Category Archives: Guest Post

Guest Post: Crossfit

Here is a post from my girl Melissa about her experience with Crossfit! Enjoy.

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I finally did it, I decided to try Crossfit! If you watch any videos or look at any Crossfit pictures online, it is pretty intimidating. The other item that has kept me away is the price, however I decided to splurge! I went to a Crossfit in Ann Arbor, which so far has been a great experience. They have you go through 10 sessions of personal training before they allow you to do class. During these sessions you learn technique so that when you are ready for class you have the correct form.

The first night I walked in there was a class going on, so of course I was checking it out. People were swinging the kettle bell then going over and doing pull ups, needless to say, I was IMPRESSED. The first time you it is your “tryout”.  They make sure that you are committed to the program and are doing it for the right reasons and before I even got to this “tryout” , I had to email them the reason I wanted to come to Crossfit. Which for me, was mostly to push myself harder, I definitely do not work out with weights enough and especially not heavy weights. In a way I was looking for more confidence when using weights and I definitely think I am going to have it by the end. For my tryout I had to do a few things, row, squat, sit up and pushups. It was not anything crazy but I was sweating. I decided that I liked it well enough, I wanted to get better. I signed up for my first personal training session!

So far I have been learning their squat technique, which is a much deeper squat than my normal sit in a chair mid-level squat. My second session was more squats and then learning how to use the bench press bar (without weights).  I learned how to do a dead lift, overheard press and a weighted squat. Literally there was so much to think about, keeping my core tight when doing an overhead press and my back straight but chest up doing a deadlift. Not to mention if my knees were slightly bent, bend or locked. It is defiantly going to take practice for it to become second nature to me.  My third class is tomorrow morning and I am looking forward to building on everything I have learned so far! In a few weeks I will probably be challenging family members to squat contests and arm wrestling!

Has anyone else tried Crossfit? What did you think?

Week 15 & 16- Cleveland Marathon Training

Tuesday-6 mi tempo run

Today-6 x 400m

Hey there Wednesday. Thanks for the gorgeous weather.

I am combining these last 2 weeks of training summaries because I am behind with last week and also pretty much done with training for this week. I’m also done with training for this marathon! Is that crazy or what? The 16 weeks really flew by, and I had some great running buddies this season to help.

Thanks to…

TJ, Kristy, Melissa, Chelsea, Amy, PH 1/2 marathon training group & Kevin

In other news, Kevin and I ran the Color Run last weekend and we had a really fun day. I will review the race soon. Also, we may have found a house but we are waiting for the final agreement! EEK! We can’t wait to own our first home. Smile

Also, I tried some quinoa pasta and loved it! I am serious about my carb-loading this week.

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Summary of week 15:

Monday-45 min bike ride + ab video

Tuesday-5 x 800ms with local 1/2 marathon training group

Wednesday-6 mi group run + ab video

Thursday– House hunting Smile

Friday-Rest

Saturday– 5k Color Run

Sunday– 5.5 mi

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Summary of week 15:

Monday-Bike 30 mins, ab video, & hip hop cardio class

Tuesday-6 mi tempo run (hard!) 

Wednesday-6 x 400m

Thursday– Cross training of some kind

Friday-Rest

Saturday– Rest

Sunday– Cleveland marathon

Did anyone else do the Color Run?

Quinoa pasta: yea or nay?

Week 13- Cleveland Marathon Training

Saturday-20 mi, 9:38 average pace

Congratulations to my friends Jordan and Jenn for running their first full marathons! They pushed through the rain and made amazing times.

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Another 20 mile run is in the books. Melissa decided to join me at a park about an hour away. She did some rollerblading beside me and made the first 12 miles fly by before she had to leave. Thanks Melis!

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I finished the last 8 miles on my own and it was tough. I’ve never run long distances at this park, but holy hills! I’m sure the incline wasn’t too extreme, but a large portion of the paved trail was continuous rolling hills. My town where I have been training is flat as a pancake, so this 20 mile run was my only hill training to date. Ouch! I feel surprisingly good today and not much stiffness at all.

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I took 2 gus, and planted water and gatorade half way through the 6 mile loop. I also had a solid meal after the run. I came down with the worst headache (maybe a migraine) of my life a few hours later. I don’t like to take any pain medicine, but I did take a little and felt better soon. Ouch again! I’m still trying to figure out why I sometimes get headaches after long run days.

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The weather was absolutely perfect for this run! It was all sun, and we started around 45 degrees, and I ended somewhere near 60. Beautiful! Plus we saw a deer, and some cute little birds.

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I am getting excited for my May and June race calendar! I am running the Color Run in 2 weeks with my friend Alli, her fiance Tony, and Kevin. Next is the Cleveland marathon in 3 weeks, and then some downtime before the Port Huron Half Marathon at the end of June.

