What I’m Working Out to Wednesday – The Holiday Edition, Pt. 5!

Wonderful Christmastime
The Shins

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I still get one more week to post holiday music, because I consider it the holiday season even though Christmas has passed. I get sad when the season is over so I try to keep it going for as long as I possibly can!

Originally recorded by Paul McCartney in 1979, this jam was covered by one of my favorite bands, The Shins, in 2012. I love that they kept the sound of the song the same, but added their Shins flair to it. The original song uses more electronic sounds, and the Shins used their band to recreate the happy song with a very full sound. I love Jason Mercer’s voice and think it is the perfect fit for this holiday tune. Enjoy the rest of the season!

I hope I shared some new versions of holiday music with you! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. xo

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Boston Marathon Training: Hansons, Week 1

So much to recap! I’m still crazy busy with holiday preparations – I even ended up taking a day off of work to get some things done. We have such a big family and I host a fancy Christmas Eve dinner for 25 people at my house, so my life is consumed by holiday preparations these days. I need to get caught up on everyone’s lives, but I really didn’t want to skip recapping my first week of Boston training, so here it is!

As for my post last week, I was asking what to get my mom for her 60th birthday. I am going to take her to see Cirque du Soliel in Philadelphia. The show isn’t until May, but I got us front row seats. The show is called Ovo, and I can’t WAIT! We live about an hour outside of Philly and I used to go there very often. My parents are from New York City and we live about an hour and a half from there, so when they want to go to a city, it’s usually New York. I’m excited to take my mom to Philly. I’m thinking brunch before in Rittenhouse Square, and then we can walk around the shops on Walnut Street.

I still had a pretty relaxed attitude towards training this week, but I started following the plan. Technically, my training plan didn’t start until Wednesday and it was supposed to begin with a rest day, but I took Tuesday as my rest day instead. Moving forward, I don’t plan on shuffling the days around if I don’t have to but with the holidays and being so busy with life in general it just needed to happen.

At this point, I’m not really posting too many paces because they are all the same – slow (for me). It is starting to feel easier again, and I think a few track workouts and tempo runs will really help. I am at least able to say that my legs feel better when running. For awhile, it just felt awkward, clumsy and so hard. Now it just feels hard.

My goal for the spring isn’t a secret, and I’ve been chasing a 3:05 for awhile. Technically, I’d love sub-3. But my PR of 3:06 is almost two years old, and the closest I’ve come to touch it it was a 3:12 this past October. I was torn between using the paces for a sub 3:10 or going for the 3:05. I’m going to stick with the 3:05 but adjust if things get too nasty and I start to feel burned out.

The paces I’m using come from the Hansons plan are as follows:

Marathon Goal –  3:05
Marathon Pace/Tempo Runs –  7:03/mile
Recovery Runs – 9:11/mile
Aerobic A/Easy – 8:36
Aerobic B/Easy – 8:01
Long Run: 7:42

Right now, every run on my schedule should be in the easy pace range – even the the “long” runs are listed as easy for the first two weeks. The only modification I’ve made is with the tempo run. Those begin in week 3, and it begins with six daunting miles at marathon pace. With the break I had and how running has been feeling, I just didn’t like the idea of going from 0 miles at marathon pace to six. It seemed like a bit too much on my body and I wanted to ease myself into it.

Last Thursday (since those will be tempo days), I did one mile at marathon pace in my run. This past Thursday, I did three (and it was HARD!). Next week, I’m shooting for 4, then 5, and then the real tempos begin. Once I’m doing formal tempo runs, I like how you stay at the same distance for three weeks in a row. When I start the six miles at marathon pace, I do it for three weeks in a row before I increase to seven. It doesn’t make it any less scary, but I am hoping it will help trick my body into running fast for a longer period of time.

Monday, 12/14: 5 Mile Easy Run + Pole Fitness

I don’t remember much about this run except that I felt better than I deserved. I remember that I went to the parkway after work, and I remember expecting it to feel hard because of the 10 I did the day before on the hills. To my surprise, I sort of felt like the old me (just a bit slower). It was a good run. Afterwards, pole class was fun. We worked on something that I don’t know the name of. The teacher was calling it a “Pegasus” variation, but I have no idea what a Pegasus is:

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Tuesday, 12/15: Rest

Glorious. I got my nails did for the holidays:

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I’m not usually so girly but my sister in law, Tracie, does them for me. She is a hair stylist and has the machine to cure the gels at her house, which is conveniently located 2 miles from me.

