Living and loving life in vermont

Manic

Monday 07/20/15: Rest Rest

I ended up with a rare night off from rehearsals (woo!), so Ben and I enjoyed a nice dinner and evening at home.

Tuesday 07/21/15: 30 minutes run/walk intervals with Emily 45 Minutes Run/Walk Intervals

I am SO proud of Emily, guys. She is completely determined to meet her goal of running a 5k. Right now we’re up to 2 min run/3 min walk intervals, and she’s hitting some awesome paces. She’s also going out for runs even when I’m not with her, which is so impressive. I can’t wait to see her achieve her goal at the Color Run in September :-D

Wednesday 07/22/15: Easy 5k Moderate 4 Miles

This was the first official run on my new Asics training plan. It called for 4.5 miles, but I knew I would only be able to finish 4 before work, and didn’t have time to run between work and rehearsal. So, I dragged myself out of bed at 6 am and did 4 moderately easy miles. I felt good, and probably could have gone further if I’d had more time.

Thursday 07/23/15: Easy 5k | Rest

No way in heck I was waking up early 2 days in a row, and besides, the new plan called for a rest day. We ended up going to see Shrek the Musical with a friend in the evening, which was fun.

Friday 07/24/15: Rest 2 Mile Shakeout Run

My original plan for Friday was rest, but the new plan I started called for an easy 3 miles. Since I knew I had a 10k race on Saturday, I sort of waffled most of the day about what to actually do. In the end, I decided on a short 2 mile shakeout run, before zipping over to Centennial Field to sing the National Anthem before the Lake Monsters game with the Chess cast. Ben and I ended up staying for most of the game, which was a lot of fun. We hadn’t been to see a game in years, and I always forget how much I like it.

Saturday 07/25/15: 10k race Jaxson’s Dog Days of Summer 10k

You’ll have to wait for an official recap, but long story short: even though I didn’t have the race I wanted, I pushed through and had a decent experience.

Sunday 07/26/15: Possible rogue running club activities Rest

I was a bit sore and very tired on Sunday, so I slept in, cleaned around the house, and went to rehearsal. I also spent some quality time with my new Addaday Pro Roller (review coming soon!).

All in all, it was a good week, and I’m really enjoying having a plan to follow, even if I have to swap some days and mix things up a bit. So here’s the plan for this week, taking into account the My Asics plan and what I’ve got going on.

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: Asics plan says 3 easy miles; I’ll do my walk/run intervals with Emily
  • Wednesday: 4.5 miles moderate
  • Thursday: Asics plan calls for rest, but this is run club track workout night, which I won’t miss
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: Missing run club for a voice lesson, but may try to run 3 easy miles on my own
  • Sunday: Rest (or run 3 easy miles if I don’t run on Saturday)

I’d like to squeak in some cross training on a few of these rest days, like a long bike ride with Ben, or maybe Body Pump or something, but my schedule is already so jam-packed I’m not sure that will happen.

How do you manage to fit cross-training into your schedule?

FFFA (1)

Remember those ginger candies I told you about last week? Unfortunately, they are not quite what I was hoping for. They taste ok, but they don’t have that super awesome spicy-ness that I was looking for. I’ll eat them all so as not to waste money, but the search continues for a direct source. I’m going to try some local shops to see what I can find.

I caved and had a beer on Monday. And it was DELICIOUS. I know, I know, I said I was going off the sauce. But I’ve decided that even though my intention will be to drink as little alcohol as humanly possible this summer, there will be some special occasions that I don’t want to miss out on. Ben and I went to the Swtichback Taproom for the first time. It’s one of our favorite beers, and the brewery/tasting room is a 10 minute walk from our apartment. We went for a walk on Monday night, and the malty scent emanating from the building was just too much to resist. In reality, having one beer or less per week will not have a hugely adverse affect on my singing.

The kitties are finally getting along! Creemee is still a typical big sister–game to play sometimes, but easily annoyed and obviously too cool for her little brother. But in the moments when they play or cuddle or groom each other, my heart melts. It’s only been two weeks, so I’m excited to watch them grow to love one another. I think that once Rocket gets a bit older and calms down some, they’ll get along handsomely.

Photo Jul 18, 4 26 31 PM

I started a training plan for W&D and my other potential fall half. I’m trying out the My Asics app. Basically, you input your goals and current abilities, and it puts together a training plan that will help you get there. Supposedly it “learns” and adapts the plan as you complete workouts. There are different phases like “Pre-Conditioning,” “Getting Faster,” “Going Further” etc, which is interesting. I’m somewhat skeptical, but willing to give it the ole college try. I figured using a legit training plan instead of cobbling something together myself might be a good idea if I’m going to complete two half marathons in 7 days. Right now, I’m a little confused by the fact that there are no cross-training days, but I can just add those in on my own as needed. I’ll check back in on how this is going in a few weeks.

