One of My New Favorite Things!

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Today I am sharing about one of my new favorite things! Rock My Run. This is a great service that allows you to choose from a wide variety of running playlists. You have access to many playlists for free, but for a small monthly or annual fee, you can access all the playlists, which include longer mixes and those with more current music. You can search by genre, BPM, length, and clean/explicit lyrics.

There is an app that can be downloaded, which includes a lot of great features. There is something called My Beat. This allows you to change the BPM of the song. Some research shows that matching your BPM to your desired pace can have a very positive effect on your training. I have been playing around with this some. I pick slower BPMs for my easy/recovery days and speed it up for my speed workouts. Some studies have shown that music reduces your body’s perceived exertion of exercise.

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What I really like about the service is the ability to change the music I listen to without having to create my own playlists all the time. I start to get tired of songs if I exercise to them too much. Sometimes I even start hating them if they remind me of difficult parts of my run.

There really are mixes for all different tastes. The mixes my Dad picks are WAY different from the ones I pick, but we both love the app.

The kind folks at Rock My Run are even giving you the change to win a free one year premium membership! Just enter the giveaway by clicking here!

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The Philly 10k!

0906140713This morning I ran the inaugural Philly 10k! It was a great race, but the heat and humidity were intense to say the least. This race is unique because it is through all the little neighborhoods of Philadelphia. They gave us this great commemorative print of the race route. I am definitely getting it framed.

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I have not done a race since the Spring, and I haven’t done a 10k since last Fall. Apparently I have gotten quite a bit faster. My last 10k was 1:02. This 5k was 0:54!!! That is an average pace of 8:35. I am so happy with this time, especially considering the heat. I was careful to not go out too fast, and I think it really worked. I am getting much better at my pacing.

0906140929After the race, there was a little “festival.” They had a beer brewed especially for this race. It was an IPA. It wasn’t my favorite, but I usually prefer wine over beer anyways.

0906140940aThey also had custard from the Shake Shack with cannolis from the Termini Brothers. I feel like I am getting all of the token Philadelphia experiences through my races. Seems like a good plan to me!

0904141834I really feel like I am starting to get the hang of this racing thing. The speed work and recovery runs are really helping me get better about judging my pace by feel and learning how to control my pace. The only bad thing about a 10k on a Saturday is that I still have my long run tomorrow! I am taking it slow and easy, though. Pacing is a beautiful thing.

How do you practice pacing yourself?

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New School Year, New Perspective

0828140822Today I am enjoying one of my last lazy mornings of summer. On Tuesday I officially go back to work. We have professional development on Sept. 2, and the kids come the next day. While I love resting and recovering over the summer, I also love teaching. I am ready for the new school year. I have a fresh perspective and a new theme for the year: Simplify.

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First, I have a simpler look. I chopped off all my hair. I have wanted to go short for a LONG time. At first it felt weird, but I am finally feeling like this is me. It is easy to take care of, which is what I wanted. With marathon training and back to school business, there just isn’t a lot of time for hairstyling…

0824141315I am going to spend more time relaxing and enjoying the simple things. I want to be outside as much as possible. There might be some reduction in blogging, so please forgive me! Last year I felt like I took on too many things. I need to prioritize. I will NOT join every extracurricular activity. I CANNOT! I am really not sure how I survived last year! I am in charge of the schoolwide reading incentive program. I do not need anything else. Maybe by Spring things will have settled down, and I will be able to coach track again. We will see. One day at a time! Also, I am not going to sign up for every single race on the planet. I am keeping it to no more than one race a month, with the exception of the required Thanksgiving Turkey Trot. I really burnt myself out last Spring on races. Not going to do that again.

0827141608I am also going to have FUN! Much like these awesome Adventure Time leggings my boyfriend got me. All fun and no play makes Amy a very dull girl. I am not going to get so bogged down with school, running, and blogging that I forget to have fun.

So, here is to a wonderful new school year! What is your motto/theme for the next year?

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Warning: Emotional Post

Sorry that I haven’t been commenting on all of your lovely blogs, it has been a busy couple of months!  Last weekend my sister got married. And with that, be warned, that this…is an emotional post.

10557369_10100513956703660_6251146906958350837_nIt was a great wedding and everything went off without a hitch. The wedding also really got me thinking about people and relationships. Have you ever taken one of those personality tests? If not, it’s definitely very informative. (Here is one.)

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That’s me rocking the maid of honor speech in the bottom picture.

 

Anyways, my personality always comes out as INFJ, which basically means I am a huge goal-oriented, type A “go-getter,” but I am somehow an introvert at the same time. (Complete explanation here.) Apparently this is a rare combination. So…where am I going with this?

Maybe, it was the the fact that the groom’s siblings were the complete opposite (extreme extroverts), but the wedding really got me thinking about how I process emotions. Afterwards, I thought, why can’t I be that person that cries at a speech or during a song? That just isn’t how I process my emotions.

