Friday Five – Potpourri v. 2

Who else is excited that its now unofficially summer?  It certainly feels like summer out there, which has me longing to finalize our summer travel plans, particularly our vacation which we plan on taking in August right before I head back to school.

Even though its only been a four day work week due to Memorial Day on Monday, its been an absolutely crazy week, and there’s also lots of exciting things that I’m looking forward to this weekend!

1.  Yesterday marked the end of state testing at school!  For the past week and a half, we’ve been in full testing mode at school.  Virginia requires all students to take a number of end of course exams each school year, and all five of my classes took their World History SOL (Standards of Learning Test) sometime over the past week and a half.

2.  Speaking of school, I’m a bit jealous of those teachers and students whose school year has already come to an end.  Although we’re done with state testing, we still have three full weeks of school, followed by a Monday teacher workday.  And then the next day I’ll be headed to a four day AP refresher training, so it really won’t feel like I’m done with work for the school year for another month.

I've been feeling a lot like the "October thru April" teacher, especially since we've been in testing mode for the last couple of weeks

I’ve been feeling a lot like the “October thru April” teacher, especially since we’ve been in testing mode for the last couple of weeks

3.  This weekend I’ll be running my first virtual race, the Bad Ass Virtual 5 Mile Race.  I’m very excited about completing my first virtual race, and then proudly wearing my race medal post race.

4.  Tonight we’ll be celebrating our friends’ recent engagement with them.  Preston and I were some of the first people who knew them as “a couple” and we’re very excited for their upcoming wedding!

With our friends Jen and Jason wine tasting in Charlottesville over Veteran's Day weekend last November

With our recently engaged friends during a wine tasting weekend in Charlottesville last November

5.  Last weekend we finally planted flowers in our front flower bed for the first time since we bought our house last July.  It was fun to head to the garden center and pick out flowers together, and then add some color to our front yard.

QOTD: Has school ended for the year in your neck of the woods?

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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Fitness Wish List

As a female, I naturally love to shop and daydream about all the wonderful things I’d like to purchase.  Right now, there are a number of items on my fitness wish list that I’d love to purchase.

1.  PRO Compression Socks

shamrock socks

With half marathon training underway, I’ll be starting to wear my socks more frequently.  I love relaxing in the socks after a long training run or a race.  And I’d love to get a couple of pairs in cute summer patterns or colors.

2.  Sparkle Athletic Skirts

I’ve had my eye on Sparkle Athletic Skirts for awhile now, especially to wear at future races. I love that you’re able to wear them over your own shorts or capris, so that you’re able to wear bottoms that you’re already comfortable in.  The only problem is that there are so many colors to choose from, how can I only get one?!?!?

3.  Sparkly Soul Headbands

Sporting a Sparkly Soul Headband after an evening run

Sporting a Sparkly Soul Headband after an evening run

I’m a huge fan of Sparkly Soul headbands.  I always wear a headband when I work out, as I hate those pesky flyaways!  You can never have too many headbands!

4.  Camelbak Running Pack

Up until now, I’ve always worn a hydration belt during my long training runs and races.  However, one thing I noticed last summer during half marathon training was that I often ran out of water in the middle of my long runs, and would need to either head home or to my car to get more water.  A Camelbak would help solve that problem, as I’d be able to carry more water on me.

5.  New Running Shoes

new shoes

Although my current shoes are still okay, I know that I’ll be in need of a new pair of shoes soon.  I’ve been eager to try out the Mizuno Wave Inspire 11s ever since they came out. Since I was fit for shoes in September 2013 I’ve only worn Mizuno Wave Inspires, so I’d love to give the new design a try.

6.  Contract with a Personal Masseuse

Okay, I’m really dreaming with this last one, but who wouldn’t love to have a personal masseuse on speed dial, ready to help relieve aches and pains? :)

QOTD: What is on your fitness wish list?

