December Training

I feel like I have overloaded this week with running blogs.  You could say I’m running right through Holidays…ha terrible LOLZ pun.  This is a running blog so I’m glad I have running related topics (with my own training) to talk about.

Anyways, December has nearly left and I accomplished what I wanted too (running wise) this month.

Running Stats:

Total Miles: 246

Range of Paces: 6:40-12:00-untimed

Shortest Run: 2.0 miles

Longest Run: 17.25 miles

Best run: I don’t have a favorite run this month.  As cliche as it sounds, the month as a whole was good to me.  To keep it short, I will say my best was also my longest run.  I felt strong and as if I could just keep going.

Good times with my brother running
Good times with my brother

Races:

Dec 7: Schuylkill River 8.3 Miler (7:01 pace)

Dec 14: Haddon Hearts 5k (20:35)

December 31st (ha ha tonight!): Beat the Ball 5k

Training thoughts:

This whole month went smoothly.  December was the first month I ran the miles I wanted.  Not to beat a dead horse again but during December I finally felt like I was training (not just coming back from injury).

I didn’t do much speed work but focused on building my base with easy runs.  Since I didn’t cross train a lot during my stress fracture, I lost a lot more fitness than in previous injuries.  I’m not complaining about that and I do believe resting was the right thing to do.  My goal in December was to build fitness back up with lots of easy, untimed runs.

Another food for thought:

During the month of December I also began using the GNC products I was sent to review.  The included the protein powder, amino acids, preworkout and bars.

GNC PurEdge 1

I promised I would review them when I had time to finish the majority of products I was sent.  Since I finished the amino acids last week, the timing was perfect to review them now.  I believe some of the products helped me recover quicker from runs so I wanted to include the review in my monthly recap.

During December I used the Complete Amono after each run.  I mixed it into whatever I was consuming post run. I added it to pancakes, oatmeal and even milk.  I think my favorite method was actually just adding it to a glass of milk.  I set a goal to have the complete amino after each run and I made that goal. Like running, consistency is key. It’s hard to review a product without using it consistently for a while.  Honestly, I believe it helped me recover from runs faster.

The complete amino does not have an unusual taste (the fruit punch is what I like) so it isn’t gross to actually consume.

The amino acid powder has 30 calories and contains 5g BCAA blend of leucine, isoleucine and valine as well as 2.5g betaine .

Do I think it was the sole reason I stayed injury free?  No.

Do I think it was one of the blocks for building a solid foundation and base to stay injury free? Yes.

I liked the powder so much I ended up purchasing another container from GNC. If you know me well, you know I don’t waste money on expensive foods…hashtag #walmartshopperforlife).  I doubt the point was for me to end up buying the product but I really like it and I have felt better since beginning to use it.  So thank you GNC for opening my eyes to that.

I also enjoyed the protein powder because it made me remember how much I enjoyed making pancakes.  I am just over 75% done with that container.  Once finished with the protein powder, I will probably purchase that again too.  I don’t make protein pancakes every day but I do make the a few times a week again.  I think the protein powder is similar to any protein powder but it tastes good and I have no complaints.

Out of the items sent the preworkout energy drink is my least favorite. I don’t drink caffeine (not even coffee) before I run.  The preworkout drink is geared towards someone who does drink caffeine, so it makes sense it wouldn’t be a fit for me.  While the preworkout drink tastes good I don’t foresee myself using it.  The few times I consumed it I felt as if I had more energy but it isn’t something I would personally use regularly.

Overall thoughts?

I am firm believer the GNC amino acids and protein powder are helping my running. I 100% recommend the amino acids to any runner or athlete.   Thank you to GNC for sending me quality products that I am benefiting from.   I enjoyed being on your campaign.

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Goals for January:

I’m going to lump this into one big post with my 2015 goals.  Briefly, my goals for January are to maintain and grow my base smartly.  I will continue to grow my base appropriately as well as train for the Phoenix Full Marathon.

