Beach Marathon Recap

I just ran my first marathon and it was both exactly what I thought it would be like and not at all what I expected at the same time.

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Equal parts thrilling and exhausting, I’m finding the whole experience difficult to put into words. So, instead of writing a traditional race recap, I’m giving you a glimpse into the thoughts churning in my head during each mile. Sometimes you’ll see repeats of the same thought, because when you’re running for 3+ hours you get a little bored and come back to the same thoughts.

 Mile 1: Holy Crap! I’m running a marathon. I’m going to leave my music off for the first few miles to just enjoy the sights and sounds of the beginning.

This new Flipbelt is bothering me a little bit, it keeps riding up and I have to keep pushing it back down.

 Mile 2: I’m going to drink water at this next aid station. .

I suck at drinking water. Just splashed that all over my face and shirt Slow and steady, slow and steady. Only on mile two, you don’t want to die.

I’M ONLY ON MILE TWO.

Mile 3: Screw sights and sounds. All I can hear is hacking and heavy breathing.

Playlist on.

FlipBelt (new fuel belt) will NOT. STAY. DOWN.

 Mile 4: I think I’ve looked at my watch 80 times in the past 2 minutes…and I’m still on mile 4. I thought I was supposed to see Jordan at this mile. Where is he? I can’t wait to eat my first GU.

 Mile 5: YUM. Peanut Butter GU.

 Mile 6: Need water stat. GU is stuck in throat.

Why can’t I swallow?

Need water.

I’m still on mile 6?!

FlipBelt. I hate you.

 Mile 7: Quads are starting to tighten up already. That really hurts and I can’t believe I still have 19 miles left, how am I goi..STOP it! Think positive. Pretend like the pain in your quads is like lightning bolts of energy powering you through (I know this is so lame, but it actually helped)

 Mile 8: Am I going fast enough?

If I continue at this pace for 5 more miles, I will reach the halfway point at…(I did running math for about 10 minutes because I kept messing up).

 Mile 9: I can’t wait to eat my second GU.

Mile 10: YUM. Peanut Butter Chocolate GU.

Where is Jordan? I think I’m supposed to see him at Mile 11.

Almost halfway done!

 Mile 11: Hi Jordan!!! (Veer off the course and gave him a kiss that I’m sure was sloppy with Gatorade and salt)

Jordan: You’re on track to hit 3:33 !

Well, BQ qualifying time is 3:35 so I better keep this pace or better if I want to qualify.

 Mile 12: If I run at this pace for 14 more miles, what will I finish in? (more running math).

Shove flipbelt down again.

Mile 13: Halfway done! Now is the time to turn it on, Anna.

 Mile 14: Repeat: I can do hard things. Be an athlete. It’s a beautiful day and I’m doing what I love.

When can I eat my next GU?

 Mile 15: YUM. Caramel Macchiato GU. 40 mg of caffeine straight to the heart.

 Mile 16: I feel AMAZING. Jolts of energy running through me. Who said marathons were hard?

 Mile 17: Still on a runner’s high. Endorphins are through the roof. Look out Boston, I’m coming for you!

 Mile 18: Quads still hurt but I’m more than half way done. I can do hard things. I’m going to finish and I’m going to qualify for Boston. I can’t believe how good I feel. I just wish this FlipBelt would stay put on my hips.

 Mile 19: Finally caught up with a lady that I’ve had my eye on for the past few miles. I’m going to run with her for a little while. She’s got a great pace. I haven’t said anything to her yet. Is that weird? I hope she’s not trying to talk to me because Eminem is screaming and I can’t hear anything.

Mile 20: The quads…blazing now. It’s all I can think about. Eating the last of my honey stinger chews because I’m tired of the package sticking out of my flip belt. Still hanging with this lady and still haven’t spoken a word to eachother…Is that weird? Does she think it’s weird that I keep pulling this FlipBelt down over my hips?

Mile 21: I still have 5 more miles. Everything hurts and the breathing is starting to get a little heavier. I finally broke the silence with my new running buddy to gasp a good job. I know, really original. She said it back (I think). My playlist is at the pump up section now and Kanye is telling me that I’m Amazing.

I got this.

Mile 22: I don’t have this. I am falling apart. I don’t know how much longer I can go. My snacks are gone and I just have to rely on Gatorade now. Should I take one of those orange slices?

Too late. I’ll get the next one.

When is the next aid station?

I want to walk. Will I be able to start again if I stop?

I only have 4 miles left. I will turn it on when I have a 5k left and sprint to the finish.

I want to throw this FlipBelt away.

 Mile 23: Me: I have to stop at this station to get water.

