Thursday, May 31, 2012

Foodie Pen Pal Reveal

It's that time again! I love that every month I can count on a box waiting for me that is full of delicious treats. I will admit, doing this for a few months, I am starting to run out of ideas of what I can send. I fear that my pen pal probably lives at Traders Joes and has eaten everything I have bought them (because that is where I have been loading up on goodies!) But lucky for me, my penpal for this month does not live near a Traders Joes and I was able to share some of their awesomeness with her. Head over to Fitness Girl Kitchen Stories to see what I sent Maria!

Now, back to my box! I got a great box from Mackenzie of Wealth is Health. (Check out her blog, a fellow Crossfit lover!)The best thing about foodie pen pals is that you get sent stuff you probably wouldn't normally buy for yourself, so it really is an indulgence to snack on the contents of your package throughout the month.
I am not the only one that waits eagerly for the package to arrive...
My package this month has lots of good stuff that I have never tried, which is hard since I like to eat everything. Actually, I take that back, I LOVE Luna bars and have had several, but my box contained a flavor that I have not had, Nutz Over Chocolate.  I had this for dessert last night and it was delicious. Just the right amount of chocolate to satisfy my craving. (And I kinda like to pretend these bars are made esp. for me since my maiden name is Luna...)


Chia Seeds! I have been wanting to buy these for a LONG time, but have just not gotten around to doing it. Now what to do with them??! I have no idea, but surely they can be thrown in my morning smoothie.

The other thing I am sure excited to try is Blueberry honey!! Sounds delicious, right? We are so happy to welcome Mr. Honey Bear to the family. He will surely be loved.
Oh, and I am afraid to report that these almonds, aka as the most addicting food ever, did not last longer than a few hours. They were coated in a sweet, savory something.... I am not sure what it is, but I was in love. I couldn't walk away.... It is a good thing that I have no idea what they were coated in, so I can't recreate or buy them again.
There was also some yummy granola and some key lime dip mix included. I can't wait to try both! Everything in this box was truly unique!

Thank you Mackenzie for treating me to many delicious, new goodies!

For more info on Foodie Pen Pals, visit The Lean Green Bean!
The Lean Green Bean

Monday, May 28, 2012

My own 13.1

There is no doubt that Washington DC is the place to be for Memorial Day weekend. While most natives flee as early as Thursday for the long weekend, there is much to be enjoyed here in the city.  Of the many planned events here there are MANY races scheduled. I was so very tempted to sign up for one. I even found myself browsing Craigslist for people selling bibs at a big discount, but the cheapest bib I found for the Alexandria Half Marathon was $50.
While normally I would be happy to pay $50 to run a half marathon, I decided I would save myself $50 and run my own half. So as soon as I got home on Friday I laced up the shoes, slapped on the sunscreen and filled up my water bottles. The weather was pretty warm and I initially planned to just run 6 miles, but once I hit 4 miles, I found my stride and there was a nice breeze following me along the way. 10 miles quickly came and at that point, I decided I would run the whole half marathon distance.
While I missed the screaming crowds normally present during a half marathon,  my run took me along the Potomac River, through Roosevelt Island and back south on Mt. Vernon Trail to Old Town Alexandria. It was a great 13 miles that went fairly quickly. I could have used at least one more water foundation, so I will have to keep that in mind when I set out to run longer than 2 hours again.  Here are a few of the great views I get to enjoy in my "backyard"!






Not quite a PR, but not bad for a Friday afternoon run.



I may take this statement back at some point, but I think going for a long run on Friday afternoon is the best way to start the weekend! 13.1, less or more....helps to get out your stress from the week and set you up for a good weekend! Or at least you have a reason to indulge all weekend if you run 13.1 miles on Friday, right?!

The rest of the weekend was filled with dog walks, naps, eating, and reading.  Sasha is a big fan of lounging in the sun and enjoying these warm days! 

 In addition to getting in a good long run on Friday, this morning I did a Hero WOD. In Crossfit, Hero WODs (work out of the day) are developed to honor service men and women who have lost their lives in combat. The workouts are known to be TOUGH and are designed to really test you! The Hero WODs that I have done last anywhere from 30-90 mins. Normal WODs last about 20 mins. So anytime a holiday rolls around, our gym hosts a Hero WOD and you know you are in for a real good workout.
Today's Hero WOD was "The Seven".  On December 30, 2009, a suicide bomber killed seven CIA officers at a remote base in southeastern Afghanistan.  So to honor them, we did 7 rounds of the following:

  • 7 handstand push-ups
  • 7 thrusters
  • 7 knees to elbows
  • 7 deadlifts
  • 7 burpees
  • 7 kettlebell swings
  • 7 pull-ups
My team of 4 finished in 44:07. It was not easy and left me completely exhausted, but that is what Crossfit is suppose to do if you push yourself hard enough. I will most likely be feeling this workout for many days to come. It makes yoga tomorrow sound really good! 


And my reward for finishing a half marathon distance run and Hero WOD.... my favorite oatmeal cookie. The salted, pecan, chocolate oatmeal cookie from Teasim. If you haven't had one of these, GO NOW to try one. They are delicious!


I hope everyone had a great weekend and spent some time reflecting and thanking those who have served our country.

