Bring it on, half marathon! A Guest Post by Susie

Hey everyone, 

I ran my final long run for this marathon training season. It was a 20+ miler this last Saturday, 10/15/16. I am officially in TAPER TOWN!  Because I have been tapering I have only been running shorter runs, and I have had a lot more time to blog. I am working on some really amazing posts for you guys, about my marathon training, my race day plan, and food. So I look forward to sharing those with you in the next days leading up to my marathon, the MARINE CORPS MARATHON. 

In the meantime, I would like to introduce to you my good friend, Susie. She is a fashion blogger and runner!  This is my first time having a guest blogger write a post at Sweat1xdaily. And she is talking all about her favorite running gear, which helped her comfortably run her 2nd half marathon, in the heat of August!  I hope you enjoy this post about Susie’s favorite running gear, and you can always learn more fun fashion tips from Susie over at Susie in Style.

Bring it on, half marathon! 
I recently ran the Madison Mini Marathon. This was my 2nd half marathon and I ran with my mom/running buddy in my beloved hometown Madison, Wisconsin.

My 1st half was in Madison in 2010 which I ran on a whim. I had just gotten back from a semester abroad in Spain and hadn‚Äôt trained. My mom was signed up for the half and she asked if I wanted to do the 10k race. I was eager to get back into running longer distances so I agreed. When we went to pick up her packet before the race and register myself, the 10k was full‚ĶIt was decision time because the half still had openings. I thought “what the hell, why not” and signed up thinking I would just do a run/walk. But me being stubborn, true to my Virgo zodiac sign, ended up running the whole thing. It was an adventure, but I persevered and got it done. 
This time, I was much more prepared. I trained for 4 months, gradually working up my distance. Since I‚Äôm a runner AND a fashion blogger, a big part of preparing was making sure I had the right gear for both functionality and style. Functionality proved more important, but I‚Äôm glad the style was still there for my loyal fab fashonistas. 
Me with my mom and her friends after the race. I’m in the pink tank top!

When Race Day Came, Heres What I Wore:
Compression Shorts: If you run, you know about the horror of chaffing. For shorter distances, I always apply deodorant on the inside of my thigh area and that does the trick‚ÄĒsometimes even the most stylish runner has to use tried and trued methods. But I knew I couldn’t rely on deodrant alone for this one so I made sure to get compression shorts. My shorts have the compression layer underneath to protect from chaffing and on the outside theres a looser, mesh layer so I didn’t feel exposed. These shorts did the trick‚ÄĒthey gave me much needed compression to avoid chaffing and provided a flowing exterior. Perfect for the fashion conscious runner!
Nike Cool Breeze Dry-FIT Tank: I got this tank at Macy’s. My race was in August and I can’t stand being too hot when I run so the lightweight material allowed me to stay cool. The only thing I don’t love is that its a little transparent. Luckily, I bought two (1 in pink and 1 in blue) so on race day I just layered the blue top under the pink one and that solved the transparency problem. 
Fabletics Sports Bra: See the Graffiti sports bra from my Fabletics Review. This was awesome for race day and I love the print. The colors also happen to match my running shoes. 

Brooks Ghost 8 Running Shoe: I get my shoes at Berkley running company in Madison but you can fond them at your local running store. I used to be an ASICS girl but over the past few years I’ve made the switch to Brooks because they feel lighter and have more of a cushion. 
Added value: buying local can be both functional and fun. My favorite salesperson from Berkley that sold me these shoes was on the course with a mic cheering people on at mile 10. 
My high school Cross Country team was also working at one of the water stations. It was awesome to have that support and community feel to push me those last few miles. 
Nathan Running Essentials Belt: It took me awhile to get used to running with a belt ,but I was really glad that I had it on race day. I carried energy beans, running GU, and Chapstick). I used the beans and GU at about 3 or 4 different points during my race. You‚Äôve got to have fuel in the tank to compete! The belt was also essential for training so I could keep energy aids with me on my long runs and have a place to store my keys. 
Garmin Forerunner: For my birthday present, my mom bought me the Garmin Forerunner 15 watch so I could track my pace. Its comfortable and the teal/white color combo adds flare to any running ensemble. I had trouble getting it to find a GPS signal so it didn’t end up working until I got to the 1st mile mark, but I hope to work out the bugs soon. Anyone out there know why this might have happened? I’ve tried using it on several other occasions since but keep running (literally) into the same problem.
And lastly, here is a picture of the awesome medal that I got at the finish line. It also serves as a bottle opener because… well, why wouldn’t it? ūüôā

The Climate

I was nervous about the timing of the race, considering it was in August, and Wisconsin weather can be unpredictable. The night before the race, I was checking the forecast constantly.
The good news was it looked like it was going to be in the 60’s around race time. Perfect running temperature. The bad news was it was supposed to storm right when the race started. The Madison-Mini Twitter account and website were both staying optimistic but encouraging runners to check back first thing in the morning and make sure the race was still on. I wasn’t sure what would be worse: the race getting cancelled after all my training OR running in a downpour with soggy socks and rain pelting my face. I went to bed that night feeling discouraged. 
I woke up in the morning ready to go‚ÄĒrain or shine‚ÄĒand fortunately the running gods were on my side. The storm had passed through earlier than anticipated during the night, and it was just drizzling at the start of the race. Soon after we started, the drizzle stopped and it was mid 60’s and overcast. My ideal running weather. 
One benefit I had of training in DC during the summer is that I got used to the humidity. After the race, I regrouped with my mom and her friends. They said that the humidity really challenged them, but I didn’t find it humid compared to the swamp that is Washington in May – August. 
The Course
Overall I enjoyed the course. It was great to run through some of my favorite parts of the city. There were about 3,000 people who ran the mini marathon. They organized us at the start based on our estimated finish time. They didn’t start in waves like some other races so I was nervous it would get crowded. Fortunately, I didn’t have trouble breaking out to my stride. 
The last mile was hard. Thats when my legs and knees were getting sore so I stopped at the mile marker to stretch which helped get me through the last leg. The finish line was on the University of Wisconsin campus. . My biggest complaint about the course itself was there were two hills on mile 12 and It twisted and turned around campus buildings, so I couldn’t see the finish line until I was about 200 yards out or so. I like to see where the finish line is around the last quarter mile so I know how much energy to exert.
Some parts of the course were off the beaten path. Around mile 11 we went down a trail that was quiet and difficult for observers to get to so there weren’t many people cheering. That was the point I could have used encouragement the most. 
I’ve heard from runners that have done this race multiple times,the organizers are very responsive to feedback so hopefully for next year, they’ll adjust the course so its not so hilly and remote towards the finish. 
Unfortunately, I forgot to apply bug spray before the race. As a result, I got a few mosquito bites when we ran through the arboretum trail. Luckily, I didn’t get bit up too bad but I heard other people who were also wishing they had sprayed.
I would do this race again. The hardest thing about it, was the timing being in August which meant training in the hottest months. Wisconsin is a lot cooler than DC though, and the race starts at 7am so even on a hot day, its not going to be too hot at that time. 
So What Were My Results?

