#FridayFive: 5 Things I Did This Summer

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Time for another Friday Five link up with Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?, Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, and Mar from Mar on the Run. This week’s topic is 5 Things I did this summer. What a fun topic, especially as we get back to the grind with school in session and Labor Day approaches. Who wouldn’t want to reminisce about their summer adventures?

If you’re interested in joining in on the Friday Five link up, click the icon below and add your post. Don’t forget to check out the other blogs participating too!

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So what did I get myself into this summer?

  1. Celebrated my friend and her future little boy at her baby shower.
    It was a beautiful and intimate shower back in June. She got a wide variety of gifts and necessities to make her life as a mom a little bit easier. Great news came almost two weeks ago when she gave birth to her little boy and named him Grayson.
Congratulations to my dear friend and her husband on the birth of their little boy!

Congratulations to my dear friend and her husband on the birth of their little boy!

2. Picked strawberries at a local fruit farm.
One day after work, Gabe and I drove out to a local fruit farm to pick strawberries towards the end of the season. There were still plenty of sweet strawberries on the vines waiting to be picked. We enjoyed strawberry shortcake more than once!

Such a beautiful color!

Such a beautiful color!

3. Went camping for a bachelorette party.
This was a first for me when it comes to bachelorettes but it was fun! We set up tents, cooked over a camp fire, hung out by a lake and just had a blast.

One last photo before heading home after a successful bachelorette weekend.

One last photo before heading home after a successful bachelorette weekend.

4. Traveled to my favorite state, Colorado.
Our friends got married on Aug. 1 in a small town called Salida about 200 miles southwest of Denver. It was a quick trip out to Colorado, but we tried to make the most of it when we weren’t busy with wedding things. I now can’t wait to go back and hope it’s sooner rather than later!

We took a minor detour up Loveland Pass on our way from Denver to Salida. The views were amazing!

We took a minor detour up Loveland Pass on our way from Denver to Salida. The views were amazing!

5. Visited Avalon, NJ for the 11th annual girls beach weekend with 6 of my college girlfriends.
We’ve been going to the beach at least once per summer since the summer after our freshman year of college. Some of the beaches we’ve hit include Dewey, Seaside Heights, Ocean City, Virginia Beach and most recently, Avalon. It’s always a fun weekend and for most of the trips we’ve been lucky and had great weather.

This about sums up our friendship!

This about sums up our friendship!

It was a fun summer, but it’s not over yet. Well, at least not officially until Sept. 21. I do have one more beach trip scheduled, as well as my friend’s 30th bday celebration up in the Finger Lakes before it’s officially fall. I’m definitely looking forward to both trips.

The students have returned to campus so it’s gotten quite busy around town. I definitely don’t miss them when they’re gone for holidays and the summer, but they do bring a great deal of energy back to the area.

What have you been up to this summer?

#WorkoutWednesday

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It’s time for another #WorkoutWednesday post! I don’t know about you, but I’ve been having a lot of great workouts lately. I felt like I was in such a rut for much of this summer. I’m finally feeling like myself again and am excited to get in runs and workouts at the gym.

Yesterday I went to Ki’netik over lunch for their express class. It was a great mix of strength and cardio. After work I went on a quick run to stay on track with marathon training. Today, I went with my strength routine. I used to do this routine, minus 3 exercises that I recently added, 3 times a week. Over time I steadily increased the weights I was using and lost a few inches.

During my rut I got a bit sporadic with my strength training. I think it’s important to tell you that, especially as a trainer, because we all get into ruts when it comes to fitness (actually we get into ruts in other areas of our lives too). Sometimes you just need to change it up or take a breather. Whatever the reason, it’s important to know it’s ok!

So cheers to being out of my rut and back in the groove. Check out my strength routine I did earlier today.

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My goal with this workout is 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps of each exercise. I do all three sets before moving on to the next exercise. While I don’t go to a big gym that’s super crowded, using that format helps me stay out of the way of others and not hog equipment for an extended period of time. I try to always keep my body guessing and adapting by increasing the reps, weights or both.

