Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween Core Workout

Happy Halloween to all! I hope everyone has a fun day ahead! I'm wearing some cat ears at work this morning and am planning to dress up for Crossfit as well tonight.

Yes, there is a land called taper-avoidance and I am it's queen. The end.

I gave a Super Scary Core Workout to one of my classes last night and thought it would be fun to post it for you to do at home! You just need a mat and a dumbbell!

The workout should take about 30 minutes. You start with 5 straight leg raises for the first round. Second round, you do 5 leg raises and 6 weighted sit-ups. Third round, you do 5 leg raises, 6 weighted sit-ups and 7 alternating plank T's. Continue until you finish with 5 straight leg raises through 13 candlesticks. Woo!

Here are links to the exercises in case you need them!

Straight Leg Raises
Weighted sit ups
Alternating plank T's
Russian twists (with dumbbell)
Back extensions
Lunges with twist
Knees to chest
Toe touches

Let me know if you try the workout!

In other news, I'm not complaining, but it's been rainy here. I've been trying to avoid catching a cold this week before the marathon, so I've taken to the treadmill the past few mornings.

Things I love about the treadmill: I get super duper sweaty.

It's hard to see in the picture, but I was a sweat monster! And I loved it. I ended up doing 4 miles and mixed it up with lots of intervals. Basically the week before a race I try to just do shorter runs with lots of speed bursts, so maybe it was a good thing I was on the treadmill so I had to pay attention to my speed.

While I try not to make the treadmill a habit, I think it can be a good training tool. Especially for speed workouts. I find it fun and entertaining to do intervals, so it definitely makes the time pass more quickly. And you always end up a sweaty mess by the end, so that's a plus!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Taper Madness

Twas the week before the NYC Marathon and all through the house, Allison was supposed to be tapering. Just like a mouse?

First, I'd just like to say my thoughts go out to all those on the east coast impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Still waiting to hear from a few friends to make sure they are alright. I'm not sure if the marathon is still going to go down, but if it does, it will be a celebration of the resilience and strength of the greatest city! I'm still planning for a marathon, but will have to wait and hear the plan just like everyone else!

Anyways, yes, I'm trying my best to back off and taper! I think as runners, we all go a little crazy during taper time. I was browsing Pinterest the other day and found a lovely pin that pretty much outlined all the crazy I experience during taper. Let's see how I stack up!

Severe Germophobia
You better believe it. I am so paranoid of picking up a virus. My boss was sick a few weeks ago and I pretty much wiped down anything he had touched. Such a good employee. Yesterday I was feeling all sorts of worn out and under the weather. I made it my duty to rest as much as possible!

Phantom Aches and Pains
Check and check. My shins were hurting this weekend, probably from standing all day at the gym. I have since been wearing my favorite Pro Compression socks and they are feeling better. Nothing like that immediate fear you get when something new hurts, especially during marathon week!

Inability to Focus
Well, I pretty much always have an inability to focus. Currently, if you want to strike up a conversation with me, I will probably blurt out "I'm running the NYC Marathon this weekend!" in the middle of your first sentence. Sorry I'm not sorry. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Insomnia/Fitful Sleep
I have actually been so tired lately, I haven't had to worry about this one, yet! Let's hope that I stay a good sleeper through the end of the week!

Excessive Hand-Washing/Sanitizing
I think I washed my hands at work at least 10 times each day this weekend. Send lotion.

Uncontrollable Urge to Constantly Check the Weather Forecast
This one isn't tough because Hurricane Sandy coverage is all over the place. I'm trying to be empathetic towards those who have no power and are experiencing the worst of this storm. I have to admit, I am really hoping it gets cleaned up in time for the marathon, though! If everything is a go, it looks like Sunday will be a very nice day!

Heightened Sensitivity to Nearby Sneezing or Coughing
I wouldn't be surprised if I end up buying a sterile box to camp out in until Sunday. Checking Brb.

High Level of Excitability
"Oh no, you had a bad day at work today--BUT I"M RUNNING THE NYC MARATHON THIS WEEKEND!"

