Recap: The Week in Training and Life

Countdown to the SLO Marathon

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SLO Marathon

The countdown to the SLO Marathon has begun! In less than four weeks I will be in San Luis Obispo at the start line of my 37th marathon. Will I be ready? Yes! Will I be able to rock the race as I’d planned? Um, maybe.

If you’ve followed my training recaps you know that life has interfered a lot in my training plan. While my long runs have been pretty much on target, my mid-week training has not been what it should. I’ve been getting in some of the planned speed work, but my efforts to get my total weekly mileage up where I’d like it have not been very successful. Last week I managed for the first time to get over 30 miles. This week, a long run cut-back week, I just barely managed 28 miles.

So to look at the big picture, and to stop whining about things I can’t change, I will have an okay race. Not great, but, barring any severe exercise induced asthma issues, I’ll be fine. And I still have two weeks before I start my taper, so I have hopes for these next two peak training weeks.

This week I got all my planned training runs done {high five!}. On Monday I was out the door at 5:15 in the morning. After a one mile warmup I did four half mile intervals on the road followed by two quarter mile repeats. I was running out of time, so I couldn’t get the three miles total in intervals that I wanted, but I’m happy with that.

morning run 2It was barely getting light when I finished my interval workout on Monday. Can you see the old man in the mountain in the picture below?

Morning run 3On Wednesday I ran a total of six miles, with three miles at half marathon pace. I ran with my neighbor Christina, and we got going at 5:15. I’m not crazy about running alone so early, so I was happy to have a running partner.

As I mentioned it was a cut-back week for my long run this week. I had 15 on the schedule with four miles at marathon pace in the middle of the run. Christina ran with me for most of it, and we did manage to run miles 5-9 at my goal marathon pace, which is about 10 minutes per mile. At that pace it’s not like I was sprinting, but I still found it challenging (which I have to admit concerns me at this late point in training). Anyway, I got it done. After I split off from Christina I had about four more mile to run, but I was really dragging, so I ended up finishing with 14 miles for the day.

ChristinaAlan’s hamstring is bothering him, so we didn’t do our normal dog run on Sunday. Instead I ran four slow recovery miles on my own, choosing perhaps the most challenging route, which is a big loop around our neighborhood that finishes all uphill for the second half. Oh well, I got it done, and took a few photo breaks so I survived.

Recovery 3Pretty, huh? You wouldn’t guess that the day was going to heat up to about 100 degrees (on March 29!!!!).

The Life Recap

I’m not really sure why I’m including a life recap this week since it was generally pretty boring. Alan was away for a few days visiting our twin grandsons in Huntington Beach and cheering them on at the Jogathon at their school. Cash managed 31 laps in 30 minutes! I think this put him in second place overall.

CashAlan also went to their baseball game where both boys had some great plays. They all also played baseball with grandpa, rode bikes together, and of course, went to the beach (it was in the mid-80s!).

DaneMeanwhile, I stayed home to work. I also have been having afternoon headaches this week, which sucks. Unusual for me, they come on in the early afternoon, send me to bed for a couple hours, then seem to go away by early evening. I think it is because I recently got back on my hormones (Obamacare finally kicked in!), and my body is adapting. I’ll have it checked if I’m still having problems next week, but the last couple days seems a little bit better.

I did drag myself out on Thursday to see Cinderella with Christina. More on that tomorrow, but I will say that I loved it. I was fighting the stupid headache through the whole movie though, so I may just have to see it again when I feel better.

Pizza!

The food was pretty boring while Alan was gone. Between having only myself to cook for and not feeling good I kept it simple. Leftovers for the win! Also my favorite comfort food when I don’t feel good: a baked potato with salt and (vegan) butter. Not sure why this makes me feel better, but it’s been my go-to since I was very young.

Alan got home on Saturday and I was feeling pretty good so I made a pesto pizza. It was really, really, really good.

Pizza 2And worth a second look.

PizzaI have a 22 mile run on the schedule for next Saturday. I’ve been fighting a lot of doubts throughout this training cycle, so I admit that I’m fearing this distance. I’ll have to get a really early start too because I don’t think the weather is going to cool off very much.