Adding consistent strength training earlier this year provided some great benefits. In addition to changing how my body looked in the form of losing a few inches, it also improved my running. I got faster and even found that I wasn’t fatiguing as quickly, especially when running hills.

Tomorrow I’m back on the road with a 10k run!

What are your workout plans this week?

Disclaimer: Please always consult a physician or other qualified health professional before beginning a fitness program. If I share any workouts, remember that we have not discussed your personal fitness needs and I can’t be sure if a workout is right for you. Proceed accordingly.

Pinspire Me Friday – Vol. 42

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I go through phases with Pinterest where I find myself on it at least once a day. But there are also times when I go weeks, maybe months, without checking it out or pinning something new. Does that happen to you?

Since I’m looking forward to a long run this weekend, I thought I’d share some of my favorite running quotes that I pinned.

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marathonScreen Shot 2015-08-21 at 9.28.54 AMforwardWhat is one of your favorite running quotes? Looking forward to reading them!

#WorkoutWednesday

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I’m excited for my inaugural Workout Wednesday post! Since I recently got my CPT, I thought this would be a great way to share some workouts that I come up with for myself, as well as a good opportunity to practice creating workouts.

I put this workout together for my friend Caitlin and I to do one more during our weekend with the girls at the beach. We did it Sunday morning at a park along the beach in the shade of a tree since the sun was quite intense. It was fun and we worked hard!
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Disclaimer: Please always consult a physician or other qualified health professional before beginning a fitness program. If I share any workouts, remember that we have not discussed your personal fitness needs and I can’t be sure if a workout is right for you. Proceed accordingly.

I opted for a bodyweight strength workout since we wouldn’t have any gear with us. I know when I walk into Ki’netik and there’s no equipment out on the floor that we’re in for a tough bodyweight workout. It’s true that you can get a great full body strength and cardio workout without any equipment besides yourself!

I wanted to make sure we hit our upper and lower body and core with the strength section. With the Tabata, I wanted to get our heart rates up with exercises where we could maintain proper form while giving it our all. The third and fourth round of a few of those proved to be quite tough.

If we had had more time on our hands I might’ve added a set or did a full 8-set Tabata. However, we were tight on time so keeping a workout to about 30 minutes was ideal. After we were done, we sat and talked for a little before jogging back to our condo.

Here’s a look at the rest of the weekend at the beach.

All of us ready for dinner and an evening out in Avalon.

All of us ready for dinner and an evening out in Avalon on Friday.

Enjoying a great band at The Princeton.

Enjoying a great band at The Princeton.

We had great beach weather Friday and Saturday!

We had great beach weather Friday and Saturday!

Saturday night hanging out by the pool.

Saturday night hanging out by the pool.

What are you doing at the gym on this Workout Wednesday?

 

5 Marathon Training Tips

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I’m back to join in with the Friday Five link up with Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?, Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, and Mar from Mar on the Run. This week’s topic is 5 Running Tips. Since I’m starting marathon training again, I thought focusing my tips specifically on marathon training would be perfect.

If you’re interested in joining in on the Friday Five link up, click the icon below and add your post. Don’t forget to check out the other blogs participating too!

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  1. Find the right training plan for you.

Having a plan that fits you is important to the marathon training process. There are many plans out there, including plenty of great free ones. I’ve personally used the Novice 1 and Novice 2 plans from Hal Higdon. I’ve also heard good things about Train Like a Mother plans. Some races offer discounts on training plans or free plans that you can try.

Another option is to hire a running coach. You may be able to find one in your local area or can find one online that you can connect with via email, text and/or Skype.

Keep in mind with any training plan that you have already built a solid running base and that you don’t add mileage too quickly. That is a big contributor to injury.

2. Be consistent.

Make sure you’re training consistently throughout the months leading up to your race. Don’t blow it off and try to make up for lost time during the last few weeks.

However, if you have to miss a training run once in awhile it’s not the end of the world. Sometimes life gets in the way or sometimes you might need that extra rest day. Listen to your body and make the best decision for you.

