Fondue, Long Runs, PRs, and New Clothes

That title wears me out just reading it.  It has been a busy week for me and I’ve been fortunate enough to spend it with good friends and family and even try some new things.  Last week was Knoxville’s Restaurant Week where local restaurants offered a set menu for a cheaper price and a portion of the proceeds went to a local food bank.  Thursday night my sweet Daddy treated me and my handsome fella to a delicious dinner at Ye Olde Steakhouse.  The set menu for this night was massive and mostly had things that this picky eater would eat.  The men chose a 12 ounce prime rib as their entrée and I had chicken and shrimp.  After having appetizers, huge entrée portions with two sides, we opted to take our red velvet cake dessert in a to-go box and save for later.  I was stuffed to the max after that meal but so thankful that my Daddy treated us to it and that we got to try out a new local place.

Friday night was super special because we were celebrating the final night of Restaurant Week with our great friends, Brittney and her husband, at The Melting Pot.  We had made reservations almost a month in advance and we were so excited to finally get to eat there.  Everyone got all dolled up and we hit the town for a fabulous evening.  Although their menu was slightly small, the experience made it worth it and we enjoyed the ambience.  The cheese and bread were my favorites, of course.

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Saturday morning was long run day!  After talking with good ole Coach Bryan, the plan was to run 5 continuous miles at a 10:52 pace and then run/walk the remaining three miles and then going back to finish with my Momma.  Well, we ended up taking a detour and continued on the greenway before hitting up the hilly portion of the run.  I set my Garmin to overall average pace instead of lap pace which was new for me and I really liked doing that because I could better gauge where I was at and how I was feeling.  As the 5 mile mark approached it was clear that I should keep running.  I wasn’t sure how much I had in me but I felt well enough to continue the run.  The farthest I have ever ran without stopping for a walk break was 8 miles and that was March 2012.  Ironically the post I wrote about that longest run was posted the same exact day that Saturday’s run fell on.  How coincidental is that?  Anywho…we pressed on and I let Bryan pace me while occasionally looking down at the watch to make sure we stayed on pace.  Even though there were a few massive hills, we made up for it on the downhill and finished 8. 5 miles with an average pace of 10:52.  Right on the money and my longest run ever.  I was in disbelief but more and more here lately I’m learning that big things are possible for me if I just push myself.  That morning I never would have known that I would set a new distance PR.  We walked back to walk it in with my Momma and I ended the day with 11.5 miles.

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Earlier this week we held a marathon staff meeting.  It is hard to believe that race day is less than three weeks away and I’m so excited for marathon week to get here and all the busy activities that come along with it!  Our staff shirts this year are pretty sweet if I do say so myself.

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On Monday night, Brittney met my Momma and I at the gym for some fitness classes.  We all took CXworX, Body Attack, and Spin Class.  Between two of the classes we met Bryan to run two miles which was supposed to be easy and untimed but ended up being done in 18 minutes which is smoking for us two especially right after a fitness class.  I was wore out Monday night and woke up nice and sore on Tuesday.  We also had some Biggest Winner training sessions this week which everyone worked super hard at.  These people are losing weight and literally disappearing.  I’m so excited for them and know what it is like to be in their shoes.  They are doing an awesome job!  All these hard workouts will be worth it come March 30!

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In other news, I’ve never liked shopping.  Not only do clothes and anything else you might purchase cost money, but I have a hard time making decisions when it comes to actually walking out of the store with something.  I dread dressing rooms and it burns a hole in my heart when something I try on is too small.  With my body getting smaller, I’ve sort of grown out of that (not completely) and have started visiting more clothing stores even if it is “just to look”.  This week I ventured into Old Navy since I saw they had a sale advertised and found their new Pixie pants.  According to their advertisements, this pant is supposedly fit for everyone regardless of size or Body Shape.  I tried them on in my normal size at Old Navy (18) and they just fell off of me.  I tried on the size 16 and they were huge in the waist.  So, guess what?  I tried on a 14 and they fit like a glove.  Holy cow a pair of size 14 jeans really went on my body and zipped right up no problem.  This is a huge non scale victory for me and I’m thrilled to be able to wear that size…even if their sizing is a little different.  Check out the Pixie pants because they really are super flattering!  Oh, and my favorite shorts from Old Navy also had to go down a size also.  This makes me so happy!

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I’m so glad tomorrow is Friday and I’m excited about my long run on Sunday!  Happy Spring to everyone!  Hope y’all are having a spectacular week!

