Fitness Friday: The Month Ahead and My Workout Playlist

Hi friends.  HAPPY FRIDAY!

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Source: Google Images

I swear this has been the longest week at work; I’m so looking forward to having the next two days off to spend with my little babe, my big babe, and my poodle-babes.  After my official “return to running” post a few weeks ago, I’ve been sick not once but twice.  TWICE.  Last weekend I came down with some monstrous stomach bug that took the goals I had set for myself for the week and completely shut them down.  What the heck.  I seriously haven’t been sick in years, and now I’ve been sick twice in the same month.

Needless to say, I haven’t exactly started training for the Pittsburgh half with the *bang* that I was hoping for.  BUT this is the start of a new month, and I’m pretty optimistic about my training the next four weeks.  Plus my first postpartum 5K is coming up this month along with my first ever Beer Mile (yes– both on the same day), so I have a few things to look forward to.  Although the fact that I have been neither running nor drinking regularly makes me a little nervous– it should be an, err, interesting day.  When I signed up for the races a few months ago, I may have been slightly delusional about just how back-in-shape I would be at this point.  I could have signed up for just-the-5K or just-the-Beer Mile, but nooooo– I thought it would be easy-peasy to do both.  I even went a step further and signed up for a competitive heat for the Beer Mile.  What was I thinking?!  Even though I could definitely push it for a mile at this point and consider myself somewhat “competitive,” there’s no way I’ll be able to push it and chug four beers along the way.  Four beers with a minimum ABV of 5%, per the official rules at beermile.com.

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I may or may not be purchasing these socks in the near future, just to see if they make me run faster.

I am a lover of all beers and feel like beer is the perfect complement to a good run (I swear by drinking a post-run beer to relieve inflammation!), but I haven’t had more than two adult beverages since Miss H’s arrival in October.  I’ll be curious to see how it goes.  At least my little brother will be there running with me– he can pick me up off the track if need be.  For better or for worse, I promise to come back and write a recap.

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Source: Google Images

Since I don’t have much in the way of running or training to write about, I thought I’d share my workout playlist with you.  I don’t know about you, but I love exercising and running to music (always in races, although rarely on training runs).  I know that not everyone feels the same, but there’s something about a good song on my iPod that makes it really easy for me to kick my workouts up a notch.  I’m always on the lookout for new and different songs to motivate me when I work out, but it seems I always go back to the ol’ standbys below.  They’ve gotten me through so many races, lifting sessions, and living-room-spin-sessions.  So if you’re looking to add something new to your workout playlist, I’m happy to share with you the songs that really get me going in my workouts:

  1. Alive – P.O.D.
  2. The Anthem – Good Charlotte
  3. Are You Gonna Go My Way – Lenny Kravitz
  4. Baby Got Back – Sir Mix-a-Lot
  5. Back in Black – AC/DC
  6. Beautiful Day – U2
  7. Berzerk – Eminem
  8. Boom – P.O.D.
  9. Click Click Boom – Saliva
  10. Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne
  11. The Distance – Cake
  12. Fat Bottomed Girls – Queen
  13. Ghost – Ella Henderson
  14. Gimme All Your Lovin’ – ZZ Top
  15. Glory Days – Bruce Springsteen
  16. Hey Mama – David Guetta feat. Nicki Minaj, Bebe Rexha, & Afrojack)
  17. I Want You – Soundgarden
  18. The Look – Roxette
  19. Lose Yourself – Eminem
  20. Mony Mony – Billy Idol
  21. My Body – Young the Giant
  22. Mysterious Ways – U2
  23. Nookie – Limp Bizkit
  24. Rollin’ – Limp Bizkit
  25. Runnin’ Down a Dream – -Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  26. Sing – My Chemical Romance
  27. Sleep Now in the Fire – Rage Against the Machine
  28. Start Me Up – Rolling Stones
  29. Take Out the Gunman – Chevelle
  30. Thong Song – Sisqó
  31. Thunderstruck – AC/DC
  32. Two Tickets to Paradise – Eddie Money
  33. Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson (feat. Bruno Mars)
  34. Welcome to the Jungle – Guns N’ Roses

What are some of your favorite workout songs?  Have you ever heard of or done the Beer Mile?

