Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Liebster Blog Award, Version 3.0

Last week, I received a fun comment on one a recent post - one of my favorite bloggers, Hailey from Striding Strong, nominated me for a Liebster Blog Award! Thanks so much, Hailey!

I've received this award a two times before but am always honored to be recognized. I love discovering new blogs, and reading and participating in these types of posts is a great way to get to know some of the bloggers behind them. 

Anyhow, for those of you not familiar with the award, it's an online award that is given to bloggers from other bloggers. It's meant to help generate attention for new and upcoming bloggers, generally those with 200 followers or less.

Here are the rules for participating:
  1. You must link back to the person who nominated you
  2. You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the nominee before you.
  3. You must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award (with a small following)
  4. You must create 10 questions for your nominees
  5. You must go to your nominees' blogs and notify them of the award
Now that you know how it works, let's get this started. Here are Hailey's questions for me with my answers:

Are you a morning or night person?
Definitely a morning person. I like sunlight and getting things accomplished early in the day. I usually find it hard to stay up late at night!

What was your favorite childhood T.V. show?
Jem - those girls had the coolest clothes and accessories :)

Are you a dog or cat person?
I like both but if I had to pick, I'd say I'm a cat person. I have the most adorable grey kitty called Eddie and he is my best buddy. 

What is one of your current goals?
My number one goal for the year is to run a BQ time (sub 3:35) at a fall marathon. 

If you could visit anyplace in the world, where would you go?
The Galapagos Islands -the scenery alone would make the trip worth it, plus, who wouldn't want to swim with penguins and sea lions?

Summer or winter?
Summer! I prefer long days with warm temps and plenty of sunshine. Plus, it's better for running. Icy conditions are not for clumsy runners like myself.

What is your favorite movie?
I could try to be cool and name something hip. But ... my all-time fave is Alice in Wonderland. The old Disney cartoon version. It's so weird but way better than the typical princess-in-a-castle-saved-by-prince-charming Disney tale!

Do you have a sport you wish you could play? If so, which one?
I used to love tennis and played every chance I got. If I had more time, I would pick it up again.  

What is the last book you read?
Dandelion Growing Wild - the Kim Jones memoir/biography. It was a fascinating read and a true page turner. I love reading anything related to running, but especially about how some elite runners have worked to overcome incredible odds.   

A must-read for runners!

Who do you look up to most?
My mom - she's my best friend and is a true role model for hard work, patience and generosity. We have the best time together and I'm so lucky to have someone who shares my love of running and racing!

Now, it's my turn to pass the torch - here are the 10 bloggers I'm nominating:

More Beets, Please
The Fit Girl's Kitchen
Lace & Race
Food n' Focus
Oh ... Running
The Harmonized Run
Spaight Talk
Tracey's Space
Eating on the Run
Truly, Mary Margaret

My questions for these bloggers:

1. What is your favorite type of pie?
2. Tell me about your favorite pair of jeans - the ones you'll wear forever.
3. What is your favorite place to eat in MKE?
4. Are you always early or never on time?
5. What's your favorite workout?
6. What type of shoes do you workout/race in?
7. What is your typical coffee shop order?
8. Who is the first person you call when you have good news?
9. What are three words your best friend would use to describe you?
10. What is one current fashion trend you would like to see disappear?

As for the rest of you: I'd love to hear your responses, too! Answer one or all of the questions in the comments section :)

- ST

Monday, April 14, 2014

Oiselle Ladies Night Recap + This Week's Training

Last week, I attended a really awesome event. My favorite running store, Performance Running Outfitters, and Oiselle, teamed up to host a Ladies Night! 

The evening started with a 3-mile fun run. After everyone was back in the store, the local Oiselle sales rep, Cindi, showed off the Spring 2014 and Fall 2014 line. Lots of cute apparel - although I already own a lot of the Spring line, I can't wait to get my hands on the Fall stuff when it's available at PRO or online. 


It's events like this one that get me re-excited about running! PRO hosts fun runs every Thursday at 6pm at both the Brookfield and Shorewood store locations and I definitely recommend checking them out. Lots of fun and a great way to connect with fellow runners. 

