Running into 2018: goals and dreams for the new year

Happy New Year friends!🎉 I hope you all had an amazing night…whether that involved drinking and dancing until dawn or snuggling up on the couch with loved ones and wine or a warm beverage.🥂 I fell into the latter category, but no complaints there! 😛

2017 was definitely a rough year for me, but it had some awesome moments too, especially my wedding!💍I reflected briefly on my run yesterday, so I am not going to reflect here. Rather, I want to leave 2017 behind and run straight into 2018 with a fresh perspective and clean slate.

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Who’s with me?!🙋🏼

I strongly believe that you should set goals year round and not wait until a holiday to start working toward them…BUT, with that being said, New Year’s Day is a perfect time to sit down, write out your new or ongoing goals, and come up with an action plan for accomplishing them!

So where to begin?!

Well, people do not meet their goals without a system of accountability or a way to track their progress toward their goals. Another reason that people do not meet their goals is because they make ones that are TOO ambitious for the given time frame. Although, I do not think that is necessarily a bad thing to set SOME lofty goals. I think it’s good to dream big, but to also have some smaller more attainable goals. 🙂 I have a good mix of both for 2018 and some of them have been a goals of mine for a while, as indicated on my goals page!

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To hold myself accountable this year, I am going to do a minimum of 4 check-ins on the blog. I will check-in during the spring (March), summer (June), fall (October), and winter (December) and more times if needed. Some of the goals below are specific to certain events in my life (i.e. my first marathon in October), so I will only check in with them when it makes sense. So, without further ado, here are my 2018 goals! 🤗

Black Bean Queen’s fifteen 2018 goals💃

1. A minimum of 5 minutes of stretching/foam rolling after EVERY RUN

2. Strength training a minimum of 2x/ week (particularly glute/hip exercises)

3. Yoga 1x/ week (a class or YouTube video)

4. Finish my first marathon in October (my ultimate goal is 3:30 or faster so I can Boston Qualify)

5. PR in the 5k and the half marathon by increasing my mileage (SLOWLY) and adding in more track/speed workouts (5k goal is sub 18 minutes & half marathon goal is 1:25)

6. Run my first 10k race

7. Run a trail race of any distance

8. Hire a coach in the spring/summer to help me with Chicago marathon training

10. Join a running group or racing team

11. Read 24 books (2 books/month)

12. Connect with more liked minded people by growing Black Bean Queen to 1,000 subscribers. I also want to grow my social media presence on Instagram and Twitter to at least 1,000 followers and my Facebook and Pinterest to at least 500 followers.

13. Be kinder to and less critical of myself by reflecting on the positives in my life at least 1x/week

14. Take my vitamin everyday

15. Cook a new vegetarian/vegan recipe with my husband 1x/month

What are YOUR top 2018 goals, running related or not? I’d love for you to share, so we can support each other! 🙂

 

 

Where I’ve been and why I’m not running the half marathon tomorrow

As I sit here munching on some dry cereal before yoga class, I feel a flood of emotions feelings that I cannot pinpoint…but I will do my best to try:

Uncertainty. Hope. Sadness. Frustration. Anger. Jealously. Happiness. Exhaustion. Fear. Ambition.

These last 6 weeks since I updated the blog have been a surprise and an adventure to say this least. I’ll take this quick minute to give a shameless plug for my Instagram (@blackbeanqueen), which I update much more often than here, so some of you may know a little more about what’s been going on. So, check there if you want more frequent running updates and random pictures of my food (like the one below) 😉

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(Santa Fe Scramble: tofu, black bean cakes, salsa and hash browns from Tweet)

Anyway, before I dive into why I’m not running the half marathon, I’d like to give a dual life update and recap of the last several (subpar) weeks of training.  So in addition to my wedding in July, i underwent another major life change in October: I got a new job! I was pretty happy with my old job and wasn’t actively looking for new positions, but when an awesome biotechnology company found me it was too great an opportunity to pass up. I’ve been working there for about a month now. 🙂

It was a bit of struggle with my old job and now with my new job, to figure out training since the hours (at least initially) are not very regular and I have a pretty long commute. Regardless, I did the best I could and tried all kinds of methods to fit in training: morning runs in the dark, super late runs after work in the dark (sometimes with my husband), treadmill runs, and doing most of my runs on the weekend (I do not recommend), but it was still a struggle when my hours were not regular. On the days I had to report to work at 8 am, a morning run was not feasible as I woke up at 5 am as it was just to run before 9 am start days.  I couldn’t draw myself out of bed at 4 am when I was going to bed at 11 pm-midnight, could you? Then, on the flip side if I don’t leave work by 5:45 pm I don’t even get home until 7 pm and that is really late and dark to run. I did it anyway many times, but it was not ideal from a safety standpoint and did not help me go to bed at an early hour. So, why am I sharing all of this? Does anyone care? haha, maybe not! The point is we are all human and life can be hard and get in the way, especially during a transition phase (i.e. starting a new job).

