Role Reversals

My role as a Zooma Florida Race Ambassador kicked off this weekend, as Rachel and I hosted a fun run to really start off the training. There were a total of 7 of us that showed up for a nice and early 6 mile run on Saturday morning. We chatted for a few minutes about upcoming races and our current paces. Most of the ladies were able to find a buddy to run with, which made it even more fun. I can’t wait to hear how everyone does in their upcoming races!

Zooma was nice enough to send over some goodies for all of the training run participants to have. Thanks so much for the Muscle Milk, Cytomax, and t-shirts! Everyone loved them!

Then, on Sunday, we had a bit of role reversal! Marcus competed in a triathlon and I was the one on the sidelines, cheering! It was so much fun. We travelled about an hour and a half north to Inverness, Florida – a tiny little town that was hosting the Tri-Cooter triathlon! The race is on the tail end of a huge festival held annually – the Cooter Festival! There are lots of vendors, street parties, no open container laws (!!) and a whole lot of fun! Needless to say, some of the merchandise for an event surrounding a cooter can get quite interesting! A cooter is a turtle if you were wondering… get your minds out of the gutter ;)

Our best friends actually live up there, so we were able to stay with them on Saturday night for a nice  and easy commute on race morning. They live about half a mile from the start, so we were able to just walk there. It was quite the stroll as the sun came up!

We had the first weekend of true fall like weather, and the temperature was pretty cold (for us) actually! It was in the 60′s for the race start, which meant a pretty chilly race. The water was 72 degrees, so it was actually warmer than the air. Marcus said that it actually felt good getting into the water, but once they finished the swim and hopped on the bike, it was freezing!

The swim was different than the triathlon I completed because it was in a lake, which meant that it was less buoyant for the swimmers, and it was an in water start. AKA – it was a legitimate 400m swim (no running in and out to make up some of the distance). Marcus mentioned it was pretty difficult, but he did great. He came out of the water at 8:22.

Like I mentioned a minute ago, the bike was probably the hardest leg for Marcus. He spent the least amount of time training for it, and he couldn’t seem to warm up. He also had an issue with his shoes – he tried to get his feet out of the shoes before dismounting, which caused them to get caught up underneath the pedals. A word of advice to everyone – if you do not practice something before the race, it probably will not turn out to great when you actually try it during the race ;) He finished the bike at 39:20, a 17.5 mph average.

Once he was on the run, he really felt like he was in the groove. It was an out and back run course, so it wasn’t very spectator friendly, but we were able to see the best part. Marcus was very strong at the very end, and was able to pick off a seasoned triathlete.

He really sprinted it in, and looked like such a rockstar! He finished the 3 miles in 23:33, for a 7:51 average pace! His overall finish time of 1:12:59 was good enough to earn him a top 3 spot in his age group!

He walked away with a great medal to show off his accomplishment! I loved watching him compete, and it was even more fun to see him kick butt! Great job Marcus!!

Do you enjoy spectating instead of racing? Or do you need to be the one crossing the finish line?


My Favorite Running Speed Workouts

Whenever I am looking to train for a new race, I am working on a new training plan. I am to the point now where I am very capable of making my own schedule, with many different types of workouts. When I first started racing, I wasn’t so lucky – I was confused by all of the workouts out there and needed some guidance from my coaches. Here is a quick guide to running speed workouts!

Tempo run

These are fantastic for marathon and half marathon training! Usually I do tempo runs about once a week, and it is supposed to be about 30 seconds faster than race pace. If you can hold the pace for an 8-10 mile tempo, you should be able to hold you marathon pace for a whole 26.2 miles. There are no recovery breaks in the tempo run.


Fartleks are pickups on a run. The easiest way to do this on an everyday road it to pick out light posts. From one light post to the next, run a quick pace. Then, slow it down for the next rep for recovery. Your hard effort and recovery effort should be the same distance. Then do it all over again. You can always double it up, by running two or three light posts at a time, and then jogging in between.

Pace run

This is exactly what it sounds like. Run at your perceived race pace for a predetermined set of miles. I like pace runs because it mimics what you will be doing on race day. These can be done for everything from a marathon down to a 5k. There is no recovery time in pace runs.