Four Things Friday

What’s up, party people?!  Hope you are enjoying this final day of February and that the temperatures are slightly rising wherever you are!  What a whirlwind of a week this has been.  Brittney and I have been busy plotting out our races for the year and we have added a few unexpected ones to the race calendar.  It will be interesting to see how we fair and how far our training will take us.  We’ve been on our current training plan for almost two months now and we are seeing vast improvements.  Just two weeks ago, Brittney set a new 5k PR which is something she has been aiming at for quite some time.  I’m excited to put this training to the test and see what all we can accomplish this year.  Here’s some random tidbits from this past week:

1.  Long run Sunday!  Since I had eight hours of grad school classes on Saturday, I absolutely did NOT feel like running long that day so I used it as my rest day and planned my long run for Sunday.  It was gorgeous outside that day and I was thankful to yet again be wearing shorts and a tank top.  My goal was 8 miles.  The first two went by fairly easy with no trouble and were both in the low 10’s as far as pace goes.  After that I sort of fell apart.  I took lots of walk breaks which I am okay with, but part of me was not happy that this run wasn’t going how I had planned.  I did finish the 8 miles and was able to manage an overall pace of 11:39 which I will gladly take any day.   My dear coach and I had a chat last night about changing the strategy of my long runs each week so I’m anxious to put it to work this weekend and see how I do.  After the 8 miles, I met my Momma and our wonderful friend Yvonne for a four mile walk through Townsend.

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2.  A great week in the gym.  Tuesday night we had group training with the Biggest Winner team.  Usually I help supervise and simply offer words of encouragement.  This past week was a smaller group so I got the opportunity to participate.  Our group did a “deck of cards” workout where each station had four cards laid out with workouts involved and we had to complete them.  Holy cow, what a workout.  I was sore immediately after leaving the gym that night.  All in all, I think my individual group did over 350 plank jacks, 200 crunches, 200 “tacos”, and more than 150 push-ups.  Whew, that was some hard work.  The team is looking awesome and hitting some huge milestones.  Less than a month until race day and I’m excited to watch them cross the finish line of their first half marathon!

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3.  Officially registered for the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon Relay.  I’m doing the four person relay this year with Bryan, Brittney, and our friend Scott.  Our team name is Green Legs and Ham and three of us will be wearing neon green compression socks/sleeves and Scott is going to be our ham.  It will be too fun!  I’m the anchor leg which runs a part of the marathon course I have no experience with since I’ve only ever done the half.  It will be nice to be out there with some marathoners and bring it home for my team.  Oh, and our outfits will be awesome.

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4.  Super fast times this week.  My weekly runs were on point this week.  On Wednesday I did some hard sprints for 6 X 400m and walked away with some very good times.  My splits were: 2:02, 1:58, 1:58, 1:55, 1:54, and 1:50.  I couldn’t believe it but I knew that I gave it everything I had so I was glad that my times reflected my effort.  Never before could I have dreamed that my legs would run that speed for five consecutive repeats.  Yesterday I decided to do a timed two miler instead of the normal single mile.  I kept splits for each 400m of it and they were consistently negative all the way down to the final lap.  My final time for the two miles was 17:31 which was out of this world fast for me.  Two years ago when I was on the rowing team I made the goal of breaking 18 minutes for the 2 mile but could never make it happen.  This is just evidence that the hard work and sweat I put into training is finally reaping many rewards.

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I hope everyone has had a great week and that  you enjoy your weekend.  Next week I’m excited to celebrate Restaurant Week here in Knoxville and will be treating myself to two fine dining establishments with my handsome fella and a few friends.  I’m excited to say the least!

 

Back to Back

At the end of yesterday’s post, I made mention that I would be spending the evening at the gym taking a few classes with my Momma and best pal Brittney and her husband.  I’m kinda obsessed with taking group fitness classes so I was shocked to hear that she had never taken a group fitness class before.  When you are as awesome and adventurous as us… you go big or go home so Brittney did two in a row!

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We made sure to get to the gym extra early with plenty of time to show them around the gym as well as do a little warm up.  I was so happy that Brittney and Cameron got to see where Momma and I spend so much of our time.  Once up on the fitness floor, Cameron hit the treadmill, Momma hit the bike, and Brittney and I walked our way around the indoor track and got to catch up for a quick minute.  Just as we were about finished with our mile warm up, Bryan joined in.  We still had some time left before we had to head to Body Combat so the four of us gathered in a stretching hallway and did 10 sets of 10 push ups.  Like I said, go big or go home.

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Originally it was only supposed to be just us girls going to Combat but we twisted Cameron and Bryan’s arm into joining us.  We stood in the middle so they could see the instructor fairly well and before we knew it we were out of breath and sweating.  Combat is one of my favorite classes at the gym and I always feel super motivated during class to push my hardest and step out of my comfort zone.  Every time I looked at Brittney during class she was doing the moves on point and looking like a pro!  For someone who just took their first fitness class, she sure did pick it up fast.  It makes me happy to see anyone (especially those close to me) try new things and really push themselves.  The hour went by incredibly fast and my legs were just about jello walking down the stairs to spin class.