Heavy/Dead Legs
Not sure if my heavy legs the past two days are because I've been feeling a little under the weather, but I'm hoping it goes away so I can get in some fast striders this week!

Frequent Bouts of Self Doubt
Did I train enough? I stopped during some of my long runs to pee, did that ruin my training and am I ever going to beat 4 hours and OMG I'm never going to make it 26.2 miles!

Increased Anxiety
Not sure my anxiety levels could get much higher. But you'd better believe on top of taper, running the marathon, hoping my flight doesn't get cancelled, and that the marathon is still on despite the flooding and power outages due to Sandy, my anxiety levels are at an all time high! My extreme excitability does not help in this case.

Extreme Restlessness
Yesterday afternoon instead of getting some work done, I decided to roast every vegetable in my kitchen. Broccoli, brussel sprouts, green beans, sweet potatoes. I pretty much just can't sit still. Someone send some restraints.

Obsession with Race Details
I am not ashamed of the fact that I have both a spreadsheet with race information and a color-coded packing checklist. For me, this definitely helps relieve some of the anxiety that isn't under my control. I have also read about every NYC Marathon recap known to human-kind. Despite the fact that I've already run the race. 

Race Related Nightmares
I've only had one in which I forgot to pick up my race bib, showed up at the start line and they literally sent me on a plane back to Seattle. Let's hope that doesn't happen!

Any other taper crazies not mentioned here? I want to hear them!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Running Happy

What a rainy weekend we had in Seattle! Thankfully, the end of last week wasn't too bad at all so I was able to get out and enjoy it before the weekend. But I had to work anyway, so then I don't mind the rain!

So...I'm running NYC Marathon in less than a week! Eeek! I'm very excited, and not too nervous yet. I bet the nerves won't kick in until I get on that plane Fridayt. I feel like I am well trained and ready to go!

But then taper happened. Wait, what taper?

Admittedly, I have not been a very diligent taper-er (yes, that's a word and I just made it up). I've kept my long runs to minimal mileage, but haven't really changed much else. I'm going to try to take it easier this week, especially towards the end. However, with 2 50k's looming in my near future, I'm trying to semi-keep my mileage up. We'll see how that bodes for the marathon, but my main goal is to just have fun and enjoy the experience as much as I did last year.

Enjoying post-NYC Marathon 2011!
Can't stop, won't stop showing off my medal!
I've had several great runs the past week.

Wednesday afternoon, I met Ultra-marathoner Jess for a loop around the Lake Youngs Trail in Renton. This trail is different from Cougar or Tiger Mountain in that it is a little flatter and the "trail" is much wider. You don't get as much of a true trail experience, but it's still a nice little loop.

Jess and I took it nice and easy at the beginning and were both feeling great several miles in, so we started picking up the pace a bit. By the end, neither of us were talking much, but I found it great fun to be flying around that trail! We finished 9.8 miles in 1 hour and 26 minutes. Whew!

Happy runner @ Lake Youngs
Jess just so happens to be sponsored by Powerbar, which is kind of awesome. Tuesday night before we met, she texted me if I wanted some Powerbar gels. Free fuel? Duh!

After our run Wednesday, I get back from the bathroom to find two huuuuge boxes of gels on my car. A few gels?! This should last me for the rest of my life...

Other awesome runs included another run with Jess, this time around Discovery Park and in the pitch black! We met at 6:45am Friday morning, doning our headlights and plenty of morning mojo. It's so rare for anyone to want to run with me in the mornings that I just get soooo excited when it actually happens. Kind of like Christmas! Almost...

Different day, same loop. So much darker.
We did a nice, easy 5 miles around the park. It was so peaceful and I was greatful to have a morning running buddy for once!

After Discovery Park, I headed out to Redmond to meet Erika for 8 miles. We met at Marymoor Park and did an out and back along the river.

Erika and I met at the beginning of the summer at a blogger meetup on Alki. We've been talking about meeting up for a run for FOREVER and we finally made it happen! I'm so proud of us!