Monday, May 21, 2012

EX2 Adventure 10k Recap

The weekend weather was sunny and in the high 70s. Perfect weather like that could only mean one thing in my mind....running a race! I will admit it is hard to get out of bed at 6 am on a Saturday but when you have a trail race scheduled, it is almost too hard to sleep.
I have been anxiously awaiting this race for a few reasons. One of those reasons being that it was a trail race. I don't do much trail running (this only being my 2nd trail race) but I actually really enjoy it and always wish I would take more time to go out and do it more often. Of course you don't need to sign up for a race to actually go out and run on trails, but it is nice to have someone else lay out the course and get things prepared for you. This trail race took place in Prince William Forest. This is one of my favorite DC area trails. It is a short 30 min drive from DC and there are plenty of streams and small waterfalls to enjoy. If you live in the DC area, please go check it out for yourself!

This is my 2nd time running this particular race and I enjoyed the trail just as much as I remember. It was a good combination of steep hills and flat terrain.
The other reason that I was particularly excited about this race is because racing and finishing a trail 10k in under 60 mins is one of my running goals for 2012. Last year I did the same race and finished in 1:17:00 which is pretty long for a 10k but it was one of my first races and first ever trail race.
Despite having a pretty diappointing time for my first 10k race, I really enjoyed the race and wanted to do better. As I look back at that race, it really was the impetus for me to start focusing on getting healthier and more physically fit. I really struggled to finished those 6.2 miles especially the hills and I really wanted to be able to hang with the other runners. So I remember finishing that race not terribly happy with my 1:17:00 time, but determined to start doing things that would make me more capable of doing races like this. And this was a race that Brian and I did together and I wanted to be able to hang with him in other races if that was something that we decided to start doing together.

Post-10k smile...
So a year later, many pounds lighter and with much more strength to run up hills, I plowed through the 10k course and had a great time. At the end I was actually wishing it would go for a few more miles (they have a 13.1 mile course that I will def. be signing up for next year!). Unfortunately, I did not meet my goal of finishing under 60 mins. I finished at 63:20. I was wearing my garmin so I knew I wasn't going to make it but still pushed through and finished as quickly as I could.
While I am disappointed that I didn't make my goal time, I had such a fun time racing and it was such a different experience from the first time I ran that course. I am completely ok with not meeting my goal this time and I am actually excited to have a reason to run another 10k trail run before the year is over.
And look what else is pretty exciting:


 I came in 5th place in my age group!! Woohoo!! No need to talk about how big my age group was....BUT....still exciting that I was not second to last, which was the case last year!

I would highly recommend EX2 Adventure races to anyone!! They are really well organized and are usually pretty small.

Any race that has this waiting for you at the end:


is a winner in my book! Watermelon and sprite...my two best friends!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Bike-less to Century Finisher

I may be delusional or just plain crazy, but hear me out.  I have signed up for another season of training with the National Capital Area Chapter for Team In Training (TNT) Program. That is not the crazy part…the crazy part is that I signed up to train for a century ride.
What is a century ride? Great question..
A century ride is a 100 mile bike ride completed in one day (or a few hours depending on how fast you are!). Some races offer 100 km distances, but I am aiming to ride the whole 100 miles. I am obviously excited about this for many reasons. One of those reasons is having the opportunity to train with TNT again and raise money for a great cause. My experience training for a full marathon with TNT was so positive and rewardin that I can’t imagine preparing for an endurance event like this on my own. Not only will I have access to great coaches that will answer my millions of questions, but it is always fun to train with other people, especially people that are preparing for their first 100 mile ride. I have not met my team members yet, but I am hoping there are at least a few of us that are newbies.
The other reason I am excited about training for this is that I am also signed up to run the Marine Corp Marathon in October. This is where the real craziness sets in! I will ride (and complete) the century ride on October 6th and will run the Marine Corp Marathon 3 weeks later. Pending an injury-less ride, I am hoping my legs are fresh and ready to run in my second marathon. At first this seemed a bit daunting to me, but the more I thought about it, the more I really liked this approach.  As the temperate gets higher, the thought of running outside becomes less and less appealing to me, I will need something to keep me motivated to move. There is nothing I detest more than being outside for a prolonged period of time when it is a hot and humid.  The mistake I made last year was taking things really easy during the summer. Way too easy!  When the fall racing season started, I struggled to get started and rather than PR’ing my way through races, it was as if I was starting all over again.
So training for a century during the summer will keep me accountable to workouts and the thought of riding through a hot day appeals to me more than running. (This may also be delusional, so stay tuned to what I have to say about my first ride in July!) I also want to focus my summer workouts on getting stronger, lifting heavy things, and getting FASTER. So my summer training plan will be filled with Crossfit WODs and yoga classes.  I think all the biking and strength training will really complement my running and will prepare me to PR the Marine Corp Marathon. It is exciting to be running in your second marathon because you have a time at which you can start chipping away at! Ideally, every marathon I run in should be a PR for me…right?!
So to add to the craziness, I am signed up to train for a century ride, but I doesn’t even have a bike! Oops..minor detail, right?   Well, I actually have a mountain bike, but a road bike is the ideal piece of equipment for riding a century ride. Before I make the big investment in a road bike, I plan to do a few training rides on my mountain bike and get a feel for cycling. There may also be opportunities to “borrow” or rent a road bike. There are many avid bikers out there looking to convert other people into bikers and they are usually happy to lend out a bike for a few months. So if you are one of those people and you have a size 51’ female road bike, CALL ME!
No bike, no experience riding, and just under 22 weeks to get this all figured out….sounds like a recipe for disaster, but I am excited to take on another challenge and putting my focus toward this goal for the summer.
I’ll blog about my experience going from from bike-less to century finisher so check back often and cheer me on!
Of course, the fundraising has begun! To donate, click here: http://pages.teamintraining.org/nca/seagull12/mhardin