vrijdag 31 maart 2017

Friday Link Love

DariuszSankowski / Pixabay

Happy Friday!  We’ve made it!  Yaaaaaay!

As I do from time to time, here are a few links that caught my eye over the past few weeks.

Number One Scarcity: Time – I definitely feel that. I don’t know how people get so much done!

The Question to Ask Yourself When You Want to Quit – Great for anyone working on a healthy lifestyle

Let’s Talk – A beautifully honest post

I Cannot Outrun Depression – Another beautifully honest post.  We have all heard the phrase “Running is cheaper than therapy.”  This is true, and sometimes all you need is a good run.  But sometimes you need more.  And that’s okay too.

Fat Otters Don’t Need Food – This is apparently the “honest writing” section of the link post.  Kelly writes beautifully about the struggles that many people face with eating disorders.

The Agony of Triathlon Kit Sizing – Lord, yes.  So very annoying.  Shouldn’t spandex be easier to figure out?

Why We Cheat and How to Stop It – Cheating at races seems to be becoming more and more prevalent.  Why?

Body Acceptance on Instagram – Sometimes I wonder if Steena has crawled into my brain

I miss my running buddy Kim, but she’s been having some awesome races lately, most notably at Gasparilla and now she’s chasing down a PR.

How about some humor? I’ve Got Heart and Courage, Yes I Do! I’ve Got Heart and Courage How ‘Bout You!  I have some of the best teammates!

And food.  Chrissy continues to destroy me with her recipes.  This time, we have Sweet Potato Chocolate Cake.  Someone make me this please.

The post Friday Link Love appeared first on Elbowglitter.

woensdag 29 maart 2017

Wednesday Workout Recap

Once again, I’m fundraising for Team Fight and the Ulman Cancer Fund.  I’m kicking off my fundraising with a Stella & Dot show.  If you’re interested in shopping, check out the site.  25% of the sale (all of the Stylist proceeds) are going to UCF.  If you want to just make a straight donation, click on the image in my side bar or click here.  Now, on to the recap.

After a week of snow and concert rehearsals, things were finally back to normal last week.

Monday – Choir rehearsals.  Yep, no rest for the weary.

Tuesday – Team Fight Swim.  We did a lot of kick drills.  It was a killer workout.  I was dying.  But it felt awesome anyway.

Wednesday – FTP test.  I really thought this would go terribly.  Given the kick drills the night before, this couldn’t go well. And yet it went really well and I added 4 watts to my FTP.  This basically means I’m getting better and my workouts are going to get harder.  So it’s sort of a win-lose situation.  (I originally typed “win” as “wine” and maybe it’s a wine situation too.)

Thursday – I was Burned. Out.  Long day at work, late lunch, exhausted from the FTP test.  I’m doing my best to not skip workouts, but I needed the night off.  So I did an easy walk (to the delicious chicken restaurant in my neighborhood), had a tasty dinner, and went to bed early.

Friday – Had an easy crosstraining day on the schedule, but opted to pick up Thursday’s missed 5 mile run.  Since I get off work early on Fridays, I felt comfortable running outside.  My legs were still dead, possibly because I didn’t do enough on Thursday.  Gotta keep moving or things tighten up.  But I survived.

Saturday – 2 hour training ride based on my fancy new FTP.  Ouch.  But it was awesome nonetheless.

Sunday – Easy 7 mile run.

Next week?  TAPER!

The post Wednesday Workout Recap appeared first on Elbowglitter.

maandag 27 maart 2017

It’s Cherry Blossom Ten Miler Week!

These cherry blossoms are by my house. I don’t even have to run ten miles to see them.

Even though it feels like I just raced, it’s race week again!  (This is what happens when I schedule a race for every month.)  This Sunday is the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Miler, a pretty popular race here in DC.  It’s definitely one of my favorites.  I really love the ten mile distance.  It’s long enough that I don’t feel like I have to sprint the whole time, but it’s not as long as a half marathon (obviously).  CUCB was the first ten miler I ever ran, a huge jump from my prior 5Ks, and the first race I ran after moving to the DC area.

