I won the lottery!

The Chicago marathon lottery that is!

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Sorry, if you were hoping it was the $$$ kind of lottery…no, I cannot buy you a Ferrari or fund your child’s college education! 😜 Honestly, getting in the Chicago marathon feels like a million bucks, even if this prize is only worth $195… of my own money…oh wow, that’s awkward I almost forgot I pre-paid for this race! 😂

Running the Chicago marathon has been on my running bucket list since I graduated from college and moved to Chicago in 2014, but for many reasons it has not happened yet. Between graduation in 2014 and now I’ve only entered the lottery one other time- in 2015- and I was not chosen. It was a blessing in disguise, though, because I spent most of 2015 injured and would not have been able to train adequately once I was healed up in the middle of the summer. I’ve been at the marathon every year since I moved here to volunteer and/or cheer people on. And before 2014 I used to watch the live stream on TV!

A look back at my Chicago Marathon experiences over the years:

(L: Volunteering at the first water stop in 2014 with my now husband/ R: Hanging at the post-race party in 2014 to congratulate my now mother-in-law for finishing)

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(In 2015 with my now husband after the race. He PRed in his first Chicago and second ever marathon. He’s hoping to run well under 3 hours in 2018! I also volunteered at the first water stop in 2015 with my now mother-in-law.)

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(In 2016, after the race where my now husband proposed! See more about the proposal below. I volunteered at the first water stop again with my now mother-in-law and sister-in-law and he ran.)

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(2017 was the only year I did not volunteer at the first water stop. My husband and I just watched my mother-in-law run and we did a 7 mile run in between all of the cheering.)

Looking forward to Chicago 2018:

In 2018 I’m ecstatic to finally be the one racing and not watching! The Chicago marathon holds a special place in my heart because it is where I got engaged in 2016! 🙂

The brief story (maybe I’ll share a more detailed version in the future :P): After the race and in the post-race party, my now husband told me he wanted me to buy him beer, so I started walking toward the vendors. He then jogged up behind me and said he wanted to join me in buying the beer…but then he stopped me, got down on one knee, and proposed! 🙂

 

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The only bummer is that this year my husband he did not get in the race, despite running a fast enough time to automatically qualify him (although he did not run a marathon in 2017, so his time is over a year old, and maybe that’s why he did not get in). I was hoping for us to be together for my first marathon, but at least he can still watch me! :/ We are both avid, passionate runners and our relationship started in high school (2009) because of running and it continues to be one of the greatest sources of joy in our marriage. We are looking into other marathons for him to run instead of Chicago or he could be a charity runner. He’s being an awesome sport about it and is genuinely happy for me!

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So, what am I going to do differently the rest of 2017/in 2018 to ensure I make it to Chicago  2018 healthy and strong?!

  •  Work on hip/glute/IT band/core resistance band and body weight exercises pre or post run 2-3 days per week
  • Yoga on my own or in a studio 1-2 days per week
  • A longer overall body strength session 1-2 days per week
  • Build up my mileage slowly
  • Race to gauge where I am at in my training (5ks and a half marathon are already on the race schedule, more TBA)
  • Get a coach in the late spring. My husband and I know a lot about running, but I want to expertise of someone who has run several marathons and has Boston qualified. I already some ideas in mind! I want someone who can help me reach the goals below.

What are my A, B, and C goals, as of now, for the Chicago marathon in 2018?!

  • C Goal: Finish…it is my first marathon after all!
  • B Goal: 3:30 or faster (Boston Qualify)
  • A Goal: 3:15 or faster

Are any of you joining me at Chicago in 2018?! If so, what are your goals? 

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I’m an Ambassador?!

Guess what?! I’m a 2018 BibRave Pro! What the what?!😱 I’m still in disbelief that someone besides my mom, sister, and husband think I’m cool enough to promote running! Cue the the tears of joy… 😛 So, what exactly is a BibRave Pro and what is Bibrave?!

