Soldier of Steel™ Transformational Workout Plan

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The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Soldier of Steel™. All opinions are my own.

Have you guys seen the new Superman movie MAN OF STEEL™??? I haven’t gone yet, but I’m actually really looking forward to seeing it. I don’t always love super hero movies, but you know, I made Steve go see Fame in theaters, so sometimes I have to take one for the team and go see a boy movie, and the super hero ones I’ve actually been really enjoying lately!

Not only does the movie look entertaining, but ummm…those men look GOOD. There have been so many times where I’ve looked at celebrities and said things like “Oh I could look that great too if I had a fancy celebrity trainer”, so of course I was so excited when I saw that celebrity trainer Mark Twight was offering a one month training plan! Not only did he train those muscly men of steel, but he has also trained National Guard Citizen-Soldiers!!

I’ve actually been really worried about sticking with my strength training while I’m away for the summer with no gym. I was thrilled to see that 80% of the workouts require absolutely no equipment, and the ones that do are easy to modify. This plan could not have come at a more perfect time! I started off this morning by heading to the park with Mac and Amber to try out day 1.

soldierofsteel (1)You guys. It was no joke. My legs were total jello by the end, but it was a lot of fun! It was a quick and challenging full body workout that got my heart rate going, and I definitely plan to continue through this first month plan! Mac asked me how I felt the second we finished, and it was kinda like this…


I’m tiiiiiired.

But then I decided to climb a tree because I was feeling like a total champ.


Want to check out the workouts for yourself? Visit the Soldier of Steel™ website! There is an entire month long plan developed by Mark Twight with really great explanations and photo tutorials of all of the movements here. There are even fitness training webisodes! Also, make sure to check out this teaser video to get a sense of what it’s all about.


ITBS Recovery Week 6


Hi friends. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, feel free to check out my first recovery post. Here’s a little reminder.


How I’m feeling physically:

Honestly, I’m feeling about the same. I have good days, and bad days. I don’t feel better than last week, but I don’t feel worse. Walking still feels…odd. When I walk for a long time (a long time being one side of the house to the other), it feels like fluid builds up in my needs. It’s weird, and I don’t know if that’s an accurate statement, but that’s what it feels like. I tested out the rowing machine this week. The first day it felt fine; the second it hurt afterwards. I don’t really understand my body. It’s a mystery.

How I’m feeling mentally:

Just like physically, I have good days, and bad days. One aspect that is incredibly frustrating is not being able to do my job. I’m a choreographer. I have to be able to dance, and right now, I can only mark things when I teach my kids. I can’t give 100%, and show them what I want from them. It’s a mental battle for me. Then sometimes after a great yoga class (I never thought I’d say that…), I feel so grateful to be able to move at all. I’m grateful for the opportunity to explore new things, and for my own determination and commitment to staying fit.

This whole period is really testing that commitment. It would be so easy to not do anything at all since there is so much that I can’t do, but I do feel really proud of myself for sticking with it, and finding workouts that still feel good. Here’s how this week went down.


Tuesday: Yoga. We did normal yoga-y things. I didn’t hate it. I’d call that a win.

Wednesday: Massage. Ugghhh…they are so painful, and no fun at all, but hopefully it’s helping. Pretty much the entire section from my butt to underneath my knee on the left side causes lots of crying and cursing. It’s a fun 90 minutes, let me tell you.

Thursday: Gym. I tested out the rowing machine with 2,000 meters, then did a bunch of strength training that left me sweaty, and with all my muscles feeling like jello. I used to really love strength training, and I’m trying to get myself back into it.

Friday: Yoga. We did yoga-y things, and I REALLY LIKED IT!!!! Who am I??? My favorite work out buddy came with me, and it was almost like old times with our Friday am workouts. They’re my favorite part of the week, and while I, of course, wish it was a long run, or even a long bike ride, nothing beats a good workout with a great friend!

Saturday: Dr D. & gym. Dr D. adjusted me, and did all of his painful ART tricks. It was sososo painful. I cried a little, and started to feel frustrated about the past 6 weeks of putting myself through painful treatments for minimal results, but it did help. I went to the gym after, and did an other 2,000 m of rowing and strength training. This time the rowing didn’t feel so great, and my knee started acting up later, so I think I’m gonna steer clear of all cardio equipment again for a while. Just means I need to get more creative!

Sunday: Rest. I was going to try out a hot yoga class, but after a few hours of filming for Drink & Dish, I just was not in the mood, so I gave myself the day off, did some editing, and worked on some other blog stuff.

This week: I plan to get a little creative with my workouts. Heather suggested checking out a barre class. She mentioned the teachers she’s taken from are really great at working with injuries. I was also thinking about trying out a strength training class at the gym or a studio just to shake things up. I’m also going to really focus on what I’m eating. The truth is, I’m no where near a comfortable place with my body, and if I’m going to be mentally okay with this break with running, I need to get back to my normal weight. I want to go to New Orleans next week feeling good and not anxious about food, so this week is time to buckle down!

PF Chang’s Marathon Training Week 5


I have so much to tell you. First of all, I’ve just discovered that my running mileage for 2012 is currently sitting at 925 miles. I’d secretly kind of had the goal of getting to 1,000, but I didn’t really put much thought into it, because honestly, I just didn’t think I would. I don’t do very well with a ton of mileage, so I just tried to follow my plan, and keep this little goal in the back of my mind….Until it got so close that I can taste it! Now I have to do it, right??? I mean, I don’t plan on being stupid and killing myself this close to the marathon if something hurts, but it definitely gives me a little added motivational push when I’ve been struggling a bit mentally.

Also, I *think* I’m getting closer to figuring out my fueling/stomach issues. It’s kind of a constant battle for me. Almost any food before a run can cause a lot of unpleasantness with no gallbladder, but I’m not a person who can do a long run on gu alone. I’ve always eaten Ezekiel bread with nut butter and sometimes a banana before a run since, like, forever. I never thought that was the culprit because back in the day it worked great, but I started to think about the fiber of the bread and the fat of the nut butter. My body can’t process fats as well now, and let’s just say I don’t think my body needs any added fiber in my life ever. So for my long run this week, I bought a white flour bagel and put pumpkin butter on top. My stomach felt the best it has felt in a loooooong time. I was so happy!!! I had to make one stop in the first mile, and then had no issues for 18 whole miles!! This is a big deal in my world, friends.

