part of my maybe a marathon, I’d like to just go out there and give it a shot to see how I respond to some serious stress.  I’ll also have to start figuring out when and what kind of fuel I’ll need to be successful at those longer distances.  What better time than now?

Break 1:35.00 in a half marathon.  If I’m going to rack up the miles, they’d better be effective.  My current PR was set at a pace of 7:20 per mile, even though I ran 13.3 miles of race course to finish in 1:37.24 instead of 1:36.08.  To hit this goal I’ll have to average 7:14 miles while nailing 13.1 miles on the head.  I’m excited to have a new goal to work towards with Rock n Roll Arizona on the horizon as a starting point and ready to put a training schedule together.

Race in 5 states.  I’m moving along with my goal to run a half marathon in all 50 states (plus DC) and as of today have 42 left to cover.  I’ll check the first one for 2015 off at Rock n Roll Arizona in two weeks then DC in March and Kansas in May.  I’m aiming for Baltimore in October and leaning towards a big fall racecation at the Smuttynose Rockfest Half two weeks before Maryland.

Those are my 2015 running goals and after an easy 3 miler to break the year in yesterday, I’m ready to get down to business!

Meredith

What are your 2015 running goals?