Plus a camping trip to celebrate Mitch’s 30th birthday.

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Summary of the week:

Monday– 10 x 400m

Tuesday-Spin class

Wednesday-4 mi AM, 6 mi PM

Thursday-Rest

Friday-Rest

Saturday– 20 mi

Sunday– Rest

Tell me about your Saturday in the beautiful sunshine!

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon: Guest Post

Sunday, 1 mi warm-up + 30 mins elliptical

Hey guys! I have always wanted to run a Disney race and I am so curious about them. This is my college roomie Hanna and her review of the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon. Enjoy!

I’ve ran a half marathon before and wanted to do another one, but was finding it hard to find the time/energy/reason to train for another one. So, unbeknownst to me, my fiancé signed us up to run the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon. How could I say no to running through the happiest place on Earth?! Living in Michigan, I was a little scared about running a “destination half marathon”, if you will. How would it be training in Michigan and then after one plane flight be in Florida weather and run 13.1 miles? Luckily, this race was November 10th and it started at 10pm. That means even though I would be training in colder weather towards the end, I would be running in Florida at night (60 degrees) and while I was running and getting warmer, the temperature would be decreasing. It was perfect!!

Next, we needed to think about logistics of our visit. We ended up staying at one of the Disney Resorts (All-Star Movies). We normally wouldn’t do this, but by staying at the resort, they were able to shuttle us to the expo, start line, pick us up at the finish line, and take us to all of the parks that we wanted to visit afterwards. This was not only convenient, but nice when our legs were hurting and not wanting to operate a rented vehicle 🙂

So after all of our training, we were finally off! We flew down late Friday night. We woke up Saturday (race day), where I had a farmer’s omelet for breakfast. We then headed off to the expo (which I believe was open from 9am-4pm.) It was very easy to pick up all of your stuff and they had a lot of vendors selling everything from shoes to energy bars to sparkly headbands for the “princess effect.” After that, we headed down to Downtown Disney where we wanted to walk around and stretch out our legs before that night. We visited stores, bought souvenirs, and ended up eating a sandwich for a late lunch/early dinner. We then headed back to the hotel to get in a quick nap before the race. We got up, got our running costumes on (oh yes, Adam went as Mr. Incredible and I wore a pink tutu and tiara) and headed down to grab our shuttle at 7pm. It was game time!

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When we got there, they had people who would take your bag who would have it waiting for you at the finish line. They had a DJ getting people up and dancing and energizing everyone for the night run. We ended up waiting in an extremely long line to get a picture with Mickey (about an hour and a half wait.) By the time we were done, they were getting people into their corrals at 9:15. This was one of my grips, the fact that we had to wait in our corral for 45 minutes before the race started. I understand that there are lots of people, but 45 minutes was a long time to stand before running 13.1 miles.

Finally, it was time. They let off the first corral at 10pm and every corral gets let off 5 minutes after the previous one. For each start, they light off fireworks, have music pumping, and have people cheering you on. I felt so pumped up! During the race, they have every mile marker lit up (so you can see it a ways away) and every mile is a different country (going along with wine and food festival at Epcot.) The race went as follows: Mile 1-3 Highway, Mile 3-5 Animal Kingdom, Mile 5-9 Highway, Mile 9-11 Hollywood Studios, Mile 11-12 Highway, Mile 12-13 Epcot.

Along the way there were a lot of different bands playing music, staff members cheering you on, amazing scenery (including the Osbourne Lights at Hollywood Studios), and characters for photo ops (including Chip and Dale, Rafiki, Toy Story Soldier, Wreck-It Ralph, Buzz Lightyear, Darth Vader, Fantasia Hippos, Genie, just to name a few.) The only complaint I have about the course would be the banked highways. At mile 9, the last thing I wanted to be doing was running on a slanted course. They didn’t last long, but at the time seemed like a big deal. The did have plenty of water/powerade stations and even had a “fuel station” at mile 8 with gu and powerbars. We ended the race by running under the big Epcot ball and finishing just outside of the park.

At the finish, they give you a big heavy medal, powerade, water, banana, and a power pack filled with protein bars, trail mix, granola, etc. It is very easy to pick up your bag filled with your dry clothes and plenty of room to sit down and stretch. The only place that was crowded was the changing area. Basically you just have to walk in, find a spot where you can stand and change. But at that point, you don’t care, you just want to get out of your race clothes! After that, you head out, grab your free beer, and are able to head into Epcot for the after party.

