Recap: Summer Track Series #1

It’s fri-nally Fri-yay! (Too much?)

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Before we get to the recap, let’s catch up on this week’s training:

Monday: 13 mile TM workout with 5 “quick” miles (6:50 – 7:10 range)
Tuesday: Easy 12 + RW group run

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We had an awesome crew Tuesday evening!

Wednesday: Easy 5
Thursday: Easy 5 + Track Meet
Friday: Easy 10

We are also still going strong with the push-ups and sit-ups every M, W & F. This was the second week of “training” with 4 X 30 second segments of each. I haven’t been counting each time, but I figured once a week I should count to track my progress … so Monday I did:

Push-ups: 26, 25, 24, 18 (I always really struggle on the last set)
Sit-ups: 23, 23, 24, 24

Next week we bump up to 4 X 45 seconds segments of each. Eek!

Now to the main order of business … Yesterday was the first evening of the Robertsdale High School Summer Track Series. The track series is 3 meets over the summer to raise money to support the Robertsdale High School XC team. Rebecca is taking the kids to XC camp at UAB this summer. This is a huge step for the Robertsdale XC program and they are really excited to be able to go to an overnight camp this year! Overnight camp is not cheap and some of the families aren’t able to afford to send their kids, so Rebecca created a “camp scholarship” for any kids that need financial assistance and she is raising money this summer to help pay for those kids to be able to go to camp with their team.

For anyone local that is interested, there are two more events this summer as well.

June 23: (800, 1600 and 4 x 400 relay)
July 7: (400, DMR (distance medley relay) and Milk Mile)

If you aren’t local and want to help send a runner to camp, you can still donate!

There were three events yesterday: 400, 5000 and a 4 x 400 relay. The track meet was my speed workout for the week. Coach didn’t give me any goal paces. He just told me to have fun with it and give a good solid effort. Check and check!

We started out with the 400, which was a little tricky since we had the 5K afterwards looming over us. I wasn’t really sure how to approach the 400. I didn’t want to push too hard and have my legs be toast before we even started the 5K, but I wanted to push hard enough to get a respectable time. There was a girls heat and a guys heat for the 400 and I ended up running 77, which I was happy with. If I just could hold that pace for a mile (5:07), I’d be super happy 🙂

After the 400 it was time for the 5000. I had never run a 5K on a track before, so I was kind of excited to see how it would compare to a road 5K. There was only one heat for this, which worked out well. Rebecca called our splits out to us as we came through each lap, so I hardly even looked at my Garmin the entire time. Since we were running loops, there was also more cheering and support than a typical 5K. We ran by everyone 12 times, so we got lots of cheering!

Young Daniel and I settled in to about the same pace and we worked together for the first two miles. We stayed pretty consistent with a 5:59 and a 6:02.

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After the second mile My Daniel hopped in to pace us for the last mile. [If this is confusing, “My Daniel” is my husband and “Young Daniel” is one of his training buddies that did Ragnar with us]. Having Daniel run the last mile with me gave me a boost and the last mile was my fastest at 5:53. According to my Garmin, my 5K time was 18:28. I am very pleased with that!

The last event was supposed to be a 4 X 800 relay, but everyone was pretty much done after the 5000, so Rebecca ended up switching it to a 4 X 400 relay. My legs and lungs were appreciative! I ran the 3rd leg for my team and I ran the 400 in 78. I was happy with that and even happier to be done. Whew! That was quite an intense Thursday evening workout.

There was a good turnout for the event and everyone had fun. It’s always nice to get a good workout in (with lots of training buddies) and support such a great cause.

I hope you enjoy your Friday! Does anyone have super fun plans this weekend?

Week End Wrap-Up (#4)

Hey friends!

I had a good week of training and a wonderful weekend (that included a little mini-vacation) and I’m excited to be linking up with HoHo Runs and MissSippiPiddlin again this week for the Weekly Wrap. Just a fair warning, I’ve got lots to share this week, so go ahead and grab a cup of coffee (or tea, hot chocolate, etc.) and get comfy.

