Category: Fitness

Friday Fitness: Princess in Training

Guy!!!  A week from today I’ll be at Disney!!!  I’m so excited about my first runDisney experience.  We’re going to have so much fun running the Disney Princess half marathon next Sunday!!  My costume is ready, I’ve started packing, and my waiver is printed!!  My only concern now is the weather!  It’s going to be hot!  We’ve spent so much time training is very cold, snowy, and windy weather, so the warm temperatures are going to be a bit of a change…..  Luckily I’ve done more treadmill running this training cycle than I’ve probably ever done in my life, so I’ve had some warm runs in there.

Last week was a bit out of the ordinary for me.  Friday I usually swim or strength train, but we had a busy schedule, so I had to work around it.  So, while Pumpkin was at a park program I joined a friend for a snowy hike at a local park.  Despite the inches of snow on the ground it was surprisingly warm outside!!

New photo by Heather Hawkins / Google Photos

Saturday was a rest day!  It’s always weird to rest on Saturday!  I took a rest day on Saturday because Sunday was a race day!

Our local running club has some great races throughout the year that members can run for free.  And I’m a member!  So I headed out on Sunday afternoon to run the Frostbite 5.  I’ve run it a few times in the past and it’s always a good time and brings out a good group of MRTT peeps.  And apparently 

New photo by Heather Hawkins / Google Photos

Apparently I like this outfit because I just saw that I wore the same thing for last year’s race!  I always struggle with afternoon races, not know when/what to eat beforehand and I was feeling a little off before the start of the race, so I wasn’t sure it would go very well.  But I set off at an 8:30 min/mile pace and was feeling pretty comfortable there.  About two miles in I was started to cramp, but I kept on going because I knew if I could keep it up I could PR.  So I just kept running.  The hills in mile 4 slowed me down a bit, but I crossed the finish line in 43:45 (8:41 mi/mile) shaving almost a minute off my previous 5 mile PR!!  

Monday I taught Group Power.  And the first leg track just about killed me after racing the day before!  I wasn’t sure I would be able to walk after that!

Tuesdays have been my treadmill day.  Cupcake has basketball practice in the evening, so I’ve been running on the treadmill for 30 minutes while she’s at practice.  This week I squeezed in 3 miles in 27 minutes because I had to wait a few minutes for a treadmill to open up.

New photo by Heather Hawkins / Google Photos

We took a red faced selfie together.  😀 

Wednesday was Group Power round 2.  It’s always harder the second time of the week!  And I dressed the part with my limited edition heart Balega socks and my Run Heart MRTT tank

Yesterday I ran 2.14 miles with a friend for our Luv2Run virtual.  And then I ran 1 more for good measure.

New photo by Heather Hawkins / Google Photos

And just like that it’s taper time!  Though, I’ve been pseudo-tapering for a week now.  Upside of a for fun half marathon!  I’m looking forward to a light week this week and then Disney fun!!!!


Have a great weekend!!!


Friday Fitness: Start of a New Year

Hey, guys!  It has been forever since I’ve done a Friday Fitness post!!  I had intended to give you a race recap back in September after Market to Market Relay, but on Thursday of that week I was in a car accident which totaled my car, broke my hand and left me feeling a bit funky.  

Luckily I only walked away with a broken hand, but you don’t know how often you need two hands until you only have 1.  Also, I loved my car and they don’t make it any more so I couldn’t get a new one, which left me terribly frustrated with the situation.  #firstworldproblems  

Anyway, back to fitness.  Back in July I took a group fitness training class and started teaching MOSSA Group Power at the local YMCA twice a week.  You’ve heard me talk about going to Group Power class on Mondays, so after the 3rd time the previous instructor asked me if I would be interested in taking over her position I finally said yes.  It’s been fun!  I’m getting paid to go to the class I was already going to!  Luckily I completed my assessment the day before my car accident and I passed!  Though I then spent the next 8 weeks leading the class without actually lifting weights because of my broken hand.  But now I’m back at it and trying to regain my strength.  So I’ve been doing that and of course running!

Right now I’m training for a February half marathon.  And it’s not just any half marathon…’s the Disney Princess Half Marathon!!!   I am SO EXCITED to runDisney!!!!  We’re making it a girls’ weekend, too!!!!  It’s going to be so fun!!  

OK, so on the past week’s recap…..

