January 2019 Goals : The Year of 1% Better

crossfit, dissertation, goals, reading, running, year of 1% better

If you missed it, last week I declared 2019 the Year of 1% Better. Because so many things this year are to be determined (motherhood, post-graduate school life, where I will be working to name just a few big ones), I have decided to take things month-by-month and do little things to improve and, well, be better.

As you might have guessed from yesterday’s post, my January goals are already side-tracked. Excruciating pelvic pain at the end of last week has moved me to plan B: do what I can. That said, yesterday I felt pretty much fine, worked out and felt fine, and still feel fine today. So maybe, just maybe, it was an end of the first week of 2019 thing and will not derail my whole January. Fingers crossed!

Ok, ok. So here are the goals for this month:

SUBMIT MY DISSERTATION. This is the goal of all goals — the goal where all goals must be sacrificed to, if need be. This is what I have been working on for the last year and a half. And yes, it is finally happening. I am done with going through editing and formatting three chapters, with two to go. This one will probably be done next week, but it is the most important. I have been a Ph.D. student since 2013. 2019 will be the year I graduate. Six years.

91 Miles. This is one of those goals on Strava that different company’s post. Apparently 91 miles in January is 2x the amount of the average Strava runner in 2019. I do not care if I ran these or walk these (most likely both). I just want to do it while I can.

Do not, do not, DO NOT go out to eat at all for the entire month. We are so bad at this. One of us (ok, it is me. It is always me.) will be like, “I don’t feel like cooking.” Next thing you know, I’m eating a cheeseburger at a restaurant in town. It is not even like this place has a ton of delicious places to eat, so usually I’m eating a meal that is just ok. There are loopholes with this – if someone invites us out to eat and Culver’s custard when we do our grocery shopping on Sundays.

Double-under practice 3x week. Last week, I only did two days. I’m going to try to pick it back up this week. Note I did not say “accomplish double-unders.” I cannot guarantee that, but I’m hoping by putting in a little bit of time, I will get better and manage to do more than one every single time I try to do them.

Swim 1x week. I missed swimming, so I just want to incorporate it back in and do just a little session in the pool every week. So far, so good.

CathLIT2019. I guess this is more of a 2019 goal, but the idea is to read one book on Catholicism a month. The blog Carrots for Michaelmas put together a whole list with categories that I am going to try to follow. I’m trying to do what I think may be more denser, more time-consuming books prior to baby C’s arrival. This month’s category is a book about Mary, so I’m reading Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion to Mary (which arrived just yesterday…hooray!).

Poach an egg. Categorize this in random, but seriously, I do not know how to do this. I should know how to do this. I want to know how to do this. I will learn how to do this, even if it takes me more cartons of eggs than I expect. My favorite breakfast in the world is eggs benedict and I’m not gong to be able to do it without going out to eat if I do not figure out how to poach some eggs. This is the year, people.

What are your goals for January? For 2019?

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Monday Miles : December 31, 2018 – January 6, 2019 (18 Weeks Pregnant)

crossfit, monday miles, running, swimming, training

This week started out strong. I ran. I swam. I continued the process of finishing my dissertation. I had a few goals on Strava I was hoping to achieve, because well, I felt so good.

Then, boom. Hello, pelvic pain. Thursday night while sitting on the couch, one minute I was totally fine and the next I was in excruciating pain. I’m not kidding. I could not even walk upstairs to go to bed. Bruno had to bring me down some blankets and a pillow. To try to even get off the couch, I felt just a pull in my pelvic/tail bone area that I honestly thought I would have to crawl to get anywhere. I woke up on the couch around 2 in the morning and slowly, slowly made my way upstairs, but I think cried from the pain for like an hour until I was able to fall asleep again. I’m a lot of fun, people!

It felt a little bit better Friday morning, but only enough that I could hobble upstairs very slowly to use our bathroom. I did not work out (obviously). Every movement felt like a pull on my tailbone and the pain in the front seemed mostly on my right side. I went to get a massage in the afternoon, which helped dramatically. Saturday was much better, but still painful. Sunday I went for a walk. And today, well today I can tell something happened, but the pain no longer makes me feel like I have to get sick, but instead is very faint.