Coming up on the blog this week I’ll have a comparative review of Cinderella 1965 vs. 2015, a great giveaway for desert locals, and the return of the Pin It Party with Lindsay and many other bloggers.

And finally, here’s something to make you smile:


How was your training week? Any events, races, or other fun times? Want to join the Pin It Party (it’s on Thursday if you’d like to participate)?

Lucky Me! And SLO Marathon Training Update (one month out!)

Winner Winner, (vegan) Chicken Dinner

Have I mentioned how lucky I’ve been lately? Oh yeah, I may have mentioned it. Since December I’ve been entering and winning a lot of giveaways. And I’ve won some really cool things. Like my Blendtec Designer 725 (from Fitfluential). I also won a $100 Lululemon gift card from Fitfluential. I won a pair of Injinji socks and Croc shoes from Katie (in two separate giveaways!), a pretty headband from Sparkly Soul, and an Unplugged t-shirt from Jenn. Not to mention that I found $20 on the street a few weeks ago!

Well, the luck continues. Last week I received a package from NuNaturals that I one from Jody (the second time I won that from her! They’re keeping me stocked up.), and I received this from Influenster (not a giveaway, but I guess I won it from among the participants in a marketing program):

Influenster2

This was a complete and very fun surprise.

NuStevia

Five Weeks Until the SLO Marathon!

Yikes! That happened fast. The SLO Marathon is just a little over a month away! I feel like I’ll be ready, even though my training has not been quite as intense as I’d planned. My weekday training suffered because I frequently have to work at 7:00, so I’m just not getting the mid-week mileage that I’d hoped for. Especially now that Daylight Savings Time has started. I’m not comfortable running in the dark (here’s why), so I usually have to cut my runs short.

I have managed to get in my long runs according to schedule, so that’s good. And I usually manage at least one speed or hill workout during the week, even if it is a bit shorter than I’d like. That being said, I finally got my total mileage up over 30 miles for the first time this training cycle. Woohoo!

Running for the week:

Tuesday: 2.5 miles easy. I had to be at work early, but Alan ran with me so I could get out early.
Wednesday: 6.5 miles with two miles at tempo/LT pace (which was around 9:15 per mile). I ran with Christina, my neighbor, so we got out early enough that we could get our run in and I could be at work by 8:00.
Saturday: 20 miles. Yes, I got it done!
Sunday: 4 miles. Recovery run. It also put me over 30 for the week (33 to be exact).

So, for the long run, I started off running with Christina. Alan’s hamstring was bothering him, so he took the day off. We took off from a park about a mile from our house. Because we were getting a late start (again!), I took off forgetting my water bottle and didn’t remember until about a half mile into the run. I’d left it on the curb at the park, wasn’t sure if Alan would see it, so Christina and I turned around to retrieve it. Before we got there though, Alan pulled up, with my bottle, so we turned back around. I also stumbled and almost fell on a sidewalk crack, but fortunately I caught my balance before I went all the way down.

Christina planned to run 10, so I ran with her to her turnaround point, then ran back about two miles. I felt that this would cut down on how far out I would have to run by myself. We live in a wonderful area that has little traffic and horse trails, but the downside is that it can get a little desolate if you run out about 10 miles or so. This way I stayed closer to home, I passed my favorite fire station (and water stop) three times, and it just generally felt safer.

WRW6

All went well on the run, though 20 miles is a freaking long way. And hard! Speaking of hard, I was almost done, only about a tenth of a mile from finishing, when I stumbled over that same crack in the sidewalk! This time I went down, flat on my face. Still, my first emotion was embarrassment, so obviously I wasn’t too badly hurt. I did manage to bang up my knee, hand, and even hit my face, but fortunately that was a light hit. The fall (or my emotion about the fall) also brought up my exercise induced asthma, but a couple quick puffs on my inhaler suppressed that. And yes, I did run that last bit (.08 mile to be exact, anal about mileage as I am).

