Things I’m Loving Friday 10

Good morning and welcome to the 10th edition of Things I’m Loving Friday!

Here’s what I’m loving this week:


1.  19 Reasons why your bikini should have nothing to do with why you want to lose weight.  Thanks Huffpost :)

<3 the Caps!

2.  The Washington Capitals.  Although they won’t make it to the playoffs this year, it’ll still be fun to go to the last game of the season at Verizon Center this Sunday.


3.  We (kind of) set a date for our wedding!  June 2015….much earlier than expected, but super-exciting!  Now I’m just waiting on setting the exact date, since it depends on a certain race during that month ;)

TOMS Lobamba sunglasses

TOMS Lobamba sunglasses

4.  My Toms sunglasses.  They were a splurge (in my opinion) but totally worth it because they are timeless.

5.  I know I loved this last week, but MOVING DAY is even closer, and I love it.  12 more days until we get into the new apartment and I can’t wait!

PS:  If you notice the blog is a little quiet over the next two weeks I haven’t gone anywhere, but I’ll be busy packing, working, and finishing up homework/finals for this semester.  

Have a great weekend!

The New Rules of Lifting For Women

Good morning!

Since distance running (to me that means greater than 6 miles) has been put on hold for the forseeable future, I’ve decided to focus on strength, sprint triathlon training (especially swimming), and weight loss (I have about 20 extra pounds hanging around–more on this in a future post).  I will still be running, it will just be at a nice steady pace anywhere from 2-6 miles, then eventually picking up the speed.

First things first: let’s talk about the strength training.

I’ve decided to commit the next 6+ months to a program called the New Rules of Lifting For Women (NROLFW), by Lou Schuler. 

It is a seven stage program that encourages heavy lifting in order to get great results.  As a gal who has read a lot of Fitness, Self, and Shape magazines in my late teens through my 20s, I always thought “toning” with 5 to 10 lb weights was the way to go.  Well, I never saw results.  I would always limit myself at the gym too, just using the machines and going no heavier than what I was comfortable with because I didn’t want to get “bulky”.  Now I know better (well, I probably knew better anyway) and I’m ready to lift as the NROLFW book says, “like a man”.

I attempted this program last year and didn’t get too far, I was much more interested in running and just doing cardio in general (I love cardio), but since my running is limited, I figured now is the right time.

I read the book again cover to cover and decided to commit to this program on April 1st, and I did!


The Seven Stages:

As I said above the NROLFW is a seven stage program.  As I do a review after every stage, I will go into more depth about each.

Stage 1 is the longest, lasting about 6 weeks (if you do the recommended 3 workouts per week–which is my goal, but the book also says 2 workouts is okay too).  There are two different workouts, A and B and you alternate between the two, for a total of 16 workouts in this stage.

Stages 2 through 5 are 8 workouts each, each stage lasting about 3 weeks (if sticking to the 3 workout per week rule).

Stage 6 is all about the pull up. This stage continues to focus on strength, but the main goal of this stage is getting to do a full pull-up–something I’ve NEVER EVER been able to do and I’m excited for this!  This stage has a total of 10 workouts, lasting about 4 weeks.

Stage 7 is the final stage, has 12 workouts and lasts about 4 weeks.

All stages give clear instructions on how many reps, times per week, rest intervals, the only thing that is up to you is the weight you lift.  Schuler gives a good rule of thumb:  “Choose a weight you think you should be lifting, and add 5 lbs.”  Basically you get from this program what you put into it.

I also really like the way the book has detailed instructions with pictures on how to do all of the weightlifting moves, with variations on each move.

Although I’m not following the eating guidelines/recommended diet, I do like some of the points the author makes.  I like how Schuler doesn’t make carbs an enemy (you need carbs to function people!!) and gives examples of healthy food choices, also he talks about taking in enough calories and how so many women think the key is to eat less, exercise more.  He does not turn this into a complete weight loss program.  Instead, he gives recommendations on how to fuel yourself for strength training, as well as just generalized healthy eating.  It’s very simple.

As I complete each stage I’ll post a summary of my experience, and more importantly,   progress.  Below is me on day 1, being one of those jerks that takes selfies in the locker room (I made sure no one was around).


Have you done the NROLFW?  How did you like it?

