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I Can Finally Call Myself a Trail Runner #RagnarTrailRVA Recap

Monday: 7m interval (12 x 200s average pace 5:30)
Tuesday: Crossfit, 8.5m easy 7:47/pace
Wednesday: 6m easy 8:47/pace

If you don’t know what a Ragnar is, take a look at my blog or head over to their website and check it out. Basically it’s a 24ish hour relay running race. The one and only Ragnar Relay i completed was a point to point course starting in Cumberland, MD and finishing in DC last September. The Ragnar Trail events are different because you camp in one location and teammates go out one at a time and cover the same trail loops.

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runragnar.com

Our Trail Ragnar was at Pocahontas State Park in Richmond, VA. The first of my three legs started at 10:00pm Friday night. For someone who isn’t an avid trail runner, who never runs at night, I was both nervous and excited. I had to survive the first leg to make it through the weekend. Don’t fall and break a bone or get bruised up or roll an ankle. With that in the back of my mind we set up our campsite and got a chance to look around at the merch tents, food trucks, samples of GU and sunscreen. It was so much fun (if you’re a runner!)

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Team #85 Pace and Love (4 of these folks did Ragnar DC with me last Sept) Jeremy, Austin, Tommy, Reggie, Steve, me and Stacey

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The trail Ragnar series is cool because you can relax, rest and use a bathroom at the campsite. During the point-to-point course there’s a lot of waiting around, port-o-potties, smelly vans and no sleep happening. The camping added a very fun and relaxing element to the race.

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photo cred: Stacey Hooker, one of our teammates

Do you guys see the signs for S’mores and coffee? We definitely ate smores, but I brought my own cold brew coffee. Take that as a professional tip the next time you camp: if the weather is 90+ humidity, bring cold brew in the cooler.

Time flew, and our first runner took off around 3:30pm Friday. I had so much down time and was antsy, but with walking around, a power nap and eating dinner, the sun went down and I headed to the finish line to wait at the exchange tent.

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Finish chute & exchange tent in daylight (photo: Stacey H.)

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camp at night

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Reggie & Austin

When it was finally time to start, I kept repeating to myself to take my time, don’t do anything stupid on the first leg and to run with quick feet. I forgot how running at night heightens the senses. I felt lit up for those 5ish miles. There was so much to pay attention to on trails, let alone in the dark with only a headlamp giving way to several feet in front of you. Rocks, roots, ups, downs, wooden bridges, twisting and turning paths, trying not to miss the appropriate colored trail signage, it all was happening at once and it was entirely exhilarating. I felt alive, I felt renewed, I felt like the only thing that mattered was the run I was in, the next place my foot was landing and the breath I was taking.

You can’t put a price on that. That kind of running is everything.

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tiki torches lit up the chute (photo: Stacey H.)

After my leg I stretched out in the REI area, they had foam rollers and rolling sticks for runners to use. Then i went back to camp to rehydrate, eat, sleep and get ready to do it all over again.

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“Runner” capris – 73 Threads! 

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Our captain: Stacey @runtobefree10

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Stacey & I are on Team Nuun, so you know we #stayhydrated right.

Saturday kinda flew by. I ran my 2nd leg around 6am and my 3rd at 2pm. I was happy with my trail running. I kept a 9:30/pace on all legs despite difficulty level, which made me happy the effort was there for the consecutive runs.

I had a funny moment happen on the 2nd leg when I was passing another female runner and saying “on your left” I caught a glimpse of her face and this happened:

Me: I know you but I don’t know your name, what’s your instagram handle?
Her: Gratitude and Grit! (@gratitude_grit)
Me: Yes! I follow you, i knew you looked familiar, i’m @Shesgoingforspeed !
G&G: Oh yeah!! I follow you too! Have a great run!
*Still don’t know real names haha

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@gratitude_grit

Did i mention this was a hot hot hot race? Even though I ran at night, it was so hot and humid i poured buckets of sweat. Like I said, Nuun came in handy. The 3rd leg was about surviving the heat, I walked uphill as I needed but finished strong to handoff to our last runner, Steve. Once I was done, I rejoined our people and waited for him to finish so we could get medals.

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Mike, Austin, Reggie, Stacey, Stacey (yes we had 2) and Jeremy

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Team Pace & Love finish photo

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The amazing medal multi-tool!

