Friday, February 15, 2013

Runnertine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day (yes, I know it was yesterday, but I was busy doing by V-Day duties)!  I hope you all had a wonderful and productive little holiday.  Personally, I don't mind it, aside from the obvious craziness of my teaching day (kindergarten students live for it, and I loath it), but some people hate the holiday to its core.  No matter your feelings, I think it is good to have a few days a year to make us think about those we love.  I hope you had a good day, and that maybe you got some good swag along the way.

Personally, I received a pair of Injinji toe socks to compliment by near obsession my Vibram Fivefingers. I am excited to try these out because I have been wearing them totally sock-free, and therefore, I had a limit as to what temperature I could run (I cut off around 40 degree, at which time I just put on my Brooks).  Now I probably have another 10 degrees of buffer to work with, which means more gloriously difficult but fulfilling barefoot runs.

I have been pretty fortunate with the weather lately.  This week alone I had two beautiful and semi-warm days to throw on the VFFs and hit the pavement.  To be honest, when the sun is shining, I am a far better runner.  On Monday it was cold and cloudy, and my 7 miles were totally miserable.  Tuesday was the exact opposite, and I put together a beautiful, reaffirming 4-miler.  I even did hill-repeats (the first speed work in my Vibrams), and I felt like my legs had unlimited potential.  Dayton is pretty flat, but I do have some hills right by my house.  I went up and down this little gem 6 times during the 4 miles, and I felt great after it.
Fact: Hills look and feel more intimidating in person.

I followed this run up with another fantastic experience yesterday.  Once again, it was warm enough to wear shorts, and I headed out in a great mood.  Once again, my legs felt unworldly, and I put together a quick fartlek run of 3.1 miles.  These two runs have combined to make me extra excited for my weekend, which will involve a 5 miler tomorrow, and a 10 milers on Sunday.  It is a good thing I am so excited because this will be the first double digit run I have done since before Tough Mudder in October.  My knee and my ITB feel 100% better, my legs are getting stronger, my cross training has my entire body feeling strong, and I am feeling ready to enter some real distances again.  I seriously can't wait!

Speaking of cross-training, I had a solid week in that department.  I have continued to work on my dead lifts and power cleans, which is really good for keeping me humble!  Dead lifts let me know how far I have come, but they also show me how far I have to go with my core.  While I have been working on my front side, my lower back hasn't had as much action, so I am really glad I am hitting that area strong.  I also feel like my fore-arms are getting worked more than usual, which is a tough area of the body to do.

Along with my general weight-lifting, I am continue to work on my #fitfebruary push-ups challenge.  I have been doing all different kinds of push-ups, averaging over 100 a day for the month!  I am loving what this is doing for my chest and back!  I am also loving the use of medicine balls and balance equipment for them because it forces your body to balance and adjust in the process.  When your body is working that hard, it works like a body-wide plank, which is VERY powerful.  If you have two medicine balls, try spreading them out on the floor and putting one hand on each.  Then just balance on them and do a push-up.  Try to get as low to the floor as you can, and feel your chest, back, core, shoulders and arms all working to accomplish the task - awesome, right?
Two balls is better than one... for this exercise.
This is just one example, but there are many ways medicine balls can come in handy for push-ups.  Just do a Google search, and you can spend forever trying all the ways.  The same goes for the always versatile Bosu ball, which was recently features in Runner's World.  Just try to incorporate some of these push-up exercises into your WOD or circuit, and you will get some serious upper-body strength.

Diet Update:
I would think most of you drink a protein shake on the reg, so I don't even need to recommend that.  What I do need to recommend is this:  get vanilla whey of some sort, use milk (water and protein is gross), and then add banana, strawberries and blueberries.  Yeah, your world will then be rocked!  Not only is this combo delicious, but you are getting a tremendous amount of benefits.  Personally, I like to know that the things I am eating have some sort of future benefit for my training, my body or my mental state, so this is a great way to go.  Some people like to add peanut butter, and I do like it, but I also don't want the added fat.  On a normal day, the only bad fat I have come from my morning coffee creamer, and I am not giving that up, so I had to prioritize.

Another Failure:
Valentine's Day was fun, but it has been horrendous for my diet.  I have students who have parents who like to bake, so I was showered with sugary snack.  I also received many a chocolate and plenty of candy... Ugh.  I really have no will power, so if things are placed in front of me, I tend to go overboard - the later part of this week has been no exception!  I really should have seen this coming, but I intend on seriously cracking down on things next week because I foresee no set-backs on the calendar until St. Patrick's Day.  I have still included some good things though, so I haven't felt too bad during my workouts; I just really want to tone up before race season and swim suit season!

I am becoming more and more involved on twitter, so make sure you follow me!  I feel like the dorky kid at the table though because I have next to no followers!  I just don't know how people get tens of thousands of followers!  Plus, how do they keep track of all those people?  I have a hard enough time keeping up with my current feed.  I do like all the #runchat and other chats that come along because I learn one or two new things every time.  Get on with me and let's talk running and fitness.

