August 31, 2013

The Day I Ran More Than a Half Marathon... For a Training Run

I can't believe I did it, but I did. I ran more than I've ever run before in one fell swoop this morning. I ran 14 miles - that's .9 miles more than a half marathon. It really honestly blows my mind!!

I ate Fage Greek Yogurt and Belvita before my run, to fuel me.

I listened to Harry Potter again while I ran, but this time kept my mind on not letting my pace drop while I listened. I succeeded somewhat, no negative splits, but the last mile was still the fastest and I kept an average of 9'38", which I'd say is pretty successful!

It was hard. I'm not going to sugar coat it and say I felt amazing or that I had a runner's high. I didn't. It was really, really hard. Breaking in my new shoes is proving to be more difficult than I had originally anticipated, and my feet are hurting because of it. My arches feel foreign (I never knew I had such high arches... now I couldn't be more aware of them!), and my ankles feel like I imagine an old woman's must feel at the end of the run.

It's getting easier to push at the end - you can see that the last three miles were progressively faster, and I think that it's because I knew it was almost over, I felt that I had the energy to push.

I had some of these Energy Chews to fuel me during my run, but I tried a different flavor - fruit punch! It was tasty. I think I definitely like these more than my Clif Shot Bloks.

I'm glad I did it, but my mind isn't lingering on that victory very long - all I can think about is 16 miles next Saturday. Ack!

August 30, 2013

Negative Splits!!

This is a (long-ish) story of VICTORY!

On Tuesday night, I arrived at rehearsal and the stage manager pulled me aside. She told me that the girl that was playing one of the featured roles broke her toe the day before and had to drop out of the show. She's okay, but was told by her podiatrist that she couldn't dance. Then, the stage manager asked if I would be comfortable taking over as her replacement! Now, this is both awesome and kind of daunting news. First of all, this is the role I wanted when I auditioned for the production. Win! But, we only had 11 rehearsals left. Yikes. I accepted the offer, and quickly scheduled some more voice lessons so I could go over my song and devoted the rest of my time to learning my lines.

On Thursday, my day was becoming jam packed with stuff. I had a voice lesson in the afternoon, my sister was visiting a venue for the wedding that I had to be "present" (via Skype) for, and I had another 3 hour rehearsal. For some reason, I wasn't finding the energy to do my NTC workout before my voice lesson. It also took me forever to get home because of traffic, and I didn't get the workout in before my rehearsal.

Rehearsal was rough - lots of jumping, kicking, and spinning in heels. I was exhausted by the end of it and was thinking that this would be another Thursday where I would skip my NTC workout, since it was 11pm by the time I got home.

HOWEVER, JW also hadn't completed his Insanity workout of the day, so we motivated each other to go downstairs to our apartment gym and complete our individual 45 minute workouts together. I must say it was really nice to just have someone physically there, keeping me accountable. Bonus points for it being my fiancĂ©! :)
Completed with 8-10lbs dumbbells
 The bulk of the workout were squat and plank exercises, and many of them were 2 minutes. This made the workout seem a bit faster since I wasn't doing so many moves. I always say I don't like when there isn't a discernible pattern, but this time it didn't bother me so much.

Ab Section
 I ended the workout at midnight. Before I went to sleep, I tried to plan out my weekend. It's a holiday weekend (yay Labor Day!) and I didn't necessarily want a bunch of workouts looming ahead of me, so I decided that even though I ended my workout at midnight, I still wanted to run 5 miles in the morning. If I didn't, then I wouldn't be as rested for the 14 miles on Saturday, which is the longest distance I've ever run. I had to run on Friday morning if I wanted everything to stay on track.

I set my alarm for 6:30am, and somehow didn't get out of bed until 8am. I hate it when that happens! In any case, I got outside by about 8:15am. I had one of these for my fuel:

I put on my new Mizunos and went outside down the normal way. I wasn't really feeling great - pretty tired, and my feet were getting used to the new shoes. They felt great, just different. Throughout the run, I kept wondering if I was going faster or not, but ultimately decided to stop worrying about it and just run.

I DID IT! I DID IT! I DID NEGATIVE SPLITS! Look at those green numbers! I cannot tell you how happy seeing that made me feel! And it just goes to show that even when all the elements are different and out of my control - that my workout the previous night was much later than I anticipated, that I ran on tired dancing legs, that my new shoes were being broken into, that I kept running into stop lights and wet pavement - I can still be successful, no matter what!

I feel AWESOME. I felt so awesome that I went home and completed about 10 different errands that I was meaning to complete all week. Now I feel so accomplished! And all before noon! I'm so ready to get the 14 miles out of the way tomorrow (I'm SO nervous!!) and then enjoy my holiday weekend!

