Saturday, June 29, 2013

Track "Party", Pain? 

This week it was back at the track on Thursday to tackle another speed workout

Old pic, same location: Hayward Field

I find it interesting that at the beginning of every section of the workout I semi dread the next 4, 6 or 8 x 400s, 800s, etc. And before you know it... POOF! it's over. 

Granted, it hasn't always been this way. I started doing speed work with some version of this same group about six years ago and never looked back. 

Well, in the first year or so there were some weeks where I avoided the workouts, but that was mostly because I feared the pain and didn't want to be the last person to finish the workout. 

Now days, I say "Bring on the pain!" I mean, doesn't this look like a face that says that? Ha.

Anywho, Thursday the temps in Eugene were just starting to rise so our workout was done in 80 something degree heat. Not terrible, but not ideal running conditions.

The workout: 12 min warm up, drills (Hello, huge group. We are really starting to take over the track on Thurs nights!), the meat of the workout: 10 min @ tempo pace (~7:30ish for me), 8 x 300m @ mile pace (5:45-6:10 for me), and finally a cool down.

While the workout wasn't the hardest, as I was in the most challenging moment of each 300m, I could tell that my running fitness has improved tremendously. I can keep up with people that I never had before. It may have taken several years to get to this place, but I like feeling the accomplishment of something only I can take credit for. 

We've been doing a lot of work at mile pace lately, which has me wondering: what I could actually run a mile in? Perhaps I'll test it out one of these days...

On July 4th, I'm signed up to run the Butte to Butte 10K in town, which is a pretty large race that starts with one very steep mile uphill, followed by one very steep downhill. I haven't run it in a few years, so I'm looking forward to the challenge and camaraderie of thousands of local runners sweating on a holiday. 

We're having some kind of heat wave that's supposed to put us in the upper 90s by Monday, so let's hope Wednesday's weather isn't too balmy!

I hope you're having a perfect weekend. Surprise, surprise, we have some more wedding things to do - errands, a small craft project, final dress fitting! Ooh, and le Tour de France starts today!

Is anyone else racing soon? What's your favorite speed workout?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Waffles and Wedding

Welp, lookee there, it's been a week since I last blogged. Quite frankly, I don't know where the week went. Time has been FLYING by. Perhaps the fact that our wedding is LESS than two weeks away has something to do with it??

No biggie. Either stuff will get done, or it won't. End of story. Not freaking out {except when companies don't ship things when they say they will}.

Let's talk about waffles for a moment because I've been enjoying them. 

First up, we have Kashi blueberry waffles with almond butter, banana and cinnamon on top. Great post Saturday morning run fuel! 

Secondly, we have scrambled eggs (+ veg) and waffles at home. Followed the recipe for once. Pete doesn't like it when I stray from a recipe, which is about 99% of the time. 

Now let's hop back to last weekend and my bachelorette party in Portland. A group of some of my close girlfriends got together for a day/night of fun, including a short hike, pedicures, dinner, drinks and dancing. 

The girls rented a two bedroom suite that was within walking distance of a lot of things we wanted to do, so it worked out well. Plus, the weather was gorgeous for time spent outside. 

We even made time to stop and smell the roses (literally) in the Rose Garden.

For dinner, we went to Matador because I requested good Mexican food. Not only is the food good, but I love the space, including the open air factor. 


Part of the group...

I really was trying to pick something small and healthy from the menu (I chose the chicken and green chile tamale), but somehow ended up with this massive plate of goodness. That paired with happy hour nachos and margaritas made for one FULL belly!

Roll me home

Back at the hotel, the girls had organized a little lingerie shower and then we got ready to head out for the rest of the evening. There were a few more drinks and a lot of laughs had. Luckily, you only get married once because Sunday was spent recovering from that long night of fun.

Coffee? Yes, please. 

Love brick buildings and little white tables & chairs

I'll leave you with this photo from my friend Jackie. Stunner shades, water and all. 

My quads hurt the next day. Apparently dancing in 3" wedges for a few hours will do that to a girl...

I was touched by all the thought and planning that went into the weekend. It was really nice of my girlfriends to make it all happen and spend the day and evening in Ptown.

I've been meaning to write a post on what it feels like to be getting married. It's just an interesting process both in planning for the event and mentally preparing for this next step. So, stay tuned.

On the running front: Running is making me extra tired, but it's keeping me sane. More to come.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Running UPhills Again

Whew, we made it to Thursday! That pretty much means we're sliding down the hill to Friday so life simply feels a bit easier, don't you agree?

Yesterday, the manfriend and I met on our lunch break for a quick bite and to pick up our marriage license (both parties have to be present)! I ordered it online a few weeks ago so all we had to do was answer a few questions and hand over a check. We have the paper work, so now we just need to get hitched!