We had a great run, kept it nice and speedy! I think just about every mile was under 8 minutes. My stomach was having some issues, unfortunately, and we stopped to walk around mile 7 for a minute or so. Not sure what was going on that morning, but my stomach was NOT having it for those final few miles!

The run flew by and it was so great getting to know Erika better and hear about all her Ironman training adventures. She is so going to rock it in a few weeks and I can't wait to hear how it goes afterwards!

The rest of my weekend mostly consisted of working, with some running and Crossfit in there as well. Happy Monday! Less than a week until NYC!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bar Method Review

Wednesday morning, I ventured to south Lake Union for a Bar Method class. I had several reasons for trying a bar class.

First, since they are touted as being somewhat of a dancer workout, I thought I would really enjoy the approach. I figured I would not only be pretty good at it, but I knew it would be a good workout.

Second, the gym I work at wants to eventually incorporate a bar-type class into the group fitness schedule. They have asked me if I would be interested in teaching a class like this, so I figured I should probably figure out the general idea behind the "bar" classes that have been popping up everywhere. 

Third, I just like to try new workouts! It's fun to challenge yourself in a completely different way than your body is used to.

I walked in and was immediately greeted by two friendly faces! They made sure I filled out all the paperwork and showed me around the studio, making sure I felt more than comfortable and knew all the policies. 

Before class, you are supposed to hang on one of these bars for as long as you can.

The general idea is that you are supposed to stretch and elongate your body. I thought this was an interesting concept, but figured I get enough bar-hanging at Crossfit!

Anyways, I got into class and we started in the center with some small handweights. I looked at the 3 and 4 pound weights the instructor had recommended to me and had a moment of superiority.

3-4 pounds?! I can deadlift half my body weight! What is this?

Little did I know! I barely made it through that warm up. We were lead through a series of bicep and tricep work. By work, I mean: holy cow my arms were going to fall off! We would basically get into a position and do small, barely visible, pulses for what seemed like an eternity. It was definitely a humbling reality check for me when I barely made it through the warm up!

The rest of the class comprised of similar movements, but in different positions and working different muscles. We did a few things at the bar: calf raises, pulsing with bent knees, pulsing with leg lifts, etc. 


We progressed to some ab exercises and I definitely felt the burn through even more PULSING! I was definitely using muscles I had neglected and was feeling the burn all over!

The class ended with some planking (thank goodness the pulsing was over) and light stretching. 

Whew! I left with some shaky muscles, that's for sure! 

Bar Method was a great workout, and everyone in the class seemed to really be getting into it! I enjoyed the class for what it was, but was a little disappointed at the lack of dance there was. Don't get me wrong! Bar Method was a great workout, but it was more of a conditioning workout, which I'm sure is great for the majority of people. I definitely missed the artistic side of dance, though, and just felt like I was being tortured with an extra long and hard barre. 

That being said, I'm definitely excited to learn more about bar classes and see what else is out there! Who knows, maybe I'll head back to Bar Method Seattle again!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Adventures in Group Fitness, Monday Edition

I had a somewhat interesting morning yesterday! Our morning step aerobics teacher needed a sub instructor at the last minute for his class and guess who stepped up to the plate?!


I am "THIS" girl. Obviously!
Since I am still not comfortable with aerobics enough to teach an entire hour long class, I decided to go with more of a conditioning class. I had all of  five minutes to get my *hit together and teach, so I basically wrote down a bunch of exercises that were in my head and had the class tackle them as several different circuits.

Although I wasn't the usual teacher, and didn't do the standard aerobics, I got great feedback! I ended the class with the following Super Sweaty AMRAP (as many rounds as possible).

Feel free to try it out, too! Let me know how it goes if you do!

The rest of the day was not quite as eventful. I got in a slow 4 miles before work. And I got in a good Crossfit workout in the evening.

It's been really cold in Seattle the past few days and it's totally frustrating me when I go to CrossFit. Our "box" is literally a warehouse.

Which means there is no heat.

Which means I barely work up a sweat.