Things I’m Loving Friday 9

Here’s what I’m loving this week:

1.  I’m really digging weightlifting these days.  I started the New Rules of Lifting For Women plan, and I’ve committed to the entire program, start to finish.  Much more on this next week!


2.   We’re heading up to Northern Virginia to visit my mom so I decided to go into DC tomorrow to see the cherry blossoms (fingers crossed–it’s been a really cold spring so they may not be out yet).  Regardless, it’s such a beautiful time in the city this time of year!

post-run at work---even one of the doctors asked if I was okay (he didn't see me in my running clothes, but scrubs with a very red face)

post-run at work—even one of the doctors asked if I was okay (he didn’t see me in my running clothes, but scrubs with a very red face)

3.  The trick to getting rid of post-run tomato face, especially helpful on those days I run at work! Thanks Real Simple!

goodness in a bottle

goodness in a bottle

4.  Torani S’mores Syrup.  I found this at World Market and it makes the perfect s’mores latte…and a very little bit goes a long way (as I found out the hard way)!

started the packing process a few weeks ago…can you tell we're excited?

started the packing process a few weeks ago…can you tell we’re excited?

5.  Less than 20 days until we move to our apartment in a much nicer neighborhood with a running path right outside our door.

What are you loving this week?

Tyler’s First Running Shoe Fitting

Two weekends ago Tyler and I headed down to Norfolk so he could get fitted for some new running shoes. He was very hesitant at first, but in the end he went and now we are a happy Newton family.  I asked him to tell me about his experience so I could give another first hand experience on the importance of getting properly fitted for running shoes…and promote my favorite running store, Running Etc!

The dude behind the story

The dude behind the story

The details, by Tyler:

“I should start this by saying I have resisted having my gate evaluated for a long time.  I started my running career in 5 Fingers because I came to the party late.  I have migrated to other shoes that have more cushion because though I like my five fingers, especially on trails, over time and distance you hit enough chestnut shells and you grow to appreciate some cushion between you and the road.  I had been rotating between the Brooks Pure Connect, 4mm drop, and the Mizuno Evos, 0mm drop.  I really enjoyed the Mizunos and had some great runs in them but last August I started getting pain around my heel following longer runs, greater than 3 miles.  I went to a running store looking for a new shoe because I assumed my Evos had run their course.  I had been running a majority of my runs in these shoes for 7 – 8 months but had not been keeping a log.  I had seen comments from folks that minimalist shoes can wear out sooner so I assumed that it was just time to replace these.

Last August, Stacey and I were in the Valley Forge area for a race and we went to the Valley Forge Running Company and had a great experience.  After talking over the minimalist options they had in the store I ended up going with a pair of Saucony Virratas, also a 0mm drop shoe.  They had a better feeling sole compared to the Mizunos and they were founded in Pennsylvania and I wanted to support my home state.  I know this is a bad idea, but I ran 15 miles on them right out of the box and they were great.  I have done this before too, which you can get away with more easily with a minimalist shoe.  I have been running on them consistently for the last seven months, but again, not keeping a mileage log and not doing nearly the distance I had been prior to when I bought them.

Last month when I started getting the same heal pain, I was justifiably confused.  The shoes certainly had treadwear but not the kind of mileage that they should be worn out (less than 200 miles) and the fact that this had happened twice now, I gave in and decided to get a gait analysis done.  Stacey and I went to Running Etc because they had done such a good job with her.  We got there bright and early when they first opened, mostly because Stacey had to lure me with the promise of an espresso drink from a great local coffee shop next door.  I should say I am not a fan of public evaluation, which is part of my reluctance to get my gait checked.  But as before the store staff there was great.  I started working with two gentleman and they had me run in my shoes and barefoot.  I got the okay that my stride was good, with a neutral forefoot strike.  One of the guys started to think is Plantar Fasciitis, and had me try on a Saucony with a more traditional sole and a 10mm drop.  Coming from a minimalist background this shoe felt like I was running with a pillow tied to my foot.  He also recommended the Brooks Ghost, but I had actually had experience in those before and it was not good.

