Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve Run

First, Merry Christmas Eve!

Okay, now for the running. I think it's all the years of having swim practice on every holiday imaginable, but I always find running on holidays to be extra special. After running some last minute errands this morning, my dad and I took the pup to the trail for an easy 3 mile run. The weather was nothing special but it was so nice to get out for a run to kick off the Christmas festivities.

I have been enjoying not wearing a watch while running for the past few weeks, mostly since my watch died. I decided to take until the end of the year to run naked and not worry about pace or distance. I normally run the same routes so I pretty much always know how far I've run but it's nice to get back to the basics and just enjoy the run.

It's also been nice to run without stressing about finals. I love waking up and going for a run whenever I want and not having to worry that I should be studying or working on a paper.

And now I'm off to get ready for our big Christmas Eve dinner. I was supposed to go to my boyfriend's uncle's house but he (boyfriend) is pretty sick so I'm staying home with my family for the day.

The forecast is calling for some snow tonight so I'm hoping to wake up to a white Christmas. Fingers crossed!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Running in 2012

This questionnaire has been circulating the blogosphere and I thought it would be a fun way to look back and pay tribute  to my running in 2012

1. Best race experience: Hands down the Baltimore Half Marathon. I have never enjoyed myself so much during a race. It was the first time I actually felt like a runner and the first time I really raced a half marathon. I had no expectations going into this race and surprised myself with another PR. This is also my favorite race to do, period, and I will probably do it every single year.

2. Best run: Off the top of my head I would have to say the 10 miler I ran during my taper for the NYCM/Harrisburg Marathon. I ran it and my dad biked along side me. We talked the entire time and a pace that used to be fast for me suddenly felt easy. Another memorable run was my run in Central Park the day that the marathon was supposed to be held. That run made me fall in love with running and realize how amazing runners are. It also solidified my love for all things New York City.

3. Best new piece of gear: Probably the Oiselle Lesley Knicker. I have been looking for a pair of running capris since last year and haven't found any I like until these. I wore them for a hard run last weekend and didn't have to adjust them once. My road bike is also a contender but since it is a Christmas gift I'm not allowed to ride it until after Christmas. We'll call this 2013's best piece of new gear.

4. Best piece of running advice you received: I can't think of any thing in particular but everything that Robert said to me during those last 6 miles of the Harrisburg Marathon motivated me enough to run to the finish. My old swim coach use to say "do the little things right" and I think that apples to every aspect of life, not just swimming.

5. Most inspirational runner(s): Not to come off as some crazy blog stalker but I have never met her in real life.. Page. Not only is she a badass runner, she made the leap from runner to triathlete in one year by signing up for an Ironman. When injury forced her to withdraw from the race she stayed (mostly) positive and vowed to finish her journey to becoming an Ironman in 2013.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It's That Time of Year Again

Yes, it is the ever delightful Christmas season but if you are a college student you are probably either nearing or have already started taking finals. If you take a look around the UMBC campus you will see students cramming at the library and pretty much every other place that has a desk or place to sit. People are dressing a little sloppier and parties are almost unheard of at this point. And the thing is, finals week hasn't even started yet! Today is a study day meaning there are no classes or exams so that students can catch up on work and get a head start on studying. Then finals start on Thursday and continue through next Wednesday. Luckily for me I only have one real final, and then a presentation and two papers. I get to go home on Friday and finish up my work from home while fully immersed in Christmas celebration while the majority of students are still furiously studying.

Despite my early departure from school I am still stressing out like any other student. I have already had 2 tests and a presentation this week and still have another presentation and my only final. I am not a presentation person so having two in one week has my anxiety level through the roof. I am trying to keep everything in perspective and only focus on the more immediate work. Instead of trying to rush through everything so that I can hopefully accomplish more I am taking my time to make sure that I fully understand as much as I can. I would rather have a really strong grasp on 80% on my material than a poor understanding on all of the material.

So true!

