Archive | May, 2013

Final P90X Results and Review

30 May

After 3 intense months Adam and I are officially P90X graduates!  It has been a lot of hard work, planning, and early mornings, but man alive it has been so worth it!  Adam and I have both seen big changes in the mirror, but more importantly in strength and overall fitness.  I love what P90X has done for my running and my overall durability.  I just feel strong.  And I like it. This is a program that I highly recommend and can personally attest to the results.  Check out the P90X page to see more tips or thoughts on getting started.  The information below is based on Adam and I completing the “Classic” version of P90X. Onto the final results (and embarrassing pictures)!

What is P90X?

P90X is a home fitness program designed by Tony Horton and produced by Beachbody.  They are the same producers of Insanity, Turbofire, and many other at-home workout programs.  The program calls for a minimum of 6 days a week of workouts which vary from heavy lifting for the arms, legs, and shoulders, to high intensity plyometrics, to Yoga.  P90X is known for being an intense, but well-designed comprehensive fitness program.

Final Tape Measure Results:

(Kelly in blue, Adam in green, in inches.  Feb – May).

Waist: -2.25      -3

Chest: -3      +1.25

Hips: -2.5    -1.75

Calf: +.25     +.125

Bicep:  0    0    (I swear we did the arm workouts)

Body Fat Percentages:

(This is from Phase 2 – we didn’t get a fat caliper initially)

Kelly: -2%

Adam: -3%

Weight:

From Oct – May (We didn’t weigh ourselves again at the beginning of Round 2 Phase 1)

Kelly: -8.5 lbs. (down 10 lbs. from my heaviest last spring)

Adam: -9lbs.

Running:

While training for my half-marathon this spring I have consistently noticed higher and higher paces.  I believe a huge part of this is due to P90X.  I am stronger and faster.  P90X also helped me to attain my fastest half-marathon to date!  A full 15 minute PR from last year!

Photos:

Adam and I initially started a first round of P90X in October.  With this round we ate generally healthily, but didn’t follow the nutrition guide to a T.  Additionally we started this round over the holidays and got a little over half-way.  Adam had to drop after about 5 weeks of P90X so in week 9 or so I jumped ship and we started a brand new round so Adam could join in again.  This explains the transition from Oct – May.  The plan from Oct – Feb was based on healthy eating, completing a minimum of 4-5 workouts per week.  The plan from Feb – May was based on following the nutrition plan and a minimum of 5-6 workouts per week.  There were some cheat meals in there around the holidays as well.  These photos show our complete progress of the entire 6-7 months of following the workouts.

Kelly Back and Side Oct-May

Adam Back Oct-May

Pros:

  • If you put the work in, you will get results.
  • There is a wide variety of exercises (yoga, lifting, plyo, kenpo).
  • You can literally do the whole thing in your house.
  • It’s well organized and set up for you – you don’t have to think!
  • Tony is motivating and knowledgeable (and intense).
  • They show a wide range of levels and modifications.  I used these modifications heavily in the beginning.
  • Tony never makes you feel bad if you can’t do something initially – Do your best and forget the rest!
  • It’s a great program for men and women.  Adam and I could successfully do it together even though we desired different results (gain muscle vs. lose weight).
  • It’s a great program to do with a partner of either sex!  It was great to have something Adam and I could share and do together.
  • The videos include a warm-up and cool down which makes each workout comprehensive and complete.
  • From a woman’s perspective: you don’t bulk up.  This was a big fear of mine.
  • From a man’s perspective: you build muscle and can get bigger!
  • After purchasing P90X you get to keep it.  Unlike a gym membership, you have the videos and program as an investment.

Cons:

  • The workouts are long and a commitment.  Minimum of 60 minutes, but average 75 minutes.  Yoga is 90 minutes.
  • 6 days a week workout.  I would’ve loved 5 days a week.  This gives you flexibility and you can always get another workout in another way.  6 days a week made it hard to plan around P90X if you are super busy or travel often on the weekends.
  • Some of the ‘characters’ might annoy you, including Tony.  For me this was never a deal-breaker, but something to note.
  • From a guy’s perspective: To really maximize results it can get expensive.  Adam really could’ve used heavier weights.  He needed more of a range of weights (and at $1 a pound, 2 thirty pound dumbells is 70 bucks).  It’s an investment that you’ll use over the course of time, but it’s certainly an investment.
  • The nutrition plan can get a bit stale.  At times I felt there weren’t enough options in each of the categories (we did the portion plan).

 Final Thoughts

Overall, I couldn’t be happier with my P90X results.  When I look back on my pictures I don’t remember looking that way.  It’s pretty amazing what hard work and dedication can do!  I really enjoyed the set-up and ease of the program and it is something I have recommended to family and friends.  Personally I think it’s an awesome program for both men and women.  Initially I couldn’t find a lot of info for P90X for women, but after completing the program myself I can definitely say it’s effective for either gender.

P90X is intense so I would make sure you’re relatively fit before beginning the program.  You can always do a “pre-P90X” in the form of Power 90 or another Beachbody program.  Another option is modification.  Many moves I couldn’t complete in the beginning and made modifications to make the moves easier.  This strategy worked great for me.  Then it was super thrilling when I could complete them!

This program can change your fitness level and life, but it is definitely a commitment.  Do your research and prepare before diving into it.  If you’re able to stick with it the program is very rewarding.  It has taught me a lot of good habits that I look forward to carrying forward with me.  P90X is something I will definitely hang onto and do again (probably before the wedding :)).  This has been one investment I’m thrilled I purchased!