Today I am feeling a little reminiscent about the weekend. As soon as I got home to New Jersey, all of the emotions slammed into me like a semi going full speed, and then the tears came. I know people think that the inability to show emotion on the spot is cold, or heartless, but some people just take longer to process emotions. Maybe sometime in the distant future I will be able to show that feeling right there on the spot, instead of feeling the regret that I didn’t say or do the right thing, but then I probably wouldn’t be me. For now, I’ll just do the best to show those I love that I care in my own time and way.

Anyone else out there an introvert or have trouble processing emotions?

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Airia Running Shoes

I think I might have mentioned that I love trying new things and free samples. It really is an obsession. So, when I was approached by Airia Running to try their running shoe, you know I was in.

0813141511The company is in Sweden and makes some pretty bold claims about their shoes. They say you are guaranteed to run faster. I am not sure if that is a claim a shoe company can really make… They also warn you that their shoes are very different from many. There is even a warning in the box. They recommend running at least a 10k before making your judgment.

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This is part of the box the shoes came in.

The shoes are not the most visually appealing, but that isn’t really how one should judge a running shoe. The shoes are made of a very lightweight material and the toes curl up.

0818141031I noticed that the shoes had a larger toe box than my Mizunos. My toes had much more space, which I actually ended up enjoying quite a bit. The shoes seem to borrow some ideas from minimalist shoes without going too bare. The shoes also cause my foot to turn in a bit. According to the company website, these shoes cause you to run more naturally, more efficiently.

0813141510I am going to continue to wear these shoes occasionally. I have always been interested in more minimalist shoes, and free is just the right price for me. I will still use my Mizunos as my primary shoe. I will admit that I was more impressed than I expected. With the bold claims about running faster and the unique design, I was very skeptical. However, I felt really great when I was running in these. I was surprised how naturally my gait adapted. I only felt a little bit more work in one of my shins, just minorly. As to whether I will become faster as a result of these shoes, well the jury is out on that one. I don’t think there is one universal magic shoe that will make everyone faster.

What is the most unique item you have tried/reviewed?

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These shoes were provided by Airia Running, but all opinions are my own.

How to Not Become Obese on a Cruise

0805141201aLast week I was lucky enough to go on a cruise to the Caribbean with my boyfriend’s family. It was amazing. We went to Cozumel, Roatan, Belize, and The Grand Cayman Islands. While I definitely enjoyed myself and relaxed, I didn’t want to completely sabotage my marathon training. Here are some tricks for how I stayed healthy!

1. Take advantage of the gym

I kept up with most of my workouts. I just had to complete them on the treadmill. (The track on deck: 1 mile = 14 laps – NO WAY) I only took one extra rest day, which was the day we flew home because we left at the crack of dawn. I downscaled my long run, mostly because it was on a treadmill and the boat rocked some. One day I almost fell off the treadmill! They had tons of equipment and also offered some free classes.

2. Try a lot of different foods in small portions

Cruises are notorious for all you can eat. I tried to stick to healthier options and focused on small portions. Luckily, Carnival marks its healthier meals on the menu. These included lots of delicious meals. This also includes scaling back on the sugary alcoholic drinks. I had one token margarita. Other than that, I focused on champagne and other white wine. The champagne made me still feel luxurious, but with a fraction of the calories. 

3. Book physical excursions

I got to do and see a lot of cool things. We chose a lot of physical activities that kept me moving and away from the unlimited buffet. 

IMG_20140805_105509_182I got to go scuba diving for the first time ever. The breathing was tricky at first, but I was really pleased with how quickly I caught on. We went down approximately 30 feet, since it was for beginners. I definitely got some exercise swimming.

0806141149(2)I hiked all the way to the top of these super cool Mayan ruins. My heart was pounding! I loved seeing these ruins. I was obsessed. Apparently the rest of my boyfriend’s family isn’t as fascinated with history as me…I mean check out this view from the top. Unbelievable.

0806141202aI also went snorkeling and fed stingrays. This is definitely a creation for tourists. But I TOUCHED and FED a stingray. That is still cool even if it is cheesy.

0808141342fAll in all, it is important to enjoy yourself, but stay true to your healthy self. I don’t feel like I need to do a major cleanse to recover my old self. I don’t seem to have gained any weight either. I still feel like I had an amazing trip. The worst part is that others will judge you. They will say it is vacation and that you don’t need to work out. They may just want to feel better about not working out themselves. I definitely scaled back my workouts, but there is no way I could have cut them out completely!

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Also, remember to enjoy the awesome towel animals every night. 

How do you stay healthy on vacation while still enjoying yourself?

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Be Kind to Yourself

Prepare yourself for an overload of motivational quotes in this post. It’s not for the faint of heart.

be kind to yourselfIt sounds like a lot of us fitness bloggers are having a tough time these days. We are too hard on ourselves. Sometimes our self discipline is what makes us great and helps us reach our amazing goals, but sometimes we beat ourselves up. I think we all need to be a little kinder to ourselves these days.

