Finally Back to the Training

Apparently the A1A Marathon and Half Marathon has a race poster.
Apparently the A1A Marathon and Half Marathon has a race poster. This runner is a real heal striker.

Here we are, less than one month from my first Half Marathon. I am starting to get a little nervous about the whole thing, especially since my training got pretty messed up after having the flu. But with two weeks of illness behind me, I am back in the game and ready to take the A1A Half Marathon on. Having the layoff gave my legs some nice time off, but also forced me to reevaluate my goals a little. I went into this thinking that I’d kick some butt and break two hours, and that’s still what I want to do, however, I am realizing that I will have to be happy with simply finishing. Northern Indiana is still deep in winter’s grips, so my runs will be a mix of indoors and outdoors to accommodate for weather. Here is my training for the rest of the week:

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 5 miles indoors slow + yoga

Wednesday: 3-4 miles with run group + yoga

Thursday: Biking + yoga

Friday: 5 Miles + yoga

Saturday: Biking + yoga

Sunday: 8 miles

Total: ~22 miles

It’s also important to remember that I am 10 weeks out from the Holy Half. With the kinks worked out at the A1A Half, I should be ready to go come March. To increase speed a bit, next week I am going to start incorporating some speed work into my training schedule.

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training update with very little training

The A1A Half Marathon is 33 days away and for the past week, I have not been training. I came down with the flu and was too sick to be awake, no less to run. This certainly causes some hiccups in the training plan, but I am more concerned about getting over the flu than breaking 2 hours on my first half marathon. I am not sure when I’ll be back to my usual intensity, but if all goes well, I’ll try for a (slow) 30 minute run on wednesday to kind of shake it all out. Send me lots of positive and healthy vibes while my immune system finishes up this battle.

Pretty excited for my half marathon line up!
I am committed to the Holy Half in March. Pretty excited for my half marathon line up! Isn’t their logo cute?

In the mean time, I signed up for my next half marathon of the season, the Holy Half at the University of Notre Dame. This is where I go to grad school and many of my friends have ran the race. It is student run, and isn’t particularly fast (there are a lot of turns to keep it on campus), but it is the race that goes through my usual running grounds, so I gotta do it! I am not sure what my goals will be, which will likely be very dependent on how well the A1A half goes. As we get closer, I’ll update you on all of that.

Last summer, I participated in a race series called DINO (Do INdiana Outdoors), which has trail races, triathlons and mountain bike races. This year, I am hoping to do a few more of their races. March 14th kicks off their series with a 15K trail run not too far from my house. They have a few other trail races that I have my eye on. Here is my plan for races over the next few months.

Feb 15 – A1A Half Marathon

March 14 – DINO Mounds State Park Trail 15K

March 28 – Holy Half Marathon

April 25 – DINO Town Trail Run 15K

So, as I try to get better, I am signing up for races. It is a good motivator to eat well and sleep a lot so that I am ready to kick some serious butt. I’ll keep you updated on how my training goes over these next few weeks, but any advice on getting back after you’ve been pretty sick is very much appreciated!

Run in the Sun… and back to the snow!

Sorry about being MIA over the holidays. It is always craziness down south. My husband and I are both only children, so we are showered with attention when we visit. I spent a lot of time with my family and catching up on my yoga practice. My mom, who is also a yoga teacher, and I went to a class every day that I was home and had a great time experiencing some new instructors. Taking new classes reminds me to step outside the box when I teach and is a great way to jumpstart a more challenging practice. AND…while at home, my mom and I cooked up some fun plans for this Valentine’s Day (the day before the A1A Half). Check it out…

This is a workshop I will be teaching in South Florida at Juliana's Art of Yoga. If you are in town, you should check it out!
This is a workshop I will be teaching in South Florida at Juliana’s Art of Yoga. If you are in town, you should check it out!

I figured that this would be a wonderful way for me to curb the nerves for the race and it is a fun thing to do with my mom!

So, you may be wondering how I did for my holiday training. …It was pretty bad. I spent most of my time doing yoga and hanging with family, and not too much time running (although I did get a few runs in). Despite my lack of training, I think I needed some time to check out and concentrate on lowering my stress levels and practice mildfulness. However, now I am back in Indiana and ready to get back to the roads, at least with a little bit more consistency. My training this week will be with an intention of going slow and long. My husband promised to join me for a few runs, so I’ll have some company.

Monday: Much needed rest!

Tuesday: 5 miles slow and yoga

Wednesday: 5 miles and yoga

Thursday: Hike along Knobstone trail

Friday: Trail run 4 miles

Saturday: Hike along Knobstone trail

Sunday: Hike and run 8 miles

Total: 22 miles

How is your training going? Have the holidays made it a little harder to get it done? Don’t beat yourself up about it, just make it a priority in the next few weeks. Happy New Year everyone!

Training Update: Heading home to sunny South Florida!