And despite some really exciting things in the works on the running/triathlon front (more on that later) I am not worrying about either this week. I know people constantly say that it is important to hit the gym for a sweat session to keep the brain juices flowing but worrying about fitting in runs just seems to stress me out even more. I will run when I have time and feel comfortable taking a break from studying. Since I am not currently training for anything I am trying to focus on the parts of my life that are most important- like school. And with Christmas right around the corner I am anxious to get home and spend some quality time with my family and friends that I haven't seen since the summer.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

My Fitness Christmas List

The holiday season is in full swing everywhere you look. I know Christmas is not about presents but I decided to put together the things that made my wish list this year. My birthday is the week after Christmas (December 31) so this is actually my Christmas/birthday list. Hint hint, Mom ;)

1. Bike

So this is the one thing on this list that I am 100% sure I will be getting this holiday season. I have already picked out and purchased this beautiful bike and can't wait to spend some quality time with it over my six week holiday break. This is also the one thing on this list that I have been lusting for practically the entire year. Money well spent.

2. Believe I Am journal

The Believe I am journal is also something that I am dying to try. My twitter feed is constantly blown up by fellow runners who are crediting this journal with their best training cycles yet. I know that a journal will not magically make me faster but as someone who is studying sports psychology in school I can't wait to see how the journal works.

3. Oiselle runfinity scarf

Scarves are probably my favorite accessory. I wear a scarf practically everyday in the fall & winter whether I am in class all day or just relaxing in my apartment. Infinity scarves are my favorite are I have been obsessed with this light teal color for months. I also really like how the scarf has hidden start and finish lines.

4. Arm warmers

Originally I thought the concept of arm warmers was silly but now I that I can see how practical they are I really want a pair. There have been so many times in the past few months that I have been too cold or too hot and thought arm warmers would remedy the situation. I found a pair that I really liked back in September but they were way too long for my arms. And the ones sold at the NYCM expo were too thick. I tend to get unusually warm when I run so I want a pair of arm warmers that is comfy, soft, and not too thick.

5. Running tights

I have also been on a quest for the perfect pair of tights or capris for months now. I recently ordered a pair of the Oiselle Lesley Knicker but they are for Christmas so I haven't been able to try them out yet. I am very picky when it comes to running tights so hopefully these will do the trick.

6. Yoga mat

Over the summer I got really into yoga, going twice a week every week. I love how yoga enables to me quiet my mind, relax, and focus on being in the present. I am currently using an old mat I bought back in high school to use during dryland at swim practice. The mat is worn out and very slippery. I don't have any mat in particular picked out but my only requirements are not slippery and cute.

7. As the Crow Flies

Craig Alexander is a triathlon legend. He won the 70.3 and full Ironman world championships in the same year while breaking the Kona course record. I bought Chrissie Wellington's book when it came out last year and absolutely loved it. I have always been a fan of Crowie and have heard really great things about the book. I'm not sure if it's available for order yet but you can sure I will be buying it soon.

8. BlueSeventy Vision

While I don't love the look of these goggles I love how functional they are. I have been swimming in the Speedo Women's Vanquisher goggles since I was something like twelve years old, and while I love them for pool swimming they aren't cutting it in the open water. These goggles are designed specifically for the open water and make it easier to see in the early morning with the sun beaming in your eyes.

What are you lusting over this holiday season?!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Getting Back in Shape

This morning I did my first P90X workout. I only had time to do ab ripper but I could tell from just one workout that I'm going to really like this program. I don't plan on following the program for 90 days but instead I want to use it as a supplement to my off-season running. I love the feeling you get after during strength workouts but I hate going to the gym at my school. Plus it will be really easy for me to just pop in the video and not have to drive anywhere.

I was really surprised this morning with how out of shape I have gotten since high school when I was swimming. It makes sense that going from training for 18 hours a week to less than 10 will decrease your fitness but it really hit me today. I used to be known for being really fit and a good swimmer. Once I quit swimming I feel like I lost my identity. My upper body & core especially were strong. Since I've started running my legs have become much stronger than ever before but still my overall fitness level is not where I want it to be.

Well I want to do something about that. I want to feel strong and fit again. I want to be happy with my body & proud of it. I don't start training for my spring half marathon until the middle of January so I am going to use this time to whip my butt back into shape. After taking a few weeks off to recover from the Harrisburg Marathon I am really antsy to start working out again. My plan is to run at least 3 days a week and do some form of strength training 3 days a week.

I want to ring in 2012 & kick off 2013 healthy & happy!