I started the week off with an easy run on Monday and then Tuesday morning I hit the treadmill for a 10 mile brisk pace run. My schedule called for a 2 mile warm up and then 8 miles at 7:00 – 7:10 pace. I ended up averaging 7:03 for the “brisk” portion, which I was very pleased with. The brisk pace run is something that my coach uses periodically in training to help improve the athlete’s ability to stay relaxed and smooth at a quick pace.

I successfully kept myself distracted throughout that workout by watching a few episodes of Gilmore Girls. I absolutely loved that show when I was in high school and college. My mom and I watched it together every week. I’ve heard rumors that the show is returning for another season (on Netflix only), so I just started watching from the beginning to familiarize myself with the show again. Plus, workouts are much better with friends!

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I’ve apparently done something to make my face very angry with me. The past few weeks, I have had several rashes and/or breakouts take over the entire surface area otherwise known as my face. The jury is still out as to whether or not it is some sort of allergy or not, but for now I have just discontinued the use of all products on my face. This doesn’t really seem like a big deal (and probably shouldn’t have been), but I figure since I am oversharing my life on the internet, I might as well not leave anything out.

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Perhaps this is stating the obvious, but I want to just point out that it is so very easy to “leave out” unhappy, bad or even just mediocre things on social media. I want to try my best not to do that because that isn’t real. And if we are being real, the whole face situation had me bummed out, which I know sounds really silly and really petty. But regardless, I was feeling bummed so I had to acknowledge those feelings and try to get to the root of the issue.

I got a steroid shot Tuesday, which meant that I was awake pretty much the entire night. There have been several people on my heart and I did lots of praying and reflecting that night (or well technically Wednesday morning). Oddly enough, the First 5 devotion Tuesday morning talked about getting quiet and listening to God. I had plenty of time to work on that while I was awake all night.

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I know that outward appearances do not matter. I know that. Yet, it is so darn easy to fall into the trap of thinking that they do. The world focuses on what people look like on the outside. While there’s nothing explicitly “wrong” with wanting to look pretty, we just need to make sure it’s in balance. I definitely felt convicted that I needed to restore my balance. God focuses on what people look like on the inside. He would rather see us work on becoming drop-dead gorgeous on the inside … you know, the kinds of girls who talk to Him on a regular basis and study His word.

As I sit here now, finishing up my post, I stumbled right across this amazing article that a friend recently shared. The author writes, “God has called me to fitness, … but He hasn’t called me to put the focus on my body or on my accomplishments. The biggest disservice that I could do would be to inspire women to look at the outside appearance and believe that THAT is the most important thing, or that they have to live up to a certain expectation to be acceptable in the world’s eyes … It’s not about extreme fitness, or accomplishing great things with your body. It’s about being extremely sold out to the calling God has placed on your life and being healthy enough to GO and DO what He asks.” Um, Can I get an AMEN?! I love it when God reveals things to me that I need to hear (even in something as simple as an article shared via social media).

Moving on … Thursday morning I hit the track for a speed workout! I haven’t been to the track in a really long time. I had 10 X 600 meter repeats on the schedule with a goal pace of 5:50 to 6:00 (so 2:10 to 2:15 per repeat). It was dark and early, but I got it in and thankfully Daniel went over to the track with me so that I wouldn’t be by myself. You might have seen this on Instagram, but here’s how it went down … 2:13, 2:15, 2:14, 2:14, 2:12, 2:11, 2:11, 2:12, 2:12, 2:11.

We loaded the car up, dropped Brooksy off at the doggie ranch and headed north after work Thursday evening. We spent the weekend in Gaylesville, AL (population < 150), which is just outside of Fort Payne (and also just outside of Lickskillet (yes, really … you can’t make these things up)). One of the doctors that Daniel works with was nice enough to let us stay in their cabin for the weekend. We are so thankful to the McGees. Their place was absolutely beautiful (check it out on VRBO)!