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There was a double booking on the spin studio so instead of it just being members of Biggest Winner team and the local news station, it was also a triathlon class.  We all set up camp near the back of the room and got to moving.  Unfortunately, Brittney got sort of a dud bike so Bryan hopped off in the middle of class and set her up with a new one.  Since the triathlon class had started prior to Biggest Winner team arriving, the class was cut short for some of us.  We didn’t mind though since our quads were on fire for the 40 minutes that we were in spin.  Joe Mitchell, former Biggest Loser contestant, was our instructor and earlier this week he set up a way for all of us to request a song to be played during class.  It was fun hearing everyone’s selections during the ride and made it a little more personal.

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Last night was a fantastic workout and my body sure was feeling it this morning.  I’m so proud of my Momma for taking back to back classes, proud of Bryan and Cameron for stepping up and taking a class with the ladies, and for Brittney taking her first ever fitness classes and ROCKING them out!  I’m so thankful to be surrounded by friends who have such a positive and healthy mindset and that we can constantly encourage each other to go the extra mile (pun intended) and reach for our goals and to not be scared of them.  I can’t wait for Brittney to take more classes in the future but for right now I’m glad she got a small dose of how much group fitness classes has helped me.

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What is your favorite group fitness class?

 

Sweat Once (or Twice) A Day

Part of the weight loss process and training for a stellar year of strong racing is getting your sweat on.  I love to sweat and will probably be the future president of Perspirers Anonymous, or at least Exercise Lovers Anonymous.  But hey, I have a blog so it really isn’t all that anonymous.  Hopefully y’all can keep my secret.  Today is Thursday and so far I’ve had a fantastic week of workouts with more to come.  I’ve also had many victories this week in my weight loss efforts that I can’t wait to share with you.

This past weekend, my handsome fella and I attended a Spaghetti Ball which was a benefit spaghetti supper for a local church group.  It was our second year attending and it sure did not disappoint.  We had a huge plate of spaghetti with extra meaty sauce and lots of garlic bread.  They had about ten different homemade desserts to choose from but we settled on a Butterfinger Pie.  Yum-O.  I did not feel one ounce of guilt eating all those carbs and we enjoyed a nice evening.  photo 1

Sunday afternoon my Momma and I went on a five-mile walk and the weather was out of this world fantastic.  Even though there was still snow covering the ground, we were able to wear shorts and tank tops and still not get cold.  That’s East Tennessee weather for you.  photo 2

Monday brought me five miles which included a one mile warm up walk, three miles of continuous running with very inconsistent splits but I ran without walk breaks so this girl isn’t complaining.  As always, I did a one mile cool down walk.

Tuesday morning Momma and I were up and ready to hit up kickboxing.  I was able to get in three miles before heading to class. They just added one new bag to the gym so it was great to utilize it and be able to pack more power to each punch.  Momma is getting better and better with keeping up with all the punches and kicks…she is already close to pro status.  That night we were back at the gym for team training.  I did two miles of running before it started.  After everyone arrived it was decided that Bryan and I were free to work out on our own without the group since the area the group trains in is fairly small and not big enough to host spectators/motivators.  The Biggest Winner team is so lucky to have Chris O’Hearn (a trainer from MTV’s I Used To Be Fat) and Joe Mitchell (former contestant on Biggest Loser) coach them at these Tuesday night sessions.  Bryan and I did a major amount of core work AND 100 push ups in addition to logging two more miles around the track at a speedy but untimed pace making it seven miles for the entire day.  I’m slowly learning how to do a real push up and I’m definitely getting there.  That’s progress.   photo bryan

Yesterday was sprint day and I was back at the gym to see what my legs were capable of.  You have to remember that I’m not a fast runner and have only been on a training plan (thanks to Bryan) for about two months.  The plan yesterday was a 1 mile warm up walk followed by 6X400s.  Instead of given pace, I have to run by perceived effort which puts a lot less pressure on me.  I did six repeats and consistently negative split the entire workout: 2:07, 2:04, 2:03, 2:01, 1:53, 1:53.  Those last two were the fastest 400 meter sprints I have ever completed on land.  My legs enjoyed a nice long slow one mile walk following sprints but they felt so good that I decided to do a timed mile just to see how my legs would operate a crazy good workout.  I clocked in at 8:28 which shocked me and I was ecstatic that I was able to maintain that pace for an entire mile.  This big girl ain’t crying over that.  After a strong workout I ended the day with 6 miles.

