First month of training: COMPLETE! (Half-Marathon Training Day 33)

Today marks the last day of training for July!

It was an easy four miler + intervals today, but I felt a little sluggish.. possibly because I tried a new route (which by the way, was a pretty neat one), and for the most part there was an incline.

THOUGH SLUGGISH, I conquered. I checked out my stats for the month, and I was ECSTATIC because….

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I RAN 70 MILES THIS MONTH! …..Well, technically 65 miles… because of that one day of training I did on the elliptical (let’s be honest, haha). But still, 65 miles is a HUGE milestone for me. For a year, I’ve consecutively been running between 25-41 miles a month. I’ve ran about 20 more miles than I usually do in this month alone! I just can’t wrap my head around it.

To sum up, the first month of half-marathon training went really well, and I only missed two total days of training because of my vacation last week. I don’t feel too fatigued, and I feel that the training plan works because it doesn’t push me to do too much. However, I have been peeking at August and September’s days and I’m thinking…I don’t know if I can do 7+ miles in the morning before work… I might just get too tired! Because of that, I’m thinking of changing the training plan to running a max of 6 miles on a weekday, or working out 2x during the day: get a short run in the morning, then get on the elliptical or bike in the evening.

July was cake in my training book. August and September are definitely going to be very challenging months. Most of October is taper, so it shouldn’t be too bad…

Ah well. To end my log for the day, I finally got my mail (after refraining to do so all week) and saw that my Runner’s World September issue came early! Hooray!!!

Well, hello there.
Well, hello there.

 

Looks like I’ll be doing some light reading before bed!

Till next time,

P.

 

I went on ahead, and I had that doughnut. (Half-Marathon Training Day 31)

I finally got my run in today, and it appears as if my training schedule works in my favor this week since I had no long runs this past weekend. Today was an easy 4-miler. On Thursday, it will be intervals (so a little over 4 miles), 4 miles on Saturday, and 6 on Sunday. I’m actually considering running 7 miles instead, seeing as I missed an 8 miler and my 10 mile run is already the next coming weekend. I don’t want to suddenly spring into a much longer mileage than I’m used to.

I was a bit slow today – it was to be expected seeing as I haven’t ran since Thursday. I wasn’t too distraught by it, considering it was supposed to be a slow, recovery run anyway. Plus, it was a cool morning so I simply enjoyed just being outside.

I’m always glad to get my run in in the morning, since most of the work day I’m sitting inside the office. A couple of minutes before I had a meeting I finally took a piece off of a Krispy Kreme doughnut I brought into work with me this morning.

I looked it up: how many calories in one Krispy Kreme doughnut? The answer? 190 calories. Oh sweet and delicious empty caloric goodness. I had a piece anyway, because you know why? It’s okay, it’s just one doughnut. Sometimes, I have to tell myself that it’s okay to have something small to indulge in sometimes. Whenever I do refrain myself, I end up eating more than I should, and that’s a no no.

For dinner, I ended up making a quick kale and ground turkey stir fry. I  haven’t gone grocery shopping in a while, so I made do with what I had. I have to say, it turned out quite yummy!

Garlic Kale and Ground Turkey Stir Fry with Jasmine rice!
Garlic Kale and Ground Turkey Stir Fry with Jasmine rice!

It actually felt good to cook tonight; I haven’t cooked since I made that spaetzle last week.. and we all know how that turned out. Hah.

Till next time,

P.

 

A mini-vacation, if you call it that.

A view of Lake Castaic from the I-5!
A view of Lake Castaic from the I-5!

 

Please excuse my lack of posts for the past four days: I had been extremely busy traveling and spending time with my family this past weekend! Which, of course, also meant that I was eating a lot of food and sitting – a LOT – in the car.

Long drives always take a lot out of me, and this past weekend, all my boyfriend and I did was drive everyday. On Friday, we went to Northern California to visit my sister, then Saturday we drove to see my brother for my nephew’s birthday party and then back to my sister’s house, and on Sunday we drove to the Bay Area again and back. We got back home at around 5 pm today and after my shower, I’ve pretty much been in bed recovering.

It’s back to reality tomorrow. I ended up simply not having any time at all to even work out this weekend. I missed two running days (a 4 miler on Saturday and an 8 miler on Sunday). I’m not too disappointed, however. I’m not going to lie – it was nice having a little break from so much running. This whole month I’ve ran a lot more than I was ever used to. I think it was a good break, and anyway tomorrow I’ll be back up on it. There really is no time to waste from now on though, seeing as my training schedule has me bump up the mileage in August.

I’ll probably be heading to bed early tonight to wake up early tomorrow and get my run in. After sitting so much in a car this weekend, I’m actually excited and antsy because I want to get my legs moving! I’ll probably be a little out of breath since my eating habits this weekend weren’t that great.. but then again, I can’t complain. I had a great weekend!

I keep thinking today is Sunday.. but regardless, I hope everyone had a great weekend as well!

Has anyone ever missed a couple days of training? If so, do you feel that it altered your performance? 

