This 20 miler is in my rearview, PHEW.

Thank goodness that is done. I always seem to have endless motivation. So much so that I could give YOU some and still have a ton left over.

Thursday was not one of those days. Instead of rising bright and early to run–i dilly dallied for about 4 hours and didn’t start until 12!!!! Ugh.

I wouldn’t consider this run to be one of my “good ones” Even though I did it-there was never a time that I didn’t feel exhausted and my legs didn’t feel heavy. Too many long runs close together=tired Nicole. I like to feel strong on long runs.

Instead of feeling good after, this run left me drained. I plunked down on my couch and haven’t moved in quite a while. I did run the 2nd half faster, and that was because I have a HUGE competitive streak with my #1 competitor: ME! I really had to give it an A+ effort to get it done. I ended up beating last weeks time by 1:16, so that is something.

I should tell you some good things about my run. (I always take a minute to think about the GOOD THINGS that happened during my runs. It isn’t always easy, but I’m pretty positive and like to remind myself of the GOOD. Especially if I’m feeling NOT SO GOOD.)

*I felt cute in my new skirt...
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And I was able to store three GU in one pocket, my phone in another, and in my back pocket I zipped my debit and key. I think I could’ve stuffed more stuff in there, but that’s all I ever bring with me (besides my Camelbak)

*Pureflows for 20 was a success!!! I think I will alter between the Pureflows and Ghost.

*I had a longrun under the clouds. I can’t remember the last time the sun wasn’t blazing down on me. It was lovely to have a little change of weather.

*my legs DID wake up and not Only did I do the 2nd half faster, I wound up finishing the last 3 miles faster than last week with negative splits.

Every run makes you stronger. Every. Single. One. Even if you feel crappy, perform crappy, disappoint yourself, etc—> you are still getting it done. Don’t ever forget that. It’s important to keep going, even if all you want to do is sit down and shove piles of bacon/beer/cheesy French fries down your throat.(that is what I wanted today, FYI) sometimes I am SO happy after a run, sometimes I’m so mad. But the point is: I RAN. I did it. I got it done and logged those miles. Don’t ever despair that it was crappy and you did lousy: YOU. FREAKING. DID. IT.

Eventually, my goal is to get down to a 2:40 long run. I know I am capable of doing this. No matter what your goal is, keep on keeping on because I truly believe you can do it. And you won’t always feel good. Last week, I felt terrific on my long run, and I finished it in a time of 2:51:38. This week, same run, exhausted legs, bla brain—it was done in 2:50:22. Baby steps, but still progress. Now I’m going to celebrate by taking tomorrow off!!!

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Happy Friday!! I hope your weekend is amazing!

How have you proven that a bad run makes you stronger?

THIS. (#2)

THIS is something i never have to do: I have to juggle around my running schedule this week, and I’m a little nervous about it? I have no chance to do a long run this weekend or even Friday due to jam-cram-crazy-packed fun sat/sun, so I’ll be doing it on Thursday(today). I’m a bit nervous because my last long run was only five days ago. I don’t know why I’m stressing..i love running long, I love running(duh), and overall, i shouldn’t be a big baby about it..but I am! I guess I just want to “do really well.” (when do I not? Who says “I want to have a crappy run today”?) #nicolejustshutupandrun

THIS is my favorite playlist right now:
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YES, I know…I love Eric Church, and I’m his biggest fan it borders on obsession. He is on all playlists I create because I heart him. And say what you will about T Swifty, but the girl writes a mean lyric and it has a terrific beat to run to!

THIS is the Biggest Lie Ever.
NO.
NO!
I LOVE kale, I do. I have it twice a day in my smoothies or with my dinner. I’ve even grilled it. I think it’s delicious, nutritious, and a super food.
But Kale will never be/replace/compete against bacon. NO, NO, NO. #lies
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THIS is my very weird/random shoe dilemma that I would like and appreciate your perspective on: I am a Brooks shoe SNOB. That’s no secret.
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For as long as I can remember, I’ve been doing all my long runs and marathons in my Ghost’s. (Currently, I’m in the 7) But lately I’ve been doing 75% of all my runs in my Pureflows: I’m talking speed, tempos, easy runs, and my last 4 half marathons have also been in those bad boys. I’m debating doing my October Baystate in them—>even though they’re a lighter shoe and typically, I like the cushioning I get from the Ghost’s. So to get myself ready/test that out, I’m going to do a long run in them. Today actually. I’m doing that long run today in a lighter (6.3 ounces for the Pureflow, 7.8 for the Ghost) shoe and it makes me nervous..but you never know until you try right?? stay tuned for an update on the condition of my legs/feet post 20 mile shenanigans.
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Question: What shoes do you do your marathons in? Cushioned vs lighter or racing flat???

