Sunday, October 25, 2015

Monster Run 5K

Lets talk about bad races.  The majority of runners experience a bad race here and there. This fall mine have all been okay, I haven't PR'd but I also haven't had amazing races. I have only myself and lack of training to blame for that.  I wouldn't call my races bad races, just ones that I could improve upon.  Last weekends 5K- I would consider that a bad race.  Sure, I won my age group and finished 45th out of 610 5K competitors, but I could have done a lot better.  Its not that I am a slow runner, by no means is that the case- its that my mental game is weak, my training is not where it should be, and I made huge racing errors.  

With that being said, I still had fun at last weekends Monster Run 5K.  The run is paired with a Halloween themed festival! Prior to the race beginning there is pumpkin carving, kids races and costume contests.  After the race, each competitor gets a free hot dog- the wiener mobile is even there! And there is a movie screened in the park- this years was the kids movie Hotel Transylvania.   A few years ago, Runners World even mentioned this race in their race finder article.  The one difference this year from prior years, is that they now offered a 5 Mile race along with the 5K.

My fiancé and I got to the race around 3:30 to pick up our bibs and race packet (aka t-shirt). We had an easy time finding parking- super rare and super lucky! As we were walking to get our packets, the kid's races were finishing up. We saw parents running with their 2 and 3 year olds, some parents carrying their kids.  It was very cute!  I would say that 80% of the people participating were in costume. My fiancé and I went costume shopping about 2 days prior and deciding on something simple that we could run in.  We ran as skeletons.  Nice part about our costumes is we can reuse them! Which I actually plan on doing for work on the 31st.  

The weather was a bit chilly with a slight wind and intense sunshine! I can't stand to be cold on any part of my body, and since we had time, we took a walk to a nearby Walgreen's so i could get some cheap gloves.  My fingers were freezing and I didn't want to risk that throwing off my head game (which needs a ton of work).  

After getting me gloves, we walked back to the festival and took a bunch of pictures together.  I had fun looking at all the different costumes and I of course was scoping out runners to see who I thought would be a top finisher.  I had told myself going into this 5K that it wasn't about winning, it was about having fun.  My fiancé is a little tired of hearing me beat myself up after races that I don't win, and he just wants to run together and have fun.  I did not have as much fun running this race as I should have. In fact I wanted to scream and cry.  But more on that later. 

With ten minutes until the start of the race (the 5k and 5 miler started together and had different break off points), we went and lined up.  We placed ourselves in the front.  We always do. (hmm, maybe I should change that to take a different mental approach).  There were a few kids (7-8 year olds) who ran up to the front wanting to start first.  Those kids didn't stay in the front, but I'm sure they had fun, and they finished a 5K race which is awesome.  I definitely (when I have kids) want them to race with me.  

Anyways, so we are at the starting line.  There is a giant minion next to us.  We hear the announcer state that "The Minion" is the winner of the previous weekends Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon!  As you can see in the picture below, this costume was huge! (And, he won the 5 Miler that day holding a 5:35 pace in that costume! Insanley amazing!) Hearing that he was the winner of the Marathon, I mentally noted around what pace this guy probably runs at and that I shouldnt go out in front of him.  I wish I listened to myself sometimes.  

The gun goes off and I'm off.  I felt great, my legs felt strong, and next thing you know, I'm running a 6 minute pace and I'm first person overall.  I turn the corner and there is the race truck (the one that leads you the path) and it starts when I get to it.  Part of me is stoked that I'm in this position and another part of me is freaking out that I should not be running in 1st place this soon- or at all.  So, I checked my watch to see what pace I was running at- 5:59. I checked my Garmin Connect results (its an app that connects to my watch and shows me all the results) and it showed me that at one point my fastest pace was 5:11. Yikes! I used to be stoked about that, but with where my training and fitness level are currently, I should not be running at that pace, not even for a brief moment. So I knew that it was time to back off and that I needed back off now. I tried to slow myself, and honestly, after going out that fast, part of me felt like I was just starting to die.  

I went out to fast and i was paying for it.  What in the world was I thinking.  My fiancé knew we were going out to fast, but he knows how in my head I get and let me do my thing.  The first mile started with us going on state street and then turning up a small hill. Once past that hill, we turned to run another 10m to turn up another hill.  This hill killed me.  My fiancé even noticed that this hill was my end game.  