Any plans for Labor Day?

August 28, 2013

Hill Run and New Shoes

Today was my first hill workout, and it wasn't that bad!

I warmed up for a mile, jogged over to the 100m hill, and ran up and down it 10 times. It really wasn't that bad. I even sprinted for a bit! The app didn't tell me to cool down afterwards, which I thought was ridiculous, so I just ran another mile-ish to cool down. I felt myself wanting to run more, but I kindly reminded myself of the fact that I had to run 14 miles this Saturday, and I found the motivation to stop. Hah!

Onto shoes! I bought new running shoes on Tuesday! OHMIGODSHOES.

My trusty Nike Air Pegasus 29's have officially clocked in 342.29 miles, and I decided it was time for me to buy some new ones. I bought them on April 8th and spent $108 on them at Luke's Locker, a chain in Texas.

The Graveyard: Nike Air Pegasus 29, Nike Air Max Moto 8, Nike Air Max Run Lite +2
Let's reminisce, shall we?

Half Marathon 2011 - wearing Nike Air Max Run Lite +2, size 8
Half Marathon 2012 - Nike Air Max Moto 8, size 8.5
I'm a little upset because I realize I never ran an actual race in my Air Pegasus 29s. My Moto 8s are actually my most seasoned running shoe: Turkey Trot 2012, Half Marathon 2012, Hot Chocolate 5K 2013, and Color Run 5K 2013.

The other day, I went to Road Runner Sports to look at running apparell. They don't have a location in Texas, so it was my first time visiting. As I was browsing, I saw that they had something called Shoe Dog. I didn't have enough time during my first visit, but after becoming a VIP member and really liking their choices, and reading Skinny Runner's post on her experience, I decided to experience it for myself.

Shoe Dog: Road Runner Sports
Shoe Dog is Road Runner Sports' unique way of making sure you get the perfect running shoe based on your specific feet, stride, arch, etc. I've never had something done that was so personalized to me, and I must say I really enjoyed it!

My findings:


I had been running in 8s and 8.5s before! No wonder my toenail fell off over the summer. The lady fit me for a pair of insoles, molded perfectly to my feet, and had me try on a few pairs of Neutral running shoes. I tried the ASICS Cumulus 15, Nike Zoom Vomero +8, Mizuno Wave Rider 16, and the Adidas Energy Boost. It's strange - I got fitted for Neutral Plus, but almost all the shoes I tried on (except the Nikes) were only in the Neutral category. Ah, well.

Ultimately, I decided on the Mizunos! They were the most fairly priced, had the cutest color (pink!!), and I had heard great reviews for them. Plus, the lady told me they last a really long time, meaning I wouldn't have to get new shoes for a while. I'm a little surprised at how quickly I wore out my Nike Pegasus', and I don't want to repeat this 4 months later. She told me they last for over 500 miles!

So cute!
I'm just now realizing they'll clash terribly with my PRO Compression socks, so I'll probably end up getting another color. That's okay, because there's always a sale going on!

I haven't run in them yet - I'm saving them for Friday!

I've decided I love Road Runner Sports. From this trip, I bought the Mizuno shoes, 3 pairs of socks, a bottle of Nuun, and the shoe inserts. I was looking at my receipt earlier today and noticed they charged me the full amount on the socks, not the discount price they had told me they were on sale for. All I had to do was call up there - I didn't even have to drive! - and they fixed it over the phone for me. That's awesome customer service.

Ever been to Road Runner Sports?

August 27, 2013

Nuun: Yay or Nay?

NTC Advance Get Lean Razor Sharp was on the menu today.

I opted for 8lbs since I hadn't completed a full NTC workout in a while, and they were challenging. Interestingly enough, even though it was an Advance workout, some of the exercises didn't call for weights. I think the distinction from Beginner to Advance is how many breaks you get, which I do NOT agree with. I took my breaks as needed.

There was no warm up to this workout, which I found very odd. It also didn't have any means of structure, which kind of bothered me. The most consistent workout was planks (or some kind of ab move), so I split up my "sets" with those as the starting point.

Lots of hopping, twisting, and jumping!

Ab Section
Cool Down

I was definitely sweating!

I went to Road Runner Sports to get new shoes (post forthcoming!) and bought some Nuun Active Hydration (Fruit Punch flavor), since that's what they'll have at the Nike Women's marathon. I drank some today after rehearsal, and maybe it's because I didn't do that much activity, but I feel like I just drank something carbonated: bloated and uncomfortable! Is this how I'm supposed to feel? Bleh. Minus the gross feeling, it tasted good and refreshing. Every time I opened my water bottle, a puff of fizz came out of it! Yikes!

