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Monday, March 28, 2016

marathon training week 17

Not much to recap as far as training, I am taking tapering very seriously during this Europe trip! My nice pictures won't upload since they are so big so here's a quick recap...

First stop: Barcelona.  Selfie in Sagrada Familia like a pro.

Tapas in Spain are a must. Everywhere.

My friend did not realize how much I snacked. Found some Nestle snacks I've never seen before in the Naples airport.

Agua con gas has become my best friend.  This in Sorrento, Italy - pre-amazing pizza.

Got intervals in on a treadmill, that measured in kilometers of course. An Italian man afterward called out my excessive pronation..

The view from Anacapri.. 

Got my "long" run in on Easter Sunday in the mountain/countryside of small town Italy, immediately after eating the biggest lunch of my life -- a 4 or 5 course lunch (bread, lasagna, linguine with mushrooms, strawberry cake, prosciutto with ham and cheese, rabbit-which I didn't eat, broccolini, potatoes; we skipped salad..).  I am honestly surprised that I did not puke or had GI issues during the run.

Dropped my personal phone yesterday. Really bad obviously.  However, you can see, definitely getting all the steps in, so I feel slightly less guilty about skipping a run last week.

As far as the rest of the week, we have been in Rome today, will head to Florence in the middle of the week, and then finally, Milan at the end of the week! I ate probably everything I saw last week, so I've started to tone it down today until race day. 6 days!

Friday, March 18, 2016

marathon training week 16

Last week of full-out training, paired with a super stressful week at work made this fun!


Elliptical - 30 minutes

I was questioned every hour at work this week about my face.

My intention was to run intervals today but due to excessive snacking, my stomach wasn't prepared for something of that nature.


Intervals + Lifting
4.2 mi / 8:31 pace

Wearing my Run Happy socks for morning intervals! Thanks Jenny!

10 minute warm-up, 6 x 800m (1:30 RI), skipped the 10 min cool down for the sake of getting all of my lifting in before work.

The sky is so big..

6 mi / 8:19 pace

For this tempo, I had low expectations. Hadn't eaten that well and had been up since 4a; however it went way better than I anticipated! Pretty happy with the faster pace with each of the last three miles.

Eggs and veggies along with Naturebox and Graze were my life this week.



Since I am traveling Saturday, I moved up my Rest Day and Long Run day. This was good timing since I had a long day at work!


Long Run
13.1 mi / 8:53 pace

So, let's focus on that big orb in the sky.

I didn't realize how warm it already was at 930a.. typically it has been taking a longer time to warm up, but not today. I left my apartment in long sleeve Underarmour...once I got to the starting point (1000 feet lower in elevation), I switched into a tank top, then 2 miles in, I took the tank top off because it was so hot!

I survived and almost drank my entire Camelbak bladder, which I haven't even done on the 14-20 mile runs! (For the record, it was around 60-63 degrees out, but at a higher altitude with not a cloud in the sky..it's a bit more intense. I got sunburned.)

My two goals for this run was to get a PR for 13.1 miles at altitude (I did!), and then not to fall on my face this time (I didn't, hooray!).  Now tapering officially begins.  I headed down to Phoenix for the night..

How convenient the first color I pick up...

First time trying Zoe's Kitchen - super delicious!

Then finished the night off with lifting, because who knows if I'll have access to any weights abroad.


Travel! I plan to start using my FitBit again (it broke, it was nice not to wear it all the time) to track how many steps we are accumulating each day.. and hopefully I'll be able to post updates as our trip goes on!

friday reads / 3-18


I am taking the day off to get my long run in, pack, clean,and get down to Phoenix early to get some last-minute pre-trip errands done.  Here are some interesting articles I have found in the past two weeks.


- For me, preparation is key! Have your clothes, workout bag, and shoes set aside and ready to go the night before.

- This is the first I've ever heard of this correlation.

- Soy's potential effects on hormones is the main reason I have barely eaten it as a vegetarian.

- I wish I knew about this during my marathon training! I am definitely going to try this out during my next training cycle.