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I’m glad you asked! Until this fall, I was wondering the same thing… I kept seeing people using the #BibRavePro and #bibchat on my Instagram for their training runs and races while decked out in orange Bibrave gear and assumed it was a running clothing brand or something…but then I did some research and saw it was a website dedicated to race reviews. I also reached out to one of my favorite running bloggers who is a second year BibRave Pro: Connie at Constantly and asked her what it was all about. She highly recommended the Bibrave website, told me about the product review and free race opportunities AND encouraged me to apply to be a BibRavePro! I am still shocked I was chosen! 🙂

Bibrave reminds of the website Rate My Teachers , but that might be the teacher in me making the comparison. 👩🏼‍🏫🤓 On Bibrave, you rate the races you’ve run based on a variety of factors such as course scenery, aid stations, difficulty, and swag. It is similar to the concept of Rate My Teachers where you look at reviews to decide if you want to switch to a different teacher for next semester or write an awesome review for a good one (which, P.S.,  is much appreciated coming from a fellow teacher :P). On Bibrave, you might look at reviews when deciding if you want to shell out the big bucks for a new race or you might write a review to share your experiences during a race, either positive or negative to help out fellow runners. It is a really cool concept!

I cannot wait to have all of you join me in 2018 to review races (from 5k and beyond), products, and to form an awesome running community of  runners all over the United States and world! 🙂 Please follow along on my BibRavePro journey here, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Also, check out my discounts page for some race and product discounts. 🙂 Finally, please let me know if you have any questions about this blog or about being a BibRavePro- I’d be happy to help out!

Where I’ve been and why I’m not running the half marathon tomorrow

As I sit here munching on some dry cereal before yoga class, I feel a flood of emotions feelings that I cannot pinpoint…but I will do my best to try:

Uncertainty. Hope. Sadness. Frustration. Anger. Jealously. Happiness. Exhaustion. Fear. Ambition.

These last 6 weeks since I updated the blog have been a surprise and an adventure to say this least. I’ll take this quick minute to give a shameless plug for my Instagram (@blackbeanqueen), which I update much more often than here, so some of you may know a little more about what’s been going on. So, check there if you want more frequent running updates and random pictures of my food (like the one below) 😉

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(Santa Fe Scramble: tofu, black bean cakes, salsa and hash browns from Tweet)

Anyway, before I dive into why I’m not running the half marathon, I’d like to give a dual life update and recap of the last several (subpar) weeks of training.  So in addition to my wedding in July, i underwent another major life change in October: I got a new job! I was pretty happy with my old job and wasn’t actively looking for new positions, but when an awesome biotechnology company found me it was too great an opportunity to pass up. I’ve been working there for about a month now. 🙂

It was a bit of struggle with my old job and now with my new job, to figure out training since the hours (at least initially) are not very regular and I have a pretty long commute. Regardless, I did the best I could and tried all kinds of methods to fit in training: morning runs in the dark, super late runs after work in the dark (sometimes with my husband), treadmill runs, and doing most of my runs on the weekend (I do not recommend), but it was still a struggle when my hours were not regular. On the days I had to report to work at 8 am, a morning run was not feasible as I woke up at 5 am as it was just to run before 9 am start days.  I couldn’t draw myself out of bed at 4 am when I was going to bed at 11 pm-midnight, could you? Then, on the flip side if I don’t leave work by 5:45 pm I don’t even get home until 7 pm and that is really late and dark to run. I did it anyway many times, but it was not ideal from a safety standpoint and did not help me go to bed at an early hour. So, why am I sharing all of this? Does anyone care? haha, maybe not! The point is we are all human and life can be hard and get in the way, especially during a transition phase (i.e. starting a new job).

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(starting the work day with an early run: above & ending the work day with a night run: below)IMG_4294

In the last six weeks I’ve taken way too many rest days. I’ve stayed at work for long hours that making fitting in a  run tough. I  have not made sleep or training a priority and quite frankly did not put in the training needed to run a half marathon successfully tomorrow. Plus, sitting at a desk all day makes my muscles really tight and I was not counteracting that by doing yoga or increasing my time spent stretching after a run. Furthermore, I was not setting my myself for success by running low mileage all week and then doing a long run that is more than 50% of my weekly mileage or running a local 5k over the weekend. I will admit that the 5k was pretty fun, though! My husband and I won our races randomly. 😛

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(long run before my first day at the new job)