Time: 2:18:32 
Pace: 10:35
Place Overall: 1677/2757
Divison Place: 151/258
I was happy with my time and I felt good and comfortable.
Traveling to Wisconsin 
If you’ve never been to Madison, Wisconsin before I encourage you to visit. Its a beautiful and active city. Its not too early to register for the 2017 Madison Mini Marathon on Saturday, August 17th. There’s also a 5k option.
Here are some other things to check out while you’re in the Mad City:
Union South – This is where the packet pick up and after party were. Union South is the “New” Union. Its a lovely building with lots of restaurants and activities. If you have more time in Madison you should also head over to the Memorial Union and have a Spotted Cow by the water while you listen to local music.
Babcock Hall Dairy Store – After the race, treat yourself to ice cream at Babcock Hall. You won’t regret it! They also have cheese curds to snack on and a breakfast and lunch menu. 
State Street Brats – This is a fun and laid back place downtown and a great spot to grab food after the race. 
Porta Bella Italian Restaurant – Looking to carb up the night before the race? Try this quant Italian Restaurant near State Street.
For places to stay, I recommend these hotels in the Downtown area, close to the race location:
Double Hill By Hilton – The official hotel for the Madison Mini Marathon. Check out the race site for information on discounted rates. 
The Edgewater Hotel
Sheraton Madison Hotel 
My Advice To You
If you’re training for a half, don’t underestimate the importance of preparing. Give yourself plenty of time to train, and be sure to find appropriate running gear. Its important to train in the equipment you plan to use for race day so you can test it out and allow yourself time to find the right outfit.
Question of the Day…
What running products would you recommend for long distance races that are both functional and fashionable?

So that’s all from Susie! I hope you enjoyed that! You can find Susie at Susie in Style! 

And again I can’t wait to share with you some details about marathon training, race day plan, and food! All of this will be up on the blog in the next days leading up to my marathon. If you can’t wait, you can always find all the details and inspiration through photos on Instagram, follow me @sweat1xdaily. 

Xo

copyright 2016 sweat1xdaily

And let the long runs begin…

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I just finished the book, The Cool Impossible. Wow, I learned a ton from this book. It is definitely on the top of my list of favorite running books, right up there with Eat and Run, and Born to Run. You should read it.

There is really great stuff in this book. The first half of the book focuses on preparing you to run physically. The last half of the book focuses on preparing you to run mentally. The advice and knowledge I obtained from the last half of the book is also something I can use in other parts of my life. Some things you learn about running and from running, you can take beyond the trail.

The above photo is a great example. Don’t let the day run you… One thing I am going to work on is better preparation for my runs and for my day.

By reading this book, I have learned that before I run a race or long training run, I do things that mentally prepare myself for the distance. These things, mantras, visualizing, and rituals are things I do and didn’t realize I was doing them. Now looking back, I am more aware of these helpful tricks for the mind. Because these have helped me find success, it may be helpful to use them in other parts of my life, including other sports.

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I am a very positive person. However, the above photo reminds me so much of the book, The Cool Impossible. What I like most, is that the author Eric Orton, says negative thoughts are not a bad thing. Negative thoughts are a normal thing. However, become aware of your negative thoughts, identify them, and realize they are just thoughts, NOT truths.

Update on my Running

I ran the day, the day did not run me. This weekend my long runs began. I love running my first long run of the season.

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All winter, I have been lifting weights and running shorter faster runs. It felt good to get out there and run far. I ran a 10 miler, to help my sister prepare for her half marathon coming up in April. As for me, I have two 10 mile races coming up the first two weekends in April.

On this 10 mile training run, I wore my new Newton Gravity. It has 5 lugs instead of 4, which makes it feel like the toe box is wider.

My sister and I ran MVT over the 14th Street bridge and then to Hains Point.

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Have your long runs started yet? What are some mental tricks you use that helps you find success during running?

Do you want to be a faster runner? Here’s the Secret…

There are lots of ways to become a faster runner.

Hill repeat…

Track workouts…

Speed work…

But the one thing that most runners neglect is their upper bodies. It is a strong upper body and core that will significantly improve a runner’s speed.

Why?

Upper body strength helps improve your posture and running form. Your legs are not the only thing that moves you. You use your arms, core, back, shoulders for guidance and balance. 

“Upper-body strength is essential for boosting your speed?”¬†– Jeff Horowitz author of Quick Strength for Runners.

My experience:¬†Last year, I hit the weight room, and found a new passion for lifting. I knew a stronger body would help prevent running injury, but I didn’t know it would improve my pace significantly.

During my April (2013) 10 milers, and half marathon, I began setting new PRs. It was an amazing feeling to be running an 8:30 min/mile. Nothing in my running training plan had changed. In order to fit my weight lifting sessions in, I was actually running less.  The only thing  I was doing different was focusing on getting stronger and lifting weights. Turns out it made a huge difference.

I loved the way my body looked. I loved the way I felt. I didn’t just look stronger, I felt stronger. And the cherry on the cake, I was running stronger, faster, and with better form.

This last marathon season, because my milage increased significantly, I lost some of my muscle. It was hard to fit in both weight lifting and running. During marathon training my main focus was getting those long runs in, so my weight lifting sessions decreased to once a week.

But now I am back at it.

I did 4 weeks of lifting heavy and super sets. Then I did 3 weeks of active rest periods and super sets.  Now I am doing 2 weeks of circuit training. I am also running 25-30 miles a week. Sometimes on rainy days, I will do some HIIT on the t-mill.

I’m finally getting some of my muscle back!