So 2019 started with a big bang. I have tried to keep in mind while the running has been good that things could change and I may just not be able to run anymore. Of course, that is easier said than done. Even while eighteen weeks pregnant and not able to work out, I had a hard time just being “nice” to myself and letting it go.

I’m trying to be nicer to myself this week. I’ll probably be walking with my runs — just trying to get the time outside in, not the miles. We’ll see.

Anyway — here are last week’s workouts.

12-31-18 : Run. 15 minutes. 1.29 miles. 11:43/mile.

1 – 1 – 19 : Run. 45 minutes. 4.43 miles. 10:10/mile.

1 – 2 : Run/walk. 30 minutes. 2.35 miles. 12:45/mile. I walked two minutes, ran three. CrossFit. It was so good to be back. However, I can always really feel it when I haven’t gone in awhile. 20 minutes – AMRAP – 3 wall walk planks, 15 toes-to-kettle-bell, 200m run with 14 lbs. medicine ball, 25 Russian kettle-bell swings @ 35 lbs., 45 second double-under practice. 3x + 3 wall walk planks (try saying that fast) + 2 toes-to-kettle-bell. I actually really liked this one, although I had to keep checking the board — “wait a second, what am I supposed to be doing now?” I did not think the run with the medicine ball was that bad — just awkward. Like, where should I put this damn thing? I will admit that in each of my 45 seconds of double-under practice, not a single double-under was accomplished. Yikes!

1 – 3 : Swim. Yes, yes, yes, yes. I missed the pool so much. I have not swam since my triathlon in August. I look like a beluga whale in my swimming suit right now (but you look at how expensive maternity swimsuits are). My new Garmin goes into the pool with me — so that was a lot of fun because it meant I do not need to count anymore. Anyway — I did 100m breast stroke warm-up, then 10 minutes of 25m repeats free-style with 30 seconds rest. Then another 100m breast stroke. According to Strava, which puts everything in yards — I did 437 yards, 2:37/100 yards. Later I learned that for pregnant women, breast stroke can be very irritating and cause a lot of pelvic pain. The more you know. Run. 18 minutes. 1.62 miles. 11:06/mile. Practiced double-unders. Actually managed to do a few. Redemption!

1 – 4 : Pain. Recovery. Massage.

1 – 5 : Pain. Prenatal yoga for pelvic floor. I am going to try to start doing this once a week now.

1 – 6 : Morning walk. 30 minutes. 2 miles. 15:45/mile. Still pain, but significantly less.

Totals: Running/walking – 12 miles. 2 hours, 18 minutes. CrossFit – 1 hour. Swim – 437 yards, 11 minutes. 3 hours, 29 minutes.

Onward!

Monday…I mean Wednesday…Miles : December 24 – 30, 2018 (16-17 Weeks Pregnant)

crossfit, monday miles, running

I know for a lot of people the holidays are a time to stay on track. Normally, I am one of those people. Normally, I’m the person who gets up early on Christmas to get a run in before heading over to my dad’s to open presents. But we did a lot of travel. Those seven days include four days of driving, two hotel nights, and visits to three different states — Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut.

I knew my plans would be blown and then I would get frustrated, so I just decided not to worry about it at all. That ended up being for the best, I think. I know that now especially being back and having two good days of running. I needed a bit of break to recover.

So here it is – the 2018 recovery week, the week I recovered because I chose to, not because pregnancy or being sick or injured kept me away.

12 – 24 : The only day I ran. 2.1 miles. 25 minutes. 11:48/mile. This was on a hotel treadmill in the middle-of-nowhere, Pennsylvania. However, it happened to a middle-of-nowhere with an excellent burger place. If you are driving I-80 and are hungry, do me a favor. Stop here.

12 – 25 : Rest. I honestly cannot remember what I did Christmas day. We were in Connecticut, so I think we watched movies and ate Brazilian food.