I am going home! I have been looking forward to this for weeks and I head out tomorrow. I couldn’t be more excited. There will be sun and heat and more yoga than I could shake a stick at. I’ll get to see my whole family, plus my husband’s family. It really doesn’t get better than this. I do have a job for the next 11 days in South Florida. Training. Training. Training. This will be my last opportunity to run in the environment that I will be racing in come February. The race day switch from freezing temperatures to Florida heat and humidity has been making me a little concerned. Over the next two weeks, my job is run while it’s hot and get used to doing it. Along with that, I’ll be doing tons of yoga and hanging with the fam. This is going to be a pretty awesome vacation.

So, I got the coolest Christmas present, a bike trainer! My mom sent it to me because she didn’t want me to get stuck with it on a plane. Now, I can cross train whenever I want. I can go for a ride, regardless of the weather outside. This is so so so great! I was incredibly thankful, and it is going to be incorporated into my training when I get back.

This is the trainer! It works great and is really pretty quiet. If you live in a cold place... you should totally get one. I'm convinced that it is the best gift ever.
This is the trainer! It works great and is really pretty quiet. If you live in a cold place… you should totally get one. I’m convinced that it is the best gift ever.

Training this week:
Monday: rest
Tuesday: 5 miles easy
Wednesday (GO HOME!): 4 miles
Thursday: Yoga
Friday: 6 miles with negative splits + yoga
Saturday: yoga
Sunday: 8 miles long run + yoga
Total: 23 miles

Have a great week before Christmas and don’t forget to train! 🙂

Reflections for Intensions

The end of the year is a perfect time to reflect on our accomplishments and growth over the past 12 months. As runners, we always try to compete with ourselves for that better time and longer distance and sometimes, it just doesn’t happen. Resolutions come in many forms, and may (or may not) be reachable in just a single year. Sometimes our goals can take an entire lifetime to achieve and those, quite honestly, are the best ones. It’s important that as we approach the end of the year, that our reflections lead to positive thoughts and actions towards ourselves and others.

One year ago, I was still recovering from my ankle injury (a full tear to my ATFL), which meant no running for me. I had always considered myself a runner, but I hadn’t even laced up the running shoes in over 6 months. My injury had sidelined my passion and I knew my fitness was suffering for it. My husband and I would go hiking and I would be struggling to keep up (to my defense, he goes really really fast!). I decided that I needed to get back to the trails and begin running again. I hadn’t raced in well over a year, but I felt confident that I could work my way back. My intention for 2014 was to run again, and in the process work up to a half marathon. Did I do it? …Well, kind of. I ran again. I raced again. But I didn’t run that half. In October, when I had intended to run a half, I felt an old injury resurface, and in great wisdom (and a whole lot of frustration), I decided to back off and push the half distance until 2015. So, here I am. I am training for that half and it feels right this time. No pains, no hickups. Maybe 2014 wasn’t the year of the half marathon for me, but it sure seems like 2015 will be.

Here are my 5 goals and intentions for the upcoming year:

1. Run a half marathon (actually, run like 3 or 4…but let’s start with 1)

2. Train in the mornings more often..for real this time

3. Confidently do forearm stands away from the wall (in class, while instructing people through it…haha!)

4. Practice gratitude and appreciation for what is here…always. No matter what life throws.

5. Clean my room once a month (this is a vast improvement over never…which is how often I clean it now)

This is me practicing forearm stand, confidently, in my running shoes, when I thought no one was watching.
This is me practicing forearm stand, confidently, in my running shoes, when I thought no one was watching. This is a rare occurrence for me. 

So as you approach the new year, what is it that you intend? Will you approach these goals with positivity even if they fall short? Take the new year as an opportunity. Be positive.

I’ll leave you with an affirmation as you reflect. 

Lead me from the unreal to the Real
Lead me from the darkness to the Light
Lead me from the temporary to the Eternal 

– Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 

Happy Holidays, everyone! Namaste. 🙂

Bring some balance to your day

A little over a year ago, I tore the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) in my ankle. This is the most commonly torn ligament in the body and is the main place people have injuries from an ankle sprain. One of the major problems associated with this kind of injury is balance instability. I went to physical therapy and it was to my therapist’s surprise that even with my full tear to the ATFL, I was still able to balance on the injured foot with relative ease. She attributed this to my history of a vigorous yoga practice, and I think she was right. Yoga is great for building muscles around joints, so that when you do get injured, you have a backup system to rely on. Although my ankle still had a great deal of pain, I could balance without trouble, which helped me heal from my injury even quicker.

The ankle has many ligaments and tendons that can be stretched or torn when you roll the foot a little too far. Practice with balance can help strengthen your stabilizing muscles and potentially prevent injuries to this area of the body.
The ankle has many ligaments and tendons that can be stretched or torn when you roll the foot a little too far. Practice with balance can help strengthen your stabilizing muscles and potentially prevent injuries to this area of the body.

This week I’m going to touch on three cool (and helpful!) balance postures. There are 26 bones in the foot and ankle alone, making this a very complex area of the body, especially for injury prevention. Because of this, we always need to keep ankles (and knees) healthy, and one way to do that is by building the stabilizing muscles in your legs. Balance doesn’t have to be restricted to that, though. We can also stretch and open our bodies while we build the muscles necessary to keep us healthy while we run.

