Friday Five: What’s New

Happy Friday, y’all! Per usual, I’m linking up with Mar and Cynthia and this week we are sharing what is new! I’m going to try and be original and not share things you guys are probably sick of hearing about! Enjoy and make sure to link up your Friday Five post. You can read our linkup rules here. Please note that if you don’t play nicely, we will delete your link. 

Friday Five-What's New--

  1. New cool writing opportunity with Women’s Running. You may have seen that I have a fun new writing opportunity with Women’s Running Magazine. I get to write short articles about whatever is on my mind involving running. It’s a lot of fun – check it out if you have a second. 
  2. New favorite TV show. Um, yeah, I’m more than a little bit obsessed with American Ninja Warrior right now and if you aren’t, then you should be. It’s amazing. 
  3. New recipes. I have a few new recipes to share and I’m so excited. They are healthy, easy and most importantly, make my husband say “this is good, yo.” So there’s that. 
  4. New race distance in my future! I am signed up to run the Leesburg 20k on August 17th. I’ve never run a 20k, so I’m kind of excited. What’s also awesome is that so many of my blogger buddies are running it, so be on the look out for fun pics and lots of recaps. I’m using this race as a reality check for Navy Air Force (which is my goal race this fall). It will be a good check in for me and I think it will be a hillier course than Navy, which isn’t a bad thing. 
  5. Back to the books. No, I’m not going back to school or anything. I love to read and have recently been reading a ton. Basically any book my friend Tara over at Running N Reading likes, I immediately buy. Seriously. In the past two weeks, I’ve read: 

 
All Fall Down: A Novel

Tempting Fate

and

Between Husbands and Friends

 I enjoyed them all and found them to be great summer reads (for actual reviews, hit up Tara’s blog)!

So…what’s new with you???

What is a Tempo Run? (and Why Should you Do Them?)

Each week, you’ve seen me recap my runs and each week, I’ve talked about doing a “tempo run.” I thought I’d break the tempo run down, explain what it is and why you should add it to your running schedule.

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What’s a tempo run? Basically, it’s a run designed to help you run at a comfortably hard pace for a sustained period of time. Runner’s World puts it better: 

What is a tempo run? Simply put, a tempo run is like an Oreo cookie—with the cookie part the warmup and cool-down (easy-paced running) and the filling (good stuff) running at a comfortably hard effort for a sustained period of time.

What is the purpose of a tempo run? The goal is to run at a sustained effort to raise your red line, the pace at which you switch from burning mostly fat to precious stores of glycogen. This red line is also referred to as the anaerobic threshold. When you raise your red line, you are able to run faster while using fat as a primary fuel source (you could run for days on fat) while preserving glycogen stores. Some runners also use a tempo workout to run at a consistent pace to learn how to run at a specific pace (race pace, for example).

I’ve been using tempo runs ranging from 5 to 8 miles total (including warmup and cool down). Typically, my tempo runs start with my warm up mile to meet Julie. Then we run 3-5 fast miles and I run about three quarters of a mile home. The paces depend on the length of the tempo miles, but generally the paces are faster than goal race pace. These are hard runs and we are running fast enough that we can’t really talk unless we’re at a stoplight waiting for it to change. 

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So, why should you do tempo runs? Well, because when you practice running at or close to race pace, you learn to run further and faster. I’ve seen some great results incorporating tempo runs into my plan and while the runs aren’t easy, I think I’m a fan of the tempo run and you might be too!

Do you incorporate tempo runs into your training?

Wedding Wednesday: DIY Program Fans

It’s Wedding Wednesday! Last week, I told y’all how I made our unique, runner themed table numbers. Today, I’m sharing the other big DIY project we did — making program fans. I was really proud of how these turned out and they were pretty easy! Read on for my step by step process for the DIY program fans! Per usual, I’m linking up with JordonMeredith and Mary and hope you’ll check out their blogs

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I went back and forth on deciding if I wanted to print programs for the wedding. In my mind, it was just another paper item that people would throw away and kind of a waste of money. I decided that if I could come up with a cheap way to do programs that was unique, I’d do so but I wouldn’t stress over it and certainly wouldn’t pay hundreds of dollars for a program. Since our ceremony was outside and there was the potential for it to be hot (it was actually a beautiful day but you never know what June will be like), I thought it’d be nice to provide fans for guests. I figured I could combine the program idea with the fan idea and have something functional that provided the information I wanted shared with our guests. 

FAN

 

This is how I put together the fans:

  • I created a document on Canva (you’re using Canva, right?) that had two pages and had all the information I wanted on the fan (it was two sided). One page had the wording you see above – ceremony order and our thank you. The other page listed all of the wedding party. 
  • I printed that document on cardstock at Kinkos and had them cut it so that it was little squares.
  • I ordered tongue depressors from Amazon and used that as the fan handle.
  • Using double sided tape, my girlfriends and I spent a couple hours taping the handle to the middle of the paper. Viola! Program fans = done! 

The whole project probably cost $50, including the paper, printing and tongue depressors. If you are looking for an easy way to do a program that won’t break the bank, I recommend program fans. Especially if you’ll have an outdoor ceremony (or a ceremony in an old church without air conditioning)! 

Did you do programs at your wedding? 

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Wedding Wednesday

Eat Pray Run DC Reader Survey!

I’m thinking about adding a few things to the blog and thought before I moved forward, I’d get a sense of who you fantastic folks who read Eat Pray Run DC are! I know a lot of you in real life and on the interwebs, but I came up with a quick 10 question reader survey to help me get more of a sense of what you like and what you’d like to change about the blog. I’d love to hear your feedback, so please be honest in your responses!

 Eat Pray Run DC Reader Survey!

 

 

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

Navy Air Force Half Training Recap, Week Five

What  a week. After last week, where I missed a run due to travel, this week I really cranked it up. This week was a bit unusual because I had a tempo run Monday morning to make up for last week, which ended up being a bit tough on my legs, but it all worked out in the end. Here’s this week’s training recap:

Monday: tempo run in the AM (which I counted among last week’s workouts) and Nike Training Club boot camp in the evening. I recapped the boot camp class here, but short version: it was awesome and hard and my arms were sore for days! 

Tuesday: Pure Barre at lunch and speedwork in the evening. This week we revisited the first speed work exercise of this training cycle: 6x800s at a 4:10 pace. Julie and I went to Lincoln Park around 7:30 in an attempt to beat the heat. That really didn’t work, but we absolutely killed this workout! I was so proud because this workout was SO hard the first time we did it. It was still very, very hard, but I was really encouraged that we were able to hit our paces (which hadn’t happened in a speedwork exercise in awhile). The laps were 4:09, 4:10, 4:11, 4:07, 4:08, 4:06. Considering I was super sore from Monday’s boot camp, I was so proud of us. 

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Check out how disgustingly sweaty I was. Wearing my new Oiselle Hail Mary tank. I’m obsessed with it.

Thursday: We were back at it with a five mile tempo run. We left the house a bit too late and I had an early meeting, so we cut out one mile, and turned it into a four mile tempo run, five miles total. Goal pace was sub 9 and after a slow (10:30 mile) warmup, the next three miles were solidly sub 9: 8:46, 8:26, 8:46. The last mile was a STRUGGLE at 9:20. Ouch! This was hard and the humidity dang near killed us! We were hoping the humidity wouldn’t continue for our 12 mile long run on Saturday and for the most part, we lucked out. 

75 degrees plus 70% humidity = a TOUGH run. Yuck.

75 degrees plus 70% humidity = a TOUGH run. Yuck.

Saturday: 12 miles. The longest I’ve run in a long while. Goal pace was sub 10 and Julie and I just eeked that out. Splits: 9:43, 9:52, 9:54, 10:02, 9:58, 10:03, 9:53, 9:58, 9:57, 9:54, 9:47, 10:01. Average pace was 9:55, which is a tad slower than I wanted but I was happy with it. 

at the start of my favorite trail!

at the start of my favorite trail!

This was a strong, tough week and I feel really happy with my progress so far on the Run Less, Run Faster plan! 

How was your week of training? 

Friday Five: Goals

Happy Friday, y’all! This week our theme is “goals” I decided to update my “This Summer I Will” post since we’re about halfway through the summer! Per usual, I’m linking up with Mar and Cynthia and we are all pretty pumped about this week’s topic! Enjoy and make sure to link up your Friday Five post. You can read our linkup rules here. Please note that if you don’t play nicely, we will delete your link. 

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  1. Um, it probably surprises no one that number one on my summer list of “to-dos” is get married. I am tying the knot in 8 days! I have some guest posts lined up for while I’m off doing wedding things so get excited to hear from some awesome ladies while I’m gone! Success! We got married and it was awesome! I know I haven’t even shared stuff from the ceremony yet, but get ready because it’s coming. Lots of Wedding Wednesdays! :)
  2. I’m super excited to start training for my fall goal race using the Run Less, Run Faster method. Training starts right after the wedding and I’m pumped about focusing on three runs a week, plus cross training! I know a number of folks who’ve used this method with amazing results. Woohoo! Training is going really, really well. This plan is NOT EASY. But nothing that’s worth it is easy, right? Already my paces are much faster and I totally see the value in tempo runs. Never thought I’d say that! 
  3. I will spend a ton of time outside this summer. Between outdoor movies, outdoor concerts, festivals and the like, there is barely any reason to go inside. If I had a hammock in my yard, I probably never would! :) I have spent a bunch of time outside, but also a bunch of time inside, trying to escape the oppressive humidity. Ugh. DC summers can be rough. 
  4. I’ll be doing a bit of travel this summer as well. After my wedding, I will be spending a weekend in New Orleans and then a weekend in Atlanta — both weekends celebrating my dear friend Megan’s upcoming nuptials! Yay travel and yay love! I will also be in New Jersey for my grandfather’s birthday. Fun stuff! Check! New Orleans was last weekend and I know I haven’t written about it yet, but I had the BEST time! We also had a blast in New Jersey. Atlanta is still in our future but I know that’s going to be an amazing trip. 
  5. I will buy most of my produce at farmers’ markets. I love supporting local farmers and the produce just tastes SO much better — the only real time I plan on buying produce at the grocery store is if I get caught in a pinch. Otherwise, it’s farmers’ markets all the way! Not only have I gone to the farmers market every weekend I’ve been in town, this weekend we are going berry picking! I’m so excited and can’t wait to share pictures and recipes from this trip. We’re heading to a farm about an hour outside of DC and I can’t wait! 