12 – 26 : Went to Barnes and Nobles and hung around all day.

12 – 27 : Spent some quality time with my dissertation. Tried not to panic. I drank an NA beer and was not disappointed. Being in Connecticut, I wanted to try Athletic Brewing’s beer (they only brew NA), but we tried several different liquor stores around Waterbury and still could not find it! Bah. Anyway, I really missed the taste of beer and Clausthaler got the job done. Bruno said he would not have been able to tell the difference. Also, Bruno does not like beer.

IMG_0103.jpg

12 – 28 : Last day in Connecticut. Ate pastel. Homemade by my mother-in-law, of course.

12 – 29 : Drove halfway home. Stopped at same delicious burger place in Clearfield, Pennsylvania.

12 – 30 : Made it home. Rejoiced, because I missed home, a regular schedule, running, CrossFit, and all the things that make life delightful.

Totals : 2.1 miles, 25 minutes.

Next week, there will actually be miles ran and weight lifted.

Onward!

xo, Ali

 

 

583.5: 2018 Running in Review

crossfit, pregnancy, races, running, swimming, training, triathlon

According to my Strava, I ran 583.5 miles this year. This is not a large number. Nor is it a particularly pretty, nice round number (I mean if I did not take this last week off, I could have at least made it to 600 miles). That is an average of a little over eleven miles a week. In a world where I am in constant admiration of women who call fifty mile weeks low mileage, I know it does not seem like much.

I started this blog with two big goals: run consistently and finish the Serious Series.* The past few years since my first and only marathon were filled with plenty of hopes and goals, but no finished races. Usually my hamstring and hip would act up and I would back off, give up, then start again.

I am not exactly sure what changed this year. My goals were humbler to be sure. I never had a single time goal for any of my races other than to finish. I did just that in April at the Trail Half-Marathon in Pinckney, Michigan. I cried at the finish line.

On the way though, I started new things and as the stress of “can I just make it to the race?” started to diminish, I rediscovered joy.

I started CrossFit — Bruno’s idea, but it did not take me long to love adding it to the schedule, something social to offset to my usually headphones in the ears, solitary running. I did my first Murph a month after starting and survived.

Then out of nowhere, I decided I wanted to try out a triathlon. By fate it seems, I found a beautiful used Trek bike at a shop near my local hometown. I started swimming again. I rode my bike down the same country road and bought a pair of those biker shorts.

And all the time, I kept running usually four times a week, sometimes three. Hills became easier (thanks, CrossFit). I won my age group for an August trail half-marathon. A friend of mine and I decided to run sixteen miles on a random weekday, just to see if we could (we could). I did my first triathlon later that month, deciding that yes, definitely, I would try for a sprint next year 2019 (now, as a pregnant lady, I say — we’ll see, ha!).

After several years of wanting to, I finally went to Run Woodstock in Pinckney. Bruno and I camped out, drank beers, hung out with fellow trail runners, listened to sixties and seventies cover bands, and cheered for ultramarathoners as they made their way through the finish line. I ran a 5k and then a miserable half-marathon, the slowest of my entire year. Little did I know, at the time I was racing for two!

The rest of September, October, and the first half of November, I ran very little, if at all. I found out Baby C was on his or her way and while excited about the pregnancy, I felt horrible. I continued going to CrossFit, which I think helped maintain some fitness, as I didn’t really lose that much speed when I started running again (well, aside for the sudden lack of aerobic capacity that comes with being pregnant — but I’m still faster than what I was at the beginning of the year).

I have been consistently running, along with CrossFit, again for the last six weeks. In those six weeks, I ran a 5k — the first race I knew I was running pregnant. I honestly did not think I would be able to run it under thirty minutes, but managed to do about two minutes better than that (and only around two minutes slower than what I was able to do this summer). While that made me happy, mostly I was and have been just grateful to be outside running again. I’m not kidding. It is cold and Michigan and in six weeks of running, I have ran on the treadmill only once.