Thanks P90X for an awesome program!

-Kelly

Note: I am not affiliated with Beachbody or P90X in any way, shape, or form.  I am not a coach nor do I work for the company/know someone who does.  The opinions expressed are mine alone and I was not compensated in any way.

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Awesome Recipe: Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal

29 May
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Mmmm.. delicious oatmeal bake!

If you love oatmeal and are looking for a unique (and super simple) preparation of it – this recipe is for you!  Ani over at Miles For Thought shared this awhile ago and I have been in love with it ever since.  I think Adam and I have made it three times in the past couple weeks.  It’s awesome.  Thanks Ani for letting me share it – it is so worth a share.  Her blog is full of tasty and healthy recipes – so check her out.  This oatmeal bake is really easy (a requirement for me), nutritious (lots of fiber!), and has a small ingredient list (you don’t need to go out and buy a ton of things to make it happen!).  While doing P90X, Adam and I counted a serving as a carb, half a fruit, and half a protein.  We love this recipe because it makes enough for a quick breakfast for two days for the both of us.

Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal

Ingredients
  • 2.5 cups oats (old-fashion or quick oats both work)
  • 2 cups original Almond milk (can use any milk – I’ve done half almond/half skim and that’s great too)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 3 medium bananas (mashed – 1.5 cups.  Tip: mash the bananas in the peel first.  Also err on the side of more banana.)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg (I’m not a huge nutmeg fan, and omitted it from my bakes and it still tasted great!)
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Super easy – not many ingredients!

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat an 8×8 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. If you don’t have an 8×8 dish you can use cake pans like I did.  What can I say?  I’m a super classy baker.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, dry first and then wet.
  3. Pour the oatmeal mixture into the prepared pan or pans.
  4. Bake for 35 minutes or until oatmeal is golden brown along the edges and set in the middle. Remove from oven and serve warm.  This stores well and you can reheat it for breakfast days later.  Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition: 304cal, 58g carbs, 5g fat, 10g protein, 8g fiber

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What a helper!

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Pre-mash the bananas in their skin and it makes the stirring process a bit easier.

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Tada! Ready to go in the oven. I even stored the mix in the fridge over night and baked it in the morning. Worked like a charm!

Give this one a try – you won’t regret it.  Enjoy and Happy Wednesday!

-Kelly

Do you have any great oatmeal recipes?

 

P90X: Phase 3 Results!

27 May

Adam and I have finally made it through Phase 3 of P90X!  It’s been a lot of work and dedication, but we’ve also thoroughly enjoyed the program.  It has done wonders for us physically and mentally.

The Phase 3 results below are based on following the nutrition plan (with a couple cheat meals – engagement celebrations etc., and a somewhat cheat week with our vacation).  I was still training for half-marathons, so running 3 times a week.  Adam and I also did a minimum of 5-6 workouts per week.  There was a week-long vacation in here as well where we stopped workouts and following the nutrition plan strictly (we didn’t overly splurge, though).  Overall, Phase 3 has been by far the “least dedicated” due to all the excitement of the last few weeks, but we still worked hard and put in a solid effort.  What can I say, life happens!

Phase 3 Tape Measure Results

(Kelly in blue, Adam in green, in inches).

Waist: -.25      -.75

Chest: -.5     -.25

Hips: -.5     -.25

Calf: +.125    -.125

Bicep: 0      +.25

Body Fat Percentage:

Kelly: 0

Adam: -1%

Weight:

Kelly: -.5 lb.

Adam: +1 lb. (thank goodness)

Running:

Last year this time before P90X I ran a 2:06 half marathon.  This year on the same track/race, I ran a 1:51!  That’s probably not completely attributable to P90X, but certainly a huge part of it is.  I’ve been amazed at how much strength training has improved my running.  I am now a huge proponent of lifting and hope to use this as a lesson to not neglect it in future training plans (as I always did before!).  Honestly, I always worried I would bulk up.  I don’t have a naturally long and thin body, so I’ve feared heavy lifting (I didn’t want to look masculine).  Man alive am I glad I gave P90X a go to prove to myself that heavy lifting will actually make me more slender (and not manly)!  An awesome discovery.

Photos:

Kelly Back

Low points of Phase 3:

  • Going on vacation and having to deal with some strange scheduling.  It was hard to split up the program right at the end.
  • Our motivation really wavered.  We were just ready to be done.
  • I was running races so I wasn’t able to give 100% during workouts (oh I can’t do legs and back, oh I can’t push myself like crazy – I can’t be sore for my race!)
  • LOTS of celebrations – which is definitely amazing…but lots of treats and temptations :)

High Points:

  • Funny how all the “low points” above are actually life high points.  Phase 3 was awesome in terms of “life” :)
  • Being able to do almost all the moves in workouts.  Really physically being able to bring it.
  • Seeing a lot of results.  We have come very far aesthetically and, more importantly, strength-wise.
  • Trying Shakeology!  We finally got to see what the buzz was all about.
  • Completing the program!

Coming Up:

I’m planning to start Insanity next week, and I’m really excited to see how the programs differ.  I’ll be sure to document my progress as I continue to get fitter and stronger.  I’ll keep running shorter distances (got clearance from my PT to do short distances and see how my knees are feeling).  I’ll aim for another half in the fall.  Let’s see if Insanity brings me the results like P90X has!  Adam will be moving and I’ll lose my workout buddy.  He will have access to a gym for free (lucky stinker) and will start doing his own plan to gain weight and muscle for the wedding (because that’s super visible behind a suit in a January wedding).  :)   We will both work to maintain our healthy (but balanced with treats and relaxing) lifestyle that we have come to enjoy through P90X.

