Category Archives: Fitness

Mixing Up Your Workouts

mixing up workoutI’m still having issues with the outside of my knees so I’ve been taking it easy on running.  Right now I’m only running 1-2 days a week max, so I’ve been trying out some other forms of exercise. It’s important to mix up your workouts anyways to keep from plateauing and to avoid boredom. My recent workout options have been anything but boring.

My mom recently starting taking Zumba and couldn’t stop raving about how fun it is. So when my friend Lauren mentioned taking black light Zumba, I couldn’t resist. Ignight Dance Studio seriously brings the heat and some serious dance moves that will have you burning hundreds of calories in no time. Seriously, you burn like 700-800 calories in one class. Don’t worry if you’re uncoordinated, the dark studio provides a safe haven to stumble away.  60 minutes of latin and hip hop songs pass quickly, and by the end, you’ll swear you’re as good a dancer as the instructors.  The best part, these classes are only $5! If you live or work close to Sterling, Virginia, I highly recommend giving it a try. You can try your first class for free.

Mixing up your workoutsSource: St. Luke’s Medical Center

I highly recommend checking out Groupon and Living Social for workout deals, which has helped me find several of my work out mix-ups while saving a few bucks.

My other recent work out obsession is yoga at Core Power Yoga. I never regret taking a yoga class. I always feel renewed after an hour long session of stretching and toning. Core Power Yoga provides heated yoga classes, but also has yoga classes with weights and fusion classes that mix in plymoteric moves with yoga. I’ve been going to these yoga classes for the past month,  they’ve really helped with my knees, and have helped to whip me back into shape.  I go to the one in Georgetown, but they also have a location in Glover Park and I believe they’re opening one in Falls Church very soon.  You can try your first week for free and I bought a Groupon to try a month for $67.

Next week I’m planning to start a boot camp at High Level Training. I bought a Living Social Deal to test out the boot camp classes for two month for $55 and with workout partner, VB, I know I’ll be in great shape in no time.

How do you mix up your workouts?

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Running Swag

I’ve been on a buying spree with running swag lately. After running the Cherry Blossom 10 miler, I consulted my running buddy VB for her counsel on a few items I had been eying. She really should work in product development.

Here’s what I’ve bought recently.

A J/Fit foam roller

I work in an orthopaedic and physical therapy practice and was exposed to these bad boys for the first time last year. When I’m actually training, my legs are in constant need of a good stretch. The foam roller really helps to relieve the pressure. I bought mine on Amazon for $26.01 (included shipping). Size: 36×6 inches.

Here are just some of the benefits (source):

  • Improved blood circulation throughout your skin, fascia, muscles, and even tendons and ligaments where you can access them with a foam roller.
  • Through improved blood circulation, more efficient exchange of nutrients and waste products at a cellular level, leading to better overall cellular function and inter-cellular communication.
  • Lengthening of short (tight) muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Some muscles (like hip flexors) and ligaments (iliotibial band) are prone to shortening, and are difficult to effectively stretch and apply therapeutic pressure to using standard massage and trigger point therapy techniques. But with a foam roller, you can apply deep pressure massage to such areas and lengthen shortened tissues, thereby preventing physical imbalances that can predispose you to injury.
  • Promotion of optimal spinal range of motion. You can accomplish this by slowly rolling your spine against a foam roller and pausing whenever you feel restrictions to allow your joints and surrounding tissues to stretch.

j fit foam roller

PRO Compression Socks

PRO Compression works against gravity by helping your vascular system increase blood flow which relieves discomfort and assists in recovery. I can attest these actually work. I wore them while running the monument 10 k and for the first time in a while my feet actually didn’t hurt at all.  My legs were a little sore the next day, but not nearly as bad as usual!

I used a coupon from GearBuzz and only paid $30 instead of the regular $50.

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SPI Belt

Yep it’s a stylish fanny pack or as they call it “a small personal item belt”.  I realized I needed something like this when I was running the Cherry Blossom 10 miler. I wanted to bring my phone so it was easier to meet up with friends afterwards, but didn’t wanna carry it.  Again, bought mine on Amazon for $19.95 (included shipping).

spi belt

Hand Held Water Bottle

One last product I’ve been wanting is a new hand held water bottle. I bought one from Pacers a while back and it leaks every where.  Not so nice when you’re 3 miles into a run and all your water is already gone.

I haven’t bought the amphipod handheld water bottle yet , but plan to. I’m leaning towards the Hydrafoam Handheld ergo-lite.  I’ll let you know what I decide on!

amphipod hand held water bottle

What kind of running swag have you bought lately? Any recommendations?

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Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

The Cherry Blossom 10 Miler is a verrrrry popular race in the D.C. area. So popular, in fact, the racers are actually chosen through a lottery system. I’ve heard of racers who have tried unsuccessfully to snag a spot for three years. So when entering, I really didn’t think I had a shot. Meanwhile, this guy Ben Beach has run 41 Cherry Blossom 10 Milers. Who does he know?

