Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Training update: Differences between this year and last

As many of you know this year I’ve taken on a new goal to run my first full marathon.  I started training at the end of June so that I could be prepared to run a full in the beginning of Dec and to give me a few weeks of leeway in case of injury or scheduling conflicts.  So how’s training going? I’ve decided not to run the full in Dec and wait for the one in Jan. I was just being lazy to get to the registration page and I’m going to be honest I’m a bit intimidating at the thought of running 26.2 miles.   I’ve completed several half marathons but the thought of a full marathon still puts my stomach in knots.  However, I’m working through it :)  I WILL be running the Disney full in January (I’m already registered) it’s a done deal.

So training…well it’s a bit different than training for my half marathons.  I’m still only running 3 times a week (2 short runs and a longer run).  What’s nice about starting training so early is that I can save my really long distances 10+ miles for every other week.  I’ve been training for 2 months now and have missed a few runs (mostly short runs) do to summer trips and heat.  I’m not getting upset about it but know I need to become more disciplined.  To help with this I’m going in on a Nike+ challenge with one of my sorority sisters to run 100 miles in 60 days.  If I stick to my training plan I will surpass this goal.  Hopefully this challenge will keep me motivated not to miss my runs.
This is me attempting to run on the mountain during my trip to Colorado.
 It's no easy task to run at 9,000ft.
A few sprints and I was done!
(Click the picture to enlarge)

Since I’m only running 3 times a week and most full marathon training plans require 4-5 days, I’ve started to incorporate some strength training on my off days.  This is something I didn’t do for my half training.  I’m starting to rack up in the mileage again (ran a 11 miler last week) and am happy to report no knee pain or any pain besides the typical soreness associated with a long run.  Last fall I struggled a lot with knee pain and even wore IT straps…not this year!  Awesome.
11 miles done pain free and and in my team runDisney tank :)

Another difference between my half marathon training last year and full training this year is that my life schedule is much busier.  I picked up a 3rd job in April and am now actively testing subjects for my research.  3 jobs, full time student, research…it all takes time and adds up quickly.  So where does training fit in?  Wherever I can squeeze it. Hahah This summer it has been mainly early morning runs.  It’s necessary with the Florida heat and afternoon rainstorms.

I’ve learned with a busy schedule like mine you can have a plan written out in a calendar (like I do) but you have to be flexible.  All of my long runs are scheduled on weekends however, now with a 3rd job I’m working most weekend mornings.  I can’t run and work mornings…So, I have to be flexible and run a long run during the week.  Now that class is back in full swing I’m going to have to get creative with my workout schedule.  Short runs are fine before a full day in the clinic but I’m not sure about long runs.  Next week is my trial week…I plan to run 13 miles Thursday morning before clinic at 1pm.  In theory, it’s doable…I just have to make sure I still have the appropriate energy to work with patients.  I’m not trying to be superwoman here…just pushing my mind and body to its limits ;)  I’ll keep you all updated on how that goes! 

My goal is to get through this training season injury free and to inspire others with busy schedules to get out there and be active.  If I can do it, so can you!

Race day Friday!  Wish me luck :)  Recap to come post race.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Melon Run Race Recap

July 4th not only was a celebration of Independence Day but it also marked the start of racing season for me.  I’ve taken 2.5 months off of races to give myself a rest.  I haven’t done more than a 6 miler in training since Iron Girl in April.   I was excited for the Melon Run.  I ran this race last year as my second 5K and finished strong in 30:10.  My only goal this year was to beat that time. 

Leading up to the race my training has been going so-so.  I really doubted I’d make my goal as my pace hasn’t been faster than a 10 min/mile in a while due to the heat and inconsistent training.  It’s difficult to get all of my runs in when it’s 90 degrees outside and all of my traveling that I’ve been doing.  I prepared myself to just be happy to finish and not worry about pace as I knew training hadn’t been ideal. 

The weather race day was perfect.  No rain, a bit of sunshine but enough clouds to keep from dying during the run.  A little over 400 runners showed up for the run, which is an awesome turnout for a local race.  It was my first race as a Fit2Run Ambassador.  It was nice seeing familiar faces at the race.  When I first started running I often did races alone but that is no longer the case, as I always seem to find either a Fit2Run Ambassador or team runDisney member to meet up with race day.

