Friday Five – Happy 5th Anniversary to My Husband

Five years ago tomorrow, Preston and I said “I do.”  The past five years have flown by, as we’ve kept ourselves quite busy and experienced and seen quite a bit together as husband and wife.

Photo Credit: Mark Romine Photography

Photo Credit: Mark Romine Photography

Our first year of marriage included lots of travel.  We spent two weeks in Hawaii for our honeymoon, went to Disney World with his parents and siblings (which was also my first adult trip to Disney), went to rural Indiana for Preston’s best friend’s wedding (they were each other’s best man), and spent Spring Break in Key West.  I also graduated from grad school.  Sadly, Preston’s mom passed away over Mother’s Day weekend that year.

During our dinner on the beach in Maui, at Disney World with my in-laws, before the start of Preston's best friend's wedding, and watching the sunset at Mallory Square in Key West

During our dinner on the beach in Maui, at Disney World with my in-laws, before the start of Preston’s best friend’s wedding, and watching the sunset at Mallory Square in Key West

Our second year of marriage included more travel.  We celebrated our first anniversary with a trip to Napa and Sonoma.  A month after our anniversary we met my parents in Chicago for a long weekend, and they brought the top of our wedding cake with them so that we could partake in the traditional eating of cake for our first anniversary.  We spent a long weekend in September in San Antonio with Preston’s best friend and his wife.  In January we traveled to Disney World where Preston ran his first marathon.  In February, we expanded our family and adopted our dog, Riley, from a local shelter.  We also went to Illinois in June to surprise my parents with a party for their 30th wedding anniversary.

In Napa celebrating our 1st anniversary, cutting into the top of our wedding cake, in San Antonio with friends, and Preston after crossing the finish line of his first marathon

In Napa celebrating our 1st anniversary, cutting into the top of our wedding cake, in San Antonio with friends, and Preston after crossing the finish line of his first marathon

Our third year of marriage included yet more travel.  We celebrated our second anniversary with a two week trip to southern California.  That trip included my first visit to Disneyland, as well as visits to Catalina Island and San Diego.  In January we traveled yet again to Disney World, where Preston completed the Dopey Challenge and I ran my first half marathon.  That summer we traveled to both the Outer Banks and rural Kentucky for weddings, and bought our first house together just before our third anniversary.

My first trip to Disneyland, on Catalina Island, after my first half marathon, and in front of our first house

My first trip to Disneyland, on Catalina Island, after my first half marathon, and in front of our first house

Our fourth year of marriage included lots of running, which was a welcome distraction from our almost year long journey to become pregnant.  We went to Disney World at Christmas time with my in-laws.  Over Spring Break, we split our time between Cocoa Beach and Disney World.  In April, we found out that I was pregnant, and soon after also found out that my sister-in-law was pregnant (the cousins are only eight weeks apart).  We also went to Seattle in July for a wedding.

At Disney World with my in-laws, our pregnancy announcement, and sightseeing in Seattle

At Disney World with my in-laws, our pregnancy announcement, and sightseeing in Seattle

The highlight of our fifth year of marriage was preparing for the birth of little man, and then of course enjoying his presence after he was born on December 23rd.  I can’t imagine life without him in our lives.  We found out that he was a boy during our babymoon to Florida, where we did our gender reveal at Disney World before heading to St. Pete’s Beach for the rest of the week.  Since he was born, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed experiencing life through his eyes.

Our gender reveal with Mickey, at our baby shower with our parents, the day of little man's baptism, and our family photo from little man's 6 month photo shoot

Our gender reveal with Mickey, at our baby shower with our parents, the day of little man’s baptism, and our family photo from little man’s 6 month photo shoot

I’m so grateful that Preston and I have gotten to travel and experience as much as we have in the first five years of our marriage.  I can’t wait to see what the next five years brings!