This is by far the best part and why I feel like this race might be one of the best Disney races. You get the whole park to yourself!!!! Of course your family and friends can buy a ticket to enter the park for the after party, but for the most part it is filled with other people who just got done running 13.1 miles. The park is open until 4am. The wait times for the rides are at most 10 minutes and you are able to walk around the park and enjoy great food and drinks from the food and wine festival, which is great for your legs right after the race. My last half marathon, right after the race I got in a car and drove home for 2.5 hours. My legs killed afterwards! This allowed you to stretch them out while having an amazing time in Disney! We were able to do the whole park in one night.

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In a nutshell, I had a great time and would do it again in a heartbeat. I don’t know if any half will be able to top this one 🙂

Who is in for next year!? Smile

Guest Post: Toronto Waterfront Marathon Review

Thursday: 20 mins elliptical +Barbell blast class

Friday: Spin class

To Run or Not to Run

Melissa:

Toronto was a blast in hindsight. We arrived Saturday afternoon and checked out the expo. The expo was good but not enough to buy anything. I bought a hat! (Laura) Lots of fun goodies to taste. The race shirts were great and the bibs were awesome, large print with your name and number. Good swag overall. (Laura) Best idea ever to put your name on your bib when running a marathon, you really need those random shouts of your name throughout the course.

We ventured out that night to find pasta for dinner which proved harder than expected, we walked block after block, ending up at a little walk in pizza place that sold pasta. With our pasta in tow we headed back to the hotel to crawl into bed and watch the TIGERS! And paint our nails and find a good spot for the candy corn supply. (Laura)

Comfortable beds at the Holiday Inn, so my night of sleep was alright, slightly restless because of the pending race. I woke up to Laura snoring and when her alarm went off, she shot up in bed and was moving around in seconds. I don’t know if I have ever seen someone wake up and be so alert. Another reason why that girl is my hero. Dress and ready to go with ponchos on we ventured out in the rain to find the start. And then reality hit. We had work to do! (Laura)

We were only a few blocks away but as we walked in the rain Laura and I were already doubting why we were doing this. When you walk to a marathon start, you are nervous and worried already but add in rain and it crushes your dreams of a good race with each drop. (Laura) We found shelter under a building, yet the port-a- potty was calling my name and I stood in line and waited, not even sure if I needed to or not but it didn’t feel right to start the race without one last stop. 🙂

We jumped in a random corral and before we knew it , we had crossed the start line, Laura’s Garmin without a signal and wearing our ponchos. Then all of a sudden, the rain stopped and about mile 3 we took off our ponchos. At this point my right foot was on fire, my feet were wet enough to start rubbing the wrong way in my shoes. And I had to use a potty on the course at this point, but I swear I didn’t have to go at the start! (Laura) I kept fighting it and at mile 10, I confessed I didn’t know if I would finish. Coach Laura told me to keep pushing and re-assess at the Half Marathon split. I kept fighting and as we passed the shoot for the half runners, I envied them, every single one. Me too! (Laura) By mile 14, we were heading out of downtown and I threw the towel in. Laura encouraged me but also felt my pain, as she wasn’t enjoying the run either. I told Laura to go on without me and I would see her at the finish line but I wasn’t going to make it running anymore. I took the next mile to decide what to do…..I had options :

1.      Walk of shame back to town, while all the other marathon runners headed out on the course

2.      Step off the course and just stand there and cheer for runners

3.      Try to dodge up a side street so no one would see me quit

4.      Keep walking and trying to run

I chose to keep pushing through, I had told people I was running a marathon, I wanted to wear my shirt with pride and I wanted that medal. I decided not to care about my time and just going. I saw Laura a few miles later and she encouraged me as we passed, I kept going. I was so impressed and happy that she kept going! (Laura) I started to enjoy the race a little more, the walking took pressure off my blister. The rain has stopped and things were looking up. About mile 19, I found a friend who was also run/walking, Elizabeth. She took had missed her PR and was just trying to finish. It was great to have another buddy to help take my mind off of what we were doing and we pushed out the last miles together.

When we finally crossed the finish line at 5 hours and 18 minutes, I saw Laura standing there.  I just started crying saying I never ever wanted to do another marathon ever! We awkwardly walked back to our hotel, jumped in the pool, showered and got the heck out of Toronto. We trashed Toronto, then we praised it , we analyzed it and then I swore off marathons for life.

Total Race Review:

1.      Decent Expo

2.      Great Shirts

3.      Course was nice along the water

4.      More inclines than I expected

5.      Really difficult to watch the half marathons head home and you are heading out of town

6.      Not many spectators along 2nd half.

7.      Course was open, not very crowded with runners

8.      Water stations every 1.5 miles was awesome

9.      KM markers sucked, kept thinking at 12 km, I was at 12 miles.

10.  AWESOME MEDAL

Today as I sit here and write this review, I contemplate running Indianapolis Marathon on 11/3/12. Do it! (Laura) Now that the pain is gone from Sunday, my determination returns to make my goal of finishing under 5 hours.

