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Random Tips from 2 Half’s (Halves?) in 3 Weeks

Recently I’ve been able to take part in two Inaugural Half Marathons in my home state of North Carolina! Each was different in its own right, but both were amazing experiences. While in the past I’ve given tips on half marathon preparation here and here, I decided to compile a small list of random tips and tricks that I’ve learned over the past three weeks. Take ‘em or leave ‘em, they won’t make or break your marathon experience, but they could be good to have under your belt.

Just a few things to know before we start- the first race I finished was on March 29th in Emerald Isle, NC. Growing up, my friends and family spent many a summer there on the coast. So when we learned that they were organizing a 5K and Half Marathon to benefit the community and local charities, we decided to join in on the fun! It was also a good excuse to have a good old fashioned beach house weekend. This was a much smaller race (1,300- but more than the race organizers were expecting from what I heard) and it rained the entire time (more on that later) but it was still awesome.

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Here I am in all my rainy glory.

 

The second race was the Rock and Roll Raleigh Half/Full Marathon two weekends ago on April 13th. I was suuuuppperrr duuper excited to experience this one. I’ve heard great things about the RNR organization as a whole, so when they announced they were having one so close to home I immediately signed up. It was packed out (12,500 participants) and involved the two most dreaded “H’s” in a runner’s vocabulary (or at least in mine) – Heat and Hills. Even with these two H-words, the energy was contagious throughout the race, and unlike anything I had experienced before.

What I’m trying to say is, I will most definitely be doing both again next year.

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The entrance to the expo the day before

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Panoramic shot of the expo at the Raleigh Convention Center

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Me and my parents, who came to offer their support!

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With Amanda, another Rec employee who ran in the race!

Below are my random tips, tricks, and remarks on the half marathon experience:

1. When it comes to clothes, less is more- The only other Half I’ve completed is the Marshall-St. Mary’s Half last November. Meaning I had yet to experience distance running in even half way mild climates. With the last minute addition of my rain jacket, I quickly realized I wore too much during the Emerald Isle Half (thick(er) lululemon pants, a dri-fit shirt and a jacket). Boy was I cookin’, thus making me feel extremely overheated and more sluggish. I might as well have just wrapped myself in saran wrap…would have had the same effect. That being said I wore much less during the RNR Half. If you reaaalllyy realllyyy can’t stand being cold at any time, before or during a race, consider layering with an old shirt that you don’t care to lose (or go buy one from Goodwill/Salvation Army). When you get too hot, just take it off and toss it (preferably in the trashcan, show mother earth some love, people).

2. You don’t always need music- For a variety of reasons, I started out the Rock and Roll Half without music. At first, Amanda and I knocked out the 5K distance together (which she PR’ed in, by the way- go Amanda!). After that there were still so many people around and things going on that I didn’t even need my music. When I put my head phones in, I felt slightly claustrophobic, like I was cutting myself off from the RNR experience (see #7 for more). Maybe the whole “no music” phase was a one-time thing. But I suggest trying it every now and then. I’ve got a lot coming up on the old ‘Life Platter’, and with that I have a lot to mentally sort through. During the Half I focused on a lot of that, and it was amazing how much clearer I cognitively felt afterwards. Didn’t find the cure for cancer or world hunger, but in that moment I felt pretty darn close.

3. Hydrating is as important as carbing- This might be a no brainer to some, but it doesn’t hurt to mention it. The night before a race, you always hear about how important it is to “carb up”, by eating pasta, clean carbs, maybe a beer or two, etc. Everyone has their own pre-race ritual in terms of what they like to eat. As it starts to get warmer outside, it is as important to hydrate well the night before. The RNR Half was the hottest race I have ever ran in, and I was feeling it the day of. I focused on carbing more than hydrating the night before, and on the day of the race the water stops couldn’t come fast enough.

4. You can’t hold GU packs in your waistband (they will cut you) - Pretty self-explanatory. Before the RNR Raleigh I forgot my Sprigs wristband wallet, which is normally where I keep my GU packs when I run. I thought (for about 2 miles) that I could maybe keep them in my waistband. FYI: You can’t. I have some extremely unfortunate chaffing marks on my hip from only those two miles. Solution: I had to carry them the whole way, until I consumed them of course. One way to avoid this is to lay out what you’re going to need for the next day, the night before. I normally do this, so of course the one time I don’t I forget something.

5. Get fitted, seriously- Like I talked about in the Robert’s Running and Walking Shop post, it’s important to get sized and fitted for the proper running shoe. Now that I have completed half marathons in shoes that I have and have not been fitted for, I feel like I’m a little more of an expert on the subject. Bottom line, GET FITTED! I had so many knee and back problems with my first, unfitted pair. Now, with the shoes I got at Robert’s, I knocked out both Half’s without any of my old pains.

6. Mental, mental, mental (In the Glad Forceflex commercial voice)- So that’s more of a mantra than a rule, but whatever. I know I’ve brought this tip up before, but distance running can be (and is) SO mental. I’m going to go ahead and admit that I was very bad at training for these Half’s (like, if this was a class, I would have gotten an F–, bad…and yes, that’s an ‘F minus minus’). I still worked out over the past 8 weeks, sure, but I did horribly at following any 8 week training plan, like the one I used for the MU Half.

But guess what- I’m still here, and I still finished both races. Maybe it helped that I’m naturally a stubborn individual and I didn’t let myself quit, but before each race I had a mental talk with myself and just said, “you’re here, you can do it, you’re GOING to do finish”, and then I cranked them out. It basically happened like that.

7. The Ferris Bueller Rule – We all know the line, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it”, from the 1986 classic, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. This quote also applies to race day, and it’s something I learned during the RNR Half when I went sans music. With my first two half’s, I got in the zone, listened to my music and pushed through it all. With this third Half I took the time to pay attention. Listening to the crowd and hearing random strangers offer their support can be so uplifting. I also liked reading the signs. Some of my personal favorites: “Run now poop later: Never trust a fart” or “You thought they said ‘Rum’ didn’t you?”

On average, you spend eight weeks prepping for something that will be over in about 2-2 ½ hours. That ratio is a little off-balanced if you ask me. Yes, that 2-2 ½ hour time slot might be grueling, but embrace it anyway. It will go by with the snap of your fingers. When I look back on it, I remember wayyy more from the RNR Half than any of the others (and that’s not because it was my most recent one).

And now I’ve developed carpal tunnel- shew! That was a long one :)

In addition to my previous tips, I hope that this post was helpful to you all in some way. Running any race distance is a huge accomplishment, and being properly prepared is the best thing you can do before that start gun goes off.

What do you guys think of these tips? Do you have any random tips for when you run and train?


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Speed Set Intervals- Workout Wednesday

Time to get sweaty!

I love coming up with treadmill interval workouts. Not only are they extremely effective, but they make my time on the treadmill feel like it’s cut in half. That’s a win-win, if you ask me.

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(Make sure you warm up and cool down in some capacity before and after the workout)

Again, like I always say, if the speeds are too fast or too slow for you, feel free to adjust them. Simply keep the ratio between the speeds, just make sure you’re pushing yourself so that the workout is worth your time!

 

What do you guys think of interval workouts? Do you like them as much as I do?


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#PFTW- Workout eCards (and a New Fitness Class Coming to the MRC)

Let’s indulge in a little humor to get your through your Tuesday Bluesday.

Workout humor, to be exact.

On Pinterest there are a variety of eCard themes, but my favorite by far are those related to working out.

Like the ones pictured below:

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(Source)

 

But for real though….

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(Source)

Always keep ‘em guessing.

 

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(Source)

This is legit my problem. “No, Christine! You cannot eat an entire plate of bacon cheddar fries by yourself! Whapow! (slaps out of my hand) I am left saddened, but without having gained 10 pounds” This would solve so many of my problems.

 

And then there’s this one-

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The serious struggle of…well, pretty much everyone on Pinterest.

 

Never fear! The Marshall Recreation Center (and a semi-unintentional plug) is here! Mark your calendar’s people, every Monday starting May 19th at 4:15pm, we will be starting a “Pinterest Class” with instructor Katie Spence- FO FREE.

During that time Katie will lead a class based off of the variety of workouts that is the Pinterest Health & Fitness tab. See a workout you’d like to try? Bring it on in! The goal of this class is to have fun and get fit all while trying new things. Plus, there’s always a greater chance you’ll get these Pinterest workout’s knocked out when you’re with a group of people, and someone else is making you do them…let’s be honest.

 

Do you guys have any favorite workout memes/eCards? Do you think a Pinterest based class would be beneficial to you?


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Mediterranean Tuna Lettuce Wraps

In the next week or so, my friend Jess is starting a Paleo diet. I’ve always been aware of what the Paleo diet is, but it wasn’t until recently that I decided to educate myself further (in a nutshell- say no to grains, dairy, and legumes//say yes to meats, veggies, and fruits). The research and information out there is actually extremely interesting. I love expanding my horizons, especially in regards to health and wellness, so as someone who is new to the “Paleo Info”, I suggest at least giving it a read.

Don’t worry, I’m not turning this into a “Paleo Only” blog, but it never hurts to learn a thing or two now and then. I’m contemplating going Paleo for a week, just for fun to see if I like it/notice any changes/help a friend ease into a new lifestyle/etc (yes that is something I consider to be fun). I would of course keep you guys updated on my findings, but more on that later…

While today’s recipe is considered Paleo, I would have probably come up with this, even if I wasn’t involved in my current research. A very convenient, light wrap, just in time for summer? Yes, please! I love lettuce wraps, and I often get them when I eat at sandwich shops like Jimmy Johns.

 

Ingredients: (Serves 2, 2 Wraps each)

1 can of tuna
5-6 cherry tomatoes, diced
¼ cucumber, quartered
2 stalks of celery, chopped
¼ Kalamata Olives, chopped*
1 Tbsp of capers*
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp of lemon juice, fresh squeezed if possible
Garlic Salt and Pepper to Taste (approx. 1 tsp each)
2 Leaves of Romaine Lettuce, intact, to use for the wrap

*Optional (I like the salty stuff) but you don’t have to add it if you don’t want to

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Directions:

1. Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl, with the exception of the Romaine Lettuce leaves.