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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Posted in Milestones | Tagged | 9 Comments

How I’m Staying Motivated to Train During the Summer

Two weeks ago I shared tips for summer training.  No matter how many things you do in order to make training during the summer more bearable, even the best athletes find it difficult to stay motivated to train during the summer, especially when the heat and humidity spike high.  Even though I surprised myself with a PR at ZOOMA Annapolis last month, I’m hopeful that my hard work will pay off at Rock ‘n’ Roll Philly in mid-September, which is my goal race for the fall.  So what am I doing to stay motivated, especially during the current heat wave?

summer motivation

1.  I’m focusing on positive thinking and believing in myself.  Sure, the heat and humidity are challenging my ability to push myself, but if I don’t convince myself that I can push through the difficulty that comes with training during the summer, then how can I physically expect myself to meet the challenge?

2.  I’m staying focused on my goal.  While I haven’t set my race goals yet, and won’t until closer to race day, I know that I want to push myself to PR.  And if I don’t keep my focus on that goal as I train, then I won’t be able to reach my goal in September.

3.  I’m making my training a priority.  Summer is always a busy time of the year, and this is my busiest summer yet since I’m now a mom.  But as I look at my calendar each week, I’m prioritizing my training in order to make sure that I still fit my training in, especially my long runs.  Even when traveling, I’m making sure to do my best to still find time to train.

Despite the hilly area that I was in this past weekend while in New Jersey, I still made sure that I got my long run for the week in.

Despite the hilly area that I was in this past weekend while in New Jersey, I still made sure that I got my long run for the week in.

4.  I’m reminding myself that its okay to slow down.  While this seems counterproductive to my goal to PR, its not only okay to slow down during the summer, but its essential, especially when its super hot and/or humid outside.  My speed will come back once the heat and/or humidity are more favorable.

5.  I’m reminding myself that fall PRs are made with hard work during the summer.  I constantly remind myself of this, especially when I don’t want to head out the door for a run or in the middle of an extremely difficult run.

QOTD: How do you keep yourself motivated to train during the summer?

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon Training Log – Week 4

If my silence here on the blog for the past week is any indication, this past week was extremely busy.  Not only was it the second week of my curriculum project (this coming week is my last week that I’ll be working on it), but on Thursday little man, my mom, and I drove up to northern New Jersey to visit my grandfather.  We thoroughly enjoyed our long weekend with him, and while we were there also got to visit with other members of our extended family during a pool party and BBQ at his house on Saturday.

These two just couldn't get enough of each other this past weekend

These two just couldn’t get enough of each other this past weekend

Speaking of the pool, little man got to experience swimming in the pool for the first time this past weekend.  He wasn’t so sure of it during his first time in the pool on Friday, but thoroughly enjoyed it on Saturday.

pool baby

My happy little pool baby

Just because we were out of town didn’t mean that I let me training go to the wayside.  I headed out Saturday morning for a seven mile run to be greeted by the heat (it was already 83 degrees when I finished my run at 9:00 a.m.), and the tough hills of northern New Jersey.  It was by far my hardest run since I started training again four weeks ago, and there were many times when I wanted to stop running and just walk back to my grandfather’s house.  Thank goodness that many of the sidewalks that I ran on were shaded, as I’m pretty sure that that’s the only thing that gave me motivation to continue on with my run every time that I wanted to throw in the towel.

One of the many hills that I ran up, and then down, during Saturday's long run

One of the many hills that I ran up, and then down, during Saturday’s long run

Our current heat wave is supposed to continue on for the foreseeable future.  Though summer is my favorite season, its making training quite challenging.  Although I completed all three of my planned runs for the week in the morning, instead of in the evening which is my usual pattern, my strength training once again fell to the wayside this past week.  Since this coming week is a cutback week for my training mileage, I really need to focus on making the strength training a priority.  I don’t want to have another week where I only strength train once.