Articles you may like…

  1. Nike Women Half Marathon DC
  2. Running Form Clinic
  3. Back in the Gym and running 18 miles

What’s your favorite thing to do in the gym?

© 2014 sweatdaily

My Fitness and Nutrition goals for 2014!

2013 was an amazing year! It will be hard to beat. However, if there is a year to beat it 2014 is that year. A lot of big, exciting, special things are happening. Two of the biggest include…

  1. I will be traveling to Thailand with my Fiance!
  2. Later in the year, we will be getting married!

I am calling our trip to Thailand our premoon, since it is going to be an amazing adventure taking place before my fiance and I get married. Thailand has always been on the top of my list of places I desire to visit, and now that two of my best friends have moved to Asia, It seems much more doable.

Our trip is planned out according to where in Thailand we are going to be on which day, but from now until we leave, I will be reading up on Thailand as much as possible.

I have also found Pinterest and Instagram extremely helpful while planning this trip. Surprisingly, Pinterest and Instagram have become little tour books on theirc78f233e7abc2a0286ba0f215f5e42a2 own.¬†I have now started a Thailand pin board based on what I want to see while I am there. This is going to be an amazing adventure, and because I am a crazy runner girl, I am bringing my running shoes too. ¬†Honestly, I don’t know how much running I will be doing, but when I do go on a run, I will be sure to blog about it. I am not going to be too hard core, because vacation is about relaxing, plus I have been working out pretty hard in the gym lately, and it may be nice to have some time off. But one of the best things about being a runner, is that you can run anywhere in the world. So my newtons will be in my carry on.

Now that we are on the subject of running, it may be a good time to reveal to you my Future Race Line Up and RUNNING GOALS for 2014.

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As of now I am registered for three races.

  • The Four Courts Four miler, scheduled for March 15th. During Christmas I had won a free race entry for this race. It is a fun run I have never ran before so I am excited to run it.
  • The Cherry Blossom 10 miler, scheduled for April 6th. This race is the first race I ever ran, 6 years ago. It is also one of my favorite races. I was very lucky to get in considering it is a lottery.
  • The Parkway Classic 10 miler, scheduled for April 13th. This is a race I run every year. It is my favorite 10 miler in the area.

SO OBVIOUSLY I AM LOOKING TO PR IN THESE UPCOMING RACES. And, because of the extreme cold temperatures that we have experienced over the last week, I actually have been doing HIIT on the treadmill. I have been averaging a 7:30 min/mile but at some points running between a 6:00/ 6:30 min/mile. By doing sprints like this I am working my fast twitch muscles. I am planning on continuing to do different types of speed work at least 2x a week in order to improve my speed, so I can PR in these upcoming races.

I am not sure which other races I want to run yet. I definitely want to run a couple half marathons, and I am back and forth on whether I want to run a full this year. Full marathons are a huge time commitment for me, so we shall see.

RUNNING GOALS 

  • Run 2014 miles in 2014. Lets see if I can do it, or how close I can get.
  • Read The Cool Impossible. This is the next book following Born To Run. I started it, but put it down because of my marathon training. I am ready to really read it, and use it to improve my running.
  • Learn more about heart rate and how using a heart rate monitor can improve my running. I have been using a heart rate monitor while lifting heavy in the gym. I have found it really fascinating seeing how in some exercised my heart rate stays consistent and how in others it raises and lowers. I have a heart rate monitor for running, so I want to learn how to use it to improve my running.
  • Subscribe again to the magazine Runner’s World. Lately, I have been reading Runner’s World and I feel like it now caters to the beginner runner. However, although the information is stuff I already know, there is also a lot of great inspiring stories in it. So for motivational reasons I want to subscribe again. Plus I buy it every month on the news stand.

As you all know, last year I got really passionate about weight lifting. I think it is very important to do along side running. It makes me a stronger, faster, injury free runner.82ae592f4275b619c540ce05d348e388

WEIGHT LIFTING GOALS for 2014

  • Start and complete two rounds of the clutch transformation. Start and complete the clutch cut. This will be a total of 12 weeks of clutch. Start in March when I return from Thailand.
  • At one point this year I want to be able to do 5 unassisted pull ups. I can’t even do one at the moment.
  • I want to be able to do a handstand. I am always in awe of all the cool yoga poses I see people doing on What’s Beautiful, and on Instagram, and most of them are handstands. Handstands are so healthy for you, and they make you very strong.
  • I want to see some abs. Nothing too crazy. But some baby abs would be nice to see.

Because I want to see some abs, and everyone knows abs are made in the kitchen. So here are my Nutritional Goals for 2014.

NUTRITIONAL GOALS for 2014

  • Be more strict about eating veg.
  • Meal prep weekly.
  • Continue to cook more. Eat out less.
  • While doing clutch follow clutch diet and supplement plan.
  • Read all my cook books.
  • Continue to stock my kitchen with the tools I need.
  • Organize my recipes so they are easy to find when I need them. Maybe in a recipe box.
  • Subscribe to vegetarian magazines. This will help me stay on track and motivated to cook more.

*Make and inspiration board and change it often. This way I stay up to date!*

And saving the best for last, Getting Married!!

Best wishes from me to you for 2014!!

What are your 2014 goals? Where are you traveling? Which races are you running?

Articles you may like…

© 2014 sweatdaily

My friend went on a date with another runner… and it didn’t go well!

THE DATE

A friend of mine went on a date with a guy the other night. They were chatting and having a great time. Because they were both runners, the conversation naturally gravitated towards their race experiences. The guy, being an ultra marathoner, finally asked my friend, “Why did you downgrade from running full marathons to halves?” It was then that my friend knew a relationship between the two of them would never work…

DON’T ASK STUPID QUESTIONS

The question, “Why did you downgrade from running full marathons to halves?” was a deal breaker for her, and honestly it annoys me to pieces.

I just completed my 3rd full Marine Corps Marathon (read all about it here.) I have run all distances excluding the ultra marathon, however I am considering trying one in the near future. My favorite distances to run, and the ones I run most often are 10 milers, half marathons, and the full marathon. However, I do not think the full marathon is a harder distance to conquer then the half marathon. All of these distances are equally challenging in their own way. All of these distances are challenging, but the training focus is different. In other words, ¬†it takes a different kind of running depending on the race distance. And here is why…

HALF MARATHON

When I am training for a half marathon, my goal is to run faster. My training focus is on pace and speed work. I am doing shorter runs during the week, at a faster pace. I am running hill repeats. I may, even though, it is rare, jump on the treadmill to do some HIIT. I am also focusing on running form, and strength training. When training for a half marathon, I have more time to weight lift and do yoga. And last time I trained for a half marathon, I ran less, but when I did run, my runs were quality runs. The running less left more time to weight lift. The combo of more quality runs, and more weight lifting, made my body stronger and my runs faster.