Friday I headed over the Y to take a class.  A friend of mine teaches an early class on Fridays called Body Burn.  This week it should’ve been called Booty Burn!  We did so many squats and lunges and jumping lunges and plyo squats……  It was brutal!  After class I spent some time on the elliptical so I could chat with a friend who had just arrived and so Pumpkin could play with her friends in child watch.  I had planned to go for a hike afterward while Pumpkin was at a park program, but it was pouring down rain and the trail was flooded.  And I forgot my trail shoes.

Saturday we woke up to a fresh layer of snow.  Like 3 inches of it.  And drifts that were up to midshin because it was super windy.  I delayed my usual morning run for a lunch time run and knocked out 8 slow miles (11 min/mile) on the snow covered sidewalks and bike path.  And then I took the kids sledding in the afternoon.

Sunday was a rest day.

Monday I taught Group Power.  It was the first day of a new release, so it was a fun class.  There are a lot of push ups in the new release and boy was my chest sore afterward!!  

Tuesday did not go according to plan.  School was cancelled which means I had the kids.  And since it was crazy cold (feels like negative temps) and the sidewalks were covered in snow so I couldn’t load up the stroller and bike rider, so it was to the Y for me!  I have run on the treadmill more in this training cycle than I have in the last 2 years. I don’t like it. But I cranked out 3 miles (9:32 min/mile).  

Wednesday was Group Power again and since it was the second go ’round of the new release it went better than Monday and I was happy with the weights I used.  And the number of tricep push ups I cranked out.  

On Thursday I really wanted to shopping at the outlet mall while Pumpkin was at school, so I took my run to the outlet mall!  Most of the sidewalks and all the bike paths are still covered in snow, but the sidewalk around the mall was clear!  So I convinced a friend to come run mall laps with me and then we went shopping!!  Momma needed a new pair of boots (and found an awesome deal on a clearance pair at Columbia!). I was 2 miles in before she showed up and got another 3 in with her (10:10 min/mile).  

So, this is me, trying to survive winter training…..I usually like winter running, but this winter has been extra harsh!  But it’ll be worth it to run through Cinderella’s castle!!!



Ragnar Relay Chicago 2017 Recap

Welcome to Friday Fitness: Ragnar edition!  A few months ago my friend, Katie asked me if I would be interested in driving up to Chicago to run with her team.  I thought for a moment and decided to just go for it.  If you’re not familiar Ragnar is a relay race made up of 12 runners covering 200-ish miles in less than 2 days.  You run day and night.  This wasn’t my first relay, but definitely the longest!

I drove up to Chicago on Wednesday and helped pick up our vans from the rental company (which took forever!!).  Then we ran back home, threw our stuff in the van and headed to our meet up point to pick up the rest of the team.  Once everyone was loaded (6 people to a van) we hit the road and headed towards Madison, WI.  We stopped along the way and had a delicious dinner (and were super disappointed we couldn’t take the leftovers with us).  We finally arrived at our hotel and crashed pretty quickly.  

Our team had an 8 am start time.  Van 1 headed to the start line early and van 2 (my van) arrived around 7:30.  We chatted, finished decorating the van (including strapping an inflatable flamingo, who we named Maggie, on top) and saw our first runner off.  Van 1 headed to the next exchange and van 2 headed back to the hotel to eat and pack up.  

We arrived at major exchange 6, went through our safety training, picked up our bibs and shirts and checked out the vendors and the merchandise tent.  There was a BBQ food truck there that smell so good, but I was runner #7, which meant I was the first runner of our van so I couldn’t eat.  *sad face*

My first leg was 7.5 miles and was rated “very hard.”  It started off (at 12:48 pm) on some surface roads and toward a trail, which was gravel and a little annoying to run on.  Luckily there was a good bit of shade, but the heat and humidity was rising.  I stopped to take pictures of flamingos and an MRTT magnet along the way, but the first 4 miles went really well and then we were off the trail and out into the blazing sun.  Mile 5 smacked me with a bug in the eye and a hill.  Mile 6 was a little better and then with about a mile and a half to go I choked on my water and a van pulled over to ask me if I was ok.  I was fading fast and it dawned on me that I hadn’t eaten!  I struggled to the exchange point, handed off the slap bracelet and headed to the van for food!!!

The rest of my van ran through their legs and we headed to the next major exchange to trade off with van 1. While waiting for our runner to come in an announcement was made that the leg would be held because there was someone chasing runners on leg 13.  We hung out for a bit with the other half of our team (the only time we saw them was at the major exchanges) before heading out to drive towards our next major exchange, which was about 40 minutes away.