Stranger Runner Girl: Ok. You are doing AWESOME.

I’m grabbing Gatorade and Water at this aid station. I am SO thirsty. WHY DON’T THEY FILL THESE CUPS MORE? We’re running a marathon for Pete’s Sake!

Slightly irritable at this point.

I just walked through that water station. I can’t believe I did that. It’s okay, I will turn it on at the 2 mile mark and go hard then.

 Mile 24: This thirst is insatiable. Think about something else besides your quads. There’s Jordan! He’s jumping on the course to run with me.

Jordan: You’re doing it, babe. You’re going to finish with a BQ

I don’t want to risk anymore breath so I give the thumbs up.

 Mile 25: I’ve never hated running more than I do right now. It feels like there is an elephant sitting on my lungs right now. Why did I sign up for this stupid thing? Jordan is still running with me and keeps trying to talk to me. I wonder if he knows I can’t hear him over my music? I am not even going to take the energy to reach into my belt and turn the volume down.

 Mile 26: Where is the finish line? Why can’t I see it? I’m trying to turn it on but I can’t. I can’t see the finish.

 Mile 26.2…I DID IT.

P.S. After I crossed the finish line, I learned that my FlipBelt was on backwards…Awesome.

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Get Green 5k Race Recap

This past weekend I ran in Fort Wayne’s Get Green 5k in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday that seems to just sneak up on you when you’re not looking. To me, it symbolizes that winter will soon be over and a green spring is waiting for us at the end of the rainbow! This 5k was the first of many 2014 races for me and I’m so glad it’s not the last.

I woke up Saturday morning around 8 a.m. with a spring in my step, excited to get out the door and run. I had my normal pre-race breakfast of almond butter and banana on Ezekiel toast and a half a cup of coffee for a little kick start. We were almost to the packet pick up tent when I realized I forgot my Garmin watch (palm slap to forehead). I was really upset that I  wouldn’t be able to pace myself or see the mileage during the race, but just hoped that the course would be well marked.

I met up with some friends before the race and we had fun chatting and taking pictures with a Leprechaun that showed up for the event.

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Jord waited with me at the start line and took my jacket right before the start of the race. There were almost 1000 people registered for the race and temps were in the upper 20’s. I started a little too far back in the crowd and spent the first half mile maneuvering my way around pointy elbows and running legs to get to a clearing.

The course runs through downtown Fort Wayne and has minimal hills. It is a flat and fast race, perfect for going for a PR, which was my goal…until I slipped on my first ice patch. I skidded across some black ice on the side of the road and caught myself right before I fell. It turns out those yoga balance poses pay off after all!

I have no idea what my splits were because I didn’t even know when I hit mile markers 1 and 2. There was one water station about half way through the race, but my hands were so cold that I didn’t trust them to hold onto a cup. My legs and core were warm but my fingers were bone frozen. Yes, I know there are gloves for that, but I have ADD when it comes to my music and like to change songs every 45 seconds during a race. The race felt like it flew by and before I knew it I was 200 meters from the finish line.

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I recognized the turn right before the shoot and put it into a higher gear. I felt like I had a lot of juice left in me, so I looked around for renegade ice patches and sprinted to the finish. As I crossed the finish line, I did a double take at the running clock. “What?” I thought, “It can’t say that…”

I found Jord close to the finish and his time for me matched what the race results said. I had just run my second fastest time ever! The only time to beat this one was when I ran in the State Cross Country race when I was 17 years old. I can only attribute my faster time to the strength training I’ve been doing and the whole foods I’ve been eating.

I guess there is a lot to say about healthy living! This race recap was kind of all over the place, but to sum it up: Fort Wayne’s Get Green 5k will be an annual event for me. It was run right on time, has a fun, St. Patrick’s Day atmosphere and your registration comes with 5 tickets towards beer and food in the party tent after the race. We headed over to the party tent to watch a strong man competition and get some green beer and corned beef with sauerkraut. We also got to see the annual greening of the downtown river. Our Fort Wayne Fire Department sprays green water out of their hoses and it almost looks neon across the gray March skies.

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Pros:

  • Fun St. Patrick’s Day atmosphere
  • Flat, fast course, great for PRing!
  • Lots to do after the race in downtown Fort Wayne

Cons:

  • Cold weather, random ice patches on roads and sidewalks
  • Disorganized website, race results are still not posted
  • Not a lot of volunteers or crowd support along the course

I will definitely do this race again next year. It’s a great course to start your spring races/training and the spirit of the holiday makes it a fun event to participate in. Next time, I’ll wear gloves and pay closer attention to random ice patches.

Have you run in any races yet this year?

What did you do for St. Patrick’s day?  