P.S.– don’t forget to “like” my Facebook page!!  I’m just getting it started, but I will be updating it more often than my blog once it really gets going. =)  

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Four Miles Done & Weekly Goals

The weather in Pennsylvania was absolutely beautiful over the weekend, and after sickness had me down & out for a few weeks I FINALLY got outside for a run!  My little-brother-slash-training-buddy had some other things going on this weekend, so I went for a solo run.  I rarely run by myself and am usually not fond of it, but it was actually nice to get out by myself for a change.  I find it calming to just listen to the repetitive beat of my shoes hitting the pavement, and I enjoy the scenery much more when I’m running without distractions.  It’s nice to do that every once in a while.  Not to mention the fact that I’m just getting back into shape after having Miss H, and I always feel like I’m slowing my brother down– it was a good chance to just go at my own pace and focus on increasing my fitness so that hopefully I’m a somewhat competitive training buddy for him soon.

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Southwest Pennsylvania has some beautiful scenery– the perfect distraction on any run.

I do get bored more quickly when I’m running alone, so it’s definitely not something I like or plan to do often.

I headed out Saturday morning after I put Miss H down for her morning nap with a goal of covering 4 miles regardless of my pace.  This was only my third run since last May (eek), so I just wanted to know that I am physically capable of covering that distance without worrying about my speed.  My first runs were 1.6 miles and 3.1 miles, respectively, so this would be my longest postpartum distance.  I usually shoot for a goal pace of at least 10:00/mile for my longer training runs (4 miles is considered a “long” training run for me right now), but I’m definitely cutting myself some slack this spring.  I feel like I’m just starting out running again.  I’m really hoping to be back up to my pre-pregnancy speed before the fall racing season if not before!

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55 degrees and sunny = perfection.

Because I didn’t want to venture too far from the baby (it sucks working all week– I hate taking time away from her on the weekends too!) and because the running routes are fairly limited near my house, I ended up doing a nearby 2-mile loop twice.  The loop is basically downhill for one mile then uphill for one mile, so I always have to remind myself to slow down & pace myself for that first downhill mile because, if not, that second uphill mile really kicks my butt.  My splits were as follows:

Mile 1: 10:52 (downhill)
Mile 2: 11:41 (uphill)
Mile 3: 10:06 (downhill)
Mile 4: 11:52 (uphill, and I was running out of steam)
Average: 11:08 min/mile

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It wasn’t easy and it was certainly not my best time, but I covered all four miles and could still walk yesterday, so I call it a success haha.  Not bad considering it’s been practically nine months since I last ran.  I’m looking forward to hitting the pavement more often in prep for the three (yes, three) spring half marathons that I’m currently signed up for!  Woohoo!

Running without a partner gives you plenty of time to think, and I had a lot to think about on Saturday’s run.  As I huffed and puffed through those four miles, I realized that it’s time for me to get serious about getting back into shape.  The baby is almost four months old, she’s sleeping better at night (I’m only getting up once or twice a night, which is a huge improvement over her newborn days), and my c-section incision is feeling much better.  It’s time to get back into a regular workout routine.  I bought a spin bike over Christmas plus I have all the free weights that I need in my spare room, so it should be easy to fit in a home workout here and there whenever I can.  I decided to set some fitness goals for myself for the week.  Because I’m back to work full-time and I’m far out of shape compared to what I used to be, my goals are small but completely do-able:

  1. Fit in one 45-minute spin session,
  2. Fit in one good leg training day (I know this will help my running immensely),
  3. Train abs one day (totally necessary to help me bounce back from my c-section), and
  4. Run 5 miles next weekend.

That’s all.  Cheers to a healthy and happy week ahead. 😉

Did you run this weekend?  What’s on your fitness agenda for the week?     

P.S. Don’t forget to check out my Facebook page!

Moving on up…

My last post was about how I was sooo ready and sooo excited to start running again and training for the Pittsburgh half in May.  So, logically, I came down with the cold of the century a few days later (okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration– but to a girl that literally hasn’t been sick in YEARS, it sure felt like the cold of the century).

