Weekly Training Log – Week of April 20th

Wow, what an incredible weekend this past weekend was!  If you follow me on Social Media then you already know why it was such an incredible weekend: I PRed at both Saturday and Sunday’s races!  Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would have a double PR weekend!

Celebrating post race on Saturday at the Jaguar 5k and post race on Sunday at the Manassas 10k

Celebrating post race on Saturday at the Jaguar 5k and post race on Sunday at the Manassas Runway 10k

I can’t wait to recap both races this week!  And I hope that my high from my double PR weekend continues well into the coming week!

My two races this past weekend capped off a great week of training.  With only one more week until I restart half marathon training again, I know that its important that I continue to focus on strength training and running maintenance this coming week.  The stronger that I am before I start training for Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach, the stronger I will be throughout my training and on race day.

Mon 4/20 – 3.20 mile run on the treadmill, 0.28 mile cool down walk, kettlebell squat swings, abs, glutes

Tues 4/21 – 1.67 mile walk around the neighborhood with Riley

Wed 4/22 – 3.10 mile run on the treadmill, 0.35 mile cool down walk, legs, glutes, abs, arms, shoulders

Thurs 4/23 – Rest day

Fri 4/24 – Rest day

Sat 4/25 – Jaguar 5k

Sun 4/26 – Manassas Runway 10k

Total Weekly Mileage – 17.87 miles

QOTD: What was the highlight of your weekend?

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2015 Florida Vacation Recap – Part 3

I know you all have been waiting for it – the last and final part of our Florida vacation recap!  If you missed part 1 (our time in Cocoa Beach) or part 2 (our three full days at Disney World), be sure to check them out!

Our last two days of vacation were jam packed and full of exciting activities!  We kicked off Thursday by going to Epoct at park opening so that we could get on line for Test Track right away.  We pulled into the parking lot about 20 minutes before the park opened, and for the first time ever Preston and I both got to hear the Epcot opening music.  It was very exciting to see confetti fly into the air and hear the park opening music.

Even though we made a beeline for Test Track immediately once the park opened, we still stood in line for almost 30 minutes!  After riding Test Track, we also rode Mission Space and Spaceship Earth before heading back to the car.  We had a baseball game to get to!

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It took about 90 minutes to drive from Epcot to Bright House Field in Clearwater, which is the Spring Training home for the Phillies.  Even though the Phillies lost 10-1 to the Rays, we still enjoyed our afternoon at the ballpark.

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After the baseball game, we drove back to our hotel in Lake Buena Vista to shower and change for our evening at Epcot.  Once we arrived back at Epcot we used our Soarin’ Fast Pass, and also enjoyed walking around seeing the topiaries again that were up as part of the Flower and Garden Festival.  Dinner that evening was at Via Napoli in Italy, where we enjoyed one of the best pizzas that I’ve ever had!  Neither Preston nor I had eaten at Via Napoli before, but we both agreed that we will be making a return trip to this restaurant in the future.

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After dinner we headed back to our hotel since we wanted to get a good night’s sleep before our last day at Disney and in Florida.  We spent Friday at Magic Kingdom, where we spent the day riding some of our favorite rides, including Buzz Lightyear, Jungle Cruise, and Splash Mountain.  We also saw the new Festival of Fantasy Parade, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

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festival of fantasy

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For lunch, we ate at another new to me restaurant: The Plaza Restaurant.  Since it was Good Friday, I opted for the Tuna Salad sandwich, which was super delicious!

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Around 3:15 pm, we said goodbye to Magic Kingdom and drove to Downtown Disney.  We had a reservation for an early dinner at Splitsville, another new to us restaurant.  We thoroughly enjoyed our sushi dinner, as well as the tasty adult beverages.

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After dinner, we thought we had some time to kill, so we walked around Downtown Disney for awhile.  What we didn’t realize was that the parking lot had become a madhouse while we had eaten dinner, and by the time we walked back to our car and fought traffic for over half an hour in order to get out of Downtown Disney, I started to panic that we would miss our flight home.  We made it back to the airport with minutes to spare, and thankfully there wasn’t a line to check our suitcases or to get through security.

flight home

We had a great week in Florida, and were sad to see our vacation come to an end.  But if you know us well, you know we’ll be headed back to Disney World sooner than later for another vacation!