What are your thoughts on Nuun?

August 26, 2013

Slowly Getting Faster (5 Miles)

This morning I got out of bed, ate a Think Thin Brownie Crunch Bar, and mentally prepared for 5 miles. It's slowly getting easier!

I was a little nervous because I was going to be focusing on my speed, trying to get those elusive negative splits, and worried that it would be hard to transition from my slow pace on Saturday. Fortunately, it wasn't that bad - but it was still challenging!

I am also happy to report that I didn't have any tendon pain in either of my legs - rolling with tennis balls, wearing sneakers to rehearsal instead of character shoes, and resting on Friday probably attributed to that! For those of you who don't know what character shoes are, these are my fabulous La Ducas:

As pretty as they are, that's a 3 inch heel..
I've worn them to almost every rehearsal, save for the music rehearsals (no dancing required) and the longer rehearsals on Sundays, which are for 4 hours instead of 3. The musical is coming along, and we have just under 3 weeks till we open. Eep!

Back to running.

I'm happy that the last mile was the fastest!
I realize that I'm getting faster, and I'm really proud of that. I was a little worried when I heard the first mile was so slow, but I'm slowly realizing that I just need a warm up mile to really get going. It's now my natural tendency to speed up significantly after that first mile, which works great for marathons!

Hopefully I can keep up this speed as we go into Week 8 of marathon training. I can't believe I'm already halfway there!

I've already logged almost 350 miles in my sturdy Nike Pegasus shoes - it's time for some new ones! Any recommendations?

Can anyone recommend a good foam roller?

August 25, 2013

12 Slow Miles

Well, it happened. I skipped a workout.

I was supposed to complete the NTC Beginner Get Lean Cardio Surge, a 45 minute workout, on Thursday. But it just didn't happen. I was dealing with some pain in my right Fibularis longus muscle, as well as some pain in my left Biceps femoris muscle.

Source: Wikipedia

I ultimately decided to just take the day off. I was already going to be dancing heavily that night at rehearsal, so at least I got somewhat of a workout in?

On Friday, I completed the Kara Goucher Pro-Running Stretches. Now, that's my kind of workout! It was 3 sets of 5 different poses, all held for 1 minute.

This is another one I did in my pajamas. It felt really good - lots of hip and hamstring stretching. I wish NTC had a stretch video for after long runs. I'm thinking I should probably just look one up on Youtube, unless anyone else has any suggestions??

On Saturday, I did my long run much later than anticipated. I had wanted to put an audiobook on my iPhone to listen to while I ran the slow 12 miles, but my iTunes was acting up and basically wouldn't play the audiobook on my iPhone once I had put it on there. It took about two hours (!) to figure out, but I ended up just listening to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets rather than starting with Sorcerer's Stone. You win some, you lose some.

I tried out some different fuel as well.

PowerBar Performance Energy Blends - Banana Bluberry flavor (80 calories)
I ate these along the trail to keep me going. (6 chews = 100 calories)
I really enjoyed the Energy Blend - it was tasty, and I had set it in the refrigerator so it was nice and cool when I drank it. If it had been room temperature then I think it would have been pretty nasty. The Gatorade Chews were really tasty as well - I almost like them more than my Clif Shot Bloks, but maybe because they were just easier to chew. Sometimes with the Clif Shot Bloks, it takes me several determined chomps to get them to be swallow-able. The Gatorade Chews were about half as thick as the Clif Shot Bloks, so that was probably why.

Zero Nike Fuel Points... WRONG.

I think, if you have easy runs coming up in your schedule, listening to an audiobook is definitely the way to go. My mind wasn't really on running, but more engrossed in the story. It's true that I started out too fast, and that my pace unwittingly quickened in the second mile, but ultimately it helped to keep my mind off of how much time it was taking to run.

I was pretty pleased with my average pace, 10'12''.

Recovery Drink
I drank about half of this bottle simply because it tasted so chalky that if I had tried to drink the whole thing I probably would have thrown up. Ugh. It was a chore to drink half of it. I really didn't enjoy it.

Running 12 miles was difficult. I hadn't run for that far since mid-May. I could feel it in my calves most of all - and I was acutely aware of my left hip, which has given me problems in the past. I feel like that has to do with me skipping one of my strengthening workouts, so I'm going to make it a priority to not skip any more!

This upcoming week is pretty lenient, until Saturday - 14 miles! I've never run that far in my entire life. Eep!

How was your weekend? Any suggestions for post-running stretches?