I also love the course.  I know a lot of people hate running Hains Point, but I don’t mind it at all, and when the flowers are blooming, it’s absolutely perfect.  I’m not sure what the flower status is going to be this weekend, but either way, it’s a nice, peaceful part of the race course.

In terms of race goals, I don’t really have any.  I’d like to continue my recent trend of strong running and come in with a fast (for me) finish, but as always, it’s all going to depend on how I feel.  No chance at a PR here – my ten miler PR is from before my heart issues were diagnosed, and it’s going to take a lot to get me back to that speed – if it’s possible at all.  But that said, if I can beat my time from last year, it will be the fastest 10 miler I’ve run since that diagnosis back in 2010. So I suppose something under 2:08:46 is my goal.  But I’ll be delighted with anything under 2:10.

This weekend, I’m excited to run with a bunch of my Coeur teammates.  Well, “run with” is a loose term.  We’re meeting up beforehand, running our own races, then meeting up for brunch.  Some of them will have time to run extra miles and shower before brunch.  I will be pushing to make it to brunch on time.  The joys of being a slower runner.  But no matter my pace, I have not once felt like a lesser team member because I’ll be in the party wave at the race.  (The purple wave is totally the party wave.)  And they’ve promised to save me a seat at brunch.  That’s the most important part.

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Barre Calorie Burn Workout: 15 Mins- BeFiT GO

donderdag 23 maart 2017

I have a love/hate relationship with FTP tests

markusspiske / Pixabay

I often say to my coworkers that I don’t understand how they get so much done during the week.  I feel like I go to work, I workout, I shovel food in my face, and I sleep.  Meanwhile, some of them are raising kids, doing all sorts of fun activities, and one is off building furniture.

Then I realize that I’m doing two hour long workouts.  Add to that getting ready for the workout and showering after and I start to realize where my evenings are going.

(The coworker who builds furniture and takes care of her family though, I’m fairly convinced she has a time turner.  Or doesn’t require sleep.)

This isn’t a complaint.  I enjoy my two hour long workouts, plus indoor workout time is also my tv time, so I get some quality entertainment at the same time.

Last night, I had yet another FTP test.  My goal over the winter was to raise my FTP, and I wasn’t sure I was succeeding in that goal.

Wait, let’s backup.  For you non-cyclists, FTP probably means File Transfer Protocol.  I’m not uploading anything here.  FTP is also Functional Threshold Power, and it’s a measure of the maximum power you can sustain for an hour of riding.  Thankfully, testing doesn’t mean killing yourself for an hour on the bike.  Instead, you ride as hard as you can for twenty minutes, then take 95% of that to figure out your FTP.

What’s it good for?  Well, it’s a good measurement of your fitness level, but there are also a lot of great FTP based workouts, where you do intervals at varying percentages of your FTP.  So ride for 20 minutes at 75%, then 10 at 50%, then 5 at 95% or whatever.  (Don’t do that workout, it’s probably not good.)

Wednesday’s FTP test had the potential to go very poorly.  The night before, I had swim practice, where the coaches tried to drown us with tabata drills.  So much kicking.  Which is awesome, and I love a good hard swim workout, but it meant I was coming into the FTP test a bit more fatigued than normal.

Well, it turns out that didn’t matter.  In fact, it may have helped.  This FTP test was an improvement over my last.  That’s awesome – I’m getting stronger!  I’m becoming a better cyclist!

Of course, this also means that my workouts will now be scaled up, so insert sad trombone here.

Seriously though, I’m pleased.  While I don’t necessarily feel like I’m working that hard, clearly I am.  I think it means that I’ve found that perfect balance between hard work and enjoyment.  I’m not pushing so hard that I’m burning out, but I’m also not going too easy on myself either.  Now to just remain in this sweet spot for as long as possible.


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maandag 20 maart 2017

Inside Tracker – March 2017 Tests

If you’ve been reading a while, you know I’m a fan of Inside Tracker.  I’ve written posts about my first test and my second test, and you can learn a lot about how the service works in those posts.  In short, you go get a blood draw, and in a few days, you get your results and all sorts of data from Inside Tracker.  What I love is that they don’t just look at what’s considered “healthy” by your doctor, but they’re also looking at what is optimal for an athlete.

