Friday Five – November 21st

Is Thanksgiving really next week?  It feels like fall just started, but it also feels like we just skipped over fall, especially since we experienced winter like temperatures for part of the week.

It was so cold on Wednesday!

It was so cold on Wednesday!

This past week has been super busy, and with so much going on, I wanted to share a couple of highlights from this past week (and one thing I’m looking forward to).

1.  I’m officially back in half marathon training mode!

shamrock

On Monday, I kicked off my Shamrock Half Marathon training.  After a couple of weeks off from training, it feels good to be back in training again.

2.  I’m slowly working on rediscovering my love for yoga.

balanced you day 1

As part of my FitFluential Ambassadorship, I’m participating in the #BalancedYou campaign with Gaiam TV and My Yoga Online.  I’ll share more details about the campaign at a later date, but my participation in the campaign is giving me access to a variety of yoga videos, which is assisting me in rediscovering my love for yoga (which is also one of my goals for the month).

3.  I foresee lots of Snow Days in the near future.

Photo Credit: NBC Washington

Photo Credit: NBC Washington

Our local NBC station shared the predicted snow totals for this coming winter.  We used to live in the dark blue zone (18-25″), but now we live in the purple zone (25-50″).  Anybody who knows the DC area well knows that DC does not know how to handle snow, especially large amounts of it.  I’m definitely looking forward to having a handful of Snow Days this winter.

4.  Thanksgiving is next week!

Not only am I looking forward to seeing my parents and sisters next week, but I’m also looking forward to a couple of days off from work.  My body, mind, and soul needs a break from the alarm going off at 4:30 a.m.

5.  Preston and I started dating five years ago this past Wednesday.

Preston and I at the Lincoln Memorial on our first date on November 18, 2009

Preston and I at the Lincoln Memorial on our first date on November 18, 2009

Its hard to believe that its been five years since Preston and I went on our first date, which included walking the monuments at night in DC.  I’m so grateful that Preston suggested that we take a picture on our first date.  Its a picture that I know I’ll continue to cherish for years to come.

QOTD: What is one highlight from your week?

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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Why Do You Run?

Often times when I discuss my passion for running, I’m often met with the response of, “You’re crazy!”  Many people think that I’m absolutely nuts to have put myself on this running journey, and often gasp when they hear that I’ve run three half marathons this year, among other races.

So why do I bother pushing myself and training to run races?

I run because I feel empowered and on top of the world when I put my mind to something and accomplish it.  I was always told that dancers can’t run, and after dancing for as long as I did I had talked myself out of the ability to run.  But I’ve proven to myself that not only can I run, but I can set my sights on conquering a goal, like crossing the finish line of a half marathon, and feel on top of this world when I’ve accomplished my goal.

Crossing the finish line of my first half marathon was one of the most amazing feelings of accomplishment that I've ever felt! Photo Credit: MarathonFoto

Crossing the finish line of my first half marathon was one of the most amazing feelings of accomplishment that I’ve ever felt!
Photo Credit: MarathonFoto

I run because my I have the physical ability to do so.  Not everybody in this world is able to partake in the physical activities that they would like to, and I’m thankful to be able to do so.  While I may have a weak ankle, I refuse to let this physical obstacle prevent me from getting out and hitting the road running.

Photo Credit: Potomac River Running

Photo Credit: Potomac River Running

I run because its a stress reliever.  Many days, even if I go into my workouts feeling tired and drained mentally by life’s stressors, I often feel better about life in general after a good, sweaty workout.  Its a great way to push through my stress, and any frustration that I might be facing, and to come out feeling much better than I did when I went into the workout.

There's nothing like a good sweaty workout to help get you back into your training routine!

I run for the bling.  Let’s face it, having a wall of race medals in your house is pretty darn satisfying, as well as motivating to push yourself back out there to earn more bling.

medals display

Most importantly, I run because its fun.

QOTD: Why do you run?