Tree Pose

Tree pose is often considered one of the classic yoga asanas. In almost any class you attend, you will be doing this posture, or some variation on it. But tree pose is not solely a balance posture. It is also a hip opener. To harness it’s hip opening powers, remember to draw the knee of the lifted leg back and down. You should feel a stretch in the inner thigh and outer hip.

Come into this posture by shifting your weight to one side and lifting the opposite leg. You can test the waters a little by keeping the toes on the ground and the heal of your lifted foot on your ankle. If you would like to go deeper, place the lifted foot on your calf or draw it all the way up above the knee. The only rule to tree pose is to make sure your lifted foot is not on the knee. We don’t need any extra pressure there.

Tree Pose: Place the lifted foot on the standing leg. Make sure that the foot stays above or below the knee.
Tree Pose: Place the lifted foot on the standing leg. Make sure that the foot stays above or below the knee.

Standing Pigeon Pose

Standing pigeon pose is a staple among runners. Before almost any race I go to, I see at least one person in this posture. Standing pigeon has a lot of fun variations including a forward fold, a few twists and an arm balance. Today I’ll be going over two of these variations. I’ll hit on this posture a little more in depth another time.

Start by shifting your weight on to one foot and lift the opposite leg while keeping the lifted leg’s knee bent. Begin to bend your standing leg and take the ankle of the lifted leg on to the knee of the standing leg. You’ll notice that as you bend your standing leg deeper, the hip opening of the stretch becomes deeper.

Standing pigeon: Take the ankle of the lifted leg on to the knee of the standing leg. Bend the standing leg. The deeper you bend the standing leg, the deeper you will be in the pose.
Standing pigeon: Take the ankle of the lifted leg on to the knee of the standing leg. Bend the standing leg. The deeper you bend the standing leg, the deeper you will be in the pose.

From here, begin to fold forward over your legs. If you know your hips are tight, have a block or some stacked books in front of your standing leg. As you fold forward, the stretch will become more intense. Place your fingers on the ground or on your block for stability.

Standing Pigeon variation: Bend over until your fingers touch the ground or a block. This will get nice and deep into your IT band and outer hip.
Standing Pigeon variation: Bend over until your fingers touch the ground or a block. This will get nice and deep into your IT band and outer hip.

Eagle Pose

Eagle is one of my favorite balance postures. It is great for stretching the outer hip, shoulders and upper back. I am often surprised how often this posture gets overlooked, since it manages to hit almost every part of the body. I almost always do eagle in my yoga classes. This is a very complex posture, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it the first time.

To start, bring your arms out to a “T” and then wrap the right arm over the left so that your hands touch opposite shoulders. If your shoulders are tight, stop here. To go deeper, lift your hands off your shoulders and see if you can wrap your arms around each again other so that your palms eventually are together. Make sure both of your feet are together and then bend your knees coming into chair pose (a squat with the feet together). Then, lift up your left leg, so you are balancing on your right and place your left leg over your right (the toes of the left leg can come down for stability if needed). See if you wrap your left foot around the back of your right leg so that your arms and legs mirror each other. Continue to draw the shoulders down your back and the elbows against your chest.

Eagle Pose: wrap the right arm over the left and see if you can bring the palms together. Then, bend the knees and wrap the left leg over the right.
Eagle Pose: Wrap the right arm over the left and see if you can bring the palms together. Then, bend the knees and wrap the left leg over the right.

Be sure to even these postures out on both sides. If you know that instability is a problem, use a wall or a chair to help you with balance. Balance can be fun, but it is also humbling. Everyone falls, and that is OK! The strength and flexibility you will build with these postures will not only help you with your running, but also with your daily life. Enjoy some balance!

Namaste! 🙂

Race Week Training Update!

We are now 68 days away from the A1A Half Marathon and I couldn’t feel better about that! Last week was great! I ran my long run (7 miles) with the Fleet Feet Trail Runners, which was awesome and the rest of my runs went pretty well, too. I did my long run on trail in a local county park to prepare me a little for my trail race next Saturday. This next week brings more snow and a busy schedule as the semester ends, so I’ll be squeezing my runs between tons of work.

The trail running group from this morning. We all had an awesome time!
The trail running group from this morning. We all had an awesome time! Photo was taken by one of the other runners named Erin.

In the past, I have had a considerable amount of trouble with my race day routine. My stomach will start to bother me, I don’t sleep well the night before or I feel compelled to drink way too much water (as if aid stations don’t exist). My goals for this race are to nail down a good morning race routine and to (hopefully) break one hour. My plan is to eat a piece of bread, an Luna energy bar, some coffee and some cliff gummies for breakfast. I’ll have to remind myself not to fill up too much on liquids.

Training this week:

Monday: 4 miles (nice and slow)

Tuesday: Yoga

Wednesday: Yoga + 5 miles (3 miles at half marathon pace)

Thursday: Yoga + 4 miles

Friday: Lots and lots of rest!!

Saturday: 6.2 Race!

Sunday: 2-3 mile slow recovery run

Total: 21 miles

So there you have it, another week in the books. Hopefully my training next week goes as well as this past week. Wish me luck on my race saturday, and as always, feel free to give any advice for race day nutrition. I’ll post an update after the race to let you know how I did!