The rest of the race was a great course.  It had flat roads, some downhills and only one more uphill. I have one complaint about the course- there were no mile markers!! I run with my Garmin set to show me my pace, not my distance, so the only way I knew how far we had actually run was if I clicked through all the options on my watch to get to the distance tab to see where we were at- which distracts me and causes me to slow down.  The majority of the race, I had no reference as to how far we had actually gone. 

The last uphill I could hardly breathe and the Police Officer directing traffic even asked me if I was okay since I was wheezing so loud.  Note, this is all because I decided to not listen to myself and go out faster then my body can handle right now.  Lesson learned.  My mistake has also helped me realize where my fitness level is / isn't right now as well. 

After we got up that last hill, I started my routine "go run, go without me" dramatics.  When am I going to learn!  But as always, my fiancé stayed by my side.  I knew we were entering the last mile and would be done soon.  I also should mention- I stopped to walk about 800 times during this 5K- that's how bad my mental game had gotten.  So when we finally saw the park through the trees, I knew the end was coming and that I could not stop.  When we rounded the corner toward the finish line, I gave it all I had and sprinted.  Right as we neared the finish line I hear my fiancé yell for me and we grabbed hands.  We always finish hand in hand. Its our thing.  We do these races together, we battle different thoughts and feelings during the race, but we finish together.  

I finished with a time of 25:31:31  I was 1st in my age group and 44th finisher overall.  My fiancé finished in 25:31:05 (even though we held hands as we crossed the finish, he still crossed it first!) placing second in his age group and 43rd overall.  I know from our first 5K together this spring that we both could have done better (4 minutes better) but we finished, had some fun and did this together and that is what matters.  I'm learning its not always about winning or losing, just accomplishing something and having fun.  Its a lesson that is taking me time, I used to race to win, heck I trained to win- I was always trying to train faster than the day prior. 

After the race I grabbed a water and went and leaned against the back of a building to catch my breath.  I was not used to the chill in the air and it had done a number on my lungs.  My fiancé and I didn't stay for any of the festivities being held after.  Neither of us felt good and the both of us were coughing from the chill in our lungs.  We finished the night with burgers from Red Robin (our after race ritual) and snuggled up watching reruns of Parks And Recreation on Netflix. 

Overall, I really can't beat myself up.  I finished, I finished in a stronger placing then most runners, and I got to add another race completed with my Fiancé to the list.  I had fun overall.  Sure, I wanted to just lay down and die during the race, but I kept going.  I know now what I need to work on for my next race and I need to start putting in the work.  Hopefully I will have a more positive race recap after the next one I run in a few weeks :)

until next time:

Friday, October 16, 2015


(disclaimer- Yoga Six has in no way sponsored this post. this is not a paid review. this is my own experience and personal thoughts)

Two Fridays ago,  I had an interview to work for a new yoga studio in Milwaukee- Yoga Six.   I am very excited to say, I got the job! Last Thursday, Yoga Six hosted a yoga event downtown.  The event was an hour yoga practice followed by hors d'oeuvres and drinks to get to know the other Yogis who had participated in the class, the ladies I'd be working with, and to talk with the instructors about the practice.  I am not normally one to head to an event where I don't know anyone, but I am so glad I went! 

I invited a friend of mine to join me for the practice.  He just completed his RYT 200 and is pursuing the RYT 500 this winter.  It made perfect sense to invite such a devoted Yogi to this yoga event. Plus, then I would know someone! It was nice to catch up with him for about 15 minutes prior to the start of the practice.  We talked about how certain actions in our lives were ego driven and now things are shifting for both of us and its more of an energetic/spiritual force driving us towards our goals. 

The practice was lead by an instructor who had come up from Chicago. She had the help of an instructor from St. Louis (helping students with pose adjustments).  Both ladies are teachers with Yoga Six.  The help with adjustments was amazing, and the practice made me wish I lived in Chicago so I could take more classes with this instructor.  

At the beginning of the practice, Jenny, out instructor, asked us to reflect on one word that embodied what yoga has brought into our lives, or a way it has affected us.  There were two words that popped into my head.  Calm and Acceptance.

