Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday Confession

In lieu of doing a Fitness Friday Post (and mostly because I'm still resting/recovering and have nothing to post), I have a Friday Confession for you.

I joined a diet bet.

What's a diet bet, you ask? is a website where you can join a multitude of different "bets" to lose weight. They vary in price and length of time. The one I joined is hosted by Olivia & Hannah from Biggest Loser (at least I think so, I really have no clue who they are), and it had a $20 buy in which was the lowest I could find.

Most of the bets are for about a month, and encourage losing a minimum of 4% of your body weight. Each hosted bet has a message board where other players can post things like recipes, highs and lows for the day, work outs, and general encouragement.

When you sign up, you submit a photo of yourself in "airport security attire", or Spandex basically, while you're standing on a scale. Also, a photo of you on the scale showing your starting weight and a postcard with the "word of the day". It's verified for authenticity, and then accepted or possibly sent back to you for more verification. They accepted my first photos, so I'm good.

If you lose the 4%, you're supposedly guaranteed to make your money back. We'll see about that.

So far, I'm doing well. We had a pot luck at work yesterday, and I was able to control myself knowing I had some accountability via DietBet. Also, I'd like to get my money back. Monetary incentive is a huge motivator for me. It's typically why I work so hard to ensure that I actually make it to a race I register for - I don't want to be out that money!

I'd like to point out that I'm not looking to lose a radical amount of weight. But I gained about 8lbs during marathon training, and I'd be very happy to get rid of those. This time of year is hard with Halloween candy, pumpkin flavored baked goods, cozy drinks, Thanksgiving!, and of course - all the Christmas goodies that come along in December. So, I figured now was the best time to reset my daily diet (as in what I eat, not a specific diet) to eat healthy during these months and keep myself mindful of what I'm putting into my body.

It's hard enough to stay motivated to work out and eat healthy in the winter - so why not give myself a little help?

Have you heard of DietBet? How do you stay healthy & keep the pounds off during the holidays?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Training for Tuesdays: What's Next?

Today I'm linking up with the fabulous and fantastic Tracy & Alyssa. Both ladies are doing some pretty awesome things, so you should go check out their blogs if you haven't already. They host this monthly link-up to talk about our training, our goals, and life in general.


Now that I'm done training for Detroit, and I can officially call myself a marathoner, what's next? 

A lot of resting, that's what. I wound up giving myself a nice little case of tendinitis in my foot on my first post-race run, so I'm resting even more that I thought I would. I ordered an indoor trainer for my bike so that I can at least get some rides in this winter and do some cross training. Now if the thing would just show up. 

Oh yea, I'm also getting sick. A word to the wise: after you run a marathon, you will feel like crap. Your body will hurt, you will be tired for days on end, and your immune system will take a nose dive. Avoid any and all sick people & children, and just let the rest happen. I'm having trouble doing this myself, but I'm trying to take my own advice. 

However, don't let that fool you. I will hopefully be back to base training very soon, and starting January 3rd (giving myself some recovery time after NYE), I'm back to marathon training for my next adventure:

The Fargo Marathon! Yep, I drank the kool-aid and I'm hooked on this marathon thing. So, God willing, my body will hold up and get stronger. Hopefully, I'll be able to mentally tough it out on the treadmill all winter, and come May 21st, 2016 be given another chance at running a full marathon. 

The race course is supposed to be flat (hello, have you ever been to North Dakota? Flat as a pancake), and fast. I'm imagining it will be windy though, but I'm hoping for good weather already. 

The course looks pretty cool, and I've heard it's very pretty at that time of year. We even get to run past the iconic Fargo Theatre.

Here's to resting, getting myself back in order, and having a successful second training cycle!

What are you training for? Link up and tell us about it!

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Rest of our Detroit Trip

This post is basically all photos. Enjoy!