QOTD: Where is your favorite place to vacation?

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My Goals for This Weekend’s Races

As I mentioned in Monday’s weekly recap, I’ll be running two races this weekend: the Jaguar 5k on Saturday and the Manassas Runway 10k on Sunday.

This will be my fourth year running the Jaguar 5k.  Its an annual sports fundraiser for the school I taught at my first five years of teaching.  Its one of those races that is more about the people you’re with and where you’re running than anything else.  My current 5k PR is from this race from last year, and while I’d love to see myself get a new 5k PR, I also need to be realistic since I have a 10k the next day.

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After last year’s Jaguar 5k

My one and only goal for Saturday’s race is to take it easy.  My pace has gotten significantly faster over the past year, and if that means that I get a PR on Saturday, then great.  But if I don’t, then I won’t be upset either.

As for Sunday’s 10k, the main reason I signed up for this race was in hopes of PRing.  After less than stellar weather conditions at the St. Patrick’s Day Double last month, I knew I wanted to give myself at least one more opportunity to try for a better 10k time, as I need to submit a 10k finish time as my proof of time for Wine and Dine in November.  I chose this race for a couple of reasons: the course is flat since its on an airport runway and the weather hasn’t gotten too warm yet.  With that said, I have three goals for Sunday’s race:

Goal A – Finish the race in under 1:04:13 (10:20 pace)

Goal B – Finish the race in under 1:04:44 (10:25 pace)

Goal C – PR and finish the race in under 1:05:52 (10:36 pace)

Here’s to a fun weekend of running!

QOTD: How many sets of back-to-back races have you run?

 

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Inspiration from Boston

Just like in years past, I tuned in yesterday to follow along during the Boston Marathon.  Although a busy day at work prevented me from spending as much time following along as I would have liked to, it was still awe inspiring to see so many people from so many walks of life take to the streets of Boston.  One of the most inspiring images I saw yesterday was of bombing survivor Rebekah Gregory DiMartino.

If this isn't inspirational, I don't know what is.

If this isn’t inspirational, I don’t know what is.

Seeing images like this makes me think long and hard about why it is that I run.  More importantly than any other reason, I run to prove to myself that I can do it.  Prior to starting to run a little over two years ago, I never imagined that running would be, or could be, a part of my life.  But it has become a major part of my life, and now I can’t imagine my life without running as a part of it.

Sure, the speed at which the elite runners run at is inspiring in its own way, and by no means do I want to discredit their abilities.  But for me, its seeing people overcome the odds that are the most inspirational, and remind me why it is that I push my own boundaries and refuse to let my own obstacles dictate what I can or cannot do.

Its people like Rebekah Gregory DiMartino that made me want to push myself on the treadmill last night after a long day at work.  I could have easily said that I was too tired and spent the evening relaxing on the couch instead.  Instead, I walked into the gym, and found the motivation to push myself forward.  Thank you Rebekah for inspiring me!

Feeling great after last night's strong treadmill run

Feeling great after last night’s strong treadmill run

QOTD: How does the Boston Marathon serve as a source of inspiration for you?

I’m linking up today with Erika from MCM Mama Runs, Patty from My No-Guilt Life, and April from Run the Great Wide Somewhere for the Tuesdays on the Run Linkup.  Be sure to check out their posts as well!

Tuesdays-on-the-run

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Weekly Training Log – Week of April 13th

This past week was yet another busy week.  It was the last week of the third quarter, which meant I had lots of students who wanted/needed to work with me after school, which meant I had several long days at school.  Although I was physically tired from last Sunday’s Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, as well as from my long days at school, I did my best to not take extra rest days.  I’m very proud of my workouts this past week, which included two weight training sessions at the gym and my first run outside in a tank top this season!