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(fun long run and relay race with Becca of the Rabbit Food Runner and the November project)

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(5K that my husband and I won)

I made a lot of training mistakes leading up to this half marathon and I should have known better because I ran in college (and trained smart then) and I’ve had some injuries in the past. I am paying for it now with some left knee/IT band pain. Nothing too serious and not a full blown injury, but I am taking it seriously and not running tomorrow.  As of this week, I have upped my cross training and started doing hot yoga. I am also starting to find my groove with the new job and figuring out how running/training fit into the equation. I actually talked with my supervisors about changing my hours to 8 am-4 pm/5pm,  which puts me on a similar schedule to my husband and it allows me to attend evening yoga classes, evening group runs, and decreases my commute time. They seem open to the idea and it will do wonders for my husband and I in terms of establishing a routine. I went in at 8 am multiple times this week and I loved it, but I’m also a morning person. 🙂

Right now, I am going to put all my energy into developing my strength and preventing injury (through yoga, more strength sessions at the gym, and cross training) and then slowly build my mileage again. My husband is going to help coach me and hold me accountable.  I am scared and excited about what my future  of running will bring. As for this weekend, it is going to be hard and I am a little sad (since I’m not running), but I will be in Madison, WI to watch the half-marathon and cheer for my husband and friend! Well, I’m about ready to head to yoga class and then my husband and I are going to pack up and head to the race expo. It should be a fun weekend!

I’ve been wanting to do more running related posts on the blog (product reviews, race reviews, training recaps, etc.) for a while. So, I’m going for it! 🙂 I plan on writing my first ever race recap for the Madison Marathon/half marathon with a special guest: my husband (who is actually running)! Be on the look out for it in the near future! 🙂 Are any of you racing this weekend? If so comment below. 

 

 

Why I wear whatever I want when I run (and why you should too!)

Happy weekend friends! This is a post I’ve wanted to write for a long time… So, I FINALLY did it! I was inspired after running in “buns” for the first time last weekend. It is a little more personal than I’m used to writing here, but hopefully some of you can relate to it. 🙂

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As long as I can remember, I felt self-conscious about my body when working out. Funny, isn’t it? The one activity that was supposed to empower me and help me develop my body confidence made me feel the opposite most of the time. As a kid, I did not think much of clothing worn during workouts, but once I joined cross country as a 14 year old, to train for soccer (HA!), that’s when I noticed those thoughts more often.

I remember coming to summer running as a scared freshmen, who could only run a mile or two, and was in awe of the upperclassman on the team who ran 6 (or more miles) in just a sports bra and spandex. I showed up in my all cotton t-shirt, cotton shorts, and non-supportive running shoes ready to go on a hot summer morning. The run was not memorable, but what stuck out to me was what the other runners wore, especially the faster ones. Soon enough, my coach and I realized I had some natural talent and had me run  varsity with those girls, but I still wore my cotton outfits initially. I was training for soccer, but falling in love with running. I was starting to wonder if/when I would be “fast” and “fit” enough to wear “real” running clothes and asked my mom to go shopping. We bought new shoes, few new tank tops, some shorts, and sports bras, but still no spandex shorts. I was too scared to wear spandex or to run in just a sports bra initially. I did not think I was fast, fit, or thin enough.

The problem was that at the time, I decided I had to look a certain way to wear certain running clothes. Practicality did not matter- for example, when it is 90 degrees a sports bra or tank top and spandex is the comfiest/coolest running outfit. It just mattered to me that I looked the part to wear the outfit. I remember the first time I ran in a sports bra in high school- I was so scared and self-conscious. It was ridiculously hot that day, so I finally caved. I could not focus on my run, though, as I was too worried about how I looked. I spent a lot of high school running worrying if I “looked” like a runner. By junior and senior year I was our team’s top runner, but still felt like a fraud.

(Some high school running throwbacks)

I remember going to a college recruit visit my senior year of high school and running with that team for a long run. It was winter and they all ran in tights-something I was too scared to do. I often wore running sweat pants for winter runs, which are not as comfortable. After that run, though, I realized two things:

a. I must be doing okay if a college is recruiting me

b. It sucks to run in heavy sweatpants, when winter runs are much nicer in leggings. That was the moment I decided to stop caring so much about what I wore when I ran.

