Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Halloween

Happy Halloween from my brood to yours ...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

my introduction to Crossfit ...

"Once upon a time, there was a girl who was know for being strong. And tough. When she was in high school, she could bench press her own body weight, which is impressive, considering she weighed 220 pounds. For fun, her track coach had her push his truck around the parking lot. She was a beast and everyone knew it. After college, she switched gears. Heavy weights and insane workouts were replaced with 15 pound bicep curls and long distance running. She lost 70 pounds and never looked back. Until a friend convinced her to buy a LivingSocial deal for Crossfit ..."

That's how I ended up where I am today. I caved to peer pressure and bought that LivingSocial deal back in June. It took me until last week to build up the courage to go.

I was convinced I was going to be completely out of my league. I knew I was going to make a total fool of myself. And I was sure that I was going to leave bruised and battered (spoiler alert: I kind of did.)

On Saturday morning, I headed to my first class, which upon arrival, I found out would be a one-on-one experience. Apparently, no one else was interested in the free sufferfest that lay before me.

Class began with a light warm-up that instantly made me regret running eight miles earlier that morning. After a quick overview of how workouts are structured and a briefing on all that Crossfit terminology, we got started.

We started with the Push Press, which despite 10 years away from the weight room, I actually remembered how to do. First was a set of five with just the bar, then another five reps at 65 pounds.

OK, I can handle this.

Then came pull ups. I was told to try a set of five. Instead, I laughed. Who in the world can just pop out five pull ups on day one? Not this girl.

I ended up trying and completed one dead-hang pull up. Go me! I jumped down and was given a band for assistance. Wrapped around the bar and my foot, this band "assisted" my pull-ups by "eliminating" 60 pounds of resistance, leaving me with 100 pounds to pull up. I love that band. It made the first set of five a piece of cake.

Finally, we moved to the rowing machine. I was shown proper form and tested it out. Once I was done, the real work began - the WOD.

10 reps of Push Press @ 65#
5 pull ups
250m rowing
AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) in 12 minutes

I was hoping it was a joke. I was already feeling it from our practice reps. And I was no fool, I knew that even though it sounded short, 12 minutes was going to feel like an eternity.

I got set up and the timer started.

First set of Push Press - Unbroken
First set of Pull ups - Unbroken
First round of rowing - On overdrive

It took me 2:30 to finish the first round. And as soon as he called out the time, I knew I was screwed. I totally failed to pace myself. My go big or go home mentality had me blazing at the start and struggling to catch my breath by the end of the first round.

Second set of Push Press - 8, then a break. Then 2 more
Second set of Pull ups - 3, then a break. Then 2 more
Second round of rowing - Not nearly as fast

It was yelled out that I could still finish a third round. I felt spent and really thought that I didn't have enough strength to not drop the bar on my head. But, I knew I wasn't going to stop.

Third set of Push Press - 5, then a break. 3, then a break. Then 2 more
Third set of Pull ups - 2, then a break. 1, then a break. 1, then a break. A failed attempt. Then the last one.

When I finished the pull ups, I was told I had 35 seconds left. So, I rowed like there was no tomorrow.

Third round of rowing - 150m

I have never been so happy to have 12 minutes be over in my entire life. But at the same time, I felt like a total bada**.

Then I flipped over my hand and saw this ...

And honestly, I didn't even care. I loved the workout and I can not wait to go back.

Monday, October 29, 2012

yurbuds Running Party ...

For over two years, I have been a loyal user of yurbuds Sports Earphones. I love them. J loves them (Note: He may be more obsessed with them than I). I recommend them to everyone I know. And I can honestly say that I have NEVER EVER EVER had a issue with them. They stay in place (thanks to patented Twist Lock Technology). They are uber-comfortable. And they funnel the sound directly into my ear canal (better sound quality), while still allowing me to hear the ambient noises as I run.

They are awesomesauce. And I dare you to find a better set of earphones. Actually, don't bother. You can't.

Recently, yurbuds launched a new line specifically for women: Inspire for Women.

The Inspire for Women features the same technology and the FlexSoft comfort fit, as the entire yurbuds line, but they are specifically designed to fit smaller ears.