It’s been a year since I’ve done tests (though I did input some data from a doctor ordered test at my annual physical last summer), and my diet hasn’t been so great as of late, so I was interested to see how the results would play out.  Turns out, the numbers were better than expected, but I still have some solid work to do.

I’ve got a number of things in optimal zones, but here I’m just going to talk about where things aren’t optimal, because I believe that this is where Inside Tracker truly shows its worth.

Note – you can click on any of these to see more.

So my blood sugar is trending up.  This isn’t a surprise.  I had done a really good job of watching my general sugar intake and lately, I’ve been finding jelly beans stored in my pocket.  So that needs to stop.

My cholesterol is down from my last test, but that was from a doctor’s test that I input myself, and it wasn’t a fasting blood test.  That said, it’s still up from my last Inside Tracker test, and that’s not something I like to see.  Much of this is genetics (joy of joys), but I can absolutely do some work on this.

Similar results with my LDL, though I’m closer to where I was at my last Inside Tracker test.

Rounding out cholesterol, we’ve got HDL and Triglycerides.  Nothing in the optimal range, but I’m working on it, but at least I’m in the officially “healthy” range.

What’s key about all of these?  One big way to help these numbers is to lose body fat.  And this is exactly why I work on weight loss.  Or more importantly, fat loss.  I’m huge on accepting your body for what it is and not worrying about your weight.  But on the other hand, you also have to accept your health.  As Inside Tracker says, Blood Don’t Lie.  I’m confident there are people much heavier than me who have much better results on their blood tests, so it’s not solely weight – genetics plays a huge role here.  But for me, if I want to get my body into those optimal zones, I need to continue to whittle off the excess fat.

Step one, fewer jelly beans in my pockets.

Ferritin is a number that I’ve been working on, and you can see how the change in my diet has been increasing that number every so slightly.

B12 isn’t trending in the right direction, and I think this one might be where I look into supplements.  I don’t really want to add octopus or beef liver to my diet right now.

I’ve seen pretty much no change in my Inflammation Group, which tells me that what I’m doing isn’t working.  I’m not any worse off than I was, but I’m also no better.  Once again, one of the options is reducing calorie intake, which hey, I’ll be doing anyway.  This might also be where I look into supplements.  I’m wary of adding too many supplements, but Vitamin C isn’t a bad one.  I usually only add additional Vitamin C when the plague hits my office, but maybe it’s time to make that an every day thing.

In general, I’m going to research some more supplements.  This is an area where you can’t just say “Hey, I’ll take a pill for that,” because supplements aren’t all created equal.  I’ve already decided to add spirulina, because as long as you’re taking a supplement that’s free of contaminants (do your research), there aren’t any side effects.  Other supplements don’t work in the same way, so it’s worth doing the research and talking to a medical professional.

Full disclosure – as a member of Team Coeur, I get a discount on Inside Tracker tests, so I paid a discounted rate for this test, but as you can see, I’ve been a fan of the company from well before I started to receive a discount.  All opinions are my own.  As was the blood.

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HIIT & Spin Circuit Workout for Fat Loss: 20 Min- BeFiT GO

donderdag 16 maart 2017

Thursday Ramblings

Security / Pixabay

This past week has been a bit more crazy than normal.  I still haven’t adjusted to time change.  I suppose I like the added daylight in the evenings, but do we really need Daylight Saving time?

I have a choir concert this weekend (If you’re in DC, come see us!), which means rehearsals three nights this week instead of the normal one.  Of course, the snow that came in on Monday night thwarted that plan.  For safety’s sake, Monday’s rehearsal got cancelled, so now we’re in limbo as to whether or not we’ll need a Saturday morning rehearsal.  I don’t want a Saturday morning rehearsal.  Saturday mornings are for sleeping in, going for a bike ride, and this weekend, going to see Beauty and the Beast!

The snowstorm also didn’t help my time change issues.  I got to work from home on Tuesday, which meant sleeping in.  Yesterday morning was rough!  Even the cats didn’t want to get out of bed and they are usually 100% ready for breakfast.  Maybe by next week, my body will have this thing figured out.

