Monday, December 1, 2014

I mustache you some questions!

Like some other blogs out there, you may have seen this quiz floating around. No one tagged me for it since I'm not cool enough, but I think it's fun and thought I'd share! :) Plus, I just ran the Mo Run for the end of Movember on Saturday!

Four names that people call me, other than my real name
  1. Bab
  2. Sweets
  3. Margo
  4. Margs

Four jobs I have had (not counting any current jobs)
  1. Sales assistant at J. Crew
  2. College tour guide
  3. Account executive
  4. Researcher

Four movies I’ve watched more than once
  1. 10 Things I Hate About You
  2. Atonement
  3. Edward Scissorhands
  4. Love Actually

Four books I’d recommend
  1. Atonement by Ian McEwan
  2. The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
  3. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
  4. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Four places I have lived 
  1. Paris, France
  2. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  3. Bangalore, India
  4. San Diego, California

Four places I have been
  1. Australia
  2. Hong Kong
  3. Mexico
  4. Dubai

Four places I’d rather be right now
  1. Florence, Italy
  2. Morocco
  3. Home in Virginia
  4. On a beach somewhere warm

Four things I don’t eat/drink
  1. Fruity jam/sauce and chocolate together ( But chocolate covered strawberries are OK.)
  2. Pumpkin pie (despite my love of all things pumpkin and raging sweet tooth)
  3. Soda
  4. Decaf coffee

Four of my favorite foods
  1. Sweet potatoes
  2. Green smoothies
  3. Almond butter
  4. Chocolate

Four TV shows that I watch
  1. The Affair
  2. Homeland
  3. Parks & Rec
  4. Currently plowing through Gilmore Girls...

Four things I am looking forward to this year (in the next 12 months)
  1. Going home to visit my family for Christmas
  2. Trip to California over New Year's
  3. Parents coming to visit the UK in the spring
  4. NYC trip in January

Four things I’m always saying
  1. Dude!
  2. I need coffee.
  3. I miss you!
  4. I really want to go to...[insert any city here]

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

P90X3 - Block 1 Review

I'm officially 30 days in to P90X3 - one-third of the way there! The month has flown by so I imagine (/hope!) the next two will as well.

I know I touched on it in the last post, but I really enjoyed Block 1. I definitely feel like I got stronger. I didn't really lose any pounds, but I did decrease some measurements, which is a good feeling.

Here's how the first month went:

I loved them. I thought they were all great and I didn't really dread any of them. My favorites were probably CVX (weighted cardio) and Agility X. I only missed ONE workout the whole time, and I just replaced it with a 10k run instead. Let's hope I can keep that up for the next two months, too!

Because there are some new-to-me moves in every workout, it took me a while before I felt really comfortable with pushing it hard in all the moves. For example, I only did Accelerator twice, so I didn't feel super comfortable with it by the end. CVX, on the other hand, I knew SO well by the end since I did it four times. The weight even felt lighter in my last CVX workout!

In Block 2 I'm not going to worry so much about getting the moves RIGHT but just MOVING and getting the form as close to correct as I can. I already noticed in doing Triometrics this morning that I'm hesitant with new moves!

Improved balance
Increased strength
Better muscle definition
Better at getting up in the morning!
Runs are not faster, but not bad

Inches lost from Day 1 to Day 28:

Chest  -2"
Waist  -1"
Hips  -0.25"
R Thigh  -0.5"
L Thigh  -0.5"
R Arm  -0.5"
L Arm  -0.5"

Not too terribly different, but at least they weren't gains! And honestly not sure if I did the chest measurement correctly, because 2" is sort of insane.

Before and after pictures:
Just a caveat...I started Day 1 in the evening, after a full day of eating meals and following a gluttonous delicious week in NYC. And I didn't suck in because Tony said not to! ;) Day 28 was taking in the morning before I'd eaten anything. Also YIIIIKES I can't believe I'm putting these on the internet.

I think there are some noticeable improvements - shoulders and back, flatter tummy (some mornings I swear I even see a line down the middle), love handles more in check (OK and I wore my Oiselle Rogas with a flattering waistband for Day 28 instead of my Champion shorts with a band that digs in), arms better defined. More improvements to come!

What I want to keep doing:
Be aware of my sugar intake
Eat healthfully
Push hard in the workouts
Get in all the workouts!

How I want Block 2 to be different:
Add in running 2-3 times per week so I don't lose that fitness
Add in Ab Ripper X from P90X 2-3 times per week for better core strength
Eat more intuitively
Be better about post-workout meals to feed my muscles
Push harder earlier on

I'm definitely intrigued to see where things go from here. I do some some changes over the month, even from only working out once a day for 30 minutes at a time. I hope that adding in Ab Ripper X helps, and that running a couple times a week feels good. 

One month down, two months to go! BRING IT!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Back to blogging?

Hello hello to anyone out there who still might get updates!

I've been getting used to a new life here in London. Different running routes,  fitness classes, weather patterns, brunch places, coffee options, pastries to try...the list goes on! I haven't been blogging but I think I should change that.

When I first moved here I wanted to try everything that was new to me - Sunday roasts, beers, wines, cakes, brownies, etc. I also baked because I missed home and it made me feel better. Because of that, my pants (/trousers to any of you Brits who might be reading) starting feeling a bit snug. I didn't own a scale at the time, but when I visited New York in October I learned I've been carrying around about 8 more pounds than I'd like to be.

Sure, I'd been running here and there, had joined a gym (which honestly, I just don't love), and had gone to Barry's every so often, but it wasn't enough to offset the crap I was eating (oh and it had also been my birthday, so I ate a LOT of cake). Now don't get me wrong, I totally enjoyed every bite, but it's not a healthy lifestyle and I decided to do something about it to get me back on track.

You may remember (eh probably not) my foray into P90X a while ago when I was coming back from a stress fracture. It kept me active and got me super strong - aka I could hold a 5 minute plank. But who has time to do an hourlong workout every single day?

Enter P90X3. It's 30 minutes, six days a week, doable in your living room if you are lucky enough to have one. It would have been almost impossible to do this workout in my studio in NYC, but luckily I have a nice-sized living room in my flat here in London, and can do some of the workouts in my own bedroom. It's 30 minutes so it's done before I'm even awake, and I can't ever think of a reason why I can't workout for 30 minutes.

With the change in workout, I've also changed my eating. I am trying really really hard to cut back on my sugar intake since that is where most of the empty calories come from. I did great the first two weeks, and have been a little bad this week, but week 4 is Transition Week before my first round of progress pictures, so I'm going to work on "being good" this week (just a couple squares of dark chocolate and some pb instead of a delicious cookie in a mug...).

So, how's it going so far?


30 minutes a day is doable. IT IS SO DOABLE. It's also something to keep me busy in the diminishing hours of daylight - it will be (/already has been) so nice to have an indoor workout option that kicks my butt.