Wednesday, 12/16:  5 Mile Easy Run+ Pole Fitness 

Another good run! I’d planned to do this run on Tuesday, but had to move it to Wednesday to accommodate life. I was soooooo tired when I pulled up to the trail to run, but once I started I felt really good. I headed right to the pole studio and felt pretty decent. I learned a variation of the Fleur De Lis:
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The original Fleur De Lis is one of my favorites, where you keep the top leg bent. The straight leg variation is a bit harder to do, but I think the original is prettier.

Thursday, 12/17: 8 Mile Tempo Run w/3 Miles @ Goal Marathon Pace + Pole Fitness

This was a win. I wanted to do 2-3 miles at marathon pace. I really wanted to make it to three miles because it would make my progression to six miles at marathon pace a bit easier, but I had no idea what to expect. I took the day off from work to get some holiday stuff done, and it was absolutely POURING. I considered the treadmill, but figured since it was over 50 degrees to suck it up. I headed out and managed three miles in the midst of it all slightly below marathon pace, around a 7:00/mile. I used to try to get my tempo runs under 7 minute miles, but that isn’t my goal yet so I’m staying as close to the pace guidelines as possible. Besides, shit is going to get real when I need to be doing 10 miles at that pace. I need to stick to the plan and take one day at a time.

In a few weeks, when the real tempos start, I will be dropping my Thursday night pole classes. Until then, I am still going. It’s great strength training so I see it as a bonus, and it forces me to stretch a little. I was tired but so glad I went because I learned a really hard combo that I’ve been eyeing up for awhile. It’s still rough but once I get it perfect, I’ll post a video. The combo ends with one of my favorite moves, a Janeiro. Except it was a variation of the move that I never did before, and I might like it better than the original Janeiro:

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Friday, 12/18: 6 Mile Recovery Run + Pole Fitness 

I keep trying to go to bed early, but it isn’t working. I ended up staying up so late on Thursday and almost skipped this run. I wasn’t willing to do it during my lunch based on what happened last Friday with the fire drill, and I really wanted to go to pole after work. So I hit the road at 5am. I don’t love running on my road. It’s out and back, and you are always running slightly uphill or slightly downhill. I didn’t feel awful, and considering the tempo and pole class the day before I’d call that a win. Pole class at night was fun, but I was still working on that combination from Thursday. I was up so late getting things done for the holiday – wrapping presents, baking, knitting, etc.

Saturday, 12/19: 6 Mile Easy Run 

Since my husband is one of ten brothers and sisters, my mother-in-law always has a separate day for their family Christmas. We call it Fiorini Christmas, and it’s usually the Saturday before real Christmas. We spend the entire day – from early in the morning until night – at my in-laws. It’s a long day, but lots of fun. I got up early and got my run done, but that was all for the day. We had a great time at my in-laws and got to spend the day with family:

imageAll of our nieces and nephews…they are so adorable!!!
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Sunday: 12/20: 10 Mile Easy Run 

I woke up with a headache (probably from all of the sugar the day before) and had a bad feeling about this run. I was feeling like it might suck. It was my mom’s 60th birthday, so I was in charge of making a cake. I made this Salted Caramel Apple Cake with layers of peanut butter buttercream, chocolate ganache, and homemade caramel. You know those pictures on Pinterest – the fails – that they caption, “Nailed It”? Well, that was my cake. I wish I took a picture of it. It was horrendous looking, but actually tasted pretty good. I guess that’s all that matters, right?

In between making the cake and the other components, I left for my run. I felt okay as I began running, and was surprised when I looked down during my first mile and was cruising around an 8:08 pace and it felt effortless. I’ve been having a lot of trouble with my pace lately and thought that might be a touch too fast to start my run, especially since last week’s 10 felt ROUGH. I was using the same route as last week, and it’s really hilly.

I hit the second mile and my pace dropped below an 8 minute mile. I was concerned but decided as long as I felt good, I would just go with it. I kept my pace extremely consistent for the rest of the run and ended up with a 7:54 pace overall. For long runs, I will need to pick that up a bit (my long run pace according to Hansons is 7:42) but this run was still labeled as an “easy” run on my plan and so it was actually faster than it needed to be. I didn’t mind since I have to pick up the pace on my long run in week 3.  It will be good to ease myself into it.