Booty Bronze: Get your Workout Outdoors

The ultimate summer holiday weekend is upon us and I’m ready to soak up the sun on the last few days of summer. I have a pool 10 steps from the front door of my apartment and it is calling my name.

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In my world, summer long weekends mean swimsuits, rosy cheeks and towel dried hair. They also mean that I don’t see the inside of a gym. Since I have a job that keeps me indoors, I go a little stir crazy if not spending a sunny Saturday outside. I also tend to get a little grumpy when I don’t get my endorphins fix. So, why not combine the two?

Here are a few ways I like to take my workout outside:

  • Running: This is the easiest and most obvious way to take your workout outdoors. Want to add in a little strength training? Mix up your run by breaking it into 3 minute intervals. Stop every 3 minutes to do triceps dips on a park bench, push ups on the pavement, crunches in the grass, and lunges down the street. IMG_1272
  • Pool Workout: Try this pool workout that mixes in strength training and cardio. Best part about this one? You don’t even have to put on a sports bra!

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(source)

  • Bike: Grab a friend and go for a ride around the neighborhood, local trails or mountains. The weekend is a great time to explore new areas with your bike. Bring a picnic basket and stop for lunch!

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  • Lake: Summertime in Indiana means lakes and boating. If you’re at the lake, try out some water sports. Skiing, wakeboarding, kneeboarding and even tubing (you WILL be sore!) are great ways to get a workout in. Don’t have a boat? Go for a swim or tread water for 30 seconds on and off.

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  • Paddleboarding: This summer’s craze seems to be paddleboarding. Standing on this surf board in the water will work your core, balance skills and arms while you row down the river. Surf the web for local outfitter shops in your area to rent a board. Most places let you rent them by the hour.

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  • Take a hike: Beat the heat and hit the shaded trails for a hiking adventure with your friends. Search for parks in your area (even flat Ohio has hiking spots!), or take a short trip to hoof a few hills. I promise your glutes will thank you.

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Cheers to the weekend! Have a fun and SAFE Labor Day!

What will you be doing this Labor Day weekend? 

Any other suggestions for outdoor activity?

Obstacle Courses and a Peachy snack

Good morning! It’s Tuesday already? I didn’t post yesterday because, honestly, Mondays kind of depress me. Even if I have something sweet to do on a Monday, I still don’t like them. Negative Nancy in the room. 😦 But hey! It’s Tuesday now, so let’s move on to talk about food.

I’ve had some yummy snacks and meals lately that I want to share with you. These are all super simple, can usually be prepped in 15 minutes or less, and have minimal ingredients. Perfect for summer nights when you don’t feel like cooking or light snacks before heading out to the pool for the day.

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ZICO Dark chocolate Coconut Water: It has a ton of electrolytes in it and hydrates your body after a sweat fest. Regular coconut water is great too, but I like the taste of this one the best. 🙂 I usually take 3 big gulps as soon as I get inside from running. It is gluten, dairy and lactose free so it doesn’t upset my sensitive stomach. Winner winner!

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Clean Tuna Salad: I’ve had this for lunch a couple of times and love it! Super easy to prepare and it’s a “clean tuna salad” because it doesn’t have any mayonnaise or a cream base to it. Steamed egg whites, tomatoes and tuna top spinach with rice vinegar and balsamic vinegar as the dressing.

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Garlic Quinoa Stir Fry: You’ll see the words “stir fry” quite a bit on this blog. It’s easy, fast, and you can pretty much throw anything in a pan and I’ll eat it. My soon to be sister-in-law gave me some zucchinni and tomatoes straight from the garden so I had to use them right away! I love quinoa because it is packed with protein and a great substitute for rice. Some people can’t get over the texture of quinoa–ahem, Jord–but I try to use it as a mixture in my meals instead of the the base. I cooked the quinoa with minced garlic, sautéed zucchini and onions and added cold tomatoes at the end.

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Jord’s brother has a huge peach tree in his backyard. The peaches are so ripe that they fall right into your hand with just a touch of the branch. I plucked several to take home with me.

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Cheesy Peach Toast: I cut up a juicy peach, nuked some brie cheese and placed it on top of toasted Ezekiel bread. Yum! This was an awesome snack. And you know how I like my sweet and savory concoctions. 🙂

Those are some fun additions to my eats that I’ve been enjoying lately. I get bored with things pretty easily so switching up food is one way to make sure I stay on track with my healthy eating. I also like to switch up my workouts often since our bodies are intelligent and when they get used to a certain routine, they stop changing and stay stagnant. One way to switch up your workout? Compete in an obstacle course race!