So, yes, 585.5 miles might not seem like much, but to me those miles brought me to a lot of places and a lot of joy in 2018. At the beginning of this year, I did not know if I could consider myself a runner anymore. Now, at the very end, I not only consider myself a runner, but a CrossFitter, and a triathlete.

If 583.5 miles could bring me to all that, who knows where the miles will bring me in 2019?

xo, Ali

*I had a third goal in mind for this blog: de-stressing from my dissertation. I’m happy (relieved) to say it helped.

Monday Miles : December 17 – 23, 2018 (15-16 Weeks Pregnant)

crossfit, monday miles, pregnancy, running, training

This will probably be my last consistent week of running for 2018. I’ve never been very good at keeping up with workouts when I travel and so this year, I’m just not going to worry about it and get back in the swing of things when we return to Michigan in a couple of days. It is only about a week off and I think time off can be necessary and maybe even good. By the time January 2019 comes around, I will be very much ready to go. Guaranteed.

This final week of workouts was really good. We had a running interval workout during CrossFit on Wednesday, so it was fun to see where I actually am for my 800s (answer? better than I thought). My mom’s new house is on a country block, so it was the perfect place to run while we were in Ohio. I’m glad because Minster can be a great, flat running town, so I was hoping the new place would have places to run.

I still feel pretty good and grateful to be running. It seems like I am very slowly getting bigger. I feel like I am starting to look pregnant, but I’m sure to the outside world I just look like I indulged on one too many Christmas cookies. The quality of my runs is definitely uneven, but my goal is just to get out there and I’m still doing that, so I’m content.

12 / 17 : Run. 15 minutes. 1.4 miles, 10:40/miles. CrossFit. WOD – 5 rounds for time, 10 pike push-ups, 10 hang power-cleans at 45 lbs., and 10 box step-overs. 9 minutes 40 seconds.

12 / 18 : Run. 30 minutes, 2.6 miles. This felt like a hard run. My legs felt tired so I took a few walk breaks. CrossFit. 7 minutes to thruster one rep max. I just stayed at 55 lbs. and worked on form. WOD – Jackie. Hahahahahahaha. Ow. 1000m row, 50 thrusters at 35 lbs., and 30 jumping pull-ups. This work-out was so hard and so painful, I honestly did not think I would actually be able to finish the thrusters. After ten, I started to have plenty of negative thoughts. But I did finish them. Somehow I did. I have no idea what my time was for sure, but I think in the 11-12 minute range.

12 / 19 : Run. Around 20 minute warm-up, little over ten minute pace. At CrossFit, 5 x 800m repeats with a three minute break. I had one goal — try to stay under four minutes per repeat. I did it and frankly, felt really good during all the intervals. 3:46, 3:47, 3:48, 3:58; 3:52. I’m not “good” at much in CrossFit, so it was nice to follow such a humbling day (see above about “Jackie”) with a day with something I’m actually ok at.

12 / 20 : Rest.

12 / 21 : Rest.

12 / 22 : Run. 1 hour 15 minutes. 7.2 miles, 10:22/mile. This was my first time running around my mom’s new house. One lap around the country block was a little over three miles and it was windy, but flat. There is one side with a lot of traffic, but I’m only on the road for about a half mile. I did two laps and then explored further. This was also the first run with my new watch, a Garmin, but I already forget what type. I’m not sure how accurate the heart rate monitor is, but I like it. I also like I do not need all this extra equipment to check my foot stride. So far, so good.

12 / 23 : Run. 30 minutes. 2.5 miles, 12:02/mile. This was slow, but I was tired. I wanted to get a run in before we left for Connecticut. I tried to stay under 160 bpm for heart rate. Like I said, I have no idea how accurate it actually is, but I wanted to make sure I was actually doing a recovery pace.

Totals : Run. 3 hours, 10 minutes, 18.11 miles. CrossFit. 3 hours. Total: 5 hours, 20 minutes (took off one hour for the CrossFit/run overlap on 12/19).

