Marathon Training is Different

In the past, I have documented nearly every workout in my training schedule when training for a marathon. I was very focused on each workout I needed to complete, and made sure my schedule worked perfectly to handle each one. This time around, after having Grant, I’ve been approaching this whole marathon training thing much differently.

I’m not concerned about my time

I am walking to the start line without a goal in mind. This is the first time I have ever done this, without a doubt. I thrive off of hitting paces and reaching goals. For this marathon, crossing the finish line 9 months after giving birth is my goal, and a pretty good one in my opinion. A couple of months ago, I did put some speed workouts on my training plan. After a few weeks, I realized I wasn’t having any fun and felt too pressure to hit paces I just wasn’t ready to hit. After backing off of speed, I enjoyed my runs again. I even became faster after throwing my pace goals out the window. Funny how that happens!

Garmin long run

I’ve skipped some long runs

For the first time ever (I feel like I’ll be saying that a lot in this post), I’ve intentionally skipped some long runs. If Grant woke up in the middle of the night a few too many times, I would end up turning off my alarm. I wouldn’t have ever done this in the past, but I know the sleep is far more important these days than a run.

My mileage is a lot lower

I usually tend to peak around 55-60 miles for marathon training. High mileage is where I felt strong and ready to tackle a serious race. Right now, I am very comfortably running 35 miles or so a week, which includes my long run. I don’t expect to get over 42-45 miles at all before the race. I don’t run anything longer than 5-6 miles during the week, as I know time with Grant will be cut short if I do. I am waking up at 5am to get in those 5 miles, and I am just not willing to wake up any earlier for a few extra miles. See again: sleep reigns supreme!

I’m really enjoying myself

After being off of the running circuit for about a year, getting back to running is a real treat. I am not even close to feeling burnt out, which has definitely happened in the past. Taking a very loose approach to this training has really helped with that. I am getting in what I need to do to comfortably finish the race, but I am not going crazy with mileage. Of course, I am sure I will see the difference in my finishing time, but that doesn’t bother me. I get to run this marathon just 9 months after having a baby– that is something I am very happy and proud of.

Grant and Emily stroller

 

Have you ever approached a race differently after a life changing event or experience?

Dinner Done in Tampa

First off, this post isn’t sponsored in the least bit. I had a great experience and want to share it with you all :)

There is one task I tend to dread each evening – making dinner. After a day at the office, the last thing I want to do is spend a good chunk of my night coming up with something to make for dinner and then actually cooking said meal. We tend to eat the same thing a lot of the time – a protein with a starch and a veggie. While this is good (and good for you), it does get pretty boring and makes me want to go grab takeout far more than we should.

A few months ago, my friend Meg told me about a place where you can prep a bunch of meals ahead of time, take home the food, freeze it, and then cook it at a later date. I have been wanting to go try it for quite some time now, but never got around to it. We had nothing going on over the weekend, so I decided to just sign up and go for it – I was headed to Dinner Done!

I looked online at the menu when I signed up, chose 8 meals, and then went ahead and paid for them to reserve my spot. I was sent some instructions in my confirmation email to make the experience the best it could be, which included getting there a few minutes early for orientation. When I showed up on Saturday, the incredibly nice staff gave me the run down on the process. I was assigned a number so I would have room in the cooler just for my food – this way I didn’t have to worry about how to keep it cool while I was prepping the other entrées.

Dinner Done

I was given an apron, and it was go time. I had 8 meals to make, so I needed to get working! Here are the items I chose to make. I doubled up on salmon since that is a crowd favorite in our house.

 Cider Glazed Chicken with Cranberry Pecan Rice

Spicy Peanut Noodles with Shrimp

Braised Beef Provencal

 Dijon Herb Pork Tenderloin

 Wine Country Atlantic Salmon

 Balsamic Glazed Beef with Parmesan Butter

 Classic Pork with Apple-Walnut Filling

There was a different station for each meal and all the ingredients were there for me. The scoops in the different ingredients were all color coded. So, the black handled scoop was always a cup, and the red handled scoop was always ½ a cup. This way, I always knew what I needed to measure out. (P.S. – those aren’t really the actual scoop measurements – I’m just guessing here). The directions were sitting at each station in a very easy to follow format. It told me what food to put where, including spraying my pan and grabbing a medium container instead of a large one, depending on the meal I was making.

Dinner Done

There is no order, rhyme or reason to the order I made my meals in. As soon as a station opened up that has the meal I was signed up to make, I grabbed it! The recipes told me what to do for a whole order (4-6 servings), or half of that meal (2-3 servings). If you are living alone and don’t want to have the same meal 4 nights in a row because of the large serving size, dividing the meal in two is a great way to not get sick of that entrée.

Dinner Done

Once I finished prepping my meal, I took it over to the wrapping station. Wrapping the different items prolongs the freezer life, as they are a lot less likely to get freezer burn. At the wrapping station, there is a file folder of stickers matching up to everything on the menu in alphabetical order. These stickers have the directions on how to cook each entrée once I get home. I placed the sticker on the lid, wrapped it up, and I was done! Then, I just repeated this process for each meal I signed up for.

Dinner Done

One really amazing plus of this entire experience is there was no cleanup! After I made each meal, a member of the staff was right behind me cleaning up my mess, prepping the station for the next person. This was a dream for me! If there is one thing I dislike more than actually having to cook a meal is the cleanup. This is such a huge perk in my book!

I was at Dinner Done from 12:15 to 1:30 and got everything finished in that timeframe. I brought reusable grocery bags since I only live about 20 minutes away. Plenty of other people there brought large coolers to store their food in on their drive home – these people had a system down, that’s for sure!