WRW8

On Sunday Alan was announcing the Running Wild for Hope 5k in Palm Springs. I had no intention of actually racing, but I do like to go along to see running friends that I haven’t seen for a while, even if it means waking up at 3:30 on a Sunday morning (I repeat, sometimes running is hard). I ran a slow, four mile recovery run while the race was going on, including a mile with my former LA Marathon bestie, while she warmed up for the race.

Race Pictures 001

Linda and I managed to finish the 2000 LA Marathon in 3:33 in spite of pouring rain and 40 degree temps. We wore our trash bags for the whole race!

WWRI took a quick nap (Alan gets to the race early!), then, after a mile with Linda, ran another three on my own. Slowly. My PRO Compression sleeves are my friends. I usually wear them for about two days after a tough run or race.

WRW3

WRW2You can see the wound (which sounds too dramatic, but “owie” doesn’t look right) on my knee (the bandage didn’t last long there). It felt okay though.

As I mentioned, there are only five weeks left until the SLO Marathon on April 26. That means three weeks of training really, then a two week taper. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can still save $10 with my code: WOODAMB.¬† It will be beautiful in San Luis Obispo, something I’m looking forward to since it’s already getting hot in the desert.

Skulpt Aim

As I mentioned last week, I’ve had an opportunity to try out the Skult Aim. I wasn’t very happy about my initial readings, so that has encouraged be to get back to a little weight training. I’ve been practicing yoga a couple times a week, Pilates maybe once, so I hope to add some traditional strength training twice a week or so. Gotta bring those numbers down!

skulpt 2Yes, I’m showing my best reading in the picture above. That is my quadriceps measurement. My biceps, triceps and abs need a little work. So I did get in two upper body strength workouts last week. It’s actually pretty easy, since I work in a gym, and there is always a little time to get in a quick workout. I’ll be tracking my results over the next few weeks and we’ll see how those reading change.

So, that’s my week. How is your training going? Any events, races, or competitions?

Quick Training Update, the Weekend in Pictures & Skulpt Aim

Quick Training Update

So it’s 8:20 on Sunday night and I’m a little behind on writing this post. So, lucky you, it will be a mostly pictures training and weekend recap.

I took Monday off after my half marathon last week, so my first training day was Wednesday. I ran six miles. I started with a one mile warm up, then ran one mile at lactate threshold pace, with a quarter mile recovery. Repeating that two more times. My intervals were right about 9:09.

On Saturday I ran 17.5 miles. I started off with my husband, who was running 12, then continued on my own when he turned around at seven. It was getting hot as I was finishing up, so when I saw Alan’s car at the 17.5 mark (he was checking on me), I happily crawled jumped into his car. I was supposed to run 18, but it was almost 80 degrees, I was getting too much into walking mode anyway, so I took the out.

Long Run 2

Funny FaceOkay, we were tired of “smiley face!”

On Sunday we took the dogs out for their run. Our neighbor Christina joined us with her dog. It was a perfect recovery day, about 3.8 miles, pretty slow and easy. And fun, because, you know, dogs.

Dog Run

Dog Run 2

Dog Run 3

DesertThe pepper trees are blooming. Aren’t they messy pretty?

I’m still a little frustrated with my total mileage during the week. More on that later this week, but it has been difficult to fit in my runs with my early work schedule, made more challenging now with the time change.

Family Time

After the run we showered then got on the road to visit his guy:

Big BrotherAs you can see by his shirt, he is soon to be a big brother! We’re so excited that our new grandchild is due in early September! It’s about¬† month until we find out the gender, but, with four sons between Alan and me, three grandsons, it just might be time for a little XX in the family tree. Just saying. Of course we will be thrilled with our grandchild, boy or girl.

GrandpaSamuel is getting really good at saying Grandma and Grandpa. He is finally getting to an age where he knows us as his grandparents, is happy to see us, and even though we haven’t seen him since Christmas, he remembered us and felt comfortable enough for some snuggles. Though he wouldn’t smile for our selfie.

