Just Checking In…

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It’s been a bit crazy at work this week. Arrival for students has begun and that means our office is quite busy since we handle the marketing for a great deal of the non-academic units at Penn State. This summer we have had a lot of construction projects in our units, including a food court renovation in our student union and a renovation of our campus restaurant, Cafe Laura. I know the students are excited about these updates, especially with the addition of Jamba Juice and McAlister’s Deli.

I figured I’d take a minute to check in and share a guest post I did on my friend’s blog, Charmed Wellness. As you may remember, I recently took my first SUP Yoga class. Below is a photo. Check out my post at Charmed Wellness, as well as all of Anna’s other great posts focusing on health, wellness, and fitness.

SUP Yoga at Whipple Dam State Park

SUP Yoga at Whipple Dam State Park

I’ll be back Friday with another Pinspire Me Friday post!

Pinspire Me Fridays – Volume 13

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I have to admit I was struggling to find a graphic for this week’s Pinspire Me Fridays post. But then I found this infographic, and I love me a good infographic, about strength training and decided to share it.

I am not a certified trainer (although I really keep toying with getting certified since I do really enjoy it), but after checking out the source and the author, I felt comfortable sharing this.

There are so many great benefits from strength training and this infographic highlights a great many of them. For me, I love feeling strong. I also love knowing that I’m doing something good for my body. I worry about health issues like high blood pressure and cholesterol. I know strength training and being active isn’t the only way to prevent those issues (I think that battle also takes place in the kitchen), but it can help.

I don’t know about you, but I also enjoy feeling sore (the good kind of sore). It feels so good to know you worked hard and that you’re improving and getting stronger. I also feel like strength training has helped my running. You need strong legs to run, but it’s also important to have a strong core and upper body.

On another note, I can’t believe how fast this summer has flown by. I work at a university and the students start returning next Friday. While it’s great to have that increased energy around town, they also tend to take over anything and everything that you have been able to enjoy all summer without them around. Oh well! Today I’m hitting the lunch boot camp class at the gym before a date night with Gabe. I’m toying with going to the master’s class tomorrow as well, but also need to get in a 3-miler to keep up with my training. It’d be great to get to the pool too! I have my 13-miler planned for Sunday and was mapping out a few course options to try to change the scenery a bit.

Have a great weekend!

#RaceRecap: Beat the Band 5k

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What a fun evening I had last night! Two running friends and I headed up to Lewisburg, Pa. for a mid-week race called Beat the Band 5k. It was part of Lewisburg’s Music in the Park series at Hufnagle Park in downtown. The goal of the event was to, you guessed it, “beat the band!” The local coverband was doing a Bee Gees set beginning at 7 p.m. It was a 32 minute set and the goal for runners was to finish the race before the band finished its set.

Here's a map of the course courtesy of MayMyRun.com.

Here’s a map of the course courtesy of MayMyRun.com.

It was a beautiful evening in Central Pa. with a temp in the low 70s. It was almost a bit cold, at least for August!

Here we are before the race.

Here we are before the race.

The race was a little disorganized, but with there only being about 100 runners and walkers it wasn’t problematic. The race began on the edge of the park and would consist of two loops around mainly side streets. There were only a few small hills, that I’m not sure qualify as hills. The roads were open to cars, but there were police and race volunteers directing traffic where needed. Lewisburg is a really cute town and is where Bucknell University is located. We passed by what looked like some dorms along the course. Most of the buildings are pretty old so there is some neat architecture and beautiful colors offering a lot of historic charm.

Somehow the three of us ended up in the front of the race crowd to start, probably because we were on a sidewalk and it was a bit tight. Once we started the runners quickly spread out. At the first mile mark, the race volunteer was telling the time and I had run it in 7:45…that’s a bit fast for me, even in a 5k. I was a bit worried I was going to fizzle. With the hills not really being hills, the nice weather, and somehow keeping my breathing in check, I was able to stay pretty close to 8 min/mile or under.

The finish of the race included running halfway around the park and down a ramp to the finish. I thought you had to run to the race clock, but once you reach the water station you were at the end. That was a bit confusing for people who stopped at the base of the ramp, about 20 feet short of the actual finish.

At the finish, everyone received a race souvenir.

The race logo, name and date was on the front. I'll have to write in my time.

The race logo, name and date was on the front. I’ll have to write in my time.

Overall the race was fun and the three of us had a good time. It was low key and sometimes it’s really nice to do something like that. I’m happy to say I beat my PR by one second and finished in 24:25. I’ve been close to my PR one other time so I was definitely a little extra happy about that. Maybe running “4 Hills” repeats by my office is proving to be helpful after all.

We got home around 9:30 p.m. I walked to my door and stuck my key in the deadbolt and turned only to feel like I wasn’t actually unlocking it. I knew I had locked it yesterday morning, but I thought maybe I unlocked it and it just didn’t feel as stiff or something. I unlocked the other lock, reached in to turn on the light and walked in. I knew I wasn’t alone almost immediately and turned to find Gabe sitting in one of the chairs in the living room.

Happy to see this face!

Happy to see this face!

He’d been at Princeton since Friday for an animal behavior conference and I wasn’t expecting him until today or tomorrow. It was a very, very nice surprise!

Alright, back to work I go!

Question: What do you prefer, a small, low key race or a big one? Or both?

#Marathon Training Update

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This is what I saw yesterday morning when I logged onto Facebook…

75 days!

75 days!

I’m now 74 days away from my second marathon! I can’t believe how fast time is going by. It feels like just yesterday that we were still 200 days away.

I have to say that so far I’m sticking to my training. I missed one week due to vacation because even in the wee hours of the morning, it was just too hot and humid to safely run. I got in a short run that week on the one cool morning. I got right back into my training when I returned and am sticking to it.

