Fit Friday Motivation ~ 5.6.16

Happy Friday!!  We have officially (almost) made it through the week!!  I know that I personally cannot wait for two entire days off of work in a row.  This week feels like it’s been dragging on forever.  What does everyone have going on this weekend?  Last weekend was so busy with the marathon going on, plus I had a hair appointment, plus Miss H had her 6-month shots, so I’m looking forward to a relatively relaxing weekend.  We are ordering pizza for lunch at work today, so I’m planning to cook a healthy dinner with my hubby tonight and RELAX with him and Miss H afterwards.  I’m going to do a shake-out run tomorrow at some point then do some super-clean grocery shopping afterwards.  My diet has been less-than-ideal lately, and it’s been taking a toll on my energy levels and my waistline.  It’s time to plan ahead and make some clean meals for the week.  I’m thinking oatmeal, grilled chicken salads, and sweet potatoes will be on the menu– I plan to make a “What I’m Eating This Week” post next week so I’ll update you then.  Sunday is my very first Mother’s Day, and I cannot wait to spend it with Miss H and my husband! I have no idea what we are doing yet– we’re last-minute like that– but I’ll be happy as long as we are together.  I’m really looking forward to it.

You may or may not remember that I have two half marathons on my schedule coming up in the next month, and I was waiting to see how Pittsburgh went before I decided whether or not I was actually going to do them.  Well, Pittsburgh went reasonably well for me (see my recap here) and was actually a good reminder of why I love running in the first place.  With a new baby in the picture, running has obviously been on the back burner for me for the past few months.  It’s easy to fall out of love with something when you aren’t doing it regularly, and I have to admit that I was falling out of love with running before the Pittsburgh half.  Which isn’t a good thing, since running is essentially a necessary therapy for me (read about why I run here).  Although I took a much-needed hiatus from running right before and right after Miss H was born and I have no regrets about that at all, I’m ready to start logging the miles again. I love the endorphins that come along with a challenging long run– they keep my emotions on an even keel and keep my stress levels manageable.  If I’ve learned anything about my return-to-running the past few months, it’s that a happy mama is a better mama, and I would give anything to be the best mother I can be to Miss H.  So, although spending time with my family will always be my first priority, I know that I need to continue running long distances whenever my schedule allows.  Miss H is on a more predictable sleep and nap schedule now, so it will be easier to plan my long runs for a time when she will be (mostly) napping or sleeping.  Since I am already signed up for the two upcoming half marathons, I have decided  that I want (or need, rather) to run them.  I feel like the picture below pretty much sums up how I feel about long runs, and it was kinda perfect for this particular Fit Friday post.  Enjoy.

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Source: Google Images

What’s on your fitness agenda for the weekend? 

Thursday Night Long Runs and Fitness Apps

My bestest running friend Emily and I started a little tradition two years ago when we were training for her first half marathon together.  When the weather is nice, we like to get together Thursdays after work and do a “long” run.  We usually meet at our local trail– a flat 5-miler that runs through the woods alongside a creek.  I like to call this trail our little hidden gem– it’s one of the most beautiful trails around but it’s under-utilized by the locals and not very well-known by people passing through.

Our Beautiful Hidden Gem Through the Woods

Our Beautiful Hidden Gem Through the Woods

Sometimes we switch it up and run through a quaint, little, local town instead just to get some hills into our training.  But we usually run anywhere from 5-10 miles on the trail.

Last night we just met for a fun run.  Neither of us have been running as much as we probably should be, and we have a 10K race tomorrow morning.  Oops.  So we did six easy miles to get our legs loosened up for tomorrow.

Our Splits

Our Splits

We took our time and walked a lot (obviously– look at the crazy differences in our splits!), but at least we had our legs moving.  I’m always afraid my legs won’t remember how to run come race day if I haven’t ran at all the week before!!  Serious runner disoriented thinking right there haha.

I pay a lot of attention to my food & drink (caffeine, rather) habits before a run and am always trying to come up with the perfect food + drink formula for the perfect run.  Before our Thursday runs, I typically eat some kind of carb and fat mid-afternoon along with the all-important cup of coffee (I know I should probably put some protein in there, too.  Maybe that will be an experiment for another week).  I know everyone’s different, but I neeeeed my coffee before any type of exercise if I want to feel my best.

Yesterday, however, I didn’t have any coffee available at work.  My caffeine tank was empty for our run.  We also ran an hour later than we usually do, so I was starting to get hungry before we even started running.  My legs and body felt so heavy the entire time.  I still got that I-remember-why-I-love-running-so-much happy feeling around mile 4 (as always), though, so I definitely wouldn’t classify it as a bad run.  I just won’t be skimping on the caffeine or the pre-run food from now on!!