However, I still get hungry–like stomach growling hungry–and feel somewhat depleted around 15 miles even with fueling often. I’m not sure how to fix that other than maybe playing with my meal the night before and trying to bulk it up? I always make sure to eat a decent amount of carbs at dinner, but maybe I need more? If anyone has any brilliant advice on the subject, I’d love to hear it! Anyway, here’s how last week went down:

Monday: 5 mile run. I was having a realllll hard time getting motivated for this run, but I got out there, and of course as soon as I did, it felt great! I set my garmin to a screen where I couldn’t see my pace, and just cruised at what felt comfortable, which ended up averaging in at 9:40. That is not my usual “easy” pace. I was pretty stoked about it.

Tuesday: Off.

Wednesday: “Track” and strength training. At PT I ended up doing all sorts of crap–one legged dead lifts on the bosu ball, abs, triceps, this thing where I threw a ball at the wall…I was sore for like 3 days, and I felt like a total wimp, but at least I strength trained a little! That afternoon I met up with Stacey to do our scheduled track work out. We met up in the early afternoon, and it was about 72* which is perfect for a picnic, but it felt warm (at least to me) to run in. It wasn’t an easy run, but we still rocked it. We did a short warm up then 1 mile @ 9:03, 1200 @ 8:28, 800 @ 7:55, then 3×400 @ 7:16, 6:56, 6:43, then a short cool down. I kind of wanted to die, but in a good way?

Thursday: Off.

Friday: 18 mile run. You know, I kind of thought the long runs would be easier this time around. Turns out….they’re not. BUT I’m faster this time around. A lot faster. My last 18 mile run took me 3 hours and 8 minutes, and I shaved 7 minutes and 26 seconds per mile off of that this time around! This run was amazing, and hard, and fun all at the same time! Nicole and I both started out feeling a little rough. Her ankle was bugging her, and I woke up with a stabbing pain in my hip (I’ve had it before, and it’s not from running, and it always goes away so I wasn’t worried, just annoyed). We had to stop and stretch a few times in the first few miles, and we kinda decided to let it be what it was going to be, not stress, and enjoy the scenery.

Look at this house!!! We thought their decorations were so cool that we stopped to take pictures. Is it Halloween?? Is it Christmas??? Who knows, but it's awesome!

Look at this house!!! We thought their decorations were so cool that we stopped to take pictures. Is it Halloween?? Is it Christmas??? Who knows, but it’s awesome!


"Nicole, why is their Christmas so scary???"

“Nicole, why is their Christmas so scary???”

"Don't worry Ari, I'll protect you! Super Nicole to the rescue!"

“Don’t worry Ari, I’ll protect you! Super Nicole to the rescue!”

We took a totally new route which took us through Tempe, Scottsdale and Phoenix and it was gorgeous, and a great way to change things up! Also, fall running is my nice.

IMG_20121214_165027 By the end, we had both totally surprised ourselves, and I ran my fastest long run of marathon training ever with an average pace of 10:02. Granted, we definitely took our share of breaks, so I don’t know how accurately that represents where I am pace wise, but it sure felt great to see such an awesome time! And then there was well earned chocolate milk/coffee with chocolate milk per usual.


I was dreaming of you too, Dutch Bros…

Saturday: Off.

Sunday: 3 mile run. That 925 lit a fire, plus I figured 3 work outs this week wasn’t really great, so I ran to my mom’s house for dinner. 3 nice and easy miles averaging a 9:37 pace, and then there was food, so that was good.

Tell me something awesome. I don’t care what it is, or what subject it’s about. I would just like to hear awesome things. :)

PF Chang’s Marathon Training Week 2


And just like that, I’m back into peak marathon training. Somehow I only have 2 long distance runs left before it’s time to taper. This second section of training that I expected to take forrrrrrever seems to be flying by, and I can see definite improvements from the last time around! It’s nice because I’m no longer scared of these distances, so I can push myself more, and I’m seeing a pretty big difference in speed especially in my long runs. Sweet. Here’s how last week’s training went down:

Monday: Rest. This was the unintentionally real life becoming more important than exercise type of rest day. I planned to do something, but I had no idea what, and then life got busy and I didn’t stress myself out to try to fit it in. Most people have a hard time fitting their work outs into their lives; I sometimes have a hard time fitting my life around my workouts, and honestly, that just seems silly, so I took a real life day and got stuff done.

Tuesday: 6 mile run. My best friend Bethany is working really hard on her running and I am sosoSO proud of her! She wanted to tackle her first ever 6 mile run, so I ran with her and she ROCKED it! It’s so great to be able to run with her and watch her make so much progress!

Wednesday: 3.5 mile run. Easy run before physical therapy with Ashley. 10 min pace, then a whole like 5 minutes of abs that made me want to die.

Thursday: Mesa Turkey Trot 10k. Check out the recap!

Friday: 8.5 mile bike. Easy ride to coffee with Steve.

Saturday: 17.17 mile run. This run started out tough. Nicole and I were both feeling slow and lethargic, and I watched our first few miles clock in ridiculously slow. I knew I wanted to beat my time for my last 17 miler, and I felt like finishing in less than 2:55 would be a nice bonus. I was a little worried about our first slow miles, but I know myself, and I know that’s just how my body works on long runs, and I really believe it’s for the best. I always start ridiculously slow and negative split the crap out of it, but I still always worry that I won’t have enough left in the tank to make up for it at the end. However, looking back at the splits from just 2 months ago, I can see a huge difference even in my slowest miles, and as always, we sped up. A lot. The plan called for the first minute of the final 10 miles to be at goal pace. This was a nice way to break up all of those miles at the end. We had something to focus on for a minute out of every mile that wasn’t “GOOD LORD HOW MUCH LONGER????” At first we were slightly speeding up to make these first minutes happen, but soon we were running faster than goal pace, and then we were confused–Do we speed up? Slow down? Run the same? Sing Call Me Maybe? 

We kind just kept doing our thing, and I finished 17.17 miles in 2:54:25 for an average pace of 10:09. That is pretty darn good for these slow legs! The end started feeling hard, and I was tired, but I felt so much better than after the first time. I was peppy and energized rather than lethargic and in pain. I also did a much better job of taking care of myself afterwards. Nicole and I got in her pool for an ice bath with our Dutch Bro’s, then stretched for quite a while. It made a world of difference!