4.26 mile run

Mon 4/13 – 1.31 mile walk around the neighborhood with Riley

Tues 4/14 – 3.10 mile run on the treadmill, 0.31 mile cool down walk, kettlebell squat swings, abs, arms, shoulders

Wed 4/15 – Rest day

Thurs 4/16 – 2.00 mile run on the treadmill, 0.27 mile cool down walk, chest, back, arms, glutes, abs

Fri 4/17 – Rest day

Sat 4/18 – 4.26 mile run around the neighborhood, 0.50 mile cool down walk

Sun 4/19 – Rest day

Total Weekly Mileage – 11.75 miles

This coming week will be another busy week, especially since I have not one but two races next weekend.  Preston and I will both be running the annual Jaguar 5k Saturday morning, and then on Sunday I’ll be running the Manassas Runway 10k.  I signed up for this race in hopes that I’ll be able to get a new 10k PR that I’ll be able to use as my proof of time for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon in November.  I haven’t been super speedy since we got back from vacation, so we’ll see how my races go next weekend!

QOTD: What race(s) you do run annually?

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Friday Five – April 17th – Five Brands I’m Currently Loving

Disclosure: With the exception of the Lily Trotters compression socks, I paid for all products myself.  As always, all opinions are my own.

This week’s Friday Five theme with the DC Trifecta is “Five Brands to Love.”  While there are many brands that I’ve been loyal to for quite awhile now, there are also some that I’ve recently discovered a love for.

1.  Lily Trotters

lily trotters

A couple of weeks ago, I received a free pair of Lily Trotters compression socks to try out.  Aren’t they adorable?  Until recently I’d been loyal to a different compression socks brand, but was excited to give these socks a try.  They were perfect for my post race recovery after Sunday’s Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run.  My legs felt as good as new on Monday.

2.  Mizuno

new shoes

Since being fit for running shoes in September 2013, I’ve only worn Mizuno Wave Inspire shoes.  When I was fit, I discovered that my feet need stability shoes, and I have had nothing but love for my Mizunos since I started wearing them.

3.  Sparkly Soul

headband

I wear a headband every time I run or workout (I hate flyaways!), and I love how well Sparkly Soul headbands fit my head.  I have them in a rainbow of colors!

4.  Lifeguard

Photo Credit: Amazon

Photo Credit: Amazon

If you’re like me, then your phone’s battery quickly drains, especially when you’re traveling or running a race.  Prior to our trip to Shamrock Half Marathon and our trip to Florida, I researched external phone batteries, and ordered a Lifeguard battery from Amazon.  It fit perfectly in my small crossbody purse during our days at Disney World, and is able to completely recharge my iPhone (as long as the charger is fully charged).

5.  Champion

Photo Credit: Amazon

Photo Credit: Amazon

I only wear one brand of sports bras, and that’s Champion.  As somebody who is larger in the chest and needs a bit of support, I’ve found that Champion sports bras, particularly the underwire ones, provide the support that I need when I’m running.

QOTD: What brands are you currently loving?

As always, thank you to the DC Trifecta Bloggers (Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC, Mar from Mar on the Run, and Cynthia from You Signed Up For What?!) for hosting the weekly Friday Five Link Up.  Be sure to check out their posts as well!

DC_linkup

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2015 Florida Vacation Recap – Part 2

Last week I recapped the first part of our Florida vacation, and left off with us leaving Cocoa Beach early Tuesday morning to drive back to Disney World.  We spent the morning and early part of the afternoon at Magic Kingdom.  Despite the fact that it was Spring Break for many across the country, the park wasn’t terribly crowded in the morning and we were able to ride several of our favorite rides, including Big Thunder, Space Mountain, and Dumbo.  I also rode the People Mover for the first time ever.

magic kingdom

At the end of February I found out that Be Our Guest started accepting lunch reservations, and am so happy that I was able to get us a reservation for lunch during our trip.  Belle is my favorite Disney princess, so anything Beauty and the Beast related that I can do when we’re at Disney is a plus.

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After lunch I decided that I needed a caffeine boost, so we headed to Starbucks on Main Street.  Since I was wearing my “Happy Birthday” button, not only did the barista know how to spell my name, but he also added a balloon to my cup.