Progression Runs

These are great to work on a negative split for your race (aka, a faster second half of the race). Start out with a mildly faster pace than an easy run, and then drop your pace by 10 to 15 seconds per mile for each mile that you run. If you are training for something shorter like a 5k, break the run into half miles instead of miles. The last rep that you do should be very challenging. It shouldn’t be an all out sprint, but you should be using about 90% of your effort. There is no recovery time in progression runs.


With a ladder, start with a mile at marathon pace, then do a 1200m at half marathon pace, an 800m at 10k pace, and a 400m at 5k pace. Depending on your conditioning, climb right back up the ladder after you hit that 400m (aka, run 800m, then 1200m, then 1600m). With this work out, recovery is key, so be sure to jog 400m in between each repeat. This workout is great to work on knowing your pace for different distances. Oh, and it is incredibly tough!

Yasso 800′s

If you have a running track near you, try to do your 800′s there. It makes it a lot easier to determine your speed.  The goal is to build up to the number of 800′s you want to do in your marathon goal time. So if you are looking run a 4 hour marathon, you should be running a 4:00 minute 800 – a 3 hour marathon calls for 3 minutes 800′s and so on. Jog 400m in between your 800′s. The max number of Yasso 800′s that I have done in my marathon training topped out around 8.

Mile repeats

With mile repeats, run about a minute quicker than race pace for a mile, then jog 800m for recovery. Repeat as many times as necessary. For a marathon workout, I wouldn’t run any more than 6 mile repeats, so that your entire workout doesn’t eclipse 12 miles. This is an awesome workouts for 5k’s and 10k’s too. However, for those distances, you really do not need to do any more than 3-4 repeats.

Be sure to warm up and cool down for every workout that you do. I usually warmup for about 2 miles, stretch, and then get into my workout. I like to follow it up with a 1-2 mile cooldown, depending on the workout that I just completed.

Which of these do I think is best? I completely believe that it depends on the person. Some runners respond better to tempo runs while others can handle Yasso 800′s. Try out a few different exercises a few different times, and see what your body responds best too. Just like everyone needs specific shoes, tailored workouts are also necessary.

What are your favorite running workouts? If you have never run a workout before, which one looks like one that you would like to try?

Toasty Tomato & Mozzarella

I had a meeting on my side of town yesterday, so I was able to work from home to save a little time in commuting. My absolute favorite part of working from home – having an oven at my disposal!

I knew I wanted to eat something that I can’t easily get when I am at the office. I chopped up a rutabaga before I started my work day, and decided I would pair some of Julie’s rutabaga fries with a salad of some sort. I went ahead and decided on a twist on a caprese salad – Toasty Tomato and Mozzarella!

I made the rutabaga fries exactly as the recipe says. Then, I took out all the ingredients for the salad:

  • 1 tomato
  • Mozzarella
  • 1 Tbsp of bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of oregano
  • 1/2 tsp of pepper
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 small handful of spinach

Cut the tomato into 4 slices and put on an oven safe pan. I used a pie pan, since it was on the top of my cookie sheets ;)

Cut slices of mozzarella and place on top of the tomatoes. Then, divide all dry ingredients and sprinkle evenly on all 4 tomato mozzarella pairs. Place in the oven, during the last 2.5 to 3 minutes that the rutabaga is cooking (It cooks at 400 degrees). Take out when the cheese starts to look a bit softer. It really only took the 3 minutes. Do not leave in for longer, as the tomatoes will become very mushy and overdone.

Take the tomatoes and place them on top of the spinach. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar overtop of the toasty tomatoes, and you are done! Pair them with the rutabaga fries on the side, and you have yourself a tasty vegetarian meal!

This is a great weekend lunch idea, or even a quick dinner too! The best part is that I have plenty of rutabaga fries left over now for another meal. Always a fan of that!

Are you a fan of tomato and mozzarella? Have you ever toasted it real quick? And what about rutabaga? I loooovvvee rutabaga!