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(starting the work day with an early run: above & ending the work day with a night run: below)IMG_4294

In the last six weeks I’ve taken way too many rest days. I’ve stayed at work for long hours that making fitting in a  run tough. I  have not made sleep or training a priority and quite frankly did not put in the training needed to run a half marathon successfully tomorrow. Plus, sitting at a desk all day makes my muscles really tight and I was not counteracting that by doing yoga or increasing my time spent stretching after a run. Furthermore, I was not setting my myself for success by running low mileage all week and then doing a long run that is more than 50% of my weekly mileage or running a local 5k over the weekend. I will admit that the 5k was pretty fun, though! My husband and I won our races randomly. 😛

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(long run before my first day at the new job)

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(fun long run and relay race with Becca of the Rabbit Food Runner and the November project)

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(5K that my husband and I won)

I made a lot of training mistakes leading up to this half marathon and I should have known better because I ran in college (and trained smart then) and I’ve had some injuries in the past. I am paying for it now with some left knee/IT band pain. Nothing too serious and not a full blown injury, but I am taking it seriously and not running tomorrow.  As of this week, I have upped my cross training and started doing hot yoga. I am also starting to find my groove with the new job and figuring out how running/training fit into the equation. I actually talked with my supervisors about changing my hours to 8 am-4 pm/5pm,  which puts me on a similar schedule to my husband and it allows me to attend evening yoga classes, evening group runs, and decreases my commute time. They seem open to the idea and it will do wonders for my husband and I in terms of establishing a routine. I went in at 8 am multiple times this week and I loved it, but I’m also a morning person. 🙂

Right now, I am going to put all my energy into developing my strength and preventing injury (through yoga, more strength sessions at the gym, and cross training) and then slowly build my mileage again. My husband is going to help coach me and hold me accountable.  I am scared and excited about what my future  of running will bring. As for this weekend, it is going to be hard and I am a little sad (since I’m not running), but I will be in Madison, WI to watch the half-marathon and cheer for my husband and friend! Well, I’m about ready to head to yoga class and then my husband and I are going to pack up and head to the race expo. It should be a fun weekend!

I’ve been wanting to do more running related posts on the blog (product reviews, race reviews, training recaps, etc.) for a while. So, I’m going for it! 🙂 I plan on writing my first ever race recap for the Madison Marathon/half marathon with a special guest: my husband (who is actually running)! Be on the look out for it in the near future! 🙂 Are any of you racing this weekend? If so comment below. 

 

 

Half Marathon Training Weeks 4 and 5 (September 4th-17th)

Good evening friends! I am two weeks behind on my training updates…not sure how that happened, but better late than never, right? 😛

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Anyway, before I update, I just wanted to say that I hesitated to post this update because two weeks ago was not a good week and last week was a TERRIBLE week of training for me…lack of sleep, long work days, unplanned events, and motivation made for two very low mileage weeks. I did my not prioritize my health or running, but I pride myself on being honest, so I am posting it anyway.

Sometimes, life gets in the way and I can either wallow in it or move on and promise to do better next time (this week). I want to be real on this blog…despite being a former D1 runner and training at a relatively high level, I acknowledge how hard it can be to balance everything in the real “adult” world. It seems like some many other runners (and running blogs) just show the glamorous side (racing, high mileage weeks, stellar work outs, the perfect life/work/running balance, etc), but I want to show the REAL side. Sometimes you have a sh****y workout or week, you get busy, it’s dark outside, work is stressing you out, you have family stuff, etc. It’s not always fun or easy, but still getting out there (or back to it) is what counts. So without further ado, here’s my last two weekly recaps (with a lot of unplanned rest days). :/

Week #4: Monday September 4th- Sunday September 10th:

Monday September 4th: Day off work, so had a nice afternoon run of 4.1 miles @ 7:46 pace with the hubby

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Tuesday September 5th: REST

Wednesday September 6th: 4 miles in the dark after work at 7:47 pace. Did some hip/glute strength exercises after the run

Thursday September 7th: REST

Friday September 8th: REST

Saturday September 9th: 3 miles at 7:28 pace on the cross country course after the races. This run felt terrible and I was dehydrated from being in the sun all afternoon helping my husband coach.