Tell me something about your life RIGHT NOW!!

I don’t even know who I AM: I bought a RUNNING SKIRT

I have a confession: I have never liked running skirts.
……There…I said it! ……

…..I’ve never put that out here on the blog before because so many of my running friends and readers wear them. And it’s not nice, and my mom would be mad if I wasn’t I like to be nice!!

It’s weird that I don’t like them-I love dresses so why don’t/wouldn’t I want to run in a cute little skirt? To me-I always felt like It would be as if I was “trying too hard” to show I’m a girl who is running-sort of ‘over the top’ trying to show the world that Girls Run Too!! ……..I know, it’s dumb and I make no sense. Aaah..well…I guess that’s what makes me ME.

All that changed this past weekend. My husband Greg and I went away to the Wentworth by The Sea in Newcastle, NH to celebrate our anniversary…

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(source)

This hotel is GORGEOUS! It has two restaurants, two pools, a spa, and a million gorgeous beach spots all around it. It’s right next to a little beach called “Great Island Common” where we took our engagement pictures. A bit pricey(think Boston prices)- but worth it for a special occasion! This little area is really special to us, so I was super excited to go!

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(Engagement pics from 2011!!)

Anyway…moving back to The Running Skirt…I’ve been searching for a while for an awesome pair of shorts with a bunch of pockets. I wanted something to stuff my GUs in for long runs so I don’t have to wear a wrist pocket or my flip belt. Less is more!!! On our travels, we stopped at Runners Alley in downtown Portsmouth Nh. I saw this cute little skirt, and was floored when I lifted up the ‘skirt’ part and saw the two deep side pockets that looked like I could easily fit my phone and a couple GU in there. PLUS— the skirt had a zippered back pocket which i knew I would use to put my housekey/money/debit card. I should’ve just bought the skirt on the spot because zippered pockets actually make me a little too excited…but I didn’t. In my head I kept saying “You don’t like running skirts.”

BUT….After a delicious lunch…I made my husband turn around and buy the skirt that I could not get off of my mind!!
I even tried it on back at our hotel in FULL running gear because I was way, way too excited to wear it on a run!

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I test drove it the next day. I loooooove it and now I am eating all the words I ever said about running skirts being lame because this one freaking rocks. it’s so comfy, didn’t chafe and I loved it’s “flirty” look. It’s short and sassy and the knowledge of having shorts underneath it made me NOT worry that my skirt was blowing up in the wind!

I love the pockets- my only complaint is of my own stupidity: Silly me forgot to lock my phone before heading out to run. I managed to take 17 pocket pictures–some of which were embarrassingly uploaded to IG by my phone/pocket (the two of them were in cahoots!)

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And I came home to a hilarious text message about my phones mad uploading skillllzzzzz. So: lock your phone, friends. Good thing I didn’t call anyone or shoot off a blog post by accident!!

So I think I’m now a skirt convert, I can’t Believe it! The one I bought is from Skirtsport I’m already pumped to buy another!

When is the last time you ate your words??

In my own skin

As a teenage girl, my life revolved around boys and makeup. I was forever getting dressed and ready to impress whoever I bumped into. You can bet your buns i never went out without makeup and getting dressed up. The thought of wandering out of the house looking less than perfect made me cringe. I cared way too much about what other people thought of me.

Essentially-I was hiding behind makeup and always curled/styled hair instead of showing my true self. I didn’t think I was pretty “enough” to walk out the door without it. What would other people think?

I spent my 20s trying to figure myself out. I think that’s what they are for though, don’t you? For me, (and for most 20somethings)my 20s meant making big life decisions, dating, and trying to keep everything together. I was stressed out a lot from trying to finish school and manage a home on my own. When you are on your own, it forces you to get to know your roommate pretty well: and me, myself, and I got to know each other very well over the course of 4 years.

