Pump it.

This morning’s workout – 15 minute warm up…8 hill repeats 100 yds each…30(ish) minutes of cooling down. 6.7 miles done. I wore my CEP compression sleeves this morning during my run. They felt amazing!
 
I also enjoyed the beautiful sunrise by the lake. Lots of runners and people out this morning. Wasn’t too hot and I tried to catch some nice shady spots as much as possible.
Last night I got a little bit of strength training in after dance. I bought these shiny little beauties from Dick’s Sporting Goods so I tested them out.
I generally don’t do a set strength training plan during my marathon training, just try to throw the weights in whenever possible. I like to aim for at least 2 to 3 times per week.  I do think strength is an important factor though.
Most of all I listen to my body during marathon training season so as to prevent injuries.
This is the little strength set that I did. I used weights with all of these with the exception of the scissor kicks & planks.
Alternating lunges  – 3 sets of 12
Sumo squats  – 3 sets of 15
Russian twists  – 2 sets of 20
Shoulder presses – 3 sets of 12
Planks / side planks
Scissor kicks – 3 sets of 15
Stretch & cool down
Takes me anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes to finish. Great little workout that you can do in your living room!
Do you strength train during marathon training season? If so how often? What is your favorite strength training move?

Fun Summer Nites.

TGIF! So glad the weekend has finally rolled around again. I am looking forward to lots of fun things this weekend…including some live music outdoors with the BF, some brunchin’, and a 14 mile long run with my running group! Good times!
But first…coffee…
 
Last night I went to the Luke’s Locker social run and ran with some of my peeps. It was a two a day running day for me (I had logged 4 miles earlier in the day) so I was in for a little over 3 miles. Got in just around 7.5 miles yesterday! I was happy to get a little bit more in since this past week has been so busy with work and teaching dance class. I am hoping to hit around 40 miles total this week with my mileage…that’s the most weekly mileage I’ve run in quite some time! Exciting stuff.
After the run I met up with boo and we went to a late night pajama/pizza party that Yelp was throwing at a local Italian eatery Olivella’s. I love the Yelp community and there are always so many fun events to go to…the venues often offer free food and beverages, and who doesn’t love that!?
 
We enjoyed some delicious Neapolitan and Roman style pizzas, mini sandwiches and foccacia bread, as well as some of their refreshing homemade sangria! It was pretty much a carb loading heaven!
 
I absolutely loved the outdoor patio with the misting fans. It was such a beautiful, fun summer night!
 
Have a wonderful Friday!
Doing anything fun this weekend? What is your favorite kind of pizza? 

Simple Things A to Z.

Happy Thursday! I am doing a simple post today. As we all know, sometimes life can get a little complicated and it truly is nice to slow down a bit and appreciate the simpler things in life. I got this idea from the lovely Alex – go visit her awesome blog! So this is my A to Z list of all of the little things in my life that make me happy.
A-Almond milk. I obsessed with this milk so much that I no longer put the real stuff in my cereal. My favorite kind of course is the Silk chocolate almond milk in the little adorable juice boxes.
B-Being barefoot. Call me a hippie if you want. I would never wear shoes if it was acceptable. I love driving barefoot and must have shoes off at all times while I’m in the house. Shoes in the house should be banned and considered against the law.
C-Chocolate almonds. My job sells these in the bookstore and I am addicted.
D-Dancing. I love dancing because it makes me feel free, it’s non competitive and just allows you to let your hair down and be loose. I love teaching Danceaton and gettin down with these awesome people.
E-Easy breezy mornings. I am a morning person and I love the easy breezy peacefulness of mornings. There is something about a quiet morning especially outdoors that is just pure serenity.
Sunrise along one of my “quiet time” moments
F-Fartleks. I think I actually just like saying the word, but it’s a technique of including speedwork in your run and I love the little bursts of speed.
G-Going on vacation. Having a drink with an umbrella in it. Who doesn’t love that?
H-Having friends over for brunch. Just gives me excuse to cook a bunch of yummy stuff and motivates me to clean my apartment from top to bottom.
My last brunch…served up a bunch of yummy eats to some hungry runners!
I-iMac. I am in love with my computer. It’s user friendly and can do just about anything other than cook me dinner…I think I am officially becoming a MAC girl rather than a Windows girl.
J-Jazz music outdoors. Nothing beats a beautiful evening outside with some soothing relaxing music. I love me some outdoor music in the summertime with this fella.
K- Kicking back and doing nothing. There really is something wonderful about doing absolutely nothing. Just feet up, relaxed, empty space.
L-Letting your hair down. There’s no problem that a flat iron can’t fix.
M-Magazines. US Weekly, Runners World, I love them all. Give me a good magazine and I will go to town with it. Especially fun for reading right by the pool.
N-Nice people. Nice people make me smile. I like to surround myself around them.
O-Oatmeal. I love oats, could have them every morning.
P-Popsicles. My favorite thing in summer. Especially the ones with fresh fruit. My favorite flavor is strawberry.
Q-Quiet time to myself. As much as I love people…I’ve also gotta have me some quiet “me” moments of reflection.
R-Running. We all knew I would put this one in there.
S-Smiling. A smile really is the best accessory.
T-To do lists…especially this one
Check, check and double check.
U-Under armor. They have the best running tights a girl could wear.
V-Vino
W-Water
X-Xtra cheese? Yeah, I like that.
Y-Yoga. My favorite pose…the crow, fo sho.
Z-Zebras? I really couldn’t think of anything that goes with Z. Zebras are cool. Actually I do like zebra print.
What are some simple things in your life that you enjoy? Any fun plans for the upcoming weekend?