Sunday: Rest. Necessary and fabulous.

Totals for the week:

Running: 32.95
Cycling: 8.5


Tell me about your training!


NYC Marathon Training Week 18

Week 1 of taper, check. You know, I read about how everyone hates taper, but this week was kinda nice. I enjoyed a slightly shorter Monday run, still pushed myself at the track, and loved being done with my long run at 7:15 Saturday morning! It was also really great to end a long run and not be totally exhausted. 10 miles felt short, and nice. I could get used to this taper thing! 😉 Here’s how it went down:

Monday: 6 mile run. The schedule said “3 miles easy, 3 miles at marathon pace”. WHAT IS MARATHON PACE?!?!?! HOW DO I CHOOSE???? LIFE IS SO HARD!!!! Soooo, I ran 3 miles slow, and 3 miles less slow, ending up with a 10:11 average pace. I was not feeling this run. I had canceled on Nicole so that I could sleep in later, then I had to keep making deals with myself like “Maybe I’ll just run 3 miles….” to get myself out and going, but finally I turned on some relaxing music (because I’m a freak and sometimes I want mellow music while I’m running), and just gave my mind some time to do it’s thing. The run ended up being really good, and a nice reminder that even when I realllllly don’t want to, it’s almost always better to just get out there.

Tuesday: 11 mile bike. Easy ride to coffee with Steve.

Wednesday: Track. Ao about this marathon goal pace. I guess I’ve figured it out? Coach Loken sent me my projected finish time, and it scared the crap out of me. My head immediate filled with “I can’ts” and doubt. I’ve since talked it through with anyone who will listen including my super smart coach (you know the person I actually should talk to about it), and figured out what a realistic goal is mentally for me, and I’m keeping her projected finish time as a dream goal, but trying to run my marathon goal pace miles at that pace. I’m not going to talk about what any of these goals are because when I write my recap about how I ran my first marathon, I want to write it with joy and pride no matter what my finish time is, and if I tell you what I want it to be, and that doesn’t happen, I will feel like a disappointment. Anyway, back to the track. We warmed up, had a mile at marathon goal pace, then 4 x 400s, then an other mile at goal pace, then a cool down. I hit my goal pace miles and they felt easy! It was AWESOME! I also pushed really hard on my 400s running them @ 7:05, 6:57, 6:58, 6:42. The whole workout felt awesome! I completed 5.17 miles in 50 minutes. After track, a couple of people from my team came up to me and told me how much faster I’d gotten!! This is the second time this has happened recently, and it made me feel so awesome!!

Thursday: 3 mile run. Nice and easy recovery run with my speedy friend Ashley. She was practically walking. 😉

Friday: 17.3 mile bike. The usual Friday am bike ride/breakfast/coffee with Nicole.

Saturday: 10 mile run. I came, I ran, I got chased by wild dogs, I ran the second half fast to keep up with my friends, I was done by 7:15 and averaged a 9:57 pace. Ask me about the wild dogs sometime. It’s a really funny story that includes some pretty big embarrassment, but I don’t mind embarrassing myself.

Sunday: Rest. Necessary.

Fundraising update: As you know, I’ve been running with Team Chances to raise money for Chances for Children. I committed to raising $5000, and I’M GETTING SO CLOSE!!! I’ve now raised $4,110 and have just $890 to go thanks to so much support from everyone in my life! Please consider helping me to reach my goal by making a donation or placing an order! Remember that all donations/orders are tax deductible and in the state of Arizona, you can receive a full tax credit ($200 individual, or $400 family) for donations. Thanks to all of you for all the support!! I truly believe I can meet this goal by November 4th!

NYC Marathon Training Week 17

17 weeks of hard work down. 3 weeks of taper to go. I had a lot of thoughts about the training cycle as a whole this week. I was feeling tired physically and mentally. Last week was a step back week, but even though our long run was only 10 miles, running it at race pace made it challenging, and I did not go into this week feeling rested, but I started to realize that maybe that’s the point? If I can run peak week on tired legs, then I can certainly run the marathon on fresh legs, right? I’m guessing that’s why the plans work, but really, what do I know? Basically nothing.

I went to bed last Sunday night thinking about how I had to kill it this week, and make every run perfect because THIS IS IT!! Then I woke up Monday morning totally lacking in motivation. In fact, the only thing that got me to get out of bed for my work outs was knowing that this is the most important week, and after this it will all get easier. Here’s a look at how this week’s training went down.

Monday: 8 mile run. It was a good thing I had plans to run with Nicole, because otherwise it just would not have happened. Something has to be really wrong in order for me to cancel on a friend, but it is so easy to hit the snooze button and roll over when it’s just me. I was NOT feeling it this morning. My legs felt tired from Saturday’s time trial and I was quiet, grumpy, and not a whole lot of fun, but Nicole stayed really positive and pushed me through until the end. I was happy when it was over, but it took me until the moment I was finished to be happy I did it. Ran the first 4 easy, then the next 4 @ 9:46, 9:36, 9:22, 8:30.

Tuesday: Spin. I finally went back to spin! It was a great class, but I just mentally wasn’t 100% in it. I gave it a solid effort and had a good time, but I was just more at like a 90%.

Wednesday: Track–6 x 800. Partner 800s!! YAY!! Stacey and I finally got to complete them together. The way it works is partner #1 (me) runs a lap solo, then partner #2 joins for lap 2. While partner #2 runs their 2nd lap, partner #1 gets a short break. I did a mile-ish warm up over to the track, then completed my 800s @ 8:01, 8:00, 7:42, 7:38, 7:34, 7:22. I was dyyyyying on the last one, but it felt awesome! I did a short cool down jog back and ended up completing 4.4 miles in 37:31 for an average pace of 8:31 including the warm up and cool down! I was stoked!! As soon as I got home, I checked out my paces from the time we did this same work out just one month before: 8:07, 8:08, 8:02, 8:00, 7:58, 7:57. I was so ecstatic to be able to see my improvement!! MAYBE I WON’T BE A SLOW RUNNER FOREVER!!!!

Thursday: Rest. Lots of carbs and compression socks all day long.

Friday: 20.5 mile run. Check it.

Saturday: 15ish mile bike. I literally felt like I had been run over by a truck, but Susan had asked me to bring muffins for the team, so I figured while I was there, I should cheer my friends on. I got my tired legs onto my bike and rode around the canal for almost an hour and a half. It was great to be able to to be there for my friends while they finished the toughest part of the journey as well!