We have good runs and bad runs, we hate it and we love it and somehow we all end up going back to it. 🙂

Thanks Laura for all your help in surviving Toronto!!!

Laura:

My race looked pretty similar. I usually get sore through my hips and knees during miles in the late teens. But this race I could feel tightness around mile 6! Not good but I knew a lot of that was from running Chicago the weekend before. Miles 15-18 plain sucked and I hated each step. But then I too met a running buddy, Oscar. He was running his first marathon and lived in Toronto. It was great to have someone to keep pace with, to tell me about the streets of the course, and to help battle the mental part of running. We split with about a 5k to go because he stopped to chat with his wife.  The last 5k was about the slowest jog you have ever seen but for me walking hurts too much. I finished at 4:51 and was so thankful to be done. Candy corn, chatting with Melissa, and compression socks made the rest of the day better 🙂

Have you ever struggled mentally with a race or workout?

If you want to see Melissa’s disgusting blister scroll down…

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Guest Post: Precarious Start, Glorious Finish

5 mi, 9:11 average pace

Here is a 20 mile recap part 2 from my sister-in law Melissa! Enjoy!

From the day I signed up for the Toronto Marathon,  I knew I would have to run 20 miles twice. Once for a training run and once during the actual Marathon. Laura, kept suggesting we squeeze in another 20 miler at some point, but I was pretty set on only running it twice.

Friday night started with a pasta dinner on the couch while watching The Spirit of the Marathon, honestly a great way to get motivated!!!! Laura and I both laid out our clothes for the morning and prayed the rain held off. We were both in bed by 10pm, so far so good! Then of course 5am, wake up, is it time? go back to sleep, 5:20am wake up, is it time? go back to sleep, 5:45am wake up, IT IS TIME!!!!! I enjoyed a banana, peanut butter and toast, while Laura stuck to her oatmeal. We packed our GU and glided our bodies and we were off to the AA 501 Running Fit Group. I love the AA 501 Running Fit Group, however, horrible course for our 20 miler. The temp was decent, shorts and t-shirts, the rain was looking iffy but we set out to check off some miles. A very shaky start that involved, stoplights, a near fall, possible clothing change, rain drops and a bathroom stop. We shook off this bad start and put on our game faces, as we left the run group and headed out on our own adventure.

Miles 7-14, we drank, we gu’d, Laura fell in love with some women with strollers and I emptied my right shoe about 3 times.

Miles 15- 18 we drank, we gu’d, we fell silent. At this time, I started fighting with the urge to slow down. At each water stop, I reminded myself to shake out my arms, enjoy the water and think about the finish.

Miles 18-20, we drank and we kept running. Those last 2 miles seemed to go by quickly, we had 3 stop lights to go through and we did finish going downhill but I never felt so good on a 20 mile run in my life! ( it was my 5th one)

It is hard to explain what it feels like to run 20 miles……………………the physical and emotional pain it causes, yet the drive to do it again remains.

This is my 3rd marathon, but I have never felt this prepared. I do know, my training would not be going so well if it wasn’t for my sister, thanks again Lo!!

+   = HAPPINESS

 

What is your favorite kind of cookie?

Guest Post by Melissa

Setting Yourself up for Success on a Long Run

1. Get some sleep!

2. Eat a good breakfast

3. Hydrate!!!!!

Such easy things to do to prepare for a long run…..yet why do I get the worst nights of sleep before a long run?? Anxious and thinking about those miles, waiting for the sound of my alarm. And what a day to wake up for a 15 mile run on a rainy overcast morning…..ahhhhhhh!

Laura and I walked to the end of the driveway, waiting for the Garmin to catch the GPS, only to be nearly clipped by a golf cart! Now that our adrenaline was running, we started off for our long run.

Amazing thing about having a running buddy like Laura is how easily we fall into  pace.  Our consistency holds us to a 10:25 pace and we take the first mile to let our bodies warm up. With water stations planted around town, we pounded the pavement for 2 hours and 36 minutes, give or take a McDonald’s potty stop at mile 10. ( tip- great to know where all the water fountains and bathrooms during your long run routes)

As we reached the last .6 miles of our run, my mind told me to stop but my buddy pushed me through by talking about juggling, food, the lake and the nearing finish line.

Thanks Laura for pushing not only yourself but me on our marathon journey.

Ode to a Run

Rain, rain you wont scare us away

Give us some time, this 15 miler will pay

Propel, gu and water we down

As we pound the pavement all thru town

3,2,1 miles to go

Our run is done before we know

We push through every step we make

Pushing our bodies for all they will take!!