Sunday, January 29, 2017

Weekly Workouts: 1/23-1/29

Monday: Long run of 8.4 miles. My calves were seizing up again Sunday, so we moved our planned 13-miler to Monday and did what we could after work. It was a good run; my legs felt fine and we kept a steady pace.
Tuesday: I took some time before bed to do some planks (including dynamic planks) and calf stretches.

Wednesday: 4 miles and more planks/stretching. My legs felt super good and fresh. I wore old Kayanos I had previously retired; they seemed to do the trick!
Thursday: 4 miles. My legs felt a teeny bit tight until nearly halfway into the run, but once they warmed up I felt great.
Friday: We tried an arm circuit by Elise's Body Shop and had to modify it after the first round. If I had had my lighter weights at school we could have completed it, but I didn't want to sacrifice form and hurt myself. We removed the two "fly" moves and replaced them with Arnolds and bicep curls.

Between arm circuits we did a core circuit, and we repeated each three times.

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Elizabeth and I tried for 13 again, and AGAIN we ran into issues. It was supposed to rain all day, but we figured we'd try anyway. A little drizzle never hurt anyone! Unfortunately, about two miles in the drizzle turned into a real downpour, and given that it was cold out...Well, we cut the run short.
Rained out and freezing.
I hate that our Sunday long runs keep getting cut short and moved to Mondays but it looks like that's just the hand we've been dealt lately.

Total Mileage: 21 miles
Race Day: Feb. 19 (A1A Half)


Friday, January 27, 2017

I'm Not Trying to Hurt Feelings, I Swear

My brain is in a weird place this week, so bear with me. Today I'm linking up with Fairytales and Fitness for their Friday Five 2.0! Today's theme is, apparently, routine and why I'm tired of it.

1 - I don't miss racing very much, but lately I've been missing how much I used to love races. Does that make sense? Without races, running becomes much more about fitness, routine, and maintenance than about fun, challenge, and achievement. Or maybe that's just me.
Collecting medals used to be such a great motivator!
Racing less means I'm saving money and time, and I still love running, but I miss the days when the prospect of a new bib or medal to add to my wall filled me with determination and joy. I guess I'm just a jaded runner now!

2 - I've been having trouble staying interested in some of the blogs I follow. This is going to sound hypocritical given today's post, but I think part of it is the link ups. The routine of the same types of blog topics all being posted on the same day is creating monotony in my reading. I'm completely part of the problem - I've gotten into a blogging rut and I feel like my posts are stale and formulaic lately.

I'm also kind of bored with my workout routine, so I think maybe the problem here is routine in general and not blogs specifically. I don't know. I can't be the only one who feels this way, right?

That said, I'm not trying to hurt feelings...I absolutely care about my blogger friends and what's going on in their lives and I want to keep reading their blogs! Maybe I just need to add some new and different styles of blogs to my feed to get some variety going!
There are lots to choose from but I don't know what interests me!
3 - Which reminds me! I'm so excited that this afternoon I'll be back in Elizabeth's classroom doing a circuit! I feel like we haven't done many school workouts lately and I miss them!

4 - I'm testing a theory because of my calves and wearing super old running shoes on some of my runs lately. The theory is that maybe I retired my old shoes too soon and, seeing as Kayanos used to be perfect for me, maybe they still are. I'm so glad I'm a hoarder who never gets rid of old running shoes!
So far it seems to be working out; we'll see how it goes! I heard a rumor that this year's Asics are wider in the forefoot again so maybe I'll get lucky with the 24s and I can keep using my 22s in the meantime.

5 - Elizabeth and I have been trying out some new running routes. We've run from her house a couple times, run from mine, looped into unexplored neighborhoods, and generally just broken from our habitual routes. Our area can be tough to find new spots to run in because we gravitate toward well-lit roads with good sidewalks, but it's been nice to branch out.
If you're trying to map out new routes, I highly recommend Matt has used it for paddling, too.
I guess because the weather has been nice, we've been able to go earlier (when the sun is still up), so that's opened up more options for us.

Am I the only one tired of repetitive link ups?
How many miles do you like to try to get out of a pair of shoes?
How often do you look for new running routes?
Have your feelings about racing changed since you first started running?