A crazy week also means a screwed up workout schedule.  My coach gave me a plan for the week that accommodates all of my extra rehearsals, but then with the snow, swimming was out since the pools were closed.  I will get back to the pool eventually!  Heck, next month I’ll probably be looking at an outdoor swim in my wetsuit.  But a missed swim was just the excuse I needed to get back to my strength training plan.  I have a tendency to follow that quite well for a month or so, and then it all falls apart.  Spandex season is coming!  I need to get as toned up!  (Well, as much as is physically possible.)  Plus, you know, the added strength will be good for my race season and all.

So here’s to next week being much more normal.

The post Thursday Ramblings appeared first on Elbowglitter.

dinsdag 14 maart 2017

Coeur Team Kits are Here!

I got some awesome mail last week.  My Coeur Sports team kit arrived!  This is my third year on the team and each year, the design of the kits gets better and better.

If you love the design too, don’t worry, it will be available next year.  Because of the love for these team kits, they are team exclusive for one season, and then the next season, they’re available for purchase (without the sponsor and other team specific info).

These kits get better and better.  I’ve done a review of the kit before, and I still love them.  The chamois in the shorts is amazing.  Zero issues with chafing, even during my 70.3.  But now, they’ve added 8″ shorts to the line (I’m happy in the 5″, because I have short legs, but I know that 5″ is too short for some people) and they also have tops without a built-in bra, since many of us still have to wear a bra under our kits.  I don’t find that the built-in gets in the way, but I’m looking forward to trying a top without the built-in.

I’m also simply looking forward to racing with this team again.  The Coeur Team is filled with awesome women.  If you see any of us out on a race course this year, be sure to say hi!



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Hot Legs & Booty Chair Workout #6: Sweat Factor- Sam

vrijdag 10 maart 2017

Battling Your Genetics

geralt / Pixabay

A few weeks ago, news broke out that The Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper had a heart attack while working out.  Thankfully, he is going to be just fine.  He has said that heart issues run in his family and his mother died from a heart attack, so this is most likely a genetic issue.  He’s a very lucky man.

Unfortunately, after this, I’ve seen comments online from people saying things like “See, exercising and being fit clearly doesn’t mean you’re healthy” and “If he didn’t work out so much, he wouldn’t have had a heart attack.”

Well, you’re not Bob’s doctor, nor are you all seeing, so you don’t know if that is true or not, now do you?  I bet you’re not even a doctor at all.

To quote from a USA Today article

While vigorous exercise can sometimes act as a trigger for a heart attack, it’s less likely to happen in someone who is already fit, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. The overall heart benefits of exercise “far outweigh” any risk, the group says.


“Physical fitness and a heart healthy diet don’t confer immortality,” but do lower risks, says Prediman K. Shah, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles. Good health habits also help people recover from heart attacks and prevent recurrences, he says.

So no.  The exercise was likely not the trigger for the heart attack, and because Bob is so fit, that’s likely why he survived and will recover.  Sure, his genetics tried to take him down, but his healthy habits are what kept him alive.  And of course, he’s going to make some dietary changes to make sure that he is doing everything he can to keep his heart healthy.

It’s so sad to see people use someone else’s health issues as a reason to not exercise.  “This could potentially kill me, so I’m not going to do it.”  You know what else could potentially kill you?  Just about everything.  Airplanes, cars, falling vending machines, the list goes on and on.

So if you’re using Bob Harper’s heart attack as an excuse to sit on the couch and eat chips because then you won’t die of a heart attack in the gym, you’re fooling yourself.  (Okay, so if you never go to the gym, you won’t die of a heart attack there, but that’s just semantics.)  In general, being active is healthier than being inactive.  Eating well 50% of the time is healthier than eating well 5% of the time.

This doesn’t mean you have to be skinny, and I certainly don’t think you should use any of The Biggest Loser’s tactics to get “healthy.”  In fact, the tactics that they and many others use to “shed the weight” are ultimately unhealthy and bad for your body.  Instead, I think Bob’s heart attack is a reminder that even though we can’t change our genetics, we do have some ability to change how those genetics impact us.