No one notices what you wear what you run as much as you do. It’s so liberating to run in what you are comfortable in.  In high school, I wish I had spent more time celebrating how hard I worked, the fact that I was fast enough to run in college, how strong my legs were, and how running clothes could be a fun way to bond with other runners, rather than as a point of comparison. The same running clothes thoughts occasionally occurred in college, but I got over it quickly (for new readers who do not know, I ran XC/track in college too). I got over it quickly because I cared more about reaching my running goals and having a good workout than how I looked.

(Some college running throwbacks)

Your running clothing choices should not be dictated by how you look, but by what is most comfortable to you. All running clothes are meant for you because if you run, you are a runner! Runners come in all shapes, sizes, and paces. 🙂 You don’t have to have a six-pack to run in spandex and a sports bra! You just need to be confident and comfortable in whatever you wear.

These days, I run in whatever the heck I feel like wearing! Tights, spandex, “buns”, sports bras, tank tops, you name it! Nothing is off limits. 😛 Running in an outfit you don’t think you “should” wear can be exhilarating… because screw what everyone else thinks! 😉 I wore “buns” for a training run last week (just to see how they feel if I decide to race in them in a few weeks) and d**n it was liberating! There will always be a runner who is thinner, fitter, and faster, but you only have one life and one body, so it’s much more fun to accept it, nurture it, and wear what is comfortable!

Three questions: What was the first outfit you ran in? Did you ever worry about wearing certain running clothes? What is your favorite running or racing outfit? In college, I had to wear a certain pair of Nike socks and my blue or black Nike sports bra on XC race days.  Unless it’s really cold, I plan to wear my Oiselle “buns” (pictured above haha) and my neon yellow Balega socks for my 5k in a few weeks or half marathon in a month.

Comment your answers or thoughts about the post 👇🏻

Half Marathon Training Weeks 4 and 5 (September 4th-17th)

Good evening friends! I am two weeks behind on my training updates…not sure how that happened, but better late than never, right? 😛

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Anyway, before I update, I just wanted to say that I hesitated to post this update because two weeks ago was not a good week and last week was a TERRIBLE week of training for me…lack of sleep, long work days, unplanned events, and motivation made for two very low mileage weeks. I did my not prioritize my health or running, but I pride myself on being honest, so I am posting it anyway.

Sometimes, life gets in the way and I can either wallow in it or move on and promise to do better next time (this week). I want to be real on this blog…despite being a former D1 runner and training at a relatively high level, I acknowledge how hard it can be to balance everything in the real “adult” world. It seems like some many other runners (and running blogs) just show the glamorous side (racing, high mileage weeks, stellar work outs, the perfect life/work/running balance, etc), but I want to show the REAL side. Sometimes you have a sh****y workout or week, you get busy, it’s dark outside, work is stressing you out, you have family stuff, etc. It’s not always fun or easy, but still getting out there (or back to it) is what counts. So without further ado, here’s my last two weekly recaps (with a lot of unplanned rest days). :/

Week #4: Monday September 4th- Sunday September 10th:

Monday September 4th: Day off work, so had a nice afternoon run of 4.1 miles @ 7:46 pace with the hubby

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Tuesday September 5th: REST

Wednesday September 6th: 4 miles in the dark after work at 7:47 pace. Did some hip/glute strength exercises after the run

Thursday September 7th: REST

Friday September 8th: REST

Saturday September 9th: 3 miles at 7:28 pace on the cross country course after the races. This run felt terrible and I was dehydrated from being in the sun all afternoon helping my husband coach.

Sunday September 10th (Long run): 6.2 miles at 7:40 pace. I was worried after feeling so terrible on yesterday’s run, but I felt strong. This was my furthest run since I “graduated” physical therapy in July 2015!

WEEKLY TOTAL: 17 miles

Week #5: Mon. September 11th- Sun. September 17th:

Monday September 11th: REST

Tuesday September 12th: REST

Wednesday September 13th: 3 miles with 2 miles at ATTEMPTED tempo pace on the treadmill since it was late. My goal was 6:30-6:45 pace, but I struggled to maintain 6:50-6:55 pace and my heart rate was high. I was tired from lack of sleep and my legs felt like lead. Glad I pushed through, because the terrible workouts are what make us stronger.