Friday morning we pulled out of our driveway at roughly 1:30 am. Rough. I drove first, which I like to do because I don't trust my husband's navigational skills while I'm sleeping. Especially in the dark. This was reinforced when he got us lost in Escanaba, MI. after we switched and I tried to sleep for a bit. See? My fear is not unfounded. Also, I'm able to go to bed at like 6 pm the night before and typically get a few hours of sleep before it's time to get up and go.

Along the way, we drove through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and along Lake Michigan. It was gorgeous. My pics do it absolutely no justice at all.

A little view of Lake Michigan

Some of the color along our trip.

Then we got to drive over the Mackinac Bridge to the main part of MI. It was pretty cool! Very huge, and long. They were doing a little construction on the bridge, and the noise the road made sounded like "whales" to Emily. So now she is convinced that whales live in the the Great Lakes.

It looks so tiny from here, but it's big!

A view of the lake from Mackinac Bridge
Once we got settled in Detroit, we utilized the People Mover quite a bit. That was awesome! It's basically an above ground subway, and only .75 cents for adults but Em was free. We took it downtown on Saturday to stop at my parents hotel, the Renaissance Center, and then on to Cobo Hall where the race expo and packet pickup were held.

Standing at the RenCen station, looking off towards Greektown. 

Looking towards the Cobo Center, where that blue sign is.
After packet pickup, we met up with my uncle, cousin, and her two kids. Her oldest is about a year younger than Emily, and her youngest is just 2 months old! We had a light lunch, and then went to a place called The Robot Garage, which is a little lego heaven. They have several tables set up with different types of legos where you can sit and build to your heart's content.

Emily & her cousin at the farm/train table

Dad totally loved this place.
Before we went to dinner, Emily just had to see Grandma & Grandpa's room. They were on the 50th floor of the Renaissance Center, and had a pretty good view!

Oh hey, Canada. I'll see you tomorrow!

For dinner that night, we went to a place called Republic Tavern. Travis and I thought it was awesome, but it was a bit of a stretch for my parents. Their menu was a mix of small plates and main dishes, so we got a mix of a lot of things. I enjoyed smoked trout, roasted carrots, and creamy roasted sweet potatoes. My parents tried pierogies (amazing!), meatballs, and chicken pot pie with a chicken foot on top. That was weird! My uncle came with us and had to order the beef tongue. No one shared his plate except Travis. Two weird peas in a pod! Because of the way the menu is styled, there was a lot of waiting, and we were there for nearly 2 hours. Thankfully, Emily was really well behaved despite not really eating much and not getting her grilled cheese until nearly 1.5 hours after we ordered it. 

In between courses, trying to stay occupied!
Sunday was race day, of course. After the race, we were able to take the People Mover back to our hotel where we had to quickly check out. Traffic was a mess because there was a Lions football game starting up just as we were leaving, but we were able to navigate our way out of the city and move on to my other Uncle & Aunt's house where we stayed for the next 2 nights. For the rest of the day, we mostly just hung out at their house, ate, and I tried to nap. Unsuccessfully, but I think I was still running on some race adrenaline.

Monday, we went out to a nearby apple orchard for a little family fun. It was incredibly windy, so we mostly just stuck to the kid's area and playground. Luckily my aunt had this adorable hat to keep Em's head and ears warm. We weren't prepared for it to be so cold!

Emily got to feed some goats and donkeys

They climbed the haybale mountain!

Future farmer driving the tractor

We also enjoyed some hot cider and cinnamon sugar donuts while we were there - a Michigan tradition! 

We left Detroit on Tuesday around 6 am to start the long drive home. There were tons (TONS) of wineries along the way in the southwestern part of Michigan, and I was itching to stop at one. It was still pretty early, but we managed to find one that opened at 10 am. Lucky we did, because it was the last one we'd see for awhile! I did a quick tasting, and managed to do some damage in less than 30 minutes. The wines were pretty good - check them out at St. Julian Winery

Chardonnay, Traminette, Meritage, and a fun red blend called "Cock of the Walk"
We finally got home around 10:15 on Tuesday evening. Our trip was made longer by a 1.5 hour stop in Chicago for a deep dish pizza experience, but I think it was worth it. 