Luckily though, I rallied 8 of my closest racing buddies to join in too and with the power of the racing gods on our side, we got in! Yayyy we won the lottery!!! Now we get to run 10 miles and pay money…wait, what kinda lottery is this?

Training for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler

If you’ve noticed, I haven’t posted many running entries lately. Over the past few months, squeezing in runs seemed impossible. Until about a month and a half before the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, I wasn’t really running at all.  Just a leisurely run once or twice a week.

running slugs

Me before training with VB

Thankfully I have this dedicated friend, VB, who often helps kick my butt back into shape.  One dreadfully long run with her on a Saturday morning was a true wake up call that I was out of running shape. I forced myself to painfully run during the week, and with a couple more long runs on the weekends with her,  I slowly gained some running confidence back.

But what worried me most about this race was my feet. Yea, you know those things you run on. Whenever I reached a distance of 7+ miles, my toes really started to ache and by mile 9 or 10 I felt like I was running with cinderblock shoes.  Despite these issues, I hesitantly set a goal of beating my Army 10 Miler time of 1:25:09 with high hopes that my feet would corporate.

Cherry Blossom Race Day

On race day, my plan was to meet my racing buddies at the Smithsonian metro stop, only someone (me) forgot to to specify which metro exit to meet at. Somehow we did meet up with 5 of the other racers, leaving 4 of my race buddies to fend for themselves.  Even though most of my friends run at different paces, I love starting off races together even if I do trip them once we cross the start line. Hey it’s a race.

cherry blossom 10 miler 2013

Brian actually wanted to run this race with me. Shocker. He’s real darn fast, so he usually leaves me in the dust, coughing and trying my hardest to catch up. Longer distances aren’t so much his thing though and he wanted to save up his energy for the Monument 10 K in Richmond the next weekend. Secretly I was plotting to beat him the whole time. mwhahahaha. just kiddddding. kinda.

But for real though, I never want to hold someone back from making their time, so I highly encourage people to leave me all the time. I often bring my broom to the race for this very reason, “Go on, skat!”

Cherry blossom 10 miler

Okay enough silliness. The course was a beautiful tour of Washington D.C. and its many monuments, and even though I live here it still amazes me to run by the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorial. I like to think they’re giving me a high five as I pass by. The cherry blossoms weren’t quite in peak bloom this year, but their pink buds were still beautiful and running around Hains Point and the Tidal Basin was lovely.

Around mile 8.5 my feet really did start to kill me. Every step was super painful, but with Brian by my side I pushed through. The last mile was surrounded by motivating fans. I blew kisses and used their energy to finish the race.

For some reason, D.C. races have this tendency to have the finish line at the top of a hill. This race starts and ends at the Washington monument. Even a small, tiny hill can feel like torture and this race was no exception. I did feel great reaching the top though, and I racked in a time of 1:23:48. Bonus: I was the fastest Seay to run the race.

cherry blossom 10 miler 2013

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If you know runners, the first thing they want after a race is…..water, the second thing is free food. This race had tons of freebies from Larabars, bananas, apples, and even these warm gooey homemade muffins. I think I ate two and stole bites from my friends muffins when they weren’t looking.

I would definitely run this race again and will try to snag a spot again next year.

Here are some tid bits if you’re running the race next year:

  • Its important to start in the right corral, so enter with a time close to your goal time. This race is really popular(read: crowded), and you will have to weave in and out of people. It thinned out by mile 2, but if you start as close to your pace as you can, you won’t have to weave in and out as much.
  • Be prepared for the wind tunnel at Hains Point. This mile was the hardest of the race with wind blasting off the tidal basin. Think it was around mile 6 or 7.
  • When signing up for the race, you have the option to pay more to get a medal or a tech shirt. I chose the tech shirt and Brian the medal. Looking back I wish I had gotten the medal. It’s way cooler than a shirt.
  • Hoard as many muffins as you can. Just kidding.
  • Make brunch reservations in advance. After the race even further locations from the race like Foggy bottom got slammed.
  • Take photos of your fiance’ on race day… Somehow I didn’t snap one photo of Brian 😦 He even sweetly grabbed brunch to go and made me homemade bloody marys when we got home. He’s da best.

homemade blood marys

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Runaway Bride

Four Courts Four Miler

four courts four miler

The Four Courts Four Miler is one of my favorite local races.  Reason’s being, it’s short, it’s festive, and it’s usually not too cold out. It also has a killer one mile long hill at the end that forces you to work real darn hard. You end feeling like you earned your beer for that day.

I’ve been working to get back into running shape but boy oh boy it’s hard. It’s funny how long it takes to get back into running shape and how easy it is to lose your momentum.

Here come the excuses…

I’ve been really busy at work opening a Wellness Center,which I’m super ecstatic to say actually opened yesterday!!!  With working much longer hours, it’s been a real challenge squeezing in any type of work out. After putting in a 12 hour work day, the last thing I wanna do is more work.

My real motivation…another race.