Thursday September 14th: REST

Friday September 15th: 3 miles at 7:25 pace in the dark after work. I realized on this run that I need to invest in some lights/ reflective gear because it’s really hard to see on night runs/morning runs and the days are only getting shorter. I ended up ordering knuckle lights and a reflective vest as per recommendations on Instagram.

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Saturday September 16th: 4 miles in between all the races & cheering at the XC meet. It was really hot out and I’m glad all the races were in the morning. I didn’t take any pictures at the meet surprisingly ! 🙁

Sunday September 17th: This was supposed to be my long run day…but in between my in-law’s impromptu visit to our apartment (to pick up a suitcase we borrowed from them on our honeymoon. lol), cleaning, and errands I did not end up running at all and was not happy about it. I did get a lot sleep, though, which helped because during the week I was averaging 5 hours a night.

WEEKLY TOTAL: 10 miles

My takeaways: My mileage totals were low and the old me would have been really upset/disappointed. I was running at least 50 miles per week in college, so this low mileage is a huge change for me…but I’m just happy to be done with physical therapy, out of my 2016 workout funk, and back to running! With time I will be able to better balance work and running and to eventually bring my mileage totals back up.

I’m getting right back on track this week and not sweating the small stuff! I started off the week strong- I had one rest day and one three miler on my schedule. I ran 4 yesterday and knew I was staying late at work today so I rested. It worked out nicely!

Tomorrow I plan to run 3-4 miles at a moderate to easy pace. What do you have planned for tomorrow’s workouts? How do you handle a bad week or two of training? 

 

What time of day do you run?!

If I were to pick any time of day to run, I would run during the afternoon.🌞 Hands down! Afternoon runs remind me of my high school and college running days…just as the day was getting long, I would have scheduled break around 3-330 pm to look forward to. 🙂 Gosh I miss those days! Before afternoon practice, I was well fueled from breakfast and lunch, and then the run would rev my appetite for dinner. Also, the afternoon practices (unless they were really strenuous) would give me a second burst of energy without another cup of coffee.  After an afternoon practice, I felt ready to tackle my long list of homework, assignments, study sessions, work etc.

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Nowadays I do not have the flexibility of afternoon runs except on the occasional weekend day (like above). 🙁 I work full time and commute one hour each way.  I’d give anything to leave my desk for an hour in the middle of the day for an afternoon run. :/  I honestly think I’d return to work much more productive after an afternoon run.

So, what have I been doing lately? Well….I’ve been running in the evening/at night. Unfortunately, the days are getting shorter and the time I leave work is not always predicable- it depends on the day’s projects.  I don’t run in the mornings as often, because of my commute time and I like to ease into the work day with a hearty breakfast. I’m not the kind of girl who can just dash out the door after a workout and quick shower with a granola bar. Your girl here needs to EAT! If I don’t eat eat a good breakfast I feel terrible at work, honestly. Team breakfast all the way! 🍓🍳🥞

Anyway, I’m starting to worry about my options for when to run as the days get shorter. It’s almost that time of year when it is dark when I wake up and when I leave work for the night. Not running is not an option on most days…I tried that lifestyle for a lot of 2016 by choice and part of 2014/2015 due to injury and it was not for me…Plus, I am training for a half marathon in November.💪🏻🏃🏼‍♀️

All I know, is that I am happiest and healthiest (physically and mentally), when I am running and sharing my passion for it with others.  Running and nerding out about running is what makes me, me! I even met my now husband through running in high school, but that is a tale for another day. 😛

When do all of you run?! I only have myself to worry about, but I know some of you out there have families, work full time, AND run! How do you do it? When do you run? What time of day would you run if you could at any time? Comment 👇🏻

Half Marathon Training Week #3: Monday August 28th- Sunday September 3rd.