A happy running moment and lazy girl meals.

Wednesdays are the days I like to meet up with my buddy Elyse for a sunrise run- the miles go by while we chat and catch up on each other’s lives. We met at 6 a.m., just before sunrise. We ended up covering a little over 5 miles. I always enjoy getting out with friends to run, especially with the hustle and bustle of the work week it’s nice to just have a little happy running moment with a friend. Good times.
How can you not be a morning runner when the sunrise is this beautiful.
 
We talked about the Olympics which is coming on this Friday. Will you be watching? PRO Compression socks is doing a special deal on their limited edition “USA” marathon socks to celebrate. If you are a runner and you do not have at least one pair of compression socks you are truly missing out on life. They are great for recovery after a hard run or workout. I have the pink ones and they are heaven.
Tonight I will be teaching dance class and I am excited about it! I have said it before but I love teaching at the 24 Hour Fitness gym in Murphy. As a fitness instructor, when you know all of the proper equipment at the gym is ALWAYS working, like the mic, stereo, pitch etc. this makes your life a happier one. Plus I love the energy of the Murphy club, they work hard and they love to dance. My trademark move is getting them to drop it like it’s hot so we will be incorporating this oldie but goodie.
After dance class I will likely come home and pass out on the couch. I am rarely ever hungry after my high impact sweaty dance class but I have to force myself to eat…my little quick lazy girl meal when I don’t feel like cooking is now something I would like to introduce to you as Laughing Cow Skinny Zesty Mac n Cheese. I know, that’s quite wordy. Anyways, here’s the recipe. Serves 1.
1 serving of elbow macaroni
1 wedge of laughing cow light cheese (I have been using the blue cheese kind because it has so much flavor but I also like original swiss)
Garlic powder
Basil
Red Pepper Flakes
1 tbsp of light butter, or I can’t believe its not butter
Cook the mac, then mix in laughing cow cheese and light butter. Sprinkle with garlic powder and basil. Top with red pepper flakes. That’s it! It really needs no salt, no pepper. It has flavor all on its own!
What is a quick lazy go to meal you like to whip up? Are you going to watch the Olympics? What is your favorite Olympics event?

Sauna running and my latest obsessions.

6 sweaty miles this morning in the Texas summer heat, like running through a sauna. The humidity was thick, the sun was blazing and thankfully the wind brought a cooler breeze. I knocked out the 6 hill repeats that were scheduled for the day. I grabbed my Silk chocolate almond milk for recovery, stretched, showered and got dressed for work. Bam.
Last night I did my usual weekly grocery shopping, and stocked up on all my faves. Bing cherries were on sale for $1.99, so I grabbed some, along with bananas, eggs, asparagus, and my usual staples. I like to always make sure I am stocked up with fresh fruits and veggies in the house, along with some quality protein. It keeps me from wanting to run out for takeout, which I try to avoid doing most weeknights. I bought some bags of wild caught frozen mahi mahi and tilapia. Yummy! I had never made mahi mahi before but was feeling a little bit experimental. I marinaded the fish in a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, garlic powder, and a dash of salt/pepper. Then I coated the fish in a little bit of garlic breadcrumbs. Turned out great, especially paired with my famous roasted asparagus!
 
My lunches lately have been a little bit all over the place. Last week I stocked up on whole wheat bread and cracked pepper smoked turkey and made sandwiches. This week will likely be yummy salads from Eatzis. I am obsessed with this place because you can go in and try every sample they have out under the sun, and walk out with an amazing salad and feel so full you don’t even want to eat your salad. Sounds like a win win in my book! Yesterday’s salad was garlic spinach with turkey, cheese and grapes. Total deliciousness.
 
I am also in love with TCBY’s latest fro yo flavor…tropical coconut. Frozen yogurt has taken over my life. Every Monday they have half off of frozen yogurt, so that is always my day to go when I need a little Manic Monday treat. I love that I can use my rewards card from there to rack up points…here’s to lots of free frozen yogurt for me in the near future.
 