Believe it or not, another race week is here. On Saturday, I'm racing the Hot Chocolate 5k in Minneapolis - part of a visit with my brother, Joe. Like my last race, this one isn't a goal race but that's not to say I don't care how I run. I ALWAYS care and will do my best to run according to the plan from Coach Matt

Here's this week's plan:

Monday: 4 miles + strides; Y-Kettle Bell Intervals Class
Tuesday: 6 mile workout, including 4x800m @goal 5k pace
Wednesday: 4 miles
Thursday: Rest Day
Friday: 4 miles + strides
Saturday: Hot Chocolate 5k!! (Plus w/u and c/d miles)
Sunday: 7 miles

Total: 32 miles

A lower mileage week, but I'm looking forward to resting my legs for this weekend and also for a final push before my goal May races!

Tell me: What gets you excited about running or working out? 

On a side note, I finally got the results from the Winter Series - I ended up placing 3rd AG for the series! 

- ST

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

This Week's Training + Fueling Miles With Pizza!

Where does the time go? It seems like it was only yesterday that I was picking my goal spring races and they seemed so far away. Now . . . they're just a few weeks away, which means it's almost go time!

As a refresher, the goal spring races:

Nicolet Bay 5k
Madison Bun Run 10k

I reviewed my most recent training block from Coach Matt and am really looking forward to the next few weeks. There are several challenging workouts on the schedule - and that's just the way I like it! This week's key workout is today and includes 15 hill repeats with a goal 5k pace 75 second interval at the bottom of the hill. I'm sure this will be quite the leg workout - no doubt I'll end up sporting compression socks to work on Wednesday!

As for the rest of the week, here's the plan:

Monday: 5 mile run w/strides + Y Kettle Bell Intervals Class + Strength Training
Tuesday: 8+ miles hill work
Wednesday: 5 mile run + Y-Fuse + Core Work
Thursday: 6 mile run + 3 mile run
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday: 12 mile run, inc. 2 min pickups
Sunday: 5 mile run

Total: 44+ miles

To fuel these miles, I've been eating as healthy as possible. A few sample meals:
  • Tuna Chickpea Salad + Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
  • Organic split pea soup (Trader Joe's) with 1/2 cup diced grilled chicken + 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • Baked Citrus Tilapia (tilapia baked in OJ, dill and chives) + Steamed Spinach + Boiled Beets
  • Chicken Sausage & Vegetable Pizza 

You're probably thinking - pizza??? Seriously, if you make your own pizza, it can actually be a decently healthy meal. Here's how I made a recent pie:

Chicken Sausage & Pepper Pizza

1 pizza crust (I used a Flatzza crust by Angelic Baking Company)
1/2 cup pizza sauce
2 Tbsp pesto
2 Italian chicken sausage links, sliced (I used Trader Joe's)
1 small red bell pepper, diced
3/4 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
1/2 small red onion, diced
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (2 percent)
1/4 cup shredded monterey jack cheese (2 percent)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place Flatzza crust in a pizza pan or on a cookie sheet. Spread pizza sauce and pesto on top. 

Heat chicken sausage, pepper, tomatoes and onion in a small non-stick skillet. When vegetables are soft, add mixture to the top of the pizza. Then top with the mozzarella and monterey jack cheeses.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.

My questions for you:
  • Are you training for a goal race this spring? If so, what is your race?
  • What is your key workout this week? Does it involve running, a tough session in the weight room or something else?
  • What have you been eating lately? Also, have you ever re-made one of your favorite 'splurge' foods into a healthier eat?

If only there was a way to make peanut butter cups healthier ... ;)

- ST

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

How Do You Handle Training Setbacks?

Ever have a workout that just doesn't go as planned? 

I had one of those yesterday. I looked forward to my track session all day. It was going to be my first outing to Hart Park of the season and I couldn't wait. I drove over after work, grabbed my spike bag and ... the track was closed for a football game. It was a total bummer, but I knew I wasn't far from the Pettit indoor track so I decided to drive over there. And ... the Pettit track was closed for repairs!

Hart Park - my favorite track

At that point, I had wasted nearly an hour driving around Milwaukee and still had a 9 mile workout to do. As I drove back downtown, I considered my options. Try a high school track that's not too far from downtown. Try to run the workout on the road. Go to the gym and run the workout on a treadmill. Eventually, I decided the best option was to run my warmup miles outside and then hit the YMCA indoor track for my mile repeats and cooldown.

Although it wasn't exactly the track workout I had been dreaming of all day, it was fine and the important thing was that I got my miles in despite the setbacks. I think that's what being successful in running often boils down to - being consistent and not allowing excuses to get in the way of workouts!