Onward!

xo, Ali

Running & CrossFit While Pregnant : An Update

crossfit, lifting, pregnancy, running, training

As of tomorrow, I will be sixteen weeks pregnant. At times it seems like it is going so slowly (especially when I feel worried). At other times it seems like it is going so quickly. Sometimes I think, I feel like I’ve been pregnant for a long time. And I still got a long way to go.

So what has it been like to run and CrossFit while pregnant?

I’ll begin with CrossFit, because that is what I’ve been able to do the most consistently. Even though it would be a few weeks until my appointment, I told my coaches I was pregnant right away. Initially I only made it two times a week (when before I was making it three times, running three times, biking twice, swimming once a week). As I said, I felt pretty terrible. I used to go to the afternoon work out, but would be so tired by 5:30 that I started going at noon. Now I feel much more energetic and I go around three times a week, but the noon class is the habit at the moment.

When I had my first prenatal appointment, I told him I was still doing CrossFit and I got the go-ahead. I mainly just was told to watch the amount I lifted — don’t do one rep maxes, those sorts of things. I’ve been listening and don’t try to go to failure on anything, but of course, I’m still really new to CrossFit (I started early May) and so I’m in that stage where improving comes probably easier now than it will later. I have still PR’ed on my back squats and other lifts, but I would not squat or lift something if I thought I would not be able to do it. Still — it is nice to be able to see improvements in this area. And even more importantly, what a mood boost. As I also mentioned, I felt really bad emotionally during the first trimester. The biggest thing being able to go work out for me had nothing to do with how fast I went or much I lifted, but just that it made me feel a million times better and, of course, inspired.

It is hard to tell how much pregnancy is affecting what I do, because well, as I said, I’m still newish and it is just hard (in a good way, of course). So it is hard to tell on days when it is difficult because of the work out or hard because of hormones (most likely both). I have nothing really to compare it to. I was asked if I had started accommodating certain work outs and the only thing I have changed is box jumps. We had a work out a month or two ago. I can’t remember, but it featured 3 x 60 box jumps or something like that. Just a lot of box jumps. And I tripped on the last round. I was fine. It really was not a big deal, but I think psychologically my brain was like, “No more box jumps. Box jumps equals scary.” But other than box jumps, nothing else — well, except for all the things I have to normally accommodate like pull-ups and all that fun stuff I will hopefully some day be able to do.

Running has been a different story. It is different, because I do have something to compare it to. Namely, running before. Between September and mid-November I did not run at all. Bruno and I tried to go for a run one day and I puked. There I said it. It gave me a horrible, sloshy, motion sickness feeling that I just could not do it. And frankly, I did not miss it. I think I needed a break. It was nice to do CrossFit alone for a little bit and not worry at all about training. I only had the energy to work on my dissertation and teach and the very few classes I went to a week. It was a rough time.

Inevitably I did start missing running though. I started feeling better mid-November and started running at the exact same time, just short three and four mile runs. I’ve been following the Hal Higdon Winter Plan fairly consistently.

HOWEVER, it has been very different. I have days where I am about where I was prior to being pregnant. And then, I have days where all I am doing is a simple, easy twenty-five minute run and I am huffing and puffing and walking because I’m so completely shot. And unlike with CrossFit I can tell the difference. I know when the type of exhaustion is different, so I just go with it. I will have two days where I have to take a lot of walking breaks and the next day I can do some great (for me) 800m repeats. I also have days where I can tell that if I just get through the first mile I’ll be fine and other days where I’m just am like “we’re going to walk the rest of the time, mmmk?”

I’m happy with this. Those days where I have to walk, it can be kind of hard mentally, but I just try to enjoy the fact I’m outside — even if it is in the freezing Michigan cold. All of my longer-ish runs have gone really well — all of which I’ve negative split. There is nothing like getting into the rhythm of a long run. I would prefer that over a three mile run any day.

Moreover, I am not sure long any of this will last. I see on Instagram and blogs women who are able to run and work out until the day they pop. Others have to stop earlier. I’ve been trying to not get my hopes up and go with the flow. I’m not signing up for any races for just in case. I am just taking it week by week. And if I need a break, like today – I slept terribly last night, I just take one. I’m grateful to be able to do this.