Mon 7/18 – 30 minutes on the elliptical, 25 minutes of weight training (upper body, lower body, abs)

Tues 7/19 – 3.46 mile run, 0.24 mile cool down walk

Wed 7/20 – 2.33 mile walk

Thurs 7/21 – 3.11 mile run, 0.45 mile cool down walk

Fri 7/22 – Rest day

Sat 7/23 – 7.00 mile run, 0.37 mile cool down walk, 1.04 mile walk

Sun 7/24 – Rest day

Total Weekly Mileage – 20.61 miles (3.06 miles more than week 3)

Total RnRPhilly Mileage – 79.58 miles

QOTD: How are you handling the current heat wave?

I’m linking up with Holly from HoHo Runs and Tricia from MissSippiPiddlin for the Weekly Wrap link up.  Be sure to check out their posts as well.

WeeklyWrap

Posted in RnR Philly Half Marathon Training, Training | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

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

Its amazing the difference a week makes.  In the past week of being back home from my parents’ house I’ve gone back to work part time and the heat and humidity have gone out of control.  Both of those factors led to not being as active as I was the week that little man and I were at my parents’ house in Illinois, but nonetheless, it was still a productive week of training.

For most of my curriculum project this year, I’m working from home.  My team is designing a new online AP World History course for our school district, and after two days of working together in person we were given the option to work remotely.  I’ve been loving the flexibility of working from home, as last week it allowed me to complete my two weekday runs in the morning before the temperature started to get too warm.  Since during the school year I usually have to leave before sunrise for school, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying this change of pace.  I usually have trouble embracing morning running on the weekends, but with last week’s heat, I’ve been super thankful for the ability to run in the morning.

Friday morning I completed my first of three runs in the new Rock ‘n’ Roll virtual race series.  I earned my Guitar Solo medal, and can’t wait to receive it in the mail!

Running in the morning plus the motivation of a virtual race helped push me a bit harder as I earned my Guitar Solo medal

Running in the morning plus the motivation of a virtual race helped push me a bit harder as I earned my Guitar Solo medal

The one thing I’m very disappointed in myself in is my lack of strength training last week.  I only worked on strength training once, which is far from my goal of three times per week.  Between working part time, the heat wave, and a busy week of finishing up planning the baby shower that I co-hosted on Saturday, strength training was the first thing to go to the wayside last week.  I need to make it a higher priority this coming week.

Our heat wave in the DC area is supposed to continue throughout all of this week, so it’ll be another hot, sweaty week of working out.  But I’m optimistic that I can make it a productive week if I put my time and focus into doing so.

Mon 7/11 – 2.56 mile walk

Tues 7/12 – Rest day

Wed 7/13 – 3.25 mile run, 0.40 mile cool down walk, 1.93 mile walk

Thurs 7/14 – 30 minutes on the elliptical, 30 minutes of weight training (upper body, lower body, abs)

Fri 7/15 – 3.10 mile run, 0.40 mile cool down walk

Sat 7/16 – Rest day

Sun 7/17 – 3.15 mile run, 0.19 mile cool down walk

Total Weekly Mileage – 17.55 miles (8.99 miles less than week 2)

Total RnRPhilly Mileage – 58.97 miles

QOTD: How hot and humid has it been where you live?

I’m linking up with Holly from HoHo Runs and Tricia from MissSippiPiddlin for the Weekly Wrap link up.  Be sure to check out their posts as well.

WeeklyWrap

Posted in RnR Philly Half Marathon Training, Training | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

Friday Five – Five Tips for Summer Running

Happy hot and humid Friday!  The height of heat and humidity has hit the DC area, as mid-week we started to see “feels like” temperatures reach triple digits by mid-day.  Add high humidity to that, and its been quite unbearable outside.  And looking ahead at our current forecast, it doesn’t look like our heatwave will be ending anytime soon.

Just because its hot and humid doesn’t mean that training can go to the wayside though.  Before we know it, the fall will be here, which means that fall racing season will be upon us, so keeping up with training during the hottest days of the year is a must.

How can you make sure that you’re staying safe even when trying to train during the height of the summer?

summer running

1.  Run early, before the sun comes up and/or before the temperature gets too hot.

2.  Slow your pace down.  While it might take you a bit longer to complete a planned run, slowing down while help keep you from overheating and/or overexerting.