I also have a few races I’ll be doing:

January 1st: Hair of the Dog 5k Va Beach, VA

January 10: Wilmington Delaware 10 miler Wilmington, Delaware

Anyways this has been a much longer training recap than normal.  That is partly because I think that nutrition has played a big role in my recovery and training this month.

Have a Happy New Year my friends and stay safe! 

Questions for you:

How was your month of December?

How are you celebrating New Years? 

Holiday Training Week 4

This week for training has been strange for me (and probably everyone who was traveling for the holidays).  I can break up my training into two periods this week:

Before Christmas mayhem

After Christmas relaxation

Monday: 5 miles recovery (Sunday was 17 mile LR)
Tuesday: 10.15 miles (stomach ache time crunch)
Wednesday: OFF
Thursday: Christmas Long Run (15 miles)
Friday: 10 miles easy with brother
Saturday: 10 miles easy
Sunday 10 miles easy:
Total: 61 miles

 

Before Christmas Mahem:

Last Monday feels like forever ago.  On monday I woke up extremely early.  I didn’t sleep well (I never do after my long runs).  I went for a 5 mile run.  My legs didn’t feel terrible, post run.

On Tuesday, I finally got caught up on sleep but I slept in much later than normal.  I woke up and had to directly go for my run.  I think the combination of shock and WTF just happened made my stomach feel a bit off.  I kept getting the weirdest cramps during my run.  They weren’t painful but I hadn’t experienced that before.  Wednesday I took off because I needed a day off and that fit well.  I drove back to VA on Wednesday evening.

After Christmas Relaxation:

On Christmas I ran my weekly long run.  I’m doing two races next week: Beat the Ball 5k (begins at 11:35 New Years Eve) and Hair of the Dog 5k (New Years Day).  I’ve done this race combination a few times and enjoyed it so I decided to again this year. I didn’t want to do a long run on Sunday (too close to the races) so I chose to run 15 on Christmas (partially with my brother and dad).  I didn’t want to do my longest long run post injury either this week (so I could hopefully recover for the races).

Friday, Saturday and Sunday all felt pretty good.  I have no real complaints or digs at those miles week.  They were all very easy base building miles with no goal in my mind.  I want to continue to build my endurance.

Thoughts of the week:

In my opinion, I had a pretty solid week. I cracked 60 miles and stayed healthy.  I don’t have any complaints (especially due to the more risky finish to my week), the week was just a blur.

Next week: I am doing two races:

12/31 Beat the Ball 11:35 PM (Your goal for the race is to run under a 25 minute 5k.  That being said, it’s not serious at all and everyone is there to support each other)

1/1 Hair of the Dog 5k

In terms of mileage, I’m going to cut down a bit.  I will be taking at least 2 days off and possibly another cross training day.

My goals for the races (honestly) are to be faster than my 5k a couple of weeks ago.  If I can do that I’ll be happy.  Finishing injury free (as well as staying awake that long are also big goals of mine.  My body is feeling a lot better than a few weeks ago so I’m hoping I will feel good.  I’m running comfortably so we will see!  I haven’t done any speed in over 2 weeks so it will be interesting to see where I’m at.

Question for you: How was your week of training?

 

 

The Sage Diner (Mount Laurel)

Sage Diner (Mount Laurel)

Last weekend my parents and I decided to try the Sage Diner in Mount Laurel, NJ.  I had driven by several times, and the outside appeared nice.  Once again, I judged a diner by its cover.  My parents had specified they needed to go to an “NJ diner.”  They have been to several, and my dad took me to the first NJ diner I’ve ever been too (The Town and Country).  Long story short by the outside and a brief look at the menu, I thought it would be a nice place to take them.

Sage Diner Atmosphere: B

The outside atmosphere of the Sage Diner is nice.  It’s a cobblestone building with big black windows.  The inside is half booths and half tables.  There is a large bakery upon first entering the restaurant.  It certainly made us want to try some of their baked goods. The atmosphere is nice, and I have no complaints.