At this point, the same guy who had fit Stacey walked by and over heard me describing my heel symptoms and the fact that they only happen during and after a run.  He mentioned that he had the same problem when he ran in low drop shoe after he had taken a break from longer distances.  What was happening is that my heel muscles and Achilles muscle were fighting each other and rubbing across my heel bone.  He showed my some stretches and recommended rolling my calf with a stick roller and my inner foot and heel with a Rubz ball after each run.  He also suggested putting a half insole in my shoes to raise up my heel for the time being until my muscles got reconditioned.  What was great was they took the time to listen to what was going on and got as many details as possible.  That resulted in a good “diagnosis” and treatment recommendations, instead of suddenly try to put me in a new shoe.  I could have walked out with just the orthotic and been just fine.

That being said I did have it my head that I was going to get a new pair of shoes.  I really wanted to start clean and start keeping a proper mileage log.  Also, I had been bitten by the Newton bug and after Stacey’s results with hers was very curious to try them for myself.  So, they selected a pair of Newton Gravity III’s and put the orthotic in as well and they have been great.  I was able to run 6 miles in them with no heel pain and they are very light on my feet.

Newton Gravity III

Newton Gravity III

I can’t say enough about the Running Etc. staff and how professional they are.  I was never made to feel embarrassed or treated like a novice.  They took the time to listen and understand my issue, and though they did recommend shoes I was never pressured into buying a shoe especially after the $15 orthotic was presented as a good solution.”

There you have it, another great shoe fitting experience.  I was there and heard bits and pieces of this conversation between Tyler and the staff, but I was talking to another staff member about running trail/area recommendations in the area.  I hope this puts those who are hesitant/embarrassed to go get fitted for shoes minds at ease. :)

Starting Over {Again}

Good morning!

Confession time:

After last weekend’s run-a-thon (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday runs!) my left IT band was feeling tight and sore. Very tight and sore.  I haven’t run since (just did some swimming), and no running does not prepare one for a 10 mile race.

On Thursday, Tyler and I were supposed to go run three miles after work.  We were walking the dogs and I was thinking of every excuse to not go run, including, I’m tired, I don’t want to eat dinner late, etc…then I realized, I’m afraid to run with this sore IT band, that I’ll be starting all over again from square one and further delay my return to regular running.  We talked about it some more, and decided to not run the Tar Heel 10-Miler.  It does come at a bad time anyway, with us moving a few days before the race, not that that was going to stop us from running it.  I am still considering the Apple Blossom 10K just because we are going to be in the area, but we’ll see how I feel when the time comes.

Since I started this blog I feel like I have dropped out of more races than I have run (exaggeration, I know).  I know I have dropped races for the right reasons, like that IT band problem, but with it comes a feeling of disappointment.  I love to run, but I also want to experience a run without the fear of re-injuring my IT band.  I feel some of this is just an irrational fear of re-injuring my leg, but the soreness is real.  If I have learned anything in all of this, it is to take care of something when it is bothering you–not run as much as you can for two years then see the doctor.

So, where do I go from here?

I’m going to start over, start slow.  I’m going to still spend time pounding the pavement, but limit my runs to 2-6 miles with no back to back runs, and focus on strengthening.  I’m also going to cross train with swimming, and eventually cycling (once it warms up/once we move so we can use the trainer).

I started this year with two running-related goals:  finish a triathlon (I think I’ll have a time goal) and PR at the Wicked 10K.  To accomplish both, I need healthy, strong legs.

Tomorrow I’m going to start out slow (again) with a couple of miles on the treadmill before lifting, and I’ll take it from there.

Have a good day!

Things I’m Loving Friday 8

Happy Friday!  Here’s what I’m loving this week:

1.  Mark Remy’s response to recent race bandits. It is hilarious, especially the picture with the dog.

2.  Sunday date night.  Tyler and I are going to one of our favorite Richmond area restauarnts this weekend, Bistro 27.


3.  Salt water pools.  My gym has a salt water pool and I love the way I don’t itch/smell like chlorine (even after showering!) for the rest of the day after I swim.

4.  Lululemon’s All Sport Bra and Energy Bra.  I am not small up top, but these bras are supportive enough for a weightlifting session or cycling (definitely not for running for me).  The sports bras I normally wear are so difficult to get on, so anything that is supportive and just goes over my head is wonderful.

5. Everything triathlon.  Since Sunday, I’ve been reading every triathlon blog/website/magazine I can get my hands on so I can fill my brain with tri knowlege.  I found a 12-week beginner plan on the Athleta blog that I will start in May (it’s not intimidating, however, it is time-consuming and demanding as I would expect from a good tri plan).  I not only want to finish my first tri in August, I want to finish it feeling I did the best I could do knowing I trained hard for it.