This past weekend I joined two friends, including one who will also be doing the MCM, for an 11-miler. It got to be a bit warmer than we anticipated, but thankfully between my small water bottle and being near campus, we had plenty of places to get water when we needed it. With stops our average pace was a bit slower than it could be, but better safe and hydrated than not.

After a rest day on Monday, I hit the gym at lunch yesterday before heading back out for a 6-miler last night. We picked up the pace with an average of 8:50/mile. It was tough but it feels good to push it sometimes. While I still just want to finish the MCM, I wouldn’t mind improving upon my first marathon time. I hope picking up the pace on some runs and running on tired legs will help prepare me to do that.

Tonight I’m doing another training run, but it’s a local 5k race in nearby Lewisburg called Beat the Band. It’s a low-key community race so it will just be fun. I’ll have a recap for you on Thursday. I signed up for a Cycle class for Thursday evening so I think I’ll get in my final short run of the week on Friday at some point. I have a long run of 13 set for this weekend. The weather is cooling off so it might be relatively enjoyable!

Til next time!

Question: Are you training for any events this fall?

Vacation #Recap

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As if I needed another excuse to go through photos from vacation, I decided to share some here. We spent the week in Litchfield, S.C. It’s about 45 minutes south of Myrtle Beach. There are no high rise condos or huge hotels, so the beach and the general area stay quite a bit quieter than further north.

We visited Murrell’s Inlet, Pawley’s Island, Coastal Grand mall, Huntington Beach State Park, and spent a lot of time on the beach. We had sun every day. If you’re looking for a quieter vacation that still puts you in reach of the hub-bub of Myrtle or if you are a nature lover, I’d recommend the area.

Our paradise for the week!

Our paradise for the week!

We rented a golf cart for the week. It's a popular thing to do in the area since traffic is light in North Litchfield.

We rented a golf cart for the week. It’s a popular thing to do in the area since traffic is light in North Litchfield.

The backyard at the house. It backs on to Huntington Beach State Park so it will always look like this.

The backyard at the house. It backs on to Huntington Beach State Park so it will always look like this.

View along the Marsh Walk in Murrell's Inlet.

View along the Marsh Walk in Murrell’s Inlet.

Looking across Murrell's Inlet toward Garden City.

Looking across Murrell’s Inlet toward Garden City.

Found this awesome Clemson-themed chair in Huntington Beach State Park. They had another one with USC colors.

Found this awesome Clemson-themed chair in Huntington Beach State Park. They had another one with USC colors.

This lil guy entertained us through dinner on the last night. He was catching his own meal.

This lil guy entertained us through dinner on the last night. He was catching his own meal.

One of a couple gators we saw in Huntington Beach State Park. This one was pretty big!

One of a couple gators we saw in Huntington Beach State Park. This one was pretty big!

Now it’s back to the swing of things. I wouldn’t mind another beach trip, but I’ll just have to enjoy my photos for now.

Question: Do you have a favorite vacation spot?

Fall Race Schedule

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It’s been a little over a week since I’ve posted due to being on vacation. I’ll make it up to ya!

I spent last week on the annual family vacation trip to Litchfield Beach, South Carolina. My parents have been going down since before I was even born as my grandparents had retired there. Despite the fact that my grandparents are no longer with us, we still continue the trip. We rent a cute house about a block from the beach that backs up to Huntington Beach State Park. It’s a quiet area that doesn’t get too crowded.

We’re about 45 minutes south of Myrtle Beach so we can always go up there for some fun. However, I find there is plenty to do down where we are. We had a great week for weather, including two days with low temps and low humidity, something completely unheard of in July in South Carolina. I did manage to get in one run of about 3 miles, but for the most part I took the week off. I did do a lot of walking along the water.

One of the areas closest to us is Murrell’s Inlet, the seafood capital of South Carolina. It has a ton of great restaurants, marinas, and the Marsh Walk, which offered stunning views like this one.

View from the Marsh Walk.

View from the Marsh Walk.

I’ll share more on my week in another post, but for now I’m going to dive into my fall race schedule. Up first is the Beat the Band 5k in Lewisburg on Aug. 13. It’s a Wednesday evening race and a Bee Gees cover band is going to play a 32 minute set. The goal is to make it to the finish line before they finish. A group of us are carpooling there. It was inexpensive for a 5k and it sounded low key and fun.

Next up is one I’m super excited to do. A friend of mine had to back out of the Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon on Sept. 6 and offered up her bib. I bought it and we got her registration transferred to me. Awhile back, Runner’s World did a story about a group of Amish who run at night in that area and also mentioned a half marathon that the Amish are very involved with. I added it to my list of races. Soon after, another story from Runner’s World highlighted some of the coolest race medals, including the one from the Bird-in-Hand Half.

birdinhand

I admit to being motivated by bling, and this medal is pretty awesome! I knew this was a must-do race, except it was already sold out. I made a mental note to register for 2015, but wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do it then either. September 2015 is a long way away. But now I get to do this year’s race and I’m really excited.

The final race I’m committed to is the Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 26 in D.C. I got selected from the lottery and will join two other friends from Ki’netik. It will be my second marathon and I’m really excited to finish and hopefully with an improved time.

There are a few other races I’m considering. These include the Lewisburg Half Marathon on Sept. 14, the Lewisburg Lights 5k on Sept. 19, the Hershey Half Marathon on Oct. 19 (or maybe being part of a team for the Tussey Mountainback Ultramarathon and Relay), as well as a few local 5ks yet to be determined. We’ll see!

I’m also thinking about joining in on some track workouts with the local running club. They just started them up again and you don’t need previous track experience. I can’t go until next week, but I’m thinking it could be beneficial.

I’ll be back to check in later this week. Have a great Monday!

Question: Do you have any races planned?