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Christmas Music Running Playlist

With having started half marathon training this week, and Christmas right around the corner, I’m thinking that I need a seasonal update for my playlist.  One of the many things that I love about Christmas is Christmas music, and thankfully, there are many great Christmas songs that are upbeat and are perfect for keeping me motivated while working out.

christmas music

Some of the songs that I’ll be including on my Christmas Music Running Playlist include:

“Run Run Rudolph” by Chuck Berry

“Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” by N’Sync

“Carol of the Bells” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra

“Last Christmas” by Wham!

“Step into Christmas” by Elton John

And my absolute favorite pop Christmas song…

“All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey

QOTD: What is your favorite Christmas song to listen to while working out?

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How Will You Stayed Motivated During the Holidays?

If you follow me on Instagram then you probably have noticed that I’m currently participating in a handful of challenges.  But the photo challenges aren’t the only ones that I’m participating in.  What challenges am I currently participating in?

Run Stretch Go’s Grateful Photo-A-Day Challenge

rsggratefulchallenge

DC Trifecta’s “Gratitude” Challenge, sponsored by Eat Pray Run DCMar on the Run, and You Signed Up For What?!

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

MCM Mama’s #NovemberMileage Challenge (my goal is to run 50 miles, which is part of my larger November goal to log 70 miles altogether)

MCMMama-novembermileage

Holiday Sweat Challenge with Sweat Guru and Run to the Finish

Holiday Sweat Challenge 2014

Get Active! Challenge through work (where our goal as a team is to virtually walk from Amsterdam to Zakynthos, Greece)

European-Expedition-Logo

Yes, I’m currently participating in five different challenges!  These five challenges are helping me to stay motivated as I kick off Shamrock Half Marathon training, as well as helping me to stay focused on being grateful for all of the wonderful things in my life.  Yes, it takes a little extra time out of my day to be involved in all five challenges, but its almost like a mini preparation for how busy the holidays will likely be.

In fact, since we’ll be out of town Thanksgiving weekend and the weekend after for the Christmas Town Dash 8k, we’re actually planning on putting our Christmas tree up this coming weekend.

Yes, I’m busy, and will continue to be busy during the height of the holiday season, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  And all of these challenges are keeping me motivated to stay on top of my half marathon training, despite how busy things will be during the holidays.

QOTD: How will you stay motivated during the holidays?  How far in advance of Christmas or any other holiday do you start decorating your house?

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Weekly Training Log – Week of November 10th

After last week not going as planned, I had planned to kick things into high gear this week, especially since it was my last week before I start half marathon training again.  My enthusiasm was high at the beginning of the week, and I didn’t take my first rest day of the week until Thursday.  I had planned to run on Friday, but errands after work took much longer than planned, and there just wasn’t any time on Saturday.  Three rest days in a row wasn’t the plan, but sometimes, that’s the way things go.

Mon 11/10 – 3.38 mile run around the neighborhood, 0.45 mile cool down walk

Tues 11/11 – 2.75 mile walk with Riley

Wed 11/12 – 35 minutes on the elliptical, kettlebell squat swings, abs, legs, chest, back, arms

Thurs 11/13 – Rest day

Fri 11/14 – Rest day

Sat 11/15 – Rest day

Sun 11/16 – 4.28 mile run around the neighborhood, 0.34 mile cool down walk

Total Weekly Mileage – 14.32 miles

What I am most proud of from this past week was that I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone.  Last fall and winter, I barely ran outside, but yesterday, I pushed myself to run outside, despite it being in the high 30s.  I don’t want to complete all of my long runs on the treadmill this coming winter, and in order to do that I have to push myself outside of my comfort zone.

Yesterday's run was my first colder run of the season.  Here's to more cold weather running!

Yesterday’s run was my first colder run of the season. Here’s to more cold weather running!

My big excitement for the coming week is that today kicks off Shamrock Half Marathon training!  The next 18 weeks will prepare me for half marathon no. 4!  Here goes nothing!