Latest running reads…check out this great Runner’s World read from Coach Jenny on Tips for Better Running Form.
Do you have a fro yo place in your ‘hood that you really love? What are some food staples that you keep in your kitchen?

Fearless.

Happy Monday! I have been nonstop busy today but I guess that’s just the nature of the start of the work week, right? This week is already proving to be a packed one…I am teaching dance class after work at the gym on Wednesday, and I will be hitting the ground running (literally) with my marathon training schedule. Here’s what my week of workouts is looking like:
Monday- Cross-training (dance class + strength)
Tuesday- 6 mile run (including hill repeats)
Wednesday- 5 miles easy AM, teaching dance PM
Thursday- 6 mile progression run + strength
Friday- REST
Saturday- 14 mile long run
Running has been going well as of late, and I am slowly gaining my speed and endurance back. I have to say that my favorite part of the week is when I do my hill training. With every hill I climb it is helping me to gain my confidence back as a runner, since bouncing back from injury a few months back. It feels good to finally be able to run without much insecurity.
I was reading my blogging buddy Candice’s most recent post about conquering your fears, and I thought it was so empowering. I think we all have those fears or doubts at times, whether it be fear of being able to accomplish a goal that you’ve set or facing a challenge that is out of your comfort zone. In the past year I have had to overcome certain fears and I think it has made me a stronger person. I think a lot of times these obstacles are ones we place in front of ourselves for whatever reason, be it comparison, overanalyzing, or not feeling like we are adequate enough.
 
So many doors have been opened up for me as of late, with my career and also in the arena of health and fitness…it is both exciting and scary for me. Looking back over a year ago, I never would have thought I would be an instructor teaching group fitness classes, standing in front of an aerobics room with as many as 60 people at a time, leading my very own class. I never would have thought a few years back I would also have my dream job as a producer working in television production. God has truly opened up so many doors for me, and I am so grateful to be able to share my passions with others.
I really do think that overcoming whatever fears you have requires you to be a little comfortable being uncomfortable. Training for a marathon is not comfortable. It requires you to step outside of yourself, to push your fitness abilities and to go farther than you EVER have before. This requires great mental strength, and most of all HEART. The marathon truly is a great metaphor for life. Just when you think you have a limit to something, you realize you can do a little bit more. You can push a little bit further. You can be that fearless person that you’ve always wanted to be.
So, whatever it is that you are debating on doing that may be challenging or new to you, I want to encourage you to step out. Do it. Get uncomfortable. It is a feeling that is both freeing and exciting. You might surprise yourself when you realize you have a lot more in you than you think.
Have you ever had to face a challenge that was uncomfortable for you? How did you step outside of your comfort zone? Anyone training for their first marathon?

The Most Awesome Combination.

I know you guys don’t hear from me often on weekends, but I had a free moment so just checking in! I hope everyone’s weekend is getting off to a good start.

This morning’s 12 mile run went great! We had storms come in late Friday night so it was a humid, hot and sticky one. Everyone finished strong with smiles on their faces! We started the run bright and early (5 AM start) so by the end of the run I was pooped. I stopped in to Starbucks for some organic chocolate milk. It was icy and delicious.

Our long training runs are all about just gettting the miles in, not racing, taking it at an easy pace and being able to talk to your neighbor the whole way through. Since I work so hard with hill training, cross training and speedwork during the week, I always welcome these easy breezy runs!

The thing I love the most about about our long Saturday morning runs is the conversation. This morning we talked about Australian hurdler Michelle Jenneke that does a little warm up dance before busting it out on the track. See, I told you dancing and running is the most awesome combination.

I am back tracking a little bit but here are some pics from the ice cream social run that I went to over at Luke’s last Thursday. We ran in 90 degree heat and then ate ice cream afterwards. Sweaty runners love them some ice cream. Can you find me?!

We also got to carry the olympic torch that was being passed around from store to store! One of the runners from Dallas ran 20 miles to the Plano store to deliver the torch. How awesome is that?!

That’s all for now…I am going country dancing tonight for my friend Pepsi’s birthday so I’m off to go find some cowboy boots!

Happy Birthday Pepsi!

Have a good one!

TGIFriday Faves.