On a related topic (slight stretch of the definition of “related”), which fitness tracking app do you guys use and why do you like it??  I have quite a few on my iPhone and go back and forth between them inconsistently with no logic to my selection at all.  The screenshot above is from Endomondo– it’s the most recent one I’ve downloaded.  So far I like it!  I’m planning to pick one and stick with it consistently so that I can actually/easily compare my workouts.  I’m just wondering if there’s one out there in app-land that I’m not aware of and should be!! =)

All of my fitness tracking apps... minus RockMyRun (which I highly recommend if you're a workout music fan!)

All of my fitness tracking apps… minus RockMyRun (which I highly recommend if you’re a workout music fan!)

Weekend Recap – Run, Lift, Cook

Despite the snow on the ground here in Pennsylvania, spring is in the air.  I can tell because I FINALLY had an active, productive weekend!  The cabin fever I get throughout the winter is gradually lifting.  Thank goodness.  It’s about time.

First things first– what I like to call “running season” started this weekend for me!  I look forward to running season all winter long.  It really makes the last part of my winter seem to drag on and on.

5K Forecast... brrrrr

5K Forecast… brrrrr

I ran my first 5K of the year on Saturday!  It was freezing outside in the morning (see above), so I wasn’t exactly overly-excited about running the race.  But I signed up for it, and it was my first planned one of the year, so I forced myself out from under my warm, cozy blankets and into my running clothes.  I’m sure glad that I did!  The air was cold–my lungs were burning and my chest was extremely tight by the third mile.  But the sun was shining bright in the sky and Billy Idol kept telling me to “come on <come on>, come on <come on>” in my headphones (Mony Mony!), so I pushed ahead to the finish line.  I ended up cutting off about two minutes from last year’s time at the same race and fell short of my all-time PR by about 35 seconds.  I got third in my age group out of twenty-something contenders (it was a small race).  So I was pretty pleased.

First race bib of 2013!

This is the first race I’ve run since starting a Paleo-type diet, so I wasn’t sure how well my breakfast would fuel my run.  I ate egg whites mixed with a banana, almond milk, cinnamon, vanilla, and stevia (okay, that part isn’t exactly Paleo– but I  was close!).

Paleo Pre-Race Fuel

Paleo Pre-Race Fuel

My meal definitely got the job done!  I was pleasantly surprised to find that I didn’t need to load up on grains before a race (I usually eat toast with peanut butter).  I felt less sluggish after eating my egg white concoction than I normally do during a race.  I’m thinking I might make this my pre-5K meal from now on.

Afterwards, I was starving, so I will admit that I threw my Paleo notions out the window and ate at Panera Bread with my running friends.  We always find somewhere good to eat after races to re-fuel.  I don’t get down on myself for doing that every once in a while, especially after a tough race.

I spent the rest of my day on Saturday cleaning and relaxing.  Fun times.

On Sunday, I woke up early to do some strength training before my weekend long run.  I trained my back briefly (only for about a half hour– I didn’t want to tire myself too badly for my run).  Everyone has a body part that they like to train, and for me it’s my back– back day is my favorite!!

After my brief strength training session, I made myself the same pre-race breakfast as on Saturday.  I tested it out on a short race; now I wanted to test it out on a longer run.

I met my brother and a family friend for an 8-mile fun-run.  Normally I wouldn’t encourage running distance the day after a race, but all three of us signed up for a 10-mile race next weekend, so it was important for us to log some miles.  We took it easy, though.  We walked when we felt like it, stopped to talk to a friend, and explored some new areas.  Although it was cold and gray outside, we had a great time!  We were initially planning to run on a flat trail, but decided to take it to the roads instead.  The hills and pavement definitely made our run more challenging, but the challenge was welcomed.

I regret to report that my Paleo breakfast failed me on my longer run.  Around mile 5, my legs started feeling very heavy.  I forgot my energy gels in my car, so I had nothing to replenish myself for the last three miles of our run.  It made the run tough, but it was a good lesson learned– I’m better off sticking to grains & carbs to fuel my long runs.  Looks like I’ll be picking up some Ezekiel bread before next Saturday’s 10-miler.

Yesterday was also meal prep Sunday, so I headed to the grocery store after our long run to pick up my “supplies.”  I’m pretty sure the Wal-Mart cashier MUST have thought I have a thing for yams.  I had three large bags full of them.  Then again, maybe I do have a thing for yams, haha.

I spent a few hours in the afternoon prepping my food for the week.  I’ll let ya know in a later post what all I’m eating this week.

Meal Prep Sunday

Disregard the butter in that pic– I swear it’s not mine!! =)

Now that my big, productive weekend is over, it’s back to work for me… I hope everyone had a fun, productive weekend as well!! =)