QOTD: Do you prefer to run outside when its cold, or inside on the treadmill?

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Friday Five – November 14th – Cold Weather Running Tips

Its hard to believe how quickly its gotten cold outside!  Hearing about how much snow that areas of the country have gotten, and seeing images of sleet and snow on the DC area weather report last night makes me a little sad.  I’m not ready for winter to already be here!

Its hard to believe that on November 13th that the first snow flakes were spotted in the DC area!

Its hard to believe that on November 13th that the first snow flakes were spotted in the DC area!  Photo Credit: NBC Washington

But ready or not, winter is coming, which means that its time to start thinking about how to stay safe and healthy while running outside.  Last year, I spent too much time running on the treadmill during the winter, and I’m going to try and have as much willpower as I can this winter to not always resort to the treadmill.  Of course, there will be days when the treadmill is the safest option, in which case I’ll be relying on some of the tricks that got me through long runs on the treadmill last year.

So what can you do in order to stay safe when running outside in the cold?

cold weather running

1.  Dress in layers.

Dressing in layers will not only allow you to keep yourself properly warm, but it will also allow you to strip layers if you become too warm once you get going.

2.  Invest in a couple of thermal pieces.

Preston and I bought our first thermal running tops a couple of weeks ago in anticipation of how cold this winter is supposed to be.  Unlike regular sweatshirts, thermal running gear will still allow your body to breathe, which is especially important once you’re warmed up and starting to sweat.

3.  Keep hydrated.

Just because it isn’t warm outside doesn’t mean that you won’t be sweating.  In fact, depending upon how many layers you wear its possible that you may sweat even more than you do in the spring and fall.  The more you sweat, the more you need to replenish with water, both during as well as before and after your runs.

4.  Don’t over exert yourself.

If you’re like me then you’ll likely find your lungs working overtime to keep you moving.  Don’t overdo it, and find a balance between pushing yourself and taking it slow.

5.  Watch out for road conditions, and run during daylight hours.

The colder it is the greater the potential for encountering ice, especially black ice.  By running outside during daylight, it’ll be easier to keep your eyes out for black ice in order to avoid it.

QOTD: What tips do you have for running in colder weather?

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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WIN Detergent Giveaway Winner

Many thanks to all who entered my WIN Detergent giveaway for your chance to win two bottles of WIN Detergent.

win detergent

Congrats to Katrina for winning the giveaway!  Please e-mail me at dancingtorunning@gmail.com in order to claim your prize.

If you didn’t win, there’s good news!  You can save $1 off your purchase of WIN Detergent.  Just use code WINGIVE1.  The discount code is valid until December 15, 2014.

Thanks again to everybody who participated!

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My Shamrock Half Marathon Training Plan

5 days from today I’ll kick off my training for my fourth half marathon.  To say I’m excited is a bit of an understatement.

shamrock

Just like with my previous three half marathons, I’ll be utilizing one of Jeff Galloway’s training plans, and focusing on using the run-walk method, especially for my long runs.  Since I’m registered for the Dolphin Challenge (8k on Saturday followed by the half marathon on Sunday), I’m going to follow Galloway’s Glass Slipper Challenge/Dumbo Double Dare training plan (which prepares runners for a 10k the day before a half marathon).

Most weeks, my 18 week training plan has me running three times a week.  My weekday runs will be timed, between 30-45 minutes.  I plan to focus on speed work one day a week.  Because of how early it now gets dark outside, and the time that I usually get home from work, most of my weekday runs will likely be on the treadmill.  I’m hoping that the weather will cooperate so that the majority of my long runs can be completed outside.  During weeks 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16 I’ll complete a shorter run (or walk depending on how my legs are feeling) on Saturday, followed by my long run on Sunday, to help me simulate the back to back races.