As everyone gathered to the start line I placed myself in the middle of the pack.  I didn’t want to get trampled and didn’t want to be dodging too much either.  That worked out well for me because I don’t remember having too much difficulty passing people.  I thought I was running at a slightly slower than training pace until I reached the one mile mark and heard my Nike update.  I ran the first mile in 9:03, which was a significantly faster pace than I’ve been running the past month.  I was pleasantly surprised by my pace and was even more surprised at how great I felt after the first mile.  The plan was to switch to intervals after the first mile but since I felt so great I kept running and didn’t rely on the intervals.  I stopped to walk for water but that was about it.  I ended up finishing in 27:31.  I met my goal!  I beat last year’s time :)

I had a great time and my only complaint is that the race shirts were only in men sizes.  The x-small is even a bit big for me.  I can wear it but I don’t think I’d run it.  This is a bummer because I liked the design this year.  I’m not sure why they didn’t offer women’s sizes like last year as there were slightly more women runners than male runners. 

Last year's shirt
This year's shirt

After the race I treated myself to some delicious watermelon and met up with the other Fit2Run Ambassadors.  We cheered on the kids during the 1 mile kid race.  I loved this!  One boy finished in 7 minutes.  That’s faster than my fastest mile.  Impressive to say the least. 

1 Mile Kid Race
My next race is a 10K in August.  Hopefully it’ll be just as fun!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Dreading turning 25

This isn’t about running.  Shocking I know, it’s a bit more personal than that.  My 25th birthday is quickly approaching and I’m kind of embarrassed to say that I’m struggling with that.  I know the majority of my readers are older and laughing at this but I think it’s true.  It has taken me a few weeks to come to this conclusion but I think it’s the only thing to explain how I’ve been feeling lately. 

 A little background on me for those of you who are new followers.  I’m a 3rd year grad student working towards my doctorate in Audiology.  I love it. It’s something I truly have a passion for, I really enjoy clinic and don’t mind class that much.  However, recently I think I’ve been having mini emotional breakdowns.

Not too long ago I was in clinic with an elderly man who came in for a routine appointment.  I love the elderly, they’re my favorites because they are so full of stories.  I love the small talk parts of the appointments and the opportunity to learn more about their lives that they’ve lived.  Every single person over the age of 65 will tell you their life story if you let them hahah and some are interesting to say the least.  Well this man lost his wife not too long ago and naturally talked about her during the appointment.  Which is fine and normally I can control my emotions about such things.  However, when he started talking about how much he missed her and how great she was, my eyes started to burn.  I didn’t want to cry in front of him because I felt like that would be unprofessional of me.  I would just occasionally look away and pull myself together.  There were other people in the room with us so this wasn’t too awkward and I didn’t think that noticeable.  I was doing a good job smiling and listening, because these were happy memories he was sharing.  However, when he started talking directly towards me and the other student in the room about the all the great things they used to do together and the importance of marrying for love, I lost it.  The tears just flowed.  I couldn’t help it.  The old man didn’t seem to notice or pay it much mind but I could tell it was making the other student uncomfortable.  At one point he handed me a box of tissues and said “oh allergies are bad this time of year” haha leave it to a guy to try and cover it up like that.  At the end of the appointment the man came up to me and apologized for making me cry and said he could tell I’m a very compassionate young woman.  I can’t believe I cried during that appointment…I’m usually so good with holding it together.  I didn’t cry to a single war story at the VA but I couldn’t hold back the tears at this appointment.

That was crying incident #1 and here is incident #2.  On weekends, I screen the hearing of the newborns at the hospital.  I look forward to it.  Well this weekend while I was screening a newborn baby girl her 2 big brothers walked in the room.  They were probably around the ages of 3 and 5.  You could tell by just looking at them that they were bursting with pride and excitement to be big brothers.  They asked me what I was doing so I told them that I was making sure their little sister could hear them when they talk to her but we have to be very quiet to find out.  The five year-old then whispered back in the most innocent, gentle way “ok, but don’t hurt our little girl.”  It was the cutest, sweetest thing ever and usually I’d probably laugh a little at that.  But this time as I smiled in his direction my eyes started to burn again.  I thought “oh no, I’m not doing this again”.  I could feel tears coming but I quickly looked down and pulled myself together.  That wasn’t something to cry about.