The manfriend has been partaking in a Wednesday night mountain bike ride called 'Dirty Ghetto' the last few weeks so I've been on my own these nights. 

Last night, I opted to use my open evening to get some miles in on the Ridgeline Trail. Now that the sun is out until 9 pm, the trails are perfect for running several hours after work!

The last two summers, I did 2-3 runs per week on the trails out of necessity (training for the MRTR 50K). I'm hoping to get back to it more often because I know these hills make me a stronger runner. And if I want to be in peak running fitness for the Chicago Marathon, hills are going to be on the training plan.

Side note: my butt is already sore from these UPhills.  

One of the things I love about this trail are the little bridges everywhere. 

A. I love pink and B. CranRazz Shot Bloks are quite tasty 

For dinner, I tried this new-to-me Amy's pesto and veggie pizza. Dear Amy's, this pizza does not contain three servings. 

Per the usual, I had to doctor it up with my own additions of caramelized onion, diced mushroom a few chunks of cooked sweet potato and a drizzle of BBQ sauce. Sounds random, tastes good. 

I ate about half the pizza, but probably could have devoured the whole thing. The only thing holding me back was the thought of having tasty leftovers for lunch today.

Verdict: frozen pizza doesn't have to be so bad, on the taste or nutrition front.

While I used to feel guilty if I was out to dinner with friends on the occasion, while the manfriend stayed home, recently I've realized how nice it is for both of us to have our own evenings alone or apart once in a while. Having some separation now and then makes you appreciate each other that much more.

What's your favorite way to spend an evening alone? And your favorite freezer meal/food? 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Week in Workouts

This week was a pretty decent balance of running with a bit of fun cross training mixed in. Here's a look at what I did.

Monday - Summer Shape Up strength circuit (am), 7 mile group run (pm)

Tuesday - Easy day, 25 min of spinning followed by 20 min strength (Tone it Up) (pm)

Wednesday - 3.75 mile run (am), 30 mile bike ride with Lindsey (pm) Beautiful night and slowly feeling stronger on the bike

Thursday - 6 mile SPEED work on the track (pm), stretched and foam rolled Workout included: 10 min warm up, drills, 1 mile @ tempo pace, 800m @ mile pace, 6 x 400m at 5K pace, 10 min cool down. Youch! The hammies were feeling this workout. 

Friday - Insanity plyometric circuit (37 min of sweaty craziness) + short and easy jog with the dog (am)

Saturday - Bike to and from yoga (6 mi), power yoga, run 1.23 miles looking for the manfriend who was out on a 7 mile run! (am)

More cross training = squatting down and picking a big bucket of strawberries (pm)

Sunday - Woke up before 6 am! Shoved on the shoes and was out the door for 9 miles of pure peacefulness before a day of wedding planning.

Also miraculously had a negative split run where I was seeing a few sub 8 min miles. Random thought of the run: amazing what you can do when you actually believe you can

Days foam rolled: 2/7

While I'm great about fitting in my workouts (because it's a priority to me), I want to get better about getting off my rear at lunch and taking a walk. With things being so busy lately, I've often found myself sitting at my desk through lunch and just eating while working. No bueno. 

The food front: As I'm sure you all have experienced, when life is busy, making healthy and varied meals is challenging. As a result, I needed to mix it up this weekend. Thursday, we tried a new spot, First National Taphouse for beer and pulled pork sliders for him and a prosciutto & cheese melt for her. Friday, we finally got our engagement photos done and grabbed a quick dinner afterward at Turtles - big salad with grilled chicken for her and mac 'n cheese & salad for him.

Saturday, we picked up some fresh cod at the fish market that we used for dinner both yesterday and today. I sauteed a mixture of veggies, onion and black beans to go with the cod. Saturday, we enjoyed the mixture in little corn tacos and Sunday, in salads.

On the wedding front, we're less than 30 days out! Things are getting real, as in, they need to happen now or never. My friend Jenn helped me do some planning today. We spent a few hours talking about my ideas and running around to Michael's, JoAnn Fabrics and Home Depot.

My mindset these days in wedding mode is if I don't have the time to make it and it's something I really want at our wedding, it's totally worth buying. Thank goodness for Etsy and those who craft for a living!

How was your week and weekend?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Wedding: The Bridal Shower

Sunday kicked off the first of the official wedding activities with my bridal shower in Portland. Lindsey and I left Eugene early with coffee in hand to make the trek and catch up on life. She and Sonny are getting married a week after the manfriend and I, so it's always fun to chat about planning (and procrastinating). 

Thanks to Lindsey for snapping the photos. I didn't grab my big camera before leaving the house so these photos aren't the greatest quality from my point & shoot and phone. 

When we arrived, the food was set out, the flowers were being beautifully arranged and the mimosa bar was open!