Sunday: Rest. You couldn’t pay me enough to work out today. Rest days are awesome.

Sooooo… we taper. Everyone says taper makes you crazy, but I’m sososo excited. My legs are beat. My brain is duuuunnnn. My social life is pathetic. Well, that one probably won’t change. 😉 I’m sure after a week or so I will start feeling a little nutty about not running, but for now I can’t wait to tone it way down and give myself a break. My goal is to spend the extra time I would have been running, and focus that energy/time on taking care of myself. Lots of stretching and foam rolling. No skipping PT sessions. Good nutritious food and….no more alcohol (wahhhhh) until after the race. I mean, I’m not a big drinker anyway, and I haven’t been drinking during training except to celebrate long runs, and they’re all over, so there’s really nothing to celebrate until Nov 4. I mean, there’s real life things, but I will celebrate those just fine without. I want to go into the race feeling my very best. Oh and I need to make SLEEP a priority. This 5-6 hours a night business is not cutting it for me.

What do you do differently during taper? How do you prepare for a big race to make sure you go in feeling your best? GIVE ME YOUR AWESOME MARATHON ADVICE!!!!!

NYC Marathon Training Week 16

LOOK COACH SUSAN!! I ran your marathon pace for 6 seconds. I think I'm ready for the olympic trials now too. 6 seconds is basically the same as a whole marathon, right?

Good morning! It is an absolutely perfect fall morning in Phoenix. It is a beautiful 68 degrees with the most perfect breeze. We’ve got the front door and all of our windows open. It’s fall break so I have a much lighter schedule this week. My run is done. I’m just hanging out, enjoying the breeze and a pumpkiny breakfast. It.Is.Awesome. I can’t even tell you how happy I am to have a little bit of a break right now, especially since it’s peak training week. I’ve got a big scary 20 miler staring me in the face this Friday, and I’m super pumped that I have an easier week work-wise to prepare for it.

Anyway, that’s this week, but I’m here to talk about last  week. Here’s a look at how my training went down:

Monday: 8 mile run. Ran with Nicole. 4 easy miles, then 4 moderate @ 9:38, 9:40, 9:25, 8:37. My legs weren’t quite ready to get back to work yet, but they made it through and we averaged a 9:58 pace. Those stupid easy warm up miles totally kill the average. I should track them separately. Just kidding. Kind of…. 😉

Tuesday: 10.4 mile bike. I didn’t feel like working out at all, so I just took an easy bike ride to coffee with Steve. I broke all sorts of records with my amazing cycling speed and averaged 13.6 miles an hour. It’s okay Lance, I’ll take your spot since they won’t let you race anymore. Clearly, I’m at your same level.

Wednesday: Track. Warm up, then 2 x 1200s with 90 second rest @ 8:33, 7:54, then 800 @ 7:45, then 4 x 400s at 7:00ish. Ummm yeah, apparently the work out was so hard I forgot how to work my garmin. I kept forgetting to hit the lap button, then accidentally stopping it–it was just a hot mess. When I went in and tried to figure out my paces, it looked like they were all between 7:00-7:05. My type A brain was a little annoyed to not know every single pace EXACTLY (shocking, right?), but I got a pretty good idea. This workout was HARD. I thought my 400s would be closer to my ridiculously fast 400 at track a couple of weeks ago, but I did my first intervals really fast (for me), and didn’t account for the fact that 4 400s would be hard than, oh, one. It was awesome, though, and I ended up covering 4.77 miles in 42:28 for an average pace of 8:54. Not too shabby.

Thursday: 12.8 mile bike. Had a recovery run scheduled, but I found out when I woke up that I’d be going alone which sounded not at all fun, so I swapped it for an other ride with Steve. Stepped it up to a 13.9 average pace. Watch out cars. I will pass all of you.

Friday: 21.4 mile bike. I guess I rode my bike a lot last week! Nicole and I took a new route and rode to breakfast at Essence Bakery. It.Was.Amazing. My breakfast was, um, a little heavier than I expected, and by heavier I mean covered with cheese from top to bottom, but it was soooo delicious. We also both got some mini macarons for the road. The pumpkin spice and hazelnut were my favorites, but they were all amazing! Oh wait, I’m supposed to be talking about exercise, not cheese and macarons. The ride was great. We chatted the whole time (obviously), and it was nice to ride somewhere new! Oh, and I averaged a speed demon pace of 12.9 miles an hour.

Saturday: 10 mile time trial. EEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

10 weeks ago, we were asked to run a 10 mile time trial. I ran it up in Portland with Tali and Camille. I called it the best run of my life. It was perfection–perfect weather, perfect company, perfect mind set. I finished that run in 1:34:45. Well, it’s 10 weeks later, and I’m 3 minutes faster! Pretty good, right? I was NERVOUS about this run to say the least. The last time I went after a specific time goal was at AFC in San Diego. I posted my big goal of a sub two half all over the internet for the world to see, then I crashed and burned. Hard. I didn’t really tell anyone my goals for this run, except for Steve and Nicole. I didn’t want to set myself up to tell everyone I failed again. Of course, I had a few goals–the main one was just to be faster than last time, which I actually was not sure I could do. Everything last time seemed so perfect–what if I couldn’t do it again?? I really wanted to be around 1:32. 1:32:30 is a 9:15 pace which seemed like a big jump from my previous 9:28, and I knew that would be something I could be proud of. My dream goal was to magically be able to pull a sub 1:30. That one obviously didn’t happen, but I am totally okay with that!

Towards the beginning of the run, I found myself running right behind to other ladies, so I asked what their goal was and they told me 1:32. Perfect! I ran with them until about mile 6, and we chatted most of the way. It was an awesome distraction. A little over haf way through we all started to split off a bit, it was getting harder, and I was starting to doubt myself. I put on my music, and told my brain to STFU. I really started to understand the mental battle part of running. I was sure that I was too tired, and that I couldn’t do it, but I really fought back this time instead of giving up, and I ended up really surprising myself!

Mile 1: 9:32
Mile 2: 9:15
Mile 3: 9:20
Mile 4: 9:08
Mile 5: 8:56
Mile 6: 9:11
Mile 7: 9:09
Mile 8: 8:53
Mile 9: 9:31 <—SOOO TIRED!!!! WHEN WILL THIS BE OVER?!?!?!
Mile 10: 8:43

You know something I love? When you’ve sprinted at the end, and you go and look at your final lap pace on your garmin.