Jord and I ran in a mud run this weekend called the Warrior Dash. It was our first one and we had a blast!

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I’ve run 5k’s, 10k’s and a half marathon, but mud runs have an entirely different atmosphere. It wasn’t so serious, everyone was just there to have fun! This was the first race in my life that I didn’t care about my time, or competing with everyone else. About 17 obstacles covered the 3.4 mile course and almost every one of them was covered in mud.

The first obstacle we went through was a 3 foot deep trench with barbed wire over the top, so you had to crawl on your hands and knees to get to the other side.

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I had to hold my breath so that I wouldn’t gag in the muddy water…I know, I’m such a girl. I quickly learned that a little trench was the least of my worries.

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We were constantly going over bridges, walking on wooden planks, and climbing up walls. It reminded me of playing the “lava game” when I was a kid where you had to jump to different obstacles without touching the ground, except this time, the fire on the ground was real. IMG_1644

Even if we wanted to go for time, we couldn’t have since our heat was so crowded, we often had to wait in line for obstacles. Waiting in line wasn’t as bed as you would think. We got to meet people, catch our breath and watch how other warriors attempted the upcoming obstacle.

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One of my favorites was the “Warrior Wall.” We had to wait in line for this one but it was exciting to cheer for people that made it over and a little scary because some people would get to the top and fall straight down to the ground. Eeek!

We came away with a couple of bloody knees, a fun “Warrior Medal” and lots of memories.

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BEFORE
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Have you ever run in an obstacle course or mud run? 

Did you use to play the lava game when you were a kid? 

What you should eat Pre and Post Workout

I have a confession to make..

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When I get stressed out I gotta have a Coke. It doesn’t happen very often, but I succumb to the vending machine at work every once in a while. Today  was one of those days I found myself scrounging for loose change. I know that diet sodas contain a lot of scary things that are hard to pronounce and even harder to spell, but if it only happens every once in a while it’s okay. That’s my justification and I’m sticking to it.

Whew! That’s off my chest, let’s talk about pre and post workout fueling. This is something that I just started paying attention to since I became a little  more well rounded in my fitness regime. I used to be a cardio junkie that would only run and do Zumba. Since I’ve started researching fitness, I’ve learned that cardio burns the fat, but strength training is what is seen under the fat. A lot of females believe strength training will make them bulky, when in reality, it does the opposite. If done the correct way, lifting weights will help you get lean muscles and amazing definition. I actually dropped a pants size when I started strength training!

I’ve also learned that I don’t get a great workout or great results when I don’t eat properly. Think of your body like a corvette. I don’t know much about cars, but even I know that if you put crappy fuel in a nice car, it isn’t going to run properly and it won’t run for very long. You should be fueling PRE and POST workout to maintain fitness goals and a healthy lifestyle.

Pre-workout fuel is important to keep your engine running and post workout fuel is imperative in repairing your fatigued muscles. My pre-workout snacks usually involve a simple carbohydrate that gets my energy up without weighing me down.

Pre Workout Fuel:

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Apple or banana 

1/2 sweet potato (plain)

1/4 cup of oats (plain or w/fruit on top)

I try to eat at least a 1/2 hour before my workout and I don’t add any sauce/seasoning to anything I’m eating so that it can digest quickly and easily. Post workout snacks should be consumed within a half hour of your workout and should include protein and carbohydrates.

Post Workout Fuel:

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Tuna on toast

Banana with nut butter 

Greek yogurt with berries

Turkey slices with a little cheese

Here are some other sources on the subject:

What do you all eat before and after you work out? 

If you don’t eat anything, WHY? Are you going to now? 🙂 

HIIT me!

Happy Hump Day!

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Last night, I pushed myself a little too hard and I’m feelin the burn in my muscles today. My gym offers a variety of fitness classes and it’s my goal to to try every one of them at least once. I really enjoy group fitness because of the energy all of the participants bring and the fact that you don’t have to THINK about your workout, you just follow the leader. Jord, on the other hand, can’t stand group classes and would rather do his own thang. He did promise me that he would come to a Zumba class before our wedding. Tick Tock Jordy. 🙂

So far, my favorite group classes have been Group Kick and Group Core. If you have never been to a kickboxing class, you need to try it! It is an intense cardio session that works your total body. Check out this video of a Group Kick class. Are you pumped up yet?

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I did an interval training class last night that was also a winner. The class was done HIIT (high intensity interval training) style and focused on short bursts of cardio followed by strength training. It KILLED my legs and was definitely a bad idea before teaching  Zumba. P.s. The lady that taught the interval class is 8 months pregnant…and still kicked my butt. My inspiration!