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And last but not least, I jumped in a car and headed to St. Mary’s, MD to run a half the next morning. Like I said, this weekend was about endurance survival, not a PR. And to salute that idea I had to wear this shirt all morning:

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If I thought the shady, breezy trails were hot and humid, I didn’t know what was coming on the black asphalt with the sun beating down on me. Another hot run done and lots of weekend miles. Not much to say about the historic St. Mary’s 1/2 other than I’m happy my calves warmed up (at mile 8) and i’m glad my head is in the right place for distance training. One foot in front of the other was the challenge for this 2+ hour run. You read that right. 2:10:53 was how long my beaten up legs took to cross the finish line. But I did it, i’m proud of doing 28.6 miles in 36 hours (especially the trail miles) and ready to start picking more races to …well… race! Screen Shot 2017-05-11 at 7.51.54 AM

Did I mention I’m doing the DC Ragnar again this September? hehehehe. I love it!

Last Week

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: legs- front squats 3 x 5 @ 135#, 4m run 9:50/pace
Wednesday: 6m easy 9:45/pace
Thursday: 1 hour Corepower Yoga, 5m run 8:22/pace, Crossfit
Friday: 7m easy 8:50/pace
Saturday: 1 hour upper body (push presses + SA DB Snatches + weighted planks + TRX)
Sunday: Rest

Total Miles: 22 

Do you ever double up races in the same weekend?

Who has a fall half or full marathon on the horizon? Help me pick one!


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A Better Whey, Organic Protein Review!

Monday: 6m fartlek 8:54/pace

Tuesday: Crossfit, 9m easy 9:25/pace

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 8.6m 8:19/pace

Disclaimer: I was given A Better Whey Protein in December and have been using it consistently. I offered to do a review based on my own personal opinions and was not compensated (other than free sample) for this review. I am not a licensed nutritionist, these are my opinions. Please consult with your doctor before changing your diet.

I posted an article regarding dairy intake to Facebook recently and oh man, did it cause a scene. I tend to see nutrition articles as a whole, not one part. The big takeaway, is that dairy is in (and hidden in) a LOT of products the same way wheat and sugars are. Which means generally people are getting dairy in their diets without even trying.

The problem is you don’t know where the dairy source is coming from, whether the dairy is organic or if it’s from a farm that pumped their cows full of hormones. This is the big reason i’m picky with dairy, try not to eat packaged products, and preach to clients about consuming high quality dairy (and meat products).

After being a person that over the years has tried plenty of diets, shakes, and bars I am a firm believer that a well rounded, balanced, high quality everything included nutritional diet is the best. I try to choose quality over quantity to get as many nutrients packed into meals as possible in order to recover workout to workout, race to race and day to day.

Doesn’t mean i’m not gonna eat junk, let’s not get too crazy. Just means that 80-90% of the time, my meals are on point. Which brings me to something I’ve been crazy happy about. An organic, grass fed protein powder. I was given A Better Whey organic protein to try, and i’m in love with it.

 

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The texture of the powder is phenomenal, super fine and mixes well. The flavor is perfect (and i’m picky with chocolate flavor anything) and it’s been an easy way to up my protein intake which has been crucial after my heavier lifting days for recovery.

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chocolate protein, almond milk, chocolate chips. boom.

I like blending protein powders with ice and milk to make it creamy. This powder tastes excellent blended with just almond milk.

Favorite shake recipes:

8 ounces Silk Almond Milk, 1 scoop A Better Whey Vanilla, 4 ice cubes (tastes like vanilla ice cream)

8 ounces Silk Almond Milk, 1 scoop ABW Chocolate, 1 tbs Peanut Butter, 1 banana, cinnamon, 3-4 ice cubes (thank me later)

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drinking it plain in the shaker post wo

Another thing I’ve been proud of are my protein ball creations. I don’t have perfect recipes down yet, but it’s been fun trying different flavors to keep my sweet tooth and protein needs satisfied.

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some ingredients I use for the protein balls

I first add dry ingredients, A Better Whey protein powder (1 scoop), steel cut oats (1/4 cup), sometimes coconut flour (1 tbsp) then start adding in peanut butter until you get some texture (about 3/4 cup). Slowly and little at a time (very little) add wet ingredients to bind the mixture. I use almond milk (1 tsp), sometimes honey or vanilla extract depending on what flavors i’m going for. The combined ingredients should still be somewhat dry before you start rolling them into balls.

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chocolate pb protein balls

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vanilla honey pb protein balls

If i do the vanilla Better Whey protein with vanilla extract, they come out tasting like cookie dough. It’s been a big hit around the gym and in my house. The treats taste incredible because of the high quality protein I’m using. Plus it makes me feel good knowing the main ingredient is giving me nutrients my body needs to recover and get ready for the next workout!

You can read more about why organic protein is important here and you can purchase A Better Whey at https://www.proteinorganicwhey.com/ 

Have a great weekend!

Last Week

Monday: 8.4m easy 9:00/pace

Tuesday: Crossfit, 3.2m trail run 

Wednesday: 9m easy 9:11/pace, Push Presses + Overhead Squats

Thursday: Crossfit, 6m easy 8:19/pace

Friday: 4m easy 8:51/pace

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Rest

Total Miles: 30.6

How do you recover post workout?