Appearance was a big factor of my life in my 20s. I was still the girl who got dressed up for everything, everyday, and cared about everyone’s opinions. I didn’t start to truly feel comfortable with who I am until I met my husband. It was like something inside me could finally just…begin to breathe…and relax I can remember my little sister saying to me one day (shortly after meeting my husband),that I looked more relaxed and better with less makeup. I began to settle into “who I am” and ” who I want to be” rather than “who I ought to be” or “who I am trying to be.” He was able to see me for me, and for the first time ever, I began to let go of feeling like I needed to impress everyone around me. Its a pretty freeing feeling. Being with someone who loves you so completely for YOU is amazing.

Makeup and my appearance started to play less of a role in my life. I still love to get all dolled up for a special occasion-but my day to day look consists more of me not wearing makeup, and bumming around in running shorts rather than a cute sundress/real people clothes. And I hardly ever style my hair…
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(sockbun, I love you)

Caring what others think of me takes up way too much time. And to be honest it’s exhausting. it took a long time, but I truly have learned that if someone doesn’t like me-or like my appearance-I don’t give a damn about it. That lesson took a while to learn: I always wanted everyone to like me. But things are much deeper than what is on the surface: beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I’m beautiful in the eyes of my husband, friends and family, and that’s what matters. I don’t need to be friends with everyone, or cater to a whole bunch of other people’s needs. I’m completely satisfied with my little family of my five or six girlfriends who are honest and open with one another and looks aren’t a factor.

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(no makeup selfies!)

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What really matters is how you view yourself. Respecting your own self enough to say

“I am beautiful, inside and out, and I don’t need makeup to prove that.”

—>That is important. Getting comfortable in my own skin is something that I just had to learn. Being comfortable enough with who you are as a person makes you STRONGER.

How have you gotten more secure within your own skin?

Sports Bra, why do you hate me??

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If I were to give this summer another description besides The Summer Of Homemade Juice” I would also call it:
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I have a rule. An item chafes me-it’s gone. I hate chafing even more than I hate my own clumsiness or scary movies and UMASS Lowell traffic.

I digress. Back in May-ish I took the plunge and bought an Under Armor sports bra. More than what I would usually spend on a sports bra ($40 verses my typical $10 Target Champion steals or Marshalls finds) I liked it just fine, but sometimes the front zipper would leave a little mark on a really sweaty run. So, back to the store I went.
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Moving Comfort. I heard nothing but wonderful things about them! I buy one. It’s love at first run! Secure, no jostling, no chafe…heaven. So I buy two more of my new favorite sports bras!

Then.
Summer happens.
Two weeks ago, I did a half… I was so sweaty after- you could see where the sports bra had been when I took it off. So. Much. Pain. And this was not the first..or even fourth time this summer that it’s happened…
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I know what you are thinking– and it is one of two things—
-did you buy the right size? (Yes. I got measured. )
-why aren’t you using Vaseline/Goldbond/Bodyglide (I do. Most of the time!)

And maybe, you are thinking:
-WHY THE HELL DO YOU KEEP WEARING THESE TORTURE DEVICES???
I keep wearing them because it doesn’t happen all the time-sometimes it happens during longer runs, or sometimes it’s sweatier runs…I don’t know. It’s random. And it’s frustrating. You do not know pain until you are hopping into the shower and suddenly, you are thinking the shower water is actually trying to kill you and you’re yelling “WHY IS THE WATER HURTING ME?? WHAT DID I DOOOOOO?????” I am convinced that there is a person at Moving Comfort who’s job title is actually “Senior VP of Bleeding.” Yes, it is their actual J-O-B to design a comfortable, well fitting, attractive, expensive sports bra THAT MAKES ME BLEED. (And they laugh their evil laugh every time I hop in the shower after a chafe-y run)
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(I think I make the same faces as this chickie when I remove bra/hop in shower!)

I don’t know. I’m hoping/thinking it’s summer? I’m hoping the less sweaty runs of fall will bring me back my chafe-free life. (((SIGH))) I can’t toss $100 worth of new-ish sports bras yet-I just can’t.
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So all my running girlfriends out their reading this.. Spill. Get chafed? Sorry for your pain. But now you need to tell me your favorite sports bra. So help me running gods it better not be Moving Comfort. Just kidding. I’m just real sore right now…
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Long Run recap and picture Saturday

Happy happy happy was the theme of my day (most of my days actually!)