3. Find some running buddies.

Running with friends can be a great way to make training go by quicker and be more successful. Recruit a friend to join you in the race if you can. Then you have someone that you can keep accountable and who can also keep you accountable.

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Can’t convince anyone to join in for the race? Invite them along for all or parts of your training runs. The runs range in distance from 3 miles to 20 miles or more. For my 20-miler back in April, I had two friends meet me for parts of it and it was great.

4. Plan accordingly for the weather.

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Right now it’s really hot in many parts of the country. Keep that in mind. Schedule your runs for the morning or evening to avoid the hottest parts of the day. Wear sunscreen. If you’re going on a longer run make sure you have hydration with you, have some stashed along your route, or plan a route that allows you to swing by your house or car for a quick drink break.

5. Change up your route.

Always finding yourself running the same loop or course? Change it up a bit. Fresh scenery can keep your mind occupied on both long and short runs. Not to mention it’s great to change up the terrain. When you run the same course over and over, your body adapts to it and it no longer challenges you. Even if you just reverse it, that’s a great way to surprise your muscles.

I know when it comes to my long runs, I try to map out a course that incorporates new parts of town and neighborhoods I haven’t explored. Again, the new sites and sounds often makes the miles and the time fly by. Before you know it, you’re done!

What other tips do you have for marathon training runs? 

 

Pinspire Me Friday – Vol. 41

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It’s Friday! How great is that? I’m looking forward to a quiet weekend that hopefully includes a trip or two to the gym, some pool time and a long run. I’ll probably be out in my garden too! We have soooo many tomatoes turning red all at the same time. Hmmm maybe some homemade sauce is in our future!?!

I had been hoping to dive back into my fitness routine after our trip out west, but I wasn’t so lucky. Soon after walking in the door at Ki’netik on Tuesday, I tweaked my neck and shoulders. It seemed like my upper trapezius and the levator scapulae just seized up. I could feel the knots.

That night I tried hot compresses and stretching, but nothing seemed to help. I popped some Advil (not my preferred method of dealing with things) and went to bed. Wednesday I ended up leaving work early as sitting at my desk was really difficult. I spent about 3 hours with a heating pad before my yoga balls popped into my head. Seriously, I can’t believe it took more than 24 hours for me to remember I had them and how great they are.

Not sure I've ever been so thankful for these!

Not sure I’ve ever been so thankful for these!

So I literally just laid on them in different spots for almost an hour. It made a huge difference and provided relief almost immediately. They’re seriously really great and I highly recommend purchasing your own set if you have areas that a foam roller just won’t work or you need something that can get in there a bit deeper. I first used them in a Restorative yoga class and have been hooked ever since. I found mine on Amazon at a reasonable price…and who doesn’t love Prime shipping?

I made it through a full day of work yesterday, but over lunch I did spend some time again rolling with the balls and later applied some Biofreeze. I was really disappointed to not be working out, but I didn’t want to aggravate the muscles again after I’d made so much progress. I decided to try to find a circuit on Pinterest that I could easily do in my office (or at home) that wouldn’t focus so much on those muscles.

I lucked out and found a short 5 minute circuit from Tara over at A Daily Dose of Fit that I had pinned almost a year ago. It was perfect!

workoutI made two minor modifications. Since I was in my office, I did incline tricep pushups using my desk and I did bicycle crunches instead of mountain climbers. This proved to be the perfect quick  workout to get my heart rate up a bit and get me moving. I was also in clothes that permitted these types of movements. Obviously I wouldn’t be doing those in a dress!

Another nice part of this workout is that you could easily make it longer. Add another round and/or increase the sets to 45 seconds.

Today I’m heading back to the gym to get one more piece of the endurance challenge completed. Today is 15 miles on the bike. Monday I have to do the 1,500m climb on Jacob’s ladder. Hopefully the 8-mile run I have planned for Sunday won’t tucker me out too much when it comes to getting a good time.

Wish me luck!