Midway through our practice, as we stood on our mats and brought our hands to our heart center, she asked us to think of the word we had chosen earlier.  Acceptance came to my mind this time.  Yoga has brought acceptance to my life in many ways.  

Most of my readers know that a part of me has always struggled with self acceptance.  Be it with my running, my body, or my life in general.  I have always wanted more, wanted thinner, wanted better.  Yoga brought me acceptance.  It has helped to calm those thoughts.  When asked to reflect on the word I'd thought of earlier in the practice, I had so many thoughts run through my head.  Acceptance.  So many parts of my life have focused on acceptance. 

In my practice, I accept that my practice is my own.  It is between me and my mat.  I do not focus on how someone else is doing.  How strong or weak they hold a pose is between them and their mat.  We are all there for the same reason- to practice.  We are all on our own journeys.  I used to have to compare myself to everyone.  When I am practicing I don't do that, I accept that my practice is mine and others around me should not impact what I can do or get out of my practice.

I've had to accept my body.  That is a constant work in progress, but the last 4 years I have come very far.  From being 89lbs to 120 is a huge accomplishment.  I had to work on acceptance.  I had to accept that I was like everyone else- my body needs food to function, nourishment is vital to my survival.  I had to accept that weight gain is not a bad thing.  That my body needs to be healthy and not a skeleton.  This is not always easy for me. I do not always want to accept this.  I have my bad days, but the good are more prevalent now.

I had to accept that I am an alcoholic.  I cannot drink like a normal drinker.  I cannot drink. I'm okay with that today.  Honestly, removing alcohol from my life is one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Reflecting on that word, I realized I have  leaned to accept who i am on my mat and have begun to carry that into my daily life.  My practice is my own, just like my life is my own.  My practice is what I make it- Just as my life is what i make it.  I can let things destroy me and bring me down, or I can accept that life happens and move forward. 

At the end of the practice, the word acceptance kept ringing in my head.  I feel that acceptance is something I will always work on.  Self-acceptance and acceptance of others.  I am always a work in progress, and that is something I have had to accept :)

what one word would you use to describe how yoga has affected you?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

I Am #BOSUStrong

Its the last week of the #BOSUStrong challenge! This challenge allowed me a lot of time to reflect on my fitness goals, strengths and weaknesses.  My fitness journey is one that will always be continuous.  One of my favorite quotes is:

"Good Better best,
Never take a rest.
Til you good is better
And your better is best"

I am always striving to be better than I was the day before.  To be stronger, to be faster, to be a better version of myself.  This challenge opened my eyes to how weak my training has been- and how weak I have become- both physically and mentally.  My mental game has caused me a lot of problems in my running- making me want to throw in the towel and give up.  But I am continuing to persevere and stay strong.  I have an amazing support system and surround myself with positive and loving people.  I have a very blessed life and for that I am extremely grateful.

This week, I have a goal of getting in 20 miles of running- sure that's not a ton, but its a good start.  I want to do some hill training and speed training as well.  Id like to do 3 yoga practices this week and 3 days of strength training.  If I run, practice yoga, and strength train in the same day- then power to me!

What are your goals this week?

Week 4: What makes me #BOSUStrong!
This week is the very last week of the #bosustrong challenge that has inspired me to up my fitness game! Before starting the challenge, my goal was to actively participate in this challenge and now that we’re in the final week I plan to not only continue to participate, but to continue using parts of this challenge in the weeks to come. I want to be a fitter stronger faster version of myself, and I will need to continue to put in the work to achieve this goal.

This week we’re focusing on the things that make us BOSUStrong. Here are the 10 things that make me #BOSUStrong:

I am always striving to be a better version of myself!

I will always set goals and chase after them! Half the fun is achieving goals! Whether I'm chasing a PR, working towards holding a new yoga pose, or just trying to strengthen my body.

I never give up.  Sure, I want to give up half the time, but I don't!  Mind over matter!

I do my best when I have support.  I have written in previous posts how having my fiancé by my side when running helps me tremendously.  He supports me in everything I do.  When I finally nail a new yoga pose I've been working on, he is there to congratulate me.  I surround myself with positive and uplifting people.  That is the kind of person I want to be, so I find being around like minded people to help.