Sad panda! I love sweating and it makes me feel like I'm not working hard when I still have 2 layers on at the end of a workout!

I managed to do waaaay too many lunges and squats when I was teaching yesterday morning, so of course, our Crossfit WOD had a crap ton of lunges. Go figure!

We did 2 rounds of the following:
Walking lunges across the gym
15 wall ball
15 pullups
Walking lunges across the gym
Farmer's walk
15 push ups
15 v ups
Farmer's walk

Not too bad! I blew through that in about 10 minutes.

I can't tell you how excited I am for a day off tomorrow! You can guess how I'll be spending it!

I'm finally going to head over to Bar Method and take a class. Since my gym really wants me to teach a class like this, I need to get my rear in gear and start taking classes. I'm probably going to have to trade out some CrossFit workouts to fit it in, but I'm determined to teach a bar class like this. It's so similar to dance and I think with my background, I'll be really good at it!

After Bar class, I'm heading out to Lake Youngs for a trail run! Excited for a fun day off! I hope everyone is having a great start to their week!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Current Fall Favorites

I got my first pumpkin this weekend! Actually, a friend got him for me. Aren't friends the best?! I didn't have any fall decorations, so Charlie (yes, I named my pumpkin) is giving my apartment a festive feel.

In other festive fall news, I got this Pumpkin Spice Coffee from Trader Joe's last week.

Holy delicious I can't even handle it. I brought a mug of it with me to work yesterday and was making everyone take a whif. I'm pretty sure I convinced the whole gym to go pick up a canister. As I'm writing this, I'm thinking how this was probably a grave mistake because now my Trader Joe's is going to sell out! That's it. I'm stocking up!

Another fall favorite? Leaves!

I met some friends for a run Friday afternoon at Discovery Park. There were so many leaves I couldn't get over it. Of course, when you're trail running, you can't really look around too much or you will inevitably twist an ankle, but it was a fun change!

I did one loop with my friends and then another on my own. It was cool and perfect running weather out! I had a great 6 mile run. I think my stomach is getting better at running in the afternoon. I guess I just needed to train it?! my stomach. That's a new one!

Friday evening I headed over to CrossFit after my run. I was feeling kind of tired, but figured I might as well go and hang out with my friends.

We ended up doing a very unique workout that I loved! It's kind of complicated, so bear with me!

The workout started with the following one-armed dumbbell complex:

Clean and jerk

With this complex, you completed a full set on one arm before doing the other. We also went up in weight for each round.

This was a partner workout. The first person started out doing 7 sets of the dumbbell complex on each side and ten pullups while the other partner rowed as hard as they could until the first person finished. Then you would switch.

Then the first person would do 5 sets of the dumbbell complex on each side and another 10 pullups while the other partner did jump rope. Then switch again.

Finally, partner one did 3 sets of the dumbbell complex and 10 pullups while the other person held a plank with a 15 pound plate on their back.

Woo! So fun!

AND final thing I love about fall?

The New York City Marathon. Obviously.

13 days. Just sayin'!

The rest of my weekend was spent working. And running, obviously. I had lots of friends who raced this weekend, so I tried to get over my race envy and cheer them on from afar! If you had a race this weekend, I hope you rocked it and had fun!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Ab Circuit and "Oatmeal" Concoctions

It's Friday! Which doesn't mean much to me, since my longest days are Saturday, Sunday and Monday. But I love the excitement that seems to be in the air on Fridays!

After my epic workout day Wednesday (when I'm supposed to be tapering, nonetheless), I took it easy yesterday. I started my morning with a super slow four miles. As expected, my legs were pretty shot and I just enjoyed my time in the quite, dark morning.

I taught classes last night, and thought I'd share the ab circuit I put my class through!

In case you don't know what some of the exercises are, I've linked videos to most of them:
Hollow Rocks
Toe Touches
Russian Twists
Hip Raises

For this circuit, do each exercise for 2 minutes before continuing to the next. After each plank, do 15 inchworms before continuing with 2 minutes for each exercise.