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Needless to say, I haven’t been running or doing anything active at all the past two weeks.  Between working, taking care of myself, and taking care of sweet baby H, I haven’t had the energy or time to do much besides rest (which is important every once in a while too).  Two weeks later, I finally have my voice and my energy back– and I WILL get a run in this weekend!  The temperature is supposed to be cooperative even though the rain is not (mid-fifties in February in Pennsylvania– yes please), and I’m looking forward to taking full advantage of it.  Every winter run that’s NOT done on a treadmill is a win in my book.

On a related note, I blame my first-cold-in-years on two things: 1) not running/exercising regularly, and 2) not getting enough sleep (hello nighttime feedings).  I learned just how important those two things are when it comes to staying healthy, which is motivation for me (and hopefully for you) to make them both a priority even when life gets busy.

Although I haven’t been running or exercising, I have been working on a Facebook page for my blog!  Moving on up! Now I can quickly and easily post my random running ramblings for all the world to see without publishing a blog post! hehe.  So if you want to check it out, please do so at {drum roll, please} Cristi Rae Runs on Facebook!

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I’ll be back soon with {hopefully} some fitness updates!

What’s the winter weather looking like in your area for the weekend?  Do you have any plans?    

Sunday Runday – Half Marathon Training Day #1

Sunday marked my first training day for the 2016 Pittsburgh half marathon and my official “return to running” day since the birth of my beautiful baby girl in October!  In fact, I quit running last May (after carefully & slowly running the Pittsburgh half) because I felt like I was pushing myself a little too hard and was going past my comfort level on my runs as my belly grew bigger.  I initially really wanted to run throughout my pregnancy, but I switched to weekly spin classes as my body started telling it was time to slow down.  Spinning can be a very intense workout, but for me it was easier to keep my heart rate down in spin class than it was on a long run, and it was still a great way to keep in shape throughout my pregnancy (something I highly recommend doing– I felt like it helped SO much with labor).  So spinning it was, and I put running on the backburner until after baby girl was here.  Before I had H, I planned to return to running as soon as my OB gave me the okay.  An emergency C-section changed those plans, though, so even when my OB cleared me for exercise at 6 weeks I just didn’t feel comfortable jarring my body around at that point.  Now, at almost 14 weeks postpartum, I finally feel like it’s time to start running again.  And I’m so, so looking forward to it.

The weather in our area was absolutely beautiful yesterday (well, relatively speaking– a 50 degree, sunny day in January is much more appealing than a 50 degree, sunny day in, say, August– so I wasn’t complaining).  It’s rare to be able to wear capri pants and a short sleeve shirt on a January run, but yesterday’s temperature was perfect for it.  My younger brother and I are training together for the Pittsburgh half, so he came to my house and we set a goal of running a steady 5K distance for our official “kickoff” training run.  That’s a lower distance than I’ve ever started my training at in the past, but since I haven’t done much of any form of exercise since before H was born, I wasn’t even sure if I could run that far.  My brother has been doing treadmill intervals for months, so he was looking for a relatively-short-distance steady run as well.  We just wanted to test the waters since half training has been out of our vocabulary for so long– we usually run at least one half marathon each fall, and obviously we skipped doing that last year.  We are essentially starting our training from scratch for the first time in a long time.  With the exception of two stops to catch our breath (something we usually do on this particular route– PA hills can be killer), we were able to run the entire distance with no problems!  Our overall pace was a bit slower than usual– we ran an average pace of 10:52, and we usually aim for a 10:00 pace on our training runs– but we were both happy with our first run of the season.  We even did a short sprint at the end of our run, just to get our fast-twitch muscle fibers going.  We both felt great afterwards.  And now I’m more excited than ever to keep moving and keep training.  It feels great to get my “running legs” back again!

Are you training for any races?  How did your weekend runs go?        

It’s been a while…

Well folks, it’s been quite a while since my last blog post (over two years to be exact, but who’s counting?!).  I’m actually embarrassed that it’s been so long since I’ve written.  My only excuse is that life got in the way for a little while.