I love to
#stopdropandyoga  Yes, I'm guilty of being that person who posts yoga poses on her Instagram.  When I feel inspired I go for it! I love to take creative shots with my poses.  And I LOVE to fall into a backbend!

I am inspired to inspire others.  I want others to see in me the good, and I want them to want to embrace the good in themselves.  I feel we are all working on being the best versions of ourselves, and if I can inspire someone to keep doing that or work harder, Ill call that a success.

I love to encourage others to try their hardest and chase their goals.  My fiancé didn't start running races until I came around.  I encourage him to try, and he has more than succeeded! He has become an amazing runner- he always was- he just didn't run like he does now.  In my social circle, I have friend always telling me they are about to try a new yoga class or signed up for their first 5k.  Its an amazing feeling to have them come to me to share something so exciting. I hope to always motivate and encourage others to try new things and continuously chase goals.

I have bad days.  Its a part of being human.  I have runs where I end up walking half the time, but I'm out there trying, which is more than the person sitting on their couch can say.

I am proud of who I am.  I have battled a lot in my life.  I don't let that hold me back or keep me from growing.  We have to fall to get back up.

I hope to
finish 2015 strong!

So I want to know - are you #BOSUStrong? Copy and paste the above, fill it in and make it your own and then tag me in it and share with your friends! Let’s all be #BOSUSTRONG.

Monday, October 5, 2015

September Review

Another month has come and gone and I'm over here thinking, did September really happen? I feel like it was July just yesterday!! I'm excited for the fall though- warm clothes, more races, hot cocoa, pumpkin patches, apple pies. All sorts of goodness.  But its sad to realize summer is over. I feel like I missed it.  I don't have a nice bronzed tan and I didn't log a ton of miles outside while the weather was perfect.  There's always next year.

August sparked the fire in me, and September is where I put in work. Sure, I slacked and didn't work my ass off, but I did more than I had in a long time.  In June I ran 30.8 miles, July 13.5 and August 14.1- which is not a lot. The way I look at it, I ran for a week each month.  September I didn't accomplish a whole lot more, but I tried.  I had bursts of motivation, I had moments of inspiration, and I made a conscious effort to lace up and start running.  My total mileage for September was only 45.0 miles, but I was making more of an effort.  I still had my days, which happened to fall all in a row, where I didn't run.  However, the days I did run, I ran longer mileage and pushed myself. 

September, I was signed up for 2 races. I hadn't raced since my half marathon in June (that race is one reason my June mileage is higher than July and August).  The races were back to back weekends.  I put in some training before the first race, but the week of the second, I only ran once.  I see there is a lot of room for improvement.  I have one race in October and I plan to up my game!

With September over, its time to reexamine where I'm at- My goal is to run 75+ miles a month for the rest of the year. That means no sitting on the couch feeling all "woe is me", I need to lace up and get out there.  With fall officially being here, my days of running outside are about to become limited.  I have started to dislike treadmill training, but I need to get reacquainted, as I will be spending the winter months indoors at the gym. 

The race I'm participating in this month is 2 weeks away.  I need to make a conscious effort to really put in the work.  I plan to not only log more miles, but to add in hill training and speed work.  I also plan to start more cross training and weight training again.  I want to improve in all areas of my fitness and work towards gaining my speed and strength back.  I'm hoping that when I do my October review, I will have more of a success story to report! :)

Until next time:

Questions for you:
What are your goals for the end of the year?
Do you have any fall races lined up?

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Brewers Mini Marathon & 10K

Last week Saturday, my Fiancé and I participated in the Brewers Mini-Marathon and 10K.  We ran the 10K.    The morning of the race, I did not feel ready.  I was overly emotional and tired.  When the alarm went off I rolled over and said to my fiancé "Good luck, have fun".  My head was just not mentally prepared to get up and run.  After pouting for a few minutes, I rolled myself out of bed and started to get ready.  The race was held at Miller Park,  the Milwaukee Brewers (baseball) Stadium. The stadium is about a 15 minute drive from our house.
When we got to the race, we were directed to a parking spot.  There was a lot more traffic than I had expected.  We parked in one of the stadiums lots and walked to the starting line.  The parking lots were filling up as if it was a game day.  I did a quick port-a-potty run and then we headed up to the stadium-where the start and finish line were located.  I didn't realize that the stadium would be open and I could have used a nicer restroom.  My fiancé did his bathroom stop, I went and washed my hands and we took a quick selfie before heading to the start line at 6:40 for the 7am start. 
Pre race selfie
At the starting line, we placed ourselves at the front.  I wanted to try and go out hard, and see how I could maintain my pace.  I noticed a woman at the front who I could tell just by looking at her would win (I was right).  Its one of my talents- I can get to the start line of most races and pick out the winner prior to the race beginning.  10K runners started 15 minutes prior to the half marathon runners.  