Grandma

Vegan Lunch at Earth Bistro

We all went out to lunch at the Earth Bistro in Temecula. They have a variety of vegan options and we’ve been there before. This time wasn’t as successful. Their service has always been a little slow, and this time, when they were a little busy, it was quite bad. Alan and I enjoyed our food, but my son and daughter in law were disappointed.

Earth Bistro 3

Sarah Nathan

Earth Bistro

Earth Bistro 2

Skulpt Aim Fitness Tracker

I recently received a Skulpt Aim Fitness Tracker to review. I just barely got it out of the box, but I’m really excited about this product and I can’t wait to try it out and give you a full and honest review.

Skulpt

The Skulpt Aim is a simple fitness tracker that can measure body composition with just a touch, and continue to track it using the free Skulpt app. It uses electrical impedance myography, which uses a weak electrical current to measure body fat and to give you a Muscle Quality (MQ) score based on those measurements. The app is a great motivational tool that will help to record improvements.

How was your training week? Any races, other competitions or great training experiences to share? Would you like an easy way to measure MQ and body fat?

The Week in Training: SLO Marathon and Yoga Challenges

SLO Marathon Training Recap, Week 8

For what may be the first time during this current training cycle, I am actually happy with my training. I know! I’ve been pretty negative about it all, with illness and work hours interfering with my plans. This week, they (illness & work) tried to interfere, but I overcame them! Win!

On Wednesday, which is supposed to be my second speed work day of the week I woke up with a migraine. It was bad enough that I couldn’t run, but I also had to cancel five clients! I hate doing that, but it couldn’t be helped. I stayed in bed all morning, then finally fell into a good, solid sleep and woke up around 1:30 with the headache gone. One of my shorter ones, thank goodness.

I decided to get out on Thursday morning with Alan and our neighbor Christina, to see if I could get in some type of tempo run. It would have to be short because I have to be at work by 7:30, but that always encourages me to run faster. Christina decided to run along with me, and we ran three pretty fast miles. No real warm up, though the first mile was the slowest. I was just happy to get it done.

Christina and I also ran together on Friday, four easy miles, and Saturday, for part of my long run. It’s nice to have a new training partner. She’s a very nice girl, a new runner, and about 25 years younger than me so I’m getting my ass kicked on a regular basis a good push.

Alan announced the Desert Triathlon this weekend. It is held on both days, with the sprint and duathlon on Saturday and the international on Sunday. They had quite a treat this year. Saturday brought wind, with gusts up to about 50 mph, and on Sunday it rained all day. At least the wind died.

When I headed out for my long run with Christina on Saturday, the winds weren’t too bad yet. She ran with me for the first five miles, then I was on my own. I was scheduled for 16 miles, and it just seemed so long to run my regular out and back route, all by myself, especially when the winds started to rise up. After much deliberation (and a lot of running route math going on in my head), I decided to add on mileage as I headed away from home, then finish up at Lake Cahuilla, which is where the triathlon (and Alan) was (were?).

Running math is kind of funny, especially when you start to get tired (which I was from mile 10 on). I know the distances, I’d figure out where I needed to turn because I had to add on six miles, but my brain had a hard time holding onto it. I’d figure it out once at one total mileage, then it would be different the next time. Well, at least it gave my brain something to think about as I plodded along. It all worked out perfectly in the end. I finished up about 25 feet from where Alan was at the finish line.

Long RunI was glad I was just running 16 miles (if you can believe that). The triathletes had to deal with a horrendous headwind as they headed back toward the park, not to mention the buoys in the water were blown way off course, so many swimmers got a little extra distance in. We all had sand in our hair and gritty teeth at the end though.

After I finished, I snagged some of Alan’s Gatorade, stretched, bundled up in one of his sweatshirts, and hung out until he was done. I even managed a couple yoga poses (see below)! One of the vendors brought me a smoothie, so I even got some refuel. Oh! And celebrities!

Two Hollywood stars competed in the sprint triathlon. Sadly, I am so out of touch that I have no idea who they were. There were good looking though. Even sadder, I was tired, stinky, and looked like I had just run 16 miles.