And kick my butt it does. I get sweaty in every workout! (Though some more than others.) So what are the workouts? For weeks 1-3 we do:

Total Synergistics: Full body resistance workout that uses minimal equipment. Not my favorite workout, but gets the job done.

Agility X: Lots of jumping, quick movements. Reminds me of Plyometrics in P90X. You need some tape on the ground, but no equipment otherwise. I definitely cannot (and probably never will) do plyometric push ups, but it's a fun challenge and I really enjoy this workout and get super sweaty!

X3 Yoga: Flow style yoga with some balance. I don't really sweat during this workout, but it's a pretty good yoga practice. I'm really happy that I'm guaranteed one yoga workout a week!

The Challenge: Push ups and pull ups all day long. I use resistance bands since I don't own a pull up bar and my flatmate would probably kill me if I installed one. You do two rounds of two different types of push ups and pull ups - wide pull ups with standard pull ups, chin ups with military push ups, etc. It's hard, and can be made harder by increasing the resistance, which I did this week and my shoulders/back are still reeling.

CVX: Dude. This workout. Yes. I love it. It's WEIGHTED CARDIO. So hard, SO good, SO SO sweaty. Every move is a minute long and involves a dumbbell. You do two rounds of three moves and Tony varies the speed and/or intensity of the moves in round two. It's awesome.

The Warrior: Hard. It's an upper body move, a cardio move, a core move, and a lower body move nonstop for 30 minutes. It is intense and requires no equipment. I definitely let out a few curse words when I did this workout yesterday...

Dynamix: Haven't done it. I "rest" on the 7th day, but today I walked 21,000+ steps, and last Sunday I ran a 10k, so I can't say I've really been hardcore resting...

Three weeks down, 10 weeks to go! Considering how quickly every week has flown by so far, I expect the next 10 will follow suit. This week is Transition Week, which basically means I do different, less intense (I think?? but CVX is in there...!) workouts before I start Block 2, which is also different workouts - Eccentric Upper, Triometrics, Eccentric Lower, Incinerator, and MMX, plus X3 Yoga. Will report back on those!

Results so far? Well, I've lost a couple of pounds, but who knows, could be water weight... My pants (/trousers) do feel a bit looser, and I think I am looking more toned. I will have to be more mindful of my sugar intake, but I have been cooking with lots of veggies and protein. Last week I made a green protein smoothie every single day, and it was awesome - filled me up for the morning, replenished my muscles, and sneaked in some fruit and veggies first thing in the morning. Love it.

I'll be back soon with travel and London recaps, and will keep writing about my P90X3 journey! xx

Friday, August 22, 2014

New normal

Hello from across the pond! I've been in London for SIX WEEKS now and time is seriously flying. Here's a quick catchup on what's been happening:

Work: I stayed with my company and transferred to the London office from New York. I have hit the ground running HARD and have basically dived right into a bunch of big, exciting projects. That said, the London office is quite different from New York. For example:
Office terrace!
There's a terrace where you can have lunch or just bring your laptop up to work for a bit. Granted, I haven't had lunch up there in the past week or so since it's basically fall here in London now, but for the first month I could be found there regularly.

Adjusting to lunch on a terrace is the least of my worries though; there are other things that are taking getting used to: an open plan (I had an office in NYC), the British understatement (oh this just needs a few document to find a million edits ;), using "diary" instead of "calendar", using a British keyboard (there are differences!), and a much smaller team - just me and my boss, vs. 20 people on my team in the NYC office! I am absolutely loving everything though, and can't complain at all!

Living: I found a flat in Bethnal Green, about a 30 minute walk to work. I have a super nice flatmate, and the place has felt like home since the moment I stepped foot in it. The neighbors are nice and friendly, I get amazing sunlight in my room, and there's a balcony where I can read books and eat banana bread from Broadway Market.
Cute little balcony
And that brings me to the many amenities afforded me in this location. Broadway Market (on Saturdays) is 20 minutes away, Columbia Road Flower Market (on Sundays) is 20 minutes away, an independent coffee shop with amazing coffee and baked goods is 5 minutes away, Victoria Park (a 2.7 mile loop) is 200 steps away, and endless miles of canals are even closer than that.

Best of all?


And I do. Every day, both ways, which is amazing and exactly what I wanted when I was looking for a place to live. I listen to the NPR One app and am better informed on all world news now than I have been in a while, I get my 10,000 Fitbit steps in with ease, and I save money by not riding the tube every day. Win-win-win!

Fitness: Like I said, I walk to and from work every day, which is about 3.8 miles a day. On weekends I walk at least 20,000 steps a day (about 10 miles). Victoria Park and the canals are my backyard. Though I have not (yet?) joined a gym, I get a good workout every day without trying very hard. That said, I am still getting into a workout groove and figuring out what works for me. I've gotten up in the mornings to run, I've run after work, I've done at-home bodyweight exercises, AND I've gone to my beloved Barry's Bootcamp (and bought a nice class package!).
This is what I see out my window. Those trees? Victoria Park!
Getting back into a workout routine has not been easy for me. Though the initial place where I stayed my first two weeks in London was near Regent's Park, I was rarely in the mood to go for a run, despite knowing it's good for me and would make me feel more "normal".

Another thing that made it hard for me to get back into working out was knowing that I had lost a lot of fitness in the previous two months, thanks to quitting the gym and ClassPass, packing up my life, pre-move travel to DC and Kansas City, moving to my boyfriend's place for two weeks, and general moving stresses. Frankly, I did not want to know what my pace was because I knew it would be slower than what I had been seeing in the spring when I was training. I knew I'd lost strength and speed, and I didn't want to face it. Surely you've been there before, too, right?

With no fall race to train for (I signed up for the Philly half before I knew I'd be in London!), I am still struggling with figuring out my workout routine and not falling into the ever-present comparison trap that can be difficult to escape in social media. I've always been pretty good about not falling into this trap, but that doesn't mean I never catch myself comparing my runs to others'. I just need to remind myself that we're all different, training for different things (me? I'm training for LIFE), and have different abilities. And my abilities WILL come back, but they need practice! This is the new normal for now, but as I practice and improve, my new normal will improve, too.

Slowly but surely though, after a few gadget-free runs to remind me what this running thing feels like, I'm more comfortable than I was. Still, it is VERY hard to look down and see a slower pace than the one I ran a MARATHON at in April. It is all about perspective though...if I think about where I was two years ago, or five years ago, I have grown and sped up SO much. It's a good reminder when I'm feeling slow.
Can't complain about views like this
Beyond the above, I've also got two trips planned (Madrid and Zurich!), I'm exploring London as much as possible, and I'm adjusting to life well overall. There are still some UK things I'm getting used to (such as being paid once a month, saying "trousers" instead of "pants"...since pants = underwear here, and yes, I have absolutely told someone I liked their pants...oops) but I'm getting there.