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Mid-Week Musings

In case you missed it, in a highly ironic moment, my calves gave me issues on Sunday after I'd posted how I cured my calf pain just two days earlier. We cut our run short; with the end game in mind - being able to run A1A comfortably and enjoy it - I'm being cautious. When we made up our long run Monday, my legs felt 100% fine! We managed ~8.5 miles that evening.
I'm beginning to think it's my shoes, but my dad suggested I need to start working out my legs again. I have been neglecting lower-body workouts since volleyball started in November, and that's around when my leg pain started. I thought it was from all the extra time on my feet, but maybe it was my lack of cross-training!

Fingers crossed, because if I have to go on a new shoe search again I might lose my mind. I need to be really smart about the last three weeks of training here, but I'd really love it if my calves would just get. it. together.

Skirt Sports announced their 2017 Ambassadors, and I was selected to be an Ambassador Captain for another year! I'm so excited! I was really nervous about my application because I always end up thinking of a million perfect, eloquent responses after I hit "submit." Stay tuned for more inspiring women and Skirt Sport deals in your future.
A little while ago, I was contacted about reading and reviewing Matt Fitzgerald's new book The Endurance Diet. It came in the mail today! The book explores five "core habits" athletes should adopt to perform their best. I can't wait to dive in. I'll give you all a full review when I'm done.
Another promotional offer I received recently was from Run Around USA. Their website takes you on a virtual journey around the US (or Australia or Europe, depending on which map you choose for the year). As you hit milestone cities, they send you souvenirs.
My journey so far. The US map starts in Pittsburgh for some reason!
I'm pretty curious to see how far I can "travel" in a year, and I'll admit I'm a sucker for a free singlet and medal! I'll keep you guys updated as I go and give you my impressions of the program.

For some reason this month has felt incredibly busy and hectic. I expected things to calm down after the holidays. Hopefully I get into some kind of rhythm soon because at the moment I feel just as pressed for time and stressed as I did before break.

Have you read any of Matt Fitzgerald's books?
Do you like to track your mileage on a virtual map of any kind?
Has January felt crazy-busy to you, too?


Monday, January 23, 2017

Women's Rights are Human Rights

We talk about fighting. About not giving up. But what does it really mean? What does it look like?

It looks like this:
Unless noted otherwise, I borrowed photos from Erin Stoffel's album. Photos without attribution are my own.
The timing of this march couldn't have been better. On Thursday and Friday I had attended the 8th grade field trip to the Holocaust Museum in Naples and listened as the docent reminded students that any act of bullying or ostracizing others could lead to dehumanizing and eventually killing people who are different. The museum seeks to educate the community to be compassionate; this march was a great modern-day example of just that.

On Saturday, I woke up early to attend the Naples Sister March of the Women's March on Washington. I had spent Friday night creating my sign and painting my nails Madam President pink. At 8am, Matt and I were ready to meet James and join the Women's March.
I was excited when I saw this in the mail, with its purr-fect return-address. My runner-friend Emily sent me pussy hats for the occasion!
I wanted to march: because when birth control is accessible and free, the abortion rate drops drastically; because Planned Parenthood helps catch cancer and STDs before they steal lives; because women have a right to live their lives without fear of assault; because the normalization of rape-culture hurts our society; because climate change is real and we only have this one planet to live on; because when people are healthy, they are productive citizens and our society flourishes; because Black lives matter and people of color shouldn't have to live in constant fear for their lives; because no matter where anyone falls on any spectrum - LGBTQ+, able-bodied or not, no matter their ethnicity, nationality, race, or religion - we all deserve equal rights and equal respect.

I was a little nervous; I doubted that there would be violence or counter-protests in Naples because of the demographics, but you never know! As soon as we parked and walked to the rally site, though, I knew any doubts were unnecessary. The atmosphere was completely peaceful and excited. Men, women, and children milled around taking photos of signs and talking to organizers. A woman on the bandstand played "If I had a hammer" on guitar and sang to the crowd. A few people stopped us for photos and thanked us for coming out.
Waiting for the march to start.
Then we walked to the starting point of the march. Our organizers hadn't been able to secure a permit for us to walk in the streets, so we were going to walk on sidewalks only. Well, it turned out that something like 2500 people turned up (it may have been as many as 5000 - I've heard different numbers).
Gathered and waiting.
It was especially amazing to see so many men and elderly people out marching. At first I was surprised by the older people but then I heard some talking about how they wished more young people understood the gravity of it all. They've been here before and marched before and know what's up, and they think young people are too apathetic. They felt they were getting ready to pass the torch.
This guy was a big hit!
In the streets! The sidewalks couldn't hold us.
Our route went right through a shopping district, and we passed some ladies having brunch and cheering us on in their own way! So fantastic. That's Naples for you!
The route was only 1.1 miles, and about halfway through the police started letting us walk in the streets. They sat back and waved and took photos and directed traffic. They were so awesome!