What have been your experiences running and working out while pregnant?

xo, Ali

 

Monday Miles : December 10 – 16, 2018 (14-15 Weeks Pregnant)

crossfit, lifting, monday miles, running, training

Here it is: another week of consistent running. I felt great this week. My energy levels are almost back to normal. My paces are basically where they are pre-pregnancy. I know eventually this will decline, but it feels good. As I mentioned last week, the only major thing is that all my runs feature bathroom pitstops.

One thing I have been concerned about lately is not eating enough. I was planning on going to CrossFit three days this week, but I went on my pre-work out run and just felt famished, so I opted not to go and eat instead. I actually dropped two pounds this week. I gained quite a bit during the first trimester, so I’m not too freaked out about it, just you know, a normal amount of worry. I started tracking my food in MyFitnessPal again just to make sure I’m eating enough. I’m adding snack times in the morning and the afternoon.

12 – 10 : Rest, rest, rest, rest.

12 – 11 : Run. 20 minutes, 1.78 miles. 11:14/mile. This run felt fine, but I’ll admit I am tired of being cold and have several more months of it. CrossFit. WOD – AMRAP 20:00 minutes, 10 burpee jumping pull-ups, 200 meter run. I made it six rounds with four burpee jumping pull-ups. This was hard. I am not exactly sure if I did the jumping pull-ups correctly, but I dreaded every time I finished my run and got back to that bar.

12 – 12 : Run/walk. 60 minutes, 4.86 miles. 12:21/miles. This was the run where I figured out I was hungry and opted against going to CrossFit. I took it easy and took plenty of walking breaks. I probably could have ran it all, but did not exactly feel like it and did not want to push it.

12 – 13 : Run. 30 minutes, 2.82 miles. 10:38/miles. Legs felt tired on this run, but I did run the entire time.

12 – 14 : Run. 30 minutes, 3.06 miles. 9:48/mile. Some runs are painful and some I feel like I can go forever. This was one of those. Of course, it was cut off for CrossFit. Strength: Every 3:00 minutes for 3 sets of 5 overhead squats. 1 – 45 lbs., 2 – 50 lbs., 3 – 55 lbs. *PR – I’ve only been using a bar for the OHS the last two times I’ve done them. I am proud that my form is getting a little better! WOD – 3 rounds for time: 10 OHS (35 lbs.), 50 single-unders with five double under attempts. 4 minutes 27 seconds. I liked this work out! I even succeeded on a few of my double under attempts!

12 – 15 : REST DAY.

12 – 16 : Run. 60 minutes, 5.91 miles. 10:10/mile. Started at around a 10:44/mile pace and ended at 9:29/mile. I have consistently felt good on these Sunday longer runs. I’m grateful for that too!

Totals: Run – 18.4 miles, 3 hours 20 minutes. CrossFit – 2 hours. Total: 5 hours, 20 minutes.

Onward!

xo, Ali

 

Running Makes Me a Better Person

running

I’ve seen runners frequently say “miles change you.” It is a popular hashtag on Instagram. I think I have seen it written on running shirts. It is one of those running sayings that may be cliché, but only because it is so true. The person who I was nearly six years ago when I ran my first half marathon is much different than the person I am now.

I was thinking about this the other week during a conversation with Bruno. We were talking about books that made us better people. I told Bruno I did not think that books always necessarily made us better (a Rousseau scholar at heart always), but that people and the people who introduce us to the books are more influential. Somehow, though, I said, “But you know the biggest thing I think has made me better in the last several years is running.”

Sure, there’s the obvious things like discipline, sticking with goals, pushing through pain, etc. that running teaches everyone. But I think running has given me some different more specific lessons.