Sunday September 10th (Long run): 6.2 miles at 7:40 pace. I was worried after feeling so terrible on yesterday’s run, but I felt strong. This was my furthest run since I “graduated” physical therapy in July 2015!

WEEKLY TOTAL: 17 miles

Week #5: Mon. September 11th- Sun. September 17th:

Monday September 11th: REST

Tuesday September 12th: REST

Wednesday September 13th: 3 miles with 2 miles at ATTEMPTED tempo pace on the treadmill since it was late. My goal was 6:30-6:45 pace, but I struggled to maintain 6:50-6:55 pace and my heart rate was high. I was tired from lack of sleep and my legs felt like lead. Glad I pushed through, because the terrible workouts are what make us stronger.

Thursday September 14th: REST

Friday September 15th: 3 miles at 7:25 pace in the dark after work. I realized on this run that I need to invest in some lights/ reflective gear because it’s really hard to see on night runs/morning runs and the days are only getting shorter. I ended up ordering knuckle lights and a reflective vest as per recommendations on Instagram.

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Saturday September 16th: 4 miles in between all the races & cheering at the XC meet. It was really hot out and I’m glad all the races were in the morning. I didn’t take any pictures at the meet surprisingly ! 😦

Sunday September 17th: This was supposed to be my long run day…but in between my in-law’s impromptu visit to our apartment (to pick up a suitcase we borrowed from them on our honeymoon. lol), cleaning, and errands I did not end up running at all and was not happy about it. I did get a lot sleep, though, which helped because during the week I was averaging 5 hours a night.

WEEKLY TOTAL: 10 miles

My takeaways: My mileage totals were low and the old me would have been really upset/disappointed. I was running at least 50 miles per week in college, so this low mileage is a huge change for me…but I’m just happy to be done with physical therapy, out of my 2016 workout funk, and back to running! With time I will be able to better balance work and running and to eventually bring my mileage totals back up.

I’m getting right back on track this week and not sweating the small stuff! I started off the week strong- I had one rest day and one three miler on my schedule. I ran 4 yesterday and knew I was staying late at work today so I rested. It worked out nicely!

Tomorrow I plan to run 3-4 miles at a moderate to easy pace. What do you have planned for tomorrow’s workouts? How do you handle a bad week or two of training? 

 

What time of day do you run?!

If I were to pick any time of day to run, I would run during the afternoon.🌞 Hands down! Afternoon runs remind me of my high school and college running days…just as the day was getting long, I would have scheduled break around 3-330 pm to look forward to. 🙂 Gosh I miss those days! Before afternoon practice, I was well fueled from breakfast and lunch, and then the run would rev my appetite for dinner. Also, the afternoon practices (unless they were really strenuous) would give me a second burst of energy without another cup of coffee.  After an afternoon practice, I felt ready to tackle my long list of homework, assignments, study sessions, work etc.

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Nowadays I do not have the flexibility of afternoon runs except on the occasional weekend day (like above). 😦 I work full time and commute one hour each way.  I’d give anything to leave my desk for an hour in the middle of the day for an afternoon run. :/  I honestly think I’d return to work much more productive after an afternoon run.

So, what have I been doing lately? Well….I’ve been running in the evening/at night. Unfortunately, the days are getting shorter and the time I leave work is not always predicable- it depends on the day’s projects.  I don’t run in the mornings as often, because of my commute time and I like to ease into the work day with a hearty breakfast. I’m not the kind of girl who can just dash out the door after a workout and quick shower with a granola bar. Your girl here needs to EAT! If I don’t eat eat a good breakfast I feel terrible at work, honestly. Team breakfast all the way! 🍓🍳🥞

Anyway, I’m starting to worry about my options for when to run as the days get shorter. It’s almost that time of year when it is dark when I wake up and when I leave work for the night. Not running is not an option on most days…I tried that lifestyle for a lot of 2016 by choice and part of 2014/2015 due to injury and it was not for me…Plus, I am training for a half marathon in November.💪🏻🏃🏼‍♀️

All I know, is that I am happiest and healthiest (physically and mentally), when I am running and sharing my passion for it with others.  Running and nerding out about running is what makes me, me! I even met my now husband through running in high school, but that is a tale for another day. 😛

When do all of you run?! I only have myself to worry about, but I know some of you out there have families, work full time, AND run! How do you do it? When do you run? What time of day would you run if you could at any time? Comment 👇🏻

Half Marathon Training Week #3: Monday August 28th- Sunday September 3rd.