We chanted as we walked. Most of the cars that passed us honked, waved, and gave thumbs-up. (There was only one angry dude, some guy in a truck who gave us all the finger as he drove by - very mature, truly.) After the march, we joined the rally. Our march sought to be inclusive of people who couldn't march, so they'd had activities and entertainment at the venue already.
A young basketball coach talks about being a safe place for children and students who are concerned about the future.
We listened as a few speakers encouraged us to keep this energy alive, to get out and do the work that needs doing, and to know that our community and our world is on our side.

We have the moral high ground on our side.

I'm so glad I attended. Our march was small compared to those in other cities (like, holy crap, half a million people in DC?! That's AMAZING!) but I was surprised and pleased by the turnout, especially considering we're talking about southwest Florida! It really was a balm to my heart, and now I feel encouraged and hopeful.
Click here to get involved!
I know there is real work to be done, hard work, and hard days ahead. But now I also know I'm not alone. I needed that.

Did you attend a march or rally?
Have you been trying to get more politically active lately?
Will you participate in the 10 Actions/100 Days initiative? 


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Weekly Workouts 1/17-1/22

Monday: See last week's workout recap. Unfortunately, these miles counted for last week, so I'm not counting them here!
Tuesday: I did two rounds of the workout below. I think Elise's Body Shop is my new favorite Instagram account for workouts. They are so tough and she is so strong!

A video posted by Elise Young (@elisesbodyshop) on
Wednesday: Rest.

Thursday: 4 miles. I felt pretty good but had just a twinge of shin tightness.
Friday: I opted to rest because my hamstring hurt. I spent the evening prepping for the Women's March on Saturday.

Saturday: I attended the Women's March in Naples. More on that later this week!
Sunday: We attempted a 13-miler but my calf tightness was BACK. Ugh. I am so frustrated! I know I didn't spend enough time stretching and heating this week, so we cut the run short (to ~2.5 miles) and we'll try again Monday.

Total Mileage: 6 (not counting Monday's 9)


Friday, January 20, 2017

How to Treat Calf Pain

This may be one of those posts that's more for myself than anyone else. Because having bricks for calves was a new injury for me, I wasn't sure how best to treat it. I tried a lot of different things, but now that I've been calf-pain-free for two weeks, here's what I found works well for me, in case it ever happens again.

1. Extended Rest. I really didn't want to admit I needed this, but of everything else I did, it made the biggest difference. Taking two weeks almost completely off really helped.
The last half of December was spent not running. Boo.
2. Stretching. Duh. I hate how much time quality stretching takes up, but it's worth it in the end. Down-dog and heel drops will now be a part of my post-run routine.
3 & 4. Massage (TENS Unit and Foam Roller). I broke out the handheld TENS Unit my sister got me last Hanukkah and let it do its thing. Using the foam roller also works for me, but sometimes I'm too lazy to put the effort in. I like that the electric massage lets me control the level of stimulation and I can sit back and relax while it works.
5. Heat. I had tried icing my calf, but someone commented and recommended I try a heating pad. (I'm sorry I can't remember who this was because the suggestion was genius and I'd like to give you credit!) When I start to feel my calves getting a little achey or sensitive, I turn on the heating pad and it really mellows out my muscles!
Hopefully stretching, massage, and heat therapy will be good preventative measures so I never have to use the first option again!

What treatments do you swear by for treating aches and pains?

Linking up for today's Friday Five 2.0!