Chris Pratt

This is Chris Pratt. He played Andy Dwyer on Parks and Recreation and Bright Abbott in Everwood.

Chace Crawford

This is Chace Crawford. He played Nate Arhibald on the Gossip Girls.

 

Sunday is usually an easy, run with the dogs day, but since I ran Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and plan to run Monday, I took a well deserved day off of running.

This is week eight of my SLO Marathon training. I’m still a little short of my total weekly distance goals, but I feel happy with my training this week. I’m running the Run Through Redlands half marathon next Sunday (and have to work at 6:45 on Saturday), so this coming week will be a bit of a cutback week. I do plan to run the race at my goal marathon pace, so that will be interesting.

Remember, you can save $10 on registration for the SLO Marathon with the code WOODAMB.

Here’s the recap:

Monday: Intervals: 8 x .25 miles intervals at about 5k pace. Yoga warm up
Tuesday: Pilates Reformer workout, 20 minutes Balancing Flow from Yoga Download
Wednesday: Migraine. I did manage a little restorative yoga in the early evening.
Thursday: Tempo run. Three miles at lactate threshold pace. 30 minutes Pilates Reformer workout, 10 minutes Sun Salutations.
Friday: Four miles easy. A little yoga stretching after the run.
Saturday: Long run. 16 miles. Not much yoga, but I did manage to put my legs up the wall, er, up the tree.
Sunday: 90 minute Vinyasa class.

Take the Leap 30 Days of Yoga Challenge

We are approaching the last few days of the Take the Leap 30 days of yoga challenge with prAna and Fit Approach. I have loved this so much! I’m sorry that it is almost over, but I plan to keep up my yoga practice. Here is the last week of posing.

Week 4Week 4 2

Week 4 3Week 4 4

Week 4 5Week 4 7

Week 4 6

Just a few days left!

Vegan Eats

I made some of my favorite recipes this week, including Pot Pie (though I used Beyond Meat chicken instead of tofu) and Pizza. Both were delicious.

Pot PiePizza

I also made a great smoothie on Sunday. I called it a “Kitchen Sink” smoothie. It was also delicious. Here’s the Instagram post:

How was your training week? Any events, races, or simply fun times?

The Best Smoothie. Ever. Truly.

I really suck at food photography. I mean, this really is the best smoothie ever, and yet after multiple attempts I can’t capture that yumminess in a picture. I’m still working on it, the photography that is, but for now, just enjoy the recipe.

I was recently challenged to enter a Smoothie Recipe contest by Sunwarrior. They sent me a few samples of their products, including both vanilla and chocolate protein powder. I had fun creating variations on my usual smoothies, using both the classic and warrior blend vanilla powder. I made a great recovery smoothie, using the Warrior blend vanilla, Immune Shield, fresh berries, spirulina, almond milk, ginger, apple, and banana. It was delicious.

Recovery Smoothie 3

Then I needed to figure out how to use the chocolate Sunwarrior. Although I love chocolate, the idea never appealed to me for my smoothie. But I decided to get my creative juices flowing and see what I could come up with. I think you’ll agree that this just may be the Best. Smoothie. Ever.

Berry Peanut Butter Cup Protein Smoothie

Berry Peanut Butter Cup 5

As the commercials have told us, chocolate and peanut butter are made for each other (though if you don’t eat peanuts you can easily substitute another type of nut butter). This smoothie tastes like the most decadent of milkshakes, but it is full of the nutrients of fresh fruit, plant based protein, and pure peanut butter.

Ingredients

2 Bananas
1 cup non-dairy milk (I used cashew because I love its richness)
6 ounces vanilla coconut milk yogurt
1 scoop Sunwarrior Warrior Blend chocolate protein powder
1 heaping tablespoon peanut butter
1 cup frozen mixed berries (mine were strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries)

Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

Berry Peanut Butter Cup 3

But now, I had a problem. I had used up the chocolate samples that Sunwarrior had sent me, and all I had was my own tub of vanilla. I needed to make this smoothie again (if only because my husband didn’t get to try it the first time and I knew that he’d love it). That and it is my new obsession favorite. This was easy as it turned out. I simply used a scoop of the vanilla Warrior Blend protein powder and added a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder. Everything else remained the same. It was a winner!