Not that long ago, my biggest ambitions in life were a desire to own a Mercedes-Benz and a pair of Christian Louboutin’s. I’m not kidding. I thought those things would show, “I’ve made it. I’m successful.” People. I am getting my Ph.D. in political philosophy, not a career choice known for being lucrative. I do not even like to drive! The point is I was very superficial. Success was wear you vacationed, what you wore, how cool of a place you lived, how much you made. In high school, I tore out pictures of advertisements from Vogue magazine and hung them on my walls, because that was the pinnacle for me. Before we started dating, my husband gave me a Mercedes-Benz hood ornament for my husband because I wanted that damn car, even if it meant earning it one piece at a time.

I think that hood ornament will be the only piece of a Mercedes-Benz I ever own and I’m not sure what use I would ever have for Christian Louboutins. I have not subscribed to Vogue in years. I am not sure when I stopped caring, but I think I know how it happened. I just became interested in different things and it started with running.

It is one of those domino-effect interests, right? I discovered Scott Jurek, reading Eat and Run, six years ago. I started listening to trail running podcasts. And even though it took me until this year to finally run a trail race (I was a super fan all those years), I think I soaked the culture in. Not just the running, but the way the runners talked about their lives. It was kind of a different way of viewing “success”. It was not about how much money you made or what you owned, but how you lived. I felt inspired by listening to these people talking about being outdoors and, for some of them, living a simpler kind of life. And sure, I’m romanticizing, but I think I became much more interested in adventure. And while I know that message has been presented to me many times before, for whatever reason it stuck more through osmosis.

My interests became more doing than getting. An interest in trail running led to an interest in camping. I now google things like, “How young is too young to take a baby camping?” I took a wilderness survival course, because why the hell not? Years ago you could not get me to go outside (unless you couldn’t smoke inside, of course, I’m not a barbarian), but the other day I ran outside in 10 degree weather and liked it. I don’t want new fancy shoes, but I recently told Bruno that if we are still in Michigan in the future, I would really like to try a snow shoe race.

I think running changed all that for me. Miles changed me in an interesting way. When you feel the satisfaction of a Sunday or Saturday (or both, you wild, crazy, wonderful ultra people), you find you do not need much more than that — well, maybe a post-run cup of coffee and cinnamon roll. But I really do not think there is a better feeling than running a race, looking at my surroundings, and feeling awe even though I’m hurting and feel like hell.

I’m grateful running helped me become this person, a better person.

xo, Ali

Monday Miles : December 3 – 9, 2018 (13-14 Weeks Pregnant)

crossfit, monday miles, pregnancy, running, training

You know how I know Baby C is growing? I woke up three times last night to use the restroom. Three times. This has been the new hurdle in my running and work-outs too. All first trimester, I was completely fine and did not have to stop at all. All of the runs for this week needed a break somewhere, even the short twenty-five minute one.

Still — this was a good week of running and CrossFit. I feel strong. Aside for Wednesday, I felt really energized during my runs. I never felt completely exhausted or drained afterwards. I’m hoping this continues!

12 – 3 : CrossFit. WOD – 20 minute time-cap for 40 calorie row, 75 single-unders, 150 lunges, 75 single-unders, 40 burpees. It was supposed to be 50 burpees and another 75 single-unders (double-unders if RX’d), but I did not make the cut off. I was kind of bummed that I did not make it. It felt like it took me a 150 years to do those 150 lunges.

12 – 4 : Rest.

12 – 5 : Run. 27 minutes. My legs would not go. I just felt wiped out. I ran five minutes, then walked for two. Repeat. 2.2 miles, 12:11/mile. I’m glad I just went with it instead of forcing myself to just run it. There are days like this. CrossFit: WOD – 5 rounds: 1 minute bike, 15 knee-ups (toes to bar option), 15 over-head squats at 35 lbs. 17 minutes 28 seconds. I had no idea if I was going to be able to do this work out. Over-head squats are hard. I mean I was only using the barbell and I would look at it as I walked towards it as the scariest thing in the world. But I did it. Nobody is more surprised than me.