My last mile was my fastest one, and it felt great to finish a run and not feel like death. We had a blast going out to dinner and then back to my house for cake to celebrate my mom’s birthday.

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I love the holidays, but they are kicking my ASS this year!! I will be more consistent again after this week!

How’s your holiday season treating you? Do you have a lot of family obligations, or do you spend time relaxing? I grew up as part of a small family, so having to prepare for the holidays with my husband’s huge family is still an adjustment, and we’ve been married for 10 years!

Swim:  0 meters ♥ Bike: 0 miles ♥  Run: 40 miles

#nuunlove

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I was spending some time today browsing my reader and saw that Jess posted about becoming a nuun ambassador, and I remembered that I also submitted an application back in November. I use their products almost daily. I think I have a lifetime supply of their discontinued flavor, Iced Tea Lemonade and drink that almost daily. I add nuun to my water before I run, go to pole classes, bike, or swim. It helps me drink more water because I sometimes forget to drink water and know I end up dehydrated. Adding nuun to my water only adds eight calories but lots of flavor and electrolytes to keep me adequately hydrated.

So, I revisited my email and did a quick search…apparently, the email went right to the trash when I was deleting promotional emails! Lately, I’ve been getting so many with the holiday that I barely even skim the subject lines. A quick search turned up an email from nuun with the subject, “welcome to the ambassador family”!

I’m a 2016 nuun ambassador! I’m still figuring out what that all means, but I am so excited! I love nuun and I’m excited to help promote their products!

Anyone else joining up with nuun for 2016?!

What I’m Working Out to Wednesday – The Holiday Edition, Pt. 3

Baby Please Come Home
Anberlin

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When I was in middle school, there was this strange trio that came out with a hit song. Do you remember Hanson? Yep, the brothers with the infamous, “Mmmbop” song that you either loved or hated.

Well, I loved it. I loved the band, especially Taylor Hanson, and all of their music (are you currently questioning why you ever took any music recommendations from me?). In fact, I was certain I was going to marry Taylor and record a hit song with him. My room was wallpapered with posters of his face. Anytime they were going to be on TV, I had a VHS tape that I would record whatever it was. I still have that in my attic somewhere.  Each year, I remember that Taylor’s birthday is on 3/14, and that day reminds me of the year that me and my two Hanson obsessed friends had a birthday party at my house for him. I baked a cake out of a box and iced it with store-bought icing. To make sure my cat wouldn’t eat it I put it back in the oven. The oven was off, but still warm. The icing absorbed into the cake, so I truly believe that I was the first person to invent the recently trendy cake ball. I’m so hipster.

I swear this has a point relating to Christmas and Anberlin. You see, these Hanson boys came out with a holiday album called “Snowed In”, which of course I owned. “Baby Please Come Home was one of the tracks featured on the album. I never paid much attention to other versions of that Christmas song before, but it became my new favorite when Taylor would belt it out.

When I got older and realized that my obsession with the Hanson trio was really weird, I heard this version of the song. I was already loving Anberlin and their hit, “Feel Good Drag“, when I found that they recorded their own rendition of the song. Not only did I feel way cooler blasting that in my car, but I liked it even better. Plus it was like I could still secretly pine away for Taylor when I listened to it.

And just in case you needed a good Hanson fix…No judgement here.

Did you love any bands/artists growing up that you are almost ashamed to admit to now?

Recovery Week 5, 12/7-12/13

I have a lot to catch up on with everyone. I have my Wednesday posts all scheduled out for the rest of the year, but I’ve been busy knitting ornaments, wrapping Christmas presents, and party planning. I throw a pretty big Christmas Eve bash for my family at my house. We also have a day where we do “Fiorini Christmas” because my husband is one of 10 brothers and sisters. If we don’t have a separate day for Christmas, we will never all be together. My mom’s 60th birthday is on Sunday, so my dad and I are in the midst of preparations for that. Excuses, excuses. I’ve been a bad blogger. I’m sorry! I’ve made some good ornament knitting progress, though:

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**For anyone trying my pattern: I was having trouble getting the stitches to look pretty on the DPNs so I switched to a circular needle. It’s a US size 2, 9″ needle so the ornament fits perfectly. I cast on using the DPNs and switch to the circular needle when I am done with my increases. The Fair Isle looks a lot cleaner this way.