What are you up to this weekend? Tell me your plans!

 

Colorado Adventures

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Beautiful Colorado!

Beautiful Colorado!

Well it’s back to the grind after a quick whirlwind trip to Colorado for a wedding. I’m so glad we got to go even with it being such a fast trip.

Our friends Halie and Mario got married on Aug. 1. Gabe and I were able to arrange our schedules to make the trip, but it had to be a short one due to work responsibilities and a conference. Regardless, we got to see and do a lot despite only being there Thursday to Sunday.

We flew out and arrived in Denver at 11 a.m. We met up with another friend who would be sharing the rental car with us and headed downtown for lunch. On a recommendation from my cousin, we went to Terminal Bar in the renovated Union Station where we had some really good burgers, brats and fries. Gabe and Kevin also had some yummy beers, but as the driver I decided to abstain since being at a higher altitude can definitely make the alcohol hit you faster.

This was the first time I'd been inside Union Station. A few years ago I took the "Ski Train" to Winterpark from here.

This was the first time I’d been inside Union Station. A few years ago I took the “Ski Train” to Winterpark from here.

After relaxing for a short bit, we hopped back in the car and began the trek out I-70 to Salida. I opted for the route that would be a bit longer but very scenic. On our way, we stopped in Morrison to see the Red Rocks Amphitheater, which had just closed for a concert. It was still neat to walk around and the area was very pretty.

Once back on the road, the boys promptly dozed off while I continued the drive. I saw some big horn sheep on the side of the interstate, as well as some other interesting characters including a skateboarder and a cyclist. Not sure an interstate is where I’d do either of those activities, but that’s just me. I took a detour off I-70 to head up Rt. 6 to drive through Loveland Pass. I’d been up there in the winter a few times, but not in the summer. It offered us beautiful views, some snow and way cooler temperatures.

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I ran up the trail to find some snow to stand on. I even made some snowballs!

I ran up the trail to find some snow to stand on. I even made some snowballs!

Getting off a plane, heading straight up a mountain and then running on a trail, albeit briefly, was not my brightest move. I’d never had an issue with altitude out there because I’d always had a day or two to adjust before any sort of physical activity. We first noticed the change at Red Rocks when we were walking up steps. We just felt heavy. We got back in the car after our trek out to the snow and I had a migraine and basically had to grit my teeth as we headed down the pass into Dillon. On the way down we passed two favorite ski resorts of mine, Arapahoe Basin and Keystone.

We stopped in Dillon for snacks, Advil and water. After hanging out for a short bit to let the Advil kick in, we got back on I-70. The rest of the trip was beautiful. Once on 91 and 24, we passed several 14ers…aka peaks that are 14,000+ ft.

We arrived in Salida around 6:30 p.m. and went straight to the Tudor Rose B&B where everyone was staying in really nice chalets.

The chalets were really nice. There were grills, picnic tables, and the chalet was stocked with dishes, serving wear, linens and towels.

The chalets were really great. There were grills, picnic tables, and the chalet was stocked with dishes, serving wear, linens and towels.

We cooked out that night and after a short rain shower, we watched a beautiful sunset.

This just doesn't do it justice.

This just doesn’t do it justice.

On Friday, Gabe and I hit the road early to head to Colorado Springs to see my aunt, uncle and cousin. We stopped in Salida briefly at a really nice coffee shop where Gabe had an egg sandwich on a jalapeño biscuit. I opted for a yummy blueberry muffin and really tasty iced tea.

For this trek we used Rt. 50, which followed the Arkansas River for much of the trip. The scenery on this route was completely different than the day before. We were in a canyon for a nice chunk of it. The rocks were really craggy and it appeared rather dry, with the exception of the river of course. Salida is actually in more a desert area so this made sense. Once again we saw big horn sheep along the road. One even had a radio collar on.