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By mid afternoon Magic Kingdom was pretty crowded, so we decided to take the monorail over to Epcot for a couple of hours.  Since Epcot was decorated for the Flower and Garden Festival, I was excited to see the topiaries.  We spent a leisurely afternoon walking around World Showcase, enjoying the gardens as well as a couple of adult beverages.

flower and garden festival

dopey and belle

topiaries

After spending the afternoon at Epcot, we took the monorail to the Polynesian Resort, where we had a dinner reservation at Kona Cafe.  This was my first time eating at this restaurant, and Preston’s first time in at least five years.  We shared a sushi roll as an appetizer, and for dinner Preston had duck and I had scallops.  Everything we ate at Kona Cafe was absolutely delicious!

kona cafe

After dinner we headed back to Magic Kingdom.  This was the only night that we had the opportunity to see both Wishes and the Main Street Electrical Parade, and no trip to Disney is complete without seeing either of them.  After the parade we left the parks for the night, and drove to our hotel to check in.  Just like back in December, we opted to stay off property.  We’ve had two great experiences at this hotel, which is just outside of the Downtown Disney gate, for a fraction of the price of the hotels on property.  For us, saving money is more important than staying at a Disney hotel, and we currently plan to stay at the same hotel for our trip in November for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon.

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On Wednesday we started our day at Hollywood Studios.  Upon entering the park, the first thing that I noticed was how different Hollywood Boulevard looked since the Sorcerer’s Hat had been taken down.  It was a bit odd to compare the view to the one we had seen in December when the hat had still been up!

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While at Hollywood Studios we enjoyed many of our favorite rides.  We rode Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster twice (we made a beeline for the ride when the park opened, and then got in the single rider line the second time).  We also rode Tower of Terror twice (once when the line was short and once with a Fast Pass).  We also rode Toy Story, and saw both Beauty and the Beast (my favorite show at Disney World), as well as the Indiana Jones Stunt Show.

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The highlight of our day at Hollywood Studios was seeing the carriage from the new Cinderella movie.  It was fun to play princess and hold the glass slipper.

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Mid afternoon, we decided to head back to our hotel and relax at the pool for a couple of hours before we headed to Epcot for dinner.  We had reservations at San Angel Inn, a restaurant that neither Preston or I had eaten at before.  The food was great and the atmosphere sitting in front of Grand Fiesta Tour was wonderful.

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After dinner we wandered around World Showcase and then ended our time at Epcot with Illuminations.  Just like seeing Wishes at Magic Kingdom, no trip to Disney World is complete without seeing Illuminations.

illuminations

After Illuminations, we decided to head over to Magic Kingdom for a late evening of rides there.  We rode both Winnie the Pooh and Its A Small World, and got to do a card trick with Talking Mickey.

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Just before midnight we started getting tired, and decided to call it a night after hitting up three parks in one day.  We had an exciting day the next day, as we were headed to Clearwater for a Spring Training game, but I’ll save that and the rest of our last two days in Florida for my final recap of our trip.

QOTD: When you travel do you enjoy trying out new restaurants and foods, or do you stick to what you’re familiar with?

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2015 Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run Recap

Sunday morning I ran my fifth race of the year – the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run.  After last year’s experience, I had mixed feelings going into this year’s race.  I was excited to give this race another chance, but nervous that I would have another disappointing experience.  Overall, I did have a better experience this year, partly since I was actually placed into the correct corral (and wasn’t last year), but there were still a couple of issues that I had with this race.

cucb recap

This year’s CUCB experience started Saturday afternoon when Preston and I headed downtown to the expo.  Just like last year, the expo was held at the National Building Museum, which was easily accessible by Metro.  We were in and out of the expo in less than 30 minutes.  Also like last year, the expo was small but well organized.  After picking up our race packets, we circled the expo floor, and although I had hoped to pick up the new Cherry Blossoms Sweaty Bands, they were out of them by the time we got there on Saturday.  To Preston’s amazement, we left the expo without spending any money.  I was quite proud of myself!

Because of the road closures and how busy downtown was due to peak bloom of the cherry blossoms, we took the Metro downtown for the race Sunday morning.  Immediately after we got off the Metro, I received a text message from my friend Kristen.  She asked if I had heard the race announcement, that there had been an accident involving a pedestrian, and that the course was being diverted off of Independence Avenue and shortened due to the accident investigation.  The race directors estimated that they had shortened the course by about half a mile.  (Yesterday, the directors posted the official course measurement online, which was 9.39 miles.)  While I was disappointed about the last minute change, I completely understood the need for it, and greatly appreciated how quickly the race directors took care of the unexpected change.