We're all still recovering a bit from our journey, but it was a great trip! If you made it this far, congrats and I wish I had a cookie for you!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Pics from the Detroit Marathon

Since I'm still not over the whole "I ran a marathon" thing, I'm showing you some of the pictures from the race. They are all of me, so just roll with it. :)

I've never bought professional pics from a race before, but I figured for my first marathon it was kind of a given that I had to. Right?

On with the show...

These two are right after we came back to the US through the tunnel. You can kind of see the sign in the background that says "Welcome back to the USA". 

I had just spotted my parents and started waving at them like a mad woman. I didn't even notice the photographer! They're probably my favorite pics because I still look fresh and happy.

Oh yay! Now I can get my water bottles!
This one was over on Belle Isle, where it was windy as heck. This was probably the hardest part of the race for me because I was tired and although the end was near, it still felt pretty far with 5-6 miles yet to go.

But I kept smiling! I don't know why, but there were like 10 pics of me from this portion. I can't remember if there were 2 photographers over there, or if the one just really thought I was great.

Finally, the finish line is in sight! I'm trying to power down to the line here, but I didn't have a whole lot more to give. 

Done! Definitely the best feeling EVER. 

Do you buy race photos? 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Detroit Free Press Marathon

I finished! I am currently deprived of all energy and strength, but I finished!

Who's this girl? A marathon runner, that's who!

Not only did I finish, but I survived! Ha! 

My finish time was 4:10:15, so just shy of 5 minutes better than my C goal. Although, my A & B goal were very ambitious. I probably would have met my B goal of 4:00, but I had to start taking walking breaks around mile 18 every few miles because my hip was having issues from mile 5 until then. After the first walk break, it felt much better. But by then, my quads were pretty trashed. 

The race started at 7:00am, in the dark, with snow flurries. Yay fall races! The roads were pretty horrible in this first stretch, and quite a few people fell from potholes and whatnot in the road. Climbing over the Ambassador Bridge into Canada was really very cool. The sun wasn't out yet, but it was light and you could see the river and well into Canada. It was quite a long climb, but coming down the other side was fun. Canada was very scenic and the spectators were very nice. Running back to the US through the tunnel was an experience! It was very warm and humid, since it's underwater, and my watch lost satellite so it was mostly running by feel. 

Since we were not allowed to have liquids with us while crossing the border, I had my parents meet me right after the tunnel around mile 8. That worked out perfectly! I saw them right away, was able to make a beeline to them, grab my bottles, shout "Thank you, I love you!" and keep on my way.

From there, we ran a bit more through the city, up and down a few more highway overpasses, and then the half marathoners split off and we kept going. Oh, how tempting it was to run to the half finish line! But I had Travis and Emily stationed just down a few more blocks with my Gatorade bottles, and that worked out really well too!

Around mile 16 I started to fatigue a bit. Not mentally, but my legs were quite tired from the uphill/downhill in the beginning. I had been doing well at keeping my pace, but a few miles I pushed it too hard and started to feel that here. We ran through a nice neighborhood with large homes and lots of spectators partying on their lawns. I finally took a walk break at mile 18 for 1/10th of a mile, then picked it up again. At this point, we ran over a small bridge onto Belle Isle, which is like a park with a yacht club and a few homes. I had to walk again at mile 20 after climbing that bridge, and then mile 23 again after climbing the bridge back to the city. 

I knew from there, it was all mind games. I could keep running, but I walked again at 24.5 for 2/10ths of a mile. I kept telling myself "you only have 1.5 miles to go, you can run that!" We had 3 turns to go, and rounding the first of the last turns we came upon a steep, short climb. No thank you! I walked that too, quickly, and then ran the rest of the way with a huge smile on my face as I crossed the finish line! 

