Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I'm a perfect swimmer.

It all started waaaaayyy back here:

I'm joking, by the way.  I am far from a perfect swimmer.  I HATED swim team growing up.  HATED.  I hated it because I lost constantly...it's hard life being super competitive but not super talented.  Every year I begged my mom not to sign me up, but then when summer came around and all my friends were doing it, so I changed my mind, then regretted that decision the first day of practice, and around we went...for many years.

Fast forward 14 years - I am back in the pool!  Two summers ago I started swimming laps, simply because I was sick of the elliptical, and needed another go-to cross training activity.  As you know, I also like spin class, but lately it's been hurting my back, so I'm "back"-ing off.  :)

That same summer I was nannying for a girl who got private stroke lessons twice a week.  Besides my glorious swim team years, sitting by the pool and listening to her coach that summer is the only swim training I've had.  I just sort of wing it.  I usually stay in the pool for about 30 minutes, or about 35 laps if I'm counting.  35 laps in a 25 meter pool is roughly one mile.  Believe me, it is tiring!!

My pool of choice (my only choice): LA Fitness

Usually I just swim for time and don't count laps.  I find that when I count laps I get sooo boreddddd.  Tonight I did an actual swim workout, and it was awesome.  Having a set number of sets and laps to do, broken up in to smaller chunks, made the half-hour go by faster, and I felt like I really pushed myself.

10x50 meters warm-up (10 laps)
5x150m at 100m fast, 50m recovery (15 laps)
I kept the fast 100m at around 1:39-45.  Is that fast?  I don't even know these things.
5x50m cool down (5 laps)

So, when I was resting between one of the fast sets, the guy in the next lane said, "You're a perfect swimmer."  I was stunned.  REALLY?!  The former swim team girl who only competed in events that didn't count toward the team score? (yes, that happened).  Now who knows what this guy actually knows about swimming himself - probably absolutely nothing.  But, his compliment propelled me through my last few sets of the workout.  It felt good. :)

1. Were you on a swim team growing up?

2. What's your go-to cross training activity? 

3. Best compliment you've gotten lately???

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Exercise Guilt. It's not worth it.

Yesterday morning was beautiful.  I woke up bright and early and set out to do 8 miles, my last "long run" before Broad Street next week.  Well, turns out my right leg was still verrrrrrrry sore from Thursday's track workout, and I was overall just wiped out.  I ran 4 miles at 9 min/mile average pace, and didn't seem to be warming up at all.  I decided that this last 8 mile run wasn't going to improve my overall fitness level for Broad Street.  Really, I should just let myself recover properly.  Having rationalized that, I cut the run short.

That's when Exercise Guilt set in.  I get nasty bouts of exercise guilt sometimes.  Exercise guilt comes about, for me, when I feel like the amount/type of exercise I did or didn't do was the "wrong" thing.  Just because my plan for Broad Street, that I'm barely following anyway, said I should run 8 miles, suddenly my 4 miles wasn't good enough!  I spent the entire drive home from my run thinking, "Okay, maybe I'll swing by the gym and finish the last 4 on the treadmill.  The treadmill is a better surface anyway.  Or, I'll run the 4 miles tomorrow, and also swim tomorrow morning too, because that's what I was going to do anyway..." and so on, and so on.

When I got home I really tried to put the exercise guilt to rest.  My doggies were staring at me, following me around, wagging their tails.  How could I pass that up??  So I got some exercise by taking them for a walk.  To continue rationalizing... "I'll still be moving my legs and stretching them out.  The soft surfaces and foam rolling afterward will work wonders.  This is better than running, Anna, this is what you need!"  And it was what I needed:

Instagram: annadamm
After our walk I felt completely rejuvenated.  Being outdoors with those doggies is so healing to me.  The "guilt" of not running "far enough" or "hard enough" etc. etc. is just so not worth it.

Today I continued to ride the wave of guilt-free non exercising.  I woke up early again, and was thinking of hitting the trail where I walked the dogs to try running on it (I never have), or maybe I would go swim, then I was definitely gonna walk the dogs again.  But here's the thing:  I really miss my boyfriend.  Like a lot.  He's only 2.5 hours away, so HELL, I can drive down for the afternoon right?!?

At 10:30 am, before I could put a lot of thought into it, I got in my car and SURPRISED HIM!!!

Outside Drew's office at school.  Springtime FTW.

It was epic.  Again, so rejuvenating, happy, and necessary.  I didn't accomplish anything I had planned today, and THAT'S OKAY!  I needed this weekend of recovery, doing things I normally don't, and going easy on myself.  I'm always going to have a "controlling, type-A, must follow the exact plan" attitude, but I am working on balancing it with spontaneity, and letting go.