Friday morning we went rappelling and rock climbing with True Adventure Sports in the Little River Canyon. Going in, I was a tad skeptical about this whole “adventure.” Case in point.

But you guys … it was absolutely incredible! Part of the mission statement of TAS is to operate their business as a ministry, to bless others and to help others experience God’s creation through a new light. Our guides, Tyler and Jonathan, were great. Daniel and I were both genuinely encouraged by their boldness to step out and share their faith with everyone that goes on trips with them. They prayed with us before and after the trip and it was really powerful. They have a wonderful ministry and it was a great reminder to not be afraid to talk to people about “real” things and things that are important to you.

In my previous post, I kind of jokingly referred to this adventure as being an “exercise in trust,” but the more I thought about that, the more that I realized there was something there and I want to expound upon it a little bit. Trust is defined pretty simply as the act of placing confidence is someone or something else. It is a fundamental action, but without it, fear can take over.

I’m sure most all of us have heard the verse from Proverbs 3:5 that says “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Unfortunately we also probably have all gone through different things and different experiences that have “taught” us that we can only depend on ourselves, not others. In order to live the life that God has called us to live, we have to unlearn that lesson and learn to rest in God’s understanding. We may know that God is all-understanding and that he possesses infinite wisdom, but sometimes it can still be difficult to trust Him completely. Every day we must make a conscious effort to set aside our own plans and expectations and to surrender to His plan for us.

What better way to work on trust than to face your fear head on?


Rappelling was definitely my favorite. Apparently rock climbing is not in my skill set (not that I thought it would be), but I’m glad that I tried it. Daniel was a lot better than me at the climbing. He went first and made it look so easy … but, no. Not so much. I definitely need to work on that whole upper body strength thing.

After all the fears were faced and the trust was restored, we headed the local grocery store, the Unlimited Grocery Outlet, to get some groceries for the weekend. This in itself was quite an experience. The place was crazy cheap, but the selection left quite a bit to be desired. I don’t believe that they carried any of the brands of any food that I typically buy. While that was a bit of a mental challenge for me at first, we came away with some good options and minimal stress.

We got back to the cabin around 3 pm that afternoon and we were itching to scope out our route options and go for a run. Because … running. We found some awesome trails and got in 6 miles. We had to wear our hunter orange because the area where we were staying (and running) was several thousand acres of wildlife management area and there were lots of hunters out.


We cooked a delicious dinner (ribeye, conecuh sausage, chicken, grilled veggies and sweet potato fries).


Saturday morning we headed over to Huntsville to watch Daniel’s sister, Leigh-Ann, run the Rocket City Marathon. It was her first full and she did great! We had some navigational difficulties getting around the course, so we didn’t catch her until mile 19. We found a place to park around mile 20.5 and we took off running backwards along the course to find her. It was rather warm (especially for pants and long sleeves … poor planning on my part). We found her right at mile 19 and ran the mile and a half with her back to the car.


From what I could tell and from what she told us, this was a really cool course. The runners got to run by the rockets at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center and through the Huntsville Botanical Gardens. The race finished in an indoor arena, where there was live music and lots of food. I loved the finish area. It was perfect for spectating.

She finished in 4:19:20 and was still smiling at the end!

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Several of Daniel’s family members were there to support Leigh-Ann. Her aunt and uncle even came all the way down from Louisville, KY and surprised her!

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We headed back to the cabin after lunch and got back in time to go for a run. We ventured out in the opposite direction this time and were able to get 6 miles in again. You can’t really tell, but the shirt I was running in was a shirt I got in NYC for the marathon and it says “Run NYC Run Anywhere.” I thought that was pretty fitting because it kind of felt like we were running in the middle of nowhere.