I am also curious as to how you feel about male bloggers.  To be honest, I didn't expect for this community to be so widely dominated by women (definitely not saying this is a bad thing), so I sometimes feel a bit out of place.  I was wondering if I am out of place, and if that is a good thing or a bad thing.  I am also curious as to whether or not this has impacted my blog's following at all.  This is just the social-scientist in me!

Finally, I am curious as to whether you have any suggestions or questions for me?  I would love to hear from you! 

How was your Valentine's Day?  Did you get any running goodies?

Is anyone else a massive Walking Dead fan?  I am.  How did you feel about the new episode?

Does sunshine dramatically impact your run?

What do you add to your protein shake?

At what mileage do you feel like you are really "running"?


  1. It's great to hear you are loving your Vibrams! And hill repeats, nicely done. I've been having a whey protein smoothie everyday for the past two years. I always have spinach, frozen banana (frozen makes all the difference! soooo good) almond butter or coconut and almond milk in them. I change up the flavor whey every now and again, and I just started adding maca. I'm also switching up banana for frozen cherries as a way to lower my sugar intake for a bit (trying to get to *racing weight*). I love having a green in my breakfast, and you can't even taste the spinach!

    I LOVE chilly but sunny days for running. Once the temps get above 65, I'm way too warm, but on the cold days, I'm all about sunshine :)

    1. What exactly is maca? I don't think I have heard of that. Also, how does the spinach mix with everything else? I like the idea of having those extra nutrients!

  2. So awesome that you have been having wonderful runs lately! That always keeps you motivated to get out there again the next day. Also, love that you are doing med ball pushups! Those are tough, but really make you stabilize your core and keep the weight over your hands.

    I started following you on twitter (@KristenL_DYL) -- I'm pretty bad at it, but hoping to improve. Nice to have another friend to follow. By the way, I think its awesome to have your prospective. There are definitely male bloggers out there, but not as many. We deal with a lot of the same stuff though, so keep it up.

    Good luck on your 10-miler this weekend! I always think it is exciting to get into the double digits.

    1. We do deal with a lot of the same things, but I can't say I can give much perspective on comfortable sports bras... sorry!

  3. It sounds like you had a great Valentine's Day! I'm jealous that you got to be with kindergarteners for Valentine's Day! It's so cute when all of the kids exchange Valentines and puts a really great perspective on the holiday.

    That was so sweet of your Valentine to get you a running related gift, especially the Injinji toe socks! It's way too cold right now to be running in Vibrams without them.

    Also, I love reading your blog. I agree that there aren't as many male bloggers, but it's a great community and fun to hear about people's experiences that have similar goals and perspectives while training. Keep up the great work/blogging!

    1. It is a pretty cute, but they sure are a wild bunch! Haha. I love doing it for them, but I was exhausted!

      Essentially, all I ever ask for is running related stuff, so I am kind of easy to buy for!

      I learn a lot from all of you ladies, so it is a good relationship.

  4. I'm so jealous! It's so cold in Toronto and there has been so much snow the last week. Like too much to properly go for walks. It's snowing as we speak and my friend dropped me home driving at 30km/h!!!

    I love having guys on the blogosphere! It's amazing to get their view on different topics and issues. The world wouldn't be the same without guys, plus they can actually do 100 push ups a day for a whole month. Wow! As always I'm impressed by your push up ability :P

    1. I am loving the push-ups! I gotta say, I am noticing a real difference because of them!

      Well, hopefully I don't run out of topics! I also hope I don't share too much gross info! haha

  5. I'm actually...not a protein shake person. :) Maybe one day I'll convert, since it's pretty efficient and speedy, but for now...I prefer to chew my food. Not knockin' other people's choices, just sayin'...

    I'd say I'm really "running" around 35-40 miles/week, long run of 12-14+. But this is SUPER individual, and I call anyone who goes out running (pretty much any distance) regularly (~3 times/week) a runner. I cannot beat this into my clients' heads hard enough. Seriously.

    I agree that the blogging world is very female-centric (I think that extends far beyond running blogs. I suspect this is because women tend to be (<---super generalizing here) more verbose. For example, it could take me 5 minutes to tell our "engagement story" - but my husband does it in 5 words: "I asked. She said yes." See? :)

    But I really enjoy a diversity of voices, so definitely appreciate yours. Keep it up, and good luck with that 10 miler!! [I'll be making the Twitter will catch you there, too! :)]

    1. Women are definitely much better at this, but with my journalism background and being a language arts teacher, I like writing. I guess this is just my way of combining two things that I enjoy. Plus, I love having a community to run things by!

      I love eating food too, but you can't beat how much protein you can consume in such a quick and tasty way! Let me know if you get on the bandwagon!

  6. I do find that there are more female bloggers than male, but I think that's just because men don't like to type lol
    I like to see some diversity, its brings new aspect to the blogger world for running.
    I am obsessed with Walking Dead, seriously! I find myself watching it every chance I can get and did you check out the black & white versions of season 1 episodes, so awesome!
    No running goodies for V day, just coffee from my boss and my girl scout cookies arrived lol