1. Do you ever experience Exercise Guilt?

2. What's the most spontaneous thing you've done lately?

3. Are you a planner or a go with the flow type person?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Pictures galore!

Tonight I did another track workout with the local running club.  I hadn't been able to go in a few weeks, so I was glad to go back.  I usually do speed work that is quick and to the point.  Tonight's workout was 6 miles in total!!  Holy moly...half of it was recovery time, but still.  I am wiped.  I just inhaled Chipotle and chocolate milk, and now I feel sick.  You win some, you lose some, I guess.  I listed my other latest workouts in yesterday's post.

I have lots of pictures to use to tell you about what's been going on!

Thursday - My dad surprised me and came home for the weekend!!!  By surprise I mean he told me two nights before he came, but STILL!  I picked him up from the airport and I got a kick out of the International Reception Hall.   WELCOME TO AMERICA!!!

PS.  Did I even mention my mom was coming home for Easter too?  Well she did.  So both my parents were here!!!  It was amazing.  Also, it was PERFECT timing.  Last week was very, very emotional, with the passing of my friend.  All I wanted to do was hug my parents, and I was able to.  It was lovely. 

Friday - Sierra and I made ourselves a delicious meal.  I called it Springtime Pasta.  We cooked whole wheat pasta, and in a separate pan we sautéed mushrooms, peas, and cherry tomatoes.  We were going to add broccoli but I 100% forgot it, and spinach is good too, but we had a spinach salad.  We added mozzarella balls when we mixed it all together.  The salad we made had spinach, dried figs, strawberries, blueberries, feta, walnuts, and balsamic glaze.

Saturday - My mom and I spent the day doing our favorite activity.  SHOPPING!  I am obsessed with my new Tory Burch sandals.  Actually, I think I am a little too obsessed with her shoes, but I can't help it!  My mom has the same problem...with Tory Burch clothes.  We run a muck in that store!!

We had family dinner that night and I made my mom take a sibling picture.  Thayer is SO happy to be in this picture he just cannot contain himself.

Sunday - EASTER!  Easter was lovely.  We spend most holidays with my mom's side of the family.  She has SEVEN siblings, and most of them live in the area.  It was a beautiful day and nice to see everyone.  The highlight of the day was getting some great family photos.  They make me happy :)

First, my Braden boy after church.  I can't even handle him!!  Photo credit goes to Travis.

That's where we get to go to church, not bad.
Travis, Braden, my dad, and I walked through the woods to my cousin's house.  I wish I could have brought the doggies...


My favorite picture of all time.  It will be our Christmas card...for 10 years.
 It was so nice to be with my whole whole family for a few days.  I just love them, and am so thankful!!

Lastly, and most random, I clearly don't care how I look when I go running at 5 am., and also, I think I need to start buying more neutral/black workout gear... What can I say?  I like neon!

1. Do you have crazy colored workout gear?

2. Does your family have a Christmas card every year?

3. Who do you usually celebrate holidays with?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Some Speed Workouts I Like

Latest Workouts:
Whoa I haven't done this in a while. 
Monday 4/14: Track workout with body weight strength training mixed in
Tuesday 4/15: Run before work
Wednesday 4/16: OFF
Thursday 4/17: Run before work
Friday 4/18: 9 miles.  My favorite route!!  It's a point-to-point run from Valley Green in Fairmount Park all the way to the Art Museum in Philly.  My dad was home to help me!!  He ran the first 3 miles with me, then back to his car while I continued, then picked me up at the end.  'Twas a great run!
Saturday 4/19: OFF
Sunday 4/20: 30 min swim and strength before church
Monday 4/21: 3 miles before work
Tuesday 4/22: OFF
Wednesday 4/23: 4 miles before work

Been a lot of running and not as much anything else, but oh well.   I should probably incorporate more...

SPEED WORK!  Speed work is a necessary part of training and getting faster.  It lets you avoid this:

I know I don't do it enough, but when it comes down to it, I don't mind it.  I'm all:

Below are a few workouts that I like - some I made up, some I got from other sources. They are mostly designed for the track or treadmill. I hardly ever do speed workouts outside on my normal running routes, but some of these can be adapted if you want to do that. For example, instead of running hard for .25 miles, run hard for 2 minutes, or, say three blocks. Whatever works!

If you're new to the track:

Most high school/college outdoor tracks are 400m around.
1 mile = 1600m, 4 laps
If you're using an indoor track, you'll have to find out how many laps in a mile.  They vary greatly!

