Monday Motivation

The week before last was pretty routine and uneventful in my running/pole fitness adventures, but I was busy with work so I didn’t get much time for an update. Last week, we hit the two month mark until the Northeast Pole Championships (NEPC), which was already nerve wracking. Pole Sport Organization (PSO) sends you the list of competitors and the category they will be competing in after the registration deadline closes. Well, it closed on Monday, September 18th and the very next day, we received an email from PSO with The List.

I feel extremely out of my league for this competition. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel just a little crushed when I saw some of the names on the list. I expected some big names, but a handful of the women that will be competing are my pole role models. I save their Instagram videos and try to copy their combos and tricks – and now I have to compete against them. I generally don’t care about what people think of me, but when I saw that list I felt like my name didn’t belong on it.

I’m not usually someone who is negative or self-doubting, so those feelings passed after a few days. I still feel like I’m way out of my league, but I’m determined to show up to NEPC with a killer routine. I HAVE a killer routine, I just have to work on cleaning it up so the execution is flawless. I know I won’t win, but my goal is to look like I belong in that division. There are 13 people in my division. To give you a glimpse of the amazing talent I get to share a stage with, here is a video of one of my competitors from when she won the pro division at APC in 2016. You might want to fast forward until about the one minute mark if you want to just see the pole tricks and not the performance stuff:

Seeing that list might have been the motivation I needed, because I felt like I was at a plateau with my routine and it just wasn’t getting any better. It still needs soooo much work, but it started to feel a LITTLE bit better last week. Training for a pole competition is so much like training for a marathon. You have days where it feels effortless. You feel light and agile and everything seems to be coming together. Then, the next day, you feel like you put on a hundred pounds,  your muscles feel like lead, and you feel like you’ve never touched a pole (or laced up a pair of running sneakers) a day in your life. The highs and lows are tremendous and much like marathon training.

I’m really struggling with the pole training aspect this time around because my routine is much more challenging (for me) than my previous routine. There are more tricks, most of them harder and it’s actually packed into a shorter amount of time. My last song was a little over four minutes, but this one is just shy of three and a half minutes long. I can’t take the same training approach to this routine or I will get injured. I was so obsessed for awhile that I realized well over a month went by and I hadn’t taken a day off of pole – on top of running six days per week. So I did what I know how to do best and what running has trained me to do. I made a spreadsheet. I translated my pole workouts it into running terms. Yep, I’m a huge nerd.

In a successful marathon training program, I wouldn’t do a track workout, tempo run, and long run back to back. That would be physically impossible for me – especially if I expected to produce results, show improvement, and complete quality workouts. In theory, this is what I’ve been doing to train for my competition. Every single day is a hard day. If I saw a marathon training plan built like this, I’d never choose it because I’d know that I would never improve and there would be a high risk for injury.

While the effort is different here, with pole being a more strength focused workout and running being more cardio focused, the theory and approach is almost the same. Your muscle groups can only take so much before you need to take it easy or rest completely. It’s harder for me to pick and choose when I do my harder days at pole since I’m at the mercy of the studio schedule (and work schedule, boo!). I can plan my rest days and ensure that I actually take one, so I’m forcing myself to take one per week. This week, my brother is getting married and I’m going to have a lot of company at my house, so it’s likely I’m taking three whole days off. Of course I’m stressing about it, but I know my body will probably respond really well to the extra rest.

So last week ended up looking a bit like this:

  • Monday – AM 4 mile run, PM pole conditioning class and competition  prep
  • Tuesday – AM 5 mile run, PM competition prep and booty class
  • Wednesday – PM Level 3 Pole class and competition prep
  • Thursday – 4 mile run and competition prep class
  • Friday – 4 mile run; OFF of pole
  • Saturday – 6 mile run, pole conditioning
  • Sunday – 5 mile run with one mile at marathon pace (6:45); competition prep

Oh yeah, side note: I decided to start slowly getting some speed back in my legs so maybe I have a shot at sub-3 in Boston or at a spring marathon (I’m eying up the Eugene Marathon, any takers?). The drive to run a fast marathon is starting to return, so lets see if my legs will agree with my head. That one marathon paced mile felt pretty good, and it was the last run of the week so my legs weren’t exactly fresh.  It’s a small victory, but it’s one mile closer than I was last week! I really hope to run a few local races around the holidays to test my speed and motivation, so this might be a step in the right direction.