Have fun! It should take 20-30 minutes. And you will definitely feel your abs the next morning!

I also made the most delicious breakfast yesterday. It's a little on the bizarre side, so stick with me.

I've tried really hard to get into oatmeal. I'm not sure why, but I just couldn't make it a regular breakfast. I always just felt too full and heavy afterwards. Now that it's getting colder, I've been craving warm foods, especially in the morning just after running.

I've read about "Oatmeal minus the oats" in the blog world before and always skimmed over it, dismissing the trend as way too out of the ordinary for me. I'm not sure what changed my mind, but I tried it Wednesday morning and had it as an afternoon snack yesterday, too.

And I LOVED it! Reading the recipe, it just sounds so strange. But I promise it is delicious. It left me full from all the protein (nuts, eggs), but didn't give me that too full feeling that I get when I eat a huge bowl of carbs first thing in the morning.

Oatmeal (minus the oats)
Adapted from Carrots 'n Cake

  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • 1 egg + 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (add more if desired)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix together the almond milk and eggs, then add the walnuts, flaxseed, cinnamon, banana and vanilla. Mix well.

Heat the mixture in a medium saucepan, stirring frequently until the desired consistency is reached.

Top with anything! I've been rocking the almond butter lately, but berries or more banana would be good, too!

I pretty much killed my jar of almond butter yesterday. If that's not a clean jar, I'm not sure what is!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Awesome Day Off

My boss convinced me to work the next seven days straight, so I made sure I had an awesome day off yesterday.

I knew I needed to get in 15 miles for my long run this week, so I decided to tackle them yesterday. The timing was less than ideal, since it hasn't been a full week since my 22 miler, but I do what I can!

I slept in until 6, and took my time making myself a good breakfast and getting ready to run. I did an out and back along the Burke Gilman Trail and I've decided I really love doing out and backs. I'm not sure why, but it gives me a turning point, or something to look towards.

Blurry Burke Gilman
I didn't really have many expectations for the run today. Last night, I even was thinking how little a 15 miler is. Hah! Not little at all! Marathon training toootally screws with your long run perceptions!

I didn't look at my watch much the first few miles, but when I did, I was hitting a great pace! I couldn't believe I was going so fast. I even saw some 7s in there, and I felt like I was hardly working. I love it when that happens during runs. And I'm not sure that has ever happened during a long run for me.

I had planned to turn around at mile 7, but was just feeling so awesome, I decided to turn around just after 8 miles and turn it into a 16 mile run. I headed back along the trail and continued to feel great!

I didn't really start feeling tired until mile 14, but was able to stay strong the final two miles to finish up 16!

Killed it.

Such a great run! I just about galloped down the sidewalk to my apartment I was on such a runner's high. I've been feeling that high so frequently lately and it makes me feel lucky!

I did my best to recover quickly from my morning of fun because I was meeting my Tough Mudder team at Carkeek Park for a run later that afternoon. I know it probably wasn't the smartest idea to run again when I was supposed to be tapering, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to hang with my crew!

My crew. Not everyone was present for Carkeek, but we sure make an awesome team!
Carkeek was gorgeous today. I'd never been to that park before, and it's my new favorite! I can't believe how close I am to so many trails. It's amazing there are so many within the city of Seattle. And even more if you are willing to drive 20-30 minutes.

We did a loop that was about 2 miles long, twice. The first time around, we hiked up several of the hills and came in around 21 minutes. The second time, we apparently decided to race the whole thing and finished in 18 minutes. These dudes are exhausting! Haha, it was really fun, though. And with views like this, how can you not love life?!

After our run, everyone was headed over to our Crossfit box for a workout. I couldn't pass that up! Good thing I brought lots of snacks!

In deciding to do another workout for the day, I promised myself I would't overdo it and try to go a little easier. I did just that and really focused on cheering on my friends and having fun.

Our WOD included a barbell complex with a deadlift, and a full power clean with a squat. If that makes no sense, don't worry about it. Haha!

My partner is running a half marathon this weekend, so she was fine with taking it easy.