My old yurbuds (red) vs. the Inspire for Women line (purple) ...

Additionally, the Inspire for Women, which retail for $29.99 at Target, come in six different colors (which I love).

pink, yellow, green, purple, orange and blue (not shown)

Yesterday afternoon, seven of my friends and I were given the opportunity to attend a yurbuds Running Party where we got to test out the Inspire for Women line.

gift boxes and post-run refreshments ...

some of my favorite running friends ...

We started by breaking into our yurbuds gift boxes, which included a pair of yurbuds Inspire for Women earphones, a yurbuds Sweaty Band, yurbuds "INSPIRE" sports towel, as well as a Luna Bar and song suggestions from Ironman Champion Mirinda Carfrae.

inside the gift boxes ...

Once everyone learned how to use their yurbuds (most of the group had never tried them before), we headed out on a run to see how they held up to the winds of Hurricane Sandy.

helping each other "lock" the yurbuds into place ...

There wasn't a single complaint.

and we're off ...
Once we got back, we tried to think of ways to "unlock" the yurbuds from our ears. Not even a handstand could make it happen ...

Kelly, showing off her crazy skills ...
If that doesn't stamp a seal of approval on the yurbuds Inspire for Women line, nothing will.

Disclaimer: My friends and I were provided yurbuds Inspire for Women earphones and gift boxes free of charge. However, the opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Three Things Thursday ...

Accountability - I mentioned on Monday that I had been lacking some accountability in my training. And although I have done my best to ignore the "I will do it later" thoughts, I still can't force myself out of bed at 4:30 a.m. to get my sweat on. My bed is just too cozy and two more hours of sleep sounds pretty much like heaven.

With that said, I have been getting my workouts done. And yesterday's swim served as the perfect example how I work harder when I step out of my solo training ways. You see, when I got to the pool yesterday, my friend (and future IM training partner) Sally, was already swimming. I jumped in the lane beside her and just tried to keep up. (Note: I couldn't keep up with propellers) I swam hard, but comfortable. And somehow, I finished the 3000m workout in 58 minutes. I looked back and the fastest I have ever swam that distance before was 1:03. So basically, I am awesomesauce. And all it took was a little peer pressure.

Crossfit - On Saturday morning, I am running 8 miles. Four hours later, I am taking my first Crossfit class. I'm thinking this may be a recipe for disaster.

I know that I have endurance and I know that I am strong, but I am not confident that either of those things are going to fully prepare me for the hurt-fest that awaits me. Plus, I have a severe lack of coordination and box jumps scare me. If it wasn't for my undying need to impress people, I'm not sure I would make it through alive.

Thank God Sunday is a rest day ...

Costumes - For some reason, we have about 20 Halloween costumes of various sizes and themes in our home. On Monday, I laid them out for the girls and let them choose one. I had plans in my head of how we could all coordinate costumes if I could just "steer" the girls in the right direction. But, no such luck.

Dizzle decided to take parts of two costumes and create a fairy costume (Note: There were perfectly good, pre-assembled fairy costumes to choose from). Doodle went with a witch costume that she wore two years ago. And while the costume still fits (with leggings added), the hat is crazy small on her head. So small that it's never going to stay on. I'm thinking I will hide the hat and give her wings and she can be a sorcerer fairy. And Dilly chose to be a spider, also her costume from two years ago. It has gone from being dress length to shirt length and the hat doesn't snap around her noggin. But, she's too freaking cute to say no to.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Kona Kase review ...

Recently, I was given the opportunity to try out Kona Kase.

Never heard of it before? I'm not shocked. I hadn't either. But, after checking out the Kona Kase website, I was intrigued.

Kona Kase, established in 2012, allows monthly subscribers to receive Kona Kases filled with 8-10 endurance nutrition samples for just $15 a month.

opening this was like Christmas morning ...

Since the box varies from month to month, subscribers are treated to a vast variety of products (some full sized, like the bars), allowing you to see what products work (and taste) best without having to commit to purchasing, and possibly wasting, a full-sized container. It's kind of a brilliant idea.

