About Me

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Hi, I'm Whitney! I am a middle of the pack runner who discovered the fun of triathlons in 2009. Join me in my adventures in life and training. I run with the Rush Running team and enjoy the fun that comes with such a supportive group of friends who understand what running means to me. I'm newly discovering road biking and the fun that it entails.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What are you training for?

That's a question I get asked a lot:
What are you training for? What's your next race?

Sometimes I just answer that I'm training for life.  I really don't have a race schedule planned for the rest of the year.  In my head I have some ideas but I haven't registered for anything specific yet. 

I will do the Labor Day Run for a Child 5K on Monday. It's a fun race that I do every year.  After that I am looking at a half marathon in November or December to finish out the year.  I'm out of town for two big events in October.  I'll miss both the Tour de Cure bike ride and the Chile Pepper Cross Country festival.  I also have weddings to go to in September that are the same weekends as two triathlons I was looking into so my triathlon season was very short this year and is possibly over.  I might try to squeeze in a sprint race...but I need to see where my bike fitness is at since I haven't biked in 6 weeks or so!

In reality, I really am training for life...Lifemasters that is! Lifemasters is a program that our corporate fitness center offers which is an incentive system to earn membership rewards based on fitness testing results.  I have scheduled my Lifemasters testing for November 16th and I'm officially in training until then! 

The testing involves:
1) Cholesterol screening
2) Glucose testing
3) Blood Pressure test
4) Body Composition via Bod Pod analysis
5) Strength via Pushup test
6) Flexibility via Sit and Reach test
7) Fit Check cardiovascular test

Points are awarded based on your age criteria...for example in the strength category to get maximum points I need to do at least 24 pushups.  Up for grabs if I can make gold status is free membership for the year.  That would be great!

I've already scored two bonus points for participating in races this year.  I've started to work on my eating habits and I am trying to reduce the influence of sugar in my diet.  This effort should help my cholesterol and body composition tests...hopefully!

Some days are much harder than others...for instance today was really tough.  I was tired and just cranky at work and that led me to eat emotionally instead of for actual hunger.  Tomorrow is another day and I'll work harder to make better choices!  That's my plan for the next few months as I work to prepare for the testing.  I've got a couple years of bad eating habits to reverse! I'm trying to stay focused first on vacation in October and then on the testing to stay committed to the goal of making gold status for Lifemasters. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I Met a Fella at #AWBU

Well that probably caught your attention but I must report that I'm still in fact single! I did however meet a handsome fella while out on a run this weekend during the Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged conference in Mountain View, AR.  And a random side note...there was actually a marriage proposal at #AWBU.  Gina got engaged to her long time boyfriend Tom in a very touching proposal!

Back to the run...I got up early on Saturday and headed out at o'dark hundred to get in a run.  I was glad that I packed my head lamp and Knucklelights because it was dark at 5:45.  Mountain View was still quite sleepy that early in the morning which let me pay attention to the sounds of my run.  There was the rustling in the trees as a bird took flight and several times I heard cows mooing yet I never saw a cow.  I also kept hearing roosters crow as the sky lightened and I discovered that trucks are very popular in a small town.  The blog conference started on Friday and one of the sessions was all about blogging with your senses.  Starting my run in the dark without headphones really helped me to focus on the sounds which I don't normally pay much attention to during a run. 

I took a very odd approach to this run and it is one that I don't often recommend...the unplanned route! Yikes, what a scary concept but a really fun way to explore an unfamiliar town.  The joy of a small town though is that you can't get too lost.  I decided to head East on Main Street and explore further into town since I had come in from the West.  I had heard rumor that there were some fast food joints and stores in town and I wanted to try to find them without having even looked at a map of the town.

Surprise, surprise I was on the right path.  My run on Main Street took me past some small local shops at first and then off in the distance I started to see lights.  I kept running through the main intersection and passed a horse farm and across the street was the handsome fella that I mentioned earlier.  You might remember him from back when you were in school since that's when I first met him...

Smokey the Bear! Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires

I have always loved Smokey the Bear and I'm not kidding that even as a high school and college kid I got excited for the 4th of July Watch Hill parade just to see Smokey the Bear in the final truck.  It was always like Santa riding in at the end of the Macy's parade except in Watch Hill for 4th of July is was Smokey! Anyway, he was kind enough to pose for a picture with me and then I got back on track with my run. 

I arrived in Mountain View on Friday with a headache and decided to run into the Walmart that I had passed earlier on my run.  I had packed $20 in my water belt and knew that I could pick up some $0.88 generic over-the-counter medicines.  I quickly shopped for the headache medicines and a bottle of water.  I stashed the medicines in my water belt and then enjoyed the new sound from the shaking pills in the acetaminophen bottle as I continued my run. 
Not the most flattering pic but look how handy my Camelbak water belt is!

I ended up with 6.5 hot and humid miles and felt great even with the hills.  I finished up and returned to my cabin to get ready for the conference.  The cabin was quaint and had some cute peg hooks that were just perfect for hanging up my wet clothing to dry.  I decided it would make a cute photo for my blog since I forgot to take many pictures while I was running. 

My first photo...this is what I would have ended up with before the conference.

My final photo...this is what I was able to do when I slowed down and used the tips that Jenny Marrs had given us during her photography session.  It was fun to see the progression of the photos as I worked on the styling and lighting in the pictures.  I'm excited to keep practicing these tips and others that I learned over the weekend. 

More to come on my fun weekend at camp with #AWBU!

Monday, August 20, 2012

What to say when a race doesn't go as planned?

I'm sure we have all had a race or event combust on us and not go as we had planned for it.  This weekend my friend and running coach Mike Rush began the Leadville 100 mile trail race.  Unfortunately, he ran into some stomach distress and had to pull out of the race at mile 75. 

This race has been the focus of all of his training for months.  He has been dedicated to the race and the distance with several training trips to Colorado at altitude.  He did overnight runs including one where a goat raced him for 2 miles.  My heart was broken to hear that he had to drop out of the race and it made me think what do you say in this situation. 
Photo: Taken about 50 minutes ago. Apparently taking in a lot of water is one of the many things they're doing to help this young man's stomach feel a little better....
After 70+ miles with an uncooperative stomach.  
I am so proud of him for having the courage to do this race.  Leadville is notoriously tough...a statistic I heard is a completion rate of less than 50%.  It's tough with a lot of elevation gain and steep climbs.  I know how devastating and tough the decision had to be to pull out but it sounds like he wasn't able to hold any nutrition with stomach distress and that was impacting his ability to regulate his body temperature.  Not a good combination at altitude in Colorado at night. 

The only comparison to my race history that I could think of was back in 2010 I decided to work on my half marathon time and my goal race was the Route 66 Half Marathon.  I had done lots of half marathons but had really never had a time breakthrough.  I made a commitment to my training and added longer runs during the middle of the week.  I felt really strong and had long runs at PR paces.  It was great and I should have been able to execute a great race except I choked.  I got overwhelmed on race day with conditions that weren't as ideal as I wanted them to be and my confidence crumbled.  It was awful telling people how badly I did compared to the time I was gunning for.  I experienced so many emotions and knew that I had let myself down.  Luckily I was able to find another half marathon within the month and I was able to execute the race plan that my training told me I was capable of.  It was great to show myself that I could hold my focus for the race and maintain a positive mental conversation with myself during the whole race. 

I know this situation isn't the same since I didn't have a physical injury or limitation that kept me from my goal in the first race.  Mike's situation is different since his body wouldn't cooperate with his mind. I really have no clue what is the right thing to say...all I can think of the saying below...some dreams are so big that it takes a few tries before you succeed.  Running for 75 miles is an impressive feat especially when you look at the elevation profile.  That's a distance that very few can say they have had the courage to shoot for. 

I can't wait to follow Mike's progress as he tackles his next ultra challenge.  He is a pain in the butt as a coach but I wouldn't trade him in for anyone.  He cares for each and every runner and treats our goals as if they are his own which is why it is no surprise that all of the status updates on his progress were accompanied by 100+ comments with words of encouragement. 

We're all rooting for you Mike and can't wait to cheer you on for your next ultra!!!!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Who is your Fitness Inspiration?

I found out about a fun contest this week on Pinterest hosted by Reebok called My Fitness Pin-spiration.  The contest had me think about who are my fitness heroes. 
Pinned Image
Here's a link to the board that I put together...

Some of my fitness inspiration:

Mike Rush - he is the loudest and craziest coach around with the biggest heart of gold.  Mike cares about each and every runner that he meets and will always take time to help them with training plans or race debriefs.  Mike has helped me hit PR times in several distances and celebrated the PR's with me as if they were his own.  All of Northwest Arkansas is lucky to have Mike Rush coaching us!

Chrissie Wellington - I just love her attitude and the endless smile that she always has. 

My buddies:
Kyla - has given me tons of encouragement and built up my confidence in my swim abilities. 
AJ - has taught me how to dig for the competitive spirit that hides deep within me. 
Maja - has made sure that I have fun and push myself to get stronger by going to bootcamp. 

I'm very lucky to have friends that are fun to train with and teach me to be a better me!

Thanks to Reebok for hosting the contest.

You can follow me on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/runningwhit/

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

AWBU Foodie Prep Work

I shared a few weeks ago that I am headed to the Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged conference next weekend.  One of the opt-ins for the conference was a Foodie Friday program and agenda hosted by my friend NWA Foodie!  I decided that since I love Food I was a good candidate to attend!

I'm really excited about the conference which is presented by Country Outfitter.  Country Outfitter has a lot of great boots...the selection is amazing!  They also carry apparel and accessories like jewelry and belts.  Check out my Pinterest posts for some of my style inspirations from Country Outfitter!  There are some other great sponsors for the conference and I can't wait to share more about these sponsors after the conference...including some giveaways!!!

Back to my foray into foodie endeavors...this weekend I decided to try my hand at a homemade Larabar.  I love Larabars and especially love the mini sized bar which is just 100 calories.  I'm working to eat healthier and the mini bar allows me to have a healthy treat or pick me up before a workout.  One thing that I struggle with the mini bars is that I can only find them at one retailer and it isn't the one who I work for:(  The other issue is that they only offer three flavors in the mini bar - Apple Pie, Cherry, and Cashew Cookie.  I really don't like the Cherry flavored bar since it is so strong but the other two flavors are great. 

Recently on Pinterest, I discovered another blogger with a recipe for a Chocolate Pecan Pie style bar.  The recipe was posted by  Life's Simple Measures.  I recreated her recipe and practiced for adding more foodie type postings onto my blog.  I learned from my last foray into the foodie world...I took photos along the way!

I hope you enjoy and visit Life's Simple Measures for some great recipe ideas.  These bars rocked and are super yummy.  I will definitely be making this recipe again.

Four ingredients...super easy!

6 oz. raw pecans
6 oz. pitted dates
1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/3 tbsp. cocoa powder
Water (if necessary)
  1. Place parchment paper in 9x5-inch loaf pan; set aside.
  2. Place pecans, dates, salt, and cocoa powder in food processor. Process until finely chopped and mixture clumps together. If mixture does not come together, add water, one teaspoon at a time, and pulse until combined. Firmly press mixture evenly into loaf pan. Place in refrigerator until firm.
  3. Pull bars out of pan using parchment paper. Cut as desired.
Yield: 8 bars
Layering the ingredients in the food processor.


Oops, forgot the shield on the cover!

Spreading out to finish the bars.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Swim Workouts in a Pinch

Sometimes it is hard to come up with a workout set when I'm swimming...either I'm swimming alone or don't want to swim the workout the group is doing.  When I'm not feeling it I usually break my main set into a workout with a lot of variety to keep me motivated.  Today was one of those days...I was the only girl in the pool and felt intimidated by my male swimming friends.  The set that they were doing was 10 x 100m on descending interval times.  The starting point was not one that I could maintain and then drop down from and it just intimidated me from the initial discussion. 

I decided rather quickly to swim my own set instead.  I started out without a clear plan in place and worked up the plan as I swam the first part of my set.  I ended up deciding to do a 4 x 300m main set.  I broke it down by 300 and did each 300 as something different.  This is also something that I do to make it easier to keep track of my distance especially when we switch back to short course swimming!  Overall the workout looked like this:

Warmup - 500m swim
Main set -
   300m pull
   2 x 150m Hannah's (middle 50 breast stroke)
   3 x 100m free
   6 x 50m free (easy/sprint)
Cooldown - 200m swim

It wasn't the greatest set ever but there was another variety to keep me going for a total of 1900m. 

If you get into a rut and need some ideas here are some great places to look for workout ideas. 

Effortless Swimming on Facebook.

Andy Potts Workout of the Day

Swim Planner app - you supply the workout distance and your 100 time trial pace and it gives you workouts specific to your pace.

My other tip would be to ask others what workout they are doing! This has helped me to really improve my swim times through trying out other people's workouts.  You have to make sure to maintain balance in your workouts.  Every swim can't be a sprint session but try to keep some variety and hopefully that variety will translate into improved fitness for you!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Sweat Your Thorns Off 5K Results

This morning The Boring Runner hosted the Sweat Your Thorns Off Virtual 5K race!

Northwest Arkansas did not disappoint with a 6AM start time and the temps were already 82!  The humidity was supposedly just 55% but it felt much more humid than that.  We are currently under an Excessive Heat Warning with temps forecasted to reach 100+ again today.

I included this race as part of a longer run so I got in 7 miles total.  I met up with a few others for the 6AM start but the majority of the group was running trails and I'm not ready for trails yet! There ended up being just 4 of us on the roads today and the other three were faster than me so I had the road to myself. 

I put on some tunes and began a nice and easy run.  I'm slowly working on rebuilding my mileage and stamina for long runs.  Right now my focus is simply getting the distance covered...with this heat I just don't want to worry too much about the pace.  I would rather run slower and finish the distance goal I have than go too fast and fall apart.  Finishing my runs mentally strong is something that I am working on since the mental game is where I fall apart in longer races. 

The route that we did was an out and back and I simply counted the first 5K as my race effort.  Since it was part of a longer run I didn't actually race it just tracked my time.  My time of 34:59 isn't anything stellar but it was the perfect pace to get me through the distance I had planned.  I did modify my out and back route because there was a really stinky lake in the park that I wanted to skip on the return trip and my nose was quite thankful for the route change!

Below is my proof that I really did Sweat My Thorns Off! Somehow I managed to sweat off my legs and head too...definitely not the original goal but kind of funny!

Hope you had a great race and visit The Boring Runner for more race recaps in the coming days.