FULL MARATHON

When I am training for a full marathon my ultimate goal is to build endurance by running far. My training focus is on increasing my weekly milage by running longer runs. I am not worrying too much on running a fast pace, and actually my pace slows down significantly. When it comes to pace, I am just trying to stay consistent. I practice negative splits on my longer runs. Nutrition and proper hydration plays a huge role when training and racing this distance.

HOW IT EFFECTS MY BODY

Depending on the sport you play, your body may take on a different shape. Gymnasts have a distinct gymnast’s body, Swimmers have a swimmer’s body… and you may have heard people say Runners have a runner’s body… but when it comes to runners, it becomes a little more complicated, because there are different types of runners. Sprinters or those running shorter distances then the marathon ¬†at a faster pace tend to be more muscular, then those running full marathons and ultra marathons. This is definitely true for me.

When I train for a half marathons I have more time for other exercises, such as weigh lifting, cycling, and yoga. When I train for a half marathon, I am able to fit in 4-5 times a week of weight lifting. Therefore, I maintain more muscle. I am stronger and overall look more fit.

When I train for a full marathon, my weekly milage has significantly increased. The mileage has increased so much that it is nearly impossible to fit any other exercising in. During marathon training, I was able to squeeze one weight lifting session in a week. And out of my four month marathon training, I went to yoga once. I tried to maintain as much muscle as I could during marathon training, but it was hard because I wasn’t lifting as much as I usually do, and because I didn’t have much fat to burn. When running long distance the body uses fat as energy. If there isn’t any fat to use, it will then use muscle for energy. This is why marathon runners, and ultra marathoners are so lean.

So as you can see, one distance is not more challenging then the other, they are just very different, even effecting the body differently.

Stop having an ego!

Just because you run a full marathons, or ultra marathons, it doesn’t mean you are more fit or a better runner then someone who chooses to run half marathons.

I choose to run a full marathon when I am craving to run far, consistent, slower, longer runs. Marathon training is a huge time commitment, and because I usually get really into my training, it is important for me to have the proper time to train. Yes, you can always make time, and make marathon training a priority but things get in the way, for example wedding planning, getting pregnant, traveling.

I am tired of hearing, “Oh I just ran the half…”

Don’t feel like less of a runner, because you only ran the half marathon. Feel proud, running a half marathon is an amazing accomplishment.

Honestly, sometimes I choose to run a half marathon. It lets me focus on running a faster pace. For a travel race, I may choose to run the half marathon over the full marathon, if I am in a cool city that I want to visit and explore, and not be too tired after racing. Sometimes, I choose to run a half because I want to be able to fit in weight lifting and yoga.

SO at the end of the day, I like to switch things up, and that is healthy physically and mentally.

‚ÄúIn some ways, an ultra isn‚Äôt even as hard as a marathon.‚ÄĚ ~ Scott Jurek¬†

Questions for You…

  1. Have you ever dated a runner?
  2. Which race distance is your favorite?
  3. Have you ever come across a runner with an ego?

© 2013 sweatdaily

Marine Corps Marathon Expo and the GAME plan!

EXPO

Yesterday, Friday, October 25th, I hit up the Marine Corps Marathon Expo. I got the DC armory around 1:00 pm and it was obvious that everyone else decided to come at that time too. It was packed.

Getting my bib number was a breeze. No lines at all. But entering the actual expo had a line because security was tight. They had to check people’s bags. While in the line I met a girl who came from Pittsburgh to run the race. One of my favorite things about MCM is that so many people from so many places come to run this race. Once inside, I wished her luck and went on my way.

When approaching the tables to get my race shirt, the Marines called me over, waving an XS shirt at me. I thought it was funny. I guess I am XS. I also want to say that I am really happy they changed the race shirt. It is still a turtle neck but at least the material is not cotton and the color was quite nice. I continued on, got my picture taken with my bib number, and collected all the other free samples that they were handing out.

 

I ran into the mid atlantic sales rep for Newton running. It was fun seeing here considering she got me into wearing Newton shoes, and tomorrow I will be running a full marathon in them.

I went to the Brooks running area. Brooks is sponsoring the race. I picked up a Marine Corps Marathon hat, and running jacket. I also got a pair of brooks running socks that I am super excited about. It was a crazy long line to pay, but was worth it because I love my new gear.

I finally got out of the Brooks running area and walked around to see what else the expo had to offer. I checked out, Nuun, Honey Stingers, Cliff, and many other venders.

Overall the expo was fun, well organized, and got me pumped for race day. I also picked up a race bracelet that has my pace for each mile.

GAME PLAN

Tonight, my mom made me a homemade pasta dinner. I definitely loaded up on carbs. Now, I am sipping on water, trying to stay hydrated.  After, I am done writing this blog post I will update my iPod and make sure my Garmin has full memory. Then it is bed time for me.

Race night ritual РI am planning on running in my Newton Gravity, my neon green lululemon shirt, and my black lululemon tank. I will cover myself in body glide, wear my garmin, iPod, pace tracker bracelet, brooks socks. I will refuel with sports beans.

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Race morning¬†– I am planning on waking up at 6:00 am. Because all of my race clothes are laid out an ready, I will quickly put them on, grab my race bag, and a peanut butter sandwich, and head over to my moms. ¬†She offered to give me a ride to pentagon city metro. I’ll jump on the metro, get off at the Pentagon, and follow all the other runners to the start!

Race Strategy –¬†Normally, I watch the documentary, The Spirit of the Marathon, to get me pumped the night before my race. If you haven’t watched that movie, it is a must, especially for first time marathoners.¬†But tonight I skipped the movie and reread some of my favorite quotes from Scott Jurek’s book Eat and Run. This was really helpful, to get me mentally ready.

The first quote I came across was…

“The mountain reminded me that races are not run all at once that the only way to survive an ultra was piece by piece. So I ran Mount Si piece by piece.”