I'm still trying to make new friends though, so if you're in London and want to run or try to a fitness class or anything, give me a shout! And if you have any London recommendations, I am all ears. I'm trying to soak up as much as I can!

What is your favorite piece of advice to get back into a workout routine?
Favorite running route?
London must-dos?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Two new-to-me spin classes and NEWS

After my Paris recap, I fell off the blog wagon. I've been Instagramming and tweeting, but blogging just fell off the radar. I'm bringing it back today to review two spin classes that were new to me and I'm now obsessed with.

Venue 1: Swerve
I bought two classes for the price of one, an offer they make for first-timers. $30 for two classes?! Yes please! It's now on ClassPass, but it wasn't when I signed up for Swerve.

Swerve is divided into three different teams: red, blue, and green. You pick a team when you sign up for a class. Teams compete during the class at certain points - the instructor will have a 30- or 45-second sprint, or a hill, and teams win points. The whole premise is "Together We Ride", even though you get individual stats, too, and the bike that's "winning" at each push is put on the screen, too (which I didn't realize until the second class).

By nature, I'm a competitive person. I'm probably most competitive with myself, but it is a REALLY good feeling to see my bike number up on this screen, which means I'm beating other people, too. I absolutely push harder in those moments because of the promise of helping my team beat the other teams and get more points! The board is not always up on the screen, but the instructor flashed it during the competitive bits and also shows you where your team is ranking periodically throughout the class.

At the end of the class, Swerve sends you your stats, letting you know how you did on your team and with the rest of the class. The first time I took class, I was last on my team, which was a little bit disappointing, but shows you how hard everyone is pushing! The second time, I did better (second out of five on my team, top half of the class!).
You also get distance, personal score, and team score!
I love this competitive aspect and Dyan is an amazing instructor! I didn't get a chance to try out other instructors, but you definitely can't go wrong with Dyan!

Venue 2: Flywheel
Perhaps I'd been living under a rock, but I had never tried Flywheel until a few weeks ago when ClassPass added it...and I'm SO glad I did. The energy is amazing, I loved the stadium-style class, and, naturally, I LOVED the competitive atmosphere.

Unlike Swerve, there are no teams at Flywheel. You can also opt out (or in) to having your name on the board. Though it shows a username that you created, it still flashes your bike number and your points.

I really love that Flywheel doesn't ONLY rely on RPMs to let you know where you should be - they also let you know a goal torq, and higher torq seems to equal higher points in the end. I saw some riders veer completely away from the RPMs and torq guidelines given by instructors and keep their torq numbers HIGH - which means their score was also among the highest (yes, I'm THAT GIRL who looks at how fast the person next to me is going on the treadmill/spin bike/etc.).

Like Swerve, the board isn't up the whole time, and there are also power moments like hills or sprints where it's an individual competition.

The first time I took Flywheel, my name was up there, and I LOVED having my name up there. It was a really good motivator for me to push harder and NEVER COAST as Flywheel's tagline recommends. The second time I took Flywheel, my name was NOT up there (and I'm still not sure you have to opt in every class? Was it because I was late?), but I could still see what my score was and place myself in comparison to the rest of those who opted in - still motivating me to push harder!
Performance data on Flywheel's account site
Flywheel also has a dashboard when you log in to your account where you can see what your score was, average torq, average RPM. If you go enough, track your progress. As a numbers-driven girl, this is totally my bread and butter!

Swerve and Flywheel also have an upper body portion, but as someone who started really getting into spin at Revolve, where you completely stop your legs during weights sections, I wasn't a fan of keeping my legs going.

Verdict: UGH they're both good, but if I had to judge on just two classes of each (which is all that I've done!), I'd say I'm craving a Flywheel class a bit more than Swerve...I can't quite put my finger on WHY, but I think the range of class locations is helpful, as well as the progress tracking. Now if I could just figure out how to always see my name on the board...

With my newfound obsession with competitive spin classes, however, I have some news to share...

I'm moving to London! In less than a week. Cue the freakout/excitement/tears.

I'm super excited to run in all of London's parks, try out new fitness classes, and meet new people. If you're in London, be my friend!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Paris: What To Do

After the marathon, I had a full week in Paris to explore, eat, and drink with Dan. Here are a few of my favorites - and there are still so many places I want to try!


  • Laduree: Excellent (but expensive) breakfast. The French toast is to die for. And obviously, you need to get their macarons.
  • Holybelly: Such a perfect breakfast spot. Delicious food, excellent service, good coffee and nice ambiance. Best on weekdays, but they have an excellent Sunday brunch (with bloody marys) as well.
  • Claus: I didn't actually go here on this trip, but went the time before in March. You get a TON for your money - bread basket with the most amazing butter and homemade jams, muesli, an egg, a coffee, and a juice! I went in March and asked about making a reservation in April, and he told me they were booked through June! So plan ahead and reserve as soon as you've booked your trip to Paris, or do what I did and sit at the bar for breakfast (if there's room). Weekdays are best.
  • Coquelicot: Found this spot via an article about less touristy places to eat in Montmartre. They had sandwiches, quiches, and other simple meals for good prices, and it was totally walkable from Sacre Coeur.
  • Picnic on the Champ de Mars: Pick up some wine, cheese, bread and a pastry and camp out on a sunny day by the Eiffel Tower. Rue St. Dominique has quite a few supermarkets leading up to the Champ de Mars.


  • Bistrot Vivienne: We went here after our friend recommended it to us. I had duck and Dan had something delicious that I can't remember. We absolutely LOVED the salted caramel mousse that came in a jar. It felt like quite the authentic bistro!
  • Cafe Marly: This spot is definitely overpriced, but the food is good (it's where I fell in love with molten chocolate cake when I studied abroad in Paris) and the ambience is lovely. It's right next to the Louvre, and has a great view of the Eiffel Tower. 
  • Cafe Constant: This was the best meal we had in Paris. The food was fantastic, affordable, and tres francais! Dan had a beef dish that was amazing, I had chicken (also amazing), we split a pichet of wine and the ile flottante for dessert, all for around 60 euros. 
  • Creperie Josselin: Excellent crepes in a no-frills environment - just really good food.

  • Pierre Herme: Delicious macarons and other amazing pastries (though the location near me just had macarons and chocolates, no additional pastries). Perfect for a pique-nique!
  • Berthillon: The best ice cream around! Worth the wait, and be sure to try an unusual flavor. Dan had pineapple basil or something like that and it was divine.
  • Du Pain et Des Idees: Run, do not walk, and absolutely get a chausson aux pommes. The pastry melts in your mouth, and there is an entire apple inside so it's totally healthy. Their pain au chocolat is also perfectly flaky, and the pain des amis is absolutely worth getting.
  • Poilane: The rustic apple tart is to die for. Just get it. The butter cookies (punitions) are also really good and excellent (edible!) souvenirs. We also got pain au chocolat for the road and they were also really good!
  • Aux Merveilleux de Fred: The most unusual/amazing pastry I've ever seen or tried. Meringue, cream, and toppings - including shaved chocolate, speculoos, etc. It was so, so good.