We stopped and had some dinner and then headed to the high school that served as our exchange point.  Some of the girls took a shower, most took a nap.  I tried to stay awake because I was the first runner and I figured if I went to sleep it would be really hard to wake up and run.

My second leg started around 12:07 AM.  I was really nervous about the night run, especially after the incident at leg 13.  I was hoping to buddy up with someone, but the closest person to me was planning on running about 30 sec. faster per mile than me, so I just headed out on my own.  She passed me about a mile in, but it turned out there were quite a few people out there.  I was never alone.  I even ran into a banana!  The scariest part was running under an overpass.  We crossed a few bridges, through a park. The last one had the sounds of a waterfall and then the bridge started bouncing!  There were 3 of us on the bridge at the time and we all let out a squeal when it started bouncing.  It threw our footing off!  The cooler temperatures and the adequate fueling helped make the run less painful!  6.2 miles complete!

By the time our 5th runner was out on the course I was really starting to feel like lack of sleep.  I had been awake for about 22 hours at that point and I was starting to feel sick, so I laid down in the van and tried to rest as much as I could in a moving vehicle and arriving at exchange points.  I don’t know that I actually got any sleep, but at least I didn’t feel sick.  And when we arrived at the next major exchange at 5 in the morning we were greeted with a beautiful sunrise over the lake!  As our runner entered the exchange we sang happy birthday to her and it was a very cool moment.

And then we headed to the hotel to sleep!  I face planted into the bed and got 3 hours of glorious sleep!  I was really disappointed when I woke up after 3 hours!  But it turned out to be a good thing because van 1 was ahead of schedule and we needed to get moving!  We rallied the troops and headed out on the 45 minute drive the our last major exchange. After a stop for gas and to restock water we arrived with little time to spare.   

I started my last leg at 11:52 AM on a very hot and sunny day.  There was no shade on the path! Luckily it was a short leg of just 3.1 miles.  I decided not to even look at my watch and just run the best I could in the conditions.  I took it slow and easy and it went much better than I thought it would!  I was so happy to be done and checking off that final box!

With just 5 runners after me we were nearing the finish line!!!  We saw some great sights along the way, pretty houses, gorgeous views of the lake and lots of runners heading toward the beach!  The finish line was at Montrose Beach and because it was such a warm day the beach was crazy busy!!  We got stuck in a very large traffic jam causing us to miss our runner coming across the finish line.  Van 1 and runner 12 came across it together on our team’s behalf and we met them at the after party.  We were done!!!

We were rewarded with our bling and took lots of celebratory pictures.

We finished in 31:49:36.0, which was almost 2 hours faster than our predicted finish time!

We didn’t stick around too long for the after party because the 20+ mph wind gusts were throwing sand everywhere, including into our pizza.  

It was a crazy whirlwind of two days!  I’m happy I can check it off my bucket list.  I’m not too sure I’d want to do it again.  Sleep deprivation and I don’t get along!  But I had a great team who made it a great experience!  

Friday Fitness: Pro Football Hall of Fame Half Marathon Recap

My winter of training was for the Pro Football Hall of Fame half marathon, which was this past Sunday.  I followed the Run Less, Run Faster training plan for this race, as I did last year.  I just love how this plan takes your pace and gives you a training plan with distance and pace.  It takes all the guesswork out of it!  I love having my intervals planned out!

The training went really well.  I had a few hits with sickness and one really bad 10-miler, but I also had a really good 10-miler and 11-miler.  And some hard, but successful interval runs.  And a 5K PR.  

Nasty weather moved in to the area the day before the race.  And it rained overnight.  We arrived at the start line to wet roads and puddles.  (and a delay because the traffic was so backed up – like 2 miles down the highway)  And it was the warmest day of the week.  Not a good start.

We met up with 3 other chapters of Moms Run This Town before the race, which was awesome!  And thanks to the delay I could make one more potty stop before heading to the start line (I drank 18 oz of nuun filled water on the way there!).

And I headed to the start line and settled in with the 4:00 marathon/2:00 half marathon pace group.  Pacer Mike was great!  He was very friendly and gave a great pep talk.  In full sun and warm temperatures the race began.