Honestly though, this race was so great and I'm still on a "runners high". I am still sore, and sitting/standing is an interesting feat. I will definitely need a few more days of rest, stretching, and foam rolling. But I'm already looking forward to my next race in May. Training through the winter will be challenging, as always, and I'm so very thankful that I have my new treadmill. 

I'm linking up with Deb Runs this week for her Wednesday Words. The word is Deprivation. Do you feel deprived of anything at the moment? 

Deb Runs

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wednesday Word: Adjust

This week's word from Deb Runs is Adjust. Deb Runs hosts a weekly link-up for fitness and non-fitness bloggers alike, prompting us with a word to discuss.

Deb Runs


Not something I'm super good at. I will be the first to admit that I dislike change. I have goals that I'm chugging along, full steam ahead, to achieve.

But life is funny sometimes. Sometimes you get a wrench thrown in your plans. Like this summer, when I injured my leg, and I had to start cross-training and getting more mindful about stretching.

Things were going along fine for awhile there. Then along came my body's version of the taper tantrum.

Hip Bursitis! Yay!

So what do we do? We adjust. In the form of less running, more icing, more ibuprofen, more KT tape, and more rest.

It's slowly feeling better, and I managed 4 pain-free miles this morning. I'm not sure what this means for race day yet, but I'm adjusting to the idea of running slower. Or maybe I'll run the paces I planned on up until (and/or if) I start having pain. We'll see. It will be an adjustment on the fly.

That, I'm actually good at. Like when my fuel belt pops off mid-stride and I can catch it and strap it back on without stopping. Now that takes talent!

Are you good at adjusting? How do you handle change and adjustment?

Link up and tell us about it!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Fitness Friday

Hello, and welcome to one of the last editions of Fitness Friday!

For this training cycle anyway...

Saturday - rest day, mostly spent driving in a car but also walking around Gooseberry Falls and climbing a lot of steps. Not so restful....

Sunday - Last truly "long" run of 12 miles. It was beautiful out, and an amazingly crisp 40 degrees. I will take that! This run was supposed to be at my easy pace, around 9:45-9:55. Which I did, until I scared a black bear cub up a tree along the trail I run on. Yes, a BEAR. I didn't stick around to wait for mama bear to show up. I booked it to the end of that trail section where it dumps out into a little town, and definitely did not go back the same way!

Monday - 7 miles on the bike, averaging 13mph. I've been having some discomfort under my hip, sort of towards my quad. I was thinking IT band, and after discussing with my coach, she thinks it's the beginning of hip bursitis. Awesome! Yay, taper injuries! So I will be icing it a few times a day, and doing some hip opener yoga & stretches for the next 2 weeks.

Tuesday - 7 mile taper tempo - 1 mile warm up, 5 miles at Marathon Pace (MP - 8:55 ideally for me), 1 mile cool down. I had such a hard time really honing in on this pace. I felt like I was all over the map from 8:30 to 9:05. Tempo paces ended up being 8:48, 8:46, 8:50, 8:56, 8:50. I guess I shouldn't be too hard on myself, but I really wanted to lock into that 8:55 and keep it.

Wednesday - Yoga with Adriene: lower back pain video, hip opener sequence, and pigeon pose. My hip is starting to feel better already, but yesterday I started to get some sciatic pain after sitting at my desk all morning. I think it's sciatic pain, anyway. It's right at the top of my glute, kind of towards my spine. It's more just tender/uncomfortable than actual pain, and doesn't travel down my leg. So maybe it's more just a pulled glute? I don't know. Over it.

Thursday - Another taper tempo, 6 miles. This one was broken up as a 2 x 2 mile with 3 min rest in between. The idea is to squeeze that rest in so we're not taxing my body so much this close to race day. This one went a little better than Tuesday's tempo run, but I still felt like I could do better sticking to the pace throughout each mile. Tempo paces were: 8:51, 8:56, 8:53, 8:57. My hip is feeling much better, but still not 100%. The sciatic pain I had is nearly gone, although my piriformis is super tight. So maybe it's working itself out. Massage today to get out all the kinks!