After arriving at my aunt and uncle’s house, we picked up my cousin and headed to Garden of the Gods. I’d been there a few times, but it’s always beautiful and offers great views of Pikes Peak. It was my grandma’s favorite place to go when she lived out there too. They recently renovated the visitor center, and we sat through a new video presentation that was really fun and interactive, as well as a volunteer presentation on Zebulon Pike, for whom the peak was named We then drove around the park before heading to lunch.

View of part of Garden of the Gods with Pikes Peak dealing with a storm in the background.

View of part of Garden of the Gods with Pikes Peak dealing with a storm in the background.

We had lunch on the patio at the Broadmoor, a five-star historic hotel in Colorado Springs. It was a beautiful day for it. The food and drinks were quite good, as was the company.

It was great to connect with my aunt and uncle and cousin (not pictured).

It was great to connect with my aunt and uncle and cousin (not pictured).

We walked around the grounds and the hotel, which now has several buildings. It also boasts three golf courses, a beautiful pool that reminded me of the boathouse in Central Park in NYC, and even a bowling alley. I’ll let you guess how much a night there costs ;)

It was a quick day, but worth the trip. I’m so glad I got to connect with some family. We headed back around 4 p.m. and managed to beat everyone to the rehearsal dinner. It was outside and we had to deal with a minor rainstorm, but were treated to a beautiful double rainbow afterwards that was very vivid.

On Saturday we got up and headed to a local breakfast place before relaxing awhile before the wedding in the afternoon. Gabe and I took a short walk around the grounds where we were staying and took some great pictures, such as the one at the top of this post.

By 2 p.m. we were at the Steam Plant helping with final touches for the outdoor wedding and indoor reception. The weather, which had been beautiful all day, stayed lovely despite some threatening clouds that went by.

Mario is the lab manager in the same lab as Gabe, and he and Halie managed to incorporate honeybees and wildflowers into their wedding decor.

The flowers at each table were different and all very beautiful.

The flowers at each table were different and all very beautiful.

I also loved their cake topper!

I also loved their cake topper!

The ladies of the Pennsylvania visitors who threw Halie her bachelorette.

The ladies of the Pennsylvania crew who threw Halie her bachelorette. We all clean up quite nicely!

Our friend Ariel served as the officiant and the ceremony was written by the bride. It was all really nice and very special. The outdoor ceremony was along the Arkansas river and many people stopped to watch and admire the event. It added a little extra energy to the whole thing.

They're married! Yay!

They’re married! Yay!

After the cocktail hour, we headed inside for the reception. The food was yummy, the music was fun and it was a great night.

Gabe and I headed to bed rather early as we had to be up and out the door by 6 a.m. We opted to get on the road and then stop later for breakfast. On this trip, we opted for a shorter route back to Denver on 285. Once again the scenery did not disappoint. We had mountains to see and climb and lots of beautiful ranch land. We even went through Fairplay, hometown of the creators of South Park. The one thing we did realize was that there was no place to stop for a quick bite to eat. I’m serious. We didn’t see a Starbucks, a McDonalds or even a grocery store until we were practically in Denver. By then I just kept driving to the airport. Still wondering where people buy food…

After dropping Gabe and Kevin for their early flights, I headed into downtown Denver. First stop was Larimer Square where I had a yummy iced chai and a muffin at The Market. People were very friendly and overall I couldn’t believe how many people were out and about on a Sunday morning running, cycling, walking and just being active. It was so refreshing! I then killed a few hours over at the Cherry Creek Shopping District, where I stocked up on some Colorado-themed items, including two shirts from the Boulder Running Company.

My flight wasn’t until 6:30, but I dropped the rental car off around 1:30, checked into my flight and had dinner at a restaurant in the terminal. I’m a nervous flyer and there were storms brewing over the mountains but luckily my flight wasn’t too bumpy and we eventually flew out of the clouds the further east we went. I got into Baltimore around 11:30 p.m. and headed back to PA Monday afternoon.

A few days out from the trip, I finally feel like I caught up on my sleep. I had such a great time and I can’t wait to go back for another visit…hopefully a longer one. There is so much to do and see!

How was your weekend? Have you ever been to Colorado?