This morning I went to the gym and walked two miles and then took a Bosu class.  I enjoy the strength and ab work portions of this class much more than I do the Bosu because it usually hurts my feet.  My favorite instructor in the whole gym was teaching this morning so that probably had something to do with why I went.  I was trying to take it easy because tonight my Momma and I will be back at the gym to meet my best friend/blogger buddy Brittney and her husband to take Body Combat and a special media spin class for the Biggest Winner team.  It will be their first time at our gym and I’m so glad they get to work out with me and my Momma!  I know they will love it. unnamed

Also…this blog began as a way to document my weight loss journey and will continue to do so.  But here lately I’ve been noticing almost all of my clothes feeling looser, me fitting into new sizes, muscle definition, and faster times during my runs. But guess what I’m not seeing?  A smaller number on the scale.  I’m physically getting noticeably smaller (even my Daddy mentioned it to me and he never notices anything) but the scale is staying the same.  Does that bother me?  Yeah, a little because I would obviously like to have a smaller number.  But it really doesn’t because so  many good things are happening for me and so many sweet people are giving me sweet compliments on my weight loss even though I technically haven’t lost anymore.  So, starting this month, I’m only going to weigh myself once a month.  The scale lost its control on me over the summer but now it absolutely has to go except for once a month.  I don’t want to take any chances that a silly number would tarnish any great feelings I get from the little NON scale victories.  Of course I will continue to discuss my weight loss and workouts, but just know that I’m taking a slightly different direction as far as physical and tangible weight goes.  Oh, and this week I was able to purchase two new workout tanks and both were a size XL, not a XXL.  To me, that is success.  I was also able to go into a store and not have to go to the plus size section and was able to try on a few pieces that actually fit, like the shirt below.  photo 3

Have a great rest of your week and good luck to any of my sweet readers who are racing this weekend!!  Did you have any spectacular workouts or runs this week?

Another Week Down

Here we are again at the end of another exciting week.  I hope that you all have had a great week and that you are staying warm…it sure has been cold here in the South.  Tomorrow I am racing a 10k and could not be more excited.  Hopefully I can come away with a new PR but the ultimate goal is to just have fun and enjoy supporting so many other runners and walkers.

This has been a great week of training.  From a super hard spin class and run to start the week off to a great set of sprints midweek to over 1o minutes of planking and my first real push up, I would say that it has been successful.  I won’t bore you with all the nitty gritty details, but I feel so accomplished this week and know that I have pushed my limits.

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Allow me to share what happened Monday.  I had some unexpected free time so I went to a noon spin class that lasted an hour and a half.  It was an interval class and my heart rate was all over the place and my legs were jello after.  Remember that triathlon I’m doing in April?  …yeah well I figured that was as good of time as any to get in some practice for it so I decided to hit the track after for a 2 mile jaunt.  The goal was to simply log miles but I ended up surprising myself an astronomical amount and finished it in 18:44.  That’s about three minutes faster than I would’ve even hoped for.  Seriously, I was so amazed at that time in general but especially after a tough spin class.  That was my win for the week.  photo1

You may notice that one thing I say a lot on this blog and on social media in general is to do something that scares you.  I live by that but it wasn’t until this week that I truly reflected on it and was challenged by it.  Tuesday night while our Biggest Winner team members were in a life coaching session, my fellow coach and mentor, Bryan, decided that we would do a really tough workout that included quite a bit of abdominal work.  We had made it through a circuit when he said it was time for push ups.  Umm, no.  Nice try, but no.  Push ups are my nemesis and I have never been able to do a “real” one.  Bryan encouraged me and we started small.  As I was doing them, I thought to myself how scary it was.  Then I actually verbalized the thought that I only do things that scare me when deep down I think I am truly capable of them.  Push ups don’t fit that quo and I was even more afraid.  But you know what?  With a little help, I actually did one.  If it wasn’t for him telling me I had actually done it, I would not have thought so since I hardly even bent my arms.  But I did a real push up and then I went on to do two more.  Scared the living daylights of me but I did it.  Looking back, I realized I was more scared of failing than I was of the actual task at hand.  The only failure is not trying.  Positive lesson learned on the gym floor.

Another great thing this week?  The Biggest Winner team all had a loss for their monthly weigh-in, including my Momma!  Love watching these people change their lives.  It is a long process but the rewards are well worth the work.  Proud of all of them and proud of my Mom!!  IMG_0827

Oh, and can I just say how thankful I am for this blog and the people I  have met (both in person and via the internet)?  It is crazy how many connections I have made and how many people out there have so many common interests and goals.  I met one of my best friends Brittney through blogging and last weekend we were lucky enough to get together for a double date night with our handsome men to a local hockey game.  Another wonderful friend snagged us some VIP seats down low next to the ice and they were phenomenal seats!  These are basically the only photos we have together NOT in running clothes.   1782014_10201182220786733_1508204949_n 1450675_10201182219306696_592608127_n

Happy Friday and I hope y’all have a great weekend.  Good luck to everyone who is racing or doing any kind of mileage!  Don’t forget to cast your vote for me (and one lucky reader) to get to go run Zooma half marathon in Napa, California.  I’m pretty far away from first place but it would be nice to end up in top 5 🙂  Thank you all!!   vote!