Thursday I left my house to do an easy run. I could tell I was going reasonably fast, but I knew I wasn’t “pushing it” so I kept on going, holding the pace I was at. All the while, I avoided looking at my watch. I got home and I couldn’t believe my splits:
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Crazy Fast for what really felt “easy.” Sometimes my legs and brain surprise me. I ended up doing a couple of awesome videos for arms/thighs/butt on YouTube afterwards. YouTube is turning out to be my workout BFF lately because I can just prop up my little iPad on my bureau and hop to it! (Fitness Blender is my favorite as of late)

Friday I was sore beyond belief and thought that maybe, in my sleep, someone ran over me?! Woof. The combo of fast miles/strength/lots of planking murdered me. So it was this kind of day as I cleaned the house top to bottom:
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This is how I felt about said cleaning of house:

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#iwantamaid

And dinner was my new fave pizza. Instead of using a sauce, I roasted some garlic in the oven and spread it on the pizza dough for the “sauce”(400 for 45, cut the head off, cover it with evoo) and Voila! Deliciousness!

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Topped the dough with this:

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you think with all the pre-cooking pics that I would remember to take one after? no no I did not. And to be honest…we ate all but one slice…and it was delicious.

Because the maid had such a hard day, she had one of these:

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Red raspberry martini. and dammit it was GOOD.

This morning I pretty excited for my long run. a day off does that to me! The first 3-4 miles I really struggled. I wanted to be running but my legs DID NOT. By mile 5-6 I really woke up and started getting it done.

One thing I try to do with a really insanely long run is divide it into parts. In my mind today, the run had three parts. Once I was halfway through part 2-it was on. I managed to pull out, after 11 hilly miles, very low 8s for the rest of the run. Very proud of myself for being able to complete the 2nd half much faster! That is one of my tricks-don’t go out TOO fast, and finish the 2nd half faster–> this makes me REALLY ready for a marathon, that is for sure!

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I beat last weeks 20 miler but 9 1/2 minutes 😊

Also***just a small disclaimer…: A follower on my Instagram commented on how I did two 20 mile runs two weeks in a row: i don’t usually do a back to back 20 mile runs. If anything, I would do them a couple weeks apart with a 16 or 18 miler in between. However, I do usually do one a month during an 18 week training cycle. I didn’t do one in July, and the combo of school starting in a week/summer ending made me feel like I really wanted to do another one this week. Before I know it, school will start and life picks back up its hectic pace..Saturdays and weekends will be filled with the “catch up” of things I don’t have time to do during the work week-it’s possible I won’t have enough time to do another until my last 20 miler on September 28th, right before taper begins. I just felt like I ought to explain this to you all in case you were wondering WHY I did two 20s two weeks in a row!

After the long run it was family day and a quick stop at the Happiest Place On Earth (to me): Dicks!

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I had to buy it, I was Wonder Woman a few years ago for Halloween…

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And now,(at 8:30pm) exhausted beyond imagination, I’m off to bed after a very lovely and wonderful Saturday❤️

How was your long run day and your Saturday?

Psyching myself up for the LONG RUN.

Nicole@TheGirlWhoRanEverywhere:

This is a “reblog” from my early Blogging days! Since I have a long run tomorrow, and I know a lot of you out there have one as well-I thought it would be a good time to reflect back on former tips and tricks!

Originally posted on The Girl Who Ran Everywhere:

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I couldn’t sleep last night because I was super excited about writing this next blog post…I KNOW. I’m a geek. But, If running is my outlet for life, writing about running is it’s plug. For me, they go hand in hand.

I created this blog hoping to reach a lot of different people. I like thinking about who could be reading this…

Maybe you are an experienced runner; maybe you’re brand new.

Maybe you’re a walker thinking about running.

Maybe you are training to run a marathon and need inspiration?

Maybe you don’t even LIKE running but you think I’m interesting and amusing and funny?

Maybe all of these are you!

Plus-since I eat sleep breathe run, and 98% of my waking thoughts are about running, I can only assume my family and friends are sick of hearing about it. They get it. “I like to run” .

Anyway….Today I…

View original 1,207 more words

My Summer Reads

One of the things I try to do on summer break is cram as many books into my brain as humanely possible. I admit…I have slacked a little this summer in the reading department. But the books I have read have been pretty great, so let me tell you about them.