3.  Increase your water intake.  The heat and humidity will cause you to sweat more, making it crucial that you drink extra water.  And don’t just drink water before and after your run.  If you’re headed out for a long run, make sure that you bring water with you.

4.  Find shaded trails to run on.  By avoiding running in the direct sunlight, you’ll not only be able to better protect yourself from getting sunburnt, but the shade will also help keep you cooler.

5.  Don’t be afraid to take your run indoors.  There’s no shame in running on the treadmill in order to combat the heat, especially when the humidity is also high.

QOTD: What tips do you have for summer running?

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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Rock ‘n’ Roll Virtual Race Series – Making the Band

Disclaimer: As a Rock ‘n’ Blogger I received a complimentary registration for the virtual race series.  As always, all opinions are my own.

Have you heard the latest news from the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series?  They recently introduced a new Virtual Race series, which allows runners to run 5ks from anywhere in the world and earn up to four medals.  The Virtual Race Series includes three runs, each with its own medal.  And just like if you run multiple Rock ‘n’ Roll races in a calendar year, if you run all three virtual races you’ll earn the virtual race series’ version of a “heavy medal” – the Making a Band medal!  Each race is $29.99, or the series is $99.

  • Guitar Solo – June 26th-July 20th
  • Drum Solo – July 21st-August 14th
  • Lead Singer – August 15th-September 5th

Only the Guitar Solo medal has been revealed so far.  I’d say its in line with the size and quality of other Rock ‘n’ Roll race medals.

Photo Credit: Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series

Photo Credit: Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series

Unlike other virtual races that I’ve participated in, after you complete each run of this series, if you tag your participation on social media with the hashtag #RnRVIRTUALRUN you’ll be entered for your chance to win prizes.  First prize is a complimentary race entry, with VIP access, to any remaining 2016 Rock ‘n’ Roll series race (excluding Las Vegas).

If virtual runs aren’t your thing but you’re still looking to register for a Rock ‘n’ Roll race this year, be sure to use discount code DANCINGTORUNNING to save $15 on your race registration (excluding Brooklyn and San Antonio).

RnB16-codecard1

QOTD: What is your favorite virtual race perk?

Posted in Races | Tagged , , | 33 Comments

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

There’s only one word that effectively summarizes my second week of RnRPhilly training: productive.  I was quite active, only taking one complete rest day.  Even though little man and I spent the week in Illinois visiting my parents, I took advantage of the extra help to watch little man and was quite active, not only getting in my three planned runs but I also made it to the gym twice.  Now that we’re back home and I am back to work part time for the next three weeks, I only hope that I can keep up the level of activity that I had last week.

Feeling great after my first run of the week

Feeling great after my first run of the week

We flew back home on Saturday, with my mom since she’ll be taking care of little man while I’m working for the rest of the month, and although little man didn’t sleep on our short flight into Chicago, he slept the entire flight from Chicago into DC.  I couldn’t be more proud of him for how well he did on Saturday, and hopefully flying with him will go just as smoothly next month when we fly to Orlando for our Disney vacation.

While in Illinois, I thoroughly enjoyed my speedy runs.  Central Illinois is quite flat, which allowed me to push my pace a bit.

Not only was my Thursday night run speedy, but I was quite consistent with my pace too

Not only was my Thursday night run speedy, but I was quite consistent with my pace too

I ended the week last night with my second long run of this training cycle.  I ran on one of my usual hilly routes here at home, where I was reminded of the elevation difference between here and Illinois.  Despite how hot it was (our schedule yesterday didn’t allow for me to run in the morning), as well as how hilly the route was, I was quite proud of my average pace.  If only I could maintain this pace for an entire 13.1 miles!  During my run, I was reminded of one of the many reasons that I love running in the DC area.  I love being able to run past important places in history, last night being the First Battle of Manassas.