Well hello Friday! It’s nice to see you again. I am so excited for the upcoming weekend! I foresee lots of fun in the sunshine coming my way! I am coaching a 12 mile marathon training run bright and early with my running buddies tomorrow, then will be resting up for a friend’s birthday party on Saturday evening! I am looking forward to lots of kicking back and letting my hair down.
Today is the day where I tell you all of my favorites and what I’m loving lately. So here it is…
New running shoes – Asics Gel Lytes
Introducing new favorite speedy running shoes! I bought them a few weeks ago and have finally broken them in. They are great for a track workout, for running shorter fast distances, and even for cross training! They are soft, cushiony and light! If you are used to the more minimalist feel (similar to the Nike Free shoes) then you would like them too.
Teaching a hardcore (and FUN – yes you can have both at the same time!!) dance class
It always makes you feel good as a fitness instructor to know that the participants loved every sweaty morsel of your class. So much that they even care to talk about it on facebook afterwards…
haha…after teaching my first 90 minute Danceaton session on Wednesday, everyone talked about how sore they were the next day! We did a bunch of songs that required them to drop down to the floor, do some high knees, squats and lots of burpee like movements. Awesome. I love combining strength and cardio together –they are a match made in fat burning heaven! My quads are still pretty shredded after all of that dancing combined with the running. I kinda dig it, that so sore I have to go down the stairs BACKWARDS feeling. 
Sriracha
I love this hot stuff. I bought a huge bottle of it and I pretty much want to add it to everything. I love it with sushi and I also hear it’s great on eggs. Way to kick up the spice in your foods!
What I’m listening to – Sade on Pandora Radio
I know she’s old school…but to me she never gets old! I had the privilege of getting to see her live in concert a few months back and she is an incredible performer. Such a great concert to go to with your significant other.  I love her music, it’s mellow and relaxing. Sometimes you need to unwind to some chill music. Solider of Love is one of my faves.
Fun jewelry
Every Friday I always like to celebrate the fact that it’s the end of the week by wearing fun jewelry. Last week I wore some pink bling, and today I am wearing my blinged out earrings that make tons of noise.
Fartleks
No I didn’t just say a bad word. Fartleks are a fancy term for “speedplay” in your running workout.
From Runner’s World:
I love including fartleks in my runs, I think overall it makes you a more efficient runner to be able to include short bursts of speed. Last night I did a few of these during my run and it felt awesome! I definitely recommend it during a tempo run or even on a day where you are doing an easier/relaxed pace to mix things up a little bit. These short quick strides will make a big difference in your workout.
Do you do anything special or fun to celebrate the fact that it’s Friday? Do you prefer spicy,  savory or sweet foods the most? What are you doing this weekend?

We Run the Night.

This morning’s run was an easy jaunt through my neighborhood. 4 miles done. I found my new favorite song on the Pitbull Pandora station – Havana Brown’s “We Run the Night” – this song always makes me feel like I am partying it up on South Beach.
Tonight I will be teaching my first EVER 90 minute long dance class and I have to say I am pretty excited about it. I will be doing some old dances mixed with some new ones. Should be a good time…and will likely leave me sprawled out on the couch afterwards. That has been my week thus far…run, work my 9 to 5 job, teach class at the gym, come home, shower, whip up whatever I can find in the cabinets to eat, pass out on the couch. Try not to be too jealous of my extremely busy social life!
Tomorrow night I plan on going to the Luke’s Locker Social Run for some fun time with friends…
 
Ice cream and running…a match made in heaven!
Nothing like breaking up the monotonous work week by running with friends. I love the serenity of running alone, but some days there is nothing like catching up with friends over a run! Looking forward to catching up with some of my running buddies.
On a completely random and unrelated note, I was watching this video last night and thought I would share with you. I hope you don’t think I’m too corny but it really did inspire me. 🙂 The laws of attraction are amazing.
Do you prefer to run alone or with your running buddies? Favorite flavor of ice cream (or if you are like me, FRO YO??) What is your favorite song to run or workout to right now?

The Hills Are Aliive.

Up and at ’em bright and early with some hill training! My schedule called for 6 hill repeats. I have to say I have been enjoying the challenge of doing these hill workouts and building on them week after week. It is definitely helps give you confidence and makes you a stronger runner to know you can push through those hills.
With my warm up and cool down included I got to 6 miles this morning, avg 8:44 pace. Not too shabby. It was definitely warm out…this week is calling for more triple digit temps! Bring it on!
Hill running is definitely a big component when it comes to training for any race. I believe they make you a stronger, more efficient runner. It’s all about putting in the time, hard work and dedication, and in the end…it will pay off. You just have to keep your head in the game and your eyes focused on your goal, whatever that may be.
Here are some things that have helped me power through hill workouts…
-It’s mostly mental. I think with hills or with any challenging workout you have to keep your mind focused on the positives. Pumping yourself up with encouraging words definitely helps you get through it.
-Make sure to pick your feet and legs up as you are going up the hill. Focus on your form.
-Breathing is also important during your run. Never lose sight of how you are breathing. It really makes a difference in your performance.
-It’s easy just to throw your body into it as you are going down the hill. Make sure you are not going down too fast so you don’t stress your joints. Easy down the hill, I like to focus more on powering up the hill than down.
What are some tips you have for hill running? Do you have any mantras or positive words you like to use for getting through running or with any type of workout?