Monday, January 16, 2017

Weekly Workouts: 1/9-1/16

This week's recap includes two Mondays; we didn't have work today and pushed our long run back from Sunday because I was working at Matt's studio all weekend during the art festival! I'll post about that later probably. For now, here's this week:

Monday: It's been awhile, but I made Elizabeth promise to hold me accountable for cross training at school. We did two rounds of the core workout below and then I spent a few hours building our kitchen island.

Tuesday: My thighs were feeling Monday's workout! Tuesday's run felt fantastic; it was the first time we kept a really speedy pace since my calf issues. So liberating!
Wednesday: Rest day. I was in Sarasota all day for work; when I got back I went straight to an art showcase Matt was participating in. It was so fun to be his lovely assistant while he worked on the wheel.
Thursday: Another flat four miles. My legs are starting to feel what being back in training means, but in a good way. Lots of good, non-injured, happily-used muscle soreness going on.
Friday: Rest...Our friend Oden was in town and we went out to dinner. I began to notice some tightness in my lungs and wondered if there were some fires nearby, so I didn't mind the rest day.

Saturday: I got up and ran 4 miles alone before heading to Upriver Ceramics for a full day of schmoozing and selling art! My lungs weren't great and I started prednisone doses that afternoon. We met Oden and Todd afterward for dinner, drinks, and mini golf.
I stayed VERY hydrated on Saturday night...hence our long run moving to Monday! I also got two holes-in-one!
Sunday: Another long day (10-5) on my feet at the studio. My feet and legs were tired!
Monday: Elizabeth and I ran a nice 9.4 miles in the morning. We got to start a little late (8am) because it was "cool" and overcast. My lungs weren't great but they were better controlled than Saturday. I ran with my inhaler but didn't need it. My legs are still feeling strong and happy!
We look a mess.
Total miles: 21

Over all this was a great week! I'm so glad we got a real long run in because we have just about four weeks to race day, so it's crunch time! Our training was pretty derailed over winter break and we've had to make some major adjustments, but I still think our goal is within reach.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

TOL - Just Some Things

Today I'm linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons to share some random thoughts.

1. More kitchen stuff! Our kitchen island came! I spent over four hours putting it together all by myself. It was a pain because the instructions weren't clear about which way certain boards had to face, so I ended up taking it apart and starting over twice.
I insisted on building this all alone and it SUCKED but now I feel like I can do anything!
But it's gorgeous! I built the doors and drawer and lifted the granite top (which is real granite and so freaking heavy) and everything! I was pretty proud.
It was really hard to get a good angle in these photos but you get the idea!
I've already used it to prep breakfast and dinner and I'm so glad I finally decided to just jump in and buy one - Matt and I had debated getting an island for months but it was definitely the right choice. 

2. Self-love. This week I realized how far I've come in the "body acceptance" area of my life. Like, I've finally gone from "acceptance" to full on embracing my body.

Instagram always brings up a lot of fitness accounts when I'm scrolling through searching for new people to follow, and often that means "fitspo"-type posts come up. Looking at some of those photos this week, I found that I wasn't comparing myself to IG accounts of perfectly fit or impossibly thin women.
I've spoken only briefly of it in the past, but I've dealt with disordered eating and I was surprised and proud to see that my mindset has finally naturally shifted away from wanting a waif-like body. (Some people are naturally waif-like, and that's fine, but that's not me.) I've never been happier with where my body is and what it's capable of, and it felt really good to avoid that comparison trap completely without having to consciously readjust my mindset.

3. RUNNING! Getting four runs in last week, even if our "long run" was shorter than planned, felt so good. I told Elizabeth after one of my two runs in late December that my body and mind felt good after running even if my legs didn't - I forget how important running is to my over-all wellbeing. I am so, so happy to be running again.
It feels great to be back!
Elizabeth raised a good point when so many people teased us for wearing long sleeves on our run Sunday...It literally goes from 80+ degrees to 50s overnight in Florida. We never acclimate to winter properly because the temperature drops 30 degrees without warning! That makes me feel better about how cold I felt!

4. Conversations on the run. While running one afternoon, Elizabeth and I received a few more honks than usual. (One of them was very encouraging and called out, "Keep it up, girls!" but the rest were just obnoxious as usual.)

We'd been having a normal running conversation, but eventually I couldn't ignore how strange it was that we'd received more honks during this one run than on the last dozen combined.