This quote is exactly how I have been practicing my long runs, and how I am ultimately going to run this race. I will break it up piece by piece, every 5-6 mile taking sports beans, and water at every available water stop.

“Rhythm and form, Jurker. Rhythm and form. C’mon, stretch it out. C’mon, you want to fucking be somebody? Let’s do this… “

I have been working on my running form ever since I started running in the newton shoe. Focusing on form has been a huge part of my training. Finding your rhythm is also important, because soon you get into that rhythm and your able to run and run and run.

“Hey, Jurker!”

“When’re we going to Vegas? When’re we going to see the strippers. You fucking promised.”

“Lets get this bad boy done,” Dusty said. “I need a nap.”

Dusty was my favorite character in the book. He is the ultimate pacer, the ultimate best friend. He always knew how to “work his magic” and get Scott to the finish line. I love the words he chooses. My sister, E, is planning on jumping in with me at mile 23 to push me to the end. Maybe towards the end, I will say to her, “Lets get this bad boy done.”

“As powerful as our legs are, as magnificent as our lungs and arms and muscles are, nothing matter more than the mind.”

The above quote is true, and it is one that helps me remember, that a marathon more than anything is a mind game. I need to keep my mind positive. Because when it comes down to it, I have trained hard for this race, and physically my body is ready. You would be surprised what your body can do.

“I realize that no matter how much something hurt I could gut it out.”

When I start to feel any pain at all, I will keep this above quote in mind.

“Run for 20 minutes and you’ll feel better. Run another 20 and you might tire. Add on 3 hours and you’ll hurt, but keep going and you’ll see and hear and smell and taste- the world with a vividness that will make your former life pale.”

The above quote has been on this blog before. It is my all time favorite, and the quote from the book that touched me the most. It is the truth, and the reason why I run.

Mantras –¬†At mile 17, I will tell myself, I am entering single digits. When in doubt I will tell myself to keep moving forward.

So there it is… ¬†I don’t think I left anything out! Good luck runners. This is going to be an awesome race!

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© 2013 sweatdaily

Do you remember that day when you became “a runner”?

Runners come in all shapes and sizes, really the variety is endless. And after running the Nike Women’s Half Marathon, this idea, became true to me more than ever.

Do you remember the day when you became “a runner”?

Running has always been a part of my life, because my Dad is a marathon runner. Every year he would run Marine Corps Marathon, and we would go along the race course to cheer him on. We made our traditional sign, that said, “Go Papa, GO!” It was a simple poster board, taped to a yard stick ruler.

Growing up, I played tons of sports. I pretty much tried them all, but wasn’t necessarily good at all of them. In high school, I played tennis on my school’s team. As a tennis player, the only running we did, were “suicides” on the court. This consisted of sprinting to and from the different lines on the court. The idea was to quicken our step and improve our footwork. And although, I played tennis all year, I tried track during the winter, thinking it would be a good sport to keep me conditioned during my off season. I went to one practice, and decided running wasn’t for me – boy was I wrong.

I began working out at the YMCA when I was a junior in high school. My older sister, E Рwho is 2 years older than me, came home from college and inspired me to hit the gym with her. My gym sessions consisted of 30 minutes on the elliptical machine. She on the other hand, chose to run on the treadmill. A couple times of week, I would do additional cardio on the stationary bike, and sometimes together we would venture out and do a couple of the weight machines. It is funny how people grow and change.  (Now I am a marathon runner, in love with lifting heavy preferably free weights.)

Meanwhile my little sister would swim in the pool or play some basketball at the indoor basketball court. My dad, who was a serious marathon runner, had taken on training for triathlons so he too would be lifting weights, or swimming laps. The YMCA became a family outing, that happened several times a week, even my mom lifted weights occasionally.

In 2007, my sister, E, decided to sign up for her first half marathon, the Virginia Beach Rock N Roll Half Marathon. She would train during the brutally hot summer, with her friend Jen, and they would run it on Labor Day weekend. It was then that she became a “real” runner. She retired her sneakers, for real running shoes, that were fitted for her at a local running store. She realized that Soffe gym shorts and cotton t-shirts made her chafe and the wrong socks gave her blisters. She discovered body glide, and jelly belly sports beans. And she taught me all of this.

Soon I became intrigued. I on the other hand, had switched gyms from the good old YMCA to Washington Sports Club. While enrolling for my membership I got a personal trainer for 5 sessions. She switched me from the elliptical machine to the treadmill.

The treadmill, for me was much harder than the elliptical. I began by warming up for 5 minutes. Then I would do the walk/run method. I would run a mile, and then walk for two minutes, run a mile, walk for two minutes, until I completed a 5K. As time progressed, so did I. Soon I realized I could run 2 miles straight, and no longer needed to walk. Then I cut my warm up time shorter. Then I brought my speed up, so I would be running faster. Soon I was running for the full amount of time. I would bring the incline up to keep my body guessing, and make it feel as much like running outside as I could.

I didn’t last long at Washington Sports Club. A new Golds Gym was opening up across the street and it had a more affordable membership, so I switched. Again I would hit the treadmill. The t-mills at this gym faced the windows so I had a clear view of outside. One day I was on the t-mill looking out the windows, on a beautiful spring day. It dawned on me, “Why am I inside right now, when I could be out there.” That is when I decided, I would never run again on the t-mill, unless it was an extreme weather condition, or I was doing HIIT, (High Intensity Interval Training.) It is actually hard for me to even consider my treadmill runs… real runs.

At this point, E, had been bragging to me about how amazing her half marathon experience was. It was then that I decided, if she can run a half marathon, then I can too. I immediately signed up for Cherry Blossom 10 miler and then the Zooma Half Marathon. Both races went so well, that I couldn’t wait to sign up for my next race. More half marathons, led to a trail half marathon, and then 2 full marathons.

Take time to click on the photos. They are really funny, and full of emotions!

As I ran more races, I began to realize each race definitely has it’s own energy. I find it so interesting how the vibe from one race can be so different from another race’s. It took me running three races around the same lengths, (two 10 milers, and one half marathon), in April to fully understand this.

I use to always get nervous before a race, but now races have become a fun way for me to set a goal, and train hard.  They are the ultimate reason why I can call myself a runner Рa marathon runner, who prefers to run long and far.

What kind of runner are you?