First, this happened:
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Then, a year of pinning, DIY-ing, and planning later, this happened:
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A few months afterwards, this happened:
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Which resulted in this happening shortly thereafter:
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Followed by life’s greatest blessing approximately 36 weeks later.  =)

Soooo needless to say, I’ve been pretty busy with a few things (blog writing not being one of them).  I did continue running through all of the life-craziness, though, and I managed to meet one of my biggest goals– successfully training for and running my first full marathon.  I ran the 2014 Pittsburgh Marathon with an official finish time of 4:39:12 (10:38 min/mile pace), which I was pretty happy with.

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Unfortunately, I probably won’t get around to writing a recap of the race just because it’s been nearly two years (I’m sad just writing that) and my memory doesn’t work that well anymore.  All I will say is that it was one of the most proud and invigorating moments of my life (second only to the birth of my beautiful daughter in October 2015), and I can’t wait to do it again in a few years when I have the free time in my life schedule to train for another full.

I also ran the 2015 Pittsburgh half marathon at 13 weeks pregnant!  It was my slowest half time ever, but I didn’t care at all– I was just happy to be able to continue running and remaining healthy as I started into this new and exciting phase of my life.

Anywho, I’m just getting back to running and working out at 13 weeks postpartum, and I thought this would be a great time to start blogging again.  So, I’m back. =)  And I’m really looking forward to sharing in my get-back-in-shape-as-a-new-mommy journey with all of you!  I’m already signed up for a few races this year (one being the Pittsburgh half marathon on May 1st, 2016; my favorite! 😉 ), so I’ll be keeping you posted on my training for that as well as a few others.  Here’s to a happy and fit 2016!!

 

 

What I’m Eating This Week

It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve done a “What I’m Eating…” post.  Back when I was eating Paleo all the time, I was keeping my blog updated with my meals and my macros every week.  I’ll admit I’ve fallen off the proverbial-Paleo-bandwagon the past few months, and I’ve not been monitoring my nutrition quite as well as I should be.  I did a lot of running over the summer and the fall, so I was a little more relaxed with my diet.  Now that the temps have dropped, the days are shorter, and my races have slacked off, I’m not logging many miles.  Time to jump back on that nutrition bandwagon.  For the first time in a long time, I actually planned out my meals for the week and did meal prep on Sunday.  I’m not eating strictly Paleo right now (I’m planning to get back into that very soon, though), but I’m definitely making smarter food choices.  I’m also getting back into cross training (being more consistent with my weight training and going to spin class a few times a week) until full marathon training starts at the end of December!  Last night I went to my first spin class in months, and I felt absolutely great afterwards.  I’m really excited about getting into a more structured nutrition/fitness routine.  Here’s what I’ve been eating this week, if you’re looking for ideas:

Breakfast:  four egg whites scrambled with 4 oz. (pre-boiled) sweet potatoes, topped with salt, pepper, and lots and lots of ketchup.  =) Oh and coffee.  Can’t forget the coffee.
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9 am snack:  a handful of almonds and salted cucumbers (salt = bad; don’t follow my example!).  Oh and coffee.  Can’t forget the coffee.
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Lunch:  4 oz. lean ground turkey seasoned with low-sodium taco seasoning over a bed of spinach and topped with 1/4 of an avocado.  I also eat one Joseph’s pita bread for carbohydrates.  Yum.

[Oops.  I was so hungry, I forgot to take a picture!]

3 pm snack:  4 oz. sweet potato topped with 2 Tbsp. peanut butter and cinnamon.  Hey, don’t knock it ’til you try it!  I’m thoroughly convinced that you can top just about anything with pb, and it will taste 100% better.
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Dinner:  three egg whites and one whole egg scrambled with frozen mixed veggies.  Annnd topped with loads of ketchup.  I use pre-cut frozen veggies and cook them without defrosting before adding my eggs, which makes this a super-easy dinner for myself.
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If I’m hungry before bed (usually on heavy weight days), I’ll make a 4-egg-white “omelet” (whites, cinnamon, vanilla) filled with 1 Tbsp. peanut butter to eat at least an hour before bed.  Again– don’t knock it until you try it!  Egg whites are a practically-flavorless source of protein, so it’s not hard to concoct them into all sorts of yummy dishes.

So, there you have it– that’s what I’m chowing down on this week.  Lots of protein from eggs and lots of healthy fats.  Anyone care to share their healthy meal plans?? I’m always on the lookout for new ideas!!