Old Faithful (aka 400 repeats)
I call this Old Faithful because it's so effective and so simple. Try to get faster every repeat!!
1 mile warm up
4x400m (.25 miles) hard
200 recovery after each
1 mile cool down

Reverse Ladder
1/2 mile warm up
1200 5k-10k pace
400 recovery
800 5k pace
400 recovery
400 sprint
400 recovery
200 sprint
1/2 mile cool down 

5 Mile Tempo
2 mile warm up
400 medium effort
400 hard (5k pace)
400 hardest
Repeat 4x (not including warm up)
Cool down

Playlist Workout
10-15 minute warm up - normal pace
15-25 minutes:
Every new song, sprint for one minute (or through first verse and chorus if you don't want to watch the time)
Recover till end of song 
5-10 minute cool down 

30 on, 30 off
I do this as a small segment of a treadmill run, usually combined with the Playlist Workout. Whatever you do, make sure your warm up first!
Set treadmill at your absolute max, mine is 10 mph, and keep treadmill going the whole time.
Sprint for 30 seconds
Stand for 30 seconds (on treadmill rails)
Repeat 5-10x
Cool down
It's important to keep the treadmill going the whole time so you don't waste time playing with the speed every 30 seconds - you'd miss your interval by the time you hit the right speed!

And that's that.  Always feel free to add more intervals the these workouts as you build endurance, or start with fewer as you're getting used to speed work.  Same goes with rest time.  Take longer to rest if needed - walk, jog, or stand.  

Check out this post from Carrots 'n' Cake for a whole bunch of other high intensity workouts that include strength training, too!

Whew, I'm tired just writing about all that.  Later I will do my Easter post and recap of the past few days - it's been an emotional week - both happy and sad...

1. How was your Easter?

2. Favorite speed workout?

3. How's your day today?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Tabitha Kim 2/5/90-4/14/14

Please excuse my absence over the last week - I've been meaning to sit down and write this for a few days now...

On Tuesday I was confronted with horrible news, that I hope no one reading this has ever had to experience.  A treasured member of my class growing up passed away suddenly on Monday night, and I am in disbelief.  Tabitha was too young.

Tabitha was the most beautiful, vibrant, mysterious, and spirited girl.  In her own words in our high school yearbook she wrote:

"Our minds race and our hearts beat and everything goes dark for a while.  But when the light comes back on, it's the people standing there, waiting with their arms outstretched that matter."

Our arms are all outstretched for her.  Tabby was able to connect with each and every person she met.  Over the past week, I realize that even those who barely knew her, had maybe only met her once or twice, or were never very "close" with her, have a vivid memory to share of how she touched their lives.  We are all heartbroken and confused.  In the depths of this tragedy, our arms also reach out to those around us. This week, I have felt so much love for and from my friends, family, and countless others.  I just wish that we could all feel whole, and not have had this loss in order to come together.

Sweet, sweet Tabby.

Years ago, a group of girlfriends and I spelled "Beautiful" with our bodies.  Tabby is the "T".  These girls are the most beautiful. <3

7th or 8th grade :)
This was the last time I saw her, and we had the greatest time at our friend's wedding.

"Everyone's singing, they just want to be heard. 
Disappearing every day without so much as a word,
Want to grab a hold of that little songbird, 
take her for a ride to the top of the world,
right now."

We love you, dear girl. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A quick weekend update

No, not that Weekend Update (I wish).

Latest Workouts:
Friday: Off
Saturday: 8 miles on the Schulykill River trail.  It was eh.  I decided that for my next long runs I'm going to actually wake up at the crack of dawn and take it seriously.  Yesterday I mozied on down to the river at like 10am and it was hot and I felt like I wasted the morning.  Meh.
Sunday: 30 minute swim and core work.  Out of the gym by 9:45am!  That's more like it.

SO IT WAS WARM THIS WEEKEND!!!!!!!  Like, HOT!!!  When the sun comes out in the Spring I immediately get sunburnt.  So that happened.  Sunscreen didn't even cross my mind on my run.  I'm just so used to the cold, dark abyss I guess.  Don't worry, it's already faded.  Now I gotta remember to keep my shorts tan in check all summer.  Those are THE worst.

V-neck burn.  Womp.
On Saturday night Sierra and I went to a restaurant called MOMS.  We thought that was funny.  It stands for Maxwells' on Main and it was delicious.  We got sweet potato fries and complimentary (!!!) hummus and pita chips.  We were really okay with it.  Sierra got crab bisque and risotto and I got a tuna burger with wasabi avocado spread.  YES.  The restaurant is in a really cute town about 20-30 minutes from where we live.  We need to go up there more often.  Espeically when we know we're going to act like adults and not get craaaazy (there's not public transportation so someone has to drive...).