But, is it worth your $15?

Yes and No. And here's why ...

  • If you are on a budget and don't know what endurance nutrition products you like, then Kona Kase is a great choice. You get quite a bit for your money and you will eventually find your perfect nutrition products.
  • If you are like to try new things and like variety, the Kona Kase would be a monthly bundle of happiness. Personally, I had heard of, but never tried anything in my Kona Kase. Some of it, I hadn't even heard of.
  • If you are interested, but not ready to commit. This goes for both Kona Kase and the samples in the box. You can cancel your Kona Kase subscription at any time, with no penalty. And since you are only getting samples of the products, you won't be left with unfinished containers sitting in your pantry. It's really a win-win.
  • You really like getting mail. If you love getting packages and are willing to spend $15 a month to do so, then Kona Kase would be an awesome surprise each month.
  • If you have food allergies or intolerances, then skip Kona Kase for now. Currently, you can not customize your box in any way, which means that there is the possibility that you could get a Kona Kase filled with products you can't try. However, check back in the future as the company is hoping to offer customization a few months down the line.
  • If you know what you like and what works for you. If you have your nutrition plan set, you probably don't need a subscription. I mean, it's likely that you've tried pretty much everything out there anyway.

Disclaimer: I received Kona Kase free of charge. However, the opinions stated here are entirely my own.

Monday, October 22, 2012

accountability ...

I've never been one to need a push to get things done. If there is a deadline, I am going to make it. If there is a goal, I am going to reach it.

I've also never been one to ask for help. I believe that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. In fact, if I ask for help and the results don't come quick enough, I've been known to step in and pick up the slack. Did I mention I am impatient? (Note to J: I am NEVER going to step in and clean the office. That shit is yours to deal with. Might as well get on it now ...)

Despite theses two traits, I am finding that recently I am struggling with getting my workouts done. I'm not burned out. I'm not unmotivated. I just keep pushing them to the back burner, telling myself that I will get to it later. But, later never comes.

Last week, I took five rest days. Four of them in a row. I only took five rest days all of last month. There is some sort of insanity going on around here. And I know exactly what it is ...

I have zero accountability.

No races scheduled for six months = No training plan

Training 99.9% solo = No one to get your sorry tail moving

Talk about setting up yourself to fail. Honestly, I never considered how much I was relying on external cues to keep myself accountable. I (pompously) assumed that I was just so on top of my game that I didn't need anyone or anything else to keep me moving.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

Endurance training is not a solo venture.

Unless you want to fail. And last time I checked, failure is not an option.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Seaside Half Marathon ...

Did you ever have a bad run?

Like an "I'd rather be lying dead on the curb than running" kind of run?

Yeah, me too.

It's happened once or twice over the course of the last five years. And although, it's been said that, "You never regret going for a run," I have regretted every single steps of those runs.

Fortunately, I have never experienced a run like that when it really mattered.

Until Sunday.

A few months back, Kim mentioned that she was going to run the Seaside Half Marathon. I instantly wanted to join her (mainly because I love Kim, but also because I grew up 10 minutes from the race location). Initially, it looked like the timing wasn't going to work out, but as luck would have it, we decided to change our Disney travel dates and I would be able to race. And even better, I was able to convince my sister, Gina, to make her half marathon debut at the event.

So, it was set. Gina and I would drive up the day before, meet Kim, Alma and Lisa for dinner, race at the odd start time of 10 a.m., and then drive home afterwards. It was going to be great.

And it was. Until about mile 3.

Dinner was delicious (and likely my downfall).

Alma, Lisa, Kim, me and Gina ...

I slept well that night. And I woke up ready to race.

Me, Lisa, Kim and Gina. Yes, we coordinated outfits ...

Anyway, like I said, things were going great until mile 3. I had been on pace to hit my goal, despite the 20 mph headwind. Then I started to feel a stabbing pain in my head. By mile 6, my head was full-on throbbing.

