Short Term Goals vs Long Term Goals

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Today’s Workout: 4.04 miles @ 41:35
30-Day Ab Challenge: 25 sit-ups,15 crunches, 10 leg raises, 15 second plank

Wow! What a great workout I had today! It wasn’t my fastest time, but I felt full of energy and I felt great!

This past week, as I’ve been completing my mileage, I’ve been thinking about short term goals vs long term goals. As runners, I think we often get caught up in the numbers: we want to break a pr, complete a half-marathon, a marathon, an ultra (the list goes on and on). But while we’re trying to attain those goals, it’s important for us to set some others in the meantime to help us get to that “big picture” goal that we’ve been looking for. Whether it’s run for 5 minutes straight in your second week of training towards completing your first 5-k or for two hours straight while training for your first full, we all have those short-term goals that will help us complete our long-term goals. Here are a few of mine:

Short Term Goals
• Be able to complete this beast of a hill without walking before the end of the month (I’ve named him Grendall, from Beowulf)

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• Be able to do a 2-minute plank by the end of June/beginning of July
• Be able to bench press twice my weight in a week (haha just kidding on that one!)
• Complete the Twin Reservoir Half-Marathon at the end of July (this will be my halfway mark for marathon training! Woot, woot!)

Long Term Goals
• Be able to finish a full marathon by the end of September/beginning of October (that doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll run it then, but I want to be capable of it at that point.

That’s it for my short term and long term goals this month. They might not seem like a lot, but each one (minus the bench pressing, haha) is totally attainable! The point is to create attainable goals to make you continue to feel positive about your running and/or workout experience, vs negative about it. I’ll be reporting back in at the end of the month as to whether I’ve reached my goals!

What are your short term goals?
And what are your long term goals?

P.S. Today is the last day to enter the My Soxy Feet contest, so if you haven’t gotten your entry in, hurry up!

My First Running Confessions

Today’s Workout: 1 mile run @ 9:28 (didn’t even feel winded); 30 minutes yoga; Day 2 of 30-Day Ab Challenge

Today, I had a post lined up about Short-Term Goals vs Long-Term Goals, but I had this brilliant idea later in the day about all of these juicy facts about me that I just can’t hold in anymore. You should feel special – I’ve never told anyone about some of these things…not even JP!

Let’s see…where should I start?

CONFESSION: On Sunday, when I went out for my morning run, I was trying out a new pair of Nike Dry-Fit shorts that I bought. They seemed shorter than the ones I usually wear, and I was feeling pretty self-conscious, so I decided to put another pair of shorts on over them until I got to the part of the trail behind myself that is really private. When I got to the mouth of the trail, I ran behind a big, fallen down log, pulled one of my pairs of shorts off, and then resumed on my run. Well, when I got back to that spot to throw my shorts back on, a couple of teenage boys were coming up to the trail right behind me and saw me pulling my shorts up! My “private spot” doesn’t seem too private now – they probably thought I was copping a squat! I was so embarrassed (it did make me run faster up that horrible hill, though)!

CONFESSION: I haven’t cooked a real meal in over a week. Unless you count these delicious strawberry-lemon “ricotta” pancakes.

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CONFESSION: There isn’t even really any ricotta in those pancakes. I substituted it with cottage cheese.

CONFESSION: I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but for a blogger, I’m not the most tech-savvy person. I posted an image that I was supposed to fill in yesterday without writing in it because I couldn’t figure out how to do it on my iPhone.

CONFESSION: I ate an entire, huge bag of these while at work today. Oops!

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Confession: In yesterday’s post, I wrote that I got up early and ran 4 miles on National running day. I didn’t run 4 miles (I was off my schedule by a day and Wednesday was supposed to be a cross-training day), and I certainly didn’t get up early!

CONFESSION: I cancelled my hair appointment that I had scheduled for Wednesday so I could get my run in for National Running Day. And I didn’t even feel bad about it.

Your turn: Do you have any confessions you’d like to share?

Time is running out to enter the My Soxy Feet contest. Don’t forget to send in your submission!

Wicked Random Wednesday 6.4.14

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Yesterday’s Workout: 3.07 miles @ 30:23

Happy National Running Day! It’s ironic, even though I am a runner, National Running Day tends to be my day off…but today, I made sure that I got up early enough to get my 4-mile run in (confession: I’m actually writing this post on Tuesday night. Now that I’ve totally committed to it online, I have to do it). I’ve actually been getting up early for my runs every morning (even on the weekends!) and am really enjoying it!