But seriously guys, what should I get my mom for her 60th birthday?! I am so lost on this one. My mom really doesn’t do much on her own, and I have lots of ideas but none are really exciting me. She isn’t much of a “day at the spa” kind of woman and I have looked into that, I just can’t see my mom in that setting.

As I was writing this title, I can’t believe it’s been 5 weeks since my last disaster marathon. A LOT has happened in that time. I came off of the race determined to make the most of my recovery and follow a “schedule”, but getting hit with a monstrous cold changed that. I just refused to train while I wasn’t feeling well if I wasn’t actually training for anything. This was my final week of recovery before I start to transition back into a training mindset. My goals were to embrace the easy workouts and reduced volume, take at least one complete rest day, and continue to enjoy life.

My runs have been a struggle. The pace feels really hard, and I’m not running hard. I didn’t write much about each run unless I did something worth mentioning because they’ve all been slow and painful. I didn’t feel like this when I started training for Hartford, but I really only took a week after Grandma’s to “recover” before I began again. I guess this is what it feels like to “start from scratch”. I don’t know if I like it. I’ll get back to you on that.

So I lost a bunch of fitness and gained a few pounds. I’m going to enjoy the rest of the food for the holiday season, but it’s time to start cleaning things up again and prepare for Boston. Here’s how this past week went down:

Monday, 12/7: 6 Mile Recovery Run+ Core + Pole Fitness

Easy run felt not so easy, but I’m not panicking yet. It was my first week “back”. Pole class was fun and we learned some great new combos. I post more of that stuff on Instagram since it’s mostly videos lately, but I did take one picture of a fun new one. It’s an outside leg hang bridge. Outside leg hang because you are hanging on by your outside leg, and it’s a bridge because you grab for the pole with your hands. 
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I fell off the pole and stubbed my toe doing one of the combos (of course I did, why wouldn’t I? I’m a disaster) so that was interesting. I was sure I broke it. It still hurts today, but it doesn’t bother me running. Just when I try to curl up my toes.

Tuesday, 12/8: Rest

Glorious.

Wednesday, 12/9:  5 Mile Recovery run+ Pole Fitness 

Another easy run that didn’t feel so easy. Headed right to pole class and learned some new combos, and also something called a Lux:

imageThursday, 12/10: 8 Mile “Tempo” Run + Pole Fitness

I’m going to use the word tempo very loosely here. I don’t start official tempo runs for a few weeks but I’m pretty sure my first one is something like six miles at goal marathon pace. Goal marathon pace = 7:04/mile. I decided I would do one mile at marathon pace to just see if my body remembered how. Oh, it remembered and it was mad at me. I almost threw up. But, I did it and the rest of the miles after didn’t feel horrific. Here’s to hoping my body remembers how to do it in weeks to come. Headed to pole class after, but just worked on the the new stuff from Monday and Wednesday classes.

Friday, 12/11: 5 Mile Recovery Run + Pole Fitness 

Here’s a funny story. I overslept on Friday morning because I was at my sister-in-laws house pretty late the night before planning our Christmas Eve extravaganza. No morning run for me, and pole class was at 4pm. No problem, I can run over my lunch break.

I’m a teacher and I get 43 minutes for lunch, but my lunch (6th period) is backed up by my planning period. Here’s my logic: I comfortably run 5 miles in 40-ish minutes. If I leave when my lunch starts and get out the door asap, I am back before 7th period. 7th period is my planning period, so while I won’t run over my planning period, I can eat my lunch, get some work done and cool off before having to change back into my work clothing. I teach 8th period, and then go home so I only have to be gross for one class.

I left and began my run. I leave out of a side door because I don’t like to parade through the school and advertise that I run over my lunch. People at my school can get weird about that even though I’m allowed to leave over lunch. It was a beautiful day. As I hit one mile, I got a text (I run with my phone when I run over my lunch break just in case something were to happen). It was a security guard from the school that I’m friends with saying we were having a fire drill at 1:15. He saw me leave on the video cameras and wanted to make sure I was back on time. No problem, I get back before 1 pm.