2. Once combined, spoon ¼ of the mixture in each leaf, and wrap the leaf (this may actually turn into a Lettuce taco, more than a wrap. Same difference.)

3. Enjoy!

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Do you guys enjoy lettuce wraps? What do you like to put in yours?


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100 Calories of Easter Candy

Hippity Hoppity Easter’s on its way! (Isn’t that how the song goes? Anyone know what I’m talking about?) For today’s post, I decided to share an article I read on Fitsugar.com, What 100 Calories of Easter Candy Looks Like. Like all other major holidays, as a culture we celebrate with the three F’s- Family, Friends, and Food. A lot of us (like myself) are finally able to enjoy whatever it is they have given up for Lent. For me, that’s sweets, so today’s post is for those who will be reaching extra hard for their Easter basket, helping you understand how much you’re actually consuming after your Easter dinner. (Or all day, my inhibitions are thrown to the wind when it comes to Easter candy…very bad, I know).

To see the article in it’s entirety click the link above. To give you an idea of what you’ll find check out 100 calories worth of some Easter favorites-

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Peeps

3 1/2= 98 calories

 

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Cadbury Mini Eggs (these things are my favorite!)

6= 96 calories

 

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Reese’s PB Egg (better than the original PB cup in my own personal opinion)

2/3 of an egg= 113 calories

As depressing as this list may be, knowledge is power, and knowing just how much you’re eating in terms of anything, sweets especially, can help you from falling off the healthy wagon.

However, it is Easter, go ahead and have a whole Reese’s Egg. If you’re really struggling with what to do in terms of eating, go ahead and designate this as your “cheat day”. If you’re good all week, you’ll feel less guilty when you reach for a Reese’s Egg AND some Cadbury chocolatey-goodness.

 

Is this list helpful for you? What are some of your favorite Easter candies?


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Upper Body Roundup I

Today we’re going to revisit some of our old upper body workouts. With warmer weather comes not only bathing suits, but shorter sleeved shirts (maybe even tanks). So you need to show your arms some love, especially this time of year.

Remember our Heck- Yes Upper Body Circuit by PT, Katie Heck?

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Or the Double Doosie Upper Body Workout

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Or one of my personal favorites, Bi’s and Tri’s Til We Die clip_image006

Try all three in a row if you dare!

Only kidding.

But seriously, let’s show our arms some love, people!

What are some of your favorite upper body moves?


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#PFTW- Detox Water

Today’s Pin For The Win (#PFTW) revolves around that pesky little word, “detox”. Sometimes it can steer ya straight, but sometimes it is all too conveniently placed between a few healthy buzzwords (juice, skinny, super, etc.) and you’re tricked into thinking something is better for you than it is.

Not by any means saying that today’s #PFTW is a bust, but just saying…you always gotta stay one step ahead in this health game. Being aware is half the battle.

After perusing Pinterest and seeing a wide variety of detox or fruit/veggie infused waters, I decided to go with the Pin I saw the most. Click here to see the original pin, and here to see the original page. This infused water included three simple ingredients (besides water of course)- cucumber, lemon, and mint. I also bought the infusion pitcher pictured below at Home Goods (a Marshall’s and T.J. Maxx affiliate) for $16 when I was home. Here’s a link to the pitcher at regular retail price (on sale, by the way!)- Prodyne Fruit Infusion Pitcher. I also found this pitcher’s doppelganger at Target for $20.

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I chopped up two lemons and 20 mint leaves worth of ingredients and stuck them in the center part of the infuser. I then chopped the cucumber, very thinly, and added it to the main pitcher. There was no way all of these ingredients were going to fit in the center and I figured the cucumbers had no way of escaping. You are supposed to let this sit for at least four hours, preferably overnight, until the water is ready. I pretty much doubled the recipe because of the amount of water this pitcher can hold. Another awesome tip- you can refill the pitcher and reuse the chopped ingredients twice before cutting up another batch.

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I consistently drank this water twice a day for about a week last week, in addition to my average diet (that includes approximately 64 oz of water regularly). In terms of any immediate “results”, it’s no Dr. Oz 3 Day Cleanse, but if you’re looking for a refreshing, de-bloating beverage then this is where it’s at.

I didn’t notice a huge difference on the scale, maybe a pound here or there, but nothing that I could directly contribute to drinking the water. Overall, I felt more refreshed, and like she said in her blog (linked above) I did notice that I was visiting the restroom more than usual. Gotta flush out those toxins!

Infusing your water is a great way to spice things up. Maybe it gets you to drink more water, but maybe it also just serves as another vehicle to consume the fruit’s and veggie’s nutrients. Either way, I highly suggest mixing it up by enhancing your water!

This also isn’t the only combo, check out some other water infusions that I found interesting (and on Pinterest):

New Year Detox Water- with cranberries, raspberries, cucumbers and more!

Kiwi, Raspberry, and Lime Water

Watermelon Mint Infused Water

I’m going to try them all!

 

Infused Water: Win

What do you guys think about infused water? Have any fruit/herb/veggie combos that you like?

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