LOOK COACH SUSAN!! I ran your marathon pace for 6 seconds. I think I’m ready for the olympic trials now too. 97 feet is basically the same as a whole marathon, right? Also, I really need a manicure.

Anyway, the time trial was awesome. Really awesome. So awesome that McMillan seems to think I can now run a 4:17 marathon. Silly McMillan. I’ll be happy with half an hour longer than that! Also, I just wanted to say that 9:09 for 13.1 miles = 1:59:59ish half marathon, if I ran the tangents perfectly…. Lost Dutchman, I’m looking at YOU!

Sunday: Rest. Much needed. I’m getting better at this whole rest day thing. I might even go so far as to say I LIKE them! :)


Running: 22.85
Biking:  44.55
Eating: Everything in site. 

Tell me about your training!! Any big goals coming up? Record breaking bike speeds? Long run PRs??


NYC Marathon Training Week 15

GUESS WHAT!!!! In September, for the first time ever, I ran 101 miles! My first time breaking the triple digits. I am aware that some people run that many miles a week, but whatev. I’m excited. In September I also got sick and took a week off running all together, so basically I ran 101 miles in 3ish weeks. I like it. Here’s a look at how last week went down.

Monday: 8 mile run. This run was just okay. I was still not feeling my strongest, and my breathing felt off from being sick. But this girl got me through it, and we averaged a 10:09 pace. Slower than usual, but not terrible.

Tuesday: 13.7 mile bike. Rode with Nicole at a faster-for-us-but-still-easy pace. Averaged 14.4 mph which is slow for all you speedy cyclists, but good for a couple of girls who really just ride their bike as an excuse to hang out and be social. I miss spin class. I haven’t been in weeks. I have a million excuses, but I think it really comes down to two things: I don’t like waiting until 9:15 to start my work out, and I’m really physically tired from marathon training, so a nice easy bike ride outside just seems so much nicer.

Wednesday: 4 mile run, 30 minutes strength training. WHAT?!?!?!?! Yes. You read that correctly. I was a little bitch still not feeling quite 100% and my ankle was bugging me after Monday’s run, so I ditched out on hill repeats with the team, and decided to make up my own speed work and run with Ashley. I suggested a 1 mi warm up, 2 faster miles, and a 1 mile cool down. For once I was not the queen of ridiculously slow warm ups, and we ran our miles in 9:50, 9:07, 8:39, 9:42. That’s pretty good for me! Then at physical therapy, instead of just asking to get scraped and needled, I actually pushed myself through a bunch of my exercises, and my abs were sore for days. Like, today they still hurt. Talk about needing to get back into strength training….

Thursday: 4.1 mile run. Fun run around Kiwanis park with Jason. We hadn’t run together in so long! It was supposed to be recovery, but he is so fast now! We averaged a 9:33 pace, but it felt harder than it should have.

Friday: Rest. Rest days are so weird when they’re the day before a long run. My legs weren’t really that tired. I didn’t feel like I needed  to rest. I felt like I wanted to go ride my bike and do fun active things outside, but I knew I’d regret the slightest hint of tiredness on my legs the next day (and Nicole was out of town, so I had no one to ride my bike with–problem solved). Instead of exercising, I baked cookies. That seems like the obvious choice, right? It’s actually what I have always ended up doing with the free time I usually spend exercising. They were awesome and Halloween-like, and I promise to share them with you this week. See, you too like rest days. They bring you cookies.

Saturday: 18 mile run. Thank goodness this went well. I was so nervous. Read about it with practically step by step detail, because I have always been wordy and long winded 😉

Sunday: Rest. This rest felt AWESOME and NECESSARY.

I’ve definitely noticed that now that we are in peak training, my body needs more rest. It needs lighter cross training, more rest, and more focus on running. Half marathon training didn’t really feel that way, so I was a little taken off guard at my body’s reaction, and I felt a little bit like a slacker for skipping out on things like spin, and choosing to drive to the coffee shop when the weather is perfect out for a bike ride, but I have 26.2 miles to run, and I need to listen to my body and RESPECT what it is doing for me. My legs carried my butt around for 3 hours and 8 minutes on Saturday. My body is amazing, and it is being great to me. Aside from a sprained ankle and my usual achilles stuff, I have been able to stay injury free throughout this process, and I am so grateful. So I’m backing off a little in other areas to say thank you and give my body a break.

TELL ME ABOUT YOUR TRAINING!!! Do you back off from other workouts in the peak of marathon training?

NYC Marathon Training Week 13


Okay, before I get to telling you about a week of training full of lots of amazing firsts, I just need to discuss the season premier of Glee that I embarrassingly watched last night. Do you watch Glee? Despite how truly awful the writing has gotten, I always continued to watch. Why? Well, you wouldn’t believe how many of my teaching jobs are named “Glee” or at least inspired by/modeled after the TV show. And, if I’m being totally honest, at the end of last season, I really did find myself caring about stupid Rachel Barry and if she would be able to pursue her dreams and major in musical theatre in a fancy NYC conservatory program. However, last night I watched the newest season premier, and while Rachel cried in the rain, only to turn around and find her BFF Kurt standing behind her rescuing her from her slutty roommate, I kind of felt like I might need to break up with Glee.

Sorry, I just needed to share that with someone, and Steve didn’t seem particularly interested. Shocking, right? He did go see Step Up Revolution with me though, so he earned himself a night off from discussing musical theatre for the moment 😉 Okay, anyway, let’s talk about last week’s training! Here’s how it went down:

Monday: 7 mile run. Ran with Nicole, and the weather was awesome! It’s finally starting to cool down (although this week, it’s back to the 100’s, so maybe I should knock on wood?) and I noticed a huge difference effort wise. After a 3 mile warm up, we ran the last 4 miles in 9:22, 9:15, 9:18, and 8:10. I died a little on the last mile, but overall the run felt amazing, and the first 3 working miles felt so much easier than they have been!

Tuesday: Rest. I just mentally wasn’t really feeling it this morning. I needed some me time, and decided it was better to take the day off from spin than to miss a running day.