The final course measurement announcement Photo Credit: Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run

The final course measurement announcement
Photo Credit: Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run

The race started and finished at the Washington Monument.  Once we arrived, we quickly checked our gear bags and headed towards the corrals.  We had left the house a bit later than we had planned to, so we didn’t get into the Green Corral until about 5 minutes before the start of the race.  Since neither Preston nor I had planned on racing this race, he decided to run with me.  In the corral we met up with Jenny, and at 7:43 am our corral was off.

Preston and I ready for the start of the race

Preston and I ready for the start of the race

With Jenny in our corral prior to the start of the race

With Jenny in our corral prior to the start of the race

The first four miles of this course, like many other DC races, takes runners past some of my favorite DC sights, including the Lincoln Memorial, across Memorial Bridge towards Arlington National Cemetery, along the Potomac River near the Kennedy Center, and along Independence Avenue.  The course was diverted around the 4.5 mile point, where instead of continuing to run on Independence Avenue along the Tidal Basin, we turned and ran past the MLK Memorial and along a different part of the Potomac River.  We were directed back onto the originally planned course route just prior to the mile 6 marker.

Once we were back on the planned route, we started the long run down towards Hain’s Point.  Although the crowd support along miles 6-9.5 of the race was very weak, this wound up being one of my favorite parts of the course since the cherry blossoms were at peak bloom.  The course down and back from Hain’s Point was absolutely gorgeous.  At the end of Hain’s Point Batala Washington, an all female percussion band, was entertaining runners.  Their music was beautiful and very encouraging!

The blossoms were even more breath taking in person!

The blossoms were even more breath taking in person!

Mid race on Hain's Point among the gorgeous cherry blossoms

Mid race on Hain’s Point among the gorgeous cherry blossoms

Like last year, the course was extremely crowded.  I remembered from last year that the crowd started to thin out after the first three miles.  And although the crowd this year thinned out slightly after mile three, the course remained very crowded for the entire race.  This made for a lot of weaving and having to sometimes complete my walk intervals on the sidewalk or the grass.  This definitely slowed my pace down.  Jenny and I discussed the course crowding after the race, and both concluded that part of why it may have felt more crowded was since we started the race a corral ahead of where we did last year.

The course was still very crowded even during the last mile of the race

The course was still very crowded even during the last mile of the race

Had I been trying to race this race, I would have been more frustrated by the crowds than I was.  While the crowds definitely slowed me down, I wasn’t as frustrated by the crowding on the course like I was last year when I had been pushing myself for a good finish time.  One other aspect that did slow me down was the heavy crowding at each water station.  Volunteers were scrambling to keep up with the volume, and a couple of volunteers even noted that their stations were understaffed.

Preston and I crossed the finish line in 1:46:38, which based on the calculated course distance of 9.39 miles is an 11:21 pace.  Last year I would have considered this speedy for myself, but this year is on the slower side.  On Sunday I initially thought that I would have PRed this race, but after some clarification yesterday with race directors about a miscalculation of what my official race pace was, I was two minutes shy of PRing.  However, I still met my C goal, which was to finish the race faster than I ran it last year.  My estimated 10 mile finish time was 1:54:43, which would have been four minutes faster than last year.

After crossing the finish line we received water and a heatsheet.  We had to walk back towards the staging area in order to get food and Gatorade, and I was disappointed to see that all they had for slower runners was a banana.  A single banana after running over 9 miles is nowhere near enough.  The lack of food was an issue at the end of the race last year too.  When will the race directors learn that putting the food in a completely open area with zero control over who has access to the food (both runners and spectators) is unacceptable?