Running/Workout Recaps

Hiiiii there!  Hope all of my readers have been having a great week so far.  I’ve been meaning to write about the runs I’ve been having lately but something has come up every time I sat down to write. But have no fear, the run recaps are here!

Saturday is our usual “long run” day and we usually meet the BW team in Knoxville to get our miles in.  Due to a local race being held the same day, we were instructed to just do our miles solo.  This worked out great for my Momma and I since we were able to get in a little more sleep. We started out together and did the first mile completely walking.  The route we took was up the bike trail and up the BIG hill that I’ve posted about before.  Once we got back to the bike trail and a mile had passed I took off so I could get some running in.  I was able to go the end of the trail and then come back on a side road so that by the time I made it back to the car I had done a solid 6.2.   That really isn’t all that long but it is what I felt comfortable with and I want to get my mind used to the 10k distance since I have a 10k race on the schedule for next week.  After  meeting back up with Momma and checking my splits I was surprised to see some negative splits.  Given the crazy wind and cold weather I am beyond happy with my split times:  16:48, 12:00, 12:55, 12:29, 12:19, 10:52.  Long runs are supposed to be slow and easy, right?

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Sunday had 4 miles on the schedule that were supposed to be “casual”.  I had no motivation to do them but after talking with Brittney it was pretty clear that I didn’t have a choice.  She sent me what her average time was and I set out with the intent of matching it.  Brittney and I have discussed before the importance of having a training partner and days like Sunday really made me fortunate to have her accountability.  We are doing a half marathon in October that is our “A” race and so I want to be sure that I work hard and can stay with her on race day.  The first two miles of this run were absolutely brutal.  I had a wickedly awful side stitch that made each step hurt, the wind was blowing me over, and my mind just wasn’t in it.  I wish I had set my Garmin to simply show overall pace for the run because the paces were discouraging me.  After I began the third mile my side quit hurting and I owned the road. I took a few walk breaks but made sure to keep them short and really focused on my breathing for the remainder of the run.  When I made it back to my car I had done 4.05 miles with an overall pace of 11:15.  I need to look at my splits but I believe they were fairly even despite the fact I had a rough first two miles.  This was a lesson learned both in accountability and just how powerful your mind can be against you. watch

Usually on Mondays I do spin class and then just casually walk or sometimes jog 2 miles.  But this past Monday spin didn’t fit into my schedule and Brittney encouraged me to just do some cardio at the gym with miles in between.  It was the perfect recommendation and I split my hour with the erg (rowing machine), stair climber, and spin bike. I did 10 minutes of each and did 2 rotations which put me at a solid hour.  I also did a mile to warm up and a mile to cool down.  That poor stair climber machine was one sweaty beast when I was done with it each time.  Whew…I’m sorry if any of y’all enjoy it but that thing wears me out.

Tuesday morning Momma and I headed to the gym for a kickboxing class.  We made it early enough to get a mile in beforehand but Tuesdays are usually a no mileage day and I’m supposed to do strength and abs.  Our kickboxing instructor was on point and I got in some great cardio, killer arm workout, and an ab workout that I’m still sore from.  Hot dang it was great!  We left the gym and it was snowing but we didn’t think much of it since they had predicted a “light dusting”.  Turns out that dusting turned serious and covered all the roads insanely fast. I still had to go to school yesterday so Momma dropped me off at class and headed home.  It became apparent the snow wasn’t going to stop and I started to get worried.  My handsome boyfriend works for the university and we usually carpool but he told me I needed to leave when I could because it was getting rough out there.  He ended up working all through the night and into yesterday due to the weather.  snow

I ended up driving home myself which was completely out of this world scary.  My drive ordinarily takes an easy 45 minutes to get home but Tuesday it took me over 2 hours.  The 5 lane road leading up to my town was barely even 2 lanes when I made it there.  I have to go through a set of very shaded two lane curves in order to get to my little town and I kid you not I went less than 10 mph the entire time (not exaggerating).  Cars were passing me like crazy but I was being suuuuuper careful since the roads were so thick with snow and so slick.  You northern people are probably rolling your eyes at me but for someone that never gets snow, let alone drives in it, and drives a tiny little Honda Accord, it was hard.  After more than 2 hours I finally made it to my road to go home.  I ended up parking in a vacant lot next to it and had my Daddy drive me to my house since he has a four-wheel drive truck.  I have never been so happy to get home in my life!!!