And now, here is this week’s dose of Wicked Random Wednesday 6.4.14:

1. My ladies over at SwirlGear provided me with the graphic shown above, and asked me to share why I run. My answer: I run for my health and well-being, for myself, my me-time and my sanity. I run because it brings me peace.

2. Someone in my house got a new pair of sneakers, and it wasn’t me! And he LOVES them! I’ve had to yell at him because he’s been wearing them everywhere, not just for running. I think we’re gonna have to buy him another pair so he can wear one pair for running and one pair for everything else. They are the Nike FS Lites; these shoes are minimalist and have a flexible, mesh backing that don’t bother his Achilles’ tendons too much.

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3. My sister challenged me to do a 30-day ab challenge with her for the month of June, to help get my fit and fab self get even fitter for her wedding (my words, not hers). Here’s the schedule for the challenge:

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Anyone care to join me?

4. Running With SD Mom shared my contest on her blog. Thanks, Smitha! If you haven’t entered my contest yet, be sure to enter, time is running out. And be sure to check out Smitha’s cool blog for a round-up of other awesome contests taking place this week (post goes live at 3:00 a.m. Eastern time/12:00 a.m. Pacific time on Wednesday).

5. I can never resist posting puppy pics. JP and I gave the dogs a bath last night, and they were wet and wild afterwards! But they soon wore themselves out, and ended up snoring and looking like this:

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Why do you run? And did you go out and complete your run for National Running Day? If so, how many miles?

Have you ever won something in a contest? If so, what was it?

The Benefits of Kayaking and Cross-Training, Part II

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Today’s Workout: Rest day

I wish I could say that today’s (Monday’s) rest day was hard to take off, but it wasn’t. I was pretty freaking tired after Sunday’s run! If you haven’t checked out my post from Sunday, be sure to read it, as I’ll be referring to a couple things mentioned in it.My last post was on the benefits of kayaking as a form of cross-training. Today, I’ll be discussing the benefits of trail running as a form of cross-training.

First off, my time on Sunday was slooooow, but that didn’t bother me at all. The point of my run was to complete a long, slow run, which is what I did. And because I have been having some major issues with pacing myself, I decided to take it to the trails. I felt like it was the best decision I made in my life! I barely looked at my GPS watch the entire time I was running! I just enjoyed myself, stopped and took some photos for the blog a couple of times, and concentrated on not falling.

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There are a couple bridges in the trail system behind my house; this is the first of the two. I actually took this shot during my early morning run last Friday.

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The trails behind my house actually meet up with the lake where JP and I go kayaking.

How could I not enjoy my run when I’m able to enjoy this beautiful scenery? For me, I feel at home when I’m running in the woods. I ran high school cross-country while attending a private school in the city, practicing on the road all the time, so I was always ecstatic when we had cross-country meets at another school where you actually ran in the woods. To me, that’s what cross-country running embodies.

I could go on and on about what I love about trail running, but for time’s sake, I’m breaking the benefits and withdrawals into a list of pros and cons:

Pros:
• It will force you to slow down and pace yourself
• It will prevent you from shuffling – you HAVE to pick your feet up to avoid tripping over a branch or rock!
• You are less susceptible to knee injury, as the trails are more forgiving on your legs than pavement
• Your chances of getting hit by a car are zero to none (unless your trail meets up with a road that you have to cross somewhere along the line)
• You’re less likely to get bored, as it’s a nice change of scenery
• You could possibly spot some cool wildlife, like a deer or a moose
• You’re less likely to check your GPS every two seconds, because you’re not only enjoying the scenery, but pushing yourself as well, and are too busy making sure you don’t trip and fall to look at it 🙂
• You WILL get a workout, and although it doesn’t seem like it, the trails will help you improve your time

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The second bridge I encountered on my run.

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A scenic view of the lake after crossing the bridge.

Those photos are all to remind you of the beautiful scenery you can find on trail runs before I dive into the drawbacks of them.

Cons:
• You’ll be moving at a slower pace.
• If you run on the trails enough, you’re likely to trip and fall. In fact, you may just hurt yourself if you trip and fall, so pick those feet up!
• My friend Meg’s biggest fear – you may encounter a snake…or even worse, some other sort of wildlife that could hurt you.
• It’s usually a lot more secluded on the trails, so if you get injured, it could be hours, even days, before someone finds you (I always bring my cell phone)
• You could possibly get poison ivy or poison oak if running somewhere with tall grass (luckily I am resilient to both)
• It’s a major workout compared to road running (this could be a pro or a on, depending on who you’re talking to)

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There’s a beach across the lake from where I run, so I suppose if I ever got injured, I could always yell out to the people there!