What kind of running or other workouts are you planning for the weekend?

 

 

 


8 Comments

Cupid’s Undie Run!

Monday: 9.5m interval ( 3 x 2m @ 6:44/pace)

This weekend flew by. I had way too much fun, with too many cool people. Our box ended up raising over $18,000 for the Children’s Tumor Foundation! Big thanks to my friends and family who donated! screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-7-10-52-pm

Before I headed to DC for the Cupid’s fundraising event, i started Saturday with a 14.1 mile run. And I can honestly say, it was the first in a string of really crappy runs that felt somewhat normal. Normal easy pace, normal tired, but not too beat up legs, normal weather, etc. Normal, I needed that. Let’s hope the last month of this training cycle goes well!

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The rest of the day went by quickly. Got home, showered, ate breakfast, hopped on the train to meet up with Yomery (one of my very strong 6AM Crossfit friends) and met up with the rest of the CF Silver Spring peeps.

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me and Yomery

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We had a table. And open bar… so lots of fun ensued!

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I don’t believe I was part of the dancing…

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Josh, Marcos & Katie (my coaches!)

A couple hours into our open bar, we flooded the streets and ran.. what seemed like a half mile. I found out the night before it wasn’t a 5k (i can’t remember why i thought it was) I don’t even think it was an actual mile or anywhere near one, but it didn’t matter, everyone was having a blast & raising money for a good cause. Plus the alcohol helped us stay warm ;).

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Left: Shaved heart Right: Pearl necklace. Gotta love these guys.

Till next year. Guess it’s time to start thinking about breaking my Beer Mile record. ❤

Last Week

Monday: 7m easy 8:59/pace, shoulders + handstand practice

Tuesday: Crossfit, 10.2 interval (6 x 1m @ 6:55 pace)

Wednesday: 6m easy 9:20/pace

Thursday: Crossfit, 5m easy 10:00/pace

Friday: 9.5m tempo (7 @ 6:55/pace)

Saturday: 14.1m long 9:04/pace 

Sunday: 1hr strength/barbell skill work

Total Miles: 51.8

How was your weekend?

Ever done a Cupid’s Undie Run?


4 Comments

Phone Dump Friday: 1 Year Anniversary Edition!

Wednesday: 8.4m easy 8:58/p

Thursday: 6m easy 9:40/p

I know 3 posts from me in one week is not normal, but hey it’s our 1 year wedding anniversary and can’t miss this! We’ve been together for 8.5 years, married one year. It feels like we’ve been together forever in the best way and marriage is still super new and feels different in a much deeper, much more loving way. I’m not going to get too gooey on you though, i just wanted to share some pictures of us, old and new, some from the wedding and some from my personal stash. Enjoy!

First family trip to NC, been kickin’ it with Kyle and Elise for almost a decade…

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same trip!

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we dated long distance for the first 4 years of our relationship- so a lot of skypeing happened!

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Colorado trip 2015

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The time we got married

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Colorado shananagins, the time we lost Patrick.

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we go to plenty of baseball games…

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sometimes we even run together..

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and make faces together…

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and vacation to Jamaica together…

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and make faces together without knowing we’re making crazy faces together…

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our first thanksgiving as a married couple!

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our first Christmas as a married couple!

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our first hug as a married couple!

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the butt squeeze was pre-wedding…consider it the bachelor party !

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We’re heading out for an anniversary dinner with my in-laws and then off to Shenandoah National Park to hike for 2 days this weekend, keeping our camping tradition alive!

Married couples out there- how did you celebrate your first (or if it’s been too long, the most recent anniversary?)

Singles- do you camp?

ALSO- Shout out to my sister, it’s her 27th birthday today and now shares her b-day with our a-day!

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Marathon Things

Monday: 6m easy 9:24/p, Crossfit

I don’t know where all the summer days went, but i’ve started Week 7 of marathon training. Seven!! I love being on a schedule and each workout (especially the marathon paced tempos) scares me a little. Marathon training is soooo different than half marathon training, which i’m usually signed up for.

This training cycle has me waking up at 6:00am to fit in mileage. Which makes me feel like an 80 year old who’s ready for bed by 9pm. Sad thing is that I’m beginning to like these early morning miles. But I’ll be dead honest with you,  I’m still not a morning person. I can’t get myself to do speed or tempos that early because I like being awake and alert, so those types of runs happen mid-morning or early afternoon.

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The bulk of marathon mileage needs to be run EASY (two minute-per-mile slower than race pace) which leads me to another strange thing. Sometimes I go out for easy runs in the middle of the hottest, most humid days just because the heat will force me to slow down. I thought marathon training was going to be horrible, but training for an ultra in the dead heat of summer has helped with both the mental and physical side of the sport as well as learning to run slower.