- I didn't know this difference between "natural" and "artificial" flavors. However, if you read on, they may not be as different as you may think..


- I have totally changed a password to match a big goal I had, and it's an easy subtle reminder/motivation tool for me.  Making use of stress is huge for me - if I don't channel my stress into working out or cleaning, it will manifest itself in eating.

- Definitely something you should be asking yourself on a regular basis.

- If you're like me, sometimes it's hard to get that boost of creativity.  I'm thinking these will be good motivators :)

Monday, March 14, 2016

marathon training week 15

This week culminated with blood and bruises...during my first 20 mile run ever. Read on to see how this transpired...

Left arm - thanks for always being there for me. First, during my 2nd half marathon, and then during my longest run yet.



Since I didn't rest on Friday, had a bad run Saturday, and still lifted on Sunday - I thought this was due.  And I think it helped me in the long run (literally and figuratively, har har har)


Intervals + Lifting
4.3 mi / 8:50 pace

Ran these intervals in the morning (10 min warm-up, 5x(2 min fast, 2 min easy), 10 min cool down) and then lifted in the afternoon.

Started reading The Nightingale before going back into work for a few hours.  I finished this later in the week and highly recommend it!


Hot Yoga 60

Whole Foods Wednesdays are really the greatest. I'll skip the tofu next time though.

My sandwich of the week is made up of sprouted grain bread, sliced tomato, "spicy" sprouts, and hummus. Then some greek yogurt for the protein fix.


8 mi / 8:04 pace

Whole Foods had strawberries on sale - they are not quite in season yet, but it's just around the corner!

Looped it around Buffalo Park.

My Tempo run went way better than expected. I was feeling pretty sluggish most of the workday, so I got some coffee with espresso at lunch.  Pretty sure the espresso was what took my run to the next level - which is great news since that is pretty much all I'll be drinking in Europe.



My lunch - looks great but turned out to be such a mess. Still...worth it.

I definitely knew I would not be skipping this rest day..


Long Run
20 mi / 9:23 pace

The forecast for this weekend definitely made it seem like Sunday would be warmer and sunnier day to run. Rain/snow/wind was actually projected for Saturday but since I have this belief that I will have a rainy marathon day..I went for the Saturday run.  It was snowing in the morning, but by the time I got out the door, the skies cleared..but the winds howled.

The first half of this run, per usual, was very strong. Wind and the slight downhill was also helping me out. So, on the way back, wind was fighting me, but I definitely was still going at a decent pace considering it was uphill + 20 mph winds all working against me.  I was feeling actually really good near the end of my run, focused on not stopping until I hit the 20 mile mark.  However, I wasn't focused enough apparently.

Keep your chin up! Even if it looks like you got into a bar fight.

At mile 17.5, I hit the ground - hard. Literally face forward into the unpaved road.  My chin, left arm, and right thigh took the beating this time around.

I could feel it in my arm the rest of the run but wanted to finish so badly that I didn't check it out until I was done.

The rest of the run wasn't bad at all, I was just focused on getting back to my car in one piece. Which I did!

Feeling pretty BA running my errands the rest of the day.

Once I got home, I immediately showered/cleaned out the wounds/applied antibiotic ointment.  It didn't hit me to ice my chin until a few hours later unfortunately. However, besides the cuts and bruises, I felt pretty good considering I just ran 20 miles with an epic fall!!


Hot Yoga 90

I didn't sleep well post-long run per usual, but I skipped lifting in the AM since I am moving up everything in my training plan this week by a day.

Woke up to a colorful shinny-chin-chin!

I spent my morning eating (hunger was slowly starting to hit), icing my chin, reading, then finally going to the first Hot Yoga 90 class in the afternoon, which went pretty well.  Can almost do the Crow pose!

Hunger then hit with full force.

I have made the decision that I will be eating seafood abroad over the next few weeks so decided to give my a stomach a head start on what's to come :) (Though I have no idea what the heck this sauce was even composed of so I didn't have all of that)

In summary - strong, solid week.  One last week of all-out training then tapering. Oh, and Europe!!