Friday - 3 easy miles. Paces were 9:45, 9:35, & 9:45. I didn't get quite enough sleep last night, thanks to Book Club keeping me out late. So even though these were easy paces, I think that coupled with getting the massage yesterday made this run feel a little harder than it should. The massage therapist loosened a lot of things up, and for the most part I'm feeling much better. She said my hip flexor was really "stuck", and she loosened it up but it was a bit sore this morning. So I'm icing it as we speak. I'm really ready for my legs to feel "fresh". When does that happen?

How's your training going? When do you feel "fresh" in the taper period. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wednesday Word: Tenacious

I'm linking up again with Deb Runs for her Wednesday Words post. Today our word is Tenacious.

To me, the word tenacious reminds me of a dogged determination to get things done, no matter what stands in your way. Like a pitbull.

Having no experience whatsoever with pitbulls, I'm not actually sure that they're like this. But in my head they are, so I'll stick with the reference. 

I know that when it comes to my goals, I have a tenacity that won't quit. Part of it is not wanting to let myself down, part of it is not wanting to let others down. Mostly it's because I made the commitment to do something. Period. I said I would do it, and I'm going to do it.

Right now, with 11 days until my first full marathon, I am drawing on every tenacious bone in my body. Because my body thought it would be fun to start falling apart. Hip pain? Check. Quad pain? Check. Glute pain? Check. Sciatic pain? Check. WTF body. I've never even had sciatic issues before.

But I'm not going to let a few aches and pains stop me. I've started doing yoga every day. EVERY DAY. The stretches really help loosen things up, and it's calming to just breath and focus on being relaxed.

Mostly with the help of this lovely lady that my coach directed me to: Yoga with Adriene. She has a youtube channel here, and I've found her hip opener and lower back videos to be very helpful so far. Also her pigeon post video. I was already doing pigeon pose, but it's nice to go through it with some guidance.

I've also scheduled myself for a 30 minute deep tissue/stress relief massage. Because I know that part of this is psychosomatic and my brain is telling my body to freak out.

But no matter what, I will be racing. I will be finishing. I'm not letting anything stop me.

Dear body: suck it up, buttercup.

What does the word tenacious mean to you? Link up and let's chat!

Deb Runs

Monday, October 5, 2015

Gooseberry Falls and the North Shore

Hello friends! I know Mondays are a bit of a downer, so here are some beautiful photos to help lighten the mood.

This weekend we went to Gooseberry Falls with my sister-in-law, her boyfriend, and my mother-in-law. We brought stuff for a picnic, and had a great time enjoying the views.

This is the view from the very top, where there is a bridge on the highway that goes over the river. Way off in the distance, you can sort of see Lake Superior.

From that same vantage point, you can see the upper falls. 

I think the upper falls are the prettiest, because it's so wide and there are so many waterfalls. In the upper left corner, you can see the bridge.

This is the lower falls, which you can walk right up to. Kind of scary, especially with a daredevil 4 year old. "Hold my hand Emily!!" was said more than a few times. 

The view from that vantage point looks over the rest of the river on it's way out to Lake Superior, and the little bridge at the bottom that you can cross over. 

Here's the same waterfall, but from the bottom. Still very pretty. Emily enjoyed throwing rocks into the pool at the bottom. 

We hiked back up to the top, where our car was, and then drove down closer to Lake Superior where they had a large picnic area. They had tables right out by the lake, but it was so windy and cold out there that we opted for one near the parking lot that had more of a tree line to break the wind.

Lake Superior crashing into the beach.

More of the lake. The pillar seen here in the bottom corner had chains in between each pillar to form a barrier, but there were quite a few chains that were down, and you could walk right up to the edge of the cliff. It was probably about a 20 ft drop into the lake. I would have a picture for you, but that scared the heck out of me, so I walked back to safety as quickly as possible!