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Now the normal marathon stuff: Increased appetite. Holy mackerel, the runger hits like a baseball bat sometimes. I definitely do not deprive myself of seconds to vegetables or an added snack during the day. The key is to eat substance and add healthy calories (like an extra serving of avocado with my breakfast or a protein shake in the day or a bigger helping of sweet potatos at dinner) and not just looking at all the mileage as an excuse to eat crap. I most definitely indulge in dessert or a beer, but it’s not where all those excess calories are going.

Sleep and recovery! It’s a necessity to prioritize sleep! Recovery is a HUGE part of marathon training AND general fitness! I aim for 8-9 hours a night. The elites, the NBA stars, the Olympians you just watched in Rio–all of them have coaches, trainers, massage therapists, chiropractors, cupping therapists etc– there is a TEAM to help them with recovery because it is that important. I’m not saying you need a full team, but have a place to get the kinks worked out and utilize those foam rollers laying under your couch!

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remember when I cupped during Christmas? before Phelps made it cool. That’s right. #coolerthanphelps

Of course I’m experiencing the normal marathon stuff– smelly piles of laundry, weird looks at the gym when i hog a treadmill for 1.5 hours, dry skin peeling off my feet, extra time on foam rollers, naps, weekend plans revolving around long runs, candy cravings, saying the word just before the number of miles you have to run, crying during a run as you picture finishing the marathon, feeling stupid for said cry, the elusive runner’s high, the constant questioning of holding xx:xx pace for 26.2 miles, dreaming of a fresh pair of running shoes, and brunch–oh the brunches you will have, and the afternoon coffee pick me ups…

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I love marathon training.

Last Week

Monday: 6m easy 9:11/pace, Crossfit

Tuesday: 8m interval (5 x 1000s @ 6:45/p)

Wednesday: Crossfit

Thursday: 10.5m tempo (7m @ 7:50/p)

Friday: 6.1m easy 9:35/p

Saturday: 10m long 8:46/p, Crossfit

Sunday: 8m easy

Total Miles: 48.6

Add to the list! What always happens to you during marathon training?

How do you spend time recovering?

 


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I Broke Her!

Every Saturday this summer I have been out for my long run. Every person, biker, walker, runner, stroller, doggie I pass I try to say “hi” or give a smile or small wave. If i’m not completely out of breath, I’ll happily say, “Good Morning.”

Now let me paint a small picture. I’m from Indiana. I’m a midwesterner. I grew up knowing my neighbors, my manners, being friendly and polite, especially to strangers. (Trump could have used a midwestern upbringing but don’t get me started.) When I moved to the east coast, and i know i’ve mentioned this several times through my blog, many people just keep to themselves and don’t say hi. It bothers me. Maybe it’s because i’m a people pleaser, or maybe because i believe it’s the little things in life that make the world go round.

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from saturday

There’s a woman, maybe in her 50s, that walks the trail every Saturday around the same time I’m out. She’s always alone, no friends or walking companions, no headphones or ipods. Just quietly shuffling along the trail to get her morning exercise in. I’ve said hi to this lady at least ten times this summer. There was even a day I ran past her twice (remember i do a lot of out-and-backs) and she has never said a word. However, she stares like i’m a little harlot with no shirt on. She sneers at me. Her eyes go wide then narrow all in an instant.

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runner’s saving grace!

Naturally I think this lady (and i have to call her lady now cause i’m pissed) is a total B. How many times can i look a person in the eyes and say, “Good morning.”? I’ll tell you how many. As many as it takes because i’m NICE and I’m from the Midwest!!!! And of course I understand that sometimes people are just generally distracted in their own world. Listening to headphones, or concentrating on their workout, or maybe don’t hear or see me. I understand that.

I think it’s super strange that i’ve been working at the same gym for almost 4 years and there are MANY people I see on a daily basis that ignore me completely. And again, it’s me saying, “Hello” “How are you” “Good to see you.”As persistent I am with being polite they are just as persistent at ignoring me. I totally understand where Adele is coming from.

But then, I had a small victory this past Saturday. The old lady softly spoke, hi when I passed by with the weekly greeting. She almost stopped me dead in my tracks because it was so unexpected. I could have hugged her. I didn’t because it probably took a lot for her to say hello to me.  I finally broke her down.

Killing people with kindness works. For every person that doesn’t say hi, i will forever think of her and remember that being cold and unfriendly is never the way into someone’s heart. Please, please be nice to strangers. You never know what kind of day, week or year they’re having. A kind gesture can turn someone’s day around and with so much hate in the news this is all we have to fight back with.

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What are you looking forward to this week?

Do you smile, say hi, nod, wink, peace sign while passing people?