Close Your Eyes And Hold Hands. by Chris Bohjalian
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This was the last book I read. It’s told from the viewpoint of Emily Shepard, a runaway from Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. She is on the run because she is certain she is in danger: her dad was in charge of the towns nuclear power plant, and after it’s meltdown,thousands of people are forced to flee their homes. Both of her parents are killed in the blast and everywhere she turns, she hears of another person cursing her father. She creates a new identity for herself as “Abby” and tells no one who she really is. She loses her way: drugs, prostitution, and sleeping on a mattress in a drug dealers apartment are her new normal. When she befriends another young runaway, Cameron, she begins to come back to the surface as she is forced to think of “what is good” and “what is bad” for her new 9 year old companion.

It’s heartbreak,jarring and emotional. I really liked it because the main character is so well written and I felt like I truly got to know her. I began to see her life in the before/after stages that she tells the book in, and why she made certain choices. I even liked the rambling round about way she tells stories because I feel like I do the same exact thing! I liked Chris’s writing style and will be back for more of his books!

Where She Went by Gayle Foreman
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I have blogged once before about “If I Stay. This is it’s sister follow-up book. I don’t always like follow up books. Hunger games, Divergent-these third and final books in the series were downright Awful. I didn’t even finish the 3rd Divergent book because I kept falling asleep. Anyway, I wasn’t going to read this book: I really liked the way “If I Stay” was written, and I liked it’s ending and the way the story left off. I didn’t want to change anything in my own head with what happened.

But One (boring) day, I was desperate for a new book to read. This one popped up on my kindle feed (thanks Amazon!) and being desperate and all..I bought it. And RIGHT after I had just had a lengthy conversation with my mother about how I didn’t plan on reading this book:
mom:are you going to read Where She Went? You loved If I Stay
Me: NO WAY!! I like the ending and I don’t want to ruin it for myself! What if the second book is really stupid or really sad? That will change how I feel about it!!

…and BAM! I did it anyway. Rebel!

This book is a continuation of Mia and Adams beautiful love story. My God. I could not put it down. It’s amazing, it’s powerful, I love the characters, and it might be one of my favorite books of all time. I really dont want to tell you too many details in case you haven’t already read “If I Stay” (coincidently, it comes to theaters next week!) Everyone i know who read this book absolutely loved it. Trust me, I wouldn’t lie to you! If a love story is what you’re after..this is the one for you.

Firefly Lane by Kristen Hannah
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This book is a little older. Its a story of friendship that we have all heard before: two best friends who share a unique bond throughout their years. Tully is as brazen and outspoken as her best friend Kate is reserved. The two are unlikely friends and begin to bond after a tragedy befalls Tully. When one girl moves away, they continue to write letters back and forth to detail their lives. Each girl has her own dreams that lead them to college and beyond. I really am not doing a great job detailing this book: it was pretty good-but all the other ones I have read this summer…were better. BUT—sometimes I get stuck in a rut where I do not want to read any style of book unless it’s like the one I’m reading now. So if stories about beautiful friendships are up your alley right now…this is for you!!

Series: The Unwind Dystology Books by Neil Schusterman.
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This is a four part series -
Book 1-Unwind
Book 2-UnWholly
Book 3-UnSouled
..with its final book (UnDivided) being released on October 14, 2014. At least it gives me a book to look forward to!

The plot of these books is really out there. It stems from the “pro-life/pro-choice” debate that has plagued our country for many many years. The story begins after the “Heartland War” (essentially the 2nd Civil War) where a Bill of Life is created that states that human life must not be touched from the moment of conception until a child reaches the ages of 13. However a loophole allows parents to retroactively get rid of a teenager through the process called “Unwinding.”

The story is based on three teens: Connor, a rebel whose parents have signed his unwinding order and is to be taken away. Risa, a beautiful ward of the state who is to be Unwound due to budget cuts, and Lev, the last of 10 kids, born a religious tithe and destined for Unwinding since birth. These three kids couldn’t be more different. Their lives intersect as they try to save themselves, and others, from the terrible fate of Unwinding. As weird, sick, and twisted as the topic of “Unwinding” is… The characters are all very relatable. Their stories of feeling lonely and lost could be YOUR story of being lonely and lost.

There are a ton of more issues in these stories: abortion, adopting, and storking are just a few of the extremely serious topics discussed. They are gripping books. Sometimes it was hard to read certain parts because it was fairly grisly. I could not put them down- they consumed me until I was done. If you’re looking for a whole different type of book–this is for you. When I finished the third book-I was SUPER bummed that I would have to wait for the fourth. I promise you:each book is as interesting as the last.