© 2013 sweatdaily

Nike Women Half Marathon DC

The Nike Women Half Marathon is a famous race in San Francisco. It has always been on my list of races to someday run. However, in the fall of 2012, there was a rumor floating around, that the race was coming to the East Coast. And just my luck, to my very own home turf, Washington, DC.

For a while the rumor, stayed a rumor. There was no information or advertising on the race. The only way people found out about the possibility of the race was through word of mouth – one girl runner telling another.

Race organizers kept us in suspense.

REGISTRATION

However, finally the day came when race registration became available. It was interesting because they did not have a website, instead you had to “like” their facebook page, and click on the registration link. Getting into the race depended on a Lottery system based on a random drawing. The registration was very long, asking questions about ethnicity, income, and what shoes you run in. I am guessing this was a marketing tool for Nike to discover who their consumer is, and what brand is used by the majority of female runners. The registration fee also came close to $200.00, which by far is the most expensive race I have run.

Anyway, two weeks went by, and finally I was notified that my registration was accepted, and thankfully L and E got in as well. During the time between registering for this race and finding out if I got in, registration opened for my 2 other favorite spring races, so I registered for those as well. Cherry Blossom 10 miler is also a lottery, and race day was scheduled for the first weekend of April. The Parkway Classic 10 miler, a first come first serve registration, had a race day scheduled in the third weekend of April. And then Nike Women Half Marathon race day scheduled for the last weekend of April. That means the Washington, DC area would have races 3 out of 4 weekends in April. The only reason why they left the second weekend free of races is because that weekend is the weekend the Queen of all Marathons is scheduled, the Boston Marathon (Boston Strong.)

I ended up getting into all three races I registered for, which was perfect because my 10 milers became my training runs for the Nike Women Half Marathon!

TRAINING

At the end of January, I started the Livefit trainer. The first 4 weeks of the Livefit trainer (Phase 1: weeks1-4) it is advised that you do NO cardio of any form. So I took a month off of running (not running was torture for me) but I focussed on lifting weights and building muscled (and loved it.) The next 4 weeks of the trainer (Phase 2: weeks 5-8) I still focussed on building muscle but was able to include my running. Currently, I am on week 9 of the Livefit trainer (Phase 3.) I should be further along, but because of my races I am starting from the beginning of Phase 3 repeating week 9. I am ready to complete this phase as intensely as I can!

I do want to say this though, building muscle has taken my running to the next level. I always thought when it came to training, the more running I did the better I would be. But by doing the Livefit trainer I have proved that, this is not always the case. Training is not about how many miles you can log a week, but rather are the runs you do, high quality. Too much running, can lead to over training, and injury- which gives running a bad rep. More muscle and a stronger body, along with high quality training runs, leads to faster and stronger running, injury free. Running less, does not mean I did not train hard. I did high quality training runs, and intense lifting. My PRs are my proof.

EXPO

The expo for the Nike Women Half Marathon, was available to runners on Friday and Saturday. Because L and I both have friday off from work, we headed to the expo on friday, so we could beat the crowd. The location of the expo was perfect, right along the Georgetown waterfront. This allowed us to park in the neighborhood and do a quick training run along the MVT before walking over to the expo.

Of course we hit up the Nike Georgetown store on the way down to the expo. 3580_10101094792828446_1237519482_nWe had to stock up on our Nike Women Half Marathon apparel. I loved how Nike didn’t have a trace of pink in the store. Yes! We are women, but enough with the pink, we like other colors too. My favorite color combo that Nike had available was blue and orange!

orange

They also had a variety of Nike Frees available. I have always been interested in the Nike Free, for weight lifting, but when it comes to my runs, I am pretty obsessed with my newton shoes. Anyway, they created a Nike free in a light turquoise color with white ribbon as the shoe laces. ¬†The inspiration behind these shoes came about, because the finisher swag for the Nike Women Half Marathon is a Tiffany’s necklace.417839_10101090212467526_1523067281_n I think this is a really fun idea. I also like how they included the phrase, We Run DC on the tongue of the shoe. This phrase was important because the original race is held in San Francisco. There were tons of ladies, from California, Denver, and other places who had already run the Nike Women San Francisco, who were excited to now run the race in DC, and was on the hunt for any race apparel that had this phrase on it.

After we hit up the Nike store, we headed down to the waterfront. On the way down to the expo they had a huge wall with every race participant’s ¬†name on it. What a cool idea! L and I searched for our names and finally we found them.

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we run dc

The photo below is a photo of the expo. Picture found on the NWM facebook.
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They also had nuun available to sample. Instead of gatorade, they would be providing this on race day! I actually prefer this over gatorade, but when it comes to hydrating during my races, I stick to water. Nuun was really delicious post race though.

nuun

After the Expo L and I had an amazing lunch at Farmers Fishers Bakers located along the Georgetown waterfront. This is a “must try place,” So delicious, especially the sushi.

Night Before the Race

Just like every other race, I have my night before race ritual, where I lay out my race clothes, and prepare/organize everything for race day.

Night before race clothesRACE MORNING

I always have a hard time sleeping  the night before a race, not because I am worried about running the race, but more worried about waking up on time. Turns out that this race started at 7:00 am, an hour earlier than most races. Plus because I had never run this race before I decided to wake up by 4:30 am.

I ended up throwing E off a bit when I showed up at her house at 5:00 am, 15 minutes earlier than I said I would be.

We then met L at the metro and headed to the start of the race. 
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When we got to our corrals, we packed on in.¬†I knew it was going to be a crowded race. While I was at the expo, I actually tried to get my pace corral changed from a 9:00- 9:30 minute mile to an 8:30. I wasn’t able to change my corral, so L and I squeezed as close to the front of our corral as we could.

While waiting for the gun to go off, we took some race photos. 217537_10101092698036426_292698585_n

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THE RACE

After the National Anthem and a moment of silence in honor of Boston. We started running. Immediately, I was annoyed and wished I had moved to a faster pace corral. It was extremely crowded, and impossible to run at the pace I wanted. I sucked it up and politely weaved in and out, trying to pass slower runners. It started to space out around mile two, but there still were times through out the race when I felt squished. Although, this is a negative aspect about the race, this is also something that is totally out of race organizers’ control. Really this is just how large popular races are, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. I totally expected it and wasn’t shocked when it happened.