  • Sainte Chappelle: Beautiful, old chapel. Incredible stained glass. Close to Notre Dame.
  • Musee de l'Orangerie: Where 8 of Monet's nympheas paintings live. Each are so different and so beautiful. We got a combo ticket to the Orangerie and Musee d'Orsay for a bit of a discount.
  • Musee d'Orsay: Train station turned incredible museum. Amazing view of Sacre Coeur from the clock face, so many impressionists! My favorite museum.
  • Dome of Basilique du Sacre Coeur: I don't think I'd ever gone up to the top of Sacre Coeur, but I can't recommend doing it enough. The view is unparalleled! And it's absolutely worth the 6 euros and 300 steps up. It's cool because you have a view OF the Eiffel Tower - rather than being ON the Eiffel Tower and not being able to see it!

  • Jardin des Tuileries: A must! Perfect for people-watching and relaxing. Central and can get quite busy. 
  • Jardin du Luxembourg: A bit off the beaten path from the Tuileries, with great people-watching opportunities as well. 
  • Jardins du Palais Royale: You could walk right by these without knowing they were there! Very serene, great photo opportunities - less people-watching.

  • Day trip to Giverny to see where Monet lived and painted: Ridiculously easy to get to and absolutely worth a visit. The gardens are spectacular!
  • Markets: We went to one on Ave. du President Wilson as it was winding down on a Saturday morning. I think we liked another one that we stumbled upon even better though - rue de Grenelle, which takes place on Wednesdays and Sundays. So much fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, flowers.
  • Canal St. Martin: Cute neighborhood off the beaten path.
  • Marais: Good shopping, neat neighborhood. Go to L'As du Fallafel (I didn't make it this time around - always need something to go back for!).
  • Stalls along the Seine: We found some really cool prints of perfume ads from the '50s along here. 
  • Watch the sunset on the Champ de Mars: There's nothing quite like a view of the the Eiffel Tower set against pink and purple clouds. Bring wine.
  • Rooftop of the Galeries Lafayette: Something I never knew you could do, but am glad we discovered! Free, nice view of Paris. 
  • Lots of aimless wandering :) Just go everywhere.

I also found it to be incredibly useful to have an offline map app on my phone. This is the one I had. When I was at the apartment, I could add pins to places I wanted to go, and access them when I was out and about. For example, since I knew we were going to go to Montmartre the next day, I looked up potential lunch spots and pinned them so I could easily access them. It was great!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Race Recap: Paris Marathon

Almost two weeks after the race later...I am back from Paris AND have a race recap for you!

Let me just say that my trip to Paris was absolutely amazing. I lived there for six months during college and I feel like this 10-day trip was even better than those six whole months. Dan and I walked everywhere, ate delicious food, and drank loads of amazing (cheap!) wine. I can't forget to mention the pastries and countless cafe cremes consumed either!

Overall, the race was a good one. It was also insanely hard and it was the first marathon where I haven't listened to any music (the two may have been related...). It was sunnier and warmer than I'd expected, and also hillier than I thought it was going to be. But let's start at the beginning, shall we?

Dan and I arrived Friday morning after an overnight flight in coach. I slept a bit on the plane, and when we landed, we headed to our flat and went to the expo. I had absolutely no problems getting my bib and swag bag, and we wandered around the (enormous) expo for a bit before heading home for a much-needed nap.
2:03 is a reasonable goal, right?
Friday night, I slept incredibly well, but the night before the race I slept pretty horribly - a rarity for me. I was up for about an hour around 2am, tossing and turning, and finally fell back asleep around 3am. At 6:45am, my alarm went off and I started prepping for race day, snacking on a bagel with almond butter I'd brought from home, with banana slices and a cup of coffee. Before I knew it, it was time to head to the starting line! Dan headed over with me as well, and I handed off my gloves and arm warmers to him, knowing I wouldn't be needing them today (the temps were already in the 50s).
Pre-race Arc de Triomphe selfie!
I got to the corral around 8am (the race had a staggered start, with the first corral going at 8:45 - I was in the fourth corral, I think) and immediately hopped into the neverending portapotty line. For some inexplicable reason, there was exactly ONE portapotty in my corral of several thousand people. I had made my opinions of this terrible idea very clear in my Paris Marathon survey response, so I will spare you here. Suffice it to say that one portapotty is not enough portapotties.

ANYWAY! I crossed the starting line around 9:15am. We start out running along the Champs Elysees, away from the Arc de Triomphe and toward Place de la Concorde. Also, the Champs Elysees is sort of cobblestoned - not a surface I had trained on, but nice anyway! We ran around Concorde and headed east along rue de Rivoli, which offered some much-needed shade. 

My first four miles were good ones and I felt strong - 8:30, 8:25, 8:29, 8:25. I'd hoped for 8:30s so was pleased when I was holding to that.

Miles 5 to 8 - 8:21, 8:22, 8:24, 8:15. These were also some great miles, but shade was scarce. I saw Dan and our friend Ryann around mile 7.5 in the Bois de Vincennes, a gorgeous park on the east side of Paris, and I felt so relaxed and calm during that part of the run. Seeing them was a great pick-me-up, as you can see in my mile 8 time!

Miles 9 to 12 - 8:24, 8:42 (uphill), 8:07 (downhill), 8:17. I liked these miles as well, and was so happy to turn around and head west. The sun was at my back and I was almost halfway there!

Miles 13 to 16 - 8:22, 8:18, 8:27, 8:27. I actually almost fell on my face when a runner nearby tripped me by one of the nutrition stands! Luckily he also caught me before I fell, but it threw me off a bit. There was the ONE AND ONLY Powerade station around mile 14 as well (why there was one...I do not know, but it was NOT ENOUGH!), which was the best thing to see on such a warm day. Around here was also where we ran by Notre Dame. I remember seeing some signs for it, but to be honest, I barely took in any sights during the entire race!

Miles 17 to 20 - 8:38, 8:36, 9:14, 9:00. Around here was where the wheels started to come off. I saw Dan again near the Trocadero (~18.5), and seeing him was a much-needed pick-me-up. I was starting to really struggle mentally, and I think in these miles some music would have been good to throw on. I had my phone and headphones with me, but I also have a password on my phone (for work, so I couldn't disable it), AND my phone was in a plastic baggie, so I just didn't even bother. 