Getting Back to It

My 2 week post marathon break was officially over as of this weekend! I was able to get out and run a few miles Saturday morning. I ended up going 3 miles by myself and then took my dog out for the last two miles. It was great to get back out running – and even better – it tired out Winnie. I just started running her since she is around the year mark. I’ll go into why we decided to wait to run her for another post ;)

The best part… I did the whole run without a watch! I didn’t care how fast (or slow) I was running, so I ran naked – aka, without a watch. It was fantastic! I will slowly be getting back into the swing of regular exercise again, but for the past 2 weeks, it was extremely enjoyable to not put a big emphasis on it. I needed a little me time, and I took full advantage of it. I will not be getting back into speed work or anything quite yet. My legs are happy with the slow, fun miles.

Other than running this weekend, I was able see one of my best friends get married! My husband and her now husband were in the same fraternity in college, and she and I were in the same sorority. She looked absolutely stunning on her big day! Just see for yourself!

Congrats Azra and Angel! We were so excited to celebrate with you on your big day! Enjoy your honeymoon!

Are you usually excited to get back running after a break, or do you dread it? Do you care about your pace after not running for a couple of weeks?

Wicked Workouts

Now that it is late October (What??!!), it means time for the start of the holidays, which also means holidays indulgence! Instead of becoming less active at the start of the holiday season, I plan to ramp up my exercise a bit, to avoid some holiday stress and all some of those sugary treats. Here are a few fun events in the Tampa area to stay active at the holiday season kickoff!

Wicked Yoga

Lululemon of Hyde Park Village is at it again! They are hosting a frightfully good time at a Halloween specific yoga event!

Witches and devils and scary things

Yoga in costume is what this night brings

On a tall rooftop in Hyde Park Village
Lots of spooky treats for you to pillage

Bring your mat and your freaky friends
We may Monster Mash before the night ends

Come in costume, frightening mask or toga
Let’s get down with some WICKED YOGA!

This is for all ages and as always, this event is complementary. Healthy refreshments will be provided.

  • When: Friday October 26th
  • Where: Hyde Park Village
  • Who: Everyone!
  • How much: Totally Free!

peerFit’s Fitness Party

Enjoy an outdoor workout overlooking beautiful downtown Tampa led by celebrity fitness trainer Fitz Koehler. The workout will include circuit training, ropes, yoga, and more. This is also a great time to meet some local trainers from the Tampa Bay area, as they will be providing training and information.

Haven’t heard of peerFit? It is a new mobile app that makes fitness fit your life! From their website – It offers digital triggers and easily accessible fitness information on-the-go, including text-message reminders and calendar integration. The website and the app provide local fitness information including fitness class locations (no matter the gym, studio or fitness center), times, intensity levels and reviews.

  • When: Sunday, November 11th from 3-5 pm
  • Where: Hyde Park Village, on top of Garage C
  • Who: People of every fitness level!
  • How much: Free!

Pretty Muddy Women’s MudRun

The all new Pretty Muddy Women’s Only Mud Run is coming to Tampa! That’s right – no boys allowed! This event is a non-timed, adventure 5k Obstacle and Mud Course that is open to absolutely all women. It is a great time to leave the guys and home and get a little dirty.

The obstacles look like an absolute blast – I can’t wait to try them all. And don’t worry, if you want to do the race but just aren’t sure about the difficulty of obstacles, you are not forced to do them. All of the obstacles can be bypassed, so you don’t feel pressured if you are uncomfortable. Sign up before October 27th and get $10 off when you use the code Foodandfunontherun. I am running in the 8:30am wave if you would like to join me!

  • When: Saturday, November 10th
  • Where: Little Everglades Ranch, Dade City
  • Who: Girls Only!
  • How much: $59.50 if you use my code (foodandfunontherun)

And on a side note –  I can’t wait to get back to running this weekend! I think I am finally ready to ease back in to a few easy miles this weekend. Woo hoo! Break time from the Chicago Marathon is over!!

Do you have any fin fitness events in your area at the start of the holidays? What do you like to do to stay active when the holidays creep up?