Jenn put together a rockin' mimosa bar.
Note to self: do this at home on a random Sunday

Sabrina (my brother Kyle's wife) was the hostess with the mostest and made their townhouse look extra cute. They just bought a house in Portland so they will be moving sometime in the next month just a handful of blocks away from their current location.

The spread included pasta salad, cucumber salad, caprese toothpicks, strawberries to dip, bread and cream cheese w/ jam, chocolate cupcakes with raspberry frosting and watermelon + goat cheese.

The ladies

Friends included those from Eugene, my cousin and high school friends

Lindsey, Brendel, Taylor, Jessica & Candice

Jenn and grandma Jean

After eating and chatting, it was time for a little trivia! First off, Jessica asked things of the ladies about me (my first car, my nickname, # of marathons, etc.) and then she had a few questions for me to answer what Pete would have said. 

Luckily, they weren't too tough. 

What does he like most about me? I said "probably my sarcasm" and he said "I like everything about her, but most of all her drive to be successful." 

What do I like most about him? I said "that he's hilarious" and he said pretty much the same thing.

After trivia, it was time for presents. Quite frankly, I think this post should be titled "The Many (unattractive) Faces of Lauren," but that doesn't sound so exciting, does it? 

Lucky for you, I've got many to share...

First, I give you the cheesey face with my bling ring and bride sash. 

Derp, I don't know. Thank you for the dish cloth and check grams!

Eeps, this is my "I'm so excited we finally have good pans to cook on that won't give us cancer"face!

Bah, my mom and Pete's mom unknowingly each bought the SAME exact card for me with their gift of our pots and pans set.

Just a wee bit surprised

Not really sure, but Judy did a lovely job of making my bows into a little bouquet

I must say, opening gifts in front of a room full of people is a bit unnerving, but everyone was incredibly generous. We now don't have room for another item in our house. Boxes, boxes, everywhere! 

Sabrina did an amazing job as party planner! Their house was so cutely decorated and she did a great job at incorporating things I liked. 

I was amazed how quickly the time flew and I still felt like I only managed to have a few conversations with people. I guess it's practice for the big day!

On the running front: Last week was my first week back to running on the regular and I managed to fit in 23 miles. I can already feel my IT bands, knees and hamstring talking to me. This means I owe myself some serious stretch and foam roller time.

Friday, June 7, 2013

It's Getting Hot Out Here*

Hellooooo Friday! I hope you have something relaxing planned this weekend. We have a board meeting so I'll be working late today and then all of Saturday. And Sunday kicks off the first of the wedding celebrations... my bridal shower!

What I'm looking forward to most about our wedding celebrations is having so many of the people we care about in one place. After all, how often does that happen in life?

She's feelin' hot hot hot
You know what says summer to me? Starbucks' half passion, half green tea with one honey. My favorite way to order it.

It's the perfect drink when you want something cool with a little flavor, but don't need the caffeine kick of an iced coffee or Americano. 

Happy National Running Day! I was reminded what it felt like to run early. The body was juuust waking up around mile 2. 

I did in fact get one honk on this run. Hoping that's because they loved my obnoxiously bright outfit. 

Fashion Friday
This is probably the most basic way I've worn this skirt. Often, it's paired with a bright top. But even so, the print and some heels alone are enough. 

Top: Ann Taylor, skirt: Loft, heels: Tahari

Call me a lizard. I've been literally basking in this glorious sun we've been enjoying. Wednesday, I say outside during lunch munching on my pasta salad over spinach.

My favorite summer meal is in fact chilled rainbow pasta w/ diced olives, onion, tomatoes, green pepper, garlic salt, balsamic and olive oil. It's easy to throw together and works great to make large batches at a time.

Last night, I got out of work late and met the run group for a few laps around the track (they were doing a speed workout, I just popped by to say hi as I was late). After a mile or so, I headed out the path for a few more miles on my own.

Somehow, each mile got faster. Seriously, I have no idea why or how. My legs felt tired (thanks to lots of lifting at Lifeforce on Wed) and my whole body was overheated. But with each mile, the Garmin beeped faster - 8:35, 8:23, 8:07, 8:01.

Whatever it is, sometimes you just gotta run with it. {Pun intended}

Your favorite thing about this week? 

The sun tends to bring me a better mood no matter what, so that has been a real blessing. But my favorite thing about this week was catching up with my friend Jenn after Lifeforce on Friday with a few tacos, chips and salad at El Torito. It reminded me that I don't spend enough time just talking and laughing with friends. 

*And by hot I mean high 70s to 80s. Don't forget, it's Oregon after all. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Running on the Regular

Just like that, two weeks of reset are over! While I kept pretty busy thanks to work and wedding stuff, I wasn't following a rigid plan or pushing too hard on the workouts I fit in.