Miles 21 to 22 - 8:48, 9:38. Yep, you are reading that right correctly, 9:38 for mile 22. There was a hill and there were tunnels and I don't remember much other than pretty much wanting to stop. My goal for a 3:40 marathon was way out the window, and I strongly considered throwing in the towel and just running whatever pace I wanted for the rest of the race. 

Miles 23 to 24 - 9:00, 9:00. We entered the Bois du Boulogne, which meant there was like, HARDLY any race left at all! And I told myself that it was going to hurt no matter how fast or slow I went, so I might as well go fast! This was a great trick to play on my brain and totally got me moving :)

Miles 25, 26, 0.4 (because I suck at running tangents...and because the crowd NEVER thinned in this race!) - 8:46, 8:50, 7:37. One thing I hated around here - I could see these enormous streamer things ahead of me and was like OMG THE FINISH LINE! But NO! It was just some decoration to show you were at the 42km point! RUDE. Anyway, when I realized that I actually COULD PR (by a tiny bit), I sucked it up and ran with all that I had left in me. It was not pretty, and it was not fun, but it felt SO AMAZING to cross that damn finish line.
Just a little excited about being done!
I finished and immediately wanted to collapse/fall over/chug some Gatorade and/or a smoothie. My official time? 3:46:56, exactly 44 seconds faster than my Chicago Marathon time of 3:47:40 (on a flat course on a perfect marathon temperature day, mind you! And only one hour of jet lag instead of six!). As soon as I finished, I texted my dad and Dan to share with them the lesson I had learned during the race: "Holy sh*t, that was hard!" 

It was actually super easy to get my medal, my poncho, my finisher's shirt, and find Dan. It was a much faster and easier process than when I'd waited over an hour to find Dan after the NYC Marathon in November.
Somehow still standing!
So YES! I PR'ED!!! Very exciting, I'm totally thrilled. I worked my ass off through a challenging course on a (much) warmer day than I'm used to, on a hillier course than I'd expected, where electrolyte beverages were distributed exactly once. And I moved up places in every single 5k, which means I passed more people than passed me - which is awesome and an accomplishment I'm incredibly proud of. However, to say I'm not at all disappointed would be a lie. I am a very teeny tiny bit disappointed that I had such a strugglefest for a few of those miles. I was trained for a faster marathon for sure, and I know that I have a faster one in me. 

But, as I mentioned, there were a lot of things out of my control, and I'm incredibly proud of how I handled them all. I could have given up, thrown in the towel, and run a non-PR marathon - which would have been fine, because there are pastries to eat and wines to drink in Paris, after all. 

I was quite close to giving it all up, actually, but decided to give it an extra push and see what I am made of, and I can't be disappointed in myself for doing that. In fact, I celebrated.
Champagne, jam, and butter procured on Saturday since
everything is closed on Sundays
Dan bought me macarons and flowers. And we went to the
Trocadero to take pictures by the Eiffel Tower. Because Paris.
Till next time, Paris. And till next time, marathon. I'm coming for you, 3:40. Maybe not this year, but 2015 better start looking out.

A post about all the fun and cool stuff we did in Paris to come soon!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Quick bonjour from Paris!

I'm popping in just to say that today I ran the Paris Marathon - and PR'ed after a particular strugglefest during miles 17-22. I PR'ed by 44 seconds but I'm  not discounting that - a PR is a PR and I'm damn proud of it!

I'll be back next week with a full recap. Until then you can find me drinking wine and champagne, eating macarons and pain au chocolat, and wandering around my favorite city.

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram for pictures!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Week 15 - Ready or not...

It's here...RACE WEEK!

Last week I only strength, no cross training, just running (sadly, all on the treadmill). The marathon is only six days away. I have two more runs to get done before Sunday - and they shouldn't be tough at all: 6 x 400m to keep leg turnover quick, and a 3 mile run at marathon pace (which I may save for when I arrive in Paris).

Here's a look at last week's workouts:

2 miles warm up, 3 miles at an 8:00 pace, 1 mile cool down. Legs felt good, even when I thought they'd feed like total lead. I told myself I could take a break during the tempo miles, but ended up not needing any breaks! This was the first run where I wore my new marathon shoes (I know, should have worn them the week before if not earlier!) so they felt a little weird - one shoe felt tight, the other felt perfect. They felt better by the end, and two more runs later, they feel MUCH better.
Old and new!
1 mile warm up, 5 x 1000m at 8.2mph with 400m rests, 1 mi cool down. Great run! Pretty unmemorable, but it felt good, went well, and legs felt great!

8 miles! I went back and forth about running outside or running inside. It rained all day Saturday and rain was threatening on Sunday. I had a million errands to run on Sunday (including DSW for cute Paris shoes, Jack Rabbit for gels, Lululemon for a marathon top!) and by the time I was done, it was 5pm and thunderstorms were predicted, so I took it inside. Not ideal at all, but I figured it was better than risking illness. Plus it was windy, cold, and rainy! Of course, now rain is predicted on April 6 in Paris, so maybe it would've been good practice ;)

That's it they say, the hay is in the barn. I've put in the work. Nothing I do between now and Sunday is going to make me any faster. I'm going to focus on eating well, sleeping a lot, and finishing all the errands I have before I go (laundry is on the list for tomorrow!).

So what are my goals? I'm hoping for a 3:40, but I will be SUPER happy with a PR. My current PR is 3:47:40 from the 2012 Chicago Marathon, something I did not know was possible based on my training. This training cycle, I've been running a lot faster, so a PR is possible!

While a PR would be awesome, but I know that there are a lot of things working against me: a plane ride, jet lag, possible dehydration (planes are dehydrating by nature)...but I've got weapons to fight these! I'll bring a water bottle (and Nuun!), wear compression socks, and try to get right on track with sleeping as soon as I get on the plane.

I'm not bringing my computer to Paris, but follow me on Twitter and Instagram for my Paris adventures! And please send me fast thoughts on Sunday, April 6 - I need them! :)

Monday, March 24, 2014


Another week of training in the books, and one week closer to the Paris Marathon!

This week's plan was: 
Monday: Off - check!
Tuesday: Run - check! 7 mile tempo
Wednesday: Strength - nope, off
Thursday: Run - nope, off
Friday: Strength - nope, ran (speed!)
Saturday: Run - nope, spin!
Sunday: Off (might switch Saturday and Sunday) - ran!

After running 21 miles last Sunday, I NEEDED rest!!! So I rested. And then attacked a tempo run on Tuesday night. I just could not get up in the morning this week to workout. I also slacked on strength workouts, but it was a busy week at work and I wanted to get a lot of sleep. I actually took RIP Ride in an effort to get a little strength work in! Hey, whatever works, right?

This week's tempo was 1 mile warm up, 5 miles at 8:15 pace (7.3 mph), 1 mile cool down. My leg was bugging me again - felt really tight in the calf area, then loosened up after a mile or so. It ended up being a really good run! I ran the last tempo mile at 7.4 - gotta love when there's a little left in the tank!