6.50 mile run

Historical markers are a great distraction from how hilly some of the area where we live is

All in all, it was a great week in Illinois, both on the fitness front as well as with the family.

Mon 7/4 – 3.76 mile run, 0.40 mile cool down walk, 15 minutes of strength training (lower body, abs)

Tues 7/5 – 3.96 mile walk, 30 minutes on the elliptical, 30 minutes of weight training (upper body, lower body, abs)

Wed 7/6 – 2.25 mile walk

Thurs 7/7 – 3.10 mile run, 0.30 mile cool down walk

Fri 7/8 – 30 minutes on the elliptical, 20 minutes of weight training (lower body, abs)

Sat 7/9 – Rest/travel day

Sun 7/10 – 6.50 mile run, 1.28 mile cool down walk

Total Weekly Mileage – 26.54 miles (11.66 miles more than week 1)

Total RnRPhilly Mileage – 41.42 miles

QOTD: What was the fitness highlight of your week?

I’m linking up with Holly from HoHo Runs and Tricia from MissSippiPiddlin for the Weekly Wrap link up.  Be sure to check out their posts as well.

WeeklyWrap

 

Posted in RnR Philly Half Marathon Training, Training | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 53 Comments

Friday Five – Five Scenes from My Week

For the last time this week, greetings from Central Illinois!  Little man and I have thoroughly enjoyed our week here with my parents.  We’ve kept quite busy, and the week has just flown by.  I’ve also been enjoying running here.  Central Illinois is much flatter than Northern Virginia is, so its been nice to enjoy some speedy runs despite how hot and humid it has been here for most of the week.

I’ll share more details about my training this week in Monday’s training log, but today I wanted to share some highlights from our week here.

1.  Last Saturday Preston, little man, and I flew out to Illinois.  Little man enjoyed spending the majority of the plane ride looking out the window and only napped for about 20 minutes.  His morning naps are usually at least an hour long.  Oh well, at least he was quite content and only fussed when he got hungry.  This mama can’t complain about that.

airplane

2.  Sunday night we met up with Preston’s best friend/little man’s godfather and his wife for drinks and dinner.  We met up at a wine bar, where you could make your own flight.  Both the wines and the food were delicious!

5

3.  Yesterday we joined my dad for lunch at his law firm.  While we were there, little man enjoyed his “first day on the job.”  Do I have a future lawyer on my hands?

8

4.  As I shared in this past Monday’s training log, I’ve been enjoying running on the trail that goes through my hometown.  Its flat, and many parts of it are nicely shaded.  I only wish that my long run last weekend had been of higher mileage so that I could have enjoyed more of the trail.

5.00 mile run

5.  And since we’ve been visiting with my parents, this post wouldn’t be complete without sharing a picture of them with their grandson.

7

QOTD: What does a scene from your week look like?

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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Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged | 17 Comments

2016 Goals Check In

It is mind boggling how quickly 2016 is going.  I know they say that time goes by faster as you get older, but is certainly feels like its flying!  Since we’re at the midpoint of the year, I wanted to check in on my yearly goals, partly to remind myself of my goals but to also evaluate my progress.

2016 Goals

1.  My first goal for this year is to get back to my pre-pregnancy shape.  When I set my goals, I elaborated that I didn’t just want to get my pre-pregnancy body back, but to also rebuild my pre-pregnancy running speed and endurance.  I’d say that with having set multiple PRs for myself already this year (my 5k PR back in April, my 10k PR back in May, and my half marathon PR last month) that I’ve gotten back to my pre-pregnancy running state.  I still have some work to do in terms of my pre-pregnancy body, especially when it comes to muscle tone, but I’m slowly but surely getting there.

Current Grade: B

I've come a long way since my first postpartum run back in January

I’ve come a long way since my first postpartum run back in January

2.  My second goal is to complete three half marathons.  Having completed Rock ‘n’ Roll DC back in March and ZOOMA Annapolis last month, I’m already two-thirds of the way to reaching this goal.  And with Rock ‘n’ Roll Philly and the Wine and Dine Half Marathon still on my calendar for the year, I shouldn’t have any issues reaching this goal.