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dinsdag 7 maart 2017

Race Report – 2017 Little Rock Half Marathon

Sometime last year, a group of friends started planning to do the Little Rock Half Marathon.  Due to work commitments, I wasn’t able to join in, and then in November, my work schedule changed, and within two hours of that change, I was registered for the race, had purchased flights, and had planned to room with a friend.  While running isn’t my top training priority right now, I didn’t want to miss out on a fun weekend with friends.

When I registered, I didn’t really put two and two together and realize just how close this was going to be to the Donna Half Marathon.  I don’t typically race this close together anymore, though I definitely used to.  But hey, that just meant that getting up to race distance wasn’t going to be an issue.

While discussing my training plan with my coach, I emphasized that I didn’t want running to be my main focus.  The last time I was heavily run focused was before Donna in 2015 and I just didn’t enjoy it.  I don’t like running four times a week.  My race that year was stellar – about a minute and a half slower than my PR, and I was delighted with my results, but I wasn’t sure that chasing a PR was what I wanted to do.  I do this for fun, and if I hate all of the training, I’m failing in that goal.

So this winter, I’ve been very bike focused, while still running twice a week (a shorter run of 4-5 miles and then a longer weekend run).  By doing that, I’ve still been able to pull out races in the sub-3 category, which is always my goal.  My PR was set at the 2012 Virginia Beach Shamrock Half Marathon at a blistering 2:48:33, so I am quite happy with 2:55ish finishes with less training.

I did very little planning for the Little Rock Half.  I mean, I trained, but I didn’t look at the course, and only sort of paid attention to the weather.  As race week arrived, it looked more and more like it was going to be rainy.  Not ideal, but I’ll take rain over crazy heat for any race day.  (Well, maybe not for triathlons… I’ve done both and I’m not sure which I prefer.)

For race day, I knew I wanted to push the run, so I didn’t plan to run with anyone, but I wasn’t setting any specific goals, so I wasn’t nervous going in, nor did I really eat properly.  Way too much unhealthy food, way more alcohol than normal (which is really any alcohol – I don’t drink regularly anymore).

Race morning dawned and it was raining and chilly.  So I wore a long sleeved shirt over my short sleeved, figuring that if I got warm, I could take it off and tie it around my waist.  That sort of thing doesn’t bother me.  We also got incredibly fashionable trash bags from the hotel.

Black is slimming, right?

I ditched the trash bag before the race, but I saw people running in trash bags and ponchos for the entire half, and even saw some marathon finishers cross the finish line wearing plastic outerwear.  I didn’t think it was that cold.

Now, cold weather is my jam for running.  I even think that the fact that my wet long sleeved shirt pressed against my body helped my run.  I was miserably cold after, but during the run, I felt great.

During the first few miles, I felt like I was going out too fast, so I tried to pull back, but wasn’t very successful.  So I just decided to see how I felt.

Around mile 5, I started to wonder if I was on PR pace.  I also started to wonder just what my PR was.  I knew it was somewhere in the 2:48 range, but wasn’t sure where.

At mile 6, I started to do the mental math.  And continued that for the next few miles, as I continued to tick off sub-13 miles.  (I know, not fast for many, but my PR was at a 12:52 pace, so this was good.)

By mile 8, I knew that if I kept up the sub-13 pace, I could set a new PR.  So I decided to keep pushing, but not push too hard.  I knew there was a distinct possibility that I was going to blow up somewhere around mile 10, but I figured it was worth it for the attempt.

So I just kept ticking off the miles and holding to my intervals, hoping that my body would hold out.  It hurt, but in the good way.  I certainly didn’t feel like I was dying, as compared to many other races.  I think the temperatures absolutely helped.

By about mile 12, I knew I had it, and I was right.  I sailed into the finish with a time of 2:46:52, destroying my 5-year-old PR by over a minute and a half.  Definitely an unexpected result, but I think going in without that expectation really helped, and the conditions were just about perfect for me.

Clearly all the work I’m putting in on the bike has helped tremendously.  I love that I can see improvements like this without killing myself on run training.  I love killer bike workouts and loathe killer run workouts, so this is a huge win all around.