Below is a picture I found on the NWM facebook page, proof to show how crowded the race was at the start. 934153_541121825926278_1618223195_n

MY SPLITS

Finally, I was able to get up my speed. My first split, 5K (3.1 miles) mark was 0:25:19 which meant I was running around an 8:12 min/mile. My second split, 10K (6.2 miles)  mark was 0:51:48 which meant I was running between an 8:30 Р8:48 min/mile. I was feeling really good about this pace, and refueled with water and beans at this point.

It was around the 15K (9.3 miles) mark, when I¬†started to slow down a little. I got to the 15K mark at 1:21:05, it was then that I realized I wasn’t going to PR at 10 miles. At this point my legs started to feel heavy and my feet started to hurt a bit. This annoyed me, because my lung capacity was perfectly fine, I just desperately wished my legs were capable of moving faster, but they really couldn’t. I tried to focus on my form, and even did some high knees, but could only maintain that for a short bit. The only thing that could cure my heavy legs was a down hill.

Most people really love fast flat courses, I on the other hand love hills. It was at this point that I desperately began wishing for an up hill then a speedy down hill, just to mix things up a bit. But the hills were nonexistent, there was one small hill towards the end, but no down hill to follow. So I was just chugging along with heavy legs, on the boring flat pavement of Washington, DC.

Picture below from NWM facebook page. 

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My 20k (12.427 miles) split was 1:50:49 – not bad, but not a PR. I could see the finish line straight ahead, but I kept chugging along with heavy legs, and I finally made it there 13.1 miles in 1:57:03.

This is not a PR for me, but it is my Second Best half marathon time! Yay for that!! My last half, the Annapolis Half Marathon, that I ran on 12/1/12 was a PR 1:51. But before that I had never ran 13.1 in under 2:00:00. So to run two half marathons in a row in under 2 hours is a big accomplishment. I think I am done with running 2 hour half marathons, and on a different level now. Both of these races were also run in my Newton shoes, after months of focusing on my natural running stride, it proves that working on running form really does pay off in the end.

The Course

course

Honestly, most races that are held in DC, the course always ends up being the same that I train on daily. So there are really no surprises.  Sometimes this is an advantage, while other times it ends up being a disadvantage.  Why? The advantage is this is my home turf, and I know it inside and out. The disadvantage is that I have run it a million times, so it can become very boring.

Picture found on NWM facebook page.

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We ran over Memorial Bridge, which I have run in many other races including Cherry Blossom 10 miler earlier this month. I also run this bridge often in one of my regular 5 mile training loops. We ran Hains Point, which again I ran during the Cherry Blossom 10 miler. The only point of the race that I had never run before was when we ran in the 3rd street tunnel. This tunnel is a very long dark tunnel, a never-ending tunnel. Most of the girls, including E, thought this was the best part of the race. We ran through it in the beginning of the race, probably with in the first mile, and then again towards the end. The first time running through it, I hated every minute of it, and actually experienced a bit of anxiety. The reason for my anxiety was that in the beginning of the race it was so extremely crowded, I couldn’t run fast and I was behind slower runners, so we were all squished in there elbow to elbow. It was also extremely dark and loud. They had a band under there, made up of drummers, the noise was so loud I had to turn off my ipod. The sound echoed over and over again. On the way back though, the tunnel wasn’t as bad. I knew what it was going to be like, and at this point the crowd spaced out so I had more control on how fast I wanted to run. It also provided some shade which at that point was nice to get out of the sun for a minute or two.

Other than that the race was extremely flat, and since I love hills, there were times during the race I was wishing for more of a hilly course. Although, it was small I actually enjoyed the hill towards the end of the race. Hills mix things up and is good for runners, mentally and physically.

FINISH LINE and RACE SWAG

I could see the finish line in the distance, it seemed so close, but took forever to get there. But once I got there, I noticed they had put out a red carpet. Sweet move Nike! red carpet

Then there were a bunch of hott guys, handing out our race swag Р Tiffany & Co. necklaces, on a silver platter. The nice gentleman below was the one who handed me mine.

photo-97

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tiffany

finisher nike

We also received these awesome finisher shirts. I love the wicking material and the Tiffany themed color.

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The necklace was really stylish too. It says NWM Half 2013 on the back and it has a runner girl on the front. I think it would be fun to run the race several times just to collect the different necklaces.

nwm neck

In the end, I really enjoyed this race and thought it was an amazing experience. It also was really different to run an all women’s race. I had only run an all women’s race one other time before, which was my first half marathon, the Zooma Half, and I couldn’t really judge the vibe because it was my first 13.1. But the energy for this race was definitely positive and¬†enthusiastic.

E said, “The race was about women empowerment.” I couldn’t agree more. With out men there, it felt less competitive. There were also a lot of runners there that were not running competitively, but rather running for a cause, such as raising money for cancer. Team and Training was one of those groups. In the end, we all raised money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. This being said, there were tons of runners running for people they knew who had cancer, and some were cancer survivors, themselves.

One of the best things about running a large popular race is all the spectators that come out to watch, cheer, and support the runners. This race’s spectators did not fall short. Along the course, there were Team and Training coaches looking for the runners they coached. There were also tons of cool signs, that were more than inspiring, some even made us laugh. There were bands and dancers, that had one two many red bulls. There were kids , who sat as you approached the finish line, I probably high-fived, five of them.

Picture found on NWM facebook page.

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Spectators make such a difference for runners, during the race. And it was very comforting that people still came out, even after the tragedy that happened two weeks ago, during the Boston Marathon.

It was also very impressive how well organized the race was.  This was their first time in the DC area, but everything was beyond my expectations. There were tons of amazing volunteer. There were tons of porta potties, with short lines. I never had to wait in line to check my bag, or pick it up. And again the swag for this race was the best I have ever had!!

When I first heard the Nike Women Half Marathon was coming to the DC area, I thought to myself – Perfect, now I wont have to run it in San Fran. But after running this race, now more than ever, I want to run it in San Fran. I love running hills, so it would be interesting to see if I could do a better time running the Nike Women race in San Fran. It would be fun to compare the two races, and getting another Tiffany’s necklace wouldn’t be a bad thing!

However, when it comes to running an all women’s race, I have to admit I’d rather run with men mixed in the group. It is always fun to pass them.

Well done NIKE!

Thanks for a great race! 

Pictures found on NWM facebook page.