Keep bringing it!

-Kelly

Wedding Updates!

24 May

Because it’s Friday, tomorrow’s my birthday, I finished P90X, and I plain just want to… here are some wedding updates! (Are you sensing my guilt at a completely non-running/healthy-living related post??)  For those of you that crave fitness-only related posts, I’ll give you a teaser: P90X Final Results Post to come early next week.  I plan to work on it during the drive up to my parents’ house this weekend.  Since it will be one of my last P90X posts in awhile, I want to make it a good one!

Why so busy planning?

Adam and I have been very busy with wedding planning.  In fact, we’re relieved that we get a little bit of a break from a regimented workout program just to allow for all the time we need for planning.  Here’s the deal: we’re trying to get as much planned as humanly possible before June 11 (the day Adam moves to Nashville).  We are on the sprint version of wedding planning. Adam loves planning and frankly… it kind of stresses me out.  For both our sakes we want him involved :)  Once he leaves, I’m anticipating the hospital “will own him” and I won’t have access to him like I do now.  Kelly, I can’t talk to you about which shade of flower is better…trying to take care of my patient who just had a stroke. Yeah – talk about a little perspective.  Because of this we’ve been on a roll making decision after decision and working to get our to-do list down to a minimum!

Photographer

The hardest decision of all has been made!  We settled on our photographer!  Can I get a hallelujah?  This decision has been particularly difficult for several reasons.  The first – my Dad is super into photography.  He is kind of a photog-nerd.  He knows a lot about it and really enjoys it.  I wanted to select a photographer that my Dad not only approved of, but liked as well.  The second reason – I’m super into photography.  I love it and dabbled with it a lot in high school and college.  I haven’t spent much time on it in a few years, but long ago I even played around with the idea of becoming a wedding photographer.  So you might say I’m slightly more critical than the average person.

So the search began!  I started googling and pouring over galleries.  I already had a few photographers in mind as well (from my time of exploring the wedding photography career).  I literally cannot tell you how many wedding photos I have looked at in the last 2 weeks.  My eyes feel criss-crossed, so it’s been just a few ;)  A friend of mine texted me a few days after we got engaged with a recommendation.  I looked her up and BAM!  I knew right then and there that this could be the photographer for us.  We contacted her and I knew again…this could be it!  She is patient, helpful, super sweet, and wonderful to work with.  She took my neurosis about photography in stride and made both of us feel so comfortable and downright excited to work with her.  Adam and I took our time and kept discussing it.  In the end we made the right decision for us and booked Emily Weis Photography.  You can check out her blog here.  We love her work and can’t wait to have her as a part of our day.

Engagement Pictures

Now that the hard part is over, an even harder part is upon us: our engagement shoot!  We have it scheduled in just a couple weeks and I can’t tell you how excited I am.  The only issue – I prefer picking out running outfits over cutesy clothes!  Don’t get me wrong- I love stylish clothes…I’m just not the greatest at picking them out or knowing what to wear.  So bring on your ideas!  Any suggestions on what to wear for our engagement shoot?  Emily suggested 3 outfits: one dressy, one casual, and one whatever.  I’m thinking solid colors would probably be best.  I’ll probably go shopping next week – say a little prayer for me!  Perfect timing on the whole P90X thing – what an ideal time to be in shape!  I imagine all the upcoming events will give me even more motivation when I start Insanity in a week!

Date

We’ve settled on January 18th for the big day!  Yes we do realize that January is in the winter :)

Our reasons:

  • We want to get married soon! (Isn’t there a quote…when you find the person you want to spend the rest of your life with – you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible!)
  • We like the winter
  • It’s “off-season” for weddings – people won’t be sick of weddings in the middle of winter!
  • It’s almost a month after the holidays – something fun to look forward to in the middle of blah winter and hopefully enough time after holiday craziness
  • What a great time to take a little trip or vacation for our anniversary in the future!  Beach in January?  Absolutely!
  • Discounted rates: our band and reception site were more reasonable and have made things that would’ve been out of our price range, in our price range in January.
  • It’s MLK weekend so some folks may get an extra day off – easier for traveling.

Engagement Book

With all the wedding planning things have been just slightly hectic.  As a little surprise this week, Adam put his proposal into a treasurable format!  He added all the post-its and some photos into an album.  It’s perfect timing for a weekend with my family.  Now we have a little book to remember our amazing day!

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Birthday fun and Memorial Day weekend

Another delightful May weekend (it’s officially the best month) is ahead!  Adam and I get to spend the long holiday weekend with both sets of our parents at the lake.  It should be a wonderful time and I can’t wait to get to spend time with everyone.  It’ll be the first time in swimsuits around our families since P90X – let’s see if anyone notices our changes since last summer!

Have a wonderful holiday weekend! :)

-Kelly

Bouquet of Three Award

23 May

I was just nominated for a blogger award!  How fun!  Many thanks to The Scarred Runner for nominating me.  I think this little award is a great way for me to share some blogs I really love by in turn getting to nominate them.  Spread the love I say!

http://thescarredrunner.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/bestmomentaward.pngversatilebloggeraward2sunshine-blog-award

The Bouquet of Three Award Rules

1)  Add The Bouquet of Three Award photos on a blog post.

2)  Thank the person who presented you with the award and link back to him or her in your post.