Things I did well:

  • Not freaking out on days I didn't run
  • Kept mileage low (13-15 miles both weeks)
  • Ran more for the stress relief than the calorie burn
  • Enjoyed an activity I rarely make time for - hiking!
  • Joined the running group for dinner & beer 
  • Found other cardio alternatives to running
  • Ate ice cream (cookies 'n cream for him, chocolate for her)

It's rare that I workout with others (unless I'm running with the group) so I was happy that Lindsey and I planned a hike together. It really is the best of both worlds when you get to exercise outdoors AND have a social life. 

I often ditch out on the post speed workout dinner and beer because I'm picky about restaurants, but last Thursday the group was going to The Bier Stein (which I love), so the manfriend and I joined them. Who doesn't love cheesy melty sandwiches with the perfect side salad and a selection of freshly tapped brews at your fingertips??

The Spice of Life
Since my coworker loaned me her month 1 of Insanity videos, I took the opportunity to take them for a spin. Each video lasts about 45-50 minutes, including a warm up, stretch, workout and cool down stretch, but packs a real PUNCH!

Seeing this photo makes me want to clean our dining/workout room. :)

Over the last few weeks, I tried... the Fit Test, Pure Cardio & Cardio Abs, Cardio Power & Resistance and the Plyometric Cardio Circuit. Think lots of jumping (power jumps from a squat, tucking up the knees and slapping the quads), short cardio circuits that get increasingly faster, push up jacks, and ultimately a whole lot of sweat drippage! 

While I would usually tell myself "I'll hop on the bike after this or go for a short run," that 45 minutes of Insanity was often plenty for me. The soreness sets in almost as soon as the workout is over. 

I also managed to hop on the bike a few times for a trainer ride or riding to work, but I didn't get to cruise around the bike path casually like I'd hoped for. I guess that's what summer's for, eh?

Back to Running on the Regular
Monday it was back to running for this sassafras! I warmed up for a mile and then Danielle and I ran at a decent clip ranging from 8:05-8:30 miles in 75 degree heat for the next five. It's crazy what a difference the heat makes. Feels like energy is just being sucked right outta you!

Now I'm planning to pick out a training plan and work backwards from the race date (Chicago Marathon, Oct. 13) to determine my mileage and workouts. 

In addition to simply fitting in the miles, there are two things I want to work hard at this training season: 1. Working on weaknesses (right glute) 2. Foam rolling & stretching. 

Something to try: Exercises to Prevent Common Running Injuries (Runner's World)
Wall press, clam shells and the stability ball bridge are all exercises I've been prescribed in the past by a PT to help build my glute strength. It's nice to have these reminders and see someone else do them. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sunday Morning Six

Thanks for all your kind words on my hair and makeup trial! It's definitely helpful to get some feedback, especially on the hair as someone who rarely does anything special with her locks.

Today's post is going to be pretty random, so saddle up!

1. Remember how I was raving about this HUGE $10 organic bag of berries from Costco? Uh, yeah... The Today Show just reported on how that OR berry farm had a Hepatitis A outbreak and the product has been recalled. Glad I just finished that entire bag. #not

Currently seeking: clean, local, organic berries 

2. My laptop is about five years old and needless to say, it's pretty full thanks to thousands of photos. I've backed them up, but hate to delete them so every few weeks I get a message that my startup disk is almost full. I then go through and delete poor quality photos (blurry, ugly, pointless) to clear some space. Anyone else have this same issue?

3. The weather shows 70s and 80s in our future for the next week. Summer is here. Halleluiah! But the rain will be back. After all, this is Oregon. 

Perfect weather for distance running at Hayward Field on Fri night
Men's 10,000m race @ Prefontaine Classic

4. We checked off a few more things from the wedding to do list. I have a few more things I hope to check off today as well!

  • Pete bought his shirt, tie and shoes for the wedding. Who knew finding an ivory shirt would be such a hassle? My dress is ivory, so his shirt also needs to be ivory. 
  • I had my first dress fitting! Now, it just needs a little hem and it will be good to go. 
  • Made reservations for the dog at a local boarder for wedding weekend

5. Yesterday, I ran in maybe 60 degree temps and wanted to take my shirt off. Then I remembered I'd be training for the Chicago Marathon the entire summer...

Abs, it's time to tighten up!

6. I can't get enough of Target's Mossimo vneck tees. At $8 a pop and super comfy, they're hard to pass up. I have about five different colors and picked up a heathered mint green yesterday. 

How is your weekend going so far? Any plans for today? 

I'm debating a run or Insanity video and of course wedding related things. I'm still sore from Friday morning's weight lifting routine, a Best Body Bootcamp workout from last year. Meanwhile, the manfriend is riding 117 miles with his team at the Gran Fondo!!