Good evening friends! I hope you all had a great, long Labor Day weekend full of food, family, and friends! I can’t believe how fast this weekend flew by. 😱

My husband and I stayed busy the whole weekend, so that’s why it went quickly! On Saturday, his high school students had a cross country meet, Saturday night we went out for dinner, Sunday we drove to Wisconsin to visit my sister-in-law, and today we drove back, cleaned, and got groceries. I fit in as many runs as I could this week and weekend, but it could have been better. I’m still working on getting more sleep. :/ I’m pledging to make week #4 better for sleep and training!

Sometimes, though, all you need is an extra rest day, vegetarian treats, an impromptu road trip, wine, and some sangria to recharge after a rough week. 😉 Life isn’t all about following your training plan to a “T” and eating healthy- life is about balance! This weekend I decided to indulge a bit and go with the flow and it was 100% worth it! 🙂

Monday August 28th: REST DAY.

Tuesday August 29th: Started the morning with this delicious breakfast before work. It is old fashioned oats topped with berries, cinnamon, and Nature’s Path Organic Sunrise Crunchy Vanilla Cereal.

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Then after work, I ran 2 miles at 6:53 pace. I got home from work late and ran at night, so that’s why this run was short. I followed my run with some light stretching.

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Wednesday August 30th: REST DAY

Thursday August 31st: Ran 4.3 miles after work at 7:38 pace as the sun was setting. It was extremely windy, but it felt good to get out there. The beautiful city and lake views were an added bonus!

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Friday September 1st: REST DAY. This was an unplanned rest day, but was very wiped out from my lack of sleep over the entire week. My husband encouraged me to take the extra rest day. Plus, I knew I was getting up at 6 am on Saturday for the cross country meet. I learned this week that I do not function well on 5-6 hours of sleep per night. 😂 I have no idea how I functioned on so little sleep most of college! This girl does best on 7 or more hours of sleep. 😛

Saturday September 2nd: 4-5 miles throughout the day/in between high school cross country races. It was so fun to be on the other side of a cross country meet. I definitely felt nostalgic for high school and college cross country meets on Saturday. I can’t wait to help out at more meets and see my husband’s team grow this season! 🙂

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The meet was pretty long and we did not get home until almost 4 pm. :/ My husband and I were wiped out, so we got some chai lattes and rested. It was nice! Then we went out for salad, veggie pizza, and red wine at Calo Ristorante. That is the classic combo if you know my husband and I! We love going out for pizza- I’d saying we go out for pizza once a month! It is Chicago, after all, and there are so many tasty options. Maybe one day I’ll list and review all the pizza places we’ve been to! Today is not the day for that, though. 😛

Sunday September 3rd: REST/CROSS TRAIN DAY. My husband and I traveled to Wisconsin to visit my sister- in-law. She took us to an awesome taco place- BelAir Cantina Madison. My sister-in-law and I got the roasted veggie and kale tacos. I also got white peach sangria! 😛 My husband got the veggurito bowl and a margarita.

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I highly recommend BelAir if you ever find yourself in Wisconsin (they have locations in Milwaukee and Madison). It is an excellent option for vegan/vegetarian tacos! 

That’s it for my half-marathon training week #3 recap. I hope you all have a good night! 🙂

What was your favorite thing you did over the weekend/ Labor Day (if you live in the United States)?! My favorite part of the weekend was eating those roasted veggie and kale tacos (pictured above).

Half Marathon Training Week #2 (12 weeks until the race!): Monday August 21st- Sunday August 27th.

Good evening! I hope all of you had a fantastic weekend full of fun, exercise, food, and time to relax! 🙂 My weekend was pretty low key, but it was just what I needed.

The week of training didn’t not go quite as expected, but I will just roll with it. My mileage was pretty low, but it’s better for me to ease into training with my history of injury. Plus, until these last two weeks I was not running much. My goal is to run 20 miles per week next week and continue to bring down my running pace. Slow, but steady wins the race for this previously injured girl! I have some time goals for my half marathon (1:30), but when all is said and done I just want to toe the line healthy. 🙂 So, now let’s recap this last week of training with some random pictures and thoughts from the week for good measure. 😛

Monday August 21st: REST DAY. My coworkers and I watched solar eclipse in the middle of the work day, so that was cool. It was definitely weird wearing solar eclipse glasses over my regular glasses, but I had to protect my eyes! See below for a cool picture my dad took of the eclipse. I didn’t try to take any pictures because we didn’t get the best views of the eclipse in the city.