Leigh-Ann and her husband, Will, came over and stayed with us for the evening after the race. We haven’t gotten to see them much recently, so it was really nice to hang out and spend some quality time together. We made dinner (pretty much more of the same … ribeye, pork, chicken, sweet potatoes and veggies) and hung out by the fire. We had s’mores for dessert and fell asleep watching Elf (which is obviously the best. movie. ever). It was a perfect evening!

We woke up to a beautiful sunrise Sunday morning. We had some coffee, watched the sun come up and mapped out our route for the day.

I had a 14 mile long run on the schedule with the middle 6 miles up-tempo (6:40 to 6:50 pace). I didn’t want to do that on dirt, gravel or trails, so we found a route that would take us over to the Little River Canyon scenic highway, where we could *attempt* the tempo portion. Just a heads up, anytime you are running in canyon, expect hills. Lots and lots of hills.

Anytime you are running on a scenic highway, expect beautiful scenery. Lots and lots of beautiful scenery. The route, while not optimal for tempoing, was absolutely beautiful. The tempo portion was shortened to 4 miles and went like this: 6:54, 7:03, 7:40, 7:14. I am pretty sure that the effort I was having to put in to get those times was closer to the 6:40 to 6:50 range though (that is what I am telling myself at least). We climbed close to 1,000 ft., which might not sound like a lot, but I was definitely feeling it.


We came back to the cabin, scrambled some eggs and relaxed for a while before it was time to pack up and head back south. I made the most of the long (ish) drive home and got the majority of this post typed up, using the new and improved WordPress app. Daniel was driving, listening to ESPN radio and smoking a cigar eating cow tales. Does anyone else out there eat these things? He loves them.

We had a wonderful weekend, but of course it is always nice to be home. We missed our little buddy. He lived it up at the doggie ranch. We know this because we are the overprotective puppy parents who keep tabs on our fur baby via Dog Ranch Resort’s Facebook page while we are away. Don’t judge. Look how much fun he had …

Alright guys. I think we are officially caught up. I hope you all have a wonderful week! I’ll talk to you soon!

Workout Wednesday

Hello!

Today’s workout was a 2 mile warm up, 5 X 1 mile (with 400 recoveries), and a 2 mile cool down. My goal range for the mile repeats was 6:10 to 6:20 pace. Daniel and I got up early and headed over to the track to meet Rebecca. Rebecca and I showed up wearing pretty much the exact same outfit. There for a while, people were always getting us confused so we have been known to show up to a race wearing the same outfit before just to throw everyone off. But today was definitely not planned. Great minds think alike 🙂

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On to the workout … I know I have mentioned before that track workouts can be a bit of a mental struggle, but today was much better! I think that just having Rebecca and Daniel there made a huge difference. None of us were doing the same workout (Rebecca did a ton of 400s, Daniel did 800s and I did mile repeats), but we were all still there sharing the “experience” together. Misery loves company, right?

The other thing that I did differently today was listen to my iPod. I usually do this in races, as it helps me to mentally zone out and just enjoy the race, so it makes perfect sense that it would help me in a workout as well. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that until now! I typically try to reserve iPod use for “special occasions,” like a race, so that I don’t get too dependent on having it, but mile repeats definitely deserved something special.

My splits were 6:15, 6:10, 6:09, 6:13 and 5:58. I was very pleased with how that workout went!

I came home and made myself a yummy smoothie. I just found these at the grocery store last week and they say “new” so I think I am onto something cutting edge here. For anyone else who is lazy in food preparation (I mean, yes I am working on it, but you didn’t really think I was going to “prepare” more than one meal a day, right?) … these things are awesome! They are basically tiny little pieces of all natural fruits and veggies mixed with some greek yogurt that you just add juice to and shake up. It creates a smoothie with a really good consistency and none of the mess.  I’ve been adding protein powder and water, since I am doing them after a run or workout, and that seems to work just as well. They definitely get the Sam stamp of approval for a healthy treat!