3)  Share 7 things about yourself.

4)  Pass the award along to 7 bloggers that you have recently discovered. Contact the chosen bloggers to let them know about the award.

7 Things About Me

  1. I was born in the Philippines while my parents were stationed there.  Sadly I have no memories of my time there.  I’d love to visit someday.
  2. I have skydived but I can somewhat confidently say I won’t bungee jump.  Something about falling and getting really hurt vs. just ending it (morbid I know!).
  3. I absolutely adore traveling.  My brother, sister, and father all work in the aviation industry.  We like planes.
  4. My birthday is this coming Saturday!
  5. Qualifying for the Boston Marathon is one of my pie-in-the-sky dreams to complete someday.
  6. I’m allergic to all furry animals.  Reptiles are pretty much the only category that would work for a future pet.  I’m getting shots though, so maybe someday!
  7. My favorite TV show as a kid was The Magic School Bus.  Absolute amazingness.

Paying It Forward To My 7 Newly Discovered Bloggers

  1. A Two Storey Home
  2. fitnesscrEATures
  3. Lucy on the Lookout
  4. My Endless Summer
  5. Race for All 50 States
  6. Run Bike Board Live
  7. Tub on the Run

P90X General Tips Part 2

22 May

P90X

Adam and I recently finished up P90X and are officially P90X Grads!  Woot!  I’m working on compiling photos, measurements, and a review of the program for a post later this week (aren’t you excited??).  In the meantime, I thought I’d share a few more tips from an experienced grad ;)  Enjoy!

  • Use the workout sheets.  Use them religiously.  Fill them out and don’t forget!  This is such a motivator week after week, and they truly give you a baseline.  I highly recommend it.  Bonus tip: there are sheets for Core Synergistics and Ab Ripper…I discovered this last week after around 6 months of P90X.  Great timing.
  • Plan your time to workout and stick to it.  Our P90X time is the morning.  Adam and I got into the routine that our workout always took place then.  It helped create routine and that feeling of “dang we missed our workout” if we switched to the afternoon.  Though our usual time was the morning, we did switch to the afternoon if we had conflicts or needed extra sleep.  Any of these switches were planned at least a day in advance.  It’s easy in the morning to say “let’s work out in the afternoon.”  All afternoon switches had to be pre-approved :)
  • Start P90X during a time you can commit to 90 days.  In our case we knew we’d have a vacation right in the 2nd to last week of P90X.  We pushed the end of our P90X round out another 2 weeks (due to my race and vacation).  In hindsight Adam and I both wish we would’ve just moved it up a week (to finish before vacation).  It has been really hard to maintain that same level of motivation (P90X is intense) for what now is almost 3 weeks longer than is prescribed (pushed back a couple days due to our engagement).  Pushing back your workouts up to one week is reasonable (sickness, vacation, etc.). Any more than that, and it’s really hard (especially if you’re nearing the end).   Obviously life happens, and flexibility is needed; however, if you’re in the planning stages, this is something to consider.  But don’t use this as an excuse not to start – we’re all busy people!
  •  Modify! Throughout my time doing P90X, I’ve had to do some modifications due to my knees and running schedule: that’s okay!  Tony says in the video to modify the moves if you’re not ready and this advice is so important.  Don’t injure yourself because ‘you want to complete all the moves.’  It’s better to start out easier and allow improvements as you get stronger.
  •  Think about your photo outfit before you take pictures.  I started out with some shorts that in hindsight I wish I hadn’t used.  They don’t really show how much I’ve changed and they really hit me in a bad place (talk about muffin top even if I was skin and bones).  I wish I would’ve done two sets of pictures.  One in a sports bra and underwear (just for personal tracking) and one other set in something I wouldn’t mind people seeing me in like shorts and a small tanktop (I tend to be more modest, essentially something you’d be comfortable sharing with family and friends).  I want to share my results with people but my outfit choice leaves me not really wanting to share it!
  •  Don’t get discouraged if you have some speed bumps.  Along my journey I’ve seen a lot of awesome improvements, but I’ve also had some setbacks nutritionally and physically.  There were weekends where I didn’t stick quite as closely to the nutrition plan as prescribed (oops).  I didn’t let that stop me from moving forward and working to continue to make good decisions.  My knees caused me a lot of issues, but I didn’t use that as a reason I couldn’t continue – I just modified and made it work.  A healthy lifestyle is not about perfection – it’s about doing your best and making it work!
  •  Take a break when you’re done!  Adam and I are planning a week and a half off of our workout/eating schedule.  We are both totally ready for a break: mentally and physically.  And we’ve kicked butt for over 90 days – we deserve to let loose a little!  The key is to not go overboard.  Ironically I was so ready to be done with P90X just yesterday, but now that this is my first day post-P90X I packed my same lunch and don’t have a huge desire to run out and eat ice cream or change my routine.  It’s my birthday this weekend so I will definitely splurge a little, but now that I’m realizing I can eat that way (no more P90X telling me not to)…I don’t want to as much!
  •  Don’t compare your results to others.  It’s great to look up results for other P90X-ers, but don’t let yourself play the comparison game.  It never ends well and usually makes you feel worse about your results.  Adam and I might not have had as huge results as others, but we probably have better results than some (and roughly the same as others).  Just like everything in life there will always be someone out there with better results (and prettier and thinner and happier and this or that).  Enjoy your unique results – celebrate yourself!  Just because someone has better results than you doesn’t mean your results aren’t awesome!  It’s easy to get discouraged when playing the comparison game, so try to avoid it.