August 21, 2013

The Big Dipper Tempo Run

On Tuesday, I completed the NTC Intermediate Get Strong Perfect Score, the first NTC workout that I had completed previously. Full disclosure: I hated it. It was in the morning, and I just didn't have the energy... I mean, I sat through one of the exercises, I was so unmotivated! I'm pretty sure it's because I hadn't completed a full NTC workout since the Wednesday before, (which was the wrong workout, let me remind you). Oh well... at least I did it, right?

Back to running this morning!

I rolled out of bed, almost literally, at 6:45 to go and conquer a 6 mile tempo run around the neighborhood. I had planned out my run via Google Maps the night before, so I at least knew where I was going to run instead of aimlessly running around and getting stopped by dead ends. Unfortunately, Google Maps doesn't tell you where the hills are.

I tried this G Series Prime 01 before I went out. Can I ask Gatorade buffs: WHY is this in a squishy pouch when the liquid inside is NOT a gel? Being my curious self, I expected it to be gel-like, and I gripped it so hard during my first sip that it ended up shooting to the back of my throat, instantly choking me. At 7 in the morning! I spent at least 5 minutes trying not to cough up a storm and get the liquid out of what felt like my lungs. Ugh. Not a good start.

I also packed these for fuel:

Ugh. Has anybody tried these? I do NOT recommend them. I ate one around Mile 2 and almost spit it out - I felt like I was chewing a tire. The consistency was much too hard, not at all like the gummi-ness of my Clif Shot Bloks. Once I got home, I threw the rest of the pouch away. Never again!

So, my fuel wasn't as top notch as it usually is. That's okay, I'm learning what I like!

Big Dipper Run?
I started the run with a slight incline, and then turned the corner, and there it was. The MOTHER of all hills. Here's a street view shot for you to understand my horror at what I'd done.

Maybe you can't tell because of the fish-eye of Google... but it was steep!
Um. Okay. So, no matter that miles 2-5 were supposed to be at "tempo" pace (which to me just means sprint), I had to do it uphill??

Despite all of that, plus feeling like I was gonna die in the middle of the 2nd mile, I actually did okay on my tempo run. What goes up must come down, right? The only reason why miles 3 and 5 were SO fast were because I was running downhill or on a flat plane almost the entire time. I felt like I was flying! It was still hard, of course, but I'm sure if it had been flat I would have only been getting in the mid 8s, like mile 4.

Hmmm, interesting. I still don't think it counts since it was on hills!
In any case, I'm glad it's over, and now the only run left for the week is my extremely slow 12-miler. I've been meaning to make a special playlist of slow-but-motivating songs for this run. That, or listen to an audiobook to keep my mind off of how long I'll be out there. The instructions say to run it 1-2 minutes slower than your regular pace, so I'm just gonna try and hit around the 11s and 12s.

Have you ever ran while listening to an audiobook? 

August 20, 2013

Engagement, Part 2!

Check out Part 1!

Even as we rode the elevator, my mind was buzzing: Was this it? Was this the proposal? And my logical side screamed NO! Of course not! I justified that this was just something special to commemorate us seeing Phantom on stage for the first time together - a callback to our first date. Something to commemorate the occasion. He opened the door, and through the doorway I saw this:

Balloons! Any room with balloons inside is no ordinary room. This was the moment that I knew. It was a callback to all the times he had asked me to dances, using balloons.

My bedroom, September 16, 2004, after he asked me to Homecoming, before we officially started dating.
October 10, 2006 - the same bedroom, literally filled with balloons to ask me to Homecoming.
I saw later that there were also flowers and candles, pictured below, also a callback to how he had asked me to dances in the past:

July 20, 2013
Asking me to prom on May 2, 2007, with candles and candy
I walked into the room, rounded the corner, and there he was, facing me. :) I watched as he got down on one knee and proposed. He used my full name and everything! Of course I immediately started sobbing and was able to choke out an enthusiastic "Yes!" midst my sobs. He called his sister to come upstairs and she took some cheesy posed pictures. I loved them all!

Love this!
The future Mr. and Mrs. Peters :)
My future sister-in-law!!
The ring:

Sapphire and band detail
Most importantly:

There WAS cheesecake! And chocolates!
and champagne!
I took a few more pictures in the morning of the view we had (it was AMAZING):

The view in the morning
A latte I got the next morning at Hundred Acres, appropriately decorated.
It was an awesome, awesome way to get engaged. I wish we could have stayed in the hotel longer! JW had bought it just for that one night, which made it all the more special. I can't believe I got engaged in Times Square after seeing The Phantom of the Opera! I smile every time I look at my hand :)

We look forward to the wedding!!

This is how excited we are!! :D

Coming up: Our engagement party!