12 – 6 : Run. 45 minutes. So there are days like 12-5 and there are days like this day, where I felt like I was flying. I know, I know. Still going to super slow for most people, but for me this is good. 4.6 miles, 9:46/mile. I felt great. I could have gone faster, but chose not to. CrossFit. 20 x 2 reps back-squats, every 1:30 minutes with increasing weight. Now I cannot go super heavy (my one rep max PR is 135 lbs.), so I had to do a lot of repeat weights, but here they are: 65, 75, 85, 95, 95, 105, 105, 110, 110, 115, 115, 115, 115, 115, 115, 120, 120, 120, 120, 125. I was happy and sore.

12 – 7 : Run. 30 minutes, 2.8 miles. 10:53/mile. We (Bruno and I) literally ran errands on this run. I had some things to do on campus, so we ran out fifteen minutes and made some stops on our way back. Easy, quick. Done.

12 – 8 : CrossFit. Ugly Christmas Sweater Partner WOD. Partner wods make me nervous because, well, I don’t think I’m particularly “good” at CrossFit — whatever that is supposed to mean. I can’t lift heavy. I’m trying to focus more on form than speed, so I’m slow. So yeah, I get nervous even though every single person at my crossfit gym that I’ve talked to has been nice and friendly. It was fun though. 5x 20 hang-power cleans at 55 lbs. (something I’m pretty sure I’ve never done before) and 40 wall-balls at 14 lbs. We split them up 10 and 10 for the hang -power cleans and 20 and 20 for the wall-balls for every round except for the 4th round, where I did only 5 hang-power cleans. 11 minutes 46 seconds.

crossfituglysweaterwod

Definitely jolly. 

12 – 9 : Long run. 1 hour 30 minutes. 8.8 miles. 10:14 mile. Negative splits again! This run was great, but I need to start arranging my routes by how many bathrooms I pass. I ran a local bike trail, but the public restrooms in the park are closed for winter. I was able to run three miles back home to use the restroom (the nearest one) before finishing the last half hour of my run, but there was a very uncomfortable couple of miles in there.

restroomclosed

The horror! 

Totals : Running – 3 hours 12 minutes, 18.4 miles. CrossFit – 4 hours. 7 hours 12 minutes total.

Onward!

xo, Ali

Books to Give to the Runner in your Life

books, running, triathlon

Eighty percent of my Christmas wish list is made up of books. Almost every year my parents ask for what I want for Christmas and I just send them my Amazon wish list, which is approximately a million pages long. I actually try to go through it and get rid of books occasionally.

Anyway – there are a lot of great new running books out this year and I want to read them all. One thing I have noticed about athletic books is that though they seem niche, the advice really is applicable to anything. I found Matt Fitzgerald’s How Bad Do You Want It? It was not only helpful for running, but for writing and finishing my dissertation. Running advice equals life advice.

So here are the running books I would give to a fellow runner (or to be honest, the books I would like to receive this year).

The Happy Runner : Love the Process, Get Faster, Run Longer by David and Megan Roche. Read an excerpt here.

Strong: A Runner’s Guide to Boosting Self-Confidence and Becoming the Best Version of You by Kara Goucher. File this one under a book that will be helpful not only for running, but for life.

The Trail Runner’s Companion: A Step-by-Step Guide to Trail Running and Racing, from 5ks to Ultras by Sarah Lavender Smith. I have not seen many (if any at all) trail running books for those running shorter distances — eventually I would like to run an ultra, but I think it will be another year (hello, baby C!) for that. I want something for trail running for where I’m at now.

North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail by Scott and Jenny Jurek. I know. I have not read this yet. It is basically a travesty.

Run Fast. Cook Fast. East Slow.: Quick-Fix Recipes for Hangry Athletes by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky. I love the original cook book and probably make something out of it at least once a week. That said, it takes a long time to make the recipes. I’m looking forward to cooking out of this one for hopefully some less time-consuming goodness.

Fast-Track Triathlete: Balancing a Big Life with Big Performance on Long Course Triathlon by Matt Dixon. I loved my first triathlon. It will probably be a long time before I’m able to do a long one (would like to do a few more sprints, before moving onto Olympic, then maybe half-Iron–life is long, right?), but in the meantime I’d like to flip through this book and plan.

What running books are on your Christmas list this year?

xo, Ali