There are only 20 people registered for the 10k I’m running tomorrow. And only one other female in my age group. Possible Age Group award? *crosses fingers* Only time will tell, but I will say that I’m planning to RACE this one. I’ve been running pretty strong lately and I know I’m faster than I’ve ever been, so I have high hopes.

Who else is racing this weekend?

Thinking-Out-Loud

Linking up with Amanda from Running with Spoons again this Thursday, to continue my series of non-running related posts.

Last Thursday, I wrote a lot about stuff not at all related to running. My post was all about singing, and staying vocally healthy. As I teased last week, the careful consideration that I have been bringing to my theater activities has got some wheels turning about chasing my passions.

I gave up the dream of performing for a living a long time ago; I’m not courageous enough to deal with the constant rejection, and I like having a steady paycheck. But performing is still something I’m incredibly passionate about, and would like to do more of, on a more professional scale. Newsflash: I don’t get paid for any of the shows I do right now (although I have been in the past); they’ve all been purely volunteer-based, which is great, but I think I’m capable of more. Just like with running, I’d like to push myself outside my comfort zone and see where it gets me. I want to dedicate more of my time and money to things like voice lessons, dance lessons, and acting classes.

Vermont may be small, but there are some great professional theater companies that I’ve always wanted to work with, but have been too chicken to try. Even though I’ve been doing this since I was 9 years old, I’m straight up terrified of auditioning. I get nervous and stressed out and I’m an emotional wreck. I’m scared of failing, so I won’t try. And that’s crap. I’m tired of not doing what I want to do because fear of failure is holding me back.

I think if Chess goes well, it’s going to give a lot of local theater people a chance to see me in a new way. I’ve never had a leading role in a show in this area, and I’m hopeful that this increased exposure will lead to more connections and opportunities.

A lot of these feelings about pushing beyond my comfort zone and chasing my passion can also be applied to my running/fitness and long-term career goals, but that’s a post for next Thursday ;)

Are you chasing a passion that’s not related to running?

Another Fall Half?

Waay back in May, I wrote a post about Planning Ahead, toward the fall, and my training and race schedule. At the time, I felt like I had a pretty good idea of what was going to happen. Of course, as you’d expect, I have not exactly been following that plan to a T. I haven’t been to the gym for Body Pump or CXWORX once since May. I joined a running club, which changed my running days around, and I started doing run/walk intervals with my friend Emily once a week to coach her towards her first 5k. Best laid plans, right?

So now that things have changed so significantly, I’m not as freaked out about the idea of changing things up even more, namely by throwing in another fall half marathon. Most of you know that I’ll be meeting up with Team Can-Am at the runDisney Wine & Dine half marathon in November, which I’m disgustingly excited about. In my Planning Ahead post, I wrote about my conflicted feelings on training; specifically, that it might be a “waste” of training since I’m planning to run W&D solely for fun and character photo ops, not for time. So I’m thinking about running another fall half marathon, with the goal of doing my absolute best, whether that’s a new PR or not.

I know it’s silly to worry about “wasting” training. After all, I like running, and it’s good for me, so no runs are really wasted. But I feel like if I commit to a training plan, and work really hard, why then wouldn’t I find a race where I can focus that training towards a concrete goal? I suppose the alternative is that I could just half-ass my training for W&D, and then I wouldn’t feel obligated to run for time at all, but that’s no fun.

There’s also the part where races cost money, and I’m not sure another big race is in my budget this year. I’ve already spent a considerable amount on race entries, hotels, and flights this year, so can I justify another $50-$100, just to satisfy my need to do credit to my training? I’m not sure. There are a few that are happening relatively nearby, but would still require some logistical work. And then, there’s the RaceVermont Fall Half, which was my PR half marathon last year. The problem is, it’s the weekend before W&D. I suppose it’s not completely insane to consider running to half marathons in 7 days, especially if one will be rife with character stops and walking breaks, and the upside is that I would become an official Half Fanatic. Despite my concerns about exhaustion and potential injury, it seems to be the best option; I get a discount through my LCRC membership, and it’s a 10 minute drive from my apartment.

What do you think, should I run two half marathons on back-to-back weekends? Would you ever do that/have you done that?

Disclaimer: I received Plantronics BackBeat FIT wireless headphones to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Over the last several months, I’ve moved away from running with music. It’s a safety thing for me–I’m usually running outside, and running solo, so I feel like I need to be able to hear cars, loose dogs, and other potential threats. As such, my need for headphones during the summer is pretty much nil. However, during the winter, I DO NOT RUN OUTSIDE. Pretty much ever. Unless I’m racing, which is also rare. In the frozen New England winters, I take it to the treadmill, and when I’m on the treadmill, I NEED music. But we all know that running with cords dangling is unpleasant at best, potentially dangerous at worst. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve accidentally caught my headphone wire while treadmill running, sending my phone/iPod flying and nearly tripping and falling. I’ve been casually perusing the market for wireless headphones for a while now, but I wasn’t ready to take the plunge.