Wednesday: Track. I guess my day off was a good idea, because I had the most amazing track work out! I did a 1.2 mile warm up, then we did all those silly looking running drills (dear b skip: you are not my favorite), then we got to work. The plan for the day was 1600 @ 10k pace, 1200 @ 5k pace, 800 @ mile pace, 400 sprint, with 400 recoveries in between. As soon as we started the first mile, I started to get into a bad mental place. I was on pace, but I just kept watching all the faster runners whizzing by me, and I started to get really down on myself. Around the third lap, I was right on pace with 2 faster guys on the team. They had passed me, but then I was sticking right behind them, and my coach yelled to me not to let them get away, so I spent the 4th lap awkwardly pacing them from behind before finally asking to just join them, and try to keep up. They told me their pace goals, and it definitely made me nervous, but I committed to holding on for as long as I could. Well, I stuck it out the entire work out, felt what it was like to actually think I was going to puke, but not stop, and ended up with some of the speediest running I’ve ever done!

As you can see, the recoveries got slower and slower as the working laps got faster and “OMG IS THAT A 6?!?!?!” fast. Actually for the first 200 of that sprint, my watch said 5:41 but that’s when the puke feeling came, and I slowed my role into what is still BY FAR the fastest lap of my life. Holy freaking accomplished feeling. I love the track :) Also, by the end, I couldn’t remember who had passed me, and I couldn’t have cared less. And I realized how much more I push myself when I keep up with other people I *think* are faster than me. I need to step it up, stop doubting, and give 100% more often.

Thursday: 10 mile bike. This was the weirdest day. I set off with Nicole on our usual easy ride to coffee. On the way, we saw a UFO. Okay, actually some people say it was a missile from New Mexico or something, but I still say it was a UFO.

Then as we were getting to coffee, Nicole’s bike got pissed, protested and threw her off. What a jerk. Luckily she was okay, but it didn’t stop me from having some choice words with her bike for messing with my friend like that. Not cool.

Friday: 17.03!!!! Check out my novel length in depth recap because I’m in the “OMG can’t talk enough about running” phase. What?? You can’t go on without seeing the splits from this run too? Oh okay, if you insist 😉

Ignore “lap” 19 and 20. I accidentally hit my start…twice.

Saturday: Rest. I wanted to get an easy bike ride in, but time wise it just didn’t work out. After running the longest distance of my life the day before, I wasn’t too concerned.

Sunday: 3.5 mile run. I still had a recovery run left to get done, so I ran with Jason up in Prescott. It was hilly, and there was that whole elevation thing, but we averaged about a 10:30 pace after I had to insist to speedy that we slow the F down because “RECOVERY RUNS ARE SLOW!!!!” The last time I ran with him, he ran closer to an 11 minute pace. Stupid boys get fast so quickly. The run was mostly good, but I rolled my same ankle for the 89th million time, and it hurt the rest of the day. Lame.

Total running mileage for the week: A new high for me of 32.6 miles!!!! My first time hitting 3o in one Monday-Sunday week!

Your turn! Tell me about your training!!

NYC Marathon Training Week 12

This week was a cut back week. After 15 miles at South Mountain, and looking ahead at the training that’s coming up, an easier week sounded awesome. However, I think for the first time I started to feel a little bit of the craziness I always hear other runners talk about during cut back and taper weeks. I have to admit, even though I really do love running, I’ve never been one to look at less miles on the training plan and feel disappointed, but I started feeling weird not-so-healthy thoughts of not doing or being good enough this week. I followed the plan almost to a tee, with the exception of a missed recovery run to which Nicole replied “It’s just 3 miles. That means you’re supposed to skip it. In fact, I think she probably meant ‘skip this run'”. This is why I love her.

Anyway, my 3 main runs (long, medium distance, and track) usually leave me feeling like a rockstar. Each one leaves me with a different sense of pride, and accomplishment. This week though, especially after my long run, I just felt a little…inadequate. Let me premise by saying I am well aware of how silly that is. I literally used words like “I only ran 10 miles.” Ummm, how many people out there would be over the moon to be able to run 10 miles??? And since when is double digits only 10.

I feel like part of that comes from the constant use of food (and beer) as a reward for long running. How many times have we all hear “Don’t use food as a reward”. Well, there’s good reason. It’s a tough habit to break, and I find myself continuously falling into it this training cycle. I can’t even tell you how many long runs I’ve gotten through by thinking about what I was going to eat for dinner! I know that’s not the worst  thing, especially if it motivates me enough to keep going (what can I say? I love food), but it becomes bad when I do a 10 mile long run, and feel like I haven’t run enough to “earn” a fun dinner out. Ridiculous. I know. I’m actually kind of a smart lady. And I think that if I wasn’t aware of my silliness, then there would actually be a problem. I’ve learned enough about myself at this point in my life to be able to navigate the craziness, but I wanted to talk about it, because I feel like it’s something a lot of people deal with, and it’s okay. Beating ourselves up for struggling mentally is equivalent to beating ourselves up for  one bad work out. You wouldn’t do it to your friend, so why should you do it to yourself? That’s just how I was feeling last week.

Okay, enough of that. Here’s how last week’s training went down!

Monday—4.2 mile easy run. After Saturday’s challenging long run at South Mountain, I was super relieved to have an easier day. I ran with Nicole and Stacey, and averaged a 10:27 pace. It was good, but shorter and easier and came with no awesome runner’s high. Sad day.

Tuesday—Linda’s Spin. This class kicked my butt this week! Linda called some of us out on our flat road being too easy, so I picked mine back up to 11, and I hung in, but I was definitely working hard!

Wednesday—Track: 3×1 mile. Balloons. Rainbows. Glitter. Confetti. This run was so freaking awesome!! I had the biggest case of runner’s high We warmed up, did all the silly looking running drills and about a million lunges, then set out on the track for our mile repeats (with 400 recovery jogs in between). The first one was supposed to be at 10k pace, then between 5-10k pace, then 5k pace. My goal was 8:40, 8:30, 8:20. My first mile clocked in at 8:38, then my second in 8:27. I was getting nervous at this point. I mean, I’ve done 800s faster than that, but I was worried about my ability to run any faster for an entire mile (so much longer than it seems!) when I was already feeling so tired. The first 3 laps of my last mile, I was doing okay. Not great, but staying on pace. The last lap, I just wanted to give up and lay down on the track. I asked some of my speedier friends that were finished to finish my last lap with me, and they ran the last 300ish with me, pushing me and helping me bring my lap pace from a steady 8:15 to 8:06!!!!! Ummm, that is FAST for me! I felt amazing, like I had really given the workout everything I had. I rushed up to Coach Susan to tell her my splits, and she said that I got a P for Perfect for the day! This was one of the best runs of this entire training process!!