Anyone interested in the Eugene Marathon? Have you ever done something where you know you are in way over your head, but decide you’re going togive it your all anyway?


What I’m Working Out to Wednesday and a Week in Review!

Totally meant to publish this on Monday, but got busy and never had the opportunity. Since I’m trying to get back into a routine for the school year, I might as well start with regular weekly updates – whether it ends up being about pole, running, food, or just ramblings is yet to be determined! If you don’t care about any of it, scroll down to the bottom and check out the tune I have for you!

  • Monday 9/4 – Easy 3 miles, Pole Competition Practice
  • Tuesday 9/5 – Easy 3 miles, Pole, Booty Work Class
  •  Wednesday 9/6 – AM Conditioning, PM Pole
  • Thursday 9/7 – Easy 3 Miles, Competition Prep
  • Friday 9/8 – Easy 3 Miles, Competition Prep and Flexibility
  • Saturday 9/9- Easy 3 miles, Weekend Pole Project from Power Pole Sports (if you follow me on Instagram, you can check it out! @alliemarie83)
  • Sunday 9/10 – VIA Marathon Relay, Competition Practice

So, the only day worth really discussing in depth was Sunday! I ran my first race since I ran the Belmar 5 Miler in the beginning of July. I haven’t done any speed training since then and had low expectations for myself. As the day got closer, I realized one of my teammates expected us to be blazing fast so we could break three hours and win our division. I was a late addition to the team because I was filling in for someone who was injured and agreed to do the relay thinking it would be just for fun and didn’t realize it was super competitive. Had I known this, I probably would have not joined the team. But it was too late to back out and I’m not one to go down without a fight. I was running leg two of the relay so when my teammate came blazing through the exchange point, I took off and gave it my all.

My leg was 5.8 miles and I averaged a 6:42! My miles were pretty consistent and I felt really good. I didn’t feel like I was working at my max but I wasn’t sure when I would burn out so I ran cautiously. I was pleasantly surprised by the result considering my low key approach lately. I feel good about where I am right now pace wise, and it makes me excited to train for Boston. I got accepted into the 2018 Boston Marathon on Monday, so it was the perfect time for a little confidence booster and motivation to start building my base up again!

Our team won our division – it was the mixed masters division, which is weird because I’m only 34. But it was the average of our ages so I could be part of the team since a few of the people were well over 40 and it all averaged out fine. We ran a 2:55 marathon (collectively)! If only I could do that on my own…

Sunday was also super exciting because right after the race, I headed down to the studio. I tried a super hard trick that I’ve never attempted before because it just looked so damn hard, and got it! It’s called a Chinese Phoenix. It’s pretty sick and the video is also on Instagram.

And now, without any further rambling, I bring you a song to brighten up your Wednesday! It’s not new but I think its pretty and catchy and I like spinning on the pole to it.

Lord Huron
The Night We Met

Anyone run any races last weekend? Ever run a marathon relay?


Foodie Friday: Whole 30 Ramblings

When I was posting regularly, I used to try to post something about food on Fridays – recipes, or for awhile I was obsessed with those meal delivery services and reviewed a bunch of those. My most recent food obsession? Whole 30.

I’ve been “paleo-ish” for the past few years, and it seems to work really well for me. The “ish” comes from the part of the week where I still mow like four slices of pizza on Friday nights and eat ice cream on the weekends. I like how I feel and look when I do the Paleo thing, but let’s be real: life is too short to completely cut out pizza. And ice cream. And icing. And fries. (I think I might actually be a twelve year old trapped inside the body of a 34 year old). Besides, I’ve never really been one for labels so I’m certainly not about to label my diet.

After the Atlantic Pole Championships and Boston last year, I “opened the trap”. Meaning I spent the rest of April and all of May living on junk food- specifically icing (so many work parties with cake, so little time) – and whatever else I could get my hands on. The real low point for me was the last day of school. I host a party each year that my friends and I affectionally call “Teacherpalooza”, and last year was a rough school year. I drank all of the drinks and like any classy woman would do, I ended up puking in the arborvitaes that line my driveway (I know better than to mix all of the alcohols but I just couldn’t contain my excitement that the year was finally OVER). I woke up the next day and was ready for a reset. Enter Whole 30.

There are lots of little rules, but the basis behind Whole 30 is that you cut out all sugar, dairy,  alcohol and anything processed for 30 days. Even though my end of the school year shenanigans would lead you to believe that I regularly enjoy adult beverages, I don’t drink that often. So the no alcohol thing was the least of my worries. I have a big sweet tooth and the no sugar thing seemed insane. I love my pizza Fridays and all of the cheese on everything so no dairy? Eeek.

I went to Whole Foods to try to find things I could eat. Even going to Whole Foods proved to be challenging – I learned just how many things have sugar in them – including bacon, mayo, etc. I mean, I knew these things before but when you are Paleo, you can eat things like coconut sugar and maple syrup and honey so you sort of forget. But I was determined to give this a shot and detox myself from the diet of sugar and grease that I’d adopted over the past month.

After the first week, I realized I didn’t crave anything. At first, I would have probably killed for a brownie or some goat cheese, or a slice of pizza. But once I had a full week down, I was determined to last the entire 30 days and see how it went. I went to parties (including the Fourth of July) and didn’t cheat. I didn’t go out to eat too often for lack of options, but when I did, I stayed true to the plan.

At the end, I was actually super sad it was over! I really only lost about two or three pounds doing it, but I LOVED how I felt. I had so much energy, and I didn’t crave sugar. I learned how to perfectly poach an egg without any special tools, and I found out that unsweetened, dried organic mangos might be better than candy (well…that might be taking things too far). Homemade may is super easy, and I could probably eat it right out of the mason jar with a spoon – and I don’t like regular mayo. Ghee is easy to make and is basically brown butter, but with the milk solids removed. I could probably put that on just about anything (also would be great on a spoon). I found out that grain free granola and hot cereal is a thing (Wildway is an amazing brand!). I absolutely LOVE EGGPLANT in any capacity, and here I thought I only liked Eggplant Parm and my Eggplant Lasagna.

When it was all over, I decided that I would stick with the Whole 30 thing from Monday-Friday, and cheat on the weekends. Well, Monday-Friday afternoons. One thing I never stopped missing the entire time was my Friday night pizza fix. I have to say, this absolutely works for me and has really helped to control my sweet tooth. I’m running half what I was when I was training for Boston, but somehow hit my target race weight (after the strict 30 days was over, not during) – and I wasn’t even tracking much in Fitness Pal like I did religiously for years! It’s funny because with pole becoming my primary exercise, I think my goal race weight looks totally different on my frame.

My first round of Whole 30 ended back in July, and I have been able to maintain my diet and weight since then. I plan to do another full round with no cheating after the holidays, another time of year where I like to “open up the trap”. It was a huge commitment to stick to the plan without cheating, and I liked the challenge. I still see the benefits by applying the rules to my diet during the week and letting loose on the weekends. And really, doing that way is really my style – now I can say I’m “Whole 30-ish”.

Have you ever done a round of Whole 30? Do you ever “open the trap”? What’s your junk food weakness?

What I’m Working Out to Wednesday!

Hey guys!!

Back in the spring, I tried to start writing in my blog again, but just couldn’t get back in the swing of things. I never published a recap of Boston, and left everyone hanging (once again). I think it was because my heart wasn’t really into my running, so I didn’t really know what to write. I’m feeling the urge to write again so hopefully, I can be a bit more consistent. I’ve got lots to say but not sure who will want to read it at this point. My blog has always been called “Inverted Sneakers”, and it used to be because I had a love for both yoga and running. These days, my life has been about all of the “inverted” things, and a little less about the sneakers.

I haven’t given up on running and still lace up my running shoes almost daily. I aim to get out there six days per week, and I’m happy running easy in the 5-8 mile range. The past two weeks was a little less because somehow, I managed to upset my right Achilles tendon. My best guess is that I was running easy all summer, and suddenly the temperatures dropped. It finally felt good to pick up the pace, and I busted out two back to back days of blistering paces. My achilles ached a little, so I backed off the pace in the following days. I ran with a group a few days later. We didn’t run crazy fast but it was enough to aggravate things. I was in a decent amount of pain, so I only ran four days last week, three miles each time. It’s funny – with the absence of big races in the near future, I’m not that upset about it. As long as I get out there for a few miles to get my fix, I’m good. I’m not worried about missing workouts or being unable to hit paces. I am supposed to run the VIA Marathon as part of a relay team this coming Sunday, but my leg is only 5.8 miles. I’m not going to get stressed out over it, and if I have to take it easy that day then so be it.

I’m pacing the 1:45 group at the DL Half marathon on November 5th, so that is my current “goal race”. As far as running goals go, I’d like to spend the fall running easy getting my mileage back up so that when it comes time to train for Boston, I can hit it hard. I’d like to tell you that by then, I’ll be in the right mindset to try for that sub-3 hour marathon. I just feel like it’s going to be such a big goal to tackle. I am confident that I can do it, but I know it’s going to take everything from me – mentally and physically – and I don’t know if I’m quite ready for that commitment. I think forcing it will lead to burnout so right now, I’m doing what feels good. If I feel good in November, I might sign up for some holiday races – but as of now, D&L is the only other race in the foreseeable future.

Part of the problem is that my strength training hobby, pole fitness, has become a bit more than just some cross training. If I’m being honest, it’s almost like my running is cross training for pole. I know I blogged about training for a competition last year, but I don’t think I ever wrote about the actual competition itself. Back in the beginning of April, I competed in the Atlantic Pole Championships. I competed as an amateur, but in the highest level an amateur could compete in – the Championship Division, Level 4. I had a routine that I worked on tirelessly and I knew I was more than ready to compete. On the day of the competition, I performed my routine better than any of my rehearsals. Other than a few seriously minor details (like I forgot to point a toe, etc), it was nearly flawless. I’ve never  been a dancer of any sort – as a matter of face, in high school drama club, the director could never cast me in dancing roles because I sucked THAT BADLY at dancing. Somehow, I won my division. I never shared my routine here (but if you follow me on Instagram you probably saw it):

In winning my division, I found out that if I want to compete with Pole Sport Organization (PSO) again, I have to “level up”. If you win your category, you can’t compete at the same level again – which is totally understandable – but for me, leveling up means that I now have to compete in the pro division! So, on November 18th, I will be making my debut as a professional pole dancer at the Northeast Pole Championships in Boston. Yep, you read that right. BOSTON.

Do you see the irony in this?!?! I feel like no matter what I do, Boston is always the place where big things happen in my life. Running Boston has always held such significance in my life since becoming a runner, and now I get to compete as a professional pole dancer in the same place I’ve crossed that iconic finish line over the past seven years. I don’t know, maybe I’m weird for making that connection. The promise of that race and what it holds for me brings me strength, and maybe I can remember that and draw from that strength when I stand on stage on November 18th.

As for the actual competition, I have a song. I have a routine that I spent all summer choreographing, and it’s pretty cool. It’s a LOT different from the routine I posted above, which both excites and scares me. Excites me because it’s super challenging (for me) and has SO much potential, but scares me because I really loved my last routine and in my head, I keep comparing them to each other and I want my new one to top it. I loved all of the tricks and combos I used last time, and I hope I can polish this routine and love my choreography just as much – if not more. I hope I can perform it the way I see myself performing it in my head. As of now, I can run the whole thing without stopping, but its a pretty big shit show. I have two full months, so if I could do my routine perfectly right now, that wouldn’t be ideal either.

In addition to being wrapped up in competition training, I started teaching pole classes. I teach a level 1 class every Thursday night, and it’s super fun. I have my RYT 200 for teaching yoga, but I haven’t taught in a long time. Over the summer, the owner of the pole studio went on vacation and left my sister in law and I in charge. I taught her flexibility classes in addition to pole classes, and it felt good to use my yoga certification again.

As for everything else, the new school year started two weeks ago. It’s so weird being back. This is the first time in my entire teaching career where I feel like I actually lead two lives. Running is one thing because I can hang posters of it in my classroom and if the kids ask what I did over the weekend, telling them I ran a marathon is completely acceptable. It’s not the same with pole dancing – the stigma attached to it makes unacceptable to say, “Well, I learned this really cool new pole combo…” While my Instagram is public, I don’t follow my  students and I don’t want them following me.  I am not ashamed of what I do, but it’s not something that they need to know about me. I’m sad to be back at school and sad that my summer freedom is over, and I’m really trying to figure out a way to balance doing all of the things without burning out.

That’s all for now. In the spirit of it being Wednesday, here is something that I was jamming to all summer long that you probably need on your playlist!

What’s new with you? Upcoming goals/races/etc? Any new music on your playlist that you’re loving?

What I’m Working Out to Wednesday

Hurt Me

I don’t know what it is about this song, but I love it! I found it listening to some Spotify playlist and it’s pretty catchy. It was on my list for my pole competition but didn’t make the cut, but it makes a great addition to a running playlist!

What do you think? 

2017 Boston Marathon Training, Week 12: 2/27-3/5

Seriously though. It was a rough week last week. It’s getting close to the end of the 3rd marking period at school, and that sums up my thoughts lately!

Had some really weird stomach issues last week, combined with a Saturday race. Hanson’s schedules long runs every other weekend with the option of doing one every weekend if you really want, so I opted to not do an official long run this week because of the race. I’ve been doing long runs every single weekend regardless of whether they are on the schedule, with the exception of last week because of my work trip and this week due to the race. Last year, the race and the work trip fell during the same week so it wasn’t as big of a deal. Actually, it wasn’t really a big deal this year either – I didn’t do a long run. Such is life.

Monday: AM pole competition practice + abs + MYRTLs, 10 miles easy, PM pole class
Tuesday: AM pole competition practice + abs + MYRTLs, 13 miles w/4 x 1.5 miles @ marathon pace – 10 seconds per mile (goal marathon pace is 6:45-50 someday, so I shot for 6:35. All were on pace and my last one was the fastest, averaging somewhere in the 6:20s) Highlight of the workout? I did it in shorts and a sports bra. On February 28th.

Wednesday: AM 6 miles easy, Pole Flow class, Pole Competition Practice class
Thursday: AM pole competition practice + abs + MYRTLs, 4 miles easy – was planning to do 8 but had some weird stomach issue that started Wednesday night and felt crappy after one mile so called it a day at 4 miles).
Friday: AM 6 miles easy, Abs/MYRTLS, Pole Competition Practice class – was planning on taking a rest day from running but I felt better when I woke up, so I went to the gym to do the remaining 4 miles of my Thursday run. I had a pretty good playlist going on Spotify and I was actually early for once in my life so I did 6 instead. My outfit for my pole competition shipped!!! I will at least give you a glimpse of it:

It should officially be here soon!!
Saturday: Quakertown 10 Miler (14 miles total with w/u and c/d), Abs/MYRTLs, Pole Competition practice
Didn’t run a PR but this happened:

I’ll get a race report out soon! I celebrated by going to dinner with friends to a restaurant I’ve been meaning to try, Grain. I ate the best Chicken and Waffles I’ve ever had. Actually, I think it’s the only chicken and waffles I’ve ever had.

Sunday: 9 miles easy, Abs/MYRTLS, Pole Competition Practice
Had to do something, because it was my birthday and I knew I wanted to eat as much of this as possible:

My speedy friend, Cassie, is a pastry chef and she made me my cake. I loved it. She is so talented!

= 62 miles

Overall, it was a really good week. I really think I was fighting off a stomach bug or something because from Wednesday night through about Sunday, my stomach felt terrible! I’m hoping I kept it at bay and that I’m past it now.

Did you ever eat chicken and waffles? What was the best birthday cake you’ve ever had?