Too hot to trot. (Half-Marathon Training Day 26)

For training today, I was to do a 3×1 run: 1 slow mile, followed by 3 fast miles, and then 1 last slow mile. Seeing as this totaled to around 5 miles, I knew I had to get up a wee bit early again today.

And boy, was it hot. I was out the door by 7am and it was already 73 degrees outside. I knew it was going to be a hot and sunny morning, so I piled up the sunscreen on my face and shoulders. I decided I would even out the farmer’s tan I got and wore a tanktop instead of my usual tech shirt.

I wish my legs looked as long as they did.
I wish my legs looked as long as they did.
Ducks!!!
Ducks!!!

The run went well, and I felt good afterwards. BUT. I did experience something I have not experienced before.

Running trots.

That’s right.

I’ve heard horror stories about this, and I always wondered what would it be like if I ever had to suddenly go to the restroom and just..you know, go. I figured if it was at a race I can always go to a port-a-potty, no big deal.

But I did not expect it to happen today. At around 3.8 miles, I knew: I had to go. Luckily, I was nearby a plaza that had a gas station and some restaurants. After asking around, I finally got to a restroom.

Amen.

This whole ordeal caused me to end my run a little late, but it didn’t matter. What it did teach me was that I really need to watch what I eat the night before a run. Especially for a longer than usual run. Last night, I had made some German food: spaetzle with carmelized onion and parsley, bratwurst, and saurkraut. I will say that it was delicious – but as it was a heavy meal, it was probably what made what happened this morning happen. So with that said, no buttery goodness the night before a run. I put a lottttt of butter in that spaetzle.

In other news, today I tried out the Nike Running app alongside my RunKeeper app. I’ve only ever been using RunKeeper and wasn’t quite too fond of Nike’s app, but since the Nike Women’s Half Marathon encourages you to use the app (and get shoelaces depending on how many miles you ran with it), I figured why not. I definitely liked how it told me how far I’d go and what my pace was at each mile, but I can probably do the same setting on RunKeeper.

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I did notice that there was a difference in the miles I ran between the two. I can’t tell which app made the mistake – but the Nike app was on auto-pause. Perhaps that had something to do with it?

Anyway, this will be my last run until next Tuesday – I will be going on a quick vacation to see my family this weekend, so my two scheduled training days are nixed. Although, I am going to try and get a workout in on my sister’s elliptical. Gotta keep up the training somehow!

Till next time,

P.

 

Glutes, Glory, and Germany. (Half-Marathon Training Day 24)

I woke up at 6 am today to get an early start on my scheduled morning run. My boyfriend had gotten up at 5:30 for work, so I was already semi-awake by the time my alarm rang. Today was a sunny and bright day. It was going to reach 74 degrees by 8pm already, so it was a good idea to get started earlier anyway.

I’m not gonna lie, I struggled a bit on this run. I was scheduled to do 4 miles, with slow/fast intervals after. I just felt so tired! I think it was because the route I took actually has a steady incline throughout (I noticed it in my running app later), so I was getting worn out even just after mile 1. I felt my running form begin to falter, and instead of letting my feet just glide I was just stamping and dragging them on the concrete… just struggling. I took a deep breath and just told myself as I have been lately, “Use your glutes, Patty!”. 

After having to do more and more long runs, I’ve been paying attention to my running form and how exactly I use my legs to run. The conclusion was that I didn’t use my glutes enough. Instead, I would only depend on my legs (my quads, for the most part) but your legs can only do so much. Since I’ve been putting my glutes to work, I’ve noticed a positive difference in my running as well as feeling the burn (that means it’s working, right?).

So, I used my glutes, and I will say that my run finally got a bit easier from mile 2.5-3.  The slow/fast intervals were actually really fun for me, since I felt like I was dragging to maintain a steady pace it felt good to just let loose and run fast.

Pretty consistent times...good enough for me!
Pretty consistent times…good enough for me!

I ended up finishing my run at 4.72 miles with a time of 51:22. As tired as I was in the beginning, this was actually one of my fastest and longest 4-mile + fast/slow interval runs!

After my run, I took a quick shower and had a meeting from home for work. I had such a productive morning!

SPEAKING OF WORK: I just got word yesterday that I, along with my team, am going to FRANKFURT, GERMANY this coming February!!! I am beyond excited because Germany has always been my dream place to visit…and I’ve been in love with the German culture for so long that I’ve even took the language course for two years in college (aber jetzt mein Deutsch ist sehr schlecht). I was so distraught that I never got a chance to study abroad due to financial issues, but I’M FINALLY GOING! My team and I will be attending the Ambiente Housewares Show in Frankfurt; we usually attend the International Housewares Show in Chicago, but my boss decided that next year would be a good time to go to the European market, considering that we are starting to get a lot of inquiries overseas. I’m still so flabbergasted…a great part of me is like, unless I’m looking at my plane ticket purchase receipt then it’s for sure I’m going… but still. I can’t believe that my dream is coming true!!!