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Our bodies are capable of some pretty awesome things. As runners, we push our bodies to the limit to become better. We also have to remember that we only get this one body. It does a lot for us. We need to take care of it. This rang especially true for me this week. As most of you know, I had a colonoscopy last week. I had three polyps removed, one of which was considered large. I got the green light to go back to exercising the next day. I felt fine, so I went at it. Tuesday speed work came along. I was pushing it pretty hard, and then the WORST side cramp of my life hit. I had to stop the workout early. I really beat myself up about it. Then it hit me, I took THIRTY doses of laxatives within 24 hours for that colonoscopy. My insides were messed up. They say it can take up to two weeks to have normal bowel movements again. These were insane gas pains, not cramps from poor breathing.

comparisonI felt so awful because I couldn’t keep going like everyone else. That was ridiculous. Everyone else doesn’t have Crohn’s disease. They did not take 30 doses of laxatives. We are not the same. I cannot compare myself to them. I was not taking care of my body because I was acting like I didn’t have Crohn’s disease.  Ultimately, Crohn’s disease is what has led me to live a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes even forcing me. It is a big part of my life.

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It’s time we stop comparing ourselves to others. It’s also time to take care of ourselves. That could mean slowing down, taking time to rest, or to stop freaking out about paces. Take some time to be kind to yourself!

How could you be kinder to yourself?

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The Zen Runners

If you have ever seen The Spirit of the Marathon (and if you haven’t, go watch it NOW), you probably remember the clip about the “zen runners.” (sadly, no clip on Youtube – unforgivable!) These are the runners that run without a garmin. They just go out and enjoy the run.

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Well…Saturday I did the “zen running” thing on my long run. It was actually on accident, though. I forgot my garmin. Who does that? Who forgets their garmin?! Then, I though, “Oh, don’t worry, just use your phone.” Well, my phone has been acting crazy, and I just found out the GPS is broken! (No worries, still under warranty and getting a new one!) The universe wanted me to do some serious “zen running.”

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Real scene from my run!

I had a route mapped out, (which included an awesome nature observatory park),so I knew I would get my twelve miles in. So, I just took off. I ran 12 miles with no clue what my pace was. I mean I know the approximate time it took me to complete the entire run, but I actually didn’t want to think about it or estimate my pace. 

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A picture from a day I actually remembered my Garmin.

I love my Garmin dearly, but sometimes I get a little obsessed with pace. It’s my type “A” personality. It feeds on that sort of thing. I think I am going to try and go without it more often, though. Sometimes it is good to just go by feel. I always say I am going to do that, and then I find myself staring at the Garmin. It’s time to let loose!

Do you ever run without a watch or your phone tracking?

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Just Think of It As a Cleanse

“Just think of it as a cleanse.” That is the advice of one of the lovely members of my running club for my upcoming colonoscopy. Since I have Crohn’s disease, I get a colonoscopy approximately every five years. It’s a real treat.  I suppose you could think of it as a nice little cleanse, something fancy celebrities pay a lot of money for. I like to think theirs is a bit more sophisticated than taking a ton of laxatives in a short period of time? I don’t know any fancy celebrities to ask, though.

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Doesn’t that look like fun?

I am hoping I didn’t make a bad choice by picking my favorite gatorade flavor for the MiraLax. I still can’t drink dark blue gatorade after my last colonoscopy…

I did manage to get a run in this morning. I was a little nervous about going outside since I took the Magnesium Citrate last night. I decided to go to the gym in case I needed to make a quick get-away to the bathroom. I managed to make it through 5 miles! I took it slow though since I don’t have much food in me for energy.

I bet you're jealous of my lunch.

I bet you’re jealous of my lunch.

You don’t realize how many commercials on TV are for food until you can’t eat. Literally, every other commercial! I can only eat Jello, clear broth, coffee, tea, apple juice, and hard candy. That Jello sort of sent me into sugar overload. I can only imagine how I will feel after the 64 oz of Gatorade…

I am already thinking about my first meal. Whatever it is, it is going to be big and delicious.

Have you ever had a colonoscopy?

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Giveaway Winner and HILLS!

Happy Monday! Here is a little motivation to get your week started off right!

motivational quoteAnd…the giveaway winner for the tasc Performance shorts is….Tammy M! Congratulations!!

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I hope everyone had a great weekend of running. I am out of town for my sister’s wedding shower and bachelorette, so I tried a new route. I guess I should have paid more attention to the elevation chart before I ran…It was HILLY! I didn’t quit, though! My legs were definitely feeling the burn the next day!

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It was an unexpected hill workout, but I feel really good about how it went. It was also in the rain! Hope everyone as a great week!

How often do you run hills?

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