It ended up snowing around 5 inches at my house which is insane for Tennessee.  I used the weather as an excuse to NOT workout yesterday and instead laid around the house and watched movies.  At first I felt guilty but after some pretty strong workouts this month I justified it with the fact that my body needed a break.

Fortunately late  yesterday the snow started to melt and the main roads were clear enough today for travel.  Momma and I hit up our gym early this morning.  She did laps at the track while I met with Bryan for a treadmill workout.  It is pretty simple: you walk for 1 minute at 4.2 mph and then run for 1 minute at goal race pace (for me today that was a 5.8 mph or a 10:20 pace) and then repeat except you add a minute to the run each time and keep the walk at 1 minute. We repeated this until we reached 6 minutes then did a 2 minute cool down so it was an even 30 minutes.  After a great treadmill workout, Momma and I tried a new-to-us workout: class Bosu, Strength, and Stability (BSS).  It was very much harder than it looked but the time went by fast and I’m glad we tried it.  I can already feel it in my core since it had to work so hard to balance my long body.  yes

It has been a relatively low mileage week this week but it isn’t over yet.  I still have tomorrow and the weekend.  Still not sure if I’m going to do my long run tomorrow or on Saturday. We have a double date tomorrow with  Brittney and her husband to a hockey game so it would be nice to get a run in before then especially since the temps will be in the 50s.  We shall see.

Have you had a great week of runs or workouts?  What new-to-you workout have you tried lately and loved?

Going All Out

Happy Friday, everyone!  What a great week this has been.  When we last left off it was the day after I had just done 13.1 miles in our national park.  What a day that was.  I woke up Tuesday morning knowing it was strength/ab day which I was pretty dang excited about since I figured my legs would have been sore from the day before.  I was wrong and I actually felt completely fine so I decided to walk 2 miles at the gym before doing ab work and a kickboxing class.  Later that night Momma and I headed back to the gym for a Biggest Winner team training session.  We got in a mile before the workout and also got to meet with the dietician.  I was so happy that Momma got to get some great advice from her and that the dietician took what my Momma was already eating and found ways to make it healthier.  Tweaking your food choices just a little bit as opposed to following a strict meal plan and cutting out all bad food is just more sustainable in the long run.  I’m the poster child of that.  photo

Although I basically just take pictures and provide support at team training nights it is so great to see the crazy amount of work the team puts in. They really go all out and work hard.  This week they did an insane circuit workout that included wall sits, rope slaps, planks, TRX system, kettlebell swings, and barbell raises.  They also did a treadmill workout where they had to make the treadmill move and keep a decent pace without it actually being turned on.  Talk about crazy!  The gym was filled with inspiration and I think everyone that walked by and saw them got a little bit more motivated.  Great job to my team!  72844_10202228554268187_1444878059_n

Wednesday I took my Praxis exam which is the exam teachers have to take to become certified.  It was terribly hard in my opinion and I left the test center feeling defeated and a little shaken up.  My first instinct was to go to Taco Bell and eat my feelings and just not do my treadmill workout.  But I’m better than that. My body needs exercise more than it needs to binge so I drove to the gym and did a hill workout.  Wednesdays are usually sprints but given my mental state I decided to just do hills and move sprints to the next day.  I was able to get in four miles of my usual increasing .5% every 30 seconds with a max of 15% incline then walking it back down using the same process.  I did two rounds of this at 3.8 mph on treadmill.  Reflecting back I am very proud of myself for mentally walking myself through the food situation.  It would have been so easy to have a binge episode but I really talked myself out of it which is something I never would have done this time last year.  Progress, people.

Yesterday I went to the gym early for my sprint workout.  I did a mile warm up walk around the indoor track then hopped on my second favorite treadmill.  I did .1 mile walking at a 3.5 and then would do a .25 sprint starting at 6.8 and increasing .1 every sprint for a max at 7.7.  To be honest, I really struggled with the 7.6 and 7.7 and even had to hop off and bring it back down to a walk before I even hit a quarter of a mile.  My last set was a 6.8, 8.5, and 6.2  On the 8.5 it felt insanely strong.  The time seemed to go by so slowly but I made my legs run a 7:03 pace which is freaking amazing!!  I’m so thankful for this training cycle and how it is forcing me to do things that scare me senseless but challenge me and make me capable of it.  After sprints I did BodyPump and boy were my legs on fire during class.