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Sweat Pink Athleta Yoga Recap

Sunday morning I had the opportunity to attend a yoga class in Georgetown with my fellow DC/MD/VA Sweat Pink Ambassadors.  The event was held at Athleta Georgetown, where we were treated to time to shop (with a discount), an hour long yoga class, and most importantly, time to mingle with other ambassadors.

With fellow Sweatpink Ambassadors after our yoga class Photo Credit: Deborah from Confessions of a Mother Runner

From left to right: Courtenay from Running with Perservance, Erica from MCM Mama Runs, Alexis from Flecks of Lex, Deborah from Confessions of a Mother Runner, Mar from Mar on the Run, Jenny from Run Jenny Run, Me, Cynthia from You Signed Up For What?! (and her daughter Sabrina), Colleen from Live Free and Run
Photo Credit: Deborah from Confessions of a Mother Runner

The event was made possible by Mar from Mar on the Run, who reached out to Athleta and arranged for the event.  They arranged for a yoga instructor from Yoga del Sol to meet us at the store.  If you follow me on Twitter or read in yesterday’s blog post, you already know that I barely made it to the event in time.  Shopping started at 9:30 a.m. (before the store opened for the day), and I left my house at 8:40.  Under normal circumstances, that should have been more than enough time to drive into the city.  Well, a car accident followed by a road closure for Rolling Thunder had me sitting on the interstate for a solid 60 minutes.  We were stopped for more than long enough that most people had turned their car engines off and were getting out of their cars.  The longer I sat not moving, the more panicked I became that I wouldn’t make it to the event that I had been looking forward to ever since Mar had shared the details with us in our private DC area Sweatpink Facebook group.  I sent messages to both Mar and Jenny, updating them on my whereabouts and letting them know that I was going to do everything I could to make it there in time for yoga.

I finally arrived in Georgetown just minutes before class started, quickly decided to suck up paying for a parking garage instead of wasting time searching for street parking, and walked into Athleta just as the yoga class was getting ready to start at 10:30.  I’m so glad that I made it just in the nick of time, as our yoga instructor was fabulous!  We had ladies at the class of all yoga levels, and she did an incredible job showing us how to accommodate the various poses for differing levels.  The hour class flew by!  With my legs still feeling heavy and stiff after Thursday’s lower body workout and Saturday’s run, spending an hour stretching out my sore legs is exactly what I needed.  And yesterday, my arms felt the effects of class, a sign that I got a great workout!

Sabrina, Cynthia, and I during class Photo Credit: Deborah from Confessions of a Mother Runner

Sabrina, Cynthia, and I during class
Photo Credit: Deborah from Confessions of a Mother Runner

Jenny and I can't go to an event together without getting a picture!

Jenny and I can’t go to an event together without getting a picture!

After class ended, we had the opportunity to shop and socialize.  I was really good and didn’t purchase a single thing, despite how tempting the Athleta discount was.  And thankfully, my drive home was uneventful.  I even made it home faster than I thought I would!

Having some fun before class started Photo Credit: Deborah from Confessions of a Mother Runner

Having some fun before class started
Photo Credit: Deborah from Confessions of a Mother Runner

Thanks again Athleta and Yoga del Sol for a fabulous morning!  I can’t wait for another Sweat Pink meetup!

QOTD: Do you prefer group fitness classes, working out on your own, or a combination of the two?

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon Training Log – Week 3

Although I spent the first half of the week still recovering from a nasty cold, by Wednesday I felt well enough to start working out again.  I hit the gym hard on Thursday, and not only ran but also did an intense lower body weights workout.  Boy, did my legs feel it during my run on Saturday when I ran my planned four miles, but my legs felt like lead during the entire run.