The waiter was amiable and took care of us the entire meal.  He was one of the most friendly and nicest waiters I’ve ever seen.  It was evident he enjoyed his job, and he was friendly and polite.

Sage Diner Coffee: A

The coffee at the Sage Diner was good.  The mug was small, but they did give unlimited refills.  The whipped cream was homemade, so that is always a win.

Sage Diner Coffee

Sage Diner Food: A

Even though the coffee at the Sage Diner was small, the menu was extensive.  The Sage Diner menu has everything from breakfast, to Greek food, to salads to hamburgers and seafood.

I first ordered Matzah ball soup.  Before last week I had never tried Matzah ball soup before.  I determined the soup wasn’t my favorite type.  My dad’s French onion looked good, and it is certainly something I want to try if I go back.

Sage Diner Soup

For my entree at the Sage Diner, I ordered the Greek salad with salmon as well as pita bread.  This salad was a lot bigger than I expected (thank goodness I was hungry).  It came with the typical Greek fare, and the salmon had skin on it (most people know my big fish pet peeve is removing the skin).  The food as a whole was great.  I have no complaints and rather enjoyed my meal.

Sage Diner Salad

Sage Diner Dessert: F

We ordered the Mousse cake.  It had a cream cheese frosting, whipped cream, and chocolate cream.  The cake had such a strange aftertaste that we took 2-3 bites and determined that it was not good. I don’t know what was going on, but it was one of the worst pieces of cake I’ve ever had (not an exaggeration).  We had split a piece and neither my mom, dad or I finished a single piece.  I could have quickly finished that dessert by myself if I had liked it…but it wasn’t good so no point in eating it. This might be the first and only time I haven’t finished a dessert.

Sage Diner Cake

Cost: $

For my soup, meal, coffee, and dessert, it was 20 dollars.  The cost was cheap for local diners.

Would I return to the Sage Diner (Mount Laurel)?

The overall thought of the Sage Diner: B

I would return to the Sage Diner because the regular food was excellent.  The staff of the Sage Diner was friendly, and the food was inexpensive.  I will probably never try their dessert again.   I don’t have complaints except for the dessert.

Questions for you:

Have you ever had a dessert with a strange aftertaste?

What is your favorite soup?

Mine is split pea.

Gifts in Reserve

Christmas Eve:

The last day before Christmas. 

A time to celebrate with your family.

A time to get last minute gifts (oh wait, just me?)

Today I’m working and then driving home.  I am actually 100% done with my Christmas shopping.  I managed to get all of my gifts for friends and family.  It was rather surprising.

Occasionally there will be someone you might have accidentally forgotten for a holiday, birthday or another celebration.  My parents once taught me to keep a box of gifts like giftcards or useable gifts for such an occasion.  Plus you can often times get certain items for much cheaper during the Holidays.  I often see gift giving guides on blogs so I thought I would do my own version of what is in my “Reserve Box” (I just made that name up, I’m not exactly sure what to call it?).  None of these are sponsored links.

Right now, I have a few things in my box of goodies.  Some of these things I bought doubles (one for myself).

Sears sent me this hilarious video to share if I wanted.  I LOLed so hard, it would be sad not to share. All I have to say is “so celebrate and booty shake”.  I can relate to this woman because if it wasn’t for work, I would be shopping until the very last moment (like every year).  I wish someone who come shop for me and we would celebrate with fun music and random people dancing.

Mrs. Fields Cookies and French Press 

If you are looking for a gift for a relative that drinks a lot of coffee (or your neighborhood LOLZ), this gift can never go wrong.  I feel like when in doubt you can never go wrong with a holiday basket.  I’ve always enjoyed Mrs. Fields cookies in the mall (and obviously enjoy my coffee).  It wasn’t until I tried their cocoa did I realize how good that was good.  I thought this was gift is personalized (from me) and a great gift for relatives that I had no idea what to get them. I actually got this gift for a few of my relatives (and mailed it directly to them so they have it now).