After my early afternoon class I went home and then Momma and I turned right back around and headed to Knoxville yet again.  She wanted to do a timed mile before Body Combat which I agreed to.  Two months ago Momma did her timed mile in 15:50 going all out.  Then earlier this month she shuffled/ran an entire mile for the first time ever and finished it in 13:23.  And last night she ran pretty hard and took a few walk breaks and finished in 12:11. Yes, my mother did her mile in 12:11.  So ridiculously proud of her!  Now I have full faith she will be doing a 5k in under 40 minutes in the very near future.  I sure am a proud daughter. Go Momma!  After her mile we headed to Combat for the new release which we both really enjoyed.  It was easy to follow and gave us a great workout.

great job, momma!

great job, momma!

Following Combat, we met the Biggest Winner team for a private spin class with Joe Mitchell who was on season 12 of The Biggest Loser.  It was so nice to  have the class be just team people and I think it made everyone a little more comfortable.  For some, it was their first class and they ROCKED IT OUT!!  We even sang along to many of the songs.  Great job, team!  It was the perfect way to end the night.  photo 2 photo 3

Today I am taking it very easy and getting in my rest day.  My legs are sore and that is a good thing since I’ve gone all out all week. I’m pleased with my efforts this week and looking forward to two more weeks before I race a 10k and shoot for a PR with my friend Brittney.  Fun times ahead.  Happy Friday and hope you enjoy your weekend.

Oh, and don’t forget to keep those votes coming for me and one lucky reader (it might be YOU) to win a free race vacation to the fabulous Napa, California!  All you have to do is vote on my photo that says Kelsey/Go Girl!  I would love your help.  Voting is allowed once a day.    vote!

 

13.1 and I need your help!

Yesterday the nation observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day and a lot of people were off of work.  Since I attend a public university, we were also out of school.  My former Biggest Winner friend Bryan sent me a message asking if I wanted to go run Cades Cove Loop.  Of course my first questions included which route we were taking, what time, and what pace.  He assured me we would take the 8 mile loop option and go at a slower pace.  He also informed me that after we ran we could meet up with some members of the BW team and our coach, Missy Kane, to do a hike.  It sounded daunting but I willingly agreed.

Yesterday morning I bundled up and headed up to the Cove.  I did not see an entire car the entire time which is extremely rare for the national park.  I was able to get some dynamic stretching in so I was pretty much already bundled up before we even started.  The loop is gorgeous no matter what time of day or year it is but it was especially beautiful yesterday.  We were running a fairly solid pace and chose to walk up the hills.  It felt so great out and I never got cold again once we started.  It was nice to have some views to go with the run and then also have guaranteed walk breaks.  I never really looked down at my watch that much but I was grateful we were only doing 8 miles instead of the usual 11 mile option.   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My breathing was on point and I was able to talk almost the entire time which basically never happens.  We saw a few cars and they all smiled and waved which is also highly unusual.  Before we knew it we had less than a mile to go.  Around that time we ran into Missy and some of the team members and told them we would meet them at the trailhead.  We had to go an extra point one so that our run equaled out 8.1 miles for our run.  Even though we walked some of it, I still felt satisfied with the effort and I’m looking forward to running it faster.

saw some deer!

saw some deer!

The bathroom I changed in was heated which is a RARITY in the national park.  Thank goodness for it.  After getting dry we headed up to the trailhead for Abrams Falls.  After some group pictures we were on our way.  My legs felt awesome and I was glad to be getting five more miles in.  Bryan and I stayed towards the back with our team members.  I tried to be motivating by telling them how far we had gone per my Garmin but that seemed to have the opposite effect since very often when hiking the distance you *think* you have gone is very different from what you actually have.  We made it to the falls and got to sit down and hang out for a while.  The water was fantastic looking!  1.20.14abrams1.20.14missybryan

On the way back we decided to get ahead of the group and just head back to the car.  Our poor legs were tired and we were ready to get some food and get home.  Once we got back to the parking lot we had to make a big loop around the parking lot to make it an even five miles which ended the day at 13.1 for us.  Holy cow, we did a half marathon on our off day.  I went home and piled up on the couch and did not move except to go to the bathroom.  Laziness at its finest. Surprisingly this morning I wasn’t even sore and I was able to get in two miles at the indoor track at the gym followed by a kickboxing class.  Roundhouses are just what my legs needed today.

As I have mentioned before…one of my lifelong goals is to run a half marathon in every state.  Some people share this goal with me and some people have already done it or are really close to having all states completed.  I saw yesterday that ZOOMA race series is giving away an all expenses paid trip to Napa, California for one lucky blogger AND one of their readers (that could be YOU).  It is the chance of a lifetime and it would be so nice to win PLUS take a very special reader.  If you get a chance, please head on over and vote for me on their Facebook page.  You are allowed one vote per day so check back and vote again. Bonus points if you share with your friends.  Seriously, winning that trip would not only allow me to knock California off my list but I could take a wonderful reader with me and be surrounded by so many inspiring women.  Thanks, ZOOMA for hosting this!  Head on over and vote for me…you’ll see my picture and the name Kelsey/Go Girl.  Thanks so much, y’all.