Current Grade: A

After completing ZOOMA Annapolis last month

After completing ZOOMA Annapolis last month

3.  My third goal is being pickier with the races that I run this year.  So far in 2016 I’ve crossed the finish line of five races, which is significantly fewer than I’ve run at the halfway point of the past several years.  Last week I shared why I won’t be running one of my favorite races this year, which is proof of my progress towards reaching this goal.  I will continue to be picky for the remainder of 2016 since I’m trying to balance family time with running time, especially on the weekends.

Current Grade: A

All in all, I’d say that 2016 is going quite well so far.  In addition to continuing to work on my three big fitness goals, one of my other big goals is to live in the moment with little man.  He has grown so much over the past six months, and I want to cherish all of his milestones, both big and small.  Since returning to work at the end of March, my blogging has taken a back seat.  While I hope to be more consistent with my blogging this summer, I also want to enjoy my time with my little man.

Here’s to a great second half of 2016!

QOTD: How are you doing with your 2016 goals?

Posted in Motivation, Training | Tagged , , , , , , | 40 Comments

Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon Training Log – Week 1

Greetings from central Illinois, and Happy 4th of July!  We arrived here on Saturday, and little man and I will be spending the week here visiting with my parents.  Although Preston came out with us, he’ll be returning to Virginia later today since he needs to be back at work tomorrow.

After a three week break from half marathon training, it feels good to be back “in training” again.  Although I enjoyed my short break, I often find it difficult to stay focused on my workouts when I don’t have a specific goal to focus on.  Altogether, I’ll be spending 12 weeks preparing for Rock ‘n’ Roll Philly, which is on Sunday, September 18th this year.  A full half marathon training cycle for me is usually 18 weeks, so 12 weeks will take a bit of modification to my usual plan, though most of the changes will only have to be made to the distance of my long training runs.  However, having just run ZOOMA Annapolis a month ago, I’ve got a good running base going into this training cycle.  Yesterday I completed my first long run of this training cycle – a 5 mile run on the trail in my hometown.  It was a cool and rainy 60 degrees for my run, which would have been perfect for a speedy long run except that I got a bad side cramp during the second mile which slowed me down quite a bit.  I had a few moments where I wanted to turn around and cut my run short, but after an extended walk break I’m glad that I pushed through and finished the run.

I completed my first long run of this training cycle yesterday on the trail in my hometown.

I completed my first long run of this training cycle yesterday on the trail in my hometown.

This past week was also my first week of summer break.  It feels absolutely amazing to be able to spend full days with my little man again.  We had quite a busy week, which included several doctors appointments for both of us.  We also got to spend an afternoon with some fellow teachers and their babies at a local winery, as well as going shopping a couple of days.  I loved spending so much extra time with him, and am looking forward to doing the same for the rest of my summer break.

Little man and I out on a walk on Wednesday

Little man and I out on a walk on Wednesday

Since we had such a busy week, I didn’t get in as much cross training or strength training as I’m trying to focus on this month, but nonetheless it was a productive week of half marathon training.

Mon 6/27 – Rest day

Tues 6/28 – 3.10 mile run on the treadmill, 0.43 mile cool down walk, 30 minutes of strength training (upper body, lower body, abs)

Wed 6/29 – 2.25 mile walk

Thurs 6/30 – 3.60 mile run, 0.31 mile cool down walk

Fri 7/1 – Rest day

Sat 7/2 – Rest/travel day

Sun 7/3 – 5.00 mile run, 0.19 mile cool down walk

Total Weekly Mileage – 14.88 miles

Total RnRPhilly Mileage – 14.88 miles

QOTD: What is your training focus this summer?

I’m linking up with Holly from HoHo Runs and Tricia from MissSippiPiddlin for the Weekly Wrap link up.  Be sure to check out their posts as well.

WeeklyWrap

Posted in RnR Philly Half Marathon Training, Training | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments