A Holiday for Brooklyn: Workout Tips for Vacations

Phew! What a busy six weeks it has been!

From recitals and finals on the home front to Christmas in Florida, Team Welsh has been anything but still!

Working out while traveling (and keeping a Weimaraner active before and after a 17-hour road trip!) can be challenging. But in our case, we traveled home to our old stomping ground and familiar running spots. It’s one of the things I look forward to most when back in our home Sunshine State!

Florida temps mostly hovered around the low 80s, so we took full advantage of morning runs followed by a quick dip in the pool, barefoot walks on the beach, shady trail runs, and sweaty outdoor circuit workouts.

Here are my tips for holiday and vacation workouts:

  1. Research the area! When we visited Austin, I couldn’t wait to run around Lady Bird Lake! Barring extreme weather conditions, get outside and enjoy the natural beauty of your destination! Some of my favorite running spots in Central Florida include the Seminole Wekiva Trail, Lake Baldwin Trail, the neighborhoods of Winter Park, and my parents’ neighborhood. I always love to squeeze in a beach run when I can, too!
  2. Hold your plans loosely! T-Hubs and I waited until returning home to start our new training plans and schedules. While in Florida, we just made a point to be active every day. This allowed us to be flexible about the activities and schedules our families had planned while still prioritizing workouts. Squeezing in a 20-mile run while home for a few days may be a bit much. If you can help it, time those intentional workouts for when you’re back in a routine.
  3. Get creative! We received numerous workout equipment for Christmas, so T-Hubs and I had fun trying out our (okay, his!) medicine ball, jump rope, and kettle bell! No gym, no problem! If you weren’t quite as lucky with your Christmas haul, you could still take advantage of bodyweight HIIT workouts. We’ve been enjoying creating our own circuits for cross-training days.
  4. Make it a family affair! Bike ride together, chase your nieces and nephews in their electric Hummer, play tag, take the whole crew on a canoeing adventure, etc.
  5. Live a little! Don’t forget that holidays and vacations are about creating memories with your family, not proving to the world that you have tremendous self-discipline. You’d better believe we enjoyed our Christmas cookies and Tijuana Flats tacos with queso and family ice cream and movies! No, I’m not advocating gluttony. Yes, your personal goals are important. But the condition of our hearts far supersedes the condition of our bodies. So be active. Enjoy the holiday. And embrace all aspects of your vacation!

Enjoy a few photos and videos from our time in Florida!

More on our 2017 plans later!

 

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Photo credit: @johnathangarrett

A Race for Brooklyn

On Thanksgiving Day, we ran our first-ever family race! I’ve been dreaming about racing with Brooklyn since before we brought home our not-so-tiny, eight-week-old pup! After all, she puts in the training miles with me.

Most races don’t allow dogs or strollers for obvious safety reasons. And let’s be honest, how many times have complained about getting stuck behind a slow stroller runner or a clueless dog owner (who invariably always uses a retractable leash, but rarely the retracting function)?

I get it. If your goal is speed, then these things appear as obstacles. When I signed up for this race, I did so with the intention of leaving record-setting dreams at home and simply putting in some course miles with my best girl. I was aware, however, that many other racers would be pursuing PRs (T-hubs included!), and so I did my absolute best to stay aware of our surroundings and out of the way.

My race plan:

  • Stay to the right, with Brooklyn always on the inside
  • Keep Brooklyn on the shortest part of her leash in the crowded sections
  • Annouce “passing with a dog”
  • Stop for water at every station and offer it to Brooklyn
  • Watch Brooklyn for any signs of fatigue and pace accordingly

These strategies worked! The first four miles were quite crowded, as we were on the Trinity Trail (think sidewalk size) in Fort Worth, in the very popular 9-minute pace group. I was hesitant to take her out too fast and also worried about trying to pass so many people. We hung back slow and just found a groove together for the first few miles. Stopping for water meant that we were often falling behind and then passing the same people, but it was worth it to me to make sure Brooklyn stayed hydrated. She didn’t drink all that much, because it was a cool day, but I offered it to her often nonetheless. When the crowds thinned out, I gave Brooklyn a little more leash to see if she would fall back. She never pulled, but she never once slowed her pace, either. She was one focused pup! On the last mile we had a lot of energy left, so we really pushed it coming into the finish.

I don’t *think* we annoyed anyone. I truly did my best to stay aware of my surroundings at all times. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how Brooklyn would do with the crowds. I wasn’t the least bit concerned about her stamina, but I didn’t know how she’d react to the entire situation. She’s been to many races, but never on the course. I was so proud of her behavior from arrival to departure. She was not only consistent and steady in her running, but also extremely attentive in an exciting and high-distraction environment. This was a proud moment for me!

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Wednesday shakeout on the home course

Dallas provided some of the best weather we’ve had this fall, and it made for a gorgeous week of running and a perfect Turkey Day adventure! I kept going back and forth between shorts and leggings, long or short sleeves. In the end, I think I could have gone with shorts, but a late start meant we were standing in 40-degree-weather for quite some time. Definitely was glad for the leggings at that point! T-hubs didn’t have a lot of choice in his race-day apparel. It was either space pants with leggings or space pants without. (A very thoughtful pre-race gift from me, I might add.) About a month ago, we saw an extremely fit dude zoom by us wearing only these space pants. T-hubs jokingly told me to buy them for him. So of course I did! 😉

The late start was my only complaint about the race. Everything else was just perfect for a Thanksgiving Day run! Lots of families (including ours!), sunshine, blue skies, gorgeous scenery, and cool weather. Perfect start to one of my favorite holidays!

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Pre-race!

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Post-race with the 1st-place canine! Check out Brooklyn’s bling!

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Post-race hydrating

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The whole fam! T-hubs grabbed a shiny new PR (space pants!) of 1:39! So proud of him!

I’ve never once bought race photos, but these I couldn’t pass up.

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Special shoutout to our Welsh fam for driving from Florida on Wednesday, getting up early to attend our race, and being the most amazing spectators and photographers! We love ya’ll!

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Brooklyn’s and my official chip time was 1:56:18! Good enough for a first place overall canine finish and eighth in my age group. Not all successes are measured by PRs, and this race ranks as one of my favorite! Here’s to more with my four-legged running buddy!

Marathon Blues

They’re a real thing, ya’ll.

I miss Chicago and that whole weekend experience.

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After hours of training, miles of pushing your body further than you thought you could, and a few weeks of intentional recovery, you feel the letdown after a big race.

 

Don’t get me wrong; you stay on that marathon high for about two weeks. And then…

Suddenly a three-mile run feels hard.

Your energy takes longer than you’d like to return, and your times feel draggingly slow.

Then you throw a three-week sinus infection and three rounds of medication on top of all that, and a whole month has gone by without any sense of “normal.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked Tyler to slow down on our runs this past month, or how many times I’ve said, “I can’t believe I ran 26.2 miles just a few weeks ago.”

I’m a marathoner.

But over the last few weeks I sure haven’t felt like one. I’ve slept when I normally would have been up with the sun. I’ve ditched the post-work workouts for pizza and Netflix. And I’ve stayed home from long runs to let my body recover.

And I’m slowly learning that’s okay.

My tendency is to overwork and overextend until something snaps. My first round of marathon training was coupled with graduate school music auditions (and thus severe anxiety) and landed me in the hospital for seven days.

I’m not invincible, and I was never created to be.

These are hard good words for me to type.

Over the last six weeks, I’ve focused on getting well, strength training, and family running just for fun. Oh, and painting and redecorating our family room. You know, stuff normal people do. And I’ve been happy. This break from training has helped me remember I am not defined by my times or mileage. I’ve enjoyed HIIT workouts for the first time ever, I’ve been back in the saddle on my QR, I’ve made it to the pool, and I’ve even had time to drink my coffee slowly in the morning before my daily grind kicks in.

With that said, I am now truly itching to get back to it! Brook and I are running our first-ever half marathon (race) together on Turkey Day! Time to hit the lake for a handful of joyous miles!

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Miles for Papa and Grams

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog front. This is not for lack of activity or even things to say! The last few weeks of training were good and hard — I was just exhausted from life! I spent the final stretch focusing on resting well and enjoying my time on the run. Dallas even gave us a handful of breezy, autumn running days. Too bad we’re back to 80s again!

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Where to start?

How about my favorite spectator sign?

“If Trump and Hillary can run, so can you!”

Chicago was an incredible experience. Would I do it again? Absolutely. Trying to convince T-Hubs over here that he really wants to run with me next year.

My experience running the Chicago Marathon was so much more than just a race. For the first time, I was part of a team, and this made all the difference! I raised $1,115 (passing my goal of $1K — thank YOU!), but I was part of a team that totaled nearly $320,000 for Alzheimer’s research.

The team experience played out throughout the weekend. I first arrived in Chicago on Friday morning, and I went straight to the expo. I was carrying all my luggage and fighting a bad cold — not feeling great but also not wanting to miss a single moment! I spotted our team director, Sharri, at our team booth almost immediately. She was a constant support over the last six months, both in training and in support raising.

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Our team also included a certified coach and a trainer, both of whom stayed in touch with everyone throughout the training process, offering advice and fielding questions. Sharri’s is without a doubt the friendliest face you’ll find in Chicago. She is a ball of energy, and she LOVES her ALZ Stars! She so graciously allowed me to leave my luggage at our booth while I explored!

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This is off the team topic, but I can’t help sharing! While exploring, I ran into two of my newest inspirations: Shalane Flanagan (right) and Elyse Kopecky! Most recently, Shalene finished 6th in the marathon at Rio — one of three American women to finish in the top ten this year! She and Elyse ran together in college and recently reconnected. Elyse is a professional chef, so she and Shalane collaborated to make the most fantastic cookbook! Seriously, I cannot say enough good things about this book! Yes, I carried it in my purse on the plane, just in case I could have them sign it. Mission accomplished!

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Soon after, I crashed back at our team booth, where Sharri let me rest. My sickness was getting worse by the hour, and combined with that 6AM flight, I was toast by 11AM! I finally made it back to our hotel around noon, where I connected with my sister-in-law. I hit the zinc hard, fell asleep in the lobby (still waiting for check-in), and she took her turn at the expo. More on our Friday night adventures later!

Saturday evening we attended our team pasta dinner (carbo-loading!), where Sharri had so kindly had gluten-free pasta prepared for a handful of us! Mom had arrived by this point, so we all three attended together. It was a fun time of meeting people I’d only seen on social media, hearing individual stories, and honoring our top fundraisers!

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Post-dinner, I laid out my gear for the morning and hit the hay early!

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The following morning, we headed back to our team site for breakfast, gear check (SOOOO nice not to do this on the course!), and pictures! Race nerves were high, but it was honestly so relaxing to be inside a warm building focusing on something other than the minutes remaining until race start! I brought my own GF oatmeal from Trader Joes and topped it with bananas.

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Thank you to my teammates in wave 1 who walked down with me to the start! I’d underestimated just how chaotic it would be even trying to find Corral E, so thank you for directing me and walking me to my assigned start! Everything up until this point had felt small and personal. Once I hit the streets of Chicago, I realized just how HUGE everything was.

When my corral edged up to the start line, my view was something like this. Hellllooooo, Windy City and 43,000 runners!

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You’ll notice quite the array of clothing choices. Many runners (myself included) wore an additional throw-away layer over their running gear. Unfortunately, I threw my extra shirt away too soon, so I was cold at the beginning! A girl near me was commenting on the “warm” weather. I was astounded. Then I learned she was from Washington and that she considered anything over 80 degrees unbearable. Wow. Never come to Texas then.

I was mostly unsuccessful in my attempts to photograph the course, but here are a few that show different scenery and neighborhoods.

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I thought I would remember the course more, but very few moments and miles stuck out to me. I was entirely overwhelmed by the crowds, the grandeur, and the energy on the course. It was so much to take in! A few miles do remain branded in my mind.

Mile 12: Sharri just about scared the heck out of me by cheering for me through a mega-phone! Hers was one of the few familiar faces I saw; I missed seeing my mom about a mile later, so I’m so grateful I made contact with Sharri!

Mile 14 (Charity Mile): Every charity team had a tent along the course, and the ALZ Stars cheering squad was amazing! Thank you to the supporter who handed me a bag of orange slices! Those really hit the spot!

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Spotting my team tent at Charity Mile!

Mile 19: This was the first time I started to feel tired and somewhat emotional. I drew strength by focusing on the the reason I was running. It helped to remember it wasn’t about me or how I was feeling, but it was about fulfilling my commitment to my supporters, honoring my grandparents, and helping to end Alzheimer’s.

Mile 21: “There’s the Chinatown dragon. Oh good, we’ve hit 21.” And that was pretty much the extent of it. As I’d perused the race map a few days prior, I was really looking forward to running through Chinatown. Apparently I shouldn’t make sightseeing goals for mile 21. I saw the dragon, and my thoughts instantly catapulted toward the finish line. I’m sure the rest of Chinatown was great. I just didn’t absorb any of it.

Beyond that, my memories are few. I never hit a “wall” like I did last time. No tears or dizziness. I never once walked. Don’t get me wrong, miles 21-26 were out-of-this-world challenging. (If you think they’re easy, you’re not running fast enough!) I can’t describe what it’s like to keep moving forward when you are entirely depleted of energy. If you’ve ever run a marathon, you know. Training only takes you so far at this point. I saw a sign throughout the course that read, “When your legs give out, run with your heart.” This summed up those final miles. No amount of gels or Gatorade or Bio-freeze could take away the pain and exhaustion. Only inspiration and the sheer knowledge that each step inched me closer to the finish line. I also saw several of my teammates in the last miles. I encouraged those I passed and tried to catch up with those I saw ahead. It definitely helped to see those familiar purple singlets on the course, and it didn’t matter that I probably hadn’t met their wearers. We were working toward a common goal. Yes, 26.2, but beyond that: ending Alzheimer’s.

Might I also add that a sense of competition helps? I was aiming for a sub-4 marathon, hoping to be closer to the 3:50-3:55 range. I realized I’d slowed on my second to last 5K, so I picked up the pace for the final stretch, crossing the finish line at 3:55:09. I ran exactly what I’d trained for. No better, no worse. It was an honest, pain-free, uneventful-in-the-best-way run, and I don’t take that for granted! Every marathoner knows anything can happen when you’re racing 26.2. I imagine there’s always a healthy fear of the distance, because sometimes you just can’t predict your body’s response on race day. Yes, you train. Yes, you mentally prepare. But you still have to take every step, and sometimes that process is surprising, painful, and disappointing.

 

Only two Unexpecteds happened that day, two Unplanneds on which I had not counted.

  1. It was a long walk to the exit. Nearly a mile, actually. They call it the “27th Mile Post-Race Party.” I call it cruel containment. It took me quite a while to make my way to my mom. The race volunteers made us keep moving, so as to create room for the next finishers. Once I found a grassy place to lie down, I called my mom and told her I’d be coming out later. Seriously, I did not have the energy to keep walking. Something like once you stop, you can’t start again. To the man who found me like this and asked me to take his photograph, maybe consider a runner who isn’t sprawled out on the grass next time? But thank you for helping me up.

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Did I mention we had to walk down a flight of stairs to reach our spectators? In case you’re wondering, stairs are excruciatingly painful after running a marathon. But still, none of that could keep me from smiling! I’d had a great race, my stomach felt good (miracle of miracles!), and I’d found my awesome mom who had been walking all over Chicago to support me! She even fought off a hurricane to get to Chicago! (Thanks, Mom!)

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Mom helped me walk (crawl?) back to our team race site, where I was greeted with cheers and the joyous toot of an air horn. I felt like a celebrity! Our team sure knows how to celebrate!

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2. Secondly, I was cold. Shivering, in fact, for two hours after the finish. My hands and feet were numb during the race, but my body never felt too cold once I began moving. I nearly ran out of clothes over the long weekend, because I wore about half of them after the race. A short-sleeve shirt, a pullover sweater, a jacket, a hoodie, winter leggings, socks, and my foil wrap later, I was still freezing. So much, in fact, that the massage therapist told me I had to warm up before she could get to work on my tight muscles. (Yes, we had a team of massage therapists at our team site! Amazing!) Thank you to the chef who brought me a steaming hot plate of meat, rice, and cauliflower. Food never tasted so good, or so warm! After inhaling lunch and a hot chocolate my mom brought me, I found a sunny spot on our common room couch and fell asleep while my mom went to see my sister-in-law finish. After I warmed up a bit, I took full advantage of the massage therapy! Already I felt like a different person, just a few hours later!

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Only two Out-of-the-Ordinary experiences over 26.2 miles? Not bad, right?! Truly, this was such an unbelievably fabulous day! I felt entirely supported by my team, my family at the race, all those who supported me prayerfully and financially, and by my friends across the country! My friends in Florida literally formed a cheering committee for me after church. I received the sweetest video of them watching the tracking app and cheering my little “dot” across the finish line. T-Hubs said that there was a similar scene at our home church in Dallas, too! So many of my friends and family took a genuine interest in my big day, and I want to say thank you! Those gestures mattered when I was exhausted with “just a 5K” left.

Thank you to Sharri and my team for inspiring me to run for a cause beyond myself. Last year I ran my first marathon, and I caught the bug. This year I ran for more than just time, accomplishment, recognition, fitness, and medals. I ran for those whose lives have been robbed of the simple joys of life. I ran for the hope of ultimate healing. And I caught the bug. Those 26.2 miles won’t be the last I run to #endalz.

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Hope to see you next year, team!

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

(Revelation 21:1-17)

Stay tuned for more posts on my trip to Chicago!

Motivation Monday on a Tuesday

Looks like I missed the window of opportunity for busting out a Monday post. Consider this my recap of Monday.

Yesterday I completed my final 10+ training run before the big day. Next week my longest run will peak at 10 miles, and the following week at 8. I’ll continue basic speed, strength, and strides while also focusing even more on hydration, nutrition, and recovery (more on my new favorite cookbook later!).

Yesterday was the kind of day that reminded me how stinkin’ hard this whole marathon thing is. (Thank you, Texas, for your 100+ degree days and insane humidity in late September!) But it also reminded me how important and worth it this entire venture is. Sometimes it helps to take a globalized view and remember it’s not about me. (I strongly suggest this MO when you’re swimming in 91% humidity for 12 miles!) I am truly honored to run this race in the memory of my grandparents and in support of the Alzheimer’s Association. Being part of a team and part of a larger cause means that I choose to stick it out on those wicked hot runs. That I choose to find the silver lining when I’d rather complain. That I hit the pavement when I’d rather hit the couch. That I run through the tears on that 20-miler.

I’ve been supported and encouraged along the way by my ALZ Stars team. We have a private Facebook group where all our members post about their weekly long runs, share their family stories, dialogue about training questions/suggestions, and just generally encourage one another. I am so looking forward to meeting my teammates at our team events marathon weekend. It will be a privilege to wear my ALZ Stars jersey on race day, and you can bet I’ll be looking for my teammates in purple, to cheer them on, too!

Love you, Papa and Grams, and I look forward to the day when all will be made well (Revelation 21:1-7).

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And that is why I 6AM and 91% humidity.

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View my team’s page here!

What motivates you?

Have you ever run for a cause? 

How do you make it through those tough workouts?

Friday Favorites from Yours Truly

Lots of pictures coming your way, so I’ll just jump straight to the point: keep reading for my top five favorites this week!

  1. Cheering T-hubs on at his Labor Day triathlon! And better yet, watching him crush a 12-minute PR! If I’m honest, I was just a tad bit sad to miss out on the fun, but it was incredibly rewarding to watch Ty’s progress throughout and fabulous finish! Way to go, Hun!
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    T2 and looking good!

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    Brook wondering where Ty rode off to…

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    Brook’s new race BFF (and still worried about Dad!)

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    Strong finish!

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    Finisher and cheering committee!

     

  2. Sarah Marie Design Studio — Loving the designs in this store! I may or may not have three (ahem, yes, three) new running items headed my way. (Disclaimer: it hurt my little Scottish heart to pay a pretty penny, but I decided the world was probably getting tired of my single running outfit.) You’d better believe I got the shirt about eating all the ice cream! Love that the performance tanks are especially made for running but also unique and cute!
  3. Run Fast Eat Slow — I’m sure you’ve heard about this new running community phenomenon. I have to say — the hype is true! My mom surprised me with a copy in the mail! So far I’ve made the Superhero Muffins and the Banana Chews. Both were amazing! I took the muffins to a Labor Day cookout, where they where enjoyed by all, and I snacked on the chews during my Sunday 18-miler. I’m looking forward to baking and cooking up more recipes very soon!

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    18 miles? No problem! (Don’t let my smile fool you!:)

  4. Not cooking — I know, funny after favorite #3, right? It was an extremely busy workweek, even with the four-day weekend! But marathon training means a girl’s gotta eat! And not just any old garbage!

    First, fajita special night at Blue Goose Cantina — This is a Dallas favorite, and the original location is just down the street from our old house. We revisited the Lower Greenville Blue Goose and enjoyed the first of Dallas’ patio weather and the Goose’s Wednesday night fajita special with a good friend! Best way to get through hump day! Will definitely be keeping this Wednesday special in mind.

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    Secondly, nothing says, “I love you,” more to me than coming home to find the dishes done and dinner on the table. Like woah. Be still my heart! What a guy! Thanks, Hun!

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    Post-run, mid-meal and football! Win!

  5. Weekly Speedy Runs with MA — I used to complain a lot about strength and speed work. So much of my running these days in preparation for the marathon is intentionally very slow. I’ve truly come to look forward to my speedy runs this time through the training process, and this girl’s company and quick feet make them all the more enjoyable!
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    Indoor track workout!

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    Hot, hot, hot outdoor speed work!


    What are you excited about this week?

    Tried any new recipes?

    Speed work or long runs?

Austin Adventures

Two weeks ago, we took an impromptu, 48-hour vacation to Austin. Since moving to Texas two years ago, we’ve only seen a handful of cities in our new state. We decided to explore Austin before I headed back to school.

Brook was a bit concerned we’d forget to pack her (like when we went to Lubbock), so she was sure to pack herself into the wagon.

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I love road trips, especially when the whole family is involved and T-Hubs drives the entire way. My favorites are coordinating the snacks, taking all the pictures, and choosing the audio books. The lack of A/C this time around was a bit of a downer, so we were thankful our trip was a few short hours.

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Sleepy pup!

  1. The Hotel

We stayed at Hotel Van Zandt, a Kimpton hotel, and couldn’t have loved it more! Did I mention that it was dog friendly at no additional charge? Brook wasn’t sure what to think of being on the 9th floor, but she definitely loved the bed! Our good-looking dog fit right in at this fashionable and chic hotel.

Hotel highlights included:

  • Social hour — free drinks!
  • Coffee hour — all the coffee options and little muffins
  • Great lighting
  • Our hotel restaurant breakfast
  • The fabulous service we received every time we went in or out — it reminded me of Disney hospitality!
  • The workout room
  • Courtesy bikes for riding around the city
  • An amazing rooftop pool that we only got to look at, thanks to the rain (next time!)

Hotel bummers:

  • No free breakfast (I packed oatmeal for Ty and chia seeds for me)
  • An unwelcome and surprisingly overnight parking fee
  • Nothing else!

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Record player playin’ tunes

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Bikes for riding!

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Zoom in to see the material on these chandeliers!

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Social hour day 1

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Hotel restaurant

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Elevator rides

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Someone liked the shower 🙂

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Social hour day 2

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Loved this wall decor!

2. The Workouts

It was pouring when we woke up Monday morning, and my dream of two laps — 20 miles total — around the Lady Bird Trail was looking more and more unrealistic. And our hotel bed was looking more and more comfortable by the minute! We braved the elements to let Brook out, made a game plan while we drank our coffee, and then hit the gym to set our plan in motion. Ty ran alongside me for ten “dreadmill” miles, and then we hit up the rainy and muddy Lady Bird for “lap two.” He rode a hotel bike while I ran Brook, and we had a blast once we just embraced the fact that we were going to be wet! 🙂 The rain let up for about half the time, and we only got soaked on the last few miles. We both loved the fact that it wasn’t 100+ degrees for the first time in over two weeks.

The second morning, I hit the workout room for an indoor recovery ride. 40 minutes of spinning and some good stretching later, my legs felt incredibly better!

 

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Treadmill running with my date!

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Hydrating on the run!

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Ty’s hot ride!

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On the Lady Bird Trail!

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Beautiful Austin in the background!

3. The Food

As mentioned earlier, our hotel didn’t include a complimentary breakfast. With a scheduled twenty-mile run, you can bet that I also had some creative breakfast plans. I simply packed instant oatmeal for Tyler and chia seeds for me. I bought one large cup of milk from the hotel cafe and split it between my two mornings. I soaked my chia seeds overnight and kept my pudding cold in our mini fridge.

Where we ate:

  • Frank’s — the perfect hot food after a 20-mile run and a rainy walk through downtown
  • Via 313 — some of the best GF pizza I’ve ever had. Pricy, considering it was from a food truck, but amazing nonetheless!
  • Our hotel restaurant — we chose to try out their breakfast menu, and it was sublime!
  • Guero’s Taco Bar — the best LEGIT Mexican food I’ve had in Texas yet!
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Nosy Weim wants my breakfast!

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Gluten-free Pizza from a food truck?

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The best thick crust I’ve ever had!

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Loaded chili cheese waffle fries from Frank’s! Get in my belly!

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Quite a unique menu!

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My hotel breakfast! Those potatoes were especially amazing!

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Ty choose the french toast!

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Tamales from Guero’s!

4. The Sights

  • Lady Bird Trail — can’t wait to go back and run this again when it’s not raining. I loved seeing so much of the city, and the lakefront view did my soul good!
  • 6th street walking, shopping, exploring, and coffee drinking!
  • Congress Ave driving — we glimpsed the State Capitol from the car (darn rain!)
  • Congress Ave Bridge bat watching — 1.5 million bats live around this bridge and at dusk they wake up to feed. It was a cloudy evening, but we still loved this!
  • Lake Bonnell — beautiful view of the city!
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Seen on 6th Street

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Capitol drive by!

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View from Congress Ave bridge

 

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Waiting for the bats!

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Bat crowd!

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Steps up to Mt. Bonnell

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Too many steps after 20 miles! 😉

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Storm is a’comin’

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Beautiful Brook on Mt. Bonnell!

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The houses on the water were gorgeous!

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The whole fam damily!

While the weather certainly was a disappointment, we simply embraced the rain and then enjoyed relaxing in our lovely hotel. We can’t wait to go back again!

Have you been to Austin? What are your favorite places to visit there?
Do you run when you travel? Where are you favorite places to run?

My First Friday Faves

Hi, friends!

I’ve decided to try something new on the blog: Friday Favorites!

This will give you a glimpse into all things training, life with a Weim, and what we’re collectively excited about over here at Brook’s house!

#1 Lady Bird Running Trail in Austin, TX

  • Stay tuned for a full blog post, but suffice it to say that we made the most out of a rainy stay in Austin — which included this girl’s first 20-miler this season! Can’t wait to revisit this city in the future! Maybe even race there?? (Ugh, the hills!)

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#2 DIY Trop Tronic

  • A local store, Simply Fit Meals, has this delicious Trop Tonic that I just love. In an attempt to save my wallet, I decided to make my own. As a person who often forgets to hydrate, this is an easy way for me to get in my daily fluids and simultaneously boost my immune system.
  • Recipe:
    • 4 cups water
    • 8 TBS apple cider vinegar
    • 1 inch fresh ginger
    • 1 lemon or lime, juiced
    • 1/4 cup frozen or fresh pineapple or mango
      • Toss all ingredients in the blender! Chill in an airtight container, and serve over ice!

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#3 Mocha Chip Lara Bar

  • Lara Bars have been my go-to travel snack for over five years, but I just recently discovered this amazing pick-me-up flavor! I’m even more excited that I combined a manufacturer’s coupon with a Kroger coupon and got a wicked deal on my week’s supply of these goodies! Perfect post-run refueling or on-the-go snack!

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#4 This stretch/strength routine video

  • I’m staying committed to adding in stretching and strength training to my marathon training routine, and I love this video for a quick extra oomph in my week. It’s short enough that you can do it before or after a low-mileage run. And those standing hamstring stretches are amazing!

#5 Thai Chicken and Veggie Quinoa Bowls

  • T-Hubs called my take on this recipe, “Killer,” so we’re calling that a major win at Brook’s house — especially since he’s not generally a lover of all things Thai like I am.
  • My subsitutions:
    • Omit cabbage (couldn’t find the right kind at the store, so had to get creative!)
    • Add green onion, extra cilantro, seared red pepper
    • Omit cornstarch — my sauce was plenty thick without it!

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Be sure to check back next Friday for new discoveries. After this week’s 20-miler, next week is a recovery week — and just in time for the start of the semester. Stay tuned for that Austin post, too!

 

What’s your favorite go-to snack?

Best recipe you made this week…go!

What are you training for right now?

Tips for Summer Running with Your Pup

Summer in Texas is no joke. Born and raised in Florida, I thought I could reckon with the Texas summers. And for the past two summers, I did. Everyone said they were remarkably cool summers. I just rolled my eyes and said I was used to the heat. After all, I’m a Florida girl. Now I understand.

While Florida summers are indeed hot and exceptionally long, there is something uniquely Texan about 100+ degrees every day. To top it off, we’ve had an unusually humid summer combined with those hundred-degree temps.

Not to worry — your summer running fun need not be restricted by the Texas sun. And for those of you who also need to #wearouttheweimaraner like I do, here are my top five tips for safely running through the summer with your pup.

#1: Go Early!

Or very late, if you’re so inclined.

It’s not fun running past 8:30AM, and it’s really not fun once you reach 9AM. This morning the temps were already in the mid-90s by 9:30. That’s hot, folks! Even if it means rolling out of bed before the sun and forgoing that late summer sleep, you’ll be glad you did! And besides, who ever regrets a gorgeous sunrise run?

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White Rock Lake at sunrise

#2: Stay Close to Water!

Or keep the water close to you!

Summer is definitely not the time for exploring new trails miles away from the nearest water fountain. I dislike carrying water while I run, so I always plan a route that has water every mile or so. This is especially important while you’re traveling. Know your route and don’t get stuck in the wasteland without water! Pups don’t know when to stop, so give your dog the option to drink as often as possible.

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One of many water fountains near White Rock

#3: Run Slower!

And take breaks when you (or your pup!) need them!