Thursday—14.7 mile bike ride. Since Nicole and I decided to long run on Friday, we took a nice little bike ride on Thursday. 

Friday—10 mile run. 10:21 average pace. Pretty uneventful with the exception of all the wildlife we encountered! In our 10 miles, Nicole and I saw a toad, coyote, jack rabbit, and a giant fish! This was the run that I ended and had my ridiculous, bratty “so what” attitude. I’m over it. 10 miles is 10 miles. It has 2 numbers, therefore it is long. Welcome to the long run logic of Ari’s Brain. Actually, anything over 10 seconds usually feels kind of long….

Saturday—9.7 mile bike. Rode to rehearsal, and for the first time in months, I actually focused on riding, rather than pedaling along having casual conversation. There was a super intense headwind, and I still only averaged 14mi an hour, but it felt good to push a little more on the bike again.

Sunday—8.4 mile bike. Rode to coffee with Steve, and took it mostly easy/moderate with a couple of sprints thrown in for fun. He does this weird strava thing for nerdy boys who ride bikes (or maybe it’s for all people, but since he does it, I just assumed…) and he wanted to race his “segment”. Of course that meant I was going for it too. I was doing really awesome and averaging a 20.8 pace, but then I hit two stop lights, cursed at them (only in my head), and ended up at around 18.5 for both sprint segments. It was fun to change it up a little!

Wow, it’s a good thing I have this little blog. Apparently, I have things to say, or something. Poor Steve would be so annoyed if I just regurgitated the same recaps of my paces and feeling to him 50 times a day. Oh wait, that is his life. Now it’s yours too–HAH! 😉

TIME FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO TALK ABOUT THEMSELVES!!! I want to hear about your training–your accomplishments, frustrations, celebration beers, thoughts that celebration beers should never ever happen. TELL ME EVERYTHING!

NYC Marathon Training Week 11


Friday night I had big plans. I was, for real–no sarcasm, super excited about said plans. I sat on the couch (between sessions of stretching and foam rolling), ate a big salad with whole wheat gnocchi on top (because I still don’t like eating a whole plate of just pasta–yuck), and watched Fast Women. Fast Women is a documentary about some local Phoenix runners including my super amazing inspiring coach. It definitely inspired me, and made me excited to get out there and run the next morning! Perhaps my big Friday night plans seem super lame to you? That’s okay. I’m perfectly content with my life as it is right now. I’m feeling good about my training, and I’m starting to take it more seriously, and commit myself in all areas of life, not just the training runs.

I had a really great week of training. I was in the right place mentally. I felt focused, and positive all week long. I really pushed myself this week, and ever since last Saturday’s 14 miler, I have been in almost a constant state of runner’s high. After almost every work out, I felt that sense of pride, accomplishment, and “I can do anything”! It was awesome. I made a lot of personal discoveries this week, and though most of them came through in my training, many of them aren’t running related. That is why I love challenging myself. It’s only when we push ourselves beyond our limits that we truly learn about ourselves and grow as human beings. Too much? Sorry, I’m a REALLY sappy person. I mean ask my friends who is the most emotional person they know. I guarantee you, they will all say me. And you know what? I like it. So here’s how the 11th week of training went down in the land of I Feel Deep Personal Crap 24/7:

Monday–7 mi run. Okay, so about these medium distance runs…Until now, I’ve totally sucked at them. The training plan always reads something like “X miles easy to warm up, then X miles at moderate pace. Moderate pace is slightly harder. You can hear your breathing, but you’re not gasping for air.” Problem #1: I can always hear my breathing. Perhaps that’s not normal? I just usually wear headphones to block it out 😉 Problem #2: It’s 90* out, and no pace feels easy. Problem #3: PLEASE JUST TELL ME A PACE TO HIT OTHERWISE I NEVER KNOW IF I’M DOING IT RIGHT!!!! Please Coach Susan? Can’t you just tell me exactly what to do at every moment of every run? I thought that was how this worked? And while we’re at it, maybe you could just run the miles 4 me. You’d do it in about half the time. Okay, or maybe that’s not the point. Anyway, after the scheduled 3 mile warm up, I told Nicole that I actually wanted to try to push the next 4 miles. I’ve spent a lot of time being scared I can’t run faster when it’s hot out, and that if I actually picked it up, I wouldn’t be able to get through it. Well it turns out, although running in the heat is still tough, running at a moderate pace is actually not that much harder. I ended up running the last 4 in 9:40, 9:34, 9:25, 8:31. Note to self: Stop sucking it up like a baby, and actually push yourself. You  can do a lot more than you think.

Tuesday–Linda’s Spin. Love.

Wednesday–Track: 6x800s. We were told to find a partner at about our speed, then one partner did a lap alone, then the second lap with their partner, then the second partner did their second lap alone. Sounds more confusing than it is. I partnered up with Bob and was the first to go, so basically I would run the second half of my 800 with him, then rest while he ran his final lap (around 2 min). After Monday, I was all pumped up and ready to really push myself, and I ran my 800s in 8:07, 8:08, 8:02, 8:00, 7:58, 7:57. I wanted to die on the last one, but it was awesome to really push myself, and work harder than I have been. I was still basically the last one on the track, but such is life.

Thursday–Recovery run. 3 miles of shuffling at a snail’s pace. The first run I’ve done by myself in a while. No music (what??? I’ve actually run a lot without music lately, and it really isn’t so bad!) It was nice to just go at my own pace, shake my body out, and let the recovery run do it’s thing.

Friday–18 mi bike ride. Friday mornings are my happy place. I get to hang out with one of my favorite people, move my body, and not worry about pace/time/mileage/anything. Nicole and I just spend the time chatting, and there is always breakfast and coffee. This time it didn’t rain (YAY!!), and Nicole learned to change a flat tire.

while I sat there and looked totally confused.

For some reason we wore our helmets the entire time. We wondered how many food bloggers it takes to change a tire….Steve ended up coming to save the day, but Nicole was doing pretty awesome I have to say! We also saw this awesome sunrise.

My favorite thing about morning workouts.