6.  Yep, a 6th this week:  my running tutu!  If you live under a rock or just haven’t read the story, Self Magazine made complete asses out of themselves by asking a woman to use her photo in their magazine then basically made fun of her for wearing a tutu.  Only after they were called out, they apologized.  I’ve been a long time reader of Self, but over the past couple of years it has turned more Cosmo than a fitness magazine.  I feel if you want to wear a tutu, a costume, whatever while you run, wear it–it not only makes the run more fun for you, I find it is fun to see people running in costume. Tutu on, ladies!

Shamrock 8k…rockin' my tutu

rockin’ my tutu

What are you loving this week?


This Week’s Eats

This week’s eats are too good to not talk about.

Last Saturday while we were in Norfolk, Tyler and I came across a butcher shop called Pendulum, located in the Ghent neighborhood.  It was such a good find!  A real butcher shop!  We got some cheese, prosciutto, and some salamis.

image copy

On Sunday, we made a delicious cheese plate for an early dinner that included English Cheddar, Meadow Creek Dairy Mountaineer cow’s milk cheese (purchased at the butcher in Norfolk), prosciutto (from the butcher in Norfolk), grapes, brioche toasts, and a lovely white wine.



Monday morning I tried a new recipe I saw over at Meals and Miles:  Quinoa Quiche.  I did change it up a bit and use spinach instead of kale, and added some swiss cheese.  It was so good, and I didn’t get hungry until lunchtime!  Plus it gets my veggies in, which is something I’ve been working on.


Speaking of lunch, I’ve been experimenting with having a smoothie instead of actual food, and it’s working out quite well.  On busy days, I don’t need to worry about not getting a lunch, because it’s in water bottle with a lid (making it compliant with office policies).  And when I ran last week at work, it cooled me down quickly (I can’t imagine if I had soup for lunch that day–would’ve been roasting well into the afternoon!).

this is not the container I put my smoothie in for work, but this glass shows the pretty pink color :)

this is not the container I put my smoothie in for work, but this glass shows the pretty pink color :)

For dinners this week, I’ve been alternating between Ina Garten’s Parker’s Split Pea Soup with some homemade crusty bread and another Ina Garten recipe, Salmon with Lentils.

split pea soup

split pea soup

IMG_2873What are you eating this week that is exceptionally delicious?

{Unofficial} First Triathlon

Good morning!

I started the week off with a challenging workout…something I’ve never done before: a triathlon!

Yep, on Sunday, I swam, cycled, and ran my way to my first unofficial tri, and although it was indoors at very short distances, I think I’m in love with this sport!

I saw an ad on Facebook for an indoor triathlon a few weeks ago, and thought ‘this would be a good fitness test, and something I can build on and see progression with’ so Sunday I hit the gym and just did it.

So, how does one do an indoor tri?  Well you can   This one in particular was based on time–as in how much distance can you get in in a certain amount of time.

Swim for 10 minutes, bike for 30 minutes, and run for 20 minutes. 


First up:  the swim!  This is the only distance I’m unsure of is the swim, and that’s because I’m certain the pool is not 25 yards in length.  The swim was 10 minutes long and I did 20 lengths of the pool.

post swim

post swim

Cardio Cinema

Cardio Cinema

The bike was surprisingly the most challenging.  I’ve been using my running muscles for so long (barely cycled last year) and the last 10 minutes were tough.  It was also very boring, luckily my gym has a “cardio cinema” where you can watch a movie (they choose one for the day) while working out.  It must have been my lucky day, because Batman Begins was playing (I love Batman).  Total distance:  7.15 miles  in 30 minutes.

bike stats

bike stats

The run was, well, a run.  I ran on the treadmill in the same room I cycled in.  My legs felt pretty heavy at first, but then I settled into a pace and it felt good!  I ran 2.29 miles in 20 minutes.

run stats

run stats

Total time was obviously 60 minters, because I did it based on time.  I did not count transition time at all, but I think there’s plenty of time of practice that before my first sprint triathlon in August.

I did learn one golden rule:  even though it’s comfy stationary bike seat at the gym wear spandex/tri shorts.  Holy chafing.  Luckily, when we were in Norfolk on Saturday at Running Etc, I found a sweet pair of tri shorts for $10!