The speed run was 8 x 800m at 8.3 mph (3:36 for each 800) with a warm up, cool down, and 90 seconds rest intervals between 800s. For the last 800, I ran it at 8.4 mph! I felt so good during this run - no tight leg, felt strong, and the 800s FLEW by. That is the thing that I LOVE about speed workouts. I was tired and didn't feel like running after work, but after a little pep talk and a reminder that speed workouts go by quickly, I went for it and before I knew it, it was over!
My speed workout method involves Post-Its
It was a great run! So happy I got it done. The reminder that I had only eight runs between me and the marathon also helped!

Long run:
On Sunday I ran 13 miles in Central Park. It was windy and cold, which is why it took me a million hours to get out the door (plus I was watching Breaking Bad on Netflix). After I realized that this would be my LAST double digit run before the marathon, I got more psyched up. I ran without music, took it easy, and ran all over the place!
Before - terrified for the cold
After - happy!!!
I averaged 8:31 over 13.15 miles. I'm SO ready to tackle this marathon!

So yes, I was lacking some motivation on the running from this week. It was tough to get out of bed, hard to get moving sometimes, but weeks like these happen to the best of us. And this one reminded me that once I DO get moving, it's not so bad! The marathon is on the horizon. It's so close I can almost taste the butter croissants and cafe cremes. I've put 14 weeks into preparing for ONE race...and I'm not going to lose those 14 weeks of hard work! 

In addition to the running, I was also lucky enough to receive a StrideBox special for Paris Marathon, on behalf of Schneider Electric, the main sponsor of the Paris Marathon. 
Supersweet StrideBox!
I actually bought a couple of the items in this box last week at Jack Rabbit, so I'm excited to have more opportunities to try them out. The box came with:

  • Gu Brew in lemon lime - always good to have on hand
  • Gu energy gel in salted caramel - so delicious - seriously, amazing
  • Lenny & Larry's Fit Protein Brownie - looks yummy!
  • Hyland's Bioplasma Sport - the little packet dissolves on the tongue - so cool!
  • Skin Strong Slather Anti-Chafing Cream - I'm usually a Body Glide girl, but it's good to know this exists!
  • Fluid Recovery Drink Mix in chocolate wave - this was one of the things I bought last week, but haven't yet tried
  • Honey Stinger protein bar - love their waffles
  • LaceLocker (I like the idea of this - I HATE when laces click on my RoadID so this could be a good solution
And some cute little signs, perfect for selfies!
Next to my quote of this training cycle - if you want
something you've never had, you must be prepared to do
something you've never done!
Thanks Schneider Electric for the #Xperience! TWO WEEKS TILL PARIS!!!

This week's workout schedule (March 24-30):
Monday: Off
Tuesday: Run
Wednesday: Strength
Thursday: Run
Friday: Strength
Saturday: Off
Sunday: LAST LONG RUN!!!

FIVE runs to go...let's do this thing!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Week 13 - Dreamy peak week

This week....this week was a magical week. I did absolutely no strength training, but I did spend a collective 14 hours on a plane, 60 hours in Paris, and 5 hours running. I ran 36 miles in two beautiful cities, PR'ed in the half marathon, AND enjoyed a kir on a Parisian terrace. It was a truly wonderful week and a fantastic way to head into taper city.

A recap of my week's workouts (March 10-16):
Monday: Off - check!
Tuesday: AM run - check! 10 x 400 before work
Wednesday: Off - check!
Thursday: AM run - check! 8 gorgeous miles around Paris
Friday: Strength? - nope
Saturday: Off - check!
Sunday: 13.1 for the NYC Half + 6.9 miles! - check! 21 miles and a half marathon PR!

Here's a rundown of this week's runs:

This week's speed workout was 10 x 400m at 8.5 mph with 400m rest (plus a warm up and cool down). I ended up going just 6.7 miles in the hour - 400m rest is a LOT of time off when you're just doing 400m repeats! The 400s felt really good, and in the last two repeats I bumped up the speed to 8.6 mph. I was so happy to get this in before my flight to Paris that night!

I arrived in Paris early Wednesday morning and spent most of the day working. I woke up Thursday to sunny skies and temps in the mid-50s - I couldn't NOT run in that weather! So I set out for a scenic loop of Paris, hitting up the Louvre, the Tuileries, the Champs-Elysees, the Arc de Triomphe, the Trocadero, Eiffel Tower, the Seine and its many bridges, and Notre Dame, before heading back to the hotel, which was near the Louvre. It was perfect! Even though I spent just over an hour running, an hour and a half had elapsed from when I started to when I finished, since I took about a million pictures. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful run!
Tuileries, Champs-Elysees, and L'Arc de Triomphe in the distance 
Gorgeous flowers 
Eiffel Tower selfie! 
Amazing route throughout Paris!
I went to bed last night looking forward to running 20 miles in the morning. I felt well rested, happy, and excited. It was my last super long run before marathon day! This positivity helped me immensely during the race.

I split today's run into three: 3.1 miles to the NYC Half start, 13.1 miles during the half, and 5.1 miles after a nice, long nap. I had to hustle to the start line but made it with about 5 minutes to spare, hopping over the barricade to my corral. My Garmin went craaazy during the race and said I ran 14.24, I know I suck at running tangents, but I don't suck THAT badly. Somewhere along 7th Avenue it just went a little wonky and for the rest of the race it was all wrong with crazy splits. Ohhh well. 

The race was actually REALLY great! I wasn't such a fan of it last year, but this year I was really impressed by it. Around mile 9 I realized that I could probably PR today, and started to kick it up a bit in the last two miles. In the last four miles, I also did some visualization for marathon day, imagining that I was at mile 22, tired but strong, and how I was going to be so happy to be running in PARIS!!! I also negative split the race - the first 5k was at an 8:33 pace, and ended with an overall 8:15 pace! So happy with this race today. It was awesome! Came in at 1:47:54, which is a minute and a half PR. Plus friends came and met me, and we went for brunch at a cute little diner - I was hungry!
Shiny medal, shiny PR
The last 5 mile run followed a lovely nap and was a simple out and back. It was cold and windy, and probably not ideal that it was done a few hours after running the 16 miles (ideally I'd have run all the miles at once, but I did what I could with what I had), but 21 miles for the day is GREAT!!! I'm so happy with today's long run!

Overall, this was a GREAT week of running. No strength training, but a trip to Paris, a half-marathon PR, AND I got all three runs in! 

Here's the plan of attack for my first week in Taper City, USA (March 17-23):
Monday: Off
Tuesday: Run
Wednesday: Strength
Thursday: Run
Friday: Strength
Saturday: Run
Sunday: Off (might switch Saturday and Sunday)

Hope you all have fantastic weeks!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Week 12 - I'm going to Paris!