So partner 1 started with 5 sets of the barbell complex, then partner 2 went. When both people were finished with the barbell, partner one heads out for a 300 meter run while partner 2 rows until they come back.

Then you complete 6 sets of the barbell complex with each partner, and then switch rowing and running. I enjoyed this workout a lot, but definitely held back. We tried to get through as many rounds as possible in 16 minutes. My partner and I got up to 10 barbell complex's each. Woo! My shoulders were burning from those cleans!

I headed home in an exhausted, but crazy happy state. I only got more excited when I checked my mail and found this waiting for me:

Can't wait for NYC!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Completely Crazy

When I share with people what my training schedule looks like, how many miles I run, or how many workouts I do, they generally look at me like I'm crazypants.

Which I totally am.

But it works for me. I've built up my fitness level to the point that I can push my body to the limits and it knows how to quickly recover. I've been lucky to find several friends who also share in the craziness. One of whom is an ultra marathoner. When I talk about doing 2 a day workouts, this woman is doing 3 a days and running double mileage days back to back. She's pretty much my hero!

Of course, with all her crazy, I couldn't help but be bit by the ultra marathon bug, too. I thought my first 50k was going to be the Fat Ass 50k January 5th. I'd planned to run the Pigtails marathon December 15th and then build from there.

But hold up.

Instead of running a marathon on December 15th for the Pigtails Flat Ass, I think I'm going to run my first 50k. Blame Nicole and Robyn. I think they are both running the 50k and I want to be part of the cool kids club, too! So I'm changing my registration and going to rock a 50k December 15th. Get ready for the crazy!!!

In other news, I got some new shoes.

So white!
I want my current Brooks Ghost's to last me through my January 5th 50k, so I knew I needed some other shoes for my shorter runs during the week. I went into the store and tried on the Brooks Ghost 5 and these Brooks Defiance. I was torn about which shoe to get, but ultimately decided to go with the Defiance to give my feet something a little different.

Scene change.

I've been rocking CrossFit workouts lately. Thursday we did a fun partner workout.

We alternated with a partner between 3 push jerk, 6 wall ball and 9 knees to chest. Ultramarathoner Jess and I partnered up and make it our mission to beat all the boys. We pretty much dominated. Not going to lie.

Sunday night, it was raining and I had just spent 8 hours at work. The last thing I wanted to do was go to Crossfit. As usual, I rallied with my buddies and we all met for the 5pm workout. I was so glad I went. My legs were still a little cranky from my 22 miles Friday, despite running both Saturday and Sunday mornings, and this workout totally loosened me up. Not only that, but it was fun. I love my Crossfit friends and they always put me in a better mood.

Our workout was "Death By....kettlebell swings and burpees". I did a "death by" workout a few weeks ago, but with push ups and pull ups. Both were challenging in their own way!

Every minute, on the minute, we worked. We started with 2 kettlebell swings and 2 burpees on the first minute. Next minute, was 3 kettlebell swings and 3 burpees. And it continued for 16 minutes. I died after 12 minutes, so I cut my reps in half and started again. Woof! Good times! The first few minutes, I was dancing and having a great time, but I was a schweaty mess by the end!

Yesterday, we had another fun partner workout.

This was a shoulder killer. Obviously.

And I thought regular push ups were hard. Try doing them on a pair of rings. Ouch. I'm currently waiting for the DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) to kick in. Because it's coming!

Lots of trail runs with friends this week, some more Crossfit and a longer-ish run on tap for this week! Ready to rock!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Last Long Run

22 miles. Longest training run I've ever done. Boom!

This run was everything I wanted it to be. It was challenging in all the right ways and so fulfilling and OMG I LOVE RUNNING!

But let's start at the beginning.

When making my training plan this time around, I decided to incorporate two 20 milers and one 22 miler. I felt like I was in a good place to handle the distance and that this would make me more confident on race day.

I woke up Friday morning ready for my last long run of this training cycle. I knew this run was going to be difficult, but I was also brimming with excitement.