Shortly after mile 7, Kim caught me. Then passed me. I started looking for "ways out." Could I hitch a ride with a spectator? No, there were none. Could I jump on an ambulance? Nope, the only one I had seen was long gone. By mile 8, I was dry heaving on the side of the road. At one point, I noticed a bird lying dead on the road and considered joining him (I am only mildly exaggerating).

Right around mile 10, my nausea subsided slightly and I was able to run briefly. Very briefly. My stomach cramps were making it hard to breathe. It hurt to expand my rib cage. I was seriously considering taking a DNF for the first time ever. But, as I mentioned before, even if I committed to quitting, there was no way to get back other than by my own power, so there was really no point.

Unable to run for more than about a minute at a time, I walked the vast majority of the last three miles. Only in the last two tenths of the race did I even attempt to push the pace (I finished in 2:28:21, in case you were wondering). And I only did that because I knew my mom was waiting at the finish line.

sucking it up for the cameras ...

I have never been so happy to finish a run. Ever. Afterwards, I must have looked and been breathing worse than I thought, because my mom tried to get me to go to the medic. I shook her off, as I wasn't about to miss my little sister finish her first half marathon. (Note: She did awesome and although she swears she'll never run another half, I know I can convince her ...)

Honestly, I am not really sure what happened. I'm still not feeling 100%. Maybe I was (and still am) fighting a bug. Maybe, I was wicked dehydrated and I just didn't realize. Maybe my gluten and dairy filled diet in the day prior screwed me over. I don't know. Regardless, this is going down as my worst race ever.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Three Things Thursday ...

Back to Reality - We arrived home last night from an eight day trip to Walt Disney World. And as much as I was happy to come home, I was kind of sad too. We had an absolute blast and really connected as a family.

It was so awesome just to be together in our own little bubble. We felt so far removed from what was going on in our everyday life. In fact, both J and I said that it felt like we were gone much longer than eight days. Even before we got home, I felt as if the world was racing forward while we managed to hit the pause button. It was nice. And despite their sheer loudness and crazy behavior, I felt like I spent the last week really appreciating my three little monsters and everything they bring to my life.

Now, will I feel the same way once we get back on schedule? Yeah, not sure about that one, but for now I am all rainbows and unicorns about them.

Goofy - My 6'7" linebacker of a husband wore this hat throughout our vacation. I love that he doesn't take himself too seriously ...

Reunions - While we were in Orlando, I noticed (on Facebook) that my friend (and shot-put relay partner) from high school was also there visiting. And since the last time I saw her I only had one child, it was obvious that we needed to get together.

On Monday, we met for dinner and it couldn't have gone any better.

a bunch of crazies ...
And although we may have scared her out of ever having kids of her own, the girls just loved her and we picked up right where we left off. It made a great trip even better.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

We Heart Harlie 5K

Location: Glen Allen, VA
Date: 9/30/12
Temperature: 62 degrees
Official Time: 23:55 (7:42 pace)

The Good:

A Worthwhile Cause: This race was established to support Harlie, a classmate of Doodle. She just turned six years old and has had 30 surgeries, four of which were open heart. You can read all about her, her family and her medical conditions HERE. Honestly, I am amazed my the strength and resiliency of this little girl and her family. I can't even fathom the toll that it must take on all of them and I am so happy to have been able to support them, even if it was only a little.

Racing Without Racing: I haven't really been training to run fast, so I decided to just go out and run comfortably. No looking at my watch. No obsessing over my pace. All I wanted to do was to feel like I was working, but not killing myself.

I swear I am faster than I look ...
And it worked, I held a steady pace and finished in 23:55. I was really happy with that.

Watching the Girls Run: There was a half mile fun run for the kids at this race. So, obviously, I signed all my kids up.

Post race with the girls in their Tough Chik tees

Watching/Running with the girls was probably my favorite part of the day.

Doodle ..
Me and Dilly ...
Dizzle ...
The Bad and Ugly:

Wipeout: The fun run was Dilly's racing debut. She was so excited. Right before she started, I took this picture.

Soon after, they were off running. Approximately 50 meters into the race, Dilly faceplanted. She cut up her forehead, cheek, nose and lip. She was bleeding and crying and I felt so bad.

click to enlarge and see the road rash ...