Me: "I wonder if we look really good right now, or if we look like we're dying and need to be woken up. Or if they think this is our New Year's resolution and they're trying to encourage us?"

E: "I wonder if they'd honk at us if they knew we were talking about poop."
I died laughing. Seriously! I imagine the people who honk and catcall would be pretty surprised if we turned around and told them we'd been talking about how running wreaks havoc on your intestinal tract.

We joked a little bit about maybe getting shirts that say WE'RE TALKING ABOUT POOP on the back so drivers have fair warning. It might make a good deterrent!

5. Candids. And, just because, here's an outtake from our workout picture from Monday. An old student had stopped by as we finished up, so he took the photo, and we were joking around about how we should pose.
Me: Let's look really sad that our arms hurt now. E: You are a dork.

What are some random things going on in your life this week?
Have you ever built furniture? (IKEA counts!)


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Kitchen Updates!

Well, it's been over a year since we got started on this project, but the kitchen is finally...done? I mean, we still have hardware to install on the cabinets and I'd still like a new fan...and the breakfast nook is still being used for storage...but the kitchen itself - backsplash, kickboards, and trim - are finished!

My goal is to have it all done by Passover this year, and we are slowly but surely coming to the end of this project. Good thing we've started another to fill up all that free time we'll have now! (More on that in another post.)

Here is what we started with when we moved in, June 2014:
The numbers are things we wanted to fix. See below.
1: eliminate space above the cabinets
2: take out the wall behind the sink that separates the kitchen from the living room
3: move the appliances (this corner construction was idiotic) and get new ones
4: new cabinets that don't all open in the same direction and aren't from the 1970s
5: new countertops

Here's what the kitchen looked like when we got started on the backsplash:
Cabinets, appliances, layout, counter, and wall are all taken care of!
The backsplash took about three days start-to-finish. First, we met Dave and Tammy at Floor & Decor to pick up our supplies. We finally found a backsplash Matt and I could agree on - he finally agreed to white after we brought home some samples and decided it fit our kitchen best.
We wanted subway tile originally, but both agreed the quartz/marble white/gray looked best and was best for resale.
We also picked up thin set, grout (we had to pick a color for that too! Who knew?), and sealant.

Then, as we got started, we realized we'd need a real wet saw to cut the tiles accurately, so Dave and Matt went off to rent one while Tammy and I did what we could with the full sheets, individual tiles, and a tile-clipper tool.
Before: bare walls.
We worked into the evening. Once I learned how to properly go through all the steps, it was fairly easy. Tammy and I did the majority of the actual tile-laying while Matt and Dave cut tiles to our specifications so they'd fit perfectly. When the backsplash was done, I sealed it for the first time.
Matt and Dave measure the first set of cuts for the pass-through wall. 
Fitting everything around the sockets was the hardest part, but Tammy and I are pros now!
Matt using the wet saw after sunset with Tammy's help as the lantern-holder.
The next day (Day 2: New Year's Eve) Matt and I grouted the kitchen. My shoulders were so tired and weak from the previous day! We managed to get it all done, let it set, and wipe it the time we were done, it was past midnight and officially 2017. I sealed it a second time and we called it a night.
The grout was the hardest part...not grouting itself, but scrubbing it off afterward!
Some close-ups!
The next day I mixed up one last batch of grout to fill in any little crannies that needed patching. And then...IT WAS DONE! Kind of. Here's the "finished" product:
We changed our outlet covers to stainless steel to match the rest of the appliances.
On the Monday following New Years, Elizabeth and Roniel came over so Roniel could work on our next project and help us get started on that, but he also installed our kickboards and finishing "trim" under the high cabinets.
This was a job I thought would take a few hours; when I told Tammy that, she laughed at me - with good reason! I'm amazed at how much work it took! But I felt really accomplished when we had finished, and I love how it looks! And I especially love that we did it all ourselves! The mini wall behind the sink was completely my work (other than the cutting), so I can look at that perfect little space and know I did that.

I am ecstatic that this project is nearly finished! The kitchen itself is done; we're down to the finishing touches. It's been fun, but I'm going to be so glad when we can stop thinking about "what's next" for this room in the house.

Do you enjoy DIY projects?
Have you ever tiled anything in your house?
Do you prefer DIY or hiring experts?