Good evening friends! I hope you all had a great, long Labor Day weekend full of food, family, and friends! I can’t believe how fast this weekend flew by. 😱

My husband and I stayed busy the whole weekend, so that’s why it went quickly! On Saturday, his high school students had a cross country meet, Saturday night we went out for dinner, Sunday we drove to Wisconsin to visit my sister-in-law, and today we drove back, cleaned, and got groceries. I fit in as many runs as I could this week and weekend, but it could have been better. I’m still working on getting more sleep. :/ I’m pledging to make week #4 better for sleep and training!

Sometimes, though, all you need is an extra rest day, vegetarian treats, an impromptu road trip, wine, and some sangria to recharge after a rough week. 😉 Life isn’t all about following your training plan to a “T” and eating healthy- life is about balance! This weekend I decided to indulge a bit and go with the flow and it was 100% worth it! 🙂

Monday August 28th: REST DAY.

Tuesday August 29th: Started the morning with this delicious breakfast before work. It is old fashioned oats topped with berries, cinnamon, and Nature’s Path Organic Sunrise Crunchy Vanilla Cereal.

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Then after work, I ran 2 miles at 6:53 pace. I got home from work late and ran at night, so that’s why this run was short. I followed my run with some light stretching.

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Wednesday August 30th: REST DAY

Thursday August 31st: Ran 4.3 miles after work at 7:38 pace as the sun was setting. It was extremely windy, but it felt good to get out there. The beautiful city and lake views were an added bonus!

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Friday September 1st: REST DAY. This was an unplanned rest day, but was very wiped out from my lack of sleep over the entire week. My husband encouraged me to take the extra rest day. Plus, I knew I was getting up at 6 am on Saturday for the cross country meet. I learned this week that I do not function well on 5-6 hours of sleep per night. 😂 I have no idea how I functioned on so little sleep most of college! This girl does best on 7 or more hours of sleep. 😛

Saturday September 2nd: 4-5 miles throughout the day/in between high school cross country races. It was so fun to be on the other side of a cross country meet. I definitely felt nostalgic for high school and college cross country meets on Saturday. I can’t wait to help out at more meets and see my husband’s team grow this season! 🙂

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The meet was pretty long and we did not get home until almost 4 pm. :/ My husband and I were wiped out, so we got some chai lattes and rested. It was nice! Then we went out for salad, veggie pizza, and red wine at Calo Ristorante. That is the classic combo if you know my husband and I! We love going out for pizza- I’d saying we go out for pizza once a month! It is Chicago, after all, and there are so many tasty options. Maybe one day I’ll list and review all the pizza places we’ve been to! Today is not the day for that, though. 😛

Sunday September 3rd: REST/CROSS TRAIN DAY. My husband and I traveled to Wisconsin to visit my sister- in-law. She took us to an awesome taco place- BelAir Cantina Madison. My sister-in-law and I got the roasted veggie and kale tacos. I also got white peach sangria! 😛 My husband got the veggurito bowl and a margarita.

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I highly recommend BelAir if you ever find yourself in Wisconsin (they have locations in Milwaukee and Madison). It is an excellent option for vegan/vegetarian tacos! 

That’s it for my half-marathon training week #3 recap. I hope you all have a good night! 🙂

What was your favorite thing you did over the weekend/ Labor Day (if you live in the United States)?! My favorite part of the weekend was eating those roasted veggie and kale tacos (pictured above).

Half Marathon Training Week #2 (12 weeks until the race!): Monday August 21st- Sunday August 27th.

Good evening! I hope all of you had a fantastic weekend full of fun, exercise, food, and time to relax! 🙂 My weekend was pretty low key, but it was just what I needed.

The week of training didn’t not go quite as expected, but I will just roll with it. My mileage was pretty low, but it’s better for me to ease into training with my history of injury. Plus, until these last two weeks I was not running much. My goal is to run 20 miles per week next week and continue to bring down my running pace. Slow, but steady wins the race for this previously injured girl! I have some time goals for my half marathon (1:30), but when all is said and done I just want to toe the line healthy. 🙂 So, now let’s recap this last week of training with some random pictures and thoughts from the week for good measure. 😛

Monday August 21st: REST DAY. My coworkers and I watched solar eclipse in the middle of the work day, so that was cool. It was definitely weird wearing solar eclipse glasses over my regular glasses, but I had to protect my eyes! See below for a cool picture my dad took of the eclipse. I didn’t try to take any pictures because we didn’t get the best views of the eclipse in the city.