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In other exciting news, we booked our flights to New York for the marathon in November. I am registered for the race, the rooms are booked and paid for and now the flights are booked and paid for .. things are getting real! There are several runners from our area heading up for the race, so it will be really nice to have a good group to train with and travel with. I haven’t ever been to New York before, so I am really excited about the trip in general. We should have a few extra days to take in some of the sights. I hope that we get to go ice skating in Central Park (I guess we should probably wait until after the race for that though)!

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Yesterday evening, Daniel and I met at the Verizon store after work to get our phones upgraded. Mine took a little swim last weekend and is still holding in there, but thankfully we were due for an upgrade anyway. We have both been rocking the iPhone 4 for a while now, so it is time to step it up, although I must say I have grown quite fond of the nice, petite size of the 4. I am not super excited about the size of the 6, but at least I don’t have to get the 6+! Daniel is switching it up completely and going with a Samsung. Craziness.

I also did a little Blue Apron cooking yesterday. We had lamb and risotto-style ditalini pasta with spring onions and green beans for dinner. Like all of the other meals thus far, it did not disappoint!

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Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. I’ve got a busy day of reading planned and a baby shower to go to later this evening. It’s a rough life, I know. But hey, I am soaking up every minute of my free time until it is back to the “real world” next month. Well, back to the part-time real world at least 😉

Gotta run!

Track Tuesday

So, let’s catch up.

Monday evening’s Yoga for Runners went really well! I was much more comfortable this time and just knowing what to expect helped so much. We worked on stretching and elongating the muscles that are typically over used in running and strengthening the muscles that are under used. Definitely a good reminder not to give up on something just because you don’t necessarily like it the first time you try it.

Tuesday’s workout was a 2 mile warm up, 10 X 600M (with a 1:30 recovery), and a 2 mile cool down. My goal range for the 600s was 6:00 – 6:05 pace, so 2:15 to 2:17 per repeat. I modified the workout a little and actually did a 2 mile warm up, 6 X 600M, 4 X 400M, and a 1 mile cool down.

Track workouts can be a bit of a mental struggle for me. Even today, I stayed within the pace range I was supposed to for the whole workout (which tells me that physically I was doing just fine), but I still ended up cutting the workout short. After the first two or three, I tried to tell myself that I would stop at five. Half a workout is better than no workout, right? After I did the fourth one, I tried to convince myself that I could do eight. Somewhere in there I thought maybe I could just do some 400M and 200M repeats to equal 600M, but what I ultimately settled on was that I would still do 10 total repeats, but I would shorten the last four. Whew. I was mentally (and physically) exhausted after all of that run around (get it?)!

I think we are all guilty of focusing so much on all of the physical aspects of running that we can easily forget that a big part of running is mental. Overall, I am pleased with what I was able to do, but I still have been trying to figure out why it is that I “get in my head” so much when I am on the track. Give me a long run, a treadmill workout or even a race for that matter and I am good to go, but make me run around the oval hamster wheel and I am done. So even though I could have done this workout on the treadmill (and I think probably completed the entire workout), I decided to go to the track anyway and that in itself was a small victory.

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I met up with a fellow blogger Tuesday morning and she gave me some wonderful tips on how to grow my blog and reach my target audience. Thank you Larisa!

During our “meeting” I tried a new to me drink at Starbucks and it was amazing. I got the orange mango smoothie and it was a very refreshing post-workout treat.

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Tuesday evening was group run at Running Wild. They had reps from Topo and Soleus there and we got to test out some shoes and GPS watches. I wore these and this. It is always fun to try different gear out and I really liked both of these products.

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This is somewhat off topic, but has anyone else tried a sugar kiss melon? We randomly decided to pick one up at the grocery store this week and it is really tasty. It basically seems like a really sweet small cantaloupe. We really like it, so I figured I would just pass that along.

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I hope y’all had a good day! Gotta run 🙂