The bar menu had one of my favorite puns:

Get it????  Drew and my dad have a shirt with that on it from a this brewery in Dillon, CO.  It's called the DAM Brewery!!  Hence why my dad and I were obsessed and had to buy t-shirts.  I was so happy to see someone else use it!  So clever.  Anyway, I digress.

Today the doggies went swimming for the first time this year.  Seriously, seeing these dogs running around, frolicking, loving life, makes me so so happy.  They are my favorite :)

I spent the rest of my Sunday shopping for new white jeans.  The go-to pair has a hole on the butt and I've been wearing them like that since college...it was time.  Now that it's warm out I will be in white jeans or white shorts until Labor Day.  I can't live without them!!

1. What'd you do this weekend?

2. What's your favorite piece of Spring/Summer clothing??

3. Best thing you've eaten lately?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Half marathon and racing thoughts

Latest Workouts:
Monday: 30 minute swim, stretching and abs, oh and a zillion squats
Tuesday: pitiful run after work (3-4 miles).  I don't like running after work ahhh!!
Wednesday: See Monday.  I've been swimming for cross training this week (and probably will continue for a while) because I think spinning really hurt my back and right side of my body last week.  I feel a lot better this week.
Thursday: GLORIOUS run before work.  4 miles, and I felt fast and good for the first time in what feels like forever!  It's finally the right time of year to start seeing the sunrise on my morning runs.  Running in the morning is tops.  

So one of my goals this year is to PR in the half marathon.  I've been thinking about when to do one, and which one to do.  I decided that after the Broad Street Run in a few weeks, I'm going to take a break from racing for a little bit.  One reason being that in order to cancel my Crossfit membership completely, I have to pay for two more months.  Right now my account is "frozen," meaning I still pay $5/month even though I'm not going.  So, I think I want to bite the bullet and pay for May and June.  I would love to keep doing it but it's just not financially feasible for me, when I also like to run, swim, and bike.  I'm looking forward to going back for a little bit, but I think the gym I go to is more designed for people who want to go Crossfit and solely Crossfit.  Anyway, I digress.

I have a 10k in LONDON woooooo, and two other 5ks planned for the summer.  I think that's enough for now.  Last year was all about racing.  I loved it, but I also had my good old dad to go with me to every race.  I could count on him for logistics and spectating.  This year when I see a race that I might sign up for, I'm not as inspired because I'd more than likely be alone.  So that's another reason I'm not too hyped on racing - I want the ones I do to be big and fun and worth the entry fee - I'm not going to waste a lot of time and money going to little races by myself.

Back to the half marathon, I decided that I want to do one in the fall.  I want to do two, in order to give myself a better chance at a PR.  I want to do the Runners' World Half for sure.  I loved the 10k last year, and I want to give the half a try.  I really kind of want to do the hat trick (a 5k and 10k in the same morning, then the half marathon the next day), but maybe next year.  I don't want to get carried away.  Because I got my destination runs out of the way, I'm fine with doing a race in Philadelphia again.  I've narrowed it down to two choices, both with their pros and cons.  (The below is basically copied from an email I sent my parents - I look to them to help me make the simplest of decisions).

Pro: I've never done it before.
Pro: It's a Rock N Roll event which I've wanted to do. 
Pro: Is "easier" than Runners' World, so I'll get the easy one over with first as a "warm up."
Con: It's a "boring" course, and I'll be doing a race in December which is pretty much the same. (**note** most of this course is my favorite loop along the Schuylkill River, but I've run it a million times)
Con: I have a two other (short) races that month.

Pro: I've done it before, so I know the course.
Pro: The course is more interesting
Pro: It's near Thanksgiving - my parents might be home?!
Con: I've done it before...and I've also done the marathon version.
Con: Will be colder than September.

After mulling it over and seeing my parents' input, I'm leaning toward the one in September...I actually signed up for it in 2012, but broke my foot in July so I couldn't do it!  My friend ran with my bib and she did great :)  Maybe I'll do it as redemption for that!  Stay tuned, I'm going to think about it for a while.  The price for both events goes up on April 30, so I'll make a decision before that.

Check out my race page for my current schedule (including these pending half marathons).  Thanks for reading my inner monologue!

1. What do you think?  Which race should I do?

2. What races do you have planned this year?

3. How are you goals for year going? 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Cooper River Bridge Run Recap

Remember that time I didn't post for a week and a half?  Oops..

WE RAN COOPER RIVER!!  Cutting to the chase, my time was 53:03.  My last (and only other) 10k time was 50:19...clearly a big difference there.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little disappointed...I tried to just focus on how much fun I was having in Charleston though!