Now I know I MUST get at least one or two runs while I’m in Germany…I mean, how awesome would it be to have a run in a different country?! Let alone my dream place to visit?! I CANNOT CONTAIN MY EXCITEMENT but with seven months to go, I really should. There’s a lot to prep for. I also definitely need to review my German.

Has anyone ever visited Frankfurt? If so, I’d love to hear about your experience and where to visit / what to do around the area! 🙂

Till next time, or should I say BIS BALD,

P.

 

The Snack File: Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole (with Longboard Tortilla Chips)

Ah yes, another Snack File post featuring yet another Trader Joe’s product. I’m just such a fan, can’t you tell?

I actually had the pleasure of sampling this guacamole while I was grocery shopping at TJ’s one time, and I absolutely fell in love with it. The best part was that it was REDUCED GUILT; the guacamole is actually made with Greek yogurt, leaving it with 50% less fat and 40% fewer calories (as advertised on the packaging) – but you won’t even notice the yogurt as it’s packed with huge chunks of avocado and flavorful pico de gallo, giving it a LOT authentic guacamole  flavor. I also have to add that I favor chunky guacamole…I just can’t stand runny guacamole. Like what is that? Avocados aren’t runny… it’s just… NO. 

This guacamole is the answer to my prayers. No runny guacamole here, folks.

The Glorious Guac.
The Glorious Guac.

This guacamole goes great with anything, honestly. I’ve tried it on various sandwiches and salads, for example. However, my absolute favorite way to eat this guac is with TJ’s Longboard Tortilla Chips! I actually sampled it with these chips, so technically I fell in love with these two products together.

Just look at that huge chunk of avocado! Yessssss.
Just look at that huge chunk of avocado! Yessssss.

The Verdict: Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Chunky Guacamole cost about $3.99 and it is definitely WORTH IT – it’s a great snack choice paired with whatever your choosing. As for the tortilla chips, they’re not an absolute must.. but that shape definitely makes it easier to dip and scoop all the guacamole!

After running for an hour, you pretty much just have to. (Half-Marathon Training Day 22)

So today was my 7-mile long run, and I just have to say IT WENT WELL!

I put together my route last night: I pretty much combined three of my routes to make for an even 7 miles. I also added some new songs I’ve been Shazam-ing to my running playlist, which I think actually helped pump me up even more today.

I got up at 8am, simply because I checked the weather in advance and it was overcast and a cool 66 degrees this morning, so I wasn’t in a rush to get out since it was going to be cool for a while. To put in simpler terms, I’ll just break down my thoughts mile per mile.

Mile 1: Possibly one of the hardest miles since I literally woke up thirty minutes before. Even after a couple warm-ups I felt like I still needed to get some grease in my legs – they felt stiff. I just kept pushing on at a slow pace, as the training plan says to do so.

Mile 2: Finally, I can feel my legs feeling less stiff! My run started feeling like a breeze from this point.

Mile 3-4: This part of my route was all downhill. I tried to slow down my pace since I can find myself gaining speed, and I know I needed to save my energy for the steady incline for the later miles. I also felt something poking at my right foot, so I stopped a couple of times to check and see what it was. Still no clue. I think it came from a thread in my running shoe.

Mile 5: I started my route back home, with an incline. I felt myself become slower, and when I got closer to mile 6, my legs started to feel like jelly. It was almost an hour into the run; the longest I’ve ever run was about 1:07. Since my pace was slow, I knew that I would be finishing at a much later time.

Mile 6-7: The home stretch. The last inclines. I felt tired at this point but I thought, after running for an hour you pretty much just have to. It’s weird, but at this point, I felt like I could’ve run for even longer. Of course, I didn’t because that’s pushing my limit.

At around 6.7 miles, Porter Robinson’s “Spitfire” came on my playlist and it just pumped me the hell up. All those interval trainings paid off, and I zoomed to the finish. I felt GREAT! I still could not fathom that I had just ran 7 miles – the longest run I’ve ever done so far!

New PRs this morning! Couldn't be more happier!
New PRs this morning! Couldn’t be more happier!

Perhaps it was the route, perhaps it was the music, or perhaps it was the weather. Whatever it was, today’s run went really well. I ended up doing leg drains as soon as I got home and then made myself a nice cup of chocolate milk and sat in my balcony.

I pretty much downed this whole glass of chocolate milk seconds after taking this.
I pretty much downed this whole glass of chocolate milk seconds after taking this.
The view from my balcony - the weather was pretty much like this during my whole run: PERFECT!
The view from my balcony – the weather was pretty much like this during my whole run: PERFECT!

I just finished eating lunch, and later this afternoon my boyfriend and I are heading over to his parents’ place to have our bunny run around in their yard. They’ve never seen our bunny before, so we decided it’d be a good day to bring him over! The weather actually cleared up a lot: it’s really sunny now, but thankfully it’s not too hot.

As with any long run, I’m pretty much spent for the day! Happy Sunday!

Till next time,

P.