Friday, July 10, 2009

4th of July Weekend

We're all so happy that it's summer time. And needless to say, we've been 'occupied' with work, house upgrades, chauffeuring Anna, wedding planning, etc. I've been thrilled to have sunlight filled evenings with Z, A & Sasa and we're all healthy and happy.

We went up to the Sleeping Bear Dunes area in northern Michigan to enjoy a long holiday weekend and enjoy it we did. Here's the picture version of the trip:

Our first night up north hanging out on Lake Michigan's shore at dusk.

The top of Pyramid Point. They relax while I killed myself running around the dunes!

Z & A hiking down from Pyramid Point.

Came across this 'hooping for fitness' stand while walking around Traverse City.

We have some pictures from the day of July 4th, which I may be missing here. In the morning, we went to Pyramid Point, then we went to TC for brunch at a lovely bistro and the rounded out the afternoon at the fair where Anna got to go on the merry go round and other rides BY HERSELF while Z, Sasa and I looked on. We napped in the afternoon at the beach and then stayed up to watch the fireworks.

Oh, and we camped in the evening!! Phew.

Hanging out at Cherry Republic.

Family shot :) Too bad Sasa is gnawing Z's arm off!

On the beach!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Speed & Strength

I've been out of the blogging loop but I'm still out there training.

First, my running this week has been derailed by both work and bad weather – all is not lost, however, which is the beauty of only running three times a week; it makes it easier to make up the miles. Right now, my goal is to keep a steady 12-15 mpw until I start a training program for fall half marathon. Instead of increasing the miles, I'm focusing on FAST miles. I was really happy about last week and every run felt amazing.

Tue 6/9: 4.5 Miles @ 10:02 pace HR-170 TE-5.0

Thu 6/12: 3.5 Miles @ 8:34 pace HR-174 TE-4.4

Sun 6/14: 4.2 Miles @ 9:36 pace HR-170 TE-4.8

(I've been keeping an excel sheet running log because I'm a dork and like playing around with all the data points. I also make sure that as much as possible I jot down a few notes post workout to note how I felt. If anyone has a favorite way that they track their workouts, I would love to hear about it!)

Another big change in my workouts is that I've abandoned the traditional weight circuit for a workout that emphasizes lower weights (3lbs max) and very high repetitions (50-100 range). It's been about a week of this type of strength training and I really like the results. My muscles are looking leaner rather than bulkier– a little weight training for me and I can get pretty big for my frame.

My original inspiration was from pilates but then I decided to do some desk research about alternative strength training that doesn't bulk up my muscles. Here, I found Tracy Anderson's method. Typically, I shy away from trendy workouts that force me to buy anything (DVD, equipment, memberships, etc) – but here, I just took advantage of her philosophy and found MANY free resources on the web:

I love strength training but get bored with too much routine. I'm sure I'll constantly find ways to gain strength without bulk – besides, I wouldn't want to show up my fiancĂ© ;) He's hot – he can have the big muscles. J

Friday, June 5, 2009

No Go on NYC – Next Steps

Yesterday, I received the email:
Thank you for applying to run the ING New York City Marathon 2009. Unfortunately, you were not selected in the U.S. lottery drawing. Please understand that we have to limit the size of the field to ensure a top-quality experience, and I hope you get to experience it yourself one day!
That's totally fine. Now, I'm considering the Detroit full or half marathon but I'm going to shelf any ideas until I shake this COLD I'm having in the JUNE! I cashed out of work yesterday at 3pm after fighting an entire morning of the groggies and decided I needed to sleep. Besides, it was difficult for me to get anything done – at least, anything quality.

While I may need to derail a few runs this week, I'm sure it'll be for the best. May was a great month of running for me. I'm really happy that I achieved my goal of getting in 11-12 miles a week, completing at least 1 strength workout a week and finally, kicking some butt on the push-up challenge. To date, I have completed Week 2, Day 3 of the program (4 sets of 12, 13, 10 and 10 respectively) and then maxed out after four sets with 15 good form push-ups. It feels GREAT!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memorial-Day Weekend

After an amazingly sunny and active weekend, I came home after work yesterday and slept for 12 hours. Whoa. I had no idea I was so sleepy but I guess my body was telling me something?

On Saturday, we spent the day in Ann Arbor and enjoyed the farmer's market, walking around downtown and getting mauled by people on the street so they could pet our blonde bombshell, Sasa. Z and I scored a new pair of summer sandals and in general we're all SO PUMPED for the summer. What do you expect? It's cold for 9 months out of the year in the state!

Our blond bombshell.

On Sunday, I caught up with one my oldest and dearest friends, Eliza who came over for a bbq. Earlier that day, however, I ran a 6-miler with the pup and Z on his bike and then took a quickie 6 mile bike ride with Z & Anna on the tandem. Liza came over just in time for us to wind down with a couple (maybe a few too many) of coronas. Since she's the closest bridesmaid (the rest are spread across the globe - CA, NY and the Philippines), I got a chance to show her the hideous dresses I expect the four of them to wear - JUST KIDDING!!