Thankfully, the BibRave Pro program offered me an opportunity to test the Plantronics BackBeat FIT wireless headphones recently. I was aaaallll over that. I immediately liked the design–over the ears to help them stay put. Two excellent color choices. And lots of built in safety features that have runners and other athletes in mind.

About Plantronics BackBeat FIT (Courtesy of the Plantronics Website):

  • Flexible design to help them stay put during various activities
  • Reflective finish for increased visibility
  • Pi2 nano-coating adds invisible liquid repellant properties
  • 8 hours listening time, 6 hours talk time, 14 days standby time
  • On-ear controls for calls and music
  • Included neoprene armband, which turns into a storage case for the headphones
  • Eartip design directs audio into your ears while still allowing you to remain aware of your surroundings

My Experience with Plantronics BackBeat FIT:

First Impressions:

  • Love, love, love the color!
  • Really nice packaging
  • Surprised by (and pleased with!) how flexible and light they are

Photo Jul 14, 6 01 49 PMSurprisingly, I had no trouble connecting the headphones to my iPhone. The instructions were clear, and I was able to listen to music right away. At first, I had trouble with the volume controls–they weren’t super intuitive, and I ended up blasting myself at full volume more than once on the first run, but after that, I did fine. These headphones were incredibly comfortable; in fact much more comfortable than I’d dared to hope for. The ear piece sat securely in my ear without moving or slipping, and the ear hooks kept them in place. They didn’t make my ears hurt like many earbud style headphones I’ve tried, which is a huge bonus. My only complaint from this initial run was that my ponytail bouncing against the part of the headset that wraps around behind my head was REALLY annoying–I could hear each thump through the headphones, as well as feel it pushing against my ears. I mitigated this issue on later runs by either securing my ponytail under a headband, or securing the headset under a headband.

My second run in the headphones was the very next day, and I was already much more comfortable with the volume controls. My phone connected to the headset right away, and I was able to set out on my morning run with little to no extra effort. I really liked that when powering the headphones on or off, you actual get an audible confirmation from the headset in your ear, so you don’t have to guess. It also lets you know how you’re doing on battery power, which is incredibly helpful.

On Sunday, I was able to test out the “liquid repellant” properties. I decided to go for a run without checking the weather, and emerged from my apartment to find that a light rain was falling. I pressed on, figuring I might as well just get it done, and ran though some showers with no problems at all. With about 1 mile to go, the skies opened up and it started POURING. Not wanting to tempt fate, I whipped the headphones off and stuck them in my shirt for the remainder of the run. Even though they got fairly wet, they are still in perfect working order, so I can vouch for the fact that they are quite water resistant.

backbeat-fit-green_phone-casebackbeat-fit-green_caseThe headphones also come with a neoprene armband that is reversible–when turned inside out, it becomes a handy, compact storage case for the headphones and the included charging cable. As an armband, it’s fairly good. Not the most comfortable, but not what I’d consider uncomfortable. It’s a good size (although I do have a fairly small phone, the iPhone 4s), and the little slip pocket in the back is perfect for my apartment or car key. I’m certain I could also fit a packet or two of Gu in there if I needed to. I have slight concerns that repeated turning could cause the seams to bust, but so far, they seem to be holding up well.

The only function of these headphones that I haven’t had a chance to try yet is accepting phone calls. I’ve only had them for a week, and intended to have Ben call me while I was out for a run, but never got around to it. I’m sure that as I continue to use them, I’ll be able to use the call function, and I’ll give an update on that when I can.

Overall

I think I’ve found my perfect running mate in these headphones. The sound quality is great, and the volume range is pretty impressive. I keep it turned down fairly low when I’m running outside for safety reasons, but judging by how well I blasted myself when adjusting to the volume controls, I’m confident that I’ll be able to get enough volume out of them to drown out gym chatter when I have to take my runs to the treadmill this winter. The easy pairing with my phone is great for me because I’m not super tech-savvy, and they are incredibly comfortable. At $129.99, they’re certainly not inexpensive, but I’ve always been of the opinion that you get what you pay for. You might be able to find some cheaper Bluetooth headphones, but I doubt they’d work as well as the Plantronics BackBeat FIT.

If you’d like more information about the Plantronics BackBeat FIT, check out some reviews by my fellow BibRave Pros:

Angie | Samantha | John | Jeremy | Danielle | Brandon

Also, Plantronics will be sponsoring our Twitter #Bibchat tomorrow (Tuesday) night at 9 pm EST. They’ll be giving away THREE pairs of BackBeat FIT headphones–Don’t miss it!