Full of excitement. And wearing my 2011 NYC Marathon Shirt. Obviously. 
I had decided to head out to Alki Beach in West Seattle for my run. I had the 22 miles all planned out, complete with 2 pretty intense hills at miles 1.5-4 and 14-16. As I was driving over, the rain was coming down pretty steady, but as I was pulling in to park, it magically stopped. Call me superstitious  but I knew then it was going to be a good run.

Grey day, but no rain!
Although my legs were pretty lead-like thanks to my run straight up and down Tiger Mountain two days prior, I was trucking along just fine and made it up and down the first hill feeling good.

I was pretty happy with my mile splits and was holding somewhat steady just above 8:30 for most of them. I have to admit, I was somewhat holding back a bit most of the time because I didn't want to burn out too badly before the end. After my last big hill around mile 16, since I was still feeling stellar, I told myself to start picking up my pace a bit. I was hoping to hover right around 8:30s for miles 17-19, and then pick up even more speed between 20-22.

Unfortunately, I think I tried to pick it up a little too early. I hit 8:20 for a few miles, but then started getting really tired. My last two miles were nothing short of challenging. I was reminded of how difficult those final miles of the marathon were last year. The last two miles I was just trying to get through. I kept thinking how much I wanted to walk, but just kept shuffling along. I hope this helps come marathon day!

I finished 22 miles in 3 hours and 14 minutes. Despite how hard those final miles were, I couldn't help but be excited and happy. If I can hold this pace for four more miles, I will have a sub 4 marathon under my belt!

Allison smiles!
I am so excited to rock NYC Marathon I can't stand it! I am well-trained and mentally ready! The next two weeks are taper-time, which is not my forte. My goal is just to keep my legs from getting overly tired. Especially next week. Here we go NYC!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Trail Running Tiger Mountain

I have admittedly gone a little kookoo for cocoa puffs. Or something of the sort!

My friend Jess took me up to Tiger Mountain yesterday for a trail run. She's talked up Tiger a lot to me, and it's the mountain I will be running for my supposed 50k in January. 

As opposed to the other trails I've run, this mountain is no joke. There are three summits and each one kind of just goes straight up and then straight down. 

If I remember correctly, we were on West Tiger for most of our run. We started at a lower parking lot (so we didn't have to have to pay for a special pass) and headed up to the mountains. I really didn't know what to expect. As a newbie trail runner, I always hear talk about "hiking" during runs. I've always thought this was kind of dumb. You're there to run, yes?

Not. Yesterday, I completely understood. After about 2 miles of pretty intense uphill, we literally came to a severe vertical ascent. We started hiking, obviously, because there was NO way to run up. Not only were we hiking, but it was the most difficult hike of my life. My calves were burning, my hips were aching and it was awesome. I really needed some time to get out of my head and focus on something else (pain, haha), so it was perfect. 

Both Jess and I were breathing hard for the 2-3 mile climb. You read that right. 2-3 miles. Insanity. 

The mountain itself was beautiful. It looked a lot like the picture below. Although steep. Very, very steep. I loved being out in the trees and it was a nice change from the other trails I've done as well. The paths were barely visible and I was just surrounded by beauty.

Couldn't have asked for a better run! Once we hit the summit, Jess said there were two ways back down. One way that was almost straight down that we could do run/walk intervals on, and the other that was more technical, but not as straight down. I opted for the less steep version.

I'm not very comfortable going down trails, yet. I assume it will come with time, but yesterday it was very apparent how slow I am! I am fearful, which definitely holds me back.

This downhill was no joke, either. It may have been easier than the other way descent-wise, but I was struggling the whole time. After about 2 miles, my quads were on fire and I was having trouble concentrating over not tripping on tree roots! I always assume downhill is easier than uphill, but for me, downhill is definitely more challenging. I had no less than 15 close calls, where I either just about slipped on my booty over loose rocks or fell face first over a root.

Although I mentally felt like I could have kept going forever, my legs were ready to call it quits. We ended up doing about 7.2 miles in just under 2 hours. I know that sounds slow, but that direct uphill was epic!