So, why am I having to fight off the burning eyes so much?  I think it’s because I’m getting older and subconsciously want to experience these things in life.  I’m turning 25 in a month, so naturally when I look around I see a lot of my friends getting married and starting a family.  I’ve noticed the increase in engagements and marriages the past year or so but it’s never been something I’d get emotional about. I’ve been content with being what feels like a lifetime student.  But now I’m getting restless.  I just want to be done and to start my life. And the worst part is, is that I feel guilty about feeling this way.  I know I shouldn’t wish away a season of life and that I’m in the right place right now but I want to feel like I’m in the right place.  I think turning 25 makes me feel like the pressure is on.  This might be the first birthday I dread if I don’t hurry and change my mindset.  Lets pause time so I can get my mess together haha

Saturday, June 1, 2013

A must try: ENERGYbits!


What are they?  Good question.  When I first heard of them I had no clue what they were or what they used for.  Now they seem to be the popular craze in the running world and I understand why.  They work.  ENERGYbits are 100% pure spirulina algae that has 40 nutrients and 64% protein in a single serving.  They may look like pill but shouldn’t confused as such because they are actually bits algae (food).  An interesting fact, one gram of algae has the nutitional equivalent of 1,000 grams of fruits and vegetables.   

Here is what they look like:

A serving size is 30-40 bits.  I was a bit nervous about this at first because it seemed like a lot of food to swallow.  I’m not a huge fan of taking anything in pill form.  However, this was manageable.  I was able to swallow 4 at a time while eating my breakfast with no problem.  I also think by having to take so many it made me consume more water than what I’d normally drink which is a good thing before a warm summer run.  You can chew these but they have a bit of a fishy odor kind of like fish food or Omega vitamins if you’re used to taking those.  I’m not a fan of seafood so I chose to swallow them. 

As many of you know, I’ve been having some IT band issues the past few weeks so I decided to limit my run to 3 miles.  I wasn’t sure what kind of benefit I’d notice from the bits, if any at all, going on such a short run.  To my surprise, even in a short run the effect of ENERGYbits was noticeable.  I felt energized the entire run and even felt like I could keep going after my 3 miles were up.  I didn’t go on only because I didn’t want to risk irritating my IT band.  (It was a pain free run).  I typically train at a 1:30/:30 run/walk interval for the first 1.5miles and then switch to 1/:30s.  However, I was able to keep up with the 1:30/:30 interval the entire time and even skipped a few because I wasn’t paying attention to the beeper.  I think what I was most happy about with this run is that I had NEGATIVE splits! This never happens for me.  No matter the distance I always struggle/slow down with the last bit.  I felt like for this run I was speeding up and just getting started.  Awesome!

I think what I most like about ENERGYbits is the nutrients it provides.  I’m a plain eater with a terrible diet.  I’ve recently become more conscious about this and trying to improve.  My last big race I felt terrible for pretty much the entire thing because of poor nutrition.  I just started tracking my meals with MyFitnessPal just to see how much protein and other nutrients I’m getting each day.  I was very impressed to find ENERGYbits as one of the recordable foods on this app :)

Here are screenshots of a day without ENERGYbits and a day with ENERGYbits:  (I ate similar things both days—w/the exception of a smoothie of the first day that provided a ton of vitamin A)

Without ENERGYbits **All Day totals (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)**

With ENERGYbits **totals from Breakfast and Lunch only**

The largest difference I noticed was in my iron consumption.  Iron is important for athlete performance because it carries oxygen to and carbon dioxide away from all of the cells in the body.  Without enough iron a person can lose endurance and feel fatigued.  I don’t eat an iron enriched diet so, it’s a good thing that the ENERGYbits provided a good source of iron for me.  This probably contributed to how I felt during my run.

In Summary:
I’m a fan of ENERGYbits :)  I like the nutrients it provides and the way it makes me feel during my runs.  A strong run is a good run :)  It feels great to be #PoweredByBits

Check out to learn more or to purchase ENERGYbits.
Follow ENERGYbits on twitter @ENERGYbits

Want to try ENERGYbits for yourself?
Enter this giveaway from an ENERGYbits Ambassador to win your very own tin of ENERGYbits.  Hurry though because the giveaway ends tonight! June 1, 2013

Disclaimer:  I was provided with a sample of ENERGYbits to try, however all opinions are of my own.

Also don’t forget there is still time to enter my giveaway for a free Disney ticket! Enter Here:


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

How to Get and Stay Motivated to Run

How to get and stay motivated to run:
    1.     Know your reason for running:  Everyone has a reason as to why they run.  Whether it be to run to lose weight, in honor/remembrance of someone, raise awareness/funds for an organization, stress relief, or just because you can.  Other reasons to run...  