Monday, March 7, 2016

marathon training week 14

This week I learned the importance of sleep and recovery.


 Hot Yoga 60


6.9 mi / 8:40 pace

10 min warm-up, 10x400m (400m RI), 10 min cool down.  I thought this would take forever but it flew by!

Decide to fuel up quickly/easily right after the intervals (on the treadmill) and before going straight into lifting.

And then fuel after lifting. Eggs + Veggies = Happiness.


Hike + Hot Yoga Carve

Not kidding about working on my tan.

This hike used to take a lot out of me. Now I don't break a sweat.

Yes, my ankle is still hurting, not during my runs but when I stretch it out in different ways. I need to keep icing it. And probably lay off the hikes..


6 mi / 8:20 pace

One day I will suffer the wrath of the goose. I just know it.

+ Lifting + Hike

This run went really, really well. I probably went over the top with the hike after lifting..


Easy Run
4.4 mi/8:40 pace

So, for the record, I got 3.5 hours of sleep Thursday into Friday due to a very late night at work. I should've slept when I got home but.. didn't. I would come to regret this as you will see.

Fridays are always a rest day for me, but I had energy, and I wanted to try out my new shoes for the marathon.  They felt great!

Ollie had a vet appointment - poor guy needs to lose 4 pounds!


Long Run
 10 mi / 9:12 pace

This run went really poorly. All 10 miles should have been at 8:30 pace but I think my lack of sleep and poor nutrition caught up with me.  I'm honestly surprised this was at an 9:12 pace. It felt like a 9:40 mile, every mile.

Thought I still deserved pancakes though.

I was completely exhausted from this run, and probably just from training overall. I decided that I needed to add an extra rest day in ASAP, and that is today, Monday. 

Also went out on Saturday to the local art awards.  Jealous of my fascinator??



I would have made Sunday my rest day but I knew I wouldn't have enough time to get in lifting on Monday, so lifted away I did.  But I decided to not go to Hot Yoga and start the recovery process early.  A lot of House of Cards was watched this day to say the least...

Passed a few Deloreans on the way home from grocery shopping..

Overall, great week up until the long run.  This week and next (my last two in the states before Europe), I am not cheating at all. No mini dark chocolate bars at work, no granola bars, and replacing most of my fruit snacks with veggies. (Not to say I won't cheat in Europe, let's be honest, I'll enjoy gelato and some wine!) Also, going to do my best to unplug before bedtime and focus on a minimum 7 hours of sleep. 20 mile run on Sunday!

Friday, March 4, 2016

friday reads

If you're an avid user of Twitter or obsessed with the news like me, then you know there are many, many articles being tweeted every second, ranging from breaking news to entertainment gossip to latest research in health and beyond.  My intention is to start featuring some of the more noteworthy articles every Friday in a wrap-up of the week, featuring on Health and Happiness.  Some will be brand new articles, others will be oldies but goodies. Read away!


- My goal is always 8 hours of sleep every night, but I rarely hit that. As you read in this article, not hitting 7 has many negative consequences. Personally, if I'm really sleep deprived, my decision-making skills are poor, and my nutrition suffers as a consequence.

"probiotics are common in hospitals, but evidence is lacking"

- This is only slightly devastating as probiotic drinks are typically my go-to when I have stomach issues..

- Definitely some inspirational lessons here. My favorites: You are stronger than you think, When in doubt run it out, and You will never regret taking the high road.

"why daily weight lifting can be dangerous"

- In case you didn't know already.

"learning a new sport may be good for the brain"

- All the more reason to cross train and mix it up if you're a runner/biker/etc who is always training for your next race! 


- I haven't tried this yet, but I think I can set aside 5 minutes this weekend and try!

- Another activity I haven't tried - adult coloring books. It appears that this author found that her stress levels decreased, and she slept more soundly after getting into this coloring book fad.

- I have been on a tea kick for months now and "tea time" really does help me destress.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

10 hiking must-haves

After living just over 2 years now in the mountains of Flagstaff, I have learned many lessons about hiking.  Here are a few tips and tricks!