When the race started, we were in the second row of runners to go off the starting line. Mile one was relatively flat, which fooled me to thinking the majority of the race would be flat.  I had viewed the race map a few times prior to the day of, but I hadn't done any research as to what the course would be like with inclines.  Inclines (hills) are my worst enemy.  The minute I'm faced with a hill, my running will be going downhill- haha- but really, hills kill me.  Mile one went around part of the stadium and an attached parking lot, leading us out towards miller brewing company.  I hit Mile 1 in 7:32.  I felt good and my legs didn't feel dead.  My fiancé and I were still at the front of the pack. 

My fiancé runs with Nike + to track his mile times and inclines. I use my Garmin Forerunner 10.  Looking at his app, i was able to see the difference in inclines.  Mile 1 was -22ft. (flat with some downhill).  Mile 2 had us hit the first set of hills- total incline for that mile was +39ft.  Mile 2 started flat, the middle of the mile, however had two up-hills, and then the mile ended flat, rounding around miller brewing company.  I hit Mile 2 in 8:23.  I could already feel my quads burning from the hills.  By the time we hit mile 3,  I was starting to think about giving up.  5ks are the perfect race distance for me.  At mile 3 I knew that my fiancé could finish much stronger if he didn't run with me, but the reason he does these races is to run with me. (Mile 4 I started telling him he could go run without me- its become my pattern).

Mile 3 had +8ft incline. A relatively flat mile. Mile 3 was straight down the same road.  I hit Mile 3 in 8:42.

Mile 4 sucked the life out of me. There was a water stop at the beginning of mile 4 that I took advantage of.  My fiancé told me after the race that he was surprised I stopped for water.  I just needed an excuse to slow down and a water stop always gives me that. It started relatively flat but ended on an on ramp. Prior to the water stop I had slowed my pace down.  After the water, I picked up pace knowing the on ramp was coming and would cause me to slow down.  When we hit the ramp, I stopped to walk (my walking lasted literally 5 seconds) but I needed to slow down.  I don't have legs that are able to run hills.  I've started to realize how much this affects me in races and am starting to incorporate hill training into my runs. I need to build up the strength in my legs so I don't have more races like this one.  The total incline for mile 4 was +46ft and I ran Mile 4 in 10:04 aka- I died on mile 4.  I'm taking this as a learning experience.  I now know my biggest weakness and can work towards improving in this area of my running.

Once off the on ramp, the hill just kept going.  We were now on Hawley road heading up towards Wells St.  Mile 5 eventually turned onto Wells and became a flat course again.  Mile 5 ended with us running down the first hill we had gone up and heading back toward the stadium. Mile 5 had me in my head and I walked about 2 more times, and wanted to cry.  I actually did start crying for about 10 seconds.  I just wanted to be done, I felt defeated, slow and like a failure.  I just wanted to finish! I was getting frustrated with people running between me and my fiancé separating us from running next to each other.  I just let every little thing bother me on this mile. Once again, if it weren't for my fiancés encouraging looks and telling me we were almost done, I would have started to really give up.  I would have finished, but I would have walked and cried for a bit first.  I'm glad I didn't do that and continued to push myself.  I finished Mile 5 in 9:27.

The beginning of mile 6 made a square around one of the parking lots and headed into the underground part of the stadium- the part that is off limits to the public.  We ran through the stadium onto the field where we hit the end of mile 6. I loved being on the field and seeing myself on the jumbo Tron, but I hate how it got congested. The running space decreases dramatically and its a struggle to get past anyone.  I was starting to get my grove back at this point, but I couldn't get around anyone. I hit Mile 6 in 9:38.