All in all, I must say that I’m doing quite well on my “This Summer I Will” list. I can’t wait to read about your goals! 

If you set out to do things this summer, how’s that going? 

 

Nike Training Club Boot Camp Review

This past Monday, my friend Tiffany convinced me to try out the Nike Training Club Boot camp class with her. The class is held at the Nike store in Georgetown and here’s what the Nike folks say about the class: 

NTC is ideal for people who love the energy of interval training, the intensity of boot camp training, the diversity of sport-based training and people who want results.

Only at Nike will you get a live DJ, hype – Nike trainers, product testing, and an incredible workout. 

The NTC philosophy is built on the fundamentals of functional fitness training and incorporates dynamic, optimized drills that deliver the most effective, efficient workout ever.

nike

Well, that sounds fun, right? On Monday, our Nike trainers were Ingrid Nelson and Tony. Tony started us out with a warmup that made me sweat…then we moved to the real workout! Tony had us do 3 rounds of 5 exercises. We did this squat jump move, push up walks, full sit ups with punches, single leg squats with a jump and a plank twist / kick through move. Once the floor below me was thoroughly soaked with sweat, we got a tiny break before Ingrid took over. 

For the second half of the class, Ingrid had us do lots of partner exercises. Triceps dips with your hands resting on your partners’ knees, pushups with hand claps, and planks while your partner jumps over your legs.  Let me say this — the workout was tough! Both portions were really hard, but a doable hard. I didn’t feel like I was gonna die, but I was sweating bullets and may or may not have uttered a few choice words under my breath. However, I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone in DC looking for a fun, free and tough workout…with about 250 of your closest friends. Yeah, this free workout has gotten VERY popular and requires you to sign up online to save your spot. It starts at 8pm and I’d recommend getting there a bit early, especially if you’d like to try out Nike gear (which you can do for free). 

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Do you bootcamp?

Wedding Wednesday: DIY Table Numbers

It’s Wedding Wednesday! Now that we’ve gotten our pictures back, I feel like I enough to share to have a Wedding Wednesday every week for the rest of the year — so get ready. :) Today, I’m going to share one of a couple of DIY projects that I did for the wedding — our table numbers! Per usual, I’m linking up with JordonMeredith and Mary and hope you’ll check out their blogs

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The inspiration for our table numbers was running (and Pinterest, of course). Since so many of our significant moments have involved races, I thought it’d be fun to do race inspired table numbers. So we decided to design our table numbers to look like race bibs. This pin helped inspire me, but I wanted to make it my own. So with the help of my coworker, we created this awesome design, complete with a title to our “race” – Courtney and Kwame’s life marathon. I came up for 18 significant dates – one for each table, plus a bride and groom “bib” for our sweetheart table. My coworker took care of the design and I printed the table tents at kinkos on cardstock I’d purchased at Staples. 

Stacey Gillin Photography- Gettysburg PA newborn and wedding photography-: Courtney and Kwame Wedding &emdash;

 
Stacey Gillin Photography- Gettysburg PA newborn and wedding photography-: Courtney and Kwame Wedding &emdash;
 

Stacey Gillin Photography- Gettysburg PA newborn and wedding photography-: Courtney and Kwame Wedding &emdash;
 

We thought this was a really fun, inexpensive way to add a unique touch to our wedding. It also wasn’t crazy labor intensive. We encouraged people to walk around to each table and read the date and what it meant to us. People loved it. In fact, some folks loved it so much, they stole the table numbers at the end of the night! Guess that’s a sign of a good party, right? 

Did you DIY anything at your wedding? 

 

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Wedding Wednesday

Blogger Tip Tuesday: How to Start a Blog

Happy Blogger Tip Tuesday! Today, I’m debuting a new “how to start a blog” page on Eat Pray Run DC and thought the contents of that page may be very helpful for someone who is considering starting a blog. So this week’s Blogger Tip Tuesday is going back to basics! If you want to start a blog but have no idea where to start, this post is for you. And you can find this information permanently on my new page

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  • Domain and Hosting. The very first step is one of the most fun steps, in my opinion. You get to pick the name of your blog! Start by going to the Bluehost website. Click here to get there. Your domain is basically the name of your blog – your address, if you will. My blog domain ishttp://eatprayrundc.com. You will spend a lot of time staring at your domain and you want a great blog name that will draw in readers. Once you have gotten a few ideas for your domain name (in case your number one choice is already in use), head over to Bluehost.

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Click the “get started now” link and you’ll see this…

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Once you’ve entered in your domain name (with a .com ending), click the next button. 

 

Fill in all that information and then you’ll need to purchase your hosting package. If we think of your domain as your web address, then your host is your neighborhood where you home is located. I chose to host Eat Pray Run DC with Bluehost for numerous reasons: 1) they have excellent customer service, 2) setup is so easy, 3) your domain name is free, 4) unlimited space!!, 5) did I mention excellent customer service, 6) quality, and 7) the setup was so easy. Once you’ve entered in all your account information you’ll see this screen:

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In terms of how long of a package to sign up for, that’s up to you. I signed up for one year initially, but when my year is up, I’m going to renew for the cheapest rate (which is 3 years). Signing up for site backup pro, domain security and domain privacy protection is entirely up to you — I didn’t and I’ve been fine (but I do use an online backup system). Once you’ve made all those choices, you’ll be taken to the payment screen. 

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You’ve made it this far and are doing great — now you’re moving on to step two!

 

  • Install WordPress. WordPress is the most popular blogging platform. You have probably seen many bloggers post about transferring from another platform (like blogger / tumblr/ etc.) to wordpress because wordpress is so widely used and so user friendly. It just makes sense to start off with wordpress since the transition process from another platform can be onerous. Once you are logged in to your bluehost account (you should have received an email with login instructions after setting everything up in step one), you will go to website builders and click on wordpress.

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You’ll see the screen below and click on “install.” 

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You’ll be asked which domain you want to install wordpress on and your brand new domain should already populated in the box. Leave that box next to it blank. 

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After you click the green “check domain” button, you are almost done! When the next screen pops up, make sure that the “show advanced options” box is checked. Fill out all the boxes and make sure you write down your admin username, email address and passsword. Keep this information someplace safe! Click the box to agree to the terms and conditions and then click “install now!” You are done with all the technical stuff!!! 

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  • Choose your Theme. After giving yourself a huge pat on the back for rocking steps one and two, you are on to the easy (but somewhat overwhelming) part! A theme is how your blog gets all pretty and looks so nice and awesome. I recommend starting with a free theme — wordpress has a ton and you can find them here. When you’re ready to move to a paid theme, many folks like the Genesis framework to build their site. You can find that here. I currently run Eat Pray Run DC on a free theme, but that may change in the future. 

You did it! You now have a functioning blog — enjoy your new blogging adventure! 

 

 

Navy Air Force Half Training Recap, Week Four

Well this was an interesting training week. This training recap is a bit shorter than normal because I skipped one run this past week. I slept terribly numerous nights in a row and was out of town this past weekend so I skipped my long run, added an easy run and moved my tempo run to this morning. 

Tuesday – track day, 2×1200 at 8:34 pace, 4×800 @ 8:20 pace. We were going to do this at the track, like we usually do but a nasty storm rolled in. Luckily, Nevie’s gym was right around the corner and they were hosting free gym days so we were able to get our track work done on the treadmill. I must say that for as much as I hate the treadmill, it was nice to have air conditioning while doing those laps. This was the first time in almost a month that we nailed our paces and that part was nice, too! [Please excuse the blurry action shot -- I thought about not posting it but I kinda love it!]

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Friday – easy run. I had planned on moving my long run from Saturday to Friday because I was in New Orleans last weekend. But…Thursday night happy hour led to Friday’s run being an easy 5k. It felt good and even though it wasn’t what I’d planned, it was fun because there are no “easy” runs in Run Less Run Faster, so this was the first one I’d had in awhile. 

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Monday- tempo run. 1 mile easy, 2 miles tempo pace, 1 mile easy, 2 miles tempo. I modified this and cut the easy mile in the middle down to a 4 min walk break to save time since this was this morning before work. The whole run ended up averaging 8:55 pace. Here are the splits: 9:28 (easy warmup mile), 8:39, 8:25, 8:58, 9:01, 4:38 (for the half mile). The humidity was back with a vengeance and this wasn’t easy but Julie and I pushed through.

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While this week had some unanticipated changes, it was still a good week in terms of hitting my paces. I don’t like missing long runs, but missing one won’t kill me!

How was your week of training?

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