Despite the lack of food, Preston and I both enjoyed the gorgeous weather at the end of the race

Despite the lack of food, Preston and I both enjoyed the gorgeous weather at the end of the race

Like last year, this race had both pros and cons.  Some of the positives included:

  • Low registration cost (tech shirt, which I don’t really need more of, and finisher’s medal were upgrades for an extra cost)
  • A well organized expo
  • A flat course that takes runners past some of the must see DC sites, and was absolutely gorgeous this year since the cherry blossoms were at peak bloom (this was the first time since 2007 that the race was during peak bloom)
  • Great volunteer support at the water stations and all along the course (no race is possible without the volunteers!)
  • Loose enforcement of the corrals, which is an improvement over last year (Jenny had said the corrals weren’t enforced when she lined up, but a volunteer was checking bibs when Preston and I entered the corral)
  • Free runner tracking (last year there was a fee for runner tracking)
  • Quick response by the race directors to the emergency that necessitated a last minute change to the course

Some of the negatives included:

  • Not enough corrals (over 15,000 runners divided into only six corrals made for an extremely crowded race)
  • The water stations were super crowded and runners often had to wait for the volunteers to pour more water and/or Gatorade (more corrals and having fewer runners on top of each other could have easily alleviated this problem – several volunteers also said that their water station was understaffed)
  • Unsecure finish area
  • Not enough post race food, which was likely the result of it being unsecured and not in a runners only area

While there were some improvements made from last year, there is still room for improvement, especially when it comes to the post race food.  After last year’s experience, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to run this race again.  Given how much I like the course and how low the registration cost was, I would consider running this race again.  But also like I said last year, I won’t go out of my way to make this race fit into my calendar since it is far from perfect.

QOTD: What amount of food would you expect to see made available to runners at the end of a ten mile race?

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DWTS + Disney = Happiness

If you follow me on Twitter, especially on Monday nights, then it should be of no surprise that I’m a huge fan of Dancing with the Stars.  I first shared my love for the show back in the fall after Alfonso Ribeiro and Witney Carson did the Carlton Dance on DWTS.  Every week when I watch the show, I’m reminded of the many years that I danced and how happy dance makes me.

Celebrating one of my many successful dance performances

Celebrating one of my many successful dance performances

Last night was “Disney Night” on DWTS.  From the moment that the show started, I had a smile on my face.  Some of the highlights of the night included:

  • Mark Ballas was in complete character for his Alice in Wonderland themed foxtrot with Willow Shields, and their dance was so fun to watch.
  • The most magical dance of the night was Noah Galloway and Sharna Burgess’ foxtrot to “A Whole New World” from Aladdin.
  • My favorite dance of the night was Riker Lynch and Allison Holker’s Pirates of the Caribbean dance.  Their dance might have been the best paso doble that I’ve ever seen on DWTS.
  • The night was made complete by the presence of the Mickey Mouse “10” paddle, which the judges used after three of the dances last night.

QOTD: What was your favorite moment from last night’s episode of DWTS?  What brings a smile to your face?

Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged , | 61 Comments

Weekly Training Log – Week of April 6th

For many reasons, this past week of workouts didn’t go exactly as exactly planned.  My biggest obstacle was my schedule.  Between chiropractor and dentist appointments after work this week, Tuesday evening was the only day that I didn’t have an appointment after work.  Just to paint one picture for you of how this week went after work, my dentist appointment was Thursday after work.  Our dentist is near our old apartment, and it took me well over an hour to get home from the dentist.  By the time I finally made it home on Thursday, I had been out of the house for close to 13 hours.

One highlight of my week was the yoga class that I took at work on Monday.  One of our professional development options for the day was yoga, as a way to focus on destressing.  It was a great way to ease back into work after Spring Break.

The other highlight of this past week was running the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run yesterday morning.  I’ll recap the race this week, but as I shared in my goals post, this wasn’t a goal race for me.  And I’m glad it wasn’t since the course had to be cut short due to a pedestrian that was hit prior to the start of the race on the race course.  According to my Garmin, I ran 9.49 miles during the race.  Despite the emergency, it was an absolutely perfect morning for a race, and I loved that the cherry blossoms were at peak bloom.

cucb

Mon 4/6 – 60 minutes of yoga, 1.83 mile walk around the neighborhood with Riley

Tues 4/7 – 3.10 mile run around the neighborhood, 0.27 mile cool down walk, abs

Wed 4/8 – Rest day

Thurs 4/9 – Rest day

Fri 4/10 – 3.10 mile run on the treadmill, 0.37 mile cool down walk, chest, back, arms, abs, glutes

Sat 4/11 – Rest day

Sun 4/12 – Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run (actual mileage: 9.49 miles)

Total Weekly Mileage – 18.16 miles

QOTD: Have you ever run a race where the course had to be cut short due to an emergency?

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