Can you tell what were my favorite reads this summer?!

Up Next:
Jodi Picoults “Storyteller” and “Dear Daughter” by Elizabeth Little.

Whatcha readin?

Happy Friday!!

August Blues& Track Improvements

Such a love/hate relationships with this month. I love August! It’s slightly cooler but the days are still long…the mornings bring a cooler start than July, and the nights are just perfection. And…it’s my anniversary!

But. School is coming, and fall is on it’s way. Summer in New England goes faster than the speed of light! This summer seems to have flown by at an alarming rate-I can’t believe it. It feels like April was just here and I ran a marathon last week. HOW is it possible that I’m going back to school in less than two weeks?? Although I love my job, and I love teaching….I also know I am NOT ready for winter.it’s soooo long…. I’m not. My sister told me this morning that in three months it will be snowing. Gahhhh. I just can’t step into that thought yet, so I’m only going to focus on the NOW: the fact that I have some fun stuff planned with my husband, with my friends, and of course, I have planned out some fun training runs for myself!!

Monday I woke up and headed out the door for a run. I wasn’t properly fueled to run long, and didn’t have water with me (I did have money though), yet somehow I ended up running 14 miles. Something in me was telling me that my summer was almost over, and I had precious few days left for unplanned runs. I ran one of my favorite routes at an easy slow pace of 8:45.

Tuesday.
If there is one thing I know, it’s that you cannot waste a single training opportunity: procrastinating will not get you results. I was sore from Mondays run…but I didn’t want to miss my scheduled track day. I like to do my speedwork sessions as far away from my long run day as possible, and while that doesn’t always work out , it did this week. I wanted to try a 400s workout-I had it in my head that i would do 10x400s with a recovery jog in between each one of another 400 meters(400 meters=1 lap around the track). I thought it would be easiest to start out this way because I had never done a 400s workout before. I warmed up with 1.50 miles there, 6.5 on the track, 1.50 run home.

I learned that 400s? They are hard. The hardest part is that you aren’t giving your legs time to recover before you’re launching right into the next one: the point is that you are essentially fatiguing your legs and getting them used to running hard when they’re tired.

I ended up being pretty even paced with nearly all of the laps being a 1:33, and I did twelve instead of my planned 10 (I wanted my last one to be the best, I wouldn’t quit until my last one was the best-12 was the magic number!) Next time I do them, I’m going to do a recovery of only 200 meters (half a lap) before launching into the next one. I think that will actually make it a little bit easier-by the time I got halfway around the track, I was definitely ready to go again. I also will run less miles the day before, or take a rest day. The track is no joke!

I didn’t think I did that well until I got home and checked my stats from my last track workout-most of those laps for my mile repeats fell between 1:42-1:44. Whaaatttt? Improvement is fun to see, and I was so surprised/pleased! Can’t wait for my next torture track session!

Since Wednesday is random day around here: I will tell you that this weekend, I couldn’t get our BBQ sauce out of my head (I had just mentioned it on the blog, and it is kind of an anniversary tradition in our house to make some) so I made a big batch!

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And the best thing to put BBQ sauce on is ribs, of course…and homemade French fries!!20140813-133437-48877417.jpg

I saw this somewhere…so true:
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And a pic from a random, impromptu party on Saturday night! (those are the best kind of nights!)

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Happy hump day!

Any food/dessert that you are well known for?

Out of Your Comfort Zone

First of all, I wanted to say a big huge THANK YOU to everyone for your kind words from Tuesdays post. I got emails, Instagram comments, Facebook messages, and a whole bunch of cool words from other runners sharing their own journeys. It’s awesome to know that I can give you hope on your own running journeys-you ALL give it right back to me, believe me!

A lot of you asked WHAT made me get faster when I did start to really care about my speed. I started thinking about it during my tempo run on Thursday, and I realized that I began to get faster when I put myself out of my comfort zone. You know the runs I’m talking about: the ones where you’re going much faster than your usual paces, or the runs that sometimes leave you gasping for air at the end because you’ve just worked Really Hard.

I thought it would be good to give you some examples of runs that make me “uncomfortable” that I do on the reg!