For a brief moment I thought, perhaps I should cut my run at four miles instead of doing the full five to make sure I was back on time. I convinced myself that I was just using the fire drill as an excuse to be lazy and that there was no reason for me not to finish the run. I got back to school, and just like I always do, I stood outside until the bell rings, students were in class, and the halls were clear. It was 12:59, and two minutes into my prep. Just as I went to swipe my badge to re-enter the building, the alarm for the fire drill went off. Here I am, standing outside in shorts and a t-shirt and sweating my face off. It might be December, but it’s been hovering between 60-70 degrees in northeastern PA these days.

The kids start pouring out of the school, and I literally have nowhere to go. I can’t go back in the building because we have to exit the building for a fire drill. I wasn’t in charge of any kids (thank GOD) since it was my planning period but staying in the building is not an option. I’m the only person in the school that would run over my lunch break. I can’t be standing outside, in my sweaty running clothes and pouring with sweat as my co-workers (who are the least bit amused by my running to begin with) walk by. Now I was in full on panic mode.

I swiped my badge, and hid in the stairwell of the building until everyone was gone. I exited the building and walked around the side of the building so I could see when they released the kids from the stadium to come back into the building. This entire time, I was on camera so any hall monitor or security guard watching was probably cracking up.

As I’m hiding behind the building, another teacher that I don’t know well (he’s new to our building) came walking past and was on his lunch break. I just looked at him and said, “This didn’t go the way I planned” and explained what happened. He winked at me and said, “I’m going to go distract the assistant principal. You keep hiding.” There was an assistant principal in relatively close proximity to us, so he walked over. As soon as the kids were released and I could hear them coming, I sprinted back to my room and hid for the rest of my prep.

The best part is that I never actually had a run on my schedule and just thought I did, so I didn’t even have to do those miles!

Saturday, 12/12: 5 Mile Recovery Run +Pole Fitness 

I could have opted not to run since I had done the extra 5 miler the day before, but I was meeting a friend that I hadn’t run with in awhile so I went anyway. Again, felt wayyyy harder than it should have. In pole, I worked on another variation of a Brass Monkey that I’m loving:

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A brass monkey is something I learned over the summer, and it’s something I am really comfortable with so these variations come pretty easily to me. Most of the other moves take a lot longer for me to master.

Sunday: 12/13: General Aerobic Run, 10 miles

This run had some good and bad points. The good? It was 65 degrees and I ran in a tank and shorts. I felt good in the beginning but the pace was still not great. I ran a super hilly route, which I haven’t done since October. It didn’t bother my calf.

I was pretty fatigued by mile six, but I finished the run. I wasn’t very sore after, which was good considering the elevation of the run.

I think part of the problem here was the mental hurdle of getting back into the swing of things this week. My pace feels ROUGH. Every run feels hard. I keep wanting to quit but I know I’ve come back from WAY worse and have gotten faster. This was a conscious effort to take time off, so things have to start improving soon…right? I sure hope so, because the miles I ran this week were not that fun. It didn’t matter what pace I was running, it felt HARD. The one marathon paced mile I did during my tempo run felt hard, but the rest of the miles I ran all week long at a “recovery” pace felt equally as challenging.

Here’s to hoping that next week is better!

Swim:  0 meters ♥ Bike: 0 miles ♥  Run: 39 miles

Most embarrassing running story? What’s something fun I can get for my mom? Something for us to do together? I’m really at a loss!

What I’m Working Out to Wednesday – The Holiday Edition, Pt. 2!

Carol of the Bells
The Bird and the Bee

20131107-131103.jpgThe problem with this whole holiday edition thing is that I love so many different versions of Christmas songs. Traditional, alternative, indie, pop…I love it all. I’m naturally more drawn to the alternative/indie genres because that’s what I prefer when it’s not the holidays.

Carol of the Bells is always a favorite of mine, and I honestly couldn’t decide which version to share with you. There are two completely opposite versions of the song and I love each one so much – especially when adding to a play list for running, racing or working out during the holiday season.

The Bird and the Bee makes a beautiful, almost eerie version of this song. For some reason, it makes me think of a cold, snowy, Christmas night. I love it.

However, if you are racing a local holiday race and need something to really get you pumped up, this sick version by August Burns Red is a must have on your list. In fact, they have an entire holiday album (Sleddin’ Hill) that rocks hard. Literally. To be honest with you, I really enjoy every single song on their album. Maybe not the album you want playing during your cozy family Christmas party with Grandma, but definitely something to have on hand for a good holiday rager. Did you know this band is actually a Christian rock band?

Are you a fan of metal? Any obscure Christmas Albums out there that you enjoy?