The last 0.2 of the race, I started to pick up my pace only to die again.  I could see the finish line and my fiancé was pumping my up to finish hard but I had to back off. I couldn't breathe and was wheezing.  I had jumped the gun on my finish (same as I had the weekend prior). All the runners I had just spent effort passing were starting to pass me.  I took the 5 seconds to slow down and then picked the pace back up. My fiancé and I crossed the finish line hand in hand with big smiles.  We finished!!

I finished 21st female in my division, 132 in my gender and 334 overall.  My finish time was 55:58 with a 9:00/mi pace (my Garmin told me I had an 8:56 pace).  Overall, I'm satisfied with my results.  Its not as fast as previous 10ks I've run but with where my training (or lack of) has been, I did alright.  My fiancé definitely could have finished faster, but we don't sign up for these to run off on the other, we sign up to do them together.  In 2 weeks we have a 5K race and plan to dominate.  Like I said previously, 5ks are my strongest!  

I'm excited to get back into my training and see what I can pull off on Oct 17th. I am hoping for 20min 5k.  Not my fastest but not my slowest.  I don't have to win, although it wouldn't hurt.  My goal is to race smart, finish hard, and leave everything I've got on the course. And of course, to have fun!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Balance & Stength

Another week has come and gone! I've found myself, once again, behind on updating and working out.  I am struggling so much to find motivation, especially now that fall has officially arrived in Wisconsin.  The weather has been windy and cold, with overcast skies-  very dreary.  I  complain more these days about missing workouts then i spend working out. It used to be the opposite.  hmm, i think that means its time to make some changes.

But, that aside, I've realized there are a few things i need in my life to keep me going- having a healthy balance and having strength.  This months #BosuStrong challenge has focused on building physical strength, as well as focusing on balance.  I need to have my mental, emotional and physical parts in balance for my life to flow evenly.  I belived that we need to find balance in all parts of our lives for them to have an easy flow and not feel like a constant uphill battle or struggle. Sure, not every day will be perfect, there will be ups and downs- but that is where we can call on our emotional and mental strength to help us through!  Just something to think about... :)

Havin said that, we now are ending week three of the #BosuStrong challenge!! How have you been staying #BosuStrong?  We are now in week 3 of the #BosuStrong Challenge!! So, with that being said, here is the blog prompt for this week- provided by SweatPink.

Week 3: My 5 Fave Stretches and 3 Tips for Toning your Triceps!

I can’t believe its already week 3 of the #BosuStrong challenge, time flies when  you’re having fun! Last week we focused on balance and I was proud of myself for finding balance in my everyday life. I was able to get in workouts (although not a lot of them) while keeping my daily routine in check. This week its all about stretching and toning – so make sure you join in on the fun!

Since we’re talking about stretching, here are 5 of my all time favorite stretches:

I love to stretch my legs by doing yoga! Yoga is my go to for EVERYTHING! If there is a muscle group you are looking to strengthen, tone or stretch- Yoga can and will help you get there.

My favorite total body stretch is
to pretend I'm a cat! What?! There isn't a name that for this that i know of, but, like a cat who lays and stretches out, i love doing that. I feel it in every part of my body! Its what i do every morning when i wake up and sometimes mid day i stand up on my tip toes and just reach up! What a good feeling.

I swear when I do yoga, it feels like all of me- mind and body, are getting in an amazing workout. Yoga requires physcial stregth and balance. Just like my life- it requres streght and balance. Without those two keys things, i would fall apart.

I stretch my mind by continuously learning. I love to get lost in a good book, follow news blogs, have intellectual conversations! Anything to keep my mind active and always learning. I feel that i stay on top of my A game when my mind is also being challenged.

I try to stretch out of my comfort zone by pushing myself. The past few races have been a struggle for me and really challenge me to go out of my comfort zone. I would have loved to have thrown in the towel and walked to the nearest burger joint and called it a day, but i need to make myself earn that burger first.

And if you’re looking for a great way to tone your triceps, here are my fave 3 exercises:

-Triceps Dips

-Overhead extensions (with weights)

-Tricep pull downs- weighted

So I want to know - are you #BOSUStrong? Copy and paste the above, fill it in and make it your own and then tag me in it and share with your friends! Let’s all be #BOSUSTRONG.