I Love Exercise!

Exercise gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy.  Happy people don’t shoot their husbands.  They just don’t.  That’s reason enough for me to get my sweat on!  I love exercising and I love the feeling it gives me.  Lately since being back in a gym, I have been loving group fitness classes.  Something motivates you to not quit when surrounded by others regardless if you know them or not.

Monday morning Momma and I got up and got our 3 mile walk in.  We took the bike trail like we usually do, but we ventured off onto a road for about a mile of it.  This particular portion ended with a STRAIGHT UPHILL to the 1/2 mile turnaround.  Being ambitious I decided to run up which surprisingly I succeeded the entire way but I literally thought my heart was going to burst once I stopped.  It was intense.  But like I said, endorphins make you happy, they don’t kill you.  And I dressed all festive so it was hard not to be in good spirit.    1218socks

Monday night at the gym there is an awesome freestyle spin class taught by Biggest Winner team personal trainer and life coach, Chris O’Hearn.  Usually there are several BW team members that show up and it always makes class more fun.   I start sweating the instant my feet hit the pedals and I love being able to crank up the resistance at my own speed!  This week almost all of the team was there and it is so great that so many team members are coming together to crush their goals.  I really love watching my own mother step out of her comfort zone!

so proud of this team!

so proud of this team!

Yesterday morning we were back at the gym for kickboxing.  My favorite instructor was teaching so I was excited for Momma to take the class with me.  The instructor was telling us how she ran a marathon this past weekend and thought she had BQ’d according to her Garmin but missed it by SIX seconds!  Can you believe that?!  I felt so bad for her being soooo close but I know she will get it soon!  Kickboxing had us moving like crazy.  I used the gloves and bags like I usually do and Momma followed with the rest of the class.  Exercise is fun when you can do it with friends and/or family!  1218boxing

Today I’m off to finish my Christmas shopping and hopefully be done for the season!  Tomorrow I’m doing an awesome hill workout.  My fellow BW coach Bryan has constructed a training plan of sorts and was willing to share it with me and Brittney to help us train for a spring half marathon.  Brittney and I are also very much contemplating a fall half marathon also so I’m excited to see where training takes us.  Big thanks to Bryan for being willing to share his wisdom with us!  1218momma

Oh and I’m so excited to announce that I was chosen this year as a Nuun Ambassador!  The past two years of representing this company has been an amazing journey from running Hood to Coast in Oregon, blazing through the desert of Vegas for Ragnar, setting up hydration coolers and local training runs, or just spreading the word about a great product and even better company.  I’m thankful to be chosen once again!  You can get 20% off of Nuun products until the end of the year!  Just use code: ragnarvegas!     tats

Happy Wednesday!

Workouts This Week

It has been a great day of training for me this week.  Training has kept me busy and I’ve felt very strong and like I’m making good progress.

Monday.  Monday morning I did my weekly timed mile.  I did it in a time of 9:07 which was completely hauling booty for me.  Momma and I stayed around at the gym for the morning Pure Muscle class which was a great muscle burner. That night I lifted some free weights, rowed, and took spin class at the gym with some of the Biggest Winner team.

Go Team!

Go Team!

Tuesday.  During the morning I went to the gym for kickboxing class and a Body Attack class.  That afternoon Momma and I also walked three miles.  wlaking

Wednesday. Momma and I love our walking so we hit up the trail for another three mile walk!  I’m glad we did because that night at church was pizza and hot cocoa night!  Of course I had to have a lovely cheese pizza..just for me.  Home Alone 2 quote for all you weirdos who don’t recognize that.  Don’t worry, I only had two slices.  pizza

Thursday.  Yesterday was basically a day dedicated to working out. I hit up the gym yesterday morning for another timed mile and for a Pump class.  I went WAY above my expectations and ran a blazing (for me) 8:50 mile.  I haven’t run anything with an 8 on it since June and even then I thought I was going to die.  Pump class was a real calorie torcher and my legs screamed with every lunge we did.  Following Pump I headed over to the local Barre studio for a class.  I had a free coupon code so I figured I might as well take advantage of it since they are usually so dang expensive.  Barre definitely isn’t my favorite but at least I got some good muscle work in.  After a solid morning of workouts I went and stocked up on a few groceries and then met my Momma to go back to the gym for aqua aerobics.  Fun day!

Friday (today).  I have work today and then tonight I am volunteering at our church for the church directory photos.  I’m dubbing today as a rest day after a good week of workouts.  musclesHow were your workouts this week?!