However, being the rock star that she is. She calmed down and finished the race (with me by her side).

Monday, October 1, 2012

September Rewind ...

Run Miles Ran: 81.7 miles

Bike Miles Rode: 107.3 miles

Swim Meters Completed: 17362m or 10.79 miles

Rest Days Taken: 5

Highest Run Mileage Week: 9/24-9/30: 33.6 miles

Highest Bike Mileage Week: 9/24-9/30: 35.2 miles

Highest Swim Volume Week: 9/10-9/16: 8800m or 5.36 miles

Long Runs Completed (10+ miles): 3

Current Book: Right now, I am reading Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. She's also known as The Bloggess. You've probably heard of her. She's freaking hilarious. I also finished a few books this month including:
  • Mockingjay by Collins
  • The Blood Sugar Solution by Hyman
  • Bread is the Devil by Bauer
  • The Complete Idiots Guide to Gluten Free Eating by Adamson
  • How to Look Hot in a Minivan by Min
  • Special Diets for Special Kids by Lewis
Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: My rebellious streak. On Saturday, I updated my hair to match that of Pink and Miley Cyrus (minus the platinum blond).

And last night, I pierced my tongue (or really re-pierced). Yeah, I'm 30 acting like I am 18. I'm cool with it. And I don't really care what anyone thinks about it.

Current Colors: Charcoal Gray and Yellow
Current Drink: Water, water and more water ...

Current Song: It's Time - Imagine Dragons

Current Triumph: Making the dietary changes to help myself feel more like myself. And yesterday, I ran a comfortable 5K in 23:55. Not a PR, but pretty solid for not pushing it.

Current Goal: Be a better me. Each and every day. And to not to gain a zillion pounds while at Walt Disney World this week.

Current Blessing:
Generally, I feel like my whole life is one big blessing and I am entirely grateful for that. I don't take anything for granted. Not even for a second.

Current Excitement: One word. DISNEY. Yup, I am a big kid.

How we told the girls about our trip ...

2012 To Do List Update:

  • Take 70.3 training day by day. Don't get caught up in what is coming, but rather focus on what is. Trust that it will get you where you want to be. - CHECK
  • Find the strength to NOT add races to your schedule during 70.3 training. That is your focus, don't screw with that because of FOMO (fear of missing out). - CHECK
  • Cross the finish line of your first 70.3 in less than 6:57:59. - CHECK. Goal crushed. 6:39:39.
  • Maintain at least one day of cycling and one day of swimming per week, post 70.3. Give J some proof that a new road bike would be a good investment. - CHECK. I'm crushing this one.
  • Log 4,000 miles, swim, bike and run combined. - As of October 1, 3532.9 miles completed
  • Race a 10K with a finish time much faster than your very dated current PR of 53:17.
  • Set a new PR in the Half Marathon, currently 1:57:06 (or 1:56:18, if the half split from the NYC Marathon counts). - Next opportunity, October 14 - Seaside Half Marathon
  • Race a Fall Sprint Triathlon. Actually train for the event, unlike in years past. - Rocked that. Finished 3rd Athena!
  • Add strength training to the routine. - CHECK. 
  • Eat like an athlete. Be mindful of the nutritional value of your food. - I've been killing this. But, apparently my scale doesn't care.
  • Consume no more than 18 desserts from either Shyndigz or Two Sweet Cupcakes (approximately 1 dessert/3 weeks) - As of October 1, 15 desserts consumed. I need to just face the facts with this one.
  • Cut out snacking on the girl's leftovers. Just because they don't eat it, doesn't mean you have to. - CHECK
  • Only say yes to the projects you REALLY want to work on. - CHECK
  • Throw away the credit cards. Stop repeating history. - CHECK
  • Ignore your impulses. Take time to process the true value of the things you are filling your space/life with. - CHECK
  • Declutter and Organize using this calendar. - CHECK
  • Continue to balance family life, training and now, work. - CHECK
  • Prioritize and be a good example for the people in your life. - CHECK
  • Help and support J and the kids in reaching their goals. We are a team and that must always be the primary focus of our lives. - CHECK