Sun Warrior 2

Now, you can help make me a winner too. Entries are judged based on a variety of things, including comments on this post, likes on my Instagram post, and retweets of the link above. If you like chocolate, please vote for me in one (or more) of these ways. If you don’t like chocolate, maybe you’ll do it because you like me?

Berry RecipeWhat’s in your favorite smoothie?

Weekly Recap: SLO Marathon Training & Yoga

This whole work thing is taking its toll on my marathon training.

SLO Marathon Training, Week 7

While I’m happy overall with how my training is going, I still keep having to cut some of my weekday morning runs short because, well, money. If I have a client that wants to see me at 7:00 in the morning (or even 6:00, but that hasn’t happened yet), I really need to take them. Because in about three months they’ll be gone for the summer. It’s called making hay while the sun shines.

So, while I’m getting in the runs, they are shorter than I have on my schedule. In the coming week I’m going to work on getting out a little earlier, but I don’t like to go too early because I’m running by myself and, well, I’m scared of the dark. Here’s why…

This was a cutback week though, with my long run scheduled for 10 miles with five at marathon pace. That went well, though I did four at MP pace instead of five. I was running with my neighbor Christina, who is a new runner, but tough as nails. She did the whole run with me and kept me going during the faster parts. She even challenged me as we approached the end to pick it up to the corner. Bitch! I keep reminding myself she’s young enough to be my daughter. That helps.

run 3The picture above is from a couple weeks ago. Same crew though. Alan was with us but he had a steady pace 10 mile run on his schedule.

Here’s my post-run selfie. Mostly because I like taking pictures of our wind-kitties.

Run2

So I ran four times, 19 miles total. I’m still not happy with my total weekly mileage, but I’ll be working on that this week. I started off this week with a three mile run, and I managed eight 1/4 mile intervals, so I’m pretty happy with that.

The countdown to the SLO Marathon is on! Two months from today! Yikes, better get going. I have a 16 miles run on the schedule for the weekend, which is good, but I think the key is to get in my mid-week mileage.

By the way, the price will be going up on February 28, so if you’re planning to join me in San Luis Obispo on April 23 now is the time to register! You can save an extra $10 with my code WOODAMB. Do it!

slo

Take the Leap Challenge

At least my yoga is going well. I have managed to practice a little yoga every day since February 2. I haven’t made it to as many classes as I’d like, but I’ll do a few sun salutations to warm up, some hip opening and hamstring stretching poses to cool down, and take the time daily for a pose-of-the-day.

We working on a warrior series this week. Here are my first three days:

Week 3Warrior I

Humble WarriorHumble Warrior

Warrior 2

Warrior II

I’m so happy with this Take the Leap Challenge with prAna and Sweat Pink. The support of the other participants is amazing, and I love working with prAna. Not only do they make amazing clothing, but they care about creating a lifestyle of sustainability, kindness, and focus. My goal, once the challenge is over, is to continue on with my practice, maybe not daily, but several times a week. Yoga is good for my soul.

Random Stuff: Movies & #Vegan Food

Alan and I went to see McFarland, USA on Saturday. In a nutshell, we loved it! As a cross country coach I appreciated everything about the story of how running (and a good coach) helped to change the lives of the children of migrant workers in Central California in 1987. It was based on a true story, so even though it seemed a little formulaic, I didn’t care. I believe in the power of running and high school sports to help develop successful and confident adults.

We headed to lunch at Whole Foods on Sunday. We had their vegan Artisanal Cheese platter again. It was so good! And we shared the Taro Burger. Sadly, they no longer have the Jackfruit Crab Cakes on the menu {sad face}, but we did enjoy our meal.

lunchI also cooked up a great Tofu Scramble this week. In fact I’m still enjoying the leftovers!

Tofu ScrambleHave you seen McFarland, USA? What did you think? How was your training week? Any events, races, or great meals? Share!