The Tempo Run
The best desciption I have ever read for this is from runnersworld

Tempo Workouts are like an Oreo cookie, with the warmup and cooldown as the cookie, and a run at an effort at or slightly above your anaerobic threshold (the place where your body shifts to using more glycogen for energy) as the filling. This is the effort level just outside your comfort zone—you can hear your breathing, but you’re not gasping for air. If you can talk easily, you’re not in the tempo zone, and if you can’t talk at all, you’re above the zone. It should be at an effort somewhere in the middle, so you can talk in broken words. Pace is not an effective means for running a tempo workout, as there are many variables that can affect pace including heat, wind, fatigue, and terrain.

What does this mean? It means that you can “learn your tempo pace” as you go because you can run by your perceived effort. So it should hurt, but you shouldn’t feel like you hate running and you want to die…until the end anyway! And sometimes, even if your perceived effort is slower than what you are thinking it should be, it could be affected by things like wind, or hills, or even if you are tired from another run you have done.

This type of run doesn’t even need a Garmin, so don’t freak if you don’t have one. I like to do the same route for my tempo runs-I warm up slowly for two miles, then run at my tempo pace for 3-5 miles, then run easy as I cool down for the last couple of miles.
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Sometimes, I will do the same exact run more but mix it up so it’s more like “tempo intervals”. I’ll warm up for the same 2 miles, then run my tempo pace for 3 miles, run easy for a mile, run tempo for the next 2, and cool down for 1-2 more miles. This run let’s you break up the “faster paces” that you’re running. Sometimes this run is even harder because instead of running your faster miles altogether as one, you are breaking it up and forcing your legs to go faster two different times.
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Every runner has their own tempo pace to be hitting. you can read a great article here that helps you figure it out, or use this calculator.

Runners Connect gives a brilliant description of how it should feel to run a tempo run:

What does a tempo run feel like: A tempo run should feel like a “hard, but controlled effort”.
You should be able to continue your tempo pace for 30-45 minutes.
Again, you can use your breathing rhythm to monitor your effort.

Tempo runs should typically be performed while breathing at a 2:2 ratio (two steps – one with your left, one with your right – while breathing in; two steps – one with your left, one with your right – while breathing out). A 2:2 breathing rhythm enables you take about 45 breaths per minute.

Likewise, you can use the same “talk test” mentioned above to determine if you’re running in the correct effort range. During a tempo run, you should be able to say one or two sentences out-loud, but you couldn’t speak in full paragraphs or complete thoughts. Try this talk test during your next tempo run and you’ll virtually guarantee you’re in the correct effort range.

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I also do other kinds Speedwork.
-Sometimes, I do track work of mile repeats. I will do a warm up to get to the track, dynamically stretch, then launch into it my first mile. After finishing my first mile, I usually do 800 at an easy pace around the track, then repeat 4-5 times -depending how tired I am!

-There are other kinds of track workouts that you can do. Some runners like to do a speedwork session of 400 meter repeats 1 lap around the track). I haven’t done them-yet, but I plan to next week and then I promise I’ll tell ya all about it. You can look here for an awesome article on 400 meter runs.

-Sometimes, I will do a Yasso’s workout. These are a fun way to predict your speed for an upcoming marathon. You can see a detailed explanation of them here.

*All of these types of runs can be replicated wherever you want. You don’t have to do Yasso’s on a track-you can do them on a treadmill, or even around your own neighborhood on a half mile stretch that is familiar to you. Or you can use your Garmin/mapmyrun/Runkeeper (or drive it in your car first!) to measure the distance. Customize your runs to meet your own needs and what works for your life!

What also helped me is just running more. The longer you are a runner, the more time your body will adapt to running and grow. Adding on miles becomes natural for your body. At one point, the longest run I ever ran was 5 miles. Now it’s 26.2. Eventually, routes became easier, and hills got less challenging. There is one hill I run that used to take me about 30 minutes to get up, now I can do it in about 15-16. I also learned you can’t always run the same exact routes. Switching it up is the key to progress too. Think about it this way: if you are running the same five miles along the same exact route every day for a year, you won’t see progress. Your body will begin to recognize the route and the distance. You can add things like speed bursts, or some hill work to the same old route and this helps to switch it up and confuses your legs when you’re doing “the same old thing.”

And Don’t forget: Practice makes perfect, doesn’t it? The more time you spend running, you’re perfecting your “running self.” By doing new to you types of runs, or even a new “your farthest run ever” distance, you are pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. The more times you do this, the better runner you can and will become.
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I hope these tips help you!
Thanks for reading!!