Saturday–15 mi run. If you live in Phoenix, perhaps you’ve had the pleasure of running on San Juan Rd. No? Lucky. In all seriousness though, this run was I would say 90% great. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t 100% hard. It was one of the most challenging training runs I have ever done, and it was the first where I had to take walk breaks, but you know what? I didn’t care. I didn’t care about my super slow pace, and I didn’t really mind the fact that when I arrived at 5am my phone said it was 92*, and I didn’t hate working hard on the hills. I’ve said it 100 times, but I signed up to do this because I wanted to challenge myself. For some sick and twisted reason, I actually enjoy this crap. Not so much while I’m doing it, but nothing compares to the pride I get when I finish a tough work out. In the end, I ran 15 miles with 986 ft of elevation gain at a 10:48 average pace. I had so much support from my coach and so many members of my team it was incredible! At the turn around point, Susan was up at the top of the hill with a bull horn yelling for us! We also had people on bikes (ummm David you are AWESOME) with water and lots of positive energy to keep us going. When my ipod stopped working, David actually sang to me. Nicest guy ever. Having so many supportive people around during the hardest parts of this run made it so.much.better. The end was the hardest. The road is only 6.3 miles long, so I had to run back past my car, run the opposite direction for a little over a mile, and it turns out the way out was all downhill, so at the very end when I wanted to die, I had to run back alone and uphill. I may have had an F this moment, but I finished it, and within an hour I was riding some serious runner’s high.

I spent my Saturday night like this.

I lead a thrilling life. Don’t be jealous.

Sunday–Super easy recovery ride. I wanted coffee. My legs were stiff and a little angry, and begging to move around, so Steve and I rode to Dutch Bros and back.


Next week is a cut back week (hallelujah!), and then the week after that, shit gets real. I’m going to run further than I ever have, and I cannot freaking wait. All this time I’ve been telling everyone “I can’t wait until we do 16 miles! I’ve never done that before!’ Well as some sort of cruel joke, we skip 16 and go straight to 17. Whatever. I’m freaking stoked.

NYC Marathon Training Week 10

Week 10–half way there! This was a huge week. We had our team fundraiser with a big silent auction, and I spent most of the week freaking out over preparing for it. Good thing I had a little lot of help from my friends! The event actually ended up going really well for me , and I am happy to say that once everything is entered in, I should be about half way to my goal! That means there’s still a lot of work to do, but I am starting to feel more confident that I can do this. All of it.

This week was tough for me. I don’t know what it is, but the day after a half marathon I always feel terrible. It doesn’t matter if I’ve done well, or if I’m frustrated with my time, I just feel completely wiped physically and emotionally. The emotional exhaustion just seemed to carry through the week. I honestly can’t be surprised. Most nights I don’t get home until after 9, and then I need time to wind down before I can fall asleep, and then I wake up between 4-5am most days, and it’s just not enough sleep. For the first time, I started to feel like the time commitment of my training was a burden, and I know I don’t *actually* feel that way, but between work, fundraising, training, and trying to not completely suck at being a wife/family member/friend, I just felt like something had to give. I’m hopefully with the stress of the auction behind me, this week will be better. Also, I have an incredibly supportive coach and teammates that are doing everything they can to help me reach my goal.

This week felt like the transition into real marathon training, if that makes sense? For the last 10 months, I’ve been perpetually training for multiple half marathons, and now I don’t have anything scheduled until NYC. Our long runs are getting longer (14 miles this week), and the entire commitment of a full marathon is slowly starting to sink in. It’s tough and it’s presenting unexpected challenges, but I like it. I didn’t sign up for a walk in the park. I signed up to challenge myself, and stretch my abilities in ways I never dreamed were possible.

So, all that said, here’s how it went this week:

Monday–12 mi bike ride. Nice and easy recovery ride with Nicole to get my muscles loosened up post AFC.

Tuesday–Linda’s Spin. Perfection, as always.

Wednesday–Speed work: 8 x 1min. Warm up, 1 min intervals @  6:58, 7:12, 7:21, 7:24, 7:25, 7:17, 7:11, 7:00. My legs were definitely still a little tired, but not too bad.

Thursday–6 mi run. Okay, so I kind of suck at the whole do 2 miles slow then the next 4 at moderate effort thing. I’m really good at the slow part, but then I just slowwwwwwlllllyyyy get faster each mile. I don’t really think that’s the point, but with the heat, I’m still trying to base it on effort. I don’t have it totally figured out yet. I ran with Nicole (who is awesome and slows down from her speedy ways to stick with me) and averaged just over a 10 min pace. I feel like I need to work a little harder on these.

Friday–12 mi bike ride. Ugghhh, this day was annoying. I rode in the 10 min of pouring rain, got picked up by Nicole just as it stopped, then we went back out to ride, but everything was muddy and gross. Ended up cutting it shorter than normal, but as always the company and breakfast/coffee parts were awesome :)

Saturday–14 mi run. Okay, so Friday was the team fundraiser, and I didn’t get home til well after 10. I tried to go straight to bed, but I was all wound up from the evening and it took me forever to fall asleep. I ended up getting between 4-5 hours of sleep, waking up at 4am, and almost convincing myself to go back to bed and just skip the run. It felt impossible, and I knew I had 4 hours of teaching to do right after that I wasn’t quite sure how I’d make it through. I’m not gonna lie, the run was tough, and the rest of the morning was too. However, tough is not impossible, and it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I didn’t feel great, and it wasn’t my best, but I also didn’t feel horrible, and it wasn’t my worst. I ran with Stacey the entire time, and we ran with Jo a lot which was super helpful, because when you run with someone you don’t know as well, there is more pressure to keep going, haha. I ended up finishing in about 2:26 with a 10:24 average pace. I got some serious runners high and decided that there was nothing in the world I couldn’t accomplish. Then I was so tired that I missed my exit going to the studio, and then stopped at a green light. I was a little weird all day long, but no one really seemed to mind 😉

Sunday–10 mi bike ride. Snail speed. Rode with my perfect husband. He has been so awesome, I could write an entire post about how I’m the luckiest woman alive.

So there you have it friends. Half way through marathon training. Also, I’m working on convincing my mom to come out to NYC to watch me cross the finish line, because at 27 years old, I still haven’t grown out of needing my parents approval when I accomplish things. Okay, let’s be honest, I still haven’t grown out of needing the entire world’s approval, because I thrive on positive reinforcement. 😉