The race itself was awesome.  Amazing course support, and so very many spectators out there, even with the rain and the cold.  And best of all, the finisher’s area was all held inside the convention center, so we could get out of the cold and rain when we were done with the race.  This is definitely a race to keep on my list.  And the finisher’s medal is awesome!  Definitely bigger than normal, and the spiral on the back spins.  The marathon medal is insane – literally twice as big as the half medal and it pretty much takes up a person’s entire chest.  So if you race for medals, this is the race to run.

I set a PR, colored a llama, and drank a beer. All in all, a good day.

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Beginner Core Strength Workout #1: Steve Jordan

vrijdag 3 maart 2017

February Mileage Update

ImageParty / Pixabay

As I mentioned last month, this year, I’m tracking my mileage much more strictly than I did last year.  That is to say, I’m actually tracking all of my mileage.  I have no idea what distances I covered last year, so I’m determined to figure it out for this year.

February was a shorter month, so my mileage was definitely lower.  Plus it’s still technically the off-season.  Next month, I fear these numbers.

Running: 38 miles
Biking: 180 miles
Swimming: 3.8 miles

Not bad considering I had a trip in there where I did run a half marathon, but didn’t do much else in the way of exercise.  The swimming number is a little misleading too, since much of that was done when I did the Coeur 50×100 early in the month (note – that feels like so long ago!).

My goal for March is simply to stick to my training plan.  No missing workouts.  On the days I have strength and cardio, I’ve been doing the cardio first, based on the common wisdom that I will be more warmed up for the weights that way.  Instead, I’m going to flip that around and do my strength training first.  I find that if I’m going to skip a workout in a week, it’s going to be the strength training following a cardio workout.  If I flip them, I get the strength workout out of the way first, and I won’t skip the cardio because race season is coming!

Yearly Totals
Running: 84 miles
Biking: 407 miles
Swimming: 8 miles



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donderdag 2 maart 2017

40 Bags in 40 Days

This year, I’m trying out the 40 Bags in 40 Days Decluttering Challenge.

No, it’s not actually getting rid of 40 bags of stuff, though that would be nice.  Rather, it’s about decluttering one area a day for 40 days.  I’ll be honest, there will be days that get skipped, so my goal is to declutter 40 areas.

What I like about this challenge is that it’s not just physical areas.  What I really like about this challenge is that it also focuses on digital decluttering.  Let’s be honest, we all have way too much email piled up.  As of right now, I have over 1400 emails in my personal inbox and something like 29,000 in my work inbox.  These are both problematic.  For work, I can’t actually delete very much, but I can certainly sort it into files.   For my personal email, I KNOW I can delete a ton of it, and much of it can be archived out of the inbox.

Another digital area I want to tackle is my photo storage.  Because I don’t need 40 blurry pictures of my cats.

Of course, there are plenty of other areas to go through as well.  I like the idea of breaking it down into very achievable goals.  On the list of areas to declutter, some examples are “junk drawer,” “food storage containers,” and “mail.”  Nothing too big, but when you take 40 little things, the end result certainly adds up.

It’s been an entire race season since I’ve gone through all my gear and race shirts and I’m sure it’s past time to get rid of more than a few items.  Just because it’s all neatly stored away doesn’t mean that I need to be keeping it.

I also need to go through my makeup.  It’s embarrassing how very expired some of it has to be.  Do I really need 30 lip products?  Nope.  Time to declutter.

Anyone want to join me on this mission?  Tackle a few areas in your life that need to be cleaned up?

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woensdag 1 maart 2017

Wednesday Workout Recap

I think it’s slowly starting to sink in that the off season is just about over.

Monday – Rest Day

Tuesday – Swim practice.  The good thing about the off season is that the pool is pretty darn empty.

Wednesday – Another FTP test.  I was dripping with sweat after this, and yet it still wasn’t my best.  It was definitely my best mid-week test though, so thumbs up for working out fatigued?

Thursday – 5 mile run

Friday – Easy walk plus some strength work

Saturday – 2 hour structured trainer ride.

Sunday – 6 mile run

Up next?  Race week.  Again.

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