Other than the potential for bad winter weather (the Farmers Almanac is calling for a cold, snowy winter), my other big challenge during this training cycle will be our Christmas vacation.  We’ll be at Disney World for five days of our vacation, and while I hope to get up early a couple of days that we’re there in order to run on the hotel treadmill, I’m also mentally preparing myself in case I’m too tired from walking around the parks all day.  I’m telling myself that I cannot beat myself up too much if I miss a couple of my planned runs, as I know that I’ll be able to get back on track the week after Christmas.

Just like with my past training, I will be running a couple of races, including a Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot and the Christmas Town Dash 8k.  I’m also thinking about registering for the Reston 10 Miler three weeks before Shamrock Weekend, which would be a good practice race before the big race itself.

My training mindset for Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach was “no excuses.”  I’m thinking about using the same motto again to help me navigate what might be difficult winter weather and training during the holidays.

I can’t wait to officially be back in training as of Monday, and I’m super excited to train for my fourth half marathon!

QOTD: How do you mentally prepare yourself for training during the holidays?

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Current Countdowns

Its been awhile since I shared my last set of countdowns, so I thought it would be fun to share some of the exciting events coming up that I’m looking forward to:

  • 6 days until I start training for half marathon #4 – My Shamrock Half Marathon training kicks off next Monday!  I’m working on finalizing the details of my training plan, which I’ll be sure to share with all of you once its complete.

shamrock

  • 15 days until we leave for our Thanksgiving trip – Preston and I are headed to Illinois this year for Thanksgiving.  Not only will we get to celebrate T-day with my parents and sisters, but we’ll also be running our first Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning, and attending my 10 year high school reunion over Thanksgiving weekend.
  • 26 days until the Christmas Town Dash 8k – I cannot wait to run my first Christmas themed race!  I’m in the midst of working with Lesley from Greater Fitness on my race day outfit.  Lesley also made my Disney World 10k tutu, and I cannot wait to see how my tutu for this race turns out!
Thanks again Lesley from Greater Fitness for making my tutu.  I loved it!

My Disney World 10k tutu.  I absolutely loved it!

  • 37 days until our next trip to Disney World – I can’t wait to kick off our Christmas vacation with Mickey, Minnie, and all of their friends at the most magical place on Earth.  Seeing everybody’s pictures of the decorated Magic Kingdom during Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend has me that much more excited about our upcoming trip!
One of the many things Im looking forward to seeing next month at Disney is the decorated castle!

One of the many things I’m looking forward to seeing next month at Disney is the decorated castle!  Too bad I won’t get to run through it during our next trip.

  • 130 days until my fourth half marathon – I cannot wait to run my next half marathon in Virginia Beach!  Several other bloggers are going to be there, and I cannot wait to see everybody!

QOTD: What are you currently counting down to?

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Weekly Training Log – Week of November 3rd

This past week of training didn’t go quite as planned.  Since I was battling a cold for a good part of the week, I decided to take it easy.  Even if I didn’t feel very run down, I knew that working out would likely delay getting over my cold.  It was definitely a mental battle this week, as I tried to not feel guilty about not working out.

feeling guilty

Thank goodness I allowed my body the extra rest it needed, as we spent the weekend out of town in Charlottesville with two good friends.  The four of us enjoyed a weekend of wine tasting and absolutely perfect fall weather.  It was great to get away and relax for a bit.

wine tasting

While away, I did complete one run on the treadmill at the hotel.  It was a bit of a frustrating run though, as the speed kept changing on the treadmill.  Even though it was frustrating, I kept reminding myself that it was better than not working out at all, especially after not being able to workout most of this past week.

Mon 11/3 – Rest day

Tues 11/4 – 30 minutes of yoga

Wed 11/5 – Rest day

Thurs 11/6 – 35 minutes on the elliptical, kettlebell squat swings, abs, glutes

Fri 11/7 – Rest day

Sat 11/8 – Rest day

Sun 11/9 – 3.10 mile treadmill run, 0.27 mile cool down walk

Total Weekly Mileage – 6.59 miles

QOTD: Does anybody else find it frustrating to workout while traveling, especially when you are trying to use poorly maintained gym equipment at hotels?

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