I just realized  three weeks ago, I’m running the Cherry Blossom 10 miler in less than three weeks from today. Eeek!!!  At this point, I knew I needed to suck it up and somehow start hitting the pavement.

I’m not gonna sugar coat it, right now every run feels pretty darn crappy.  BUT every hard run is only more motivation to keep running, so those 10 miles aren’t so painful.  The Four Courts Four Miler couldn’t have come at a better time.

This year, Brian and I decided to have a little fun and dress up like a bride and groom to promote this big contest we were in to possibly win a $100,000 dream wedding (sadly, we didn’t win).  It was definite added bonus hearing  people congratulate us!

All that positive energy helped propel me to the finish line, even with a mile long dreadful hill at the end. Brian and I both racked in pretty good times. Brian ran in 27:42 and I ran in 32:40.  Last year, I had a sprained ankle so I couldn’t run, but in 2011 I ran it in 35:05. Not too shabby for being out of shape! I’m really working on starting my races off faster. It’s really helped to shave off some time!

Here are some fun race photos from Swim Bike Run Photography:

2013 Four Courts Four MilerCan you spot the bride?

2013 Four Courts Four MilerOh no, Brian lost a leg!

2013 Four Courts Four MilerBunny Hopping!

2013 Four Courts Four MilerI can testify that my friend PD has this same smile in every photo. Just impressed he kept it while running this killer hill!

2013 Four Courts Four MilerProof this hill is killer!!!

This race has certainly provided positive encouragement to keep training. I’m hoping that with a couple more weeks of training, I will finally pick up my stride and not feel like a dead horse every time I run.

How do you squeeze in runs when you’re really busy? How do you motivate yourself to start running again when you’ve taken a hiatus? I’m always looking for ways to increase my motivation or get my butt moving. How do you..?

Other posts to check out:

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Rebel Race DC

Two weekends ago I ran the Rebel Race. With the 105 degree heat and twenty-four obstacles, it was one of the hardest obstacle course runs I’ve tried yet.  The race took place in Monkton, Maryland about an hour and a half outside of D.C. You know I’ve got a few items on my  race grading checklist and organization is one of them. Parking and registration at the Rebel Race were well organized and easy. My only concern was that my car might get get stuck in the field they used for a parking lot. The Cobalt isn’t exactly an off-roading vehicle.

After registration we headed over to the start line.

Rebel Race DC

WARNING: I’m about to go on a race vent.  I’m always a little shocked at how many non-runners are at these obstacle course runs. At the start of our race heat, there was a lady whom was talking about how she just had surgery 6 weeks prior and was nervous about running….but yet she was at the start of the heat.  I know I’m being a bit of a running snob but helllllllo… race protocol! If you aren’t a speedsterr…don’t start at the front.

I don’t like to complain without a recommendation for a change so here’s my two cents.  I think these races should have time requirements for each heat. Then if you run at a 6 minute mile you won’t have to worry about trying to pass someone who runs an 11 minute mile.  I know Brian faced this more than I did, but there was a bit of back up at the obstacles. Each heat was only spaced out by 30 minutes, so if you were running at a decent pace, you definitely caught the peeps in the heat in front of you and possibly from two heats in front of you.

Race vent over.

Okay, back to the race! Like I said, there were supposedly twenty-four obstacles (It felt like more!) Every 5 seconds, it seemed,  I was jumping or climbing over a wall. I think there were 10 walls alone.  Some of the more challenging obstacles were:

  • Climbing over the plywood wall aka the Gamble of Gravity.  I’m pretty darn clumsy, so I really worried about falling off the top of the wall, especially after I saw a guy tumble off the first wall.
  • Going over logs in the muddy water aka Unleashed Endurance. A big thanks to my running buddy for pushing me over each log!
  • Pulling myself over a pond with a rope aka Rebellious Roping. Mainly because it was smelly and there was pondweed that grossed me out.

So remember my rant earlier about non-runners “running” this race. Well, I became one of those non-runners. This is the first race I can remember where I had to walk! This was a tough, tough hillly course. There were just some hills I couldn’t bare to run up. Can you say, karma. That’s what I get for being a complainy bee.

I did manage to finish strong up the last hill, though!  Gotta look goooood for the finish line photos. My final time was 47 minutes on the dot. I even got a medal….which every one got, but whatever.(Sidenote:  Rebel Race made a nice upgrade to their medals from last year.  Way to be Rebel Race!)

Rebecl Race DC 2012

After the race, we waited for about 30 minutes in our rank,  mud covered clothes. With lackluster water pressure and dry crusted mud…it was a little hard to clean off. I didn’t mind though, it just built up my thirst for our free beer. We hung out for a little bit,  enjoyed our beverages, and cheered on the remaining runners. Rebel Race smartly placed the beer tent by the finish line.

maryland rebel race

I know I’ve complained in this post, but I really liked the Rebel Race! The race was a well organized, tough, and I would definitely do it again (after more training of course)!

If you liked this post, check out these too!

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