Enough about Tiger Mountain.

CrossFit has been fun this week! I love the camaraderie in our gym. I have found some people who are regulars in all my classes and we cheer each other on like gangbusters to make it more fun!

Tuesday afternoon, we had a "long" workout. During the warmup, our coach went around to everyone and asked them to name a skill. He then turned that into the workout below.

I'm not sure why, but I was totally dunzo after this workout. I must've layed on the floor for 10 minutes after I finished! I absolutely LOVE that feeling!

Last night, after trail running, my legs were pretty wasted. I wasn't sure how Crossfit was going to go, and I ended up taking it a little easy.

Our workout was one I enjoyed. We did a 250 meter row, then sets of box jumps, power snatches and toes to bar, and finished with another 250 meter row.

I like to think I'm getting pretty good at power snatches, and toes to bar are definitely a forte. If I had been fresh-legged, I would have loved to work on a higher box jump, but I took it easy and used a small one. I'm learning to accept that if I'm running like a crazed maniac, I'm not going to make as big of strides at Crossfit, and that is okay with me. I'd rather have a great run!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Things I'm Loving

Last night's CrossFit workout was surprisingly difficult! I was feeling a little sluggish and tired yesterday afternoon and didn't really want to go workout again. It's nice to have friends at Crossfit who keep me accountable, otherwise I totally would have skipped!

Our workout was an AMRAP (as many rounds as possible). We used medium weight kettlebells that we first used to do 2 handed swings. Then we carried them in the racked position (basically up at your chest) across the gym. We used the bar to do 10 toes to bar and then carried the kettlebells back and started again. Swinging and walking the kettlebells wasn't too hard, but after a few rounds, those toes to bar became increasingly difficult! Instead of surrendering to knees to chest on the bar, I powered through with the toes to bar and took breaks when I needed to.

Since it's peak week, I've been running, obviously. Nothing miraculous, just some lovely super early morning running!

I always like to read products that bloggers are loving and using, so I thought I'd make my own list periodically. Here's the first!

Amphipod Cap Light
I was in desperate need of a light to run with. I really didn't want to go with a headlamp as I've heard they kind of just bounce around on your head, and I didn't want to run with a flashlight because I hate having things in my hands while running. I found this little dude on the REI website and decided to go in and get one. It is supposed to clip onto a baseball cap, but since I don't always run with a baseball cap, I wrapped some elastic around it and wear it on my arm. The light isn't insanely bright, but it's helpful for dark mornings when I can't see where I'm stepping!


A fine line exists between control and flow. We do our best to control our internal and external environment. We manage our time, our work, reputation, money and try to manage other people–with varying degrees of success. We exert control over our bodies by choosing our food or denying it food, rest or even a deep breath. We feel emotions or stuff them down. We’re good at control. In many ways, control is necessary and appropriate but too much of it tightens the mind, harms the body and armors us against the freedom flow that we actually deeply desire. The truth is that much of the time control is impossible and the only way to avoid suffering is to give up the habit of trying to control. 

I found this quote on Peanut Butter Runner's blog and it totally hit home for me. Control is something I struggle to let go of personally and this message is so spot on. Control can be great, but too much is certainly unhealthy. I think control is a way to try and reach perfection for many people,but no one is perfect, so we might as well stop trying!

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Luna Bar

I'm not a huge bar person. I eat them because they are convenient and sometimes when I'm running around at work, it's all I can get in. I am a big fan of Lara Bars usually, but I have a current love affair with this Luna Chocolate Dipped Coconut bar. It tastes just like a macaroon and goes perfectly with coffee! A great sweet treat!

Running Sucks T-Shirt

My friend Scott, the guy who is training for his first race as a 50k has this shirt and every time I see him wear it, I burst out laughing. Obviously I don't think running sucks. I think the opposite, actually, but I think this shirt is just hilarious. I don't own one, yet, but the time is drawing near!

What are you loving lately? Anything that NEEDS to be added to my list this week???