Saturday's run was far from easy, but I'm reminding myself that its the challenging runs that make us stronger

Saturday’s run was far from easy, but I’m reminding myself that its the challenging runs that make us stronger

Not only did it feel great to get back into the swing of working out, but to cap off the week I headed into the city for an hour long yoga class with fellow DC/MD/VA Sweat Pink Ambassadors.  After sitting on the interstate not moving for an entire hour due to both a car accident and a road closure due to Rolling Thunder, I almost didn’t think that I would make it to yoga.  Thankfully, I arrived just as class was starting, almost two hours after leaving my house!  I’m so glad that I was able to get to yoga and spend the morning with some fabulous ladies!  It was such a great class, and I plan to recap the experience here on the blog tomorrow.

With fellow Sweatpink Ambassadors after our yoga class Photo Credit: Deborah from Confessions of a Mother Runner

With fellow Sweat Pink Ambassadors after our yoga class
Photo Credit: Deborah from Confessions of a Mother Runner

All in all, it was a great second half to the week, and I can’t wait to make up for some lost workout time in the coming weeks.

Mon 5/18 – Rest day

Tues 5/19 – Rest day

Wed 5/20 – 2.89 mile walk around the neighborhood with Riley

Thurs 5/21 – 3.10 mile run on the treadmill, 0.42 mile cool down walk, kettlebell squat swings, legs, abs

Fri 5/22 – Rest day

Sat 5/23 – 4.02 mile run around the neighborhood, 0.28 mile cool down walk

Sun 5/24 – 1 hour yoga class

Total Weekly Mileage – 10.71 miles (1.45 miles more than week 2)

Total RnRVB Training Mileage – 30.77 miles

QOTD: What was the fitness highlight of your week?

Posted in RnRVB Half Marathon Training, Training | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

Friday Five – Favorite Summer Food and Recipes

Happy Memorial Day weekend everybody!  With this weekend marking the unofficial start to summer, I’m excited that this week’s Friday Five theme with the DC Trifecta is related to summer, as its my favorite season of the year!

One of the many things I love about summer is all of the delicious food that is associated with it.  Summer is all about fresh fruits and vegetables, BBQs, and seafood.  There’s countless reasons to love summer, especially when it comes to summer food.

There are so many summer foods that I love, so it was really hard to narrow the list down to just five!

1.  Homemade Pasta Salad (the more vegetables, the better!)

2.  Grilled Vegetables, especially squash and asparagus (Have you tried my delicious Grilled Zucchini and Tomato Salad recipe?)

zucchini salad

3.  Strawberries marinated in sparkling wine or champagne, served alongside pound cake and whipped cream (such a simple yet delicious dessert!)

4.  Grilled Salmon (Have you tried my Wasabi Soy Grilled Salmon recipe?)

salmon and squash

5.  Gazpacho (And I realize that I’ve never shared my favorite recipe for this.  I’ll have to change that soon!)

QOTD: What is your favorite summer food?

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!

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Random Thursday Thoughts

There’s been a lot going on lately, and it just felt appropriate to share a couple of random thoughts with all of you.

1.  Yesterday I exercised for the first time in a week!  The last time I ran was last Wednesday, the day before I started feeling my cold come on.  Yesterday, I finally felt well enough to exercise, but knew that I wanted to start off slow, so instead of going for a run Preston and I instead took Riley for a nearly 3 mile walk around the neighborhood.  It felt great to be outside and to be moving again.

walk with Riley

2.  One of the things I hate most about teaching is the annual state exams that Virginia requires that every student take.  This week and next week are our school’s weeks for state testing, so our daily schedule is not only disrupted, but stress is plentiful at school.  I cannot wait for this part of the school year to be over with.  I absolutely hate having to teach to a standardized test, but I know that its part of my job so I’ve learned how to mentally deal with it.

3.  I’m very much looking forward to our upcoming long weekend.  With the exception of last weekend, our weekends for the past couple of months have been jam packed.  Last weekend was supposed to be low key for Preston and I, but then I got sick and spent the entire weekend on the couch trying to recover.  We don’t have much going on over Memorial Day weekend, and I’m very much looking forward to some much needed relaxation and time to take care of some chores around the house.