Leading up to race, as mentioned in a previous post, my legs weren't feeling great - my IT band, knee, hamstring, and lower back, all on my right side, are not doing well these days.  I really need to figure out what's going on there.  I think it's because my hips are out of alignment.  Earlier in the week I looked up some self exercises to help correct this, and it seemed to work a little bit.  I took two full days off before the race, which is not ideal (I like to keep moving at least a little bit), but I felt it was necessary.  However, I also think I was stiffer than usual at the race.  And....we didn't warm up, like, at all.  That's a factor.  During the race I didn't feel injured, I just felt tight - like I didn't have a good range of motion.  Blah.  I was somewhere in between wanting to go slow and just enjoy myself, and wanting to kill it and go fast.  I never quite got into either of those modes, so the whole time I was back and forth, never quite finding the groove.

All these thoughts are what I've been letting marinate over the last 2 days, but I REALLY did enjoy myself, the whole weekend.  I knew it wasn't my best race...but I tried not to dwell on it in the moment. So, let's move on to the weekend recap, because it was so much fun.

Friday -
Drew and landed 20 minutes apart from each other, at about 10:00 p.m.  We went to bed as soon as possible, only to wake up 5 hours later.  Joy!

Saturday morning -
We got to the race start suuuuuper early, which I like.  Drew's dad had horror stories of missing the start because of traffic.  No thank you.  Drew and I had more than enough time to find our corral, use the bathroom, use the bathroom again...haha.  Like I said, we didn't really warm up though.  Oops, we were too distracted taking in the event.

Drew wore his Feel the Love 5k shirt!

By the way, I'm wearing my new shoes, and they're lovely.

Ready (as I'll ever be) to run
Mile 1 - 7:53
This mile, as it usually is in a race, was all about getting my bearings.  I was assessing how my body felt because I hadn't ran in a few days.  I'm actually surprised this was my fastest mile because it for sure did not feel like it.  But it was also downhill so...

Mile 2 - 8:53, Mile 3 - 9:06
Miles 2 and 3 are up and over the bridge.  It's a looooong steady incline, but the views are amazing!!!  Lots and lots of people were walking up the bridge - I was surprised.  Like, you signed up to run the BRIDGE RUN!  And these weren't the people in the back, these were people in the first and second corral.  Anyway, the fact that I was running steadily in the midst of these people gave me a good moral boost.  There was also a lot of zig-zagging to dodge walkers, so that was a little frustrating.  My 5k split was 25:00 something, which is frankly embarrassing for me.  It was the hill I swear!!!

Mile 4 - 8:09
Downhill on the other side of the bridge.   Mile 4 was definitely the hardest mentally.  By this point I knew I just wasn't running my best race.  I also had to PEE!!! Oh my goodness - I thought seriously about running into a port-a-potty but I also was telling myself that I'd be done in less than 20 minutes...

Mile 5 - 8:24, Mile 6 - 8:31
These were the best miles crowd-wise.  For about a mile we ran down King Street, a very popular street in downtown, historic Charleston.  It was fun!  I definitely could have enjoyed it more though, I just wanted to me done at that point.  Final time was 53:03, like I said.

Drew ran in 44:28.  BEAST!!!

While Drew and I were waiting for his parents to catch up to the finish (they were spectating at mile 5.5 ish) we walked about the Finish Festival.  There was endless amounts of watermelon, which was SO GOOD!  I must have eaten an entire watermelon.

Drew, on the other hand, ate a bratwurst from the world's largest grill, haha.  This was before we went to brunch.  Boys...

When we finally met up with Drew's parents and his aunt, we went to a fabbbbbbbulous brunch at place called Toast.  I got eggs Benedict, obviously, and a pancake.  We went home and napped for 2 hours, and it was the best nap I've ever had. No joke.

After lazing around for the afternoon we headed to the beach for a quick stroll before dinner.

Dinner was at Sullivan's, one of the places we went to in July.  I fully enjoyed my She Crab Soup, fried food, with a side of more fried food, and beer.

After dinner Drew and I went back to the beach for a little for some ice cream (for me), and some drinks (for him).  It was a pretty glorious day.  The next day we left at about noon.  It was a whirlwind weekend!!!  Oh, and another 2014 goal accomplished!!

I'm not sure where I stand with my running right now...I'm going to go on a run tomorrow morning and again assess how I feel.  Broad Street is coming up in a little less than 4 weeks, and I'm having doubts about the kind of shape I'm in!  More to come on that...

1. Do you like fried food?  What's your favorite thing to eat fried??

2. Last race you did?  Next one?