1. Invest in a good hiking daypack.

Camelbak has served me very well.

A Lowepro backpack, as seen above, is a good brand to look into if you want to bring along your Canon, Nikon, etc.

Now, I haven't backpacked anywhere and camped overnight (I may like hiking but I'm still a bit high-maintenance), but if you are going to become a routine day-hiker - do plentiful research on a good daypack! Having a bladder for water is an absolute must, and then having enough space when you take off layers of clothes is ideal. If you have a nice camera, it would definitely be in your best interest to look into Lowepro. My personal daypack is a Camelback that you can see in the above picture. 

2. Bring more than you think you need for snacks and water.

And have a delicious breakfast beforehand! With a view if you can :P

I've caught myself a few times underestimating the amount of food I would need on a hike. This is when the motto "go big or go home" comes into play.  Also..leave water in your car, at your tent, wherever the home base is for you. Dehydration is not fun.

3. Research the trail as far as technicalities but don't spoil the views!

I didn't look up any pictures of the Narrows...so I was a bit amazed when it came down to the hike.

Make sure you understand the difficulty level of the trail you will hike.  Alltrails.com is a great website to use to read people's reviews of their hikes. Now, this is just a personal opinion, but don't look at all the pictures previous hikers posted.  Make your experience your own, and be surprised by what you come across.

4. Wear appropriate footwear.

These boots are made for hiking.

These shoes were not made for hiking.

Too many times I have seen people hiking in flip-flops, Toms, flats, you name it. This happens most often in places like the Grand Canyon and Zion where folks think they're on "vacation" like they're at a beach. (Sidenote, I will admit, my first hike ever was Mist Trail at Yosemite and I wore Puma sneakers as you see above..) If you are serious, and care about your safety, and other strangers' safety, invest in hiking boots. There are so many kinds out there from lightweight sneaker looking versions (not sure the reliability of those though), to the kind I have which, are heavy, ankle supportive boots.

5. Bring first aid supplies.

There are many small kits out there that have everything you will need in case of an emergency.  Hopefully you'll never need it but it's best to be safe than sorry. Also - bring sunscreen and make sure your phone is fully charged. Obviously you shouldn't be using your phone besides to take pictures, so set it up in airplane mode so you can save battery.

6. Always check the weather.

Break out the lightweight waterproof jacket and hat as necessary!

There are many obvious reasons to check the weather: figuring out how much you need to layer, if you need rain gear, heck, if even you should go on the hike at all.

7. Invest in other supplies as needed - hiking poles, headlamp.

Make sure your poles are at the appropriate height, they should be at different heights for you going uphill vs. downhill.

This goes back to researching your trail appropriately. I have hiking poles (not my favorite, I don't recommend REI brand poles), that have helped me significantly with steep climbs and declines. They have really saved me when going down tricky areas. A headlamp is something you should have no matter what, whether it's at home in case of a power outage, or if you are on the trail later/earlier than anticipated.  Be careful where you put it as if something hits it, it can turn on, and be on for who knows how long..and when you go to use it, the light barely works. (Not speaking from experience or anything..)

8. Take breaks when you can.

Combine those breaks with photo ops!

I'm all about pushing yourself, but keep it reasonable especially in the heat or any other extreme conditions. Also, be considerate of others when you are hiking in a group and make sure no one gets left behind.  Breaks are a great opportunity to take pictures rather than stopping in the middle of a random part of your hike!

9. Meet your fellow hikers.

You never know what kind of people you will meet on your hikes! Make sure to always say hello, and strike up a conversation if you would like. I have met folks who have hiked that certain trail several times and offer some really good tips, to those who are also hiking it for the first time ever and you can share how your experiences have gone thus far!

10. Reward yourself!

You did it! You just went on an awesome hike, that probably took a few hours or the whole day. Sit down, have a good meal, and reflect on your experiences! And don't forget to brag about it to all your family, friends and co-workers :)

If you didn't learn anything else.. Pizza and Beer is a must after a good hike.