Your thought right now is probably "um, DUH, Margaret, that's where the MARATHON that you've been talking about for forever is!" And yes, you're right, the marathon IS there, but I also was asked last week if I'd go to Paris THIS week for some focus groups, and of course I said yes, because who can say no to two trips to Paris in three weeks?! Plus it'll be an amazing experience getting hands-on experience with focus groups, one of my key development areas at work.

Tempting though it may be to wish me luck this week, the race is still four (very short!) weeks away. Is it just me or has December till now just completely flown by? I feel like I was just starting training not that long ago - and look how far I've come now! In four weeks, I'll be a four-time marathoner! And winner of the Paris Marathon! OK, mayyybe not the second one...

Here's a recap of my week 12, March 3-9:
Monday: REST DAY! - check!
Tuesday: Run? - nah, took a rest day
Wednesday: Strength - nope, did my speed workout, 3 x 1600
Thursday: Run - nope, strength
Friday: Strength - nope, ran (faux tempo)
Saturday: Run - nope, took off
Sunday: Off/yoga - nope, ran 13 mi!

Sooo I totally didn't follow the plan at all. Ah well, I got my runs in! Week 12 was a tough week. March is the first month since November where I don't have my trusty ClassPass :( Without it, I'm trying to maintain strength workouts, but an at-home workout without shoes (and no stretching after!) was not what I had in mind. Still, that's what I did on Thursday, and it made Friday night's run totally suck - and it was actually pretty painful, too. I would run 1.5 mi, then have to stop and stretch, then run a little more, then stop and stretch, till I got to five miles around tempo/race pace. It wasn't pretty, but one bad run every once in a while isn't going to kill me.

My speed workout this week was 3 x 1600 at 8.0 mph. I felt GREAT during this run. Seriously, so good. I even popped up the speed on the last mile repeat to 8.1 - THAT'S how good I was feeling!

Sunday's long run was quite uneventful. I don't even have any pictures from it! I couldn't quite get myself together to get running this morning, so I decided to run in the afternoon after brunch. (This was a terrible decision, because it meant the rest of my day was an utter waste when I need to do things like buy shoes and travel adapters! But I got the run in, which is super important.) I finally got myself together around 3pm, then went outside and was absolutely freezing in what I'd decided to wear (long sleeve, vest, tights). So I went back upstairs for a jacket instead of a vest. THEN I got really hot...thank goodness the jacket had vents! THEN I got really I had to zip them up. It was a super fun game of too hot/too cold, but eventually I ran around the park so dang much that it was time to head home. I'm glad I got some hill practice in before next week's half!

Next week is my last week of super hard work - and then it's TAPER PARTY TIME!!! I keep forgetting I'm running the NYC Half - it's just a race I'm running, and I'm adding 7 miles onto the end to get up to 20 for the day on my last hardcore long run before the marathon. PARIS is where my head's at, and I think that's where it should be. Could I PR in the half next week? Probably, I've been training my ass off! But do I want to go super hard in a race that I don't care quite so much about as Paris? Maybe some people would do it, but it's not the option I'm going with. Paris is my goal race, and while I don't have a coach to bounce ideas off of to see if I maybe should push myself in the race, I'm going with my gut, which is telling me to follow the plan and run 20 miles that day. It's worked for me in the past, and I have a good feeling about it working this time around, too.

Traveling this week is going to throw a bit of a wrench in my workout plans, but I'm going to do my very best to get in both the speed and tempo runs this week. The long run is already scheduled!

Week 13 (March 10-16):
Monday: Off
Tuesday: AM run
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: AM run
Friday: Strength?
Saturday: Off
Sunday: 13.1 for the NYC Half + 6.9 miles!

I'm coming for you Paris - TWICE over the next four weeks!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Week 11 - I can do this!

Five weeks left AAAHHH! This week was a really, really good one. All my runs got done the way they were prescribed, and I got in some awesome cross training!

Week 11 (Feb. 24-Mar. 2):
Monday: Lotus Hour at Laughing Lotus - check!Tuesday: Run - check! 7 mile tempoWednesday: Body Ride at Revolve - check!Thursday: Run - check! Speed work over 6.6 miFriday: Uplift Strength - check!Saturday: OFF - check! 
Sunday: Run - plus Oscars watching! - check! 18.6 miles and a lot of laying around :)

This run happened after work last Tuesday. I didn't feel like running, but I (smartly) had taken my gym bag to work and went STRAIGHT to the gym (thank you, express train!). It also helped that the Bachelor was on, which is always a good distraction. I did a mile warm up, 5 miles at "marathon pace", and a mile cool down. Now, I don't know what my marathon pace really is, but I went with a guess between 8:00-8:19 (7.2-7.5) for the tempo miles. I FELT AWESOME! Like I was floating. I definitely felt like I could have kept going!

Another evening run at the gym. Again, didn't really feel like going, but as usual, am VERY glad that I knocked it out! Speed workouts ALWAYS fly by, and added up don't amount to a TON of actual "hard work" time. Telling myself this got me out the door! I did 1.25 mi warm up, 1000m at 8.2, 2000m at 7.9, 2 x 1000 at 8.2, 1.25 mi cool down, with 400m break between each interval. I felt really good during the run!

Not gonna lie, I drank quite a bit of wine Saturday night (after having the most productive Saturday ever!), so I didn't have very high hopes for this long run. But I got up, had my peanut butter banana toast, threw on some clothes, and filled up my CamelBak (thank goodness I brought water on this run!). I ran a loop of Central Park, exited at 110th St. and headed west. I ran to the little red lighthouse (exactly 12 miles!), then ran back down and headed home! Miles 10-14 I did "marathon pace" miles, which were 8:05-8:30. I felt really good during the run - I ate Gu around miles 6 and 12, which fueled me really well. My overall distance was 18.64 miles at an average pace of 8:43. This run reassured me that I CAN DO THIS!!! It's gonna be doable. I'm gonna GET IT DONE!!! WOO!


After the run, I took an epsom salt bath (SO lovely!), had a smoothie, and took a nap. And then the Oscars came on and I had a feast! And tonight I figured I still needed some calorie replenishment, so I took myself to Shake Shack for a burger, fries, AND concrete. Best ever.
Refueling the day after the run still counts as refueling, right?
In addition to the runs, I also had two awesome cross training classes (Body Ride with Jason Tran - dance party on a bike!, and Uplift Strength - such a great class!), plus a yoga class, which was just what I needed. 

I went to all these classes via ClassPass, but I've put my pass on hold for March and April so I can focus on getting my runs in. I feel really good about that decision, but I'm nervous about getting in my strength training. I am going to have to make it a part of my schedule - as important as the run days AND rest days! 

And with that, here's my plan for the week!