One thing is for sure, I drank the triathlon Kool Aid, and I’m hooked.

Weekly Workouts {3/16-3/22}


This week’s workouts were primarily runs, but I did get some yoga in a couple of mornings.  Still no lifting, but that’s all about to change tomorrow.  The week started out slow,

Sunday-rest day after the Shamrock 8K (no IT band pain during the race, so I didn’t want to push it)

Monday-after a very busy day at work, I didn’t want to go out and run in the sleet/freezing rain, so I took another rest day

Tuesday-Yoga.  I did a 20 minute yoga for beginners video from an app on our tv.  We were just hitting some buttons and found a whole bunch of apps (2 fitness ones!).  I used Fitness VOD and loved it.  There are also strength and cardio videos, so I’m excited to try these after we move.


Wednesday-In the morning I did a 10 minute yoga for abs video on Fitness VOD.  At lunch, I met Tyler at lunch for a quick 3 miles. 3 miles, 25:59, 8:40 pace.

Thursday-We had planned on running 2 miles today, but took the dogs for a walk instead.  My left knee felt a little tight, and I was told by my PT to not push it or I’ll be right back to where I started.  We did get the 2 miles in, just walking instead.  Plus, it was a great way celebrate the beautiful first day of spring we had!  2 miles, untimed.


Friday-I ran at work at lunch.  I went back and forth with whether or not I would do it or wait until after work, but it was a warm 70 degrees, I couldn’t not run.  I ran to the CNU campus, ran around the campus to get my 3 miles in.  I didn’t quite make it back to my office  by the end of the 3 miles, so I got an extra .71 miles in–just to make sure I made it back in time get my lunch in!  Yes, I got sweaty, but I cleaned up just fine.  3.71 miles, 31:40, 8:32 pace.


my collection of bottles at work---coffee, water, smoothie (lunch)

my collection of bottles at work—coffee, water, smoothie (lunch)

Saturday-Tyler and I went down to Norfolk so he could get fitted for some new running shoes (more on that later this week) so we ran in the evening in Jamestown.  6 miles were on the schedule and 6 miles were run!  I had no pain in my legs, but we did briefly have to stop at just under 2.5 miles so I could work through a stomach cramp.  I’ve learned its better to stop and work through something, rather than let your form suffer (I was starting to hunch over a bit) because you don’t want to stop running.   6 miles, 57:32, 9:35 pace.

All in all, it was a great week of running.  I’m very happy with where I am mileage and pace-wise, and I’m excited to do some more base building and eventually speed work.

Total Miles:  12.71 running, 2 miles walking

Now it’s onto week 4 of Tar Heel training, here’s the schedule for this week is as follows:

(in miles) 3,3 3, 6 for a total of 15 miles.

How did your training go last week?

Things I’m Loving Friday 7

Happy Friday!  Here’s what I’m loving this week:

happy beagle!

happy beagle!

1.  Spring is officially here.  See how happy this beagle is about this?  Need I say more?  We celebrated yesterday by taking the dogs for a 2-mile walk over in our new neighborhood….34 more days until moving day and it can’t come soon enough!

Wednesday's lunch time run :)

Wednesday’s lunch time run :)

2.  Mid-day running.  As hard as I’ve tried to be, I’m just not an evening runner.  For the past two weeks Tyler and I have met on his lunch break (my homework break) for a quick 3-miler.  It’s such a nice way to break up the day and it gets the run in before dinnertime.  Today I’m going to get sweaty during my office lunch break, and hopefully not stink up the office when I get back.

3.  My junk food of the week was the Starbucks Slow-Roasted Ham and Swiss Breakfast sandwich.  Totally unhealthy, but delicious.  That being said, we have decided to not consume Starbucks until after Memorial Day (healthy eating goal).


4.  The Body Shop Body Butter.  This stuff has saved the skin on my legs from being raw and scratched off this winter, the ginger scent is so nice too.


5.  Morning yoga/Pilates.  We got a new television a couple of months ago and just really started exploring the apps that came with it.  One app is called Fitness VOD.  I found not only does it have the regular aerobic and toning videos, but also yoga videos!  I did it twice this week (will likely do it again after work tonight) and it has felt so good :)

What’s one thing you’re loving this week?