  •  Put in the work – it will pay off.  If you commit fully to the program, you will get amazing results.  Track your food and calories, do your workouts, really push it, and you will be so happy you did.  Adam and I are really proud of our efforts.  It’s been an awesome experience!
  • Plan the next step!  It’s so exciting for me to have finished P90X, but it also helps knowing I will be starting Insanity in a week and a half.  This is helping me stay on track, but also really enjoy my downtime.  I’m hoping with all that time away from regularly scheduled workouts I will be itching to get back at it!

-Kelly

Have you done P90X?  What advice would you share?

Race Recap: Geist Half-Marathon

21 May

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Another medal! She’s a beauty!

This weekend I ran the Geist “Race Around the Reservoir” Half-Marathon.  It was my second half marathon in two weeks, and I had an awesome time (truly I mean it)!  I went into this race a little apprehensive: my motivation was down, and I was really concerned about my knees.  I ended up running the half with a friend I work with, and it was a lot of fun.  We went quite a bit slower than I had planned, but in the long run (no pun intended) it was great for both my spirits and my knees.

The Prep

4:50 am: In the morning I woke up about an hour and a half before we needed to leave and had plenty of time to get ready.  I did this with the Indy mini, and I love the calm that having extra time provides.  After eating half of my bagel (I have to leave something to run back to!), strawberries, and banana, I tried a new race activity.  I drank coffee!  I’ve read online that caffeine can actually improve performance (especially if you’re not used to using it on a regular basis).  Check out articles here or here.  Because I gave up caffeine on January 7th (I’ve had it a handful of times since), I now qualify as a “non-regular user”  WOOT!  I’m thrilled.  I had a big addiction to it.  Anyways – because of this, I thought it would be a great race routine to drink a cup of coffee or caffeinated tea the morning of a race.  In my last half I did caffeinated tea and it was great.  This time I was staying at a friend’s house and went with the coffee.  I was a little nervous about trying something new on race day – but because I wasn’t going for a PR I thought this would be a great opportunity.  It was delicious, warm, and a fun little treat.  It also had the added benefit of getting things moving gastrointestinal-ly (if you know what I mean.).  This is a trick I will continue to incorporate into future races.

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Delicious and effective!

6:20 am: After dressing, taping my knees, and going to the bathroom 6 times, I was ready to go!  Adam was a doll and dropped me off at the start.  This was fantastic because there was no parking at the start – I would’ve had to wake up earlier for a shuttle (yeah – I love sleep, thanks Adam!).  I knew my co-worker, Katherine, was running the race and we planned to at least start together.  I’m a bit faster than she is, but thought it would be nice to run a couple miles with her.  Or at very least have someone to stand next to at the start.  We found each other and after one last stop at the porta-potties, made our way to the corrals. Because this race was so small you could self-select your start time.  We stood near the 2:00 mark.  After chatting with Katherine a bit more I realized that I really wanted to help her achieve a PR of 1:58.  I knew that I could get that time and I also thought it would be a smart thing for me to not go for the moon and cause too much damage to the poor knees.  My PT would be proud of that decision!  I had my PR, I wanted to get Katherine hers.  A bit of foreshadowing here: Katherine ran her first full marathon 3 weeks ago (for you non-runners, it typically takes about a month to recover from fulls, especially for non-professional/new-to-marathons runners.)  I told Katherine my plan: run negative splits starting out at 9:00 min/miles and slowly increase the pace after mile 8.  She said it sounded great – though I didn’t have to stick with her, “You’re faster than me, so no pressure to stick together!”  I thought about it and said, “Well, let’s start out together and see what happens.”  I have confidence in Katherine as a runner – I truly believe she’s faster than she thinks she is!

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Excited and ready to go at the start!

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You can sort of see the lake and bridge – it was lovely!

7:00 am: Soon the gun sounded and we were off!  The race started on a bridge over the reservoir (aka lake) and it was truly a gorgeous scene!  The excitement really started flowing through me: I was feeling great.  I was so happy to be out running – my energy really surprised me given my apprehension earlier in the week.  Katherine and I easily stuck together and nailed our first mile coming in a little under 8:30.

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In our spot ready to go!

The Race

Mile 1 (8:25): Okay, doing good.  Yikes – a little fast.  But I always start out a little faster than I plan.  This is good.  Crowds are good but under control.  Plenty of space…feeling good!  Decent weather.  I need to pee.

Mile 2 (8:50): Hmm, I really need to back-off.  I don’t want Katherine to start out too strong.  She’s usually over 9 minutes, I need to stick more to her.  I think I’m going to do this whole thing with her.  At this point I feel I could go even faster…but…is that really the smart thing to do?  My PR is going to happen in the fall.  This race is about fun.  Stick with Katherine and let’s make some magic for her!

Mile 3 (9:03): Man alive – I need to pee!  What is going on here.   We’re doing great!  Perfection pacing.  Wow is it humid?  Does it seem humid to you?

Mile 4 (9:29): Hmm.. we’ll need to pick it up a bit more.  It’s okay – I’ll correct for the next one.  There was a water stop in there (Katherine walks through stops, I typically grab and run). Should I run ahead?  I feel really strong – I know I could go faster.  Hmm.  Katherine doesn’t seem to be particularly enjoying herself or looking amazingly strong – I’ll stay.  We can do it!