Tuesday August 22nd: REST DAY

Wednesday August 23rd: 3 miles at 7:35 pace after work. Felt strong, despite the lack of sleep early in the week. I got an amazing view of the sunset on this run too. 🌞

 

After the run, my amazing husband made us chickpea stir fry and it was delicious. It’s one of our staples during the work week, so maybe I will share the recipe here one of these days.

Thursday August 24th: REST DAY

Friday August 25th: 3 miles at 7:52 pace after work. I felt really sluggish on this run. The lack of sleep during the work week probably caught up to me. I definately need to prioritize sleep as my training ramps up. Im not doing the greatest with this, as it’s already past midnight as I write this post. 😛

 

Saturday August 26th: Hips of death circuit” for hip/glute/ core strength. This is a circuit my husband does with his high school cross country/track athletes. I’d share it here, but it’s hard to explain all the moves in writing. It’s a lot of body weight moves, so it’s nice when I don’t feel like going to the gym or have access to a gym. Each week I aim to do AT LEAST one day of glute/hip/core strength due to my injury history.

I also enjoyed this delicious bowl of berry, cinnamon, and raw hemp seed oatmeal prior to my workout.

Sunday August 27th: Solid 5 mile run at 7:34 pace with my husband. He was definitely thrilled to take the photo of me running below. 😂 After the run, I did some stretching, but I need to be much better about stretching this week.

 I hope you all have a good night! Also, if any of you are on Instagram I just got an one for this blog! My handle is @blackbeanqueen. Follow me if you want you midweek training updates or to see random food pictures! 😜

How was your weekend? What are your exercise and running goals for next week?

Half Marathon Training Week #1 (13 weeks until the race!): Monday August 14th- Sunday August 20th.

Good evening friends! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend! My husband I are staying up late doing laundry and he’s finishing up his lesson plans for the week, so I thought I’d blog:) My half marathon training does not offically start until tomorrow, but I wanted to start my weekly workouts feature for fun and to hold myself accountable.

I’ve only run about ten times in 2017 and one of them was a 5k race that I ran without training…I have a history of not properly training for post college races. I did a half marathon in summer 2014 where I started training one month ahead of time. I only ran 3 days per week and my longest run was 8 miles. I think I was burned out from college and college running- I shouldn’t have signed up for the race in the first place. Anyway, I ended the race with yet another IT band injury and was unable to properly run without issues until I went through intense physical therapy in spring 2015. You can read more about my injury history here.

I will not allow myself to put anymore meaningless things before my favorite hobby or to run anymore races without training. I am officially committed to training properly for this half marathon! I am following the Hal Higdon Novice 2 training plan plus 2 days a week of strengthening exercises to protect/strengthen my hips/glutes/IT band. Despite my experience as a D-1 XC/track athlete, this is a good choice for me because I have not really been running this year and I have a history of injury, so I want to play it safe. Here’s the link to the training plan I’m using. My ultimate time goal for this half is under 1 hour and 30 min, but my realistic goal is 1 hour and 35 min.

So without further ado, here are my weekly workouts for my half marathon training. As a note, this was not the best week for me personally or training wise. My grandfather broke his hip 2 weeks ago and then unexpectedly passed away on Monday. 🙁 I found myself unmotivated and sad early in the week, but then I found solace in running later in the week. Here’s a picture of my grandpa and I dancing at my wedding last month. Sorry for the low quality picture. Regardless, I am fortunate for this happy memory with him!

Monday August 14th: REST

Tuesday August 15th:
REST

Wednesday August 16th:
REST

Thursday August 17th:
3 miles at 7:53 pace (according to my Garmin) followed by stretching and hip strength exercises (see examples of what I do under Saturday’s training)

Friday August 18th: A late 2 miles after work at 7:51 pace

Saturday August 19th: hip and glute strength exercises at the gym:

-band walks (side to side and forward/backward): 3x 20 reps each side
-walking lunges: 2x 20 reps each leg
-squats with the large resistance band: 2×20 reps
-foam block balancing and raises: 3×10 reps each leg
-tipping bird: 3×10 reps each side
-clamshells with resistance band: 3×10 reps each side
-bridges with resistance band and 2 second hold: 2×10 reps
-leg raises with resistance band: 2×10 reps each side
-foam rolling and stretching: 10 minutes

Sunday August 20th: REST

Today’s questions: How was your week of training? What races are you training for? Do you use a training plan when you sign up for a race?