Dinner Done

So far, we have had 2 of the meals – the classic pork with apple walnut filling and the spicy peanut noodles with shrimp. We have loved them both and each meal will definitely be serving us 4 times (we eat a lot). For people who don’t eat quite as much at a sitting, I would imagine they would get 6 servings out of each meal for sure. I think the 8 meals will last us 2.5 to 3 weeks for dinner, which averages out to around $3-5 per serving. Well worth it in my book!

Have you ever been to a meal prep place? Did you find value in the time it took you to prepare the items compared to how long it would take you at home?

Races, Pictures, & Houses

Heyyyy Friday! Always great to see you again. The past couple of weeks have absolutely flown by for me. There are just so many great things going on around here! Let me catch ya up to speed a bit.

I decided on a marathon.

Best Damn Race Cape Coral

After a lot of thinking about what race I want to run since my race was canceled, and focusing mostly on the logistics of everything, I am going with the Best Damn Race Cape Coral Marathon. It’d definitely not the most scenic race (it’s 2 identical loops) but it does fit best in my schedule. It’s a little further away from my original race day, but it is pretty close to where I live. I’ll be able to stay with a friend the night before, and the race entry is extremely affordable. I was leaning a little more toward the West Palm Marathon, but the date just doesn’t work because…..

We are buying a house!

We had been looking for a house since April, and just wasn’t able to get anything. We out offers on a couple but weren’t able to get them, and then one of the ones we loved came back on the market. We put in an offer, and it was accepted! We close on December 1st, and then move that Friday. Hence, why I can’t run a marathon on the 7th. Too much moving to do! Now, we still have the inspection to get through, but keep your fingers crossed for us! I really hope this goes through. The house has some updating that is needed, but the bones are good. It should be a fun project for Marcus and I for sure. Just check out that snazzy wallpaper.

Bradford kitchen

I registered for my first post-baby race

I haven’t participated in a road race since before Grant was born, and I am excited to finally get my feet wet again. I will be running in the Florida Halloween Halfathon. I ran the 5k last year when I was pregnant, and loved the experience. I also PR’d on the same course (different race) back in 2013. I am super excited to get back to racing, and I’m even more excited about the bling! Check out the medal!

Halloween Halfathon Medal

Grant took some awesome photos.

We Grant’s 6 month photos about a week ago, and I finally got the order in yesterday. I can’t wait to share the edited photos with you, but here is one from the shoot, taken on my phone.

Grant 6 month photo shoot

 

Fall is coming to Florida!

I know most of you have been having nice weather for a while now, but it has been so hot here this summer. This weekend, it looks like we are finally getting a couple of cooler mornings! I may just have to delay my long run to Sunday to take advantage of it :)

Weather forecast

I think those are my biggest highlights this week! Anything fun happen with ya’ll this week?

 

Grant: 7 Months

How are you closer to a year now than being a newborn Grant? It is true what everyone is saying – you are more and more fun each and every day. I have absolutely loved each stage you have gone through, and month 6 to 7 was no different. I can really describe you pretty easily with one word – smiley!

Grant 7 Months Old

You are always so happy and it is absolutely contagious. Every night when I come home from work and turn the corner, your gummy smile shoots right back at me and I just can’t help but smile right back at you.

We have still bit introducing some food to you, and you are just now getting more and more interested in it. You have found your favorite food so far though – hummus! I know, it surprised your daddy and I too, but you just can’t get enough of it. You still love your breast milk and eat 6 ounces at a time, every 3 or so hours. We didn’t go to the doctor this month, but I know you are still growing well. You are getting heavier and heavier by the day! You fit very comfortably in 9 month clothes and I can’t believe it! It is pretty wild how quickly you grow out of everything.

Grant 7 Months Old

Sitting up is your favorite these days, and we can tell how proud of yourself you are when you do it. You smile from ear to ear, and check out everything around you all the time. Your head is constantly on a swivel as you explore every aspect of your world. You haven’t figured out a real crawl yet, but you are scooting like a pro and army crawling like a mad man. Crawling is just around the corner, that’s for sure.

You had a visit from your Auntie Em this month. She came from Cleveland to visit you for a whole week, and loved all the time she was able to spend with you. Grant, you are so lucky to have so many people in your life who love you so so much!

Emily and Grant

Your Mimi and Papaw bought you an exersaucer this month, and you love it! There are so many things for you to do, and it keeps you entertained for quite some time. The lights, colors, and different sounds it makes just light you up Grant!

IMG_2663

Just like always, the time you spend with Daddy is the best. You are completely enthralled with his guitar and the music that comes from it. I have a feeling your first music lesson will be as soon as we can find one that fits you perfectly.

Grant Marcus Guitar

This next month is the start of the holidays, and I can not wait to experience them all with you for the first time. We already have your Halloween costume all ready to go – you are going to be the cutest baby on the block!

Grant 7 Months Old

Can you do me a favor Grant? Please never stop being such a happy little guy. We are truly blessed to call you ours :)

 

Jump Around the Track Workout

One piece of advice applies to every race out there – to race fast, you have to train fast, plain and simple. It is tough to find variety in speed workouts, and it is far to easy to get in a rut of doing Yasso 800′s every week, or mile repeats every other Wednesday. What about changing it up mid workout? Here is a great running speed workout to keep you on your toes, and really makes you jump around with your turnover during the workout.

Jump around the track workout

 

Do you prefer straight repeats or do you like to throw in some different distances here and there?