Mile 5 (9:50):  GAH!  No.  Okay well – there is still time to recover.  Not all is lost.  We are having fun.  Let’s see if I can slowly push Katherine a bit faster without her noticing.  She’s not feeling as strong now – increase motivational thoughts!!  Mission build up Katherine!

Mile 6 (10:06):  NO!  Another water stop.  Gah – losing so much time on the stops.  Hmm.  You know.  I’m thinking 1:58 is no longer a possibility.  I don’t think PR pace will be possible.  Katherine’s allergies are really giving her trouble and it is clear her legs aren’t recovered (I wouldn’t expect them to be).  Motivate motivate motivate!  Random runner tells me I need a microphone to share my motivation with everyone.  Pass huge hill.  Keep circling back to Katherine and running backwards to keep moving/continue to cheer her (I didn’t want my knees to freak out by stopping).  Probably annoying other runners with my obvious energy and enthusiasm.  Dang – I’m that girl.

Mile 7 (9:23):  Much better.  We can do this.  She’s got this.  Keep encouraging, keep encouraging her!   Still need to pee.  Lordy is it humid!  Hmm.. did I even take a gu?  Oops.

Mile 8 (10:00): Yeah.. so let’s just have fun with this one!  At this point let’s throw time out the window.  Kelly you don’t care about time, you don’t care about time.  But seriously time doesn’t matter at this point.  Let’s get Katherine the fastest time she can get and stick by her!  She isn’t feeling great and now is not the time to leave her.  Let’s tell Katherine the story of how I met Adam. :) New technique: distraction.

Mile 9 (10:31): If I sprint now I could still squeak in under 2:00.  NO.  Must. Not. Leave. Katherine.  Continue telling the story of how Adam and I met.  Random runner says they want to stay near us to hear the story.  Man – we’re going a little slower than expected, but I’m thoroughly enjoying my role as “motivator.”

Mile 10 (10:33):  Wow – I didn’t realize how fast I’ve gotten, because I’m actually, dare I say, bored with this speed!  (Silent cheer to self!!  Don’t say aloud – focus on building up Katherine.  But seriously – I can’t believe I just had that thought!  I’m becoming a better runner!  Yay! ).  Solidify 1:49:59 as goal for fall half in head.  Continue building up Katherine.  Pass Adam!!  Hello!!  Adam – cheer for Katherine!!!

Mile 11 (9:52):  Are we seriously still out here?  I’m kind of over this.  Start telling the story of wedding plans to Katherine.  Both of us perk up.

Mile 12 (11:00):  So close we can taste it!!  Starts drizzling. I guess this is better than just pure humidity.  Keep pushing her – she’s doing great!!  A little bit of walking at this point but that’s okay!  Just encourage her to keep moving forward.  Almost time for breakfast.  Mylanta I’m starving.

Mile 13 (9:15):  Boo yah grandma!  Katherine- we saved some in the tank for this… you ready?  “Yeah!”  Sprint to the finish!

13.1 (8:45):  Victorious!!  We did it!!

Finish: 2:08:07!

After our finish we walked to collect water, our medals, and food.  Major sadness: they were out of food!  They only had cookies left over.  Serious bummer.  This race had a corresponding 5K and I’m guessing all the 5K-ers ate it all up!  Little stinkers.

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They ran out of food – but I still found some free chocolate milk!

I grabbed what I could and we made our way out of the finisher’s area.  We ran into Katherine’s Mom and I told her how proud she should be of her daughter.  I’m still incredibly impressed with a 2:08 half only 3 weeks after completing her first full – it’s pretty amazing!  We didn’t get Katherine’s PR, which I’m very sad about – but we did have a good time (at least I did – Katherine might say otherwise ;)) .  And I’m very glad I stuck with Katherine.  It was a great experience for me to try my hand at pacing (turns out I’m not that great) and motivating (turns out I may have a hidden talent at this).

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Aww!! Sweetest card on my desk Monday morning!

Katherine also saved me from myself.  For that I’m so grateful to her!  Sunday I woke up with some stiffness, but knees only in minor pain!  The slower pace kept me injury free and smart.  If I had been on my own I probably would’ve pushed and pushed and ended up doing something stupid… like trying to beat 1:51.  Now I’m barely sore and totally happy.  After the mini it took 3-4 days to feel human again!  After the Geist finish I actually ended up jogging back to meet up with Adam and friends…I couldn’t have imagined doing this at the mini.

Key Lessons

  • I enjoyed drinking coffee before the race.  It got things moving and didn’t upset my stomach.  I’ll keep this habit.
  • I liked acting as pacer/motivator.  In the future I would make sure the time we’re going for is reasonable given conditions, training, and tapering. Also important to know what motivates your pacee.
  • Running back-to-back half marathons is totally doable as long as one is an easier “fun run.”  I’d definitely do this again, but only if one of the halfs was with someone else and that someone else was considerably slower than me.  Racing two half-marathons in such close proximity would’ve been difficult on my body.
  • Racing is fun.  Running is fun.  Sometimes focusing on someone else allows you to think about how amazing running and racing is.  Corny but true.  I didn’t really have time to think about how much this hurt or that, focusing on Katherine kept me distracted and I just soaked it all in!
  • I can’t wait to start working on speed more.  I’m ready for my 2 weeks off of running to be up and use the summer to get stronger and faster!