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© 2013 sweatdaily

Night Before Race Ritual!

The month of April has been a very busy month for me, especially when it comes to running races.

The first weekend of April was consumed with the Cherry Blossom 10 miler.

The second weekend of April was the weekend I headed down to Miami, for my best friends Bachelorette party – it was also the same weekend as the Boston Marathon.

The third weekend of April, last weekend, I ran the Parkway Classic 10 miler.

And tomorrow the forth and final weekend of April, I will be running in the Nike Women Half Marathon. I am beyond pumped to run this race. So once again here is a photo of my night before race ritual. For those who do not know, the night before a race, I always lay out my race outfit, and pack my bag. This helps me get ready quickly, in the dark of the morning. Tomorrow, I will be meeting up with E and L as early as 5:15 am.

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I will be writing posts about all of my races and their expos this week. I can’t wait to share my experiences with you, because each race so far has been fantastic!!¬†

© 2013 sweatdaily

 

LiveFit Trainer Update

I haven’t written a post on the Livefit trainer in over 2 weeks…

So here we go…

Today is day 48, which will also be my last day of week 7. I am more than half way through phase 2.

The differences between phase 1 and phase 2 is…

Basically, the program progressed by adding cardio into the mix during  phase 2, weeks 5, 6, 7, 8. This cardio consisted of a moderate 30 minute cardio session at a constant pace. Because phase 2 is still considered a building phase the weight I lift has gotten heavier, the reps increased, while the sets decreased. I am normally still resting for 1 minute in between each set, unless it is a superset. Some sets I lift to failure, while other sets are a dropped set.

Lets get that run on…

I am very happy that I am able to run again, however adding running along with the weight training has been very time consuming. If I complete my run on the treadmill, I normally spend between 1.5 – 2 hours in the gym. If I run outside then I am in the gym for 1 – 1.5 hours and then I hit the pavement running. So as you can see, I am in the gym a lot… and I hate the gym.

When I run on a treadmill, I feel like a hamster on a wheel…

To be totally honest, in the last 4 years, I have probably run on the treadmill 5 times each year, when it is a heat wave summer, and too dangerous to run outside. (I will not be one of those crazy runners, running in 110 degrees 90 percent humidity. Trust me I have done that before, and ended up in and out of the doctor’s for 3 months.)

But now, I am running on the treadmill, 1-2 times a week, and I hate it. The only reasons, I put myself through this treadmill running torture is because it saves me time, and I’m sick of the cold. It is the end of March and it has been in the 30s with gusty winds.

Anyway, I have been trying to make my treadmill runs interesting by putting up the incline slightly (1-2), and running at faster speeds, normally 8:30 min mile. I can deal with this because it is only 1-2 times a week. Hopefully, the sun will come out soon and I will be able to forget the treadmill for good.

As for outdoor running and half marathon training…

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I have been doing hill repeats, short easy runs, and some long runs on my weekends. But that is just another reason why the Livefit trainer seems time consuming. Along with trying to complete this trainer to the best of my ability, I am also training for 3 races, but the one I am really focused on is the NIKE WOMEN’S 13.1. This races is scheduled for the last weekend of April. So I have 6 weeks to get some serious running in. (I will write a separate post, and go in more detail about my training plan.)¬†

Weight training and results…

I will not post my progress pics quite yet. However, I will tell you this… In phase 2, I am lifting heavier because it is a requirement, but also because I am capable of it. I started this program with strong lean runners legs, but no upper body strength what-so-ever. During phase 1, I was lifting 5 lb dumbbells, now I am lifting 15 lb dumbbells. I was lifting a 20 lb bar, now I am lifting 30-40 lb bar. I was deadlifting with a 40 lb bar, now I am with a 60 lb bar. I am not only feeling stronger, but looking stronger too. I am not seeing bulky muscles, but rather a lot of lean muscle definition, which was my ultimate goal.

Abs, I knew you were there, but never saw you before… it is so nice to finally meet you!¬†

What I am probably most excited about, is that I am finally seeing a flatter stomach which is revealing some abs. This makes me excited, because the weakest part of my body has always been my core. Every expert runner has always told me a stronger core will help improve your running, and that is what I am hoping for.

The whole point of me doing the Livefit Trainer, was to get stronger, so I would improve my running, by being able to run stronger, further, faster. 

When I am out on the running trail, that is exactly how I feel, stronger and faster.

I also trust Jamie Eason. She has a video, that I posted earlier on my blog, about how you should train your abs like any other muscle group Рnot every day. She also said that while lifting free weights, most of the exercises engage your abs anyway. I have found this to be soooo true! 

Clean Eating…

In phase, 1 I struggled with clean eating, because I was having a hard time packing enough meals for the day. ¬†Now I have this…

MOMS


Above is a picture of my lunch box. I found it at MOM’s Organic Market. I like it because it fits all of my meals for the day, and it keeps everything cold. It is like carrying around a mini fridge.

Calorie Counting

In phase 2, it is required to start calorie counting. I am not very good at this, and I don’t do it all the time. But I am aware of how many calories I need. It is less on days that I lift upper-body. It is more when I lift lower-body, or go on longer runs.

A clean eating tip, that is introduced in phase 2, is measuring all ingredients. Because of this, it is suggested to purchase a kitchen scale.

scale

I really don’t see myself getting to particular about measuring and counting calories, but I will try my best while I am doing the Livefit trainer. ¬†So I purchased this Cuisinart kitchen scale. My food processor is a Cuisinart. I really like this brand. I haven’t used it yet, but I think it is going to be a good thing to have on hand in the kitchen. Plus all fitness models, and fitness competitors have their leanest results when the measure everything. So if you are trying to loose weight, or lean out, it might be a good thing to look into or purchase.

Supplements

In phase 2, it is suggested to take a digestive enzyme,¬†in addition to Protein powder, BCAAs, Glutamine, multivitamin, and fish oil/flax oil . So I purchased…

digestive

(I just bought these yesterday, so I will write a more detailed post about what the are and how they work, so stay tuned. )

So that is an overview of what I have been doing for the last 2 weeks, with the Livefit trainer, and my half marathon training… Stay tuned for shorter but more detailed posts, on long runs, and supplements.

Questions for You…

  1. Do you ever run on the treadmill?
  2. What is your favorite way to run on the treadmill?

© 2013 sweatdaily