It is NEVER too late to begin (blogging) again

Wow…Where to begin?! It’s been over two years since I update this blog! 😱You were all starting to think I forgot about it, right? Wrong! Don’t worry, some things have not changed! I am still a vegetarian who loves running, black beans, and healthy food! 😛 It has been an eventful and busy two years to say the least, but blogging has been on my mind the whole time. It was just a matter of actually coming back here to blog in the midst of the good, the bad, the busy, and the unexpected. Words can’t adequately describe the way I felt over the last two years, but I will try…

 I am nervous about doing this, but I decided to get personal with all of you today.😬

To put it briefly: I am not proud of how I took care of myself the last two years. I feel like I switched from a glass half full to a glass empty kind of girl in a matter of months. I was not running or working out very often (and if you knew me a few years ago, running was my life!). Furthermore, I was not eating enough or very healthy some of the time. Instead of living in the moment, I was focused on the future and what might or might not happen. I was not doing things I enjoyed as often (i.e. this blog, cooking, running) and I was using every spare moment to write lesson plans, apply for jobs, think about the future, or to feel sorry for myself. By the end up summer 2016 I would wake up in a negative mood more days than a positive one. I just was not myself…It was a gradual change from spring to summer 2016 and some of it was because of the things that happened, but more of it was because of HOW I reacted to what happened.

When I was feeling low, I would compare myself to others and feel crummy when someone else reached a milestone I wish I had reached. Comparison is such a waste of time! Imagine what would happen if we all built each other up and celebrated each other, instead of comparing and competing?

Anyway, reflecting back on the last two years, MORE positive things happened than negative ones:

1. I student taught honors science classes at an amazing high school in spring 2016.

2. I earned my Master’s degree and won an award for being a promising new science teacher in spring 2016.

3. I applied to more teaching jobs than I can recall and even scored some interviews.

4. I did NOT get a teaching job.

5. My boyfriend (now husband) got an amazing teaching & coaching job in summer 2016.

6. I got engaged at the Chicago marathon in fall 2016. My then boyfriend ran and I volunteered/watched. I can share our story in the future if there is interest. We met in high school through running so it’s a cool story (at least I think so 😂). 

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7. I got a full time job in winter 2016/2017. It is unrelated to teaching, but I love it.

8. I planned my wedding.

9. I got married and went on my honeymoon in July 2017.

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10. I decided to prioritize my overall health again in August 2017

Notice that the only negative is #4, but at the time it was a HUGE deal for me…I have always prided myself on working really hard and achieving the things I worked for. This was one of the first times in my life that my hard work did not result in the desired outcome. I was confused because I did well in my classes, did well in student teaching, and won an award for being a promising new teacher at my graduation, but then I did not get a teaching job. I felt like a huge failure. 🙁 I felt like I wasted my money, my education, and my time. I was also worried that I let my professors, my family, and my friends down. It is hard to convey exactly how I felt back then, but I hope this clarifies things a bit. Luckily, I am in a much better place today! 🙂

So, why am I even blogging again? Well, it is because of number 10 on the list. How will I make number 10 a reality? The first step is to workout/run 5-7 days per week because I signed up for half marathon with my husband in November! 🙂 The second step is to eat balanced meals everyday to be healthy and have training fuel. The third step onward are yet to come…stay tuned.

Takeaways over the last two years:

Just because life gets in the way does not mean we should neglect to take care of ourselves. We cannot be the best version of ourselves in our relationships, in the work place, or in our hobbies if we do not treat ourselves with love and respect. The best thing we can do, is to do things that make us happy. 🙂 Remember, things are never as bad as them seem!


So, please join me on this blogging journey (take 2) as I navigate “adulting” as a twenty-something newlywed while making health, happiness, and hobbies a priority.

Today’s questions: How did you/do you deal when your life goes in an unexpected direction? If you are a runner are you training for any fall races?