The rest of the weekend was amazing with a friend’s graduation party and more wedding planning (looked at wedding bands, got closer with ceremony stuff, and looking at hotels/group blocks, analyzed photographers more).  Let me just say – I was so thankful I didn’t sprint the race… I wasn’t out for the count and got to enjoy time with friends.  All’s well that ends well!  This race was fun, exciting, motivating, and really has whet my appetite for a new PR.  I couldn’t believe how “slow” my old usual time felt.  My previous two halfs were 2:06 and suddenly 2:08 felt like I was crawling?  This was an incredibly inspiring experience.  It really is possible to get faster with training and this experience was proof.  This week I’ve already started scoping my race for the fall.  I had an awesome run this weekend and can’t wait for the opportunity to do it again!

Happy running!

-Kelly

Half-Marathon in the Morning!

17 May

Happy Friday everyone!  Hard to believe the week is almost over.  And even harder to believe that I have a half marathon in the morning!  This will be my second half-marathon race in 2 weeks and let’s just say I’m a little nervous.  This has definitely been a very good learning experience (or a learning what not to do experience) :)  I came up with this brilliant back-to-back half plan about a month ago.  I tend to get race anxiety and thought “Hey!  Another half – this will be a great way to reduce my anxiety!  I’ll have another ‘chance’ to break 2 hours if my first race goes poorly.  Oooo.. and I can join the ‘Month of May Club’ and get a t-shirt if I do 2 halfs in May.”  Goodness, what I’ll do for a ‘free’ t-shirt.  Thus my brilliant plan was born.  Now that I’m a day away, and not quite recovered from my first race, I’ll give you the pros and cons (for me) of doing back-to-back half marathons.

Pros:

  •  I already know I can get the miles in.  After all, I just did it.  Right?
  • Hypothetically I have another chance at getting a fast time (note: not going to happen in a million years).
  • I enjoy racing; neat to have another race! (this is true, not sarcasm)

Cons:

  • I am tired – physically my body is just not 100%.  I still feel muscle fatigue – often.  I just feel like I can’t do what I did just a few short weeks ago.
  • I am missing the pre-race anticipation.  I already went through that and 2 weeks isn’t enough time for me to get excited all over again. Yeah debbie downer, I know!
  • I’m bummed because I’m going into this knowing I won’t be fast.  That’s kind of deflating.  My runs since my half have been slow.  I mean, full minutes slower than usual.  Yeah – multiple minutes.  And the kind of runs where you think ‘man can I even finish this short run?’  I know running isn’t all about speed, but lately that has been a goal of mine, so it’s disappointing to not realize those goals.
  • I’m not as motivated.  Due to above reasons I just don’t feel as excited and motivated to run this one.  It’s essentially an after-thought of a race.
  • I have injury-anxiety.  My knees aren’t doing amazingly and I’m worried about over-use.

Okay – clearly you can see where I’m at as far as readiness/excitement for the race tomorrow.  Man – I am such a whiner!  But it’s not all bad!  It’s just a matter of wrapping my mind around the fact that for me, tomorrow is not going to be a speed-oriented race.  It is going to be a chance to do a nice long run on a beautiful (hilly) course.  It’s a chance to proudly wear a bib and be out on the course with many other runners.  It’s about the opportunity to run: that’s not something everyone has the privilege to do.  Tomorrow is about relaxing, having fun, and knowing that this isn’t going to be my PR.  And that’s okay!  Sometimes I think racing is all about expectations.  I’m trying to set the appropriate expectation so I walk away feeling excited and not disappointed in myself.  I got a 1:51 two weeks ago.  And that’s awesome.  No one can take that away.  If I run a 2:15 tomorrow it doesn’t take away my 1:51… it just means this wasn’t a speedy race for me.  I don’t think it’s healthy for me to think that every race is about a PR.  Setting goals is awesome and you can bet your bottom dollar I will have some goals for my fall half.  But the goal for tomorrow: enjoy running!  It’ll be my last long run for a few months at least (thanks knees!) and gosh darn it – I’m going to have fun!!

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I get to run this lakeside beauty of a course!

The Plan

Well… here’s the thing.  I don’t really have a plan.  HAH!  (Yeah – I know, am I feeling well?). I haven’t studied the course.  I haven’t marked my water and gu spots.  And you know what: I don’t think I will.  Eek.  Yeah, scares me a little bit.  But honestly it’s a small race, I’m not going for a PR… so I sort of just want to go out there and relax!  I’m going to see how my body feels and wing it. I’ll let you know how that strategy goes.

The Course

It’s hilly, around a lake reservoir, and supposedly beautiful.  It’s one of those ‘your spectators are people drinking their coffee and walking out to get their morning paper in their bathrobe’ kind of races.   Haven’t done one of those in awhile – sort of looking forward to the change.

The Prep

Adam and I have some awesome friends that live right on the course.  We’ll head up there tonight for an evening of fun and hopefully a relaxing morning of cheering from the house for them.  This part of the race is amazing – I can’t wait to run by them!  Tonight I’ll do my usual spaghetti, ice my knees, tape my legs, say a little prayer and hope for the best.

The Goals

  1. Have fun – relax and enjoy
  2. Finish the race (yep, this is a real concern)
  3. And last and definitely least: going for a 2:00-2:10 finish

It’s a little too early to say “I’d never do back-to-to back again” or “I wouldn’t recommend this.”  I think it is all about training.  For me, I’m realizing this wasn’t maybe the smartest plan.  But I know many people who do this sort of thing often and have great success.  I’m sure I’ll have some opinions tomorrow concerning whether I’ll do it again ;)  No matter what: my race will be a great start to another awesome weekend!  Man alive, I love May.  Have I mentioned it’s the best month ever?!