Jewelry:

A lot of jewelry is currently on sale too right now.  While I’m personally not a big jewelry girl, I know a lot of woman are.  It’s always nice to be able to pick up a few items deeply discounted.

I picked up this bracelet. It’s regularly 299.99 dollars but currently is 69.99.  I thought it was cute for 230 dollars off, I couldn’t go wrong.

sears bracelet

Men (in my life):

I have often found the men in my life are the hardest to shop for.  The men in my life equal: my dad, my brother, Tim and my father in law.  All four of them enjoy keeping their car’s pristine condition (especially Tim).  I obviously didn’t get one for each but I did pick up a few of these car cleaning sets.  I have a few of these in back up and also if they never get used I can use them for my car Lorraine.  So win, win!

car cleaning set

Who doesn’t need an Ugly Sweater? 

Finally, for those with a sense of humor (or the perfect LOLZ gift), there is always an Ugly Sweater.  It seems like 2014, was the year you couldn’t go anywhere without an ugly sweater party, so why not prepare your friends for next year?

This sweater is only 9.99 and 3D.  I think it might be the best 10 dollars I’ve spent all holidays.

ugly sweater sears1

 This post contains no sponsored links and all items were purchased by me (LOLZ). 

Questions for you:

Do you have gifts in Reserve incase you forget someone? 

How are you celebrating the Holidays? 

Last Minute Shopping

To be honest if I wasn’t on the Sears Blogger Squad I would have started my Holiday shopping the week before Christmas (IE: this week).  Every year I’m always a late starter but I’ve always gotten what I’ve needed.  This year being a part of the holiday blogger campaign with Sears, I felt the pressure to start a little bit earlier (LOLZ, blogging pressure).  Everyone is different and I even know people that had half their Holiday shopping done before Black Friday (go you guys!).

I  know people that start their Holiday shopping in May.  By Black Friday, they are pretty much done with everything.  I also know there are people like me, who panic and start 5 days before Christmas.  Everyone’s different and in reality, the Holiday’s are about enjoying the company of family and friends anyways.  My Holiday shopping is never stressful and I hope other people’s isn’t either.

black friday shopping meme

This year was a bit of an odd ball year for me.  I would have normally started shopping for everyone this week (Last minute LOLZ).  Since T has to leave and I am working in retail during the holidays, that wasn’t an option.   I am almost completely done with shopping except for my parents.  Sometimes I think my parents are the hardest to shop for.

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I came across this LOLZy article from Huffington post about Christmas shopping.  I can relate to almost everything.  I thought the post was so relateable I wanted to dedicate a post to it!

Two tips really stuck with me: The first was “stay to the list”.  I love when someone gives me a list of things they want for Christmas.  Sadly most adults don’t give lists and I’m stuck guessing what people want…if everyone gave a list I think Holiday shopping would be easy.

christmas list meme

One thing I have been enjoying about doing holiday shopping at Sears is free shipping or the free in store pickup.  It keeps me able to stick to lists.  I just ordere what I want I want/need and pick it up.  I don’t mindless browse.

Mindlessly browsing stores always ends up like this:

Buy the gifts intended to purchase for friends and family .

Buy random things for Hollie she doesn’t need.

End up spending twice as much on random things Hollie doesn’t need.

I ordered all of Tim’s gifts online and then picked them up in store.  It makes it really nice.  Sears has been a staple for 75% of my gift purchasing this year.  I cannot thank them enough for opening my eyes to some of the great deals.

The second was that smart shoppers don’t buy something, “just because it’s cheap”.  I’m someone who doesn’t care for trivial junk.  If I haven’t used an item in a year, I donate it.  This includes clothing, random accessories or anything in general.  I always ask myself “will I even use this”?  Yes, it’s cheap but it’s pointless if (or the person intended) won’t use it.

So long post short my holiday shopping is almost done.  I have a few odds and ends left to purchase but all the major shopping is finally completed.

Questions for you:

When do you get your Holiday shopping done?

What is on your Christmas list?

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