QOTD: What are your plans for Memorial Day weekend?

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Recent Additions to My Playlist

A couple of weeks ago, I updated my playlist for the first time in I can’t even remember.  I had several iTunes gift cards sitting around, so it was fun to go on a bit of a music shopping spree.  I like working out to an eclectic set of songs, as I find that it helps to keep me on my toes and helps keep me motivated to keep moving.  So in keeping with that preference, my recent additions were a bit all over the place.

Some of the songs on my updated playlist include:

“Treasure” by Bruno Mars

“Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen

“Get Lucky” by Daft Punk

“Ghost” by Ella Henderson

“Free Your Mind” by En Vogue

“Anytime You Need a Friend” by Mariah Carey

“Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson

“Lips Are Movin” by Meghan Trainor

“They Don’t Care About Us” by Michael Jackson

“Happy” by Pharrell Williams

QOTD: What music are you currently enjoying working out to?

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What Worked During My Last Half Marathon Training…And What I Hope Will Work Again

Life is all about trial and error.  I learned quite a bit while training for my first half marathon, and I learned even more about myself as a runner as I trained for my fourth half marathon.  I spent a lot of my time training for Shamrock Half Marathon focusing on trying to improve my speed and finish time.  And clearly, what I did worked, since I crossed the finish line by PRing by over 10 minutes!

post shamrock half

So what worked last time around, and what do I hope will work again as I train for Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach in September?

1.  Speed work

I consistently focused on speed work at least once a week.  The majority of my weekday runs were completed on the treadmill, which made it easier to increase the treadmill speed and increase my running pace.  I hope to continue working on speed work, although I would also like to complete more of my weekday runs outside.  With the temperatures and humidity on the rise, completing speed work outside might prove to be difficult.

14 mile run

Not only did I complete most of my weekday runs on the treadmill, but due to winter weather I had to complete some of my long runs on the treadmill as well, including my 14 mile run

2.  I cross trained and lifted weights when time allowed for it

My cross training primarily consisted of walking and yoga, and some time on the elliptical thrown in.  And every week when I went to the gym I tried to find some for some weight training of some sort.  Both the cross training and weight training helped to make me a stronger runner.  And I want to place an emphasis again on both of these as I train for Virginia Beach, especially once the school year ends and I have more time during the summer.

3.  Being flexible

I faced more than enough obstacles and distractions during my Shamrock training, including a vacation at Disney World, Christmas, and my car accident.  I also came down with a couple of colds during my training.  Although I didn’t complete all of my planned runs each week, I didn’t let this get the best of me.  I made accommodations when needed, and focused on the big picture of my training.

4.  I didn’t give up

I could have very easily thrown in the towel after my car accident on January 28th, just seven weeks before I crossed the start line of the Shamrock Half Marathon.  But I chose not to let the car accident define me.  Despite the obstacles I faced during my recovery, particularly the back pain I endured and the time each week that I spent at the chiropractor which took away from the time that I had to train, I refused to give up.  I know that I’ll face obstacles this time around, and it’ll be important that I keep my focus on the finish line.

5.  I had support

I'm so glad that Preston ran with me yesterday.  I'm not sure I would have been able to do it without him by my side.

Preston continues to be my #1 supporter during my training

Having a support system is critical, especially during challenging times.  The seven weeks inbetween the car accident and Shamrock were difficult for a number of reasons, and one of the reasons I didn’t give up was because I had a great support system.  Online, I received lots of support from all of you, and in person I received a ton of support from my friends, family, and Preston.  Without each and every one of you, I’m not sure that I would have been physically or emotionally able to finish preparing for Shamrock.

QOTD: What worked for you during your last training cycle?