I hope you all have an amazing weekend!  I’ll be tweeting my results (good or bad!) so you can see them here on the blog homepage or follow me on twitter @racesrepsramble :)

-Kelly

Life Changes and Excitement!

16 May

The past few days have been pretty amazing.  I had an awesome weekend celebrating Adam’s graduation from medical school.  Oh yeah and we also celebrated our engagement. (Double whammy!)  What a weekend!  I’ve been overwhelmed with feelings of “Wow- life can really be exciting!”  and “Wow- I am so content, blessed, excited, lucky…and holy cow there’s a lot to do” – okay so I had a lot of thoughts and emotions this past weekend.  But mainly it was just really, really cool.  I was fortunate enough to have my parents come visit for the occasion, and we had a great time together.  It allowed a nice opportunity for both sets of parents to spend more time together as well.  Adam and I are thankful that we both love each other’s family.  It certainly makes things easy.  I thought I’d share a couple of pictures from the momentous occasion.  I’m so proud of Adam!  To be honest I’m only slightly irritated that Adam is now Dr. Adam – in my previous life I worked with a lot of Drs.  And let’s just say I feel it’s my personal responsibility to make sure Adam doesn’t turn out like a lot of them.  He knows about my crusade, and I have accepted my role wholeheartedly!

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A huge room…And a LONG ceremony!

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What a goober face! Cracks me up.

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Does this mean I need to call him Dr.??

This week we also got moving with wedding planning!  Yes- I know…so soon?!  But here’s the deal: We’re type A, we don’t want to procrastinate, we aren’t patient…and I want to have the stressful planning parts done.  Then I can just relax!  Additionally, the big driver: Adam is moving to Nashville in June.  The more we get done before he leaves the better for all  involved parties :)  And truthfully…we aren’t going to have a long engagement.  We are thinking a winter wedding – let’s get this show on the road!

Wedding Updates:

  • Location/date almost decided! (We’re this close to nailing it down- truthfully our discussions started pre-engagement)
  • Dress done!  I found one off the rack, on clearance (almost 50% off), under my budget, and requires no alterations.  I call that meant to be!  I take after my mom and I don’t particularly enjoy shopping.  Major score I didn’t have to search endlessly, or really at all.
  • Photographer almost decided – this is the most important decision (yes more than the dress)…taking our time on this one.  I’m obsessed with photography so I want it to be perfect!  Can’t I just have three photographers?? :)

I’ll try and keep the wedding posts to a relative minimum, but I mean come on…buying a dress??  That’s big news!  The good thing- a short engagement means this won’t turn into a wedding blog! :)

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I said ‘Yes to the Dress!’ You’ll have to wait until January to see what’s under the stars.

The one downside to all this personal excitement…oh yeah… ummm I’m running a half marathon on Saturday.  Haven’t really thought much about it (except that I’m scared and it will be slow).  Oh and finishing P90X!  Adam and I have done a good job of not getting totally side-tracked.  But we have been slightly less strict – you only get engaged once!

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“Here Comes the Bride” cupcake Adam and I enjoyed Tuesday.

I love May – the weekends will only continue to get better.  Birthday, friends, graduation parties, family, wedding planning!  Oh my!  Yep – I’m thinking May will be a little “Ramble” heavy.  But hey- that’s why it’s in the title!   June will bring the beginning of Insanity and the start of short runs again (I’ve essentially stopped running normally/regularly due to my knees).  I’m really excited to start chronicling my thoughts of Insanity and doing a post-P90X wrap-up, results, and review of the program.  Man alive – there is excitement all around.  When it rains it pours!

Have a wonderful week – we’ve already made it to Thursday!

-Kelly

Cake Batter Protein Shake

15 May

When it comes to cooking or food prep, I like simple.  I mean really simple.  (Check out my simple salad or simple asparagus here).  I tend to be pretty lazy about food (it’s really a problem).  Because I want to focus on healthy eating, I’ve gotten a little better about spending time to produce a quality meal/snack.  But if you love simplicity like me, you’ll love this simple cake batter protein shake!  Add just a couple ingredients and suddenly your normal (perhaps somewhat chalky) protein shake turns it into a delicious treat!  Originally I found this recipe on pinterest months ago and altered the recipe to be even simpler (are you noticing a trend?).  I can’t find the original pin, but please know that this recipe is inspired by another recipe somewhere out there on the intarwebs.

Ingredients:

  • Protein powder
    • We use chocolate or vanilla muscle milk.  We’ve used other brands – essentially whatever we find at Costco :) Both flavors work for the recipe.
  • Sugar-free instant pudding mix
    • Again you can use chocolate or vanilla depending on your fancy.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Ice cubes
  • Water
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Not many ingredients – both vanilla and chocolate pudding pictured.

Directions:

  1. Put 1 or 2 scoops of protein in a large cup (depending on your preference/needs – I use 1, Adam uses 2).
  2. Add 1 teaspoon of instant pudding mix.
  3. Add 1/4 teaspoon vanilla.
  4. Fill cup with water while stirring (helps reduce chunks).
  5. Mix thoroughly until smooth.
  6. Add crushed ice cubes.
  7. Drink and enjoy your cake batter heaven!
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Mmm…cake batter deliciousness!

Could it be any more simple?  Just a few alterations and it really does make for a fun treat!  Now it doesn’t taste exactly like cake batter – but it is an awesome way to spice up your usual protein shake.  I haven’t tried branching out beyond vanilla or chocolate, but I’m guessing there are many wonderful possibilities!

Enjoy!

-Kelly