Hopefully the rest of this week will go according to plan. Here's my schedule:

Monday: 6 mile run + Kettle Bell Classes Strength Training
Tuesday: 9 mile speed workout, inc. 4x1 mile
Wednesday: 7 mile run + Strength Training
Thursday: 8 mile run + Y-Blitz
Friday: 6 mile run
Saturday: 11 mile run, inc. cutdown miles
Sunday: Rest Day

Total: 47 miles

My questions for you:
  • How do you handle workout setbacks?
  • What's on your training plan for the week?

Running is a gift - never take it for granted :)

- ST

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Faves: Spring Flystyle Picks

Runners rejoice - I think it's safe to say that spring is finally on the way! And this means it's time to pack away your tights, jackets and wool socks and pull out all of your spring gear. 

As always, I'll be sporting Oiselle, which happens to have some of the most stylish pieces this season. Here are a few of my favorites:

Lesko Shimmel paired with Distance Shorts for workout days


 Flyte Tank paired with Mac Rogas and Lux Glovers for everyday running

Tell me: What are you wearing while logging miles this spring?

 I'm in love with anything lightweight in bright colors!

- ST

Monday, March 24, 2014

Luck of the Irish Race Recap

Well, another year of the Winter Run Series is done! Luck of the Irish was the last race and I'm happy to report the series ended on a good note for me.

This giant medal includes logos from all six winter series races

Although not a goal race, I really wanted to race well. Along with wanted to end this year's series with a good race, I also wanted to do what I could to improve/secure my place in the age group points standings. Here's how the race went down:

My focus during the first mile was running a controlled pace. My legs felt great and I was so happy to finally race in a pair of shorts after a winter of being forced to wear tights.

Things started to get tough toward the end of the first mile when the hills started. Although the first hill seemed huge as we ran toward it, it actually wasn't too bad. Plus, after was a nice downhill to recover!

I was really making an effort to maintain pace during the second mile and think I was pretty successful. Until I hit another hill during the third mile. This one was so hard and I could feel my pace slowing to what felt like a crawl. I saw a few runners around me start walking but I was determined to keep running even if it was at a slower pace. But ouch - it hurt so bad!

After what seemed like an eternity, I reached the top of the hill and soon was running another downhill. And then I started the countdown to the finish. A third of a mile, two tenths of a mile, one tenth ... And the finish line!

Here are my race results:
Time: 21:51
Pace: 7:02 min/mile
AG Place: 4/38
Gender Place: 8/287


After crossing the finish line, I ran back on the course to find Mom - after all, it's tradition for me to run her in! So back up the hills for a nice little cooldown run.

I was pretty happy with how this race turned out and feel that my training with Coach Matt has already started to pay off. Can't wait to see what's in store for my goal races in May!

As for the series awards - turns out they will not be announced til April so I'll just have to wait in suspense to see if Saturday's race effort was enough to secure an AG series award!


My questions for you:

  • Have you ever participated in a race series? It so, what did you like/dislike about it?
  • Hills - love em or hate em?
  • How do you reward yourself after a successful race?

I actually like hilly courses - keeps things interesting and makes the miles go by faster!

- ST

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Running, By The Numbers

Recently, someone asked me how many races I've done. As I opened my mouth to answer, I realized, I actually had no idea. I've raced enough in the last three years that my number is well into the double digits! 

So, for fun, I decided to do a little "By the Numbers" that includes my number of races at each distance, medal count and PRs. Here's what I found:

Race Distances
2 Marathons
4 Marathon Relays
7 Half Marathons*
1 10k Race**
1 4-mile Race
33 5k Races 
1 2-mile Race

Medal Count
25 Medals Won
12 Finisher's Medals

Personal Records
3:43 - Marathon (October 2013)
1:46 - Half Marathon (October 2011)
45:53 - 10k (May 2013)
21:40 - 5k (August 2013)

Compiling these lists made me realize that my half marathon PR is super old! Last year, I used half marathons strictly as marathon-pace training runs but maybe in the next year I'll have to actually race one to better my PR. It's my least favorite distance but maybe getting in a good race will change my opinion :)

My questions for you:
  • Have you ever tallied up how many races you've completed? If so, what's your number?
  • What do you do with your old race bibs, t-shirts, medals, etc?
  • What's your favorite race distance? Also, what race distance do you dread and why?

Looking forward to hearing your number ;)

- ST

*I omitted the half marathon I took a DNF
**I omitted the 10k that I paced my mom