I was nervous about sticking with a pace group because I tend to want to start out just a tad slow and speed up as I get into a groove, but I also wanted someone to keep my sights set on.  There was a lot of bobbing and weaving to start (slow people – start in the back!), but we hit our target of 9:08 min/mile for mile 1.  The road started thinning out and we were cruising (8:55, 8:59, 8:56) even with two water stops (one unmanned) in there.  Somewhere between miles 5 and 6 there was a relay exchange and another water stop (9:11, 9:12).  And I was still just cruising, not feeling too bad (9:03, 9:08).  And I somehow lost sight of the pacer.  But in that 9th mile the sun was relentless, the roads were black and the water stops were spreading out.  I was getting tired.  (9:50)

And then I did something I hate to do.  I walked.  I was struggling in the heat and my hip was feeling really tight.  So I run/walked miles 10, 11 and 12 (11:29, 10:18,10:32).  My 2 hour finish time had slipped from my hands and then the 2:05 pace group passed me, which left me feeling really discouraged.  I was ready to give up in the last mile.  I just wanted to quit.  And I almost did, but then I saw an MRTT gal from another chapter on the sidelines cheering me on and I hung on for the last bit and crossed the finish line at 2:06:55.

And after catching up with my MRTT girls ahead of me we commiserated about how the course wasn’t as flat as they claimed it would be.  We would call it more gently rolling hills.  And the humidity was a killer!  (I felt like I was trying to breathe out of a straw).  And despite not finishing in 2 hours, I did PR and that was something to be proud of.  I shaved over 6 minutes off my previous half marathon PR.  

After celebrating with the rest of our MRTT crew (a few more PRs and first time half marathoners!) we headed out to get some food!!!

Swensons Drive In came highly recommended by locals and we’re suckers for milkshakes after a race, so we headed over.  And it was sooooo good!  The rootbeer milkshake was seriously amazing.

And included with our registration was free entry into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, so we decided to check it out.

And I posed in the leg cast of a football player who is well over twice my size and more than a foot taller than me.  It felt good to walk around a bit before the 3+ hour car ride home.  

Despite the race not going quite like I wanted I still had a great time with my MRTT crew on our runcation.  But I was pretty ticked off at my weather app reminding me the rest of the day how the temperature would be trending cooler the next day……….

I don’t have any more half marathon plans this year, just a bunch of relays, so this PR will have to hold me over for a while.  

OH, and in other exciting news this week I registered for next year’s Run Disney Princess Half Marathon!  Woo hoo!  That’ll be a fun runcation!!!


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Friday Fitness: St. Patrick’s Day 5K

I haven’t raced a 5K in 15 months.  I’ve run a few.  I’ve run two 5K races (here and apparently I didn’t do a race recap for the other!) as part of challenges this year, but not actually raced them.  So, last Saturday the local running club had a 5K race on the calendar, so I decided to run it.  And I’m so glad I did! 

My BRF (best running friend) joined me for the race.  And by joined me I mean let me chase her for 3.1 miles.  We checked in, got our shoe chips and headed back to the car to stay warm.  We saw a chicken get out of a car and did a lap around the track to warm up before a quick potty break and grabbing another friend.  And then we found ourselves at the start line.  And it was go time!

The course promised to be flat and fast and I had a PR in my sights.  We started out way too fast.  #raceproblems  We hit the 1 mile mark at 7:50.  It didn’t hurt as bad as I thought it should. But we just kept running.  My watch got all wonky and lost the GPS signal, so I really had no idea what pace I was running after about 1.5 miles.  I just kept running.

Lindsay was able to keep up the pace and I started to fall a bit behind, but I had her bright coral shirt in my sights and just kept chasing her.  The race started and ended on a high school track, so when we made our way back around the school and hit the track I looked up to the scoreboard and saw the time ticking away.  And I couldn’t believe what I saw.  As I made my way around the track the clock said 24:xx and I kicked it up a notch because I wanted to see if I could make it across the line before it hit 25 minutes.

I saw Lindsay cross the finish line up ahead and she turned back to cheer me in and I crossed the finish line in 24:54!  I (again) shaved over a minute off my 5K PR!  And (again) got 4th place in my age group. (If I was only 1 year younger I’d have gotten 3rd! – Lindsay got first in that age group, though there was a medal mix up and she ended up with the 2nd place medal!)  All the speedwork I’ve been doing has paid off!  Hopefully it’ll pay off come half marathon day, too! 

After the celebration at the finish line, I got my boobie prize and we headed back out to run a friend in.  (She also got a PR!!)  And then because the training plan said to run a million miles we went out for 2 more miles to make it a total of 6 for the day (which is less than the plan said………..). 

And of course we had to stop for a cocoa/coffee on the way home.  #tradition  (milkshakes in warm weather)

I’m still super excited about the new PR and tomorrow I have a 10K (MRTT virtual).  Is there another PR in there……?