Have you ever tried wireless headphones? Which ones do you use?

Manic

What Was Planned vs. What Happened

Monday 07/13/15:  Rest Day | Rest Day

I was wiped out after my awesome running weekend, so I just took it easy, and went to rehearsal in the evening.

Tuesday 07/14/15:  3 Easy Miles Easy 5k (pm)

I received some Plantronics BackBeat FIT wireless headphones in the mail through my partnership with BibRave, and couldn’t wait to get out and give them a whirl. It was a gross, humid evening, and it even rained on me a little bit, but I was still happy I got it done. Stay tuned for a review of the headphones!

Wednesday 07/15/15:  3 Easy Miles Easy 5k (am)

I finally managed to drag my ass out of bed for a morning run! Woohoo! Of course, I forgot that on days when I run in the morning, I’m hungry ALL DAY LONG, and didn’t fuel properly afterwards. Can’t wait for my Everlast VP to get here so I can have easy post-run protein on hand.

Thursday 07/16/15:  Run Club Track Workout 1.5 Mile Warm Up; 6×400; 1.5 mile cool down

This workout was just what I needed. I worked hard, and had a really good time with a few ladies from running club. If I keep going to these workouts, I know I’m going to get stronger and faster in a hurry.

Friday 07/17/15:  Rest Day Rest Day

We ended up having quite a few people over to play with the kitties and have some drinks (I had seltzer) after work, but I managed to still be in bed before midnight, which was awesome.

Saturday 07/18/15:  Run Club 5k + At Least 2 More Miles, Hiking Voice Lesson; 24 mile bike ride

My voice teacher is in SUPER high demand, and scheduling with him is a nightmare, so I just had to take what was available, which meant skipping my run club :( Also, the weather was calling for strong rain and thunderstorms all day, so we decided not to hike Mt. Mansfield. But we ended up going for a 24 mile bike ride instead, which was awesome. My legs were toast by the end. We capped the day off with a beach evening on the lake with our friends Andy and Lindsay.

Sunday 07/19/15:  Rest Day 3.6 mile run

If you follow me on Instagram, you saw that this run was not easy. Tired legs, rain, thunder, and trains tried to stop me, but I managed to get it done in the end.

Here’s the plan for the upcoming week:

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: 30 minutes run/walk intervals with Emily
  • Wednesday: Easy 5k
  • Thursday: Easy 5k (no track workout because I’m going to see a show)
  • Friday: Rest
  • Saturday: 10k race
  • Sunday: Possible rogue running club activities

Did you run or race this weekend?

FFFA (1)

I ordered two pounds of ginger candies on Amazon. Yes, two pounds. Stacey, one of my Chess castmates, brought a package of them to rehearsal, and these things are MAGIC for soothing a sore throat and cutting through phlegm. I’ve been stealing hers like the shameless mooch that I am, so I figured it was time to put some back into the proverbial pot. They’re slightly sweet, but with a really awesome spicy, ginger-y kick. Seriously, if I could mainline these into my system, I would. I don’t think I’ll ever eat any other hard candies ever again. One slight hitch: I’m not entirely certain that the ones I’ve purchased are the same things as what Stacey’s got, but I have no choice but to take a chance; the brand she has somehow don’t have any kind of online presence, which means I can’t order them direct, and she buys them at a store in a town 45 minutes away from me. Fingers crossed, people!

I had my first Lake Champlain Running Club track workout last night. Long story short, it was awesome! Something about running with other people makes me push so much harder than I normally would, and I was running my 400s at about an 8 min/mile pace, with my last one at a 7 min/mile pace, which is crazy! I haven’t seen paces like that since before I hurt my foot last fall. I love love love our Thursday night track coach–he’s fun, laid back, and you can just tell he loves running. He’s got so much experience and knowledge to share, I know I’m going to learn a lot, and hopefully get faster :)

The weather for this weekend is bumming me out. Ben and I were planning to hike Mt. Mansfield together for the first time, but the forecast is calling for a 40% chance of heavy rain and thunderstorms, with gusting winds and a chance for hail. No way I want to be on the side of a mountain for that… We’ve decided that if the weather sucks, we’ll do some stuff around the apartment that we’ve been putting off, like unpacking books and hanging up decorations.

We’re having our first guests over to the apartment tonight. Other than having my friend Megan over briefly while Ben was gone last week, we haven’t hosted any friends at our new place yet. Our friends David (pronounced “Dah-veed,” he’s German) and Alex will be bringing over some fancy cheeses, and we’re just going to hang out and snack. I’m sure they’ll all be drinking, but in keeping with yesterday’s post, I’ll be sticking to my water. Hooraaaayyy… Not. Le sigh.

What does your weekend weather look like? Any fun plans?

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