Memorial Day consisted of an epic bike ride (epic because Anna did it!) from our place to my parents' place about 9 miles down the road - and then of course, a long break for lunch - yum! Z & I did an out and back while Anna got a lift back home from her Lolo and Lola. We then dove right into some gardening and I literally, spent two hours pulling out and moving out rocks. Yep - previous owner had a rock garden of sorts and we're making them disappear. One rock and at a time. Yikes.

Our little girl.

There were rocks all over this flower bed before. Seriously.

Last week's workouts:

Mon: Day 1 of push-up challenge & Strength | Max push-ups after 4 sets: 8 + Strength Circuit
Tue: 3 miles | 32'11; 162 HR; 10'44 pace Ran after work around Bishop Lake - lots of bugs already. Eew.
Wed: Day 2 of push-up challenge | Max push-ups after 4 sets: 10
Thu: 2.8 miles | 32'33; 159 HR; 11'37 Neighborhood run with A & Z on tandem - super easy and fun run.
Fri: OFF
Sat: Day 3 of push-up challenge | 60 XT walk around A2 - Max push-ups after 4 sets: 12
Sun: 6 miles | 1'03'00; 164 HR - Super easy long run with Z & Sasa along river trail. Bike ride with Anna afterwards ~6 miles.

This week's training:
Mon: Stretch & Strength | 1'41'04 Bike ride 138 HR - Missed strength.
Tue: 4 miles | Missed!! Took a nap at 6pm pre-run and slept through the night!!
Wed (today): 4 miles | Week 2 Day 1 Push-Up Challenge
Thur: 3 miles + Strength
Fri: OFF
Sat: XT 1 Hour
Sun: 4-6 miles

My photographer is a little behind uploading pictures so stand-by :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Company on my Long Run

This past weekend, Z and I invested in a tandem for Anna and WE LOVE IT! Summer has a whole new meaning with the new found mobility and I'm so happy that like us, Anna loves it too!

On Sunday, we tested out the new toy on my long run. The stats are a little goofed because of the numerous breaks that we took:

6 miles| 1'03'00 |~11'00 pace


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mid-Week Update

I guess it's not really mid-week any more, eh?

Despite a unseasonably crazy work week, I've managed to stick to my training plan. I missed my planned 35 minute cross train yesterday because of late night in the office but I made it up the following day. I'm trying to stick to the trianing plan and force that time into my schedule (:

Monday - Stretch & Strength
30 minutes of Yoga.

Tuesday - 3 Miles
32'15 | 5.0 TE | 166 HR | 10'40
I ran this on the treadmill and maybe because I was tired, it just seemed so...hard.

Wednesday - 30 min XT

Thursday - 2 Miles & Strength
22'14 | 3.8 TE | 167 HR | 11'00
35'00 | Walk along the river trail with Z & Anna on her bike.
Completed half of my circuit training but cut it short 'cause I needed to get into the office.

Friday (today) - OFF

Suunto's Training Effect function on my heart rate monitor is definitely helping me understand my slower than usual miles this week; Last week's long run - for now -- was fast for my current aerobic level.

Of course, at the time, it didn't feel like it at all - it was such a beautiful day and I ran along the river...etc. I really got into a zen-like groove and I didn't feel as thought my heart was working overtime.

Meanwhile, my mid-week runs are often run on a treadmill (for now), since I'm home alone with Anna in the AM and mentally they seem so much harder.

I'm just looking forward to progressing. It feels really good to back into running and I'm happy to take those 'cross training' walks. Still haven't quite gotten used to 'recovery' runs - I usually just go all out apparently, according to my numbers.

Favorite pics from our walk last night:

Monday, May 11, 2009

M-Day Weekend Wrap Up

I had an awesome Mama's Day weekend! Thanks to everyone who sent their well wishes

Mother's Day Squeeze

The main themes of the weekend included gardening adventures, a waterfront long run/ playtime and umm, Star Trek. Wow – pretty wild weekend, eh?

Z's company treated us to an afternoon at the theatre and afterwards, we ended up tearing apart our front yard attempting some serious landscaping. Surprisingly, it's been so much fun and quite the workout. I'm new to the world of home-owner and apparently, you have to do stuff like this to a certain extent whether you like it or not. Yikes.

On the running front, I'm pleased to report a great Sunday long-run along the river trail. Z & A followed came along with Anna on her new bike and Z encouraging her along. They're so funny together!

Since I haven't already started, I'm posting a wrap up of last week's training plan against my actual workouts. I need to better incorporate a strength regimen into this plan. Oops. Power yoga with Rodney Yee has been amazing – definitely check it out to mitigate soreness, increase flexibility and add a little extra strength training to your program.

Week 3 / 8.5 miles / 2:50:00 hrs


Planned Workout


Avg Pace

Avg HR




Stretch & Strength




2.5 miles

2.0 miles






35 min XT

35 min Walk - 1.9 miles





2 miles & Strength

2.0 miles MISSED Strength










50 min XT

50 min YOGA




4 miles

4.5 miles







10.4 miles




Training Effect (TE) numbers are unique to my Suunto t3c, which so far, I've found to be really helpful. Clearly, from the numbers above, I've had one too many intense training sessions for my abilities. It doesn't necessarily FEEL that I'm working this hard but its probably because I'm in denial about what my system can take at this point. The below table is from Suunto's training guide.