Don’t force your pup to keep up with breakneck speeds if he/she isn’t up for the challenge. It’s important that you don’t force your own goals onto your pup and therefore endanger his/her health. Or, if your pup is like mine, sometimes you need to set a slower pace so he/she doesn’t take off too fast! Remember, too, that breaks are a great time to hydrate and stretch! Even four-legged runners need to stretch their hip flexors! Hit up the track with a friend for your speed sessions and just enjoy the easy miles with your pup.

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Break from the heat!

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Track workout with MA!

#4: Find the Shady Spots!

AKA: the sun will kill you.

This advice wouldn’t have helped much in Florida, as the humidity is certainly not confined to the corners of the sun’s reach. I’m convinced the sun actually is hotter in Texas, and the shade makes outdoor life about 50 times better. Yes, you may have to run off course a bit to find the shady patch — but hey! You might even make some cool new designs on MapMyRun. Shade is worth it. And it also keeps the surfaces cooler for your pup.

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#5: Check Surfaces!

AKA: the ground is HOT!

Brook actually has a pair of shoes (check them out on our Favorites page!), but we mostly use them on tough terrain. If you’re smart about the time and location of your run, you and your pup can get along just fine in the summer without these. As hinted at above, the pavement can reach alarmingly high temps! If sidewalk or asphalt is your only option, be sure to feel it first with your hand. If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your pup! Summer is also a great time to run on alternative surfaces like padded trails or grass. It’s helps protect your four-legged runner’s paw pads and helps your joints, too! Win-win!

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Padded surface on the Katy Trail

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14-miler with my four-legged running buddy!

And don’t forget to refuel and rest after hard, hot summer runs!

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Green smoothie for me!

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Peanut butter bone for Brookies!

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Tired Weim = happy Weim 🙂

 

How do you stay cool through the summer?

What is your favorite way to recover from a hot summer run?

Does your running partner have four legs?

There and Back Again: A Marathoner’s Tale

Eleven and a half weeks until my second marathon. To be honest, I’ve had a bit of a training letdown since our 70.3. Between moving, an inconsistent work schedule, and traveling, nailing down a routine has been tricky. And with the 100+ temps every day, it’s been difficult to transition into a running training schedule. On the upside, I feel stronger than ever since our summer triathlon training. Last time I tackled the marathon, I experienced weekly ups and downs in the training process as I battled IT band pain. There were many times I called Ty to pick me up halfway through a long run. Knock on wood, but so far so good — though I certainly don’t take that for granted!

This time around I am aiming for four main tenants in my training, all the while keeping it fun and secondary to my artistic endeavors:

  1. Run long runs slower — I hate running slowly, but I know now that last time I had difficulty recovering from long runs at an 8:30 pace. Mostly I don’t like setting aside 3+ hours when I know I could run faster.
  2. Strength train — halfway through last summer’s training, I began incorporating plyometrics into my weekly routine. I aim to keep that up, as well as adding in several short strength routines a week.
  3. Speed train — add in a weekly track/speed workout to build strength and add diversity to my training.
  4. Continue cross training — I’ll replace one weekly run with cycling to cut down on the impact of running and to ride with T-Hubs

Call me crazy, but I’m not following a specific training plan. This is partly because I like to make my own schedule and partly because I can’t afford to be locked into someone else’s goals, especially while navigating grad school, year three. I’ve mapped out all my long runs between now and race day, aiming for two twenty milers and allowing time to taper. The workouts between long runs will focus on my four tenants above, allowing for flexibility and diversification. If I learned anything last year from training through injury, it’s that you can run a marathon with a lot less running than most plans recommend — if you keep your cardio base high through cross training and stick to the scheduled long runs.

I’ve also learned that simply showing up and running makes all the difference in the world. I remember I do love the run: fast or slow, hot or cold, rain or shine, morning or evening. The only runs I regret are the ones I never started. For now, I will learn to love the Texas heat!

And documenting my run fun and cross training along the way never hurts either!

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Cross training and free Slurpees!

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Mom came to visit! She braved 106 degrees with us!

 

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Family plyometrics!

 

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Twelve miler this week. Hot, hot, hot! And one long run closer to Chicago.

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Cleaning up…

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…and resting up!

Goals beyond these? Yes, probably. But for now, I’m aiming to love the run and stay injury free! Stay tuned! And visit my ALZ Stars page while you wait! 🙂

 

Have you ever run a marathon?

Do you love or hate the run?

How do you stay cool on the run during summer?