According to Shape Magazine, HIIT is any workout that alternates between intense bursts of activity and fixed periods of less-intense activity or even complete rest. Studies show that HIIT workouts burn more fat and calories, increase metabolism and make you a stronger runner, athlete, dancer, etc.

HIIT workouts can be done anywhere, with no equipment, and in 20 minutes. Sound too good to be true? Here’s the catch: for those 20 minutes, your heart rate will skyrocket, then rest, then skyrocket, then rest with your breathing following the same pattern. This is why HIIT is so effective. It forces your body to work hard with a short time of recovery before going hard again. It sucks at the time, but it’s what creates results.

Here is an example of a simple HIIT workout:

Jog/Walk for 1 minute

Sprint/Run for 45 seconds

Repeat the 1 minute easy and 45 second hard until you reach 20 minutes. Don’t forget to warm up with a 5 minute cardio of your choice and cool down by stretching!

For beginners: Try speed-walking for 1 minute and running for 45 seconds. For runners: Try jogging at a moderate pace for 1 minute and sprinting all out (on toes) for 45 seconds.

Let me know how you did! This workout will do more for your heart than a 5 mile run. Don’t forget to get those arms pumping!

What is your favorite type of workout? 

Do you like fitness classes, or do you prefer to work out on your own? 

Fun Mondays DO Exist

Hi there! How was everyone’s weekend? It was gorgeous weather here in Indiana and I definitely took full advantage of it. Jordan was in a good friend’s wedding this weekend and the rehearsal dinner was Friday night.

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The dinner took place on the back patio of a local restaurant and it was very quaint and a lot of fun. We sipped on lemonade drinks and Summer Shandy while waiting on our dinners. The menu we chose from had three options and the dinner was themed as a barbecue. Jordan raved about the “Farmhouse Burger” and I had some barbecue chicken with fresh spinach and tomato salad. We sat at a table with a few of the groomsmen and had fun chatting about the big day.

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Saturday began bright and early for me. It was one of the first Saturdays in awhile that I got to spend the morning at home! I took full advantage of my free time by completing a ton of wedding-related to do’s…Nah,  just kidding, I actually watched 4 Netflix episodes. Oops! After peeling myself away from the tv, I opened the blinds and realized it was a beautiful day. I laced up my running shoes and headed out. its-fine-i-ran-today

It’s amazing how long it sometimes takes me to get a workout in, but how great I feel afterwards. Thank you, endorphins. After my run, I figured that was enough productivity for the day, so I sat by the pool with a new book.

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This book was recommended by my friend Whitney and I can’t put it down. You know you have a good book when it takes the place of Netflix. 😉 I put the book down long enough to get ready for the wedding and drive over to the church. This is one of the first weddings I have been to that is actually in the same town I live in! Very convenient! It only took me 15 minutes to get to the church.

This is also one of the first weddings I have been to where Jordan is in it and I am flying solo. I was a little nervous about going by myself but I found a few friends from college and we were able to sit together at the ceremony and reception.

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Yes, we are barefoot-because you just can’t dance with heels.

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Jord was OBVIOUSLY having fun…especially because I was driving. 🙂

Sunday was another brilliantly sunny day and I did nothing but lay out by the pool and read. Wedding? What wedding?

We headed over to Jordan’s mom’s house on Sunday night for a big dinner of salmon, steak, corn on the cob and grilled veggies. I should have snapped a picture of my plate because it looked like summer but I am still not used to taking pictures of my food in public. I just KNOW that Jord’s brothers would never let me live it down if they caught me snapping a pic of my zucchini.

And I can’t do a “recently” post without filling you in on my most recent stuff–Monday was my favorite day. I know, how can a Monday be so great? Well, because I got to spend my night with this guy.

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Are you still reading after that cheesy line? Sorry bout it!

Jord arrived at my apartment last night around 6:30 and we loaded up the bikes and took off for the nearby trails. We haven’t ridden for awhile and it felt so great to get back out there! After riding, I convinced Jordan to go to the gym to do this quick, lower abs circuit with me. Our gym has a smoothie bar that is impossible to resist because I’m usually starving when I leave the gym and I love anything that even remotely resembles ice cream. 🙂

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Peanut butter/chocolate/banana smoothie it is! See how it is almost gone in the above picture? Yeah…we were just pulling out of the parking lot. Yikes! I’m so glad we ended up doing something fun last night, it really made my Monday a little bit easier and it is fun to look forward to something during the work day.

Tonight I am teaching a Zumba class at the same gym, so let’s see if I can resist the smoothie bar this time…

Have you ever been to a wedding by yourself and made the best of it?

Do you do anything special on Mondays to make them a little less depressing?