Tuesday August 22nd: REST DAY

Wednesday August 23rd: 3 miles at 7:35 pace after work. Felt strong, despite the lack of sleep early in the week. I got an amazing view of the sunset on this run too. 🌞

 

After the run, my amazing husband made us chickpea stir fry and it was delicious. It’s one of our staples during the work week, so maybe I will share the recipe here one of these days.

Thursday August 24th: REST DAY

Friday August 25th: 3 miles at 7:52 pace after work. I felt really sluggish on this run. The lack of sleep during the work week probably caught up to me. I definately need to prioritize sleep as my training ramps up. Im not doing the greatest with this, as it’s already past midnight as I write this post. 😛

 

Saturday August 26th: Hips of death circuit” for hip/glute/ core strength. This is a circuit my husband does with his high school cross country/track athletes. I’d share it here, but it’s hard to explain all the moves in writing. It’s a lot of body weight moves, so it’s nice when I don’t feel like going to the gym or have access to a gym. Each week I aim to do AT LEAST one day of glute/hip/core strength due to my injury history.

I also enjoyed this delicious bowl of berry, cinnamon, and raw hemp seed oatmeal prior to my workout.

Sunday August 27th: Solid 5 mile run at 7:34 pace with my husband. He was definitely thrilled to take the photo of me running below. 😂 After the run, I did some stretching, but I need to be much better about stretching this week.

 I hope you all have a good night! Also, if any of you are on Instagram I just got an one for this blog! My handle is @blackbeanqueen. Follow me if you want you midweek training updates or to see random food pictures! 😜

How was your weekend? What are your exercise and running goals for next week?

Half Marathon Training Week #1 (13 weeks until the race!): Monday August 14th- Sunday August 20th.

Good evening friends! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend! My husband I are staying up late doing laundry and he’s finishing up his lesson plans for the week, so I thought I’d blog:) My half marathon training does not offically start until tomorrow, but I wanted to start my weekly workouts feature for fun and to hold myself accountable.

I’ve only run about ten times in 2017 and one of them was a 5k race that I ran without training…I have a history of not properly training for post college races. I did a half marathon in summer 2014 where I started training one month ahead of time. I only ran 3 days per week and my longest run was 8 miles. I think I was burned out from college and college running- I shouldn’t have signed up for the race in the first place. Anyway, I ended the race with yet another IT band injury and was unable to properly run without issues until I went through intense physical therapy in spring 2015. You can read more about my injury history here.

I will not allow myself to put anymore meaningless things before my favorite hobby or to run anymore races without training. I am officially committed to training properly for this half marathon! I am following the Hal Higdon Novice 2 training plan plus 2 days a week of strengthening exercises to protect/strengthen my hips/glutes/IT band. Despite my experience as a D-1 XC/track athlete, this is a good choice for me because I have not really been running this year and I have a history of injury, so I want to play it safe. Here’s the link to the training plan I’m using. My ultimate time goal for this half is under 1 hour and 30 min, but my realistic goal is 1 hour and 35 min.

So without further ado, here are my weekly workouts for my half marathon training. As a note, this was not the best week for me personally or training wise. My grandfather broke his hip 2 weeks ago and then unexpectedly passed away on Monday. 😦 I found myself unmotivated and sad early in the week, but then I found solace in running later in the week. Here’s a picture of my grandpa and I dancing at my wedding last month. Sorry for the low quality picture. Regardless, I am fortunate for this happy memory with him!

Monday August 14th: REST

Tuesday August 15th:
REST

Wednesday August 16th:
REST

Thursday August 17th:
3 miles at 7:53 pace (according to my Garmin) followed by stretching and hip strength exercises (see examples of what I do under Saturday’s training)

Friday August 18th: A late 2 miles after work at 7:51 pace

Saturday August 19th: hip and glute strength exercises at the gym:

-band walks (side to side and forward/backward): 3x 20 reps each side
-walking lunges: 2x 20 reps each leg
-squats with the large resistance band: 2×20 reps
-foam block balancing and raises: 3×10 reps each leg
-tipping bird: 3×10 reps each side
-clamshells with resistance band: 3×10 reps each side
-bridges with resistance band and 2 second hold: 2×10 reps
-leg raises with resistance band: 2×10 reps each side
-foam rolling and stretching: 10 minutes

Sunday August 20th: REST

Today’s questions: How was your week of training? What races are you training for? Do you use a training plan when you sign up for a race?