The reason I run...
It's my way of carrying my cross daily.

Whatever your reason, know it and own it!  You’re much more likely to start and keep running if you have a reason to run.

   2.     Set Goals:  If you’re just starting out start with a small goal.  You want something achievable in a reasonable time frame so that you don’t burn out quickly.  If you’ve never run before maybe set your goal at a mile or 5k.  It’s ok to have long-term goals but make sure you have some short-term goals too.  My first year of running:  my short-term goal was to run regularly for 90 days and long term was to complete a half marathon.  After completing 5 half marathons my new long-term goal for this year is to survive a full marathon.

Staying Motivated:

  3.     Sign up for a race:  Sign up for a race shortly after you start running.  It’ll give you something to work towards.  I know when I don’t have a race on the horizon I start to lose motivation for running.  Races give me something fun to train for :)

  4.     Track your runs: I probably wouldn’t still be running today if I didn’t track my runs.  I like to see my daily, weekly, monthly and yearly stats.  Tracking my runs helps me see my progress and set goals.  There are several free apps and social networks out there to help you do this.  Here are a few that I use:

  •   Daily  I sync my nikeplus to this but you can also manually enter in runs.  It is excellent for keeping up with weekly, monthly, and yearly mileage.  You can also easily track the mileage on your shoes and keep track of your race dates with this app.  I personally like to look at the lifetime stats to see the total miles I’ve run and the number of donuts burned haha  I share these results on twitter and my blog

  •   Nikeplus—I use this app on my phone to track my runs 8 mile or less while running.  I love the maps and how it keeps track of my PRs.  It motivates me to move faster.  For my longer runs I still use Nikeplus but manually enter my runs using  This helps me preserve the battery life on my phone.  The only thing that stinks about manually entering runs is that it doesn’t track calories or convert my run to Nikefuel. This app is nice for tracking mileage on multiple pairs of shoes.  I share my Nikeplus runs on facebook. 

  • EveryMove-- This site converts all of your physical activities into points.  These points can be used for prizes (discounts, raise money for organizations).  Who doesn’t like prizes?

  •  Walgreens Balance Rewards If you frequently shop at this drug store and are familiar with their rewards card, you can now earn points for running.  You get 20 points for every mile you log.  5000 points equals a $5 reward :) You can also earn additional points for logging your weight.  All you need to get started is a Walgreens Balance Rewards card.

These are just the apps/sites I use.  There are a lot more out there.  So find the one the works for you and track your mileage :)

I post the majority of my stuff to facebook and twitter.  I'm not worried about annoying people on your newsfeed.  Here is how I think about it. hahaha

And last but not least...
5. Change it up:  Change up your running course.  Running the same route everyday can get tiresome and boring.  I prefer to run loops instead of out and backs so that I’m not running by the same things twice during the same run.  I have 2 5K loops, 2 10K loops, and an eleven mile loop that I interchange for my runs depending on the distance I want to go.  I have a 16 mile loop in mind for when I start training for my full marathon (and it conveniently has a cupcake shop at the half way point. Score!)

Ok and now for the fun part of this post...

The 2nd Annual Disney Ticket Giveaway!!! 
Just comment below on what motivates you to run and follow me on twitter.  Extra entries are given to those who tweet about this post. **** (This contest is open to everyone so if you haven’t started running yet no worries—I hope this post will provide some inspiration to you. In the meantime, simply show some love with a comment and/or follow on twitter)

This Giveaway is in perfect time for all of those runners out there looking for a ticket to Disneyland for the Dumbo Dare Challenge or any other runDisney event this year or spring of 2014. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Details:  The ticket expires 6/08/14 so it must be used before then!  Please only enter the contest if you’re certain you’ll be able to use the ticket by that date.  Also, please do NOT sale it for any reason.  If you can’t use the ticket, give it back to me :)  Mickey Mouse gives tickets to me for free so I’m not selling them and I don’t want you to either.  

There will be (2) winners.  Each will receive 1 Disney ticket that can be used at any of the following parks… Walt Disney World, Disneyland, CA, Hong Kong Disney, and Disneyland Paris.

Contest goes until June 4, 2013.  Winner will be announced on National Running Day June 5, 2013 so be sure to come back and check my blog then.  The winner will have 48 hrs to claim the ticket before it is forfeited.