Posted in Motivation, Training | Tagged , , , | 45 Comments

Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon Training Log – Week 2

Unfortunately, this week didn’t go exactly as planned.  Although the week started off great, by Thursday evening I was completely exhausted and could feel a cold coming on.  You know, that tickle in the back of your throat that is usually the tell tale sign that you’re getting sick?  That’s what I had Thursday evening, so I opted to take an unplanned rest day, hoping that I would be able to rest off whatever bug I was starting to get.  Unfortunately, by Friday morning I felt worse, and sadly wasn’t in a position to be able to take a sick day from work.  By the time I got home from school on Friday, I felt absolutely miserable and the couch became my best friend.  I spent the weekend coughing, sneezing, and just generally feeling miserable.  There’s a number of things that I’m sure contributed to me getting sick, particularly our whirlwind trip to Illinois last weekend and stress at school due to AP and state exams.

Needless to say, I haven’t worked out since Wednesday evening.  Fortunately, I’m only two weeks into my half marathon training, and my planned long run for this past weekend was only five miles, so I’m not terribly behind on my mileage.  I did just run a 10k three weeks ago, so I know that my body hasn’t completely forgotten what its like to run more than 3.5 miles.  But I’m definitely eager to be feeling better and to be up and moving again!

Preston and I after Wednesday evening's run

Preston and I after Wednesday evening’s run

This is part of why I like following an 18 week half marathon training plan.  It leaves me with some wiggle room in cases like this past week where I get sick and need to slightly readjust my training plans.  I don’t see this past week as being a set back in my training, and when I’m finally better I’ll slowly ramp up the miles again!

Mon 5/11 – 3.10 mile run on the treadmill, 0.57 mile cool down walk, chest, back, arms, abs

Tues 5/12 – 1.84 mile walk around the neighborhood with Riley

Wed 5/13 – 3.51 mile run around the neighborhood, 0.24 mile cool down walk

Thurs 5/14 – Rest day

Fri 5/15 – Rest day

Sat 5/16 – Rest day

Sun 5/17 – Rest day

Total Weekly Mileage – 9.26 miles (1.54 miles less than week 1)

Total RnRVB Training Mileage – 20.06 miles

QOTD: Do you have trouble sitting still and taking extra rest days when you are sick?

Posted in RnRVB Half Marathon Training, Training | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 48 Comments

Friday Five – May 15th – Top Keyword Searches for From Dancing to Running

Happy Friday everybody!  After a long and stressful week at work (my AP students took their AP exam yesterday, so there were several long and busy days leading up to the exam), I thought I would write a lighthearted post today about a topic that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately: keyword searches for From Dancing to Running.  After looking through my blog stats, I was intrigued to see some of the following towards the top of the list of search terms that have led readers to my blog.

1.  From Dancing to Running

banner

It should be of no surprise that my blog name is the most searched keyword to result in a direct link to my blog.  Other variations of my blog’s name that have been Googled include Dancing to Running and From Running to Dancing.

2.  Running My First Half Marathon

Crossing the finish line of my first half marathon! Photo Credit: MarathonFoto

Crossing the finish line of my first half marathon!
Photo Credit: MarathonFoto

I spent much of the first year of writing this blog chronicling my journey in training to run my first half marathon, so its of no surprise that this is one of the top search results.  I love looking back and rereading about my training journey, the race itself, and what I learned as a result of running my first half marathon.

3.  Bucket List Half Marathons

bucketlist

I’ve shared posts both about my bucket list half marathons as well as my bucket list racecations.  A girl has to be able to dream, right?

4.  Dancer Turned Runner

My #tutusrock post that I shared on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (WDW10k Photo Credit: MarathonFoto)

WDW10k Photo Credit: MarathonFoto

Given that this search term, as well as other variations, are very fitting based on my own journey, I’m not at all shocked to see this search term on the top of the summary list.

5.  Josh Duggar 5k

You may recall that last July at the annual Firecracker 5k that Josh Duggar from 19 Kids and Counting also ran the race.  Even though I didn’t get to see him in person at the race, it was exciting to see the TLC cameras along the course.

QOTD: What is the most surprising search term that has led readers to your blog?

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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