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When on the trails, the end of my run usually consists of going up this huge, mountain-like hill. This photo doesn’t do it justice. My short-term goal is to be able to run this entire hill by the end of the month!

So, what do you think…are you ready to give trail running a try?

If you’re already a trail runner, where’s your favorite spot or what’s your favorite race to go trail running?

Next up this week: Wicked Random Wednesday makes a comeback and Short-Term Goals vs Long-Term Goals to keep you motivated.

The Benefits of Kayaking and Cross-Training, Part I

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Yesterday’s Workout: 3.03 miles @ 29:07
Today’s Workout: 6.00 miles @ 1:14:56

There, I’m glad we’re all caught up now with my mileage for the past two days! I downloaded the most recent version of the WordPress app onto my phone, so if this blog post looks a little different than normal, I apologize!

When I started to write this post, I intended to make it about both kayaking and cross-training (as in cross-training in the trails), but it started to get really long and out of control, so I’m breaking it down into Part I and Part II.

JP had asked for Giftcards to Dick’s Sporting Goods for his birthday. He originally had wanted to get an elliptical, but since the one he wanted is pretty costly, we’ve put our dreams of buying that on the back burner for now. Instead, he got another kayak. This one is for me to use (and I did not ask for, not put him up to this, I swear!). I didn’t really show any interest in kayaking until he asked me about a week ago if I would go with him if he got one for me, too. So yesterday, we hopped in the car, went to Dick’s and got a lovely bluish/greenish kayak for me, along with a paddle and life vest. When we got home, we walked the dogs, both went running, and in JP’s words, “We GOT it!” (My new running mantra).

Around six o’clock, we decided to take our kayaks out on the lake, which is literally two minutes away from my house. It took me a little while to get the hang of kayaking, but I managed to get it after about 15 minutes, and was paddling along in no time. The lake near our house is pretty large, with a dam, an island you can kayak around, and even a tunnel you can go through!

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Not sure if you can see the tunnel too well, I took this picture today on my trail run!

The weather was perfect – a little chilly, but great for if you’re breaking out in a sweat. My arms started to burn pretty quickly (did I tell you I have no upper arm strength), but I just kept paddling. JP and I are pretty competitive, and I knew he wanted to turn this into a race, but this is one I wouldn’t be able to win. We paddled around the island, where people can actually rent out to go camping on, and the people staying there’s Pitbull chased us by running into the water, swimming towards us, and tried to hop into my boat. It was actually pretty scary! My first time out kayaking, and I get chased by a dog, lol. I’ve barely ever gotten chased by a dog while running!

I managed to get away, though, and have lived to tell the story. Now, if you’re wondering what this has to do with running, there are a few ways that you can benefit from kayaking as a runner. Kayaking is a great form of cross-training. A lot of runners like to lift weights to help build muscle mass. If you’re someone like me who wants to attain some arm muscle, but doesn’t get all to trilled about picking up a dumbbell, this is a great way to help you build some muscle, by:

• Forcing you to use your triceps by paddling
• Making you use your core (you get a total body work out, minus the legs) while pushing yourself through the water and breathing in time with your paddling

You’re probably wondering how this helps you while running? Well, you have to use your arms to help you pump yourself up a hill – or just in general – while running. And if you’re running properly, you should be using your core, as well!

I don’t think that kayaking should be the only form of cross-training that you use, but if you implement it in conjunction with weight lifting and running, it will help you build muscle mass…and you’ll have fun while doing it!

Stay tuned for Part II of my cross-training series, to be posted within the next couple of days!

Also, if you haven’t already done so, don’t forget to enter my contest to win a pair of My Soxy Feet!

What’s your favorite form of cross-training?

Newport Half-Marathon Race Recap

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Me and Steph after finishing the 2013 Newport Half-Marathon.
Yesterday’s Workout: 4.04 miles @ 43:06

Hey everyone! I was planning on posting a little earlier today, but got side-tracked by a few things (like buying a new pair of running shoes for JP and getting a kayak – more on that in the next couple of days).

Today I’m a guest blogger for Carson over at Running Southern, so if you don’t follow her blog, please head over there and see what I have to say about my top five favorite races. Since my all-time favorite race is the Newport Half-Marathon, and I mentioned a couple times since the inception of my blog that I would post a race re-cap, I figured this was the perfect time to write about it (finally). Continue reading