Last but not least: Emily being a ham. :o)

Of course we stopped at the "world famous" Betty's Pies on the way home. (Seriously, no visit to the North Shore is complete without a slice of Betty's pie) Because it was such a beautiful day, not only was the park a madhouse, but so was Betty's. Over an hour wait! Thankfully they have a takeout line, so I waited 15 minutes, got 3 slices to go, and we enjoyed them from the comfort of our own home. 

Sunday was spent running, relaxing, and watching football. I made my first batch of chili in the crock pot, along with cornbread and brownies. Just for good measure. 

How was your weekend? Are you enjoying any fall activities? 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Fitness Friday

Happy Friday! Happy October!!! I'm very excited to announce:

I'm officially in taper mode!

For those that don't know, tapering is the week (or 3) before your big race where you cut back on the miles & intensity of the workouts in order to start saving up the energy for your race.

My last big weekend is included here, but after that, it's all downhill baby!

Saturday: Steady pace run: 1 mile warm up, 5 miles between 8:40-9:10, 1 mile cool down. Again, this steady pace run the day before a long run is intended to put some fatigue in the legs to help simulate marathon fatigue. This run went pretty well. I'm starting to get to the point where I think "oh man, I'm not sure I can do that workout" and then be pleasantly surprised when my body cruises through it. Not easy, exactly, but comfortably hard. Splits were: 9:48, 8:48, 8:56, 8:44, 8:45, 8:42, 9:28.

Sunday - 16 miles with fast finish. On top of having the steady pace run yesterday, the fast finish long run is designed to simulate late race fatigue, and teach your body to push through the tiredness. I had great weather for this run, fueled well, but still was not sure that I could accomplish those miles. Most of the run averaged around 9:45-9:50 pace. The fast finish miles were supposed to be miles 12-15 at 8:30 or faster, then 1 more cool down. I'm happy to report that those miles went great!

8:26, 8:22, 8:16 - Bam!

Not only faster than 8:30, but negative splits! Rocked it :o)

Monday - Today was supposed to be a bike day, or maybe yoga. I decided to be kind to my body and get an extra hour of sleep. I'll probably do some additional stretching this evening after my strength training (hips & lower leg) exercises. But that extra hour of sleep was quite nice.

Tuesday - Taper Cutdown (1 mi warmup, 3 miles @ 8:55, 3 miles @ 8:30 or faster, 1 mile cool down). This run is designed to have you practice your marathon pace, and "blow out the tubes" with a few faster miles. Today I had trouble holding MP. It seemed like my body either wanted to run faster, or 10-15 seconds slower. No in between. But I managed to do alright with my paces: 9:38, 8:54, 8:48, 8:49, 8:34, 8:20, 8:20, 9:53.

Also, my neighbors have added this to their front yard.

While she is pretty, she definitely scared the crap out of me the first morning I ran by her.

Wednesday - 8 miles on the bike, average speed 13.8mph. It's amazing what a little air in the tires will do! I was wondering why it was so much harder to get my speed back up out of the 12 mph zone. Hey, I'm still learning here! One thing to note about this ride: it was only 28 degrees! I had to break out the pants and long sleeves, gloves, etc. There was frost on some lawns this morning; I don't think I have many outdoor rides left for the year. I should probably start looking at indoor trainers.

Thursday - 6 easy miles, average pace of 9:38. Brisk at 37 degrees this morning, and I'm totally loving it. My legs felt tired, but I found myself really having to slow down constantly. Maybe because of the cooler weather?

Friday - Another 6 miles at easy pace. I am slightly confused at my body right now, because my legs are definitely feeling tired and heavy, and yet I'm having trouble keeping these runs at my slow pace. Average pace for this run was 9:33. Is it really because the weather has cooled down? It was 30 degrees this morning! Maybe because I've been working on my form a little? I'm not sure. Anyway, I hope this translates well to race day!