Week 12 (March 3-9):
Monday: REST DAY! 
Tuesday: Run?
Wednesday: Strength
Thursday: Run
Friday: Strength
Saturday: Run
Sunday: Off/yoga

I'm not sure if I'm going to be quite ready to run tomorrow after Sunday's long run. This has been a heck of a recovery for me - my knees were SORE after that run...but not to the touch, just generally achy after the run - especially noticeable when walking down the stairs. I wish I knew what was up with that...but I'm just going to ice and rest still I feel totally better.

That's it from me! Have a great week!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Weeks 9 and 10: When thoughts of doubt creep in

Another post full of two weeks worth of workouts! I'm just lagging behind on blogging, but I've been pretty good about getting in all my running workouts.

Here's how week 9 (Feb. 11-17) went down:
Monday: Off
Tuesday: 6 mi tempo (8:20 average)
Wednesday: Pure Barre (still not a convert)
Thursday: Off
Friday: Uplift Strength (and a delicious Valentine's Day dinner with Dan!)
Saturday: 2 x 1600, 2 x 800
Sunday: 16 mile run on the treadmill since it was freezing outside (AGAIN!). I rented "About Time" from iTunes (super cute!), and when that ended, watched cross country skiers kill it in the Olympics.
Miles of empty treadmills...
And week 10 (Feb. 18-24)
Monday: Day off from work! Enjoyed long walks through the park
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: 4 x 1200 that nearly killed me, plus ice skating at Bryant Park
Thursday: Uplift Sculpt Fusion
Friday: Off
Saturday: 4.5 mile "tempo" run to Revolve where I RIP Rode with Christianne (and also saw Melissa for a second!)
Sunday: 12 glorious miles along the West Side Highway
Sunday selfie! Capris + no jacket = HEAVEN
Side note: SIX WEEKS TILL PARIS!!!!!

Can I tell you guys something? While I have been feeling pretty darn good in my runs, I had a moment (OK, a couple moments...) this past week where I really felt like I was NOT prepared for this race. Like, at all. Maybe it's all the treadmill running I've been doing. Maybe it's because I have missed a lot more runs than I have in previous training cycles. Maybe it's because my shin has been bugging me lately and in the back of my mind, I'm worried about getting another stress fracture (once you've had two, it's a constant worry...).

We all have these moments of doubt though, don't we? Where we wonder if we can do it. Can't believe that we will cross the finish line in once piece. Worry that the niggle in our leg is something worse.

I think these are normal for any runner. In an effort to abandon negative energy and focus only on positive energy, I am instead keeping in mind that I have done this before. I completed training runs at slower paces than I'm running now, and PR'ed the hell out of the marathon. I did NO strength training for Chicago (not recommended!) and ran a 3:47. I'm not saying I'm going to BQ in Paris (HIGHLY unlikely!), but I'm stronger now and running faster than I was when I trained for Chicago.

I need to believe in myself and trust my training. It's brought me across the finish line before, and I'll be crossing that finish line again in less than six weeks. It's time to step it up and ROCK these last six weeks of training. It's all for Paris!

With that thought in mind, I've put my ClassPass on hold for March and April. As much as I LOVE it and credit it with making a difference in how I look and feel, I want to focus on getting in my runs and not stress about scheduling and making it to classes. I still have a Daily Burn account to use, yoga DVDs I can do at home, and my gym membership for all of my strength and cross training needs.

Here's how week 11 (Feb. 24-Mar. 2) looks:
Monday: Lotus Hour at Laughing Lotus - check!
Tuesday: Run
Wednesday: Body Ride at Revolve
Thursday: Run
Friday: Uplift Strength
Saturday: OFF
Sunday: Run - plus Oscars watching!

What do you do when thoughts of doubt creep in?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Week 8: Frozen

Halfway through training - how and when did THAT happen?! These first 8 weeks have been tough and I have no doubt that the next 8 will be even tougher (hello, 20 mile runs!). That said, I think I've had 8 solid weeks of training. I'm keeping up my strength, either in classes or on my own, I'm getting in most runs, and most importantly, I'm listening to my body.

Here's a look at this past week's workouts (Feb. 3-9):
Monday: Off - check!
Tuesday: Run - check! Tempo Tuesday
Wednesday: Spin class at Studio 360 - check!
Thursday: Run - nope. Took a rest day
Friday: RIP Ride at Revolve - nope. Ran instead (speed workout).
Saturday: Run - check! Long run in sub-freezing temps!
Sunday: Candlelit Flow at Yoga Vida - nope. Did Barry's Bootcamp instead (aka opposite of yoga!)

I was nervous for this run (mostly for the 3 tempo miles at 8:00 pace) but made it happen and was so happy that I did! 2 mi warm up, 3 mi at 7.5, 1 mi cool down. In the last half-mile of the last tempo mile, I brought it up to 7.6 for fun :) I love that this pace is becoming more comfortable for me! I ran 6 miles in 49:49!

Done on a Friday night after quite a week! I had two sets of 6 x 400m at 8.5, with 1:30 off between 400s and 2:30 off between sets. This sounded like a scary run, but I told myself that these would FLY by - I mean, each 400 was me running for 1:46, which adds up to being less than 24 minutes of hard work, which is totally doable. Plus, the Olympic opening ceremonies were on, which totally distracted me.
How I do speed work - PostIts with my plan!
Uhhh brr? This run was definitely a toughie. It was 26*/feels like 19*. I wasn't crazy about running in this weather, but I couldn't do the run indoors. I suited up in fleece-lined tights, UA ColdGear base layer, UA fleece-lined top, a jacket, gloves, and ear warmer. My hands and feet were OK for the run, but my face got SO COLD. 
Forcing a smile in frigid temps!
Snowy path to Freedom Tower.

Never seen the Hudson River like this!
On top of being freezing, my Garmin was totally not working, so served as a glorified timer. It said it had satellites, and sometimes even showed a pace, but never showed a distance. So lame. I used my RunKeeper app for the run, but then my phone died...I think because of the cold temps. I used MapMyRun later, and discovered I ran about 14.2 miles. I was "supposed" to run 15 miles, but just couldn't do it. I got too cold. My face felt sooooo frozen. As soon as I got back to Dan's, I demanded hot water, which helped me get back to feeling normal again :) I'm so proud of how far I went in the frigid temps!

Barry's Bootcamp
OMG Barry's Bootcamp led by BARRY JAY!!! He was a really great instructor. The class was HARD and probably wasn't a great idea since I ran 14 miles yesterday, but when I saw Barry himself was teaching, I couldn't pass it up. Plus, I needed more strength work this week! So glad I went!

And here's my plan for this week (Feb. 10-16):
Monday: Well-deserved rest day!
Tuesday: Run
Wednesday: Pure Barre
Thursday: Run
Friday